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Beer Terms

Brush up on your beer terminology.

18th Amendment
The 18th amendment of the United States Constitution effectively established the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in the United States by declaring illegal the production, transport and sale of alcohol (though not the consumption or private possession).
21st Amendment
The 21st amendment to the United States Constitution repealed the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which had mandated nationwide Prohibition on alcohol on January 17, 1920.
American Homebrewers Association - Founded in 1978 and advocates for homebrewers rights.
Acid Rest
A step done early in the mash around 95 degrees Farenheight by traditional brewers to lower the pH of the mash.
The action of introducing air or oxygen to the wort (unfermented beer) at various stages of the brewing process. Proper aeration before primary fermentation is vital to yeast health and vigorous fermentation. Aeration after fermentation is complete can result in beer off-flavors, including cardboard or paper aromas due to oxidation.
A synonym for ethyl alcohol or ethanol, the colorless primary alcohol constituent of beer. Alcohol ranges for beer vary from less than 3.2% to greater than 14% ABV. However, the majority of craft beer styles average around 5.9% ABV.
Ales are beers fermented with top fermenting yeast. Ales typically are fermented at warmer temperatures than lagers, and are often served warmer. The term ale is sometimes incorrectly associated with alcoholic strength.
Aromatic hops
Refers to hop additions that take place later in the boiling process. Shorter amount of time spent in the boil kettle will provide more aromatic characteristics from the hops rather than bittering characteristics.
A cereal grain derived from the annual grass Hordeum vulgare. Barley is used as a base malt in the production of beer and certain distilled spirits, as well as a food supply for humans and animals.
In beer, the bitterness is caused by the tannins and iso-humulones of hops. Bitterness of hops is perceived in the taste. The amount of bitterness in a beer is one of the defining characteristics of a beer style.
The consistency, thickness and mouth-filling property of a beer. The sensation of palate fullness in the mouth ranges from thin- to full-bodied.
Bottle Conditioning
A process by which beer is naturally carbonated in the bottle as a result of fermentation of additional wort or sugar intentionally added during packaging.
Bottom Fermentation
One of the two basic fermentation methods characterized by the tendency of yeast cells to sink to the bottom of the fermentation vessel. Lager yeast is considered to be bottom fermenting compared to ale yeast that is top fermenting. Beers brewed in this fashion are commonly called lagers or bottom-fermented beers.
Bung Hole
The round hole in the side of a cask or older style keg, through which the vessel is filled with beer and then sealed with a bung.
A barrel-shaped container for holding beer. Originally made of iron-hooped wooden staves, now most widely available in stainless steel and aluminum.
Storing or aging beer at a controlled temperature to allow maturing.
The hue or shade of a beer, primarily derived from grains, sometimes derived from fruit or other ingredients in beer. Beer styles made with caramelized, toasted or roasted malts or grains will exhibit increasingly darker colors. The color of a beer may often, but not always, allow the consumer to anticipate how a beer might taste. It’s important to note that beer color does not equate to alcohol level, mouthfeel or calories in beer.
A volatile compound produced by some yeasts which imparts a caramel, nutty or butterscotch flavor to beer. This compound is acceptable at low levels
Refers to the diastatic enzymes that are created as the grain sprouts. These convert starches to sugars, which yeast eat.
Dry Hopping
The addition of hops late in the brewing process to increase the hop aroma of a finished beer without significantly affecting its bitterness. Dry hops may be added to the wort in the kettle, whirlpool, hop back, or added to beer during primary or secondary fermentation or even later in the process.
Volatile flavor compounds that form through the interaction of organic acids with alcohols during fermentation and contribute to the fruity aroma and flavor of beer. Esters are very common in ales.
Fermentable Sugars
Sugars that can be consumed by yeast cells which in turn will produce ethanol alcohol and c02.
The chemical conversion of fermentable sugars into approximately equal parts of ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide gas, through the action of yeast. The two basic methods of fermentation in brewing are top fermentation, which produces ales, and bottom fermentation, which produces lagers.
The passage of a liquid through a permeable or porous substance to remove solid matter in suspension, often yeast.
Forced Carbonation
The beer is place into a sealed (or soon to be sealed) container and carbonation is rapidly added. Under high pressure, the CO2 is absorbed into the beer.
Tasting or smelling like cereal or raw grains.
Ground malt and grains ready for mashing.
Head Retention
The foam stability of a beer as measured, in seconds, by time required for a 1-inch foam collar to collapse.
The addition of hops to un-fermented wort or fermented beer.
The dry outer layer of certain cereal seeds.
Immersion Chiller
A wort chiller most commonly made of copper that is used by submerging into hot wort before fermentation as a method of cooling.
Infusion Mash
A method of mashing which achieves target mashing temperatures by the addition of heated water at specific temperatures.
A cylindrical container, usually constructed of steel or sometimes aluminum, commonly used to store, transport and serve beer under pressure. In the U.S., kegs are referred to by the portion of a barrel they represent, for example, a ½ barrel keg = 15.5 gal, a ¼ barrel keg = 7.75 gal, a 1/6 barrel keg = 5.23 gal. Other standard keg sizes will be found in other countries.
The process of heat-drying malted barley in a kiln to stop germination and to produce a dry, easily milled malt from which the brittle rootlets are easily removed. Kilning also removes the raw flavor (or green-malt flavor) associated with germinating barley, and new aromas, flavors, and colors develop according to the intensity and duration of the kilning process.
