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Brewing Glossary

New to brewing?? Heard something about brewing and unsure what it means?? Want to impress your mates and talk like a real brewer?? Read on….

A beer or or brewing adjunct is typically unmalted grain or other fermentable ingredient that is used when brewing. Brewing adjuncts are used to modify aspects of a beer such as creating better head retention or enhancing the flavour. Brewing adjuncts include but are not limited to rice, corn, sorghum, rye and oats.

Alcohol by volume (ABV) represents the portion of the total volume of a liquid that is alcohol. To calculate the ABV of a beer, you will want to subtract the Final Gravity from your Original Gravity and multiply by 131.

For example, if your original gravity was 1.060 and your final gravity reading is 1.015.

Calculation: 1.060 – 1.015 = 0.045 x 131 = 5.895%

Therefore the ABV worked out to 5.633%

Aeration in brewing terms is the adding or injecting of air or oxygen into a cooled wort immediately before or after the yeast has been pitched. Typical methods of aeration include an aeration stone for injecting or agitation via shaking or vigorous stirring.

An airlock or fermentation lock is a single direction air valve used during fermentation that allows the large quantities of carbon dioxide being produced by the yeast to escape while not permitting outside air oxygen or contaminants to enter the fermentation chamber. Airlocks are typically made of clear plastic so that the CO2 bubbles passing through it can be monitored as a way of gauging how active of a fermentation is occurring.

Alcohol by weight (ABW) is the measurement of the alcohol content of a solution in terms of the percentage weight of the alcohol compared to the total weight of the solution. However, most brewers are accustomed to thinking of beer in terms of alcohol by volume.

Ale is one of two primary beer varieties, the other being lagers. Ale is fermented using a top fermenting yeast. Ale yeasts are typically more resilient to warmer temperatures than their lager counterparts and are typically fermented at a temperature range between 18-24 degrees Celsius. As yeast is more active at higher temperatures, ales ferment much quicker than a lagers. Examples of ales include pale ales, India pale ale, amber ales and Belgian ale.

Alkaline or alkalinity refers to the pH of a solution registering greater than 7 and its capacity for neutralizing an acid solution. In order to boost the alkalinity in a mash and offset acidity, you would most commonly add a carbonate or bicarbonate such as the brewing additive calcium carbonate chalk.
All Grain Brewing is the process of making beer from malted grains rather than a hopped malt or malt extract.

Alpha acid is one of the two soft resin acids that are present in hops. The alpha acids in hops are found in the resin glands of the flowers. Alpha acids are the primary source of the hop bitterness. In addition to their bittering properties, alpha acids also act as preservatives in beer and function as a mild antibacterial agent. When heated in the brewing process, alpha acids are isomerized and form iso-alpha acids. The amount of time that the alpha acid is subjected to the boil determines the degree of isomerization that occurs and the amount of bitter flavouring that is produced in the beer. The quantity of alpha acid present in a hop will determine the hops bittering potential. Alpha acid percentages vary dramatically between the different varieties of hops and are impacted by a multitude of outside factors including packaging, age of the hop, storage temperature, oxidization, drying method, and growing conditions.

Amylase is an enzyme group that is responsible for hydrolysing and converting starches into sugars. The two primary amylase enzymes are alpha amylase and beta amylase, which digest and break down the polysaccharides into smaller disaccharides and then monosaccharides. To help facilitate the breakdown of unfermentable sugars, amylase may be added to fermentation at the same time you pitch your yeast. This will create a lower final gravity and a dryer finish.

Apparent attenuation is the measurement of the percentage of sugars that have been converted to alcohol by the yeast in a beer. Apparent attenuation is equal to the original gravity minus the final gravity divided by the original gravity, showing the percentage of conversion.

Astringency or astringent flavours are typically associated with a dry mouthfeel caused by excessive tannins and oxidized phenols. The tannins, which are a type of polyphenol, bind the salivary proteins and create a dry sensation in the mouth. A common cause of astringent off flavours is a mashing or sparge temperature that exceeds 76 degrees Celsius or problems with pH levels during the mash and sparge.

The best damn home brew shop in Australia! (sorry….)

Autolysis is the destruction of a cell by the actions of its own enzymes. In brewing, autolysis typically occurs when yeast cells either decay over time or destroy each other. When the outer wall of the yeast cell is degraded and can no longer contain itself, it releases off flavours and odours into the beer. These odours are typically described as rubbery in aroma. Autolysis is most common in aged beers, but can also occur in a fresh beer due to a variety of factors including unhealthy yeast, aged yeast, stress caused by too rapid of a fermentation, excessive temperature changes and high alcohol levels. One of the best ways to reduce the impact of autolysis is to conduct a secondary fermentation and cold crashing your beer as a means of removing the beer from the yeast cake.

See Cornelius Keg

A Ball Lock Disconnect attaches to a ball lock or Cornelius keg on both the gas (in) and liquid (out) ball lock post. Typically gas ball lock disconnects are white or grey and liquid ball lock disconnects are black. The gas and liquid ball lock disconnects are not interchangeable. The disconnects have a sliding locking collar that locks the disconnect in place on the ball lock posts.

Barley or the barley grain is the seed of the barley plant. It is a member of the grass family and is considered a cereal grain. There are two main classifications of domesticated barley, two-row and six-row. Two-row barley has a lower protein content but higher fermentable sugar content then six-row barley, but both are commonly used in brewing.

