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Beer Glossary
 
Main History Tasting Techniques Beer Brewing Types
Pouring Serving Beer Events Column Glossary
 
A B C D E F G H I K L M P S T W Y
     
 
 
Abbey – Belgian family of strong, fruity-tasting ales.
   
ABV (Alcohol by Volume)- Abbey – Amount of alcohol by volume of beer as a percentage.
   
Ale – Type of beer brewed using top-fermenting yeast at warm temperatures; usually stronger and more bitter than beer ranging in color from light to dark amber.
   
Ale – Altbier - Dark brown top-fermenting beer from Düsseldorf.
   
Amber – General term for a reddish-brown beer ranging from pale to dark.
   
Attenuation - The extent to which brewing sugars turn to alcohol and carbon dioxide
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Barley – Cereal grain that is used to brew some varieties of beer
   
Barley Wine – Term used for extra-strong ale.
   
Beer – Alcoholic drink brewed from malt and hops.
   
Bitter – A well-hopped ale having a sharp taste
   
Bock or Bok – Strong, often dark, lager style of beer originating from Germany
   
Black Malt – Partially malted barley roasted at high temperatures producing a dark colored, roasted flavored beer.
   
Bottle-conditioned - Beer that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle.
   
Bottom-fermenting – Used in making lager; slow kind of alcoholic fermentation at cool temperatures where yeast cells sink to the bottom of the fermenting liquid
   
Brewpub – Small brewery attached to a pub or restaurant
   
Bung – The stopper for the hole in a keg or cask where beer is filled and emptied.
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Cask – A closed, barrel-shaped container for beer.
   
Carbonation – The addition of carbon dioxide which causes conventional beer to foam.
   
Chill Haze – A condition occurring in some beers at cold temperatures caused by proteins in the beer becoming cloudy, but does not impact flavor.
   
Conditioning – Period of maturation following primary fermentation; warm conditioning further develops beer flavor; cool conditioning helps produce a clean, round taste.
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Decoction mashing - A system mainly used in lager brewing in which portions of the wort are removed from the vessel, heated to a higher temperature and then returned. Improves ensymic activity and the conversion of starch to sugar in poorly modified malts.
   
Draft – Beer dispensed from a bright tank, cask, or keg.
   
Dry-hopping - The addition of a small amount of hops to a cask of beer to improve aroma and bitterness.
   
Dunkel - A dark, lager beer in Germany; characterized by its smooth, malty flavor ranging in color from amber to dark reddish brown.
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Enzymes – Naturally-occurring grain proteins that convert the malted barley starches to sugars when the mash is heated.
   
Ester - Flavor compounds produced by the action of yeast turning sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide; esters may be fruity or spicy.
   
Ethanol – A form of alcohol produced by yeast during fermentation.
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Fermentation – The transformation of sugars by yeast into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide.
   
Filtration – The removal of impurities in wort or beer.
   
Fining - Substance that clarifies beer, usually made from the swim bladder of sturgeon fish; also known as isinglass.
   
Framboise or Frambozen - Raspberry-flavored lambic beer.
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Grist - The coarse powder derived from malt that has been milled or "cracked" in the brewery prior to mashing.
   
Gueuze - A blend of Belgian lambic beers.
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Hard Cider – A fermented beverage made from apples.
   
Helles or Hell - A pale, malt-accented Bavarian lager
   
Hefe – German word for “yeast”; generally characterizing a cloudy, frothy beer.
   
Hops - Herbs used when brewing to add aroma and bitterness.
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IBU (International Bitterness Units) – System of measuring the hop bitterness in finished beer; a light American lager may have around 10 IBU's, an English mild ale around 20 units, an India Pale Ale 40 or higher, an Irish stout 55 to 60 and barley wine 65.
   
India Pale Ale – Type of ale with above average hop bitterness and alcohol content.
   
