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BEER GLOSSARY

Additive

Enzymes, preservatives and antioxidants which may be added to beer to simplify the brewing process or to prolong shelf life.

Aftertaste

The taste, odor and sensations that linger after the beer has been swallowed.

Alcohol

A synonym for ethyl alcohol or ethanol. A by-product of fermentation.

Alcohol content

Alcohol content is expressed as a percentage of volume or weight. It is often referred to as ABV (Alcohol by Volume)

Ale

Ales are fermented warm and made with top fermenting yeast because these ales are generally stronger and more assertive in taste than lagers. The range of styles is almost endless. The ale family includes: Amber ale, American ale, ESB, Belgian ale, Bitter ale, Blonde ale, Dark ale, English ale, Fruit ale, Golden ale, India Pale ale, Pale ale, Red ale, Scotch ale, Scottish ale, Summer ale, Wheat ale and Winter ale.

Alt

A traditional style of beer brewed mainly in Dusseldorf. The German word alt means "old" and refers to the traditional method of ales. Alt beers are dark, copper colored, brewed from dark malts, well hopped

Amber

Any top or bottom-fermented beer having an amber color: between pale and dark.

Aroma Hops

Hop varieties that are chosen for their aromatic contribution to the beer. Noble hops are classified as aroma hops.

Barley

The most common brewing grain in the world.

Barley Wine

This ale is copper-colored to dark brown with a strong, fruity, bittersweet flavor. This thick beer has a high alcohol content (about 10 percent) and can benefit from aging (from six months to several years).

Beer

The generic name for alcoholic beverages produced by fermented cereals that are flavoured with hops. The word derives from the Latin verb "bibere", which means "to drink".

Bitter

There are bitters for all seasons. Ideally a bitter should have a strong hop character and bitterness. There are also different grades of bitters starting with bitter then special bitter and extra special bitter with the later having a higher alcohol content and more complex flavour. In England, bitter is still stored in wooden casks and pumped by hand. These bitters are served at room temperature, chilled on request.

Bitterness

The hoppy flavour produced by boiling hops in the wort, balances the sweetness of the malt. The level of bitterness can vary by adding hops at different stages during the brewing process. Bitterness is used to describe mouth feel, both when the beer first hits the taste buds and also when the beer is felt at the back of the mouth during swallowing.

Black and Tan

A mix of dark and pale beers, such as stout and pilsner.

Black malt

Partially malted barley roasted at high temperatures. Black malt gives a dark colour and a roasted flavour to beer.

Bock

A very strong lager traditionally brewed in winter to celebrate the coming spring. Full-bodied, malty, well-hopped.

Body

Thickness and mouth-filling property of a beer described as "full or thin-bodied". The body, consistency and thickness of a beer depend on the amount of unfermentable sugars present in the finished beer.

Bottle Conditioning

After the beer has been through the primary fermentation process, yeast and sugars are added and the beer is bottled. The yeast and sugars naturally carbonate the beer as a secondary fermentation process takes place in the bottle itself. This gives the beer a higher gravity level and alcohol content. Bottle-conditioned beer has a shelf life of several years, whereas cask-conditioned beer should be consumed generally within six months.

Bottom-fermenting yeast

One of the two types of yeast used in brewing. Bottom-fermenting yeast works well at low temperatures and ferments more sugars leaving a crisp, clean taste and then settles to the bottom of the tank. Also called "lager yeast".

Brew Kettle

The vessel in which wort from the mash is boiled with hops. Also called a copper.

Brown Ale

Brown ale is a traditional British, top fermented ale. Flavor and color are very much like pale ale, but sweeter and darker. It is a good starting point for beginners as they are less bitter and generally more carbonated than bitters.

Caramel

Sugar used to add color and alcohol content to beer. It is often used in place of more expensive malted barley.

Carbonation

Sparkle caused by carbon dioxide, either created during fermentation or injected later.

Conditioning

Period of maturation intended to impart "condition"(natural carbonation). Warm conditioning further develops the complex of flavors. Cold conditioning imparts a clean, round taste.

Ethanol

A form of alcohol produced by yeast during fermentation.

Export

Confusing term - often meaning the beers from the "Dortmund" area. Historically, the term was applied to any beer of superior quality suitable for export to a foreign country.

Fermentation

The process by which yeasts converts (or metabolises) sugars mostly into alcohol and carbon dioxide

Filter

Beer is still slightly cloudy after lagering, and requires filtering to remove any remaining yeast and other insoluble materials to achieve a brilliant clarity.

Grainy

Tastes like cereal or raw grain.

Gueuze

A Belgian beer style that blends a fresh lambic with an old lambic, creating a second fermentation.

Head

The foamy, while layer on top of the brew after it is pored into a glass. The head is made up of mostly proteins, dextrins (sugars) and carbon dioxide.

Hefe

German word for yeast and the first part of the term Hefeweizen, the name given to German wheat beer.

Hops

Herb added to boiling wort or fermenting beer to impart a bitter aroma and flavor.

India Pale Ale (IPA)

Derived from the pale ale from the days of the British empire. Made with a stronger alcohol content and generally more hops so that the flavour of the beer would withstand the long journey to the troops in India. These are generally strong, clean beers leaving a dry aftertaste.