Beer is an alcoholic beverage produced by the fermentation of malt, grain and adjunct sugars. Hops are typically added to beer to offset the malt sweetness.

A beer engine is a traditional hand-powered pump that is used to transfer beer from a cask / keg to a serving spout.

A beer Kit is typically a 1.7kg can that contains a malt extract that has been hopped. Beer Kits come in many beer styles and are typically considered the easiest form of beer making for the home brewer. Typically a beer kit is combined with 1kg of fermentable sugars (dextrose or malt extract) in a fermenter with yeast and water topped up to 23 litres. Also known as Hopped Extract Tins.

Beta acid is one of the two primary resins that are present in hops, the other being alpha acid. Although beta acid imparts only a small portion of the bitterness that alpha acid provides, it is important because, as the alpha acid bitterness breaks down over time during fermentation and storage, beta acid creates a sharper bitterness in beer as oxidation occurs. Unlike alpha acid, beta acid does not isomerize during the boil and is primarily responsible for the hop aroma in a beer.

A bench capper is used to crown seal beer bottles by home brewers. They are spring loaded and can be set at different heights for different sized bottles. The popularity of bench cappers has increased over the use of hand cappers over recent years due to them being less likely to break beer bottles. This is due to commercial beer bottles becoming lighter weight and thinner and therefore more prone to breaking during the crown sealing process.

Brew in a Bag (BIAB) all grain beer brewing is a new method for all grain brewing that originated in Australia. BIAB is an inexpensive way to for homebrewers to transition to all grain or partial mash brewing. Brewers also enjoy brew in a bag methods for the shorter setup, brewing and clean-up times.

The concept behind “brew in a bag” is to move to all grain brewing from hopped extract tins or extract brewing with minimal extra equipment, setup or time. The BIAB method involves using a grain bag set in the brew pot to mash the grains, followed by a sparge step where the bag is removed from the pot and the remaining wort is boiled as you would any other beer. While less efficient than traditional methods, you can easily compensate for this by using a little more grain in the mash.

A blow off tube is a high flow airlock where a tube and bung or seal are placed in the lid of a fermenter that leads to a reservoir where the end of the tube is placed beneath a sanitizing or liquid solution. This allows for the expulsion of co2 and excess fermentation foam and fermentation solids. A blow-off is a great airlock to use when you have minimal head space available in your fermenter and or if you are concerned about a rapid or high foam fermentation.

The term Body as used in brewing is in reference to the thickness or viscosity of a beer as judged by your mouth. The body of a beer is typically described as thin, medium or full. Different varieties of beer are assumed to have a specific body profile; for instance a light lager or pilsner would be expected to have a thin body profile, whereas a stout would have a full body.

The boil is the stage of the brewing process during which the wort is boiled in the brew kettle and hops are added. When hops are added to the boil, hop resin/alpha and beta acid isomerization occurs, which imparts bittering and hop aroma in the finished beer. A typically boil time lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. In addition to hop isomerization, the boil also sterilizes the wort, denaturing the enzymes that were active in the mash. The boil is also responsible for the hot break, which removes several unwanted compounds that can cause either unwanted flavours or chill haze.

Bottle conditioning refers to naturally carbonating beer in the bottle as a result of a secondary fermentation as opposed to being carbonated prior to filling (forced carbonation or forced conditioning). Typically, additional fermentable sugar is added to the beer in small quantities prior to bottling or directly to the bottle so that the yeast will have enough sugar available to properly carbonate the beer. A suitable fermentation temperature must be maintained for the conditioning beer to allow the yeast to adequately carbonate the beer. Since viable yeast is present in a bottle-conditioned beer, this provides an additional component of flavour that develops further as the beer ages. A slight layer of yeast on the bottom of a bottle of beer may be a sign that a beer has been bottled conditioned (i.e. like Coopers Pale Ale.

Bottom fermentation or bottom fermenting is a term that describes the manner in which lager yeast tends to collect on the bottom of the fermenter and conducts its fermentation, as opposed to top fermenting ale yeast, which conducts most of its fermentation on the top of the beer. Bottom fermenting lager yeast strains prefer a low fermentation temperature range that is typically between 8 and 14 degrees Celsius, but varies between strains.

Brett or brettanomyces is a high attenuation yeast strain that is known for the acidic, funky and wild type tastes and smells that it produces. In most beer styles, brett it is perceived as an unwanted contaminant due to its strong and distinct flavours that can overwhelm more subtle beer flavours. It is however highly prized in some Belgian ales.

Bright beer is a beer that has been fully clarified, is free from haze and nearly all particulates and yeast has fallen out of suspension.

A buffer, as related to pH, is a solution consisting of a weak acid and its conjugate base, or a weak base and its conjugate acid. The purpose of the buffer is to decrease the impact to pH when a differing acid or base is introduced to the solution. PH plays an important role when it comes to a brewer’s mash. Ideally, you would control the mash pH of each individual beer style by comparing your home water profile to that of the desired water profile of the beer you are brewing, and make the appropriate water adjustments that way. Additionally, some of the popular home brewing software on the market will also help you determine the proper water additives based on the estimated pH level of the grain bill that you are brewing with. Lastly, there are a variety of pH measuring strips and meters available on the market, which can help you determine if adjustments need to be made to your mash.

A natural gas or propane fuel direct flame heating device use for home brewing.

