Bottled Beer

Brewers Guild
Masthead Beer terms

Alcohol by Volume (abv)
Percentage of alcohol content in a beverage, by volume. The percentage of alcohol by weight is approximately 20 percent lower than that by volume.

Alcohol by Weight (abw)
Percentage of alcohol content in a beverage, by weight. The percentage of alcohol by weight is approximately 20 percent lower than that by volume.

Brew on Premises (BOP)
Businesses that rent their facilities for do-it-yourself brewers to come in and brew their own beer.

Brewing memorabilia, such as old beer containers and advertisements.

A restaurant that brews and serves its own beers on premises.

The Campaign for Real Ale, the British-based grassroots organization formed to educate, lobby and protect traditional cask-conditioned ale from becoming extinct.

Unfiltered, unpasteurized beer that is naturally carbonated by undergoing a secondary fermentation in its own serving vessel.

Contract Brewing
A company that markets and owns all rights to a beer brand but has the brand brewed at another company's brewery.

A brewery that produces 15,000 barrels or less of beer a year.

Real Ale
The term used by CAMRA for traditional cask-conditioned ale.

Regional Brewery
A brewery that produces 15,000 to 500,000 barrels of beer a year.

The German beer purity law of 1516 that states that beer shall only be made with grain, hops, yeast and water.

Shelf Life
The length of time after bottling, three to four months for most American beers, before a beer begins to spoil.

The science or study of fermentation.


Brewing Terms

A term used to describe the brewing process in which only malt grist is used with no malt extract added.

A term used to describe beer made with malted barley and no adjuncts.

Carbon Dioxide
A gas created from the fermentation process. Carbon dioxide gives beer its carbonation.

The process of filtering beer to remove sediments and contaminants, which makes the beer clearer.

The process of yeast consuming soluble sugars in wort to create by-products such as alcohol, carbon dioxide, flavor and aroma.

Finishing/Final Gravity (f.g.)
A measure of wort's density at the end of fermentation. As the wort ferments, yeast converts maltose into alcohol and the gravity drops because alcohol is lighter that water. Before beer begins to ferment brewers take an original gravity reading (o.g.).

Malt which has been ground.

Literally, "crown" in German. Introducing unfermented wort to fermented wort to continue or revive fermentation.

The porridge-like blend of water and grist at the beginning of the brewing process that releases sugars for brewing.

A fermentable sugar derived from malt.

Original Gravity (o.g.)
A measure of wort's density at the beginning of fermentation, which will always be higher than 1 because solubles, such as maltose, are suspended in it. As the wort ferments, yeast converts maltose into alcohol and the gravity drops because alcohol is lighter that water. When a beer is done fermenting brewers take a final gravity reading or finishing gravity (f.g.).

The process of heating beer after fermentation, which kills any remaining live yeast and bacteria, reducing the risk of contamination or spoilage.

Specific Gravity (s.g.)
A measure of wort's density in relation to the density of water, which is given a value of 1 at 39.2 degrees F (4 degrees C).

Partial mash
A term used to describe the brewing process in which both malted grist and malt extract are used.

The sweet liquid produced in the brewing process by mashing malted barley and water. Beer is called "wort" before yeast is added.


Brewing Equipment

A measurement or container of beer, which equals 31 gallons.

Mash Tun
A copper or stainless steel vessel used for mashing the grist and water. Literally, tun is "tub" in German.

Equipment used to brew beer. Brew kettle
The vessel used to boil wort.

Bright Beer Tank
A vessel used as a holding tank just prior to bottling or kegging beer. Beer goes into the bright beer tank just following filtration (if filtering is done) and beer may be carbonated in it.

A closed, barrel-shaped vessel used for fermenting and serving beer. They used to be made of wood, but now most are made of stainless steel or aluminum. They are used for cask-conditioned ales, which need to be vented intermittently while they naturally carbonate.

Conditioning Tank
The vessel in which beer is placed following primary fermentation where it matures, clarifies and becomes carbonated. Also called secondary fermentation tank.

A measurement or container of beer, which equals one quarter of a barrel (40.9 liters).

Hand Pump
A hand-pump device that draws draft beer to the taphead. It allows cask-conditioned ale to be served without the use of pressurized carbon dioxide to push it up to the taphead. Heat

Equipment usually used after the boil for cooling wort quickly before yeast can be pitched in the wort.

Lauter Tun
The vessel in which mashed grain is sparged (lautered). Sometimes referred to mash-lauter tun because usually mashing and sparging occur in the same vessel.

Liquor Tank
The vessel in which water for brewing is stored. It may store either hot or cold water. Serving Tank
The vessel from which beer is served.


Brewing Ingredients

Any fermentable, unmalted grain or ingredient, other than barley malt, added to the mash to provide fermentable sugars in the brewing process, including corn, corn sugar, oats, wheat and rice. Most American lagers from megabreweries are made with adjuncts that are cheaper than barley to reduce production costs and create lighter, less malty beer. Other adjuncts are used to create specialty beers or change the composition of the wort. Barley
The primary ingredient in beer, which is sprouted and then kilned to create malt. It is then mashed to create wort.

Dry malt extract. (See malt extract).

The green cone-shaped flowers from the female hop vine used to add flavor and aromatics as well as bitter to beer.

Barley which has been sprouted and kilned. Malt extract
Concentrated wort.

A single-cell, micro-organism of the fungus family, which consumes fermentable sugars in the wort and produces alcohol, carbon dioxide, flavors and aromas in beer. There are many yeast strains used in brewing, each with unique characteristics.


Beer Tasting Terms

A warming flavor or aroma derived from ethanol and higher alcohols. Some people think it has a salty taste.

The fragrance or smell of a beer.

A usually undesirable puckering or sour characteristic in beer, which is usually caused during the brewing process by boiling grains, long mashes and oversparging.

The flavor most commonly derived from hops to balance the malt sweetness. The sensation is experienced on the back of the tongue, hence beer should never be spit out like wine during tasting.

The weight of a beer
thin or full-bodied.

Bouquet - See aroma.

A second or third fermentation, which occurs in the bottle by adding yeast or fermentable sugar to the beer before bottling. It may make the beer cloudy or leave a sediment in the bottom of the bottle.

A buttery or butterscotch aroma or flavor often caused by a bacterial infection, a short fermentation or a high-temperature fermentation.

Fruity aromas or flavors similar to bananas, raspberries, apples, pears and other fruits. They are the byproducts of certain yeast strains and are accentuated with fermenting at higher temperatures.

A raw grain flavor or aroma. Some graininess is acceptable in some beer styles.

A hop aroma or flavor of the essential oils of hops, which does not include hop bitterness.

The skunky smell or flavor that results from a beer being exposed to too much direct sun or fluorescent lights. It is particularly pervasive in light beers packaged in green or clear bottles and is less common in beers packaged in brown bottles. It is caused by the reaction of hop oils to ultraviolet light.

See light-struck.

The way a beer feels on the palate, such as viscose, thin, light, soft. Nose
See aroma.

A cardboardy or vinous flavor in beer that is the result of the beer being exposed to oxygen for too long.

Any combination of medicinal, Band-Aidlike, plastic, Listerinelike, clovelike or electrical-firelike aroma or flavor in beer. It is usually caused by bacterial infection in beer.

A yeast-like flavor often derived from beer sitting on yeast too long during fermentation.