Infusion - Method of mashing used mainly in ale-brewing where the grains are left to soak with pure water while starches convert to sugar, usually carried out at a constant temperature.
   
Irish Ale – Ale typified by a reddish color and malt accent
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Keg – Container for beer, usually made of stainless steel today, containing a volume of 15.5 U.S. gallons; a half-keg holds 7.75 U.S. gallons.
   
Kölsch - Top-fermenting golden beer from Cologne.
   
Kriek- Cherry-flavored lambic beer.
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Lager – Beer produced from bottom-fermentation at colder temperatures than ale; generally producing a cleaner, crisper taste than ales.
   
Lagering – From the German meaning “to store”; the cold-conditioning of beer at around 32F to encourage the yeast to settle out, increase carbonation, and produce a smooth, clean-tasting beer.
   
Lambic - Belgian beer made by spontaneous fermentation.
   
Lauter tun - Vessel used to clarify the wort after the mashing stage.
   
Liquor – liquid preparation containing ethyl alcohol purified by distillation from a fermented substance such as fruit, vegetables, or grain.
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Malt - Barley or other cereals that have been partially germinated to allow starches to be converted into fermentable sugars.
   
Malt Liquor – A type of beer with above average alcohol content usually 6% - 8% by volume.
   
Malting – The conversion of starches of barley grain to maltose in preparation for fermentation
   
Maltose – A water-soluble, fermentable sugar contained in malt.
   
Märzen - Traditional Bavarian lager brewed in March and stored until autumn for the Munich Oktoberfest; usually a reddish-bronze, malty, medium-strong beer.
   
Mash – The first stage of the brewing process where malt is mixed with pure hot water to extract sugar.
   
Mash Tun – A tank for preparing mash.
   
Mead – An alcoholic drink of fermented honey, water, and yeast.
   
Microbrewery – Term for a small commercial brewery originating in the mid-1970’s.
   
Mild – Lightly-hopped, mild-tasting ale; usually low in alcohol content.
   
Milk Stout - A Stout made with the addition of lactose, which is unfermentable, producing a beer low in alcohol with a creamy, slightly sweet character
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Pale Ale – A bronze to full copper-colored beer as opposed to a brown ale or porter.
   
Pasteurization – The heating of beer at a high temperature to stop the growth of yeast that may remain in the beer after packaging.
   
Pilsner or Pilsener – A bottom-fermented, light-colored beer with a flowery hop aroma and dryness.
   
Porter – A dark brown or black beer originating in London; traditionally top-fermented with a good hop balance.
   
Priming – The addition of sugar at the maturation stage to encourage a secondary fermentation in beer.
   
Pub – Short for public house; a public place serving beer and other alcoholic drinks.
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Scotch Ale – Smooth, dark, malty style ale from Scotland.
   
Secondary fermentation – Fermentation process in a closed cask for additional maturation or carbonation.
   
Shelf life – The period of time a beer retains its peak drinkability
   
Skunky – Spoiled beer caused by exposure to light and having a skunk-like smell.
   
Sparge – The spraying of spent grains with hot water in the mash tun or lauter tun to flush out any remaining malt sugars.
   

Square -

A traditional, open fermenting vessel.
   
Steam Beer – An American beer style saved by the Anchor Brewery in San Francisco.
   
Stout – Dark brown to black beer made with highly roasted grains and traditionally top-fermentation.
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Tangy – A strong, sharp taste or smell.
   
Tart – Taste sensation caused by acidic flavors.
   
Top-fermenting – Used in making ale; fermentation at warmer temperatures producing a fruitier, sweeter taste.
   
Trappist - Ales brewed by monks of the Trappist order in Belgium.
   
Tun – A large vessel used in brewing
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Weizen or Weisse - German for wheat or white beer.
   
Wort - The liquid resulting from the mashing process; usually rich in malt and sugars.
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Yeast – A kind of fungus that causes alcohol and carbon dioxide to be produced while it is developing; used to cause fermentation in the making of beer.
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