Calcium carbonate or CaCO3 is precipitated chalk. It is typically used in brewing as a water adjustment to increases the pH of a mash.

Calcium chloride or CaCl2 is used as a water additive to reduce the pH of a mash.

Calcium sulphate or CaSO4 is also known as gypsum. It can be used to boost sulphate or add permanent hardness to a mash.

Carbonation simply means dissolving carbon dioxide in beer. There are different methods of carbonating beer, but the end effect is basically the same from a CO2 standpoint. Carbon dioxide is built up under pressure, which carbonates the beer; when the pressure is reduced, the carbon dioxide is released as bubbles into the beer. Carbonation helps form the head of the beer and makes the beer effervescent. Carbonation has a significant impact on many aspects of a beer, from the body and mouthfeel to the aroma delivery and appearance. Some of the different methods for carbonating beer include force carbonation and bottle priming.

Carbonation Drops are single dose / measures of fermentable sugar (typically Dextrose and Sucrose) that are used when bottle conditioning beer. They provide the correct amount of fermentable sugars to carbonate / bottle condition without the need to measure quantities. Typically 1 drop is used for a 375ml stubbie and 2 drops used for a 750ml longneck bottle. They are readily available, normally in packets of 60 drops.

Carboys or Demijohns are large jug-shaped containers typically made of glass. They are used in brewing for small batch fermentation. An air lock and stopper or rubberized bung are typically placed at the top of the carboy to create a seal that allows CO2 to escape from the fermenting beer, while still maintaining a sanitary environment inside the carboy.

Cellulose is the most abundant organic polymer on earth, and the primary content in a beer’s trub. Cellulose is unfermentable, tasteless, and odourless. It is a solid, and much of it will drop out of the beer during primary fermentation, where it sinks to the bottom of the fermenter and helps to form the trub bed. The primary contributors to a beer’s cellulose content are fibrous materials like grain husk and hop leaf.

Chill haze is the cloudy or hazy appearance that a cold beer gets when it is too high in residual proteins or tannins. For the most part, haze and turbidity are highly undesirable unless you are brewing a beer such as an American wheat, hefeweizen, or Belgian wit, where the style calls for a certain amount of haze. One of the best and easiest ways to help avoid chill haze is to use an inexpensive fining such as whirlfloc (a blend of Irish moss and purified carrageenan).

Cloying is a term used to describe a beer that is overly sweet. This may occur when there were not enough hops to properly balance out the sweetness, if the mash temp was set too high and created too many unfermentable sugars, or if the yeast was not able to carry out a proper fermentation and too much sugar was left behind in the finished beer.

Cold crashing is a process to clarify beer. When a beer is cold crashed, it is chilled down to approximately 1 to 2 degrees Celsius and left for a couple of days. During that time, yeast and other solids will fall to the bottom of the fermenter. The clarified beer is then racked from above the layer of sediment.

The colour of a beer is normally identified using either the Standard Reference Method scale (SRM), Lovibond scale, or European Brewery Convention (EBC) scale, which reference a numerical value to define the colour. The higher the number, the darker the referenced colour is. A beer’s colour is normally derived from the pigments of the grains that make up its grain bill.

A conical is a fermenter that is cone shaped on the bottom. This allows the yeast and heavy particles that are in the beer during fermentation to fall to the bottom of the fermenter so that they can be removed or so that the yeast can been harvested for future batches of beer. The cone shaped bottom of a conical also assists in allowing you to get as much usable beer as possible during transfers.

Beer conditioning typically occurs after primary fermentation has completed, and the beer has been racked off the yeast and trub bed to a different vessel such as a secondary fermenter. The beer then conditions over time. T conditioning length of time will depend on the style of beer, and the type of conditioning that is desired.

A Cornelius keg is a 19L ball lock keg that is commonly used by home brewers (as opposed to 50L commercial kegs). They require no coupler and have 2 ball lock disconnects (1 x gas and 1 x liquid). They also have a hatch that allows the home brewer to easily clean the keg between fillings. Cornelius or ball lock kegs are readily available on the 2nd hand market as they were traditionally used by the soft drink industry (post mix kegs). Given their smaller size and ease of cleaning / attaching gas/liquid lines they are the preferred keg for the home brewer. In addition to ball lock variants they also come in the less common pin lock configuration.

A crown seal is a metal crimped cap that is typically found on beer bottles. Also referred to as bottle caps. They are widely used by home brewers to seal bottled beer by either a hand or bench capper.

Dextrins and in this case specifically maltodextrins, are a group of mostly unfermentable carbohydrates produced by the partial hydrolysis of starch or glycogen. Dextrins and maltodextrins typically impart little to no flavour upon the finished beer, but are important because they can be a valuable method for adding gravity and perceived body and mouthfeel to a beer.

Dextrose is basically crystallised glucose or corn sugar and is a common fermentable sugar used in beer making for the home brewer. Unlike malt extracts Dextrose is 100% fermentable and will increase ABV without imparting flavour.

Diacetyl is a naturally occurring compound formed during fermentation and has a perceived butter or butterscotch type flavour that is undesirable in most beers. You can reduce the risk of diacetyl in your beer via proper equipment cleaning and sterilisation as some bacteria’s produce diacetyl. Another way or reducing the diacetyl in your beer is to pitch a sufficient quantity of healthy yeast and conduct a full fermentation and conditioning cycle prior to cold crashing or kegging your beer.

