Glossary

This is a list of basic home brewing terms.

Adjunct– Any fermentable ingredient in beer other than malted barley (examples: honey, candi sugar or just simple cane sugar).

Ale – A beer brewed from a top-fermenting yeast with a relatively short, warm fermentation.

Alpha Acid – A measurement of the bitterness potential of hops. A hop with 10% alpha acid will provide more than one with 4% alpha acid. The bitterness potential of the hops will be lost over time if they are not stored properly.

Attenuation – the percentage that measures the conversion of sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide by the fermentation process; a more attenuated beer will generally be drier and more alcoholic than a less attenuated beer made from the same wort.

Banana like flavor in beer – This is caused when Isoamyl alcohol and acetic acid combine to form isoamyl acetate. This is considered an ester and ester production increases with higher fermentation temperature, lower levels of dissolved oxygen, higher gravity wort and lower pitching rates.

Body – The mouth-feel (how heavy the beer feels in your mouth) of a beer.

Carboy – A large glass bottle in which to ferment wort. Typically a glass carboy is used for secondary fermentation.

Cold break – the precipitation or flocculation of proteins and hop matter that form when chilling wort rapidly. This happens at the end of the boil when you rapidly cool the wort before the yeast is pitched.

Conditioning – This can refer to the carbonation process after the fermentation process is complete. But it can also refer to the aging of your wort or beer.

Dextrin – Unfermentable sugars that contribute to your beer’s body.

Distillate – the liquid condensed from vapor in distillation.

Distillation – the process of purifying a liquid by evaporation and condensation.

Fermentation – the chemical breakdown of sugars by yeast into ethyl alcohol.

International Bittering Units (IBU) – a measure of the beer’s bitterness.

Fermenter – a vessel used in the process where mash fermentation takes place.

Knock-Out – the final step in the brewing process. After the boil is complete the “knock Out” step begins. Hot wort is chilled to room temperature through a heat exchanger or wort chiller, and oxygen is added during transfer to the fermenter.

Krausen – the foamy head that develops on top of fermenting beer. Used to determine when the fermentation process is going strong and when it is complete.

Lager – beer fermented at a low temperature followed by maturation in cool storage. Lager yeast will ferment at lower temperatures than ale yeast.

Lauter Tun – is a large vessel that holds the mash and has a false bottom or manifold to allow the wort to drain.

Lautering – is the process of separating the wort from the mash.

Mash – a mixture of crushed malted grains or other fementable carbohydrate in water, stirred and steeped, with heat to convert starch into fermentable sugars.

Mash Out – Prior to the draining of  the wort from the mash tun and sparging, comes the mash out. Mash out is the process of raising the temperature of the mash to 170o F prior to lautering.

Racking – the process of transferring wort or beer from one vessel to another. For example, from Primary fermenter to Secondary fermentaion, or from fermenter to bottles or keg.

Sparging – is the process of rinsing the grain bed to extract as much sugar from the grains as possible.