The lacelike pattern of foam sticking to the sides of a glass of beer once it has been partly or totally emptied.
Lagers are any beer that is fermented with bottom-fermenting yeast at colder temperatures. Lagers are most often associated with crisp, clean flavors and are traditionally fermented and served at colder temperatures than ales.
Storing bottom-fermented beer in cold cellars at near-freezing temperatures for periods of time ranging from a few weeks to years, during which time the yeast cells and proteins settle out and the beer improves in taste.
The process of separating the sweet wort (pre-boil) from the spent grains in a lauter tun or with other straining apparatus.
A scale used to measure color in grains and sometimes in beer. See also Standard Reference Method.
Processed barley that has been steeped in water, germinated on malting floors or in germination boxes or drums, and later dried in kilns for the purpose of stopping the germination and converting the insoluble starch in barley to the soluble substances and sugars in malt.
A mixture of ground malt (and possibly other grains or adjuncts) and hot water that forms the sweet wort after straining.
(Master Brewers Association of the Americas) was formed in 1887 with the purpose of promoting, advancing, and improving the professional interest of brew and malt house production and technical personnel.
As defined by the Brewers Association: A brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels of beer per year with 75% or more of its beer sold off-site.
Modified Malts
Modified Malts refers to the length of the germination process and how many of the internal malt structures and compounds have already been broken down.
The textures one perceives in a beer. Includes carbonation, fullness and aftertaste.
Noble Hops
Traditional European hop varieties prized for their characteristic flavor and aroma. Traditionally these are grown only in four small areas in Europe.
A chemical reaction in which one of the reactants (beer, food) undergoes the addition of or reaction with oxygen or an oxidizing agent.
Stale, winy flavor or aroma of wet cardboard, paper, rotten pineapple sherry and many other variations.
The top part of the inside of your mouth and is generally associated with how humans taste.
The addition of yeast to the wort once it has cooled down to desirable temperatures.
Primary Fermentation
The first stage of fermentation carried out in open or closed containers and lasting from two to twenty days during which time the bulk of the fermentable sugars are converted to ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. Synonym: Principal fermentation; initial fermentation.
A law instituted by the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (stemming from the Volstead Act) on January 18, 1920, forbidding the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the U.S. It was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on December 5, 1933. The Prohibition Era is sometimes referred to as The Noble Experiment.
The hollow at the bottom of some bottles.
Residual Alkalinity
A measurement of the mash’s ability to buffer, or resist, attempts to lower its pH.
Residual Sugar
Any leftover sugar that the yeast did not consume during fermentation.
The gummy organic substance produced by certain plants and trees. Humulone and lupulone, for example, are bitter resins that occur naturally in the hop flower.
The refuse of solid matter that settles and accumulates at the bottom of fermenters, conditioning vessels and bottles of bottle-conditioned beer.
Session Beer
A beer of lighter body and alcohol of which one might expect to drink more than one serving in a sitting.
A taste perceived to be acidic and tart. Sometimes the result of a bacterial influence intended by the brewer, from either wild or inoculated bacteria such as lactobacillus and pediococcus.
Standard Reference Method (SRM)
An analytical method and scale that brewers use to measure and quantify the color of a beer. The higher the SRM is, the darker the beer. In beer, SRM ranges from as low as 2 (light lager) to as high as 45 (stout) and beyond.
The soaking in liquid of a solid so as to extract flavors.
Aroma reminiscent of rotten eggs or burnt matches; a by-product of some yeasts or a beer becoming light struck.
A group of organic compounds contained in certain cereal grains and other plants. Tannins are present in the hop cone. Also called “hop tannin” to distinguish it from tannins originating from malted barley. The greater part of malt tannin content is derived from malt husks, but malt tannins differ chemically from hop tannins. In extreme examples, tannins from both can be perceived as a taste or sensation similar to sampling black tea that has steeped for a very long time.
Wort particles resulting from the precipitation of proteins, hop oils and tannins during the boiling and cooling stages of brewing.
Volatile Compounds
Chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature which causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate and enter the surrounding air.
At the outset of lautering and immediately prior to collecting wort in the brew kettle, the recirculation of wort from the lauter tun outlet back onto the top of the grain bed in order to clarify the wort.
Wet Hopping
The addition of freshly harvested hops that have not yet been dried to different stages of the brewing process. Wet hopping adds unique flavors and aromas to beer that are not normally found when using hops that have been dried and processed per usual.
The bittersweet sugar solution obtained by mashing the malt and boiling in the hops, which becomes beer through fermentation.
During the fermentation process, yeast converts the natural malt sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. Yeast was first viewed under a microscope in 1680 by the Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek; in 1867, Louis Pasteur discovered that yeast cells lack chlorophyll and that they could develop only in an environment containing both nitrogen and carbon.
Yeast Pitching
The point in the brewing process in which yeast is added to cool wort prior to fermentation.

References: www.craftbeer.com

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