Draught beer is beer that is served via pressurized line or hand pump beer engine from a holding tank, barrel or keg to the glass as opposed to being poured from a bottle or can.

Dry hopping is beer that has had hops added to it during fermentation as a way of increasing hop aroma without bitterness (which comes from steeping or boiling hops). Dry hopping is typically conducted in secondary fermentation or after primary fermentation has completed to help assure that the aroma stays in the fermenter as opposed to being pushed through the airlock with the escaping CO2. When dry hopping, little to no bitterness is added to the fermenting beer as the alpha acid resin is relatively insoluble in a fermenting beer at that fermentation temperature. The process of dry hopping typically lasts a few days.

Diastatic power is the measurement of how much starch converting enzyme a malted grain contains and is shown in degrees Lintner. If your mash does not contain an adequate amount of diastatic power, you will not convert a high enough portion of the starch if your grain bill to sugar which will translate to a low efficiency and lower than expected starting gravity.

Dry Malt Extract or DME (either Light, Dark or Wheat) is typically used in extract beer brewing, for yeast starters and in some cases all grain brewing. To make dry malt extract, the sugars from a brewing mash are transferred from a mash tun or lauter tun and completely dehydrated to form a powder. Typically no hops are added to a malt extract and if they are, it is referred to as a hopped malt extract.

An ester is chemical flavour compound that is created during the fermentation process. Ester formation is primarily dependent on the yeast strain. In some cases excess esters are considered an off flavour and in other instances it is desired like in the case of a Hefeweizen where banana and clove tasting esters are expected. Esters are typically described as fruity, flowery or spicy scents and flavours in a beer.

See Hopped Extract Beer Kit

In home brewing terms a false bottom is a perforated or slotted screen on the bottom of a mash tun or lauter tun that restricts grains from being collected with the wort when it is drawn from the mash in preparation for the boil.

Beer fermentation is the metabolic conversion of malt and adjunct sugars to alcohol, acid and CO2 using yeast. As yeast converts the wort sugars carbon dioxide and alcohol are produced. The alcohol being produced by the yeast is less dense then the sugars and water the yeast is metabolizing so the gravity of the fermenting beer drops while fermentation is underway. The two predominant types of fermentation are top fermenting which is used for ales and bottom fermenting which is typical for lagers. The time it will take for a fermentation to complete is dependent on a great many factors, just a few of them include the types of sugars that the wort is composed of, the amount of sugar in the wort / original gravity, the type and amount of yeast used, the health of the yeast and temperature the fermentation occurs at. Most fermentations will take approximately 7-14 days for most beers.

A fermentation air lock is a single direction valve used during fermentation that allows the large quantities of carbon dioxide being produced by the yeast to escape while not permitting outside air oxygen or contaminants to enter the fermentation chamber. Fermentation air locks tend to be made of clear plastic so that the CO2 bubbles passing through it can be monitored as a rough way of gauging how active of a fermentation is occurring at a given time. The most common types are vintage air locks and 3 piece airlocks.

A fermenter is any enclosed receptacle that contains beer during the process of fermentation. Typically a fermenter will be of food grade quality, have a tap, sediment reducer, temperature strip, volume scales and an air lock. Types of fermenters include plastic tubs with lids, stainless steel conicals and glass demijohns or carboys. Fermenters come in many different sizes however, the most common size used in home brewing is 25-30 litres.

The final gravity or FG of a beer is the beers specific gravity measured once fermentation has been completed. Once a brewer has the final gravity, it can be compared to the original gravity and the ABV or alcohol by volume can be calculated. The final gravity of a beer is typically taken using a hydrometer or refractometer.

Most commonly finings are substances added to the wort of beer following primary fermentation for the purpose of clearing or clarifying a beer. Some examples of beer clarification finings are whirlfloc, isinglass, Irish moss, bentonite, gelatine, kieselsol, chitosan and carrageenan. Most finings work as a binding agent, clumping together with residual proteins, solids, yeast and tannins and sinking to the bottom of the fermenter so that they can be excluded from the finished beer.

Flocculation refers to a yeast strains tendency to clump together and drop out or fall out of suspension to the bottom of the fermenter. As yeast flocculates, the beer begins to clarify. Some yeast strains tend to have high flocculation, while other strains have very low flocculation. The physical appearance of the yeast cell plays a big part in its flocculation level. It is important to choose a yeast with an appropriate flocculation profile when brewing a style of beer; for instance you would not pair a Belgian Wit wort with a high flocculation yeast, as you want some of the yeast to stay in suspension in the finished beer.

Fresh hopping a beer is when freshly picked undried hops are added to a beer at some point of the brewing, fermentation or conditioning process. These hops are typically added to the beer within a day or two of being picked to maximize the unique flavours extracted from a freshly picked hop

A fresh wort kit is a pre-made unfermented wort. Typically fresh wort kits are made by craft breweries and are made available in 15L cubes to the home brew market. Basically a fresh wort kit is the unfermented product of all grain brewing.

Fusel alcohols are typically considered to be off flavours that impart harsh solvent or mineral spirit like tastes in your beer. Fusel alcohols in beer are often the result of excessive fermentation temperatures that lead to accelerated initial yeast production and rapid fermentation.

Gluten is a protein composite found in grains such as barley, rye and wheat.

A grain bag is typically used by extract or partial mash brewers. They are normally associated with BIAB (Brew In A Bag) brewing and are made of a mesh material (normally polyester) with a draw string closure to secure them to the top of a pot. They contain the grain and enable easy grain removal for sparging.

