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Beer Terms

Beer TermsAAU (alpha acid units) - A measurement of bitterness. AAU = hops are labeled with the amount of alpha acid percentage. To determine the AAU’s, take the percentage of the hops and multiply it by the weight. Example: if you have two ounces of hops with AA% of 5% (2x5=10) the AAU would be 10. This formula does not consider wort gravity, boil time, etc.

Alcohol by volume (ABV) - It is the measurement of the percent of alcohol present in a volume of liquid. To determine the ABV take the original gravity and subtract the final gravity then multiply the answer by 131.25. For every one pound of fermentable sugar added to a 5 gallon batch will yield approximately 1% ABV.

Acetaldehyde - A by-product of fermentation that gives an aroma of green apple.

Adjunct – fermentable sugars other than traditional grains. Used to make lighter style beers. Common adjuncts are flaked oats, rice, corn sugar and honey.

Ale – beer that is “top fermented” usually at a temperature between 65-75 degrees.

All Grain – making beer entirely from all grain – not extracts or adjuncts.

Aroma Hops – added to the end of the boil to enhance the aroma of the beer.

Attenuation - The percent of sugars consumed by yeast during fermentation.

Balling - Created by Carl Joseph Balling is a scale that measures the amount of sugar in liquid to help determine the potential alcohol.

Barley – the main grain used to make beer.

Barleywine – a high alcohol English style beer (usually 8-12%) usually very malty.

Bittering Hops – hops that are added to the boil for approximately 45-60 minutes. The longer the boiling time the more intense the bitterness.

Boiling Pot – a large cooking pot that can hold the amount of your liquid. Partial mashes and extract batches typically require two gallons of liquid, therefore, you will need a pot to hold more than two gallons (16 or 20 qt size are ideal). All-grain brewers require pots that would hold more than 5 gallons. Heavy-duty stainless pots are preferred by most brewers.

Candi Sugar – is an adjunct sugar used in many Belgium style beers. It is usually in a “rock” or “nugget” form but is also available in a liquid form. It creates good head retention. Also referred to as Belgium Candi sugar.

Chill Haze - A cloudiness that appears in beer when it gets cold. It is a result of proteins and polyphenols combining as a result of hydrogen bonding. The haze disappears as the beer warms up. Can be prevented by adding clarifying agents such as Irish Moss, isinglass.

Final Gravity (FG) – the ending specific gravity/hydrometer reading.

Fermentation - Conversion of sugars into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, through the action of yeast.

Fining Agents – Isinglass and Irish Moss are the most common in beer making. They work by making smaller molecules aggregate into larger particles so they will settle out.

Grist – a term for milled grain.

Gypsum – adds sulfate to the brewing water to help bring out the hop flavors. Used especially with Pale Ales

Hops – an herb added to increase the bitterness and enhance the flavor and aroma of beer. Hops come pellets, leaf and plug forms.

Hydrometer – an instrument used to measure the density of the liquid. The heavier the liquid the more sugar it contains. The more sugar, the higher the potential alcohol. Hydrometers are helpful to make sure your beer or wine is fermenting and when it has finished.

IBU’s (international bitterness unit) - A system of indicating the hop bitterness in finished beer.

Irish Moss – a seaweed used to help clarify beer and prevents chill haze.

Isinglass – obtained from fish swimbladders. Used to clarify beer & wine.

Lambic - A traditionally Belgian brew that is typically sour. It is usually fruit flavored (peach, raspberry, cassis, cherry) and fermented with wild yeast and several types of bacteria.

Lauter – a German word meaning to clarify. During mashing, the grains are soaked in hot water to obtain fermentable liquid sugars. The liquid is drained from the grain (grist). A lauter-tun or mash-tun is a vessel used to extract the liquid. In plain words lautering is when you drain the liquid from the soaked grains.

Lauter-tun – is a vessel used to separate the sweet liquid away from the grain.

Lager – beer that is “bottom fermented”

Lovibond – Created by Joseph William Lovibond to determine the color of a substance usually beer and whiskey. It is a measurement of color in degrees. The scale starts at 0 (zero) and goes to over 500. The higher the number the darker the color.

Malt - the malting process consists of wetting the grain and allowing it to germinate. During the germination, some of the starches in the grain get converted to sugars. Some of the grain is then kilned dried and caramelized to create specialty crystal malts.

Malt Extract – after barley has been malted and mashed, it is reduced down to a thick syrupy liquid, Liquid Malt Extract (LME) or dried into Dried Malt Extract (DME).

Mashing – soaking grains in heated water to obtain fermentable liquid sugar (wort).

Mouthfeel – how the beer feels in your mouth. Typically “full” or “thin”.

Original Gravity (OG) – the beginning specific gravity of the wort before it is fermented into beer.

Oxygenation – oxygen added to the wort to help the yeast ferment the sugars into alcohol. Pitching – is simply adding the yeast to the wort.

Primary Fermentation – vigorous fermentation when the yeast cells are multiplying at a vigorous rate feeding on the fermentable sugars.

Reinheitsgebot – German law – also known as the Purity Law created in 1516 that only three ingredients are allowed in beer making. Water, malted barley and hops. Yeast was not originally included because beer makers in 1516 most likely used wild yeast.

Sparging – spraying hot water on the grains (grist) to obtain more fermentable liquid sugars.

Steep to convert – place specialty grains in hot water (can be placed in a grain or muslin bag) prior to the boil to steep color and aroma. Usually required 30 minutes.

Standard Reference Method (SRM) – is a method used by many brew chemists to measure the color of beer using an spectrophotometer instrument . The lovibond scale is a system that relies on visual reference.

Wort – the liquid extracted from grain – contains liquid fermentable sugar prior to fermentation.




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