Kriek

A Belgian beer style produced by steeping cherries in young lambic or gueuze to produce a second fermentation

Lager

Beers produced with bottom-fermenting yeast strains at colder fermentation temperatures than ales.

Lambic

Wheat beer originally produced in the Bruxelloise region of Belgium with a strong acidic character from the spontaneous fermentation from wild yeast. They do not use cultured yeast at all.

Malt

One of the four ingredients of beer. Malt is barley which has been moistened, allowed to germinate, and then dried. The variety of barley, the extent to which it is allowed to germinate, and the temperature at which it is dried all influence the character, the color, and the flavor of beer.

Malt Extract

The condensed wort from a mash, consisting of maltose, dextrins and other dissolved solids. Either as a syrup or powdered sugar, it is used by brewers, in solutions of water and extract to reconstitute wort for fermentation.

Mash

Ground malt blended with water.

Mash Tun

The first vessel used in the brewing process, the mash tun is used to combine the ground malt with water and to heat the mash to the desired temperature.

Mead

Meads are produced by the fermentation of honey, water, yeast and optional ingredients such as fruit, herbs, and/or spices.

Milling

The first step in the brewing process. Barley malt is crushed, not ground, between pairs of rollers in a mill. This separates the husk from the meal body and also fractures the meal body, preparing the malt for mashing.

Non-Alcoholic Beer

Defined by law as any beer with an ABV at or below 0.5%.

Nose

The aromas from the beer

Oktoberfest

The annual festival in Munich which attracts almost 7 million visitors annually.

Pale Ale

Normally a dry hopped ale, but the term pale ale is used very loosely now. It used to mean ales in bottles, but as brewing techniques become more advanced, this style has now been perfected. Its colour is a rich amber which is well hopped and a little stronger than most UK beers.

Pils (Pilsener)

A general name for pale, golden-hued, highly hopped, bottom-fermented beers. The original was first brewed in the Bohemian town of Pilsen in 1842, and still for sale under it's now German name of Pislner Urquell.

Porter

A very dark, top-fermented beer first brewed in London in 1722 by a man named Harwood as a substitute for a then popular mix of ale, beer, and two penny beer. It is one of the oldest syles of beers made and making a comeback. These beers range from dark brown to black and are a little sweeter than stouts, and a little lighter in body.

Rauchbier

A dark, bottom-fermented beer produced by a few breweries in Bavaria. Unique smoked flavor from the use of malts dried over an open fire. .

Reinheitsgebot

Often referred to as the Bavarian purity law, originating in Bavaria in 1520 and now applied to all German brewers making beer for consumption in Germany. It allows only malted grains, hops, yeast and water to be used in brewing. The Reinheitsgebot is no longer part of German law: it has been replaced by the Provisional German Beer Law (Vorläufiges deutsches Biergesetz), which allows constituent components prohibited in the Reinheitsgebot, such as wheat malt and cane sugar, but which no longer allows unmalted barley.

Rice Beer (Sake)

A traditional Japanese fermented drink made from rice

Roasted Malt

Some malts are roasted to varying degrees to produce a range of specialty malts called caramel, chocolate, and black malts. These malts affect the color and the flavor of beer.

Scottish Ale

This is a strong (high alcohol) brew made with Scottish malted barley. Less hoppy than English brews, there are hints of caramel and, sometimes, a slight tang of smoke in the flavor.

Seasonal

Refers to beers brewed at only certain times of the year (i.e. Christmas beers)

Sediment

The yeast material at the bottom of a bottle of conditioned beer.

Session Beer

Relaxing over a couple of beers as opposed to just having one.

Shelf life

The number of days a beer will retain its peak drinkability. Packaged beer is best drunk fresh.

Stout

Dry, black ale made with dark roasted barley and a lot of hops. The most famous stout is, of course, Guinness.

Top-fermenting yeast

One of the two types of yeast used in brewing. Top-fermenting yeast works better at warmer temperatures and is able to tolerate higher alcohol concentrations than bottom-fermenting yeast. It is unable to ferment some sugars, and results in a fruitier, sweeter beer.

Trappist Beers

Any beer brewed in one of the six remaining brewing abbeys, five of which are in Belgium, and one in the Netherlands. Top-fermented, dark amber, and fairly strong, they are bottle-conditioned. Origin dates back to the Middle Ages.

Tun

Any large vessels used in brewing.

Vienna Lager

A reddish-amber, sweetish, malt-accented lager, originally brewed in Vienna.

Weissbier

In Germany, a generic name for wheat beers. Weisse means white, and such beers are usually very pale and cloudy, with a white foam.

Weizen

German word for wheat, often used to describe wheat beer or Weissbier

Witbier (White)

A traditional wheat beer originally brewed in the Belgian towns of Hoegaarden and Louvain. These beers often appear cloudy because of the raw grains used and the amount of yeast present.

Wort

Pronounced "wert" this is the sugary liquid produced by mashing an infusion of malt which yields beer on fermentation.

Yeast

One of the four ingredients of beer. Yeast is a single cell organism whose metabolism converts the sugars contained in the malt into alcohol and carbon dioxide. One species, Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used to make ale, and another, Saccharomyces carlsbergensis, is used to make lager.

Yeasty

Yeast like flavor; a result of yeast in suspension or beer sitting too long on sediment.





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