A beers grist is the milled or crushed malt and grain that comprise the grain bill prior to the mashing process.

A grain bill or mash bill is the whole of the different malts, grains and adjuncts that make up a beer. The grain bill is very important when designing a beer recipe as it is primarily responsible for the potential original gravity, colour and diastatic power of the beer.

A Grain Mill is a set of 2 or 3 rollers that are typically knurled that crush the grain prior to brewing to facilitate the release of sugars. Grain mills can be hand operated or powered by a separate motor or hand drill. Typically a grain mill will have a large hopped to hold unmilled grain and can have the rollers set at different widths to ensure the correct ‘crush’ is achieved for the type of grain and style of beer. Ideally a grain mill should just crush the grain whilst leaving the husk intact. Popular grain mills for the home brewer include the Malt Muncher and the Monster Mill.

A Growler is a large capacity beer container that is typically made of glass or stainless steel. Growlers are gaining in popularity at craft breweries and pubs as an easy way for patrons to take beer home other than in bottles. A typical growler holds 2 to 2.5 litres. The top of the growler creates an airtight seal using either a screw cap or a hinge/latch style cap and can keep beer fresh for over a week if maintained properly. Drafto kits (tap and CO2 gas) are also commonly available for Growlers to convert them into small scale draught beer systems.

Head retention is a beers ability to retain its foamy head once the beer has been poured. In most styles of beer a thick foamy head that does not dissipate too quickly is desirable. The three primary factors that impact a beers head are the carbonation level of the beer, residual proteins that form the body of the finished beer and isomerized humulones pulled from the hops that were added during a beers boil. The most common ways of enhancing a beers head retention is to add high alpha acid hops during the boil, utilizing grains such as crystal malts or wheat or adding an adjunct such as maltodextrin to your beer during fermentation.

A HERMS or Heat Exchanged Recirculating Mash System is a mash recirculation system that regulates mash temperature by pumping the wort from the mash tun through a heat exchanging tube or coil inside of the hot liquor tank or a secondary heating tank. The wort then flows back into the mash tun to maintain the mash temp without applying direct heat to the mash tun.

Hops are the cone shaped flowers of the hop plant humulus lupulus and are responsible for the bitter taste and much of the aroma in a beer. The lupilin glands of the female hop flower are where the soft resins and oils used to bitter beer and impart aroma are contained. The hops resin is comprised of alpha and beta acids. The alpha acid in hops are the primary source of the hop bitterness and also acts as a preservative in beer. When heated in the brewing process, alpha acids are isomerized and form iso-alpha acids. The amount of time that the alpha acid is subjected to the boil determines the degree of isomerization that occurs and the amount of bitter flavouring that is produced in the beer. The quantity of alpha acid present in a hop will determine the hops bittering potential. Alpha acid percentages vary dramatically between the different varieties of hops and are impacted by a multitude of outside factors such as storage packaging, age of the hop, storage temperature, oxidization, drying method and growing conditions. Unlike alpha acid, beta acid imparts only a small portion of the total bitterness in a beer, yet beta acids it is important because as the alpha acid bitterness breaks down over time during fermentation and storage, beta acid creates a sharper bitterness as oxidation occurs. Unlike alpha acid, beta acid does not isomerize during the boil and is primarily responsible for the hop aroma in a beer.

Commonly referred to as a Beer Kit a hopped extract beer kit is typically 1.7kg and will make 23 litres of beer when combined with yeast and 1kg of fermentable sugars such as malts or dextrose. Hopped Extract Beer Kits are normally associated with beginner or low complexity home brewing and many varieties are readily available.

Basically a hopped malt extract is a Dry or Liquid Malt Extract that has had hops added. Typically a hopped malt extract is commonly referred to as a hopped extract beer kit. See Dry Malt Extract and Liquid Malt Extract.

A hop sock is typically a small mesh or polyester bag that is used to contain hops when added during a boil or when steeping during fermentation. The hop bag makes the hops easy to remove from the wort if needed and will assist with ensuring the filter will not become clogged with single vessel all grain brewery systems such as the Grainfather.

A Hop spider essentially does the same thing as a hop sock however they are traditionally made out of stainless steel mesh in a cylindrical or cone shape. They normally have a hook that allows the hop spider to be suspended during a boil. They are favoured over hop socks as more agitation is available to the hops during the boil as the hops is not as tightly restrained as is the case with a hop sock. In addition, different hops can be directly added to the hop spider at different times of the boil, a process which is difficult when using just 1 hop sock.

Hot break is the clumping of proteins, solids and tannins that fall out of the wort during the boil and eventually collect at the bottom of the kettle. A steady boil is the key to achieving a good hot break which will typically occur 5-15 minutes after the boil begins. When the foam on top of your boil finally dissipates, you know that much of the proteins have coagulated and that your hot break has occurred. A hot break is important because it aids in removing undesirable and potentially off flavour causing tannins and compounds from the boil. It also helps improve clarity and reduces the risk of chill haze down the line.

The hot liquor tank is a brewing vessel used to heat water for different stages of the brewing process including the mash and sparge. The hot liquor tank is typically heated by either gas, steam or an electric heating coil.

