Glossary of Brewing Terms

Adjunct:  Fermentable ingredients used in brewing that do not contain enzymes such as corn, unmalted barley, and sugars.  It is used primarily in light beers as a cost effective way to increase alcohol.

Aerate:  The practice of forcing air into the wort, usually by vigorously pouring the wort back in forth creating a frothy head prior to pitching the yeast.

Airlock:  A device plugged into a small hole in the fermenter used to allow carbon dioxide to escape during fermentation.

Ale:  A top fermenting beer which usually takes less time than a lager.  They are usually fermented at warmer temperatures and contain more fruity notes.

All-Grain Brewing:  The process of brewing only using grains and no malt extracts.

Alpha Acid Units (AAU):  A measurement for hops by taking the amount (oz.) of the hops multiplied by the percent of alpha acids in the hops.

Attenuation:  The degree by which yeast converts sugars into alcohol.

Barrel:  Measurement that equals 31.5 US gallons.

Beer:  Beverage created from malted barley and hops.

Blowoff:  The procedure of using a tube that is connected to the fermenter and submerged in a bucket of water to remove carbon dioxide and excess fermentation material.

Brewhouse:  The entirety of the beer making equipment.

Brew Kettle:  The pot in which the wort is boiled and hops as well as other ingredients are added.

Brew Pub:  A restaurant where beer is brewed and served on premise.

Body:  Describes the thickness or mouth feel of a beer.  Heavy and light are common descriptions.

Bung:  The stopper often times used in a carboy or barrel to seal the pouring hole.

Carboy:  A glass airtight container, similar to a water cooler bottle, used to hold beer during fermentation.

Chill Haze:  Cloudiness that occurs from refrigerated non filtered beer.

Conditioning:  An aspect of secondary fermentation, including in the bottle, when the flavors of the beer are further enhanced.

Dry-hopping:  The brewing procedure of adding addition hops to a secondary to increase hop flavor and aroma.

Enzymes:  The part of the grain that when heated converts the starches into maltose, which is the sugar used in fermentation to form alcohol.

Ester:  A strong flavor in the beer created during fermentation that is often fruity or spicy.

Extract Brewing:  Brewing using only malt extract and no raw grains.

Fermentation:  The process in which sugars are converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Fermenter:  An air tight vessel used to house the beer during fermentation.

Fining:  An additive used to help clear the beer by eliminating floating particles.

Grist:  Milled grains used in brewing.

Heat Exchanger:  A device used to speed up the cooling of the wort.

Hops:  The main flavoring herd used to both bitter and create aroma in beer.

  • Pellets:  Ground and pressed hops.
  • Plugs:  Condensed whole leaf hops.
  • Whole Leaf:  Unprocessed hops.

Hopback:  A straining device used to remove the hop particles from the wort.

Hydrometer:  The device used to measure the gravity of a beer which resembles a floating thermometer.

Infusion:  The simplest forming of mashing by submerging grains in hot water.

IBU:  International bittering units.  A term describing the amount of bitterness in a particular hop variety.

Krausen:  A term describing the foaming head that occurs during fermentation.

Lactose:  A non-fermentable sugar derived from milk used to sweeten a beer without adding to the alcohol content.

Lager:  A style of beer that uses bottom fermenting yeast at cold temperatures.

Lagering:  The process of fermenting and aging a beer at cold temperatures.

Liquor:  The water used in brewing.

Malting:  The process of taking “raw” grains and forcing them to germinate by submerging them in water then dried to convert insoluble starches into sugars for mashing.

Malt Extract:  The result of mashing grains and extracting the sugars.  Used in extract brewing.

Mashing:  The process by which hot water is poured over malted grains to extract sugars.

Mash Tun:  The vessel used for mashing.

Maltose:  A fermentable sugar in malt used for brewing.

Microbrewery:  A small brewery producing less than 15,000 barrels of beer annually.

Partial-Mash:  A term used to describe the brewing process using both grains and extracts.

Pitching:  The process of adding yeast to the beer.

Priming:  The process of adding sugar after fermentation and before bottling to create carbonation.

Racking:  A term used to describe the transferring of beer from the primary fermenter into a secondary fermenter.  Used to remove the used yeast which can impart an off flavor in the beer if left in contact too long.

Secondary Fermentation:  The point of fermentation when the beer is placed in a sealed vessel from a week to even a year.

Specific Gravity:  The measurement used to decipher the amount of alcohol in a beer by measuring the density of the beer compared to water both before and after fermentation.

Sparge:  The raising of the mash temperature at the end of the mash by “spraying” hot water onto the grain bed to remove the soluble sugars.

Terminal Gravity:  The final specific gravity reading at the end of fermentation.

Wort:  The liquid strained from the mash tun after the mashing is complete.  This liquid contains the sugars and flavors that create the base for the beer.

Wort Chiller:  A copper device used to speed up the cooling of wort before transferring to the fermenter.

Yeast:  The micro-organism used to turn the fermentable sugars into alcohol.