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Hi BrewArtists,

Been brewing a while now so I thought I'd put together a glossary. If anyone has any terms they'd like to add, comment below and I'll edit this post so they're all together in the one place. If you're a beginner, be sure to check out the official BrewArt Glossary found here: https://101.brewart.com/?p=239 (from which I stole many definitions).


ABV: Alcohol by Volume - the standardised way of quantifying how much alcohol is in the beer.

Adjunct: Any non-malt fermentable sugar added to the brew (eg: cane sugar, dextrose, honey).

Ale: Beer fermented with ale yeast (sometimes referred to as top-fermenting yeast because of the significant amount of activity on the top of the brew). Ale is normally fermented at temperatures above 16C.

Attenuation: The degree of conversion of sugar to alcohol and CO2.

Beer: The world's oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drink. A delicious beverage, traditionally made from just water, yeast, malt and hops. Beer was first produced in 9500 BCE in ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq and Iran), and was the motivator for early humans to start farming. In turn, the development of agriculture encouraged nomadic humans to stop moving and build settlements, which marked the dawn of civilization.

Cold Crash: Leaving the beer in storage mode (3-4C) for two days to a week after fermentation has completed. This encourages sediment to flocculate and drop to the bottom of the BeerDroid, resulting in a clearer beer. Primarily used for lagers and popularised by American beers like Miller.

Conditioning (secondary fermentation): The process that carbonates the beer and refines the flavours. It's the natural way to give your beer fizz.

Dextrose: An adjunct, which is the equivalent to glucose but with a mirror-image molecular structure. Dextrose for brewing is the shortened name for dextrose monohydrate, as it normally carries a water molecule.

EBC: The standardised way of quantifying colour. Stands for 'European Brewery Convention', but the unit of measurement is called EBC.

Esters: Aromatic organic compounds formed from alcohols through yeast action. They typically smell fruity and are more common in ales.

Ethanol: The primary alcohol in beer, formed through the yeast fermenting the brew.

Fermentation: The action of yeast metabolising the sugars available in the wort, with the main bi-products being carbon dioxide and alcohol. 

Final Gravity (FG): The specific gravity of the brew once the yeast has finished fermenting.

Fusel Alcohol: May be produced from very high fermentation temperatures, fusels have a shap solvent-like aroma and flavours.

Head: The foam sitting on top of a glass of beer.

Head Retention: The persistence of foam sitting on top of a glass of beer.

Hops: The flowers of the plant Humulus Lupulus, and are used to season beer in a similar manner to herbs in cooking. Primarily used for bittering the brew but are often added later in the brewing process for flavour and aroma. There are countless varieties of hops, which produce different aromas and flavours. Hops are also a natural preservative.

Hydrometer: A calibrated device used to measure the specific gravity of a fluid, normally by floating it in a sample tube and reading where the fluid cuts across the scale.

IBU: International Bittering Units scale - the standardised way of quantifying bitterness. Mainly done with high-tech spectrophotometry to measure iso-alpha acids, not with taste buds.

Krausen (pronounced kroy-zen): The foamy head formed on top of the brew in the early stages of fermentation. On very healthy and strong fermentations with lots of ingredients, this can occasionally overflow from the BeerDroid. Don't worry, the beer will still be excellent.

Lager: A beer brewed from lager yeast (sometimes referred to as bottom-fermenting yeast because of the lack of activity on the top of the brew). Normally fermented below 16C then lagered (stored for an extended period) prior to carbonating and packaging. Due to the lower fermentation temperature, lagers normally take longer to complete than ales.

Lag Phase (Propagation): The period of adaptation and rapid aerobic growth of yeast when first added to the brew. Typically lasts 2-12 hours and is a time where nothing much appears to be happening.

Malt Extract: Usually derived from malted barley, contain mainly maltose along with other complex sugars. Yeast does not ferment it completely, which gives the beer body (in the form of carbohydrates).

Maltose: The preferred food of brewing yeast. Maltose is a sugar consisting of two glucose molecules joined by a 1-4 carbon bond.

Original Gravity (OG): The specific gravity of the brew prior to fermentation.

Pitching: Adding the yeast to the brew (also know as inoculating).

Primary Fermentation: The first fermentation cycle, which produces a krausen (leaving a tide mark on the inside wall), sediment (at the bottom of the fermenting vessel), carbon dioxide gas (CO2) and alcohol. Most of the available sugar is consumed by the yeast during this cycle.

Priming: The addition of a small amount of fermentable sugar prior to kegging or bottling to give the beer carbonation. The beer requires the pressure from the keg or bottle to keep the gas suspended in the fluid.

Specific Gravity (SG): A measure (using a hydrometer) of the brew density compared to the density of water. Most hydrometers are calibrated to read 1.000 when floated in water at 20C. Typical brews may start in the range 1.030 – 1.050 prior to fermentation (OG) and finish in the range 1.004 – 1.012 (FG).

Trub: The sediment left at the bottom of the BeerDroid after kegging or bottling.

Yeast: Single-celled microorganisms of the Fungi kingdom (like mushrooms). Brewing yeasts come in a myriad of strains, which produced different flavours and bodies, and have some tolerance towards alcohol.

Wort (pronounced wert): The brew prior to fermentation.

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