A hydrometer is an instrument used to measure the specific gravity of liquid in comparison to pure water. The hydrometer is important because it allows a brewer to determine when the mash is no longer contributing sufficient levels of sugar during a sparge, how much dissolved sugar is in a brewers finished wort, what the efficiency is, what the original gravity of a beer is, how a fermentation is progressing, when fermentation has completed, if your beer has under or over fermented and what the final gravity of a beer is. They are also used to calculate your ABV or Alcohol By Volume.

IBU or International Bittering Units is a measurement showing the actual, not perceived bitterness that the alpha acids from hops have imparted on a beer. The strength, sweetness and maltiness of a beer impacts the way our taste buds perceive the alpha acid bitterness in the beer. Typically the stronger or maltier a beer tastes, the less we perceive the bitterness, so a brewer must balance the beer with additional hops or a longer boil time to compensate The international bittering units are important when designing a beer as you want to make sure you do not add too many or too few international bittering units, creating a beer that is not consistent with the style you are attempting to brew. Knowing the typical IBU of a style of beer may also be helpful when ordering a beer so that you can select a beer with a bitterness level that you find most enjoyable.

Infusion mashing is the process of regulating mash temperature by injecting heated water from the hot liquor tank into the mash tun at specific times. When conducting a step infusion mash, differing temperatures and quantities of water are infused in the mash tun from the hot liquor tank at specific intervals or steps in the mash process to control sugar conversion and extraction. When conducting a single infusion mash, the room temperature of the grains is compared with the desired mashing temperature and mash water volume. The hot liquor tank is then preheated to the appropriate temperature and the mash water is infused with the grains all at one time. The mash is then maintained at a constant temperature until the mash out or sparging sequence begins. RIMS or Recirculating Infusion Mash System is a mash infusion system that either utilizes a pump to recirculate the fluid in the mash over a secondary heat source (outside of the mash tun) to maintain the mash temperature or constantly recirculates the mash onto itself while direct heat is applied to the mash tun to regulate temperature. The fluid is pumped at a rapid enough pace to keep the temperature of the mash at an equilibrium and prevents the wort from being scorched or over heated.

Irish moss, a beer fining agent, is a blend of seaweeds used to clarify beer. I works by making the smaller molecules in the wort aggregate into larger particles and then fall out of suspension where they collect on the bottom of the fermenter.

Kegs are cylindrical beer storage vessels that are typically constructed out of stainless steel or aluminium. They come in a variety of sizes and the 19 litre Cornelius or ball lock kegs tend to be most common amongst home brewers.

Kilning is the process of drying malted grain in a kiln using an indirect heat source to halt germination and evaporate much of the moisture from the malted grains.

Krausen is the foamy and bubbly head that forms on top of beer during primary fermentation. As yeast ferments the sugars in a beer, it creates a great deal of CO2. The Krausen is formed as the CO2 rises to the top of the beer mixing with proteins, yeast and residues in the beer forming a tall layer of yeast saturated bubbles.

Beer lacing is the white foam residue that is left on the side of the glass after the beer has been consumed or once the head has subsided. It is called lacing because it resembles white lace cloth. Lacing is considered a beneficial quality for a beer to have and typically speaking, a beer with a good head retention will also have good lacing.

Lagers are beers that are fermented using a bottom fermenting yeast. Lager yeasts are slow fermenting and they ferment at low temperatures when compared to ales. Depending on the yeast strain, a lager typically conducts a primary fermentation at a temperature range between 4 and 14 degrees Celsius.

Lautering is a brewing process where hot water (typically heated to 75 to 80 degrees Celsius) is used to flush the sugars from the crushed grains after the mash has completed.

A lauter tun is a brewing vessel used by larger scale breweries. After the mash has completed, the grains are transferred to the lauter tun where the converted sugars and be thoroughly extracted from the grains. The lauter tun has rotating arms with cutting blades that rake the mashed grains. Hot water is sprayed upon the grains to flush the sugar though a false bottom at the base of the lauter tun.

Liquid Malt extract or LME is typically used in extract beer brewing, yeast starters and in some cases all grain brewing. To make liquid malt extract, the sugars from a brewing mash are transferred from a mash tun or lauter tun and dehydrated to where only 20% water remains. Typically no hops are added to a malt extract and if they are, it is referred to as a hopped malt extract.

Liquor in beer brewing terms is simply water. The hot liquor tank is a large vessel that heats water for the different steps in the brewing process, the water that is released from the hot liquor tank is known as liquor.

Lovibond is one of the methods used to measure the colour of beer. Using the Lovibond method, a beers colour is compared against coloured glass slides to determine a numerical value for the beer. The more recently created and more precise Standard Reference Method has for the most part replaced the Lovibond method of measuring the beer colour.

Malt is germinated grains, such as barley or wheat that have been soaked, germinated and then dried in a process known as malting. The malting process is conducted by taking the grains selected for malting and then soaking them in water until they germinate. Once germination has begun, the grains are transferred to the germination floor and then dried with hot air to halt the germination process. Malt is critical for brewing because of the enzymes that are developed during the germination and malting process. These enzymes are measured as diastatic power and are what enables starches to be converted into sugars during the beers mash process.

Maltodextrin is a mostly unfermentable carbohydrate produced by the partial hydrolysis of starch or glycogen. Maltodextrins typically impart little or no flavour upon the finished beer but are important because they can be a valuable method for adding gravity and perceived body and mouth feel to a beer.

The mash is water saturated crushed malts, unmalted grains and adjuncts that are present in the mash tun when the mashing occurs. During the mashing process the starches present in the mash will be converted to sugars so they can later be fermented by the yeast and converted to alcohol.

Mashing is the process of mixing and infusing crushed malts, unmalted grains and adjuncts with hot water from the hot liquor tank. As the grains and adjuncts mix with the hot water at specific temperatures, enzymes from the malt activate and convert the starches into sugars. At the same time that the starches are being converted to sugars, colour is also being extracted from the grains which is the primary determining factor of the beers final colour. The mashing process takes place in a brewing vessel called a mash tun.

See Grain Bill.

A mash tun is a brewing tank used for converting and extracting sugars from grains and certain types of adjuncts. The crushed grains are loaded into the mash tun and then mixed with temperature controlled hot water. The hot water causes an enzyme reaction in the grains that converts their starches to sugars. The sugars are then rinsed from the grains with hot water that helps liquefy the sugars so that they can be more easily extracted from the grains. Many mash tuns are fitted with a raised perforated false bottom that permits the sugars to be extracted from the grains without having the grain husks to be transferred to the next stage of the brewing process.

Milling is the crushing of grains and malt in preparation for the mash. The grains are milled so that the husk is cracked and that the internal starches of the malt and grains will be exposed to the enzyme reaction that will be taking place in the mash.

Mouthfeel is the mouths perception of the body of a beer and is typically described as light, medium, or full. A beers body is formed from the residual proteins, minerals, salts and unfermented sugars that remain in the finished beer. The body of a beer is perceived as viscosity or thickness by the mouth. Each style of beer has a coinciding expectation for mouthfeel and beers are rated on that expectation. For instance a lager or pilsner should have a light body and a stout should have a full body if they are brewed correctly.

The term noble hops refers to either German Tettnanger, German Hallertau, German Spalt or Czech Saaz hops. These noble hop varieties are all classified as aroma hops and have a relatively balanced Alpha and Beta acid ratio which allows them to impart a subtle bitterness and full aroma. Each of these hops have a long tradition in brewing and are named after the region that they were originally cultivated in.

Original gravity or OG is the specific gravity reading of a beers wort prior to having yeast pitched for fermentation. The original gravity reading is important because it gives the brewer an idea of how much sugar is available for fermentation and what the approximate alcohol by volume will be once fermentation completes. The original gravity reading also permit a brewer to calculate his or her efficiency to determine what percentage of starches and sugars were extracted from the grain bill used to make the beer. Typically either a hydrometer or refractometer are used to take the original gravity reading.

Oxidation is the degradation or modification of beer when it comes in contact with oxygen or an oxidizing agent. Oxidization in beer is inevitable and is occurring in beer at all times regardless of how it is stored. That being said, there are ways to diminish the rate of beer oxidation. A good rule of thumb is to prevent oxygen from coming in contact with your beer whenever possible. The only time that oxygen should intentionally be introduced to a beer is when aerating or oxygenating wort prior to pitching yeast and in rare cases to facilitate a souring process. Great caution should be taken when transferring, racking, kegging and bottling beer to avoid splashing it or exposing it to more oxygen then is necessary. When possible, fermentation vessels, kegs and bottles should be purged with CO2 prior to and after having beer transferred. Heat is another factor that impacts oxidation and whenever possible beer should be stored cold to reduce oxidation rates and to preserve its freshness. Beer that has been oxidized typically has a stale or paper like taste. In darker beers you may also smell or taste sherry notes.

pH, short for potential Hydrogen measures the acidity or basicity of a brewing fluid such as the starting water (liquor), mash, wort or beer. A fluid with a pH less than 7 is acidic and a fluid with a pH greater than 7 is basic or alkaline. If a fluid has a pH of 7, such as pure water, then it is considered neutral. pH is a very important factor in all grain brewing and different geographical areas and water sources can have dramatically different pH levels and mineral contents that impacts the pH of a mash. Additionally the style of beer that you brew will have a significant impact on your mash pH level. Typically the darker the colour of the malts that comprise your grain bill, the more acidic your mash will be. This is important because the enzymatic conversion of starches to sugars only effectively occurs in a mash that has a pH between 5.0 – 6.0; ideally your mash would be between 5.2-5.5 pH which is considered optimal.

Beer phenols are chemical compounds similar in structure to alcohols that are generated by yeast during fermentation. In certain styles of beer, such as hefeweizens and wit beers, phenol flavours such as bubble gum, banana and clove are considered desirable, but in other styles they are considered to be an off flavour or flaw. Causes of unwanted phenols include wild yeast or bacteria, chlorine and excess sanitizer.

Pitching or yeast pitching is the term used for when a brewer adds yeast to the cooled wort to begin the fermentation process. Yeast should be pitched to the wort as quickly as possible to diminish the possibility of wild yeast strains taking control of the sweet wort before your selected yeast has the opportunity to. It is critical that your wort is in an appropriate temperature range for the yeast to be able to survive and thrive; for most ales that temperature range is between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius for pitching but you should always consult your yeasts packing for the specific temperature range of the variety you are using.

