Glossary | Styles | List of Beers

Find out about stouts, lagers, pale ales, and more in our BEER STYLES section.

Aftertaste: The taste and sensations that linger after beer has been swallowed.
Airlock (Fermentation Lock): A device that attaches to the top of a fermentation barrel or carboy that allows C02 to escape out of an airtight connection but prevents bacteria from entering.
Aroma: The flavor and bouquet of a beer.
Balance: The relation of malt to hops in a beer. Ideally they are balanced.
Bitter: A flavor characteristic of beer, reflecting the taste of the hops.
Bittering Hops: Varieties of hops that are used to infuse a bitter taste in beer.
Body: The richness and the amount of mouthfeel a drinker experiences from a beer.
Brew Kit: A brewing package that comes complete with all necessary ingredients to make beer.
Brew Kettle: A large cooking container, usually between 3-6 gallons, used in boiling the wort.
Craft Beers: Beers that are made by independent brewers, using only quality malt and hops and employing traditional brewing methods.
Carboy: A large glass bottle with a narrow opening used to ferment beer.
Dry Beer: A light-bodied brew with little aftertaste and increased alcohol.
Fermentation: The use of active yeast to convert sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Fermentation Barrel (see also carboy): A 5-6 gallon container used to ferment beer.
Gypsum: A common mineral sometimes added to water to make it simulate high-quality British brewing water.
Head: The foam at the top of beer caused by carbonation. Foams vary greatly between beer styles.
Hops: Cone shaped flowers used in brewing. Hops act as a flavoring agent in beer, adding aroma, sweetness and bitterness. They also help in head retention.
Hop Sock (Grain bag): A bag that holds grains during a boil, very much like a large teabag.
Hydrometer: An instrument that measures the amount of fermentation in beer. The hydrometer reading can also indicate the percentage of alcohol in beer.
Malting: "Melting" grain. Softening grain by steeping it in water and allowing it to germinate or sprout.
Malted Barley: Barley grain that has undergone the malting process -- immersion in water and sprouting. A key ingredient in premium craft, imported and homemade beers.
Malt extract: A thick syrup or powder made from malted barley. The extract is created by mashing the barley and converting the carbohydrates to sugars.
Mashing: The process of crushing malted grains and extracting fermentable sugars for use in the brewing process.
Priming: The introduction of added fermentable materials in order to enhance carbonation and give a head to the beer. Beer would be flat without it. Most homebrewers use corn sugar (about 3/4 cup per 5 gallons).
Sanitizing: Sanitizing is probably the most important part in brewing, as anything unclean that comes in contact with unfermented beer can ruin the taste of the beer. All brewing equipment should be throughly cleaned beforehand with either bleach or antibacterial cleanser.
Specific Gravity: A measure of the density of a liquid relative to the amount of fermentable sugars it contains. By testing a beer's specific gravity it is possible to determine when the beer is done fermenting and to know in advance how strong the beer will be.
Sparge: Rinsing grains to extract residual sugar that clings to the grains after they have been mashed. Warm water is poured over the grains and hops above a strainer.
Water: Beer is about 90 percent water, so water is an important ingredient. Tap water is usually acceptable for use in beermaking although it is recommended that a filter be used to remove chlorine. Nondistilled spring water can also be used. The rule of thumb is -- if the water doesn't smell, it's good to use. Discernible off-flavors in the water may give the beer a harsh taste.
Wort (Pronounced wert): The sweet, concentrated sugar solution produced by boiling hops and malt. Basically, unfermented beer.
Yeast: A yellowish froth consisting of fungus cells that promote alcoholic fermentation. Key in the process of converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. It also contributes to the taste of beer.
Zymurgy: The science of brewing beer. Also the last word in the dictionary.

Find out about stouts, lagers, pale ale's, and more in our BEER STYLES section.

Glossary | Styles | List of Beers

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