Primary fermentation in beer brewing terms is the initial fermentation process where yeast will convert most or all of the wort sugars to alcohol and CO2 (carbon dioxide). After the yeast has been pitched into the wort, there is typically between 2 and 24 hour yeast lag time where the yeast acclimates to the fermentation environment and begins to replicate consuming sugars and the available oxygen in the wort; there is little alcohol conversion and CO2 generated during the lag phase. Once the lag phase completes, a foamy head called a krausen begins to form in the fermentation vessel. The krausen is composed mostly of proteins, yeast and the carbon dioxide that the yeast is rapidly producing. During primary fermentation the yeast is producing approximately equal parts of both alcohol and CO2. Depending on the style of beer, original gravity, quantity of yeast pitched and fermentation temperature, the primary fermentation for an ale with typically lasts between 7 – 14 days where it will then be transferred to a secondary fermentation vessel to allow the beer to condition and finish out its fermentation. In some cases only a primary fermentation is completed and the beer may spending additional time in the primary fermenter or condition in the bottle, keg or holding vessel.

Priming a beer is the process of adding sugar during the bottling process in order to carbonate the beer. You can bottle condition and carbonate your beer by priming it at the time of bottling with a specific amount of sugar. Using approximately .5 tea spoons (1/2 tsp) of priming sugar per 375ml bottle will typically provide adequate carbonation for most beer styles. Typically you will want to prime your beer with Dextrose rather than white processed sugar. It is critical that your beer completes its fermentation prior to priming and bottling, as if there are residual fermentable sugars available it may create too high of pressure in the bottles and cause them to explode. It is also critical that the yeast is still viable so that the priming sugar is converted to CO2 in the bottle and you do not end up with a flat and overly sweet beer. As will all aspects of brewing, cleaning and sanitation is always paramount. Always make sure that your bottles and caps are clean and sanitized prior to bottling.

Racking is the process of transferring beer from one brewing vessel to another. Beer is typically racked via a racking cane like an auto syphon or via the tap on a fermenter using a length of hose.

Recirculation is the process of pulling the wort from the base of the mash tun or lauter tun and recirculating it back on to the top of the grain bed. Recirculation typically occurs after the end of the mashing process. As the hot wort is recirculated through the grain bed of the mash, the grains act as a particle filter clearing the wort. As the wort is recirculating it becomes cleaner and less turbid until finally it is clear and ready to be passed to the boiling vessel. A pump is typically used to recirculate the wort at a steady and controlled pace. In the case where a home brewer does not have a pump available, the wort may be drawn into a container and slowly poured back on top of the grain bed. The process can be repeated until the wort has become clear. Additionally, rice hulls may be added to a mash as a means of boosting the filtration capability of the grain bed.

A refractometer basically performs the same task as a hydrometer. Refractometers are relatively inexpensive piece of testing equipment. Although more expensive than a hydrometer they are a lot more hardy and not prone to breakage. They contain polished optical glass, prisms and mirrors. A sample of the liquid to be tested is placed on the plate and then when viewed through the refractometer against light a reading can be taken of the specific gravity. They have the benefit of being temperature compensating over a hydrometer.

Hop resin is a sticky compound formed in the lupulin glands of the female hop flower. The resins of the hop flower are composed of alpha and beta acids and are chiefly responsible for the bitterness and hop aroma found in beer. Additionally, Alpha acids found in the hop resins function as a mild antibiotic and work as a preservative in beer.

RIMS or Recirculating Infusion Mash System is a mash infusion system that either utilizes a pump to recirculate the fluid in the mash over a secondary heat source (outside of the mash tun) to maintain the mash temperature or constantly recirculates the mash onto itself while direct heat is applied to the mash tun to regulate temperature.

Saccharification in very basic terms is the conversion of starches to sugars. When it comes to all grain brewing, saccharification is a critical conversion process that occurs during the mashing process. As the mash tuns temperature is increased to a range of 48 to 70 degrees Celsius, the diastatic enzymes of the malted grains begin to activate and break the starches of the grains and adjuncts into sugars. The alpha amylase enzymes break apart complex starches into sugars that the beta amylase enzymes break apart sugars even further into easy to ferment maltose sugar. Precision is critical when it comes to the temperature of a mash and 10 degrees makes a massive difference. The beta amylase is more temperature dependent than alpha amylase, and when the temperature in the mash begins to rise above 70 degrees Celsius, the beta amylase is no longer capable of breaking apart the more complex sugar chains into maltose. So if your target mash temp is 66 degrees Celsius and you instead conduct your mash at 72 degrees Celsius, you will be left with a massive amount of unfermentable sugars in your finished beer and it will have a fuller body and overly sweet finish. Beta amylase thrives in a temperature range of 60 to 66 degrees Celsius, so if your target mash temp was 66 degrees Celsius and you instead conduct your mash at 61 degrees Celsius, you would end up with a beer with a very thin body and dry finish due to a deficiency of unfermentable sugars. This is the reason why the typical mash saccharification rest temperature is in a range of 66 to 68 degrees Celsius; it provides a good temperature compromise for both alpha amylase and beta amylase to carry out their required starch and sugar conversion processes.

Secondary fermentation is the process of transferring your beer to a secondary fermentation vessel to allow the beer to complete its fermentation cycle and condition in a clean environment. The primary reason for a secondary fermentation is to improve the taste of a beer. Towards the end of the primary fermentation much of the yeast, beer solids and hop solids will fall out of the beer and form sediment on the bottom of the fermenter. If left in contact with the beer too long, the dead yeast and solids and impart off or undesirable flavours upon the beer. For this reason, many brewers choose to rack the beer off the sediment into a secondary fermenter to allow the beer to finish out fermentation, clarify and condition.

Beer sediment is the collection of solids that fall out suspension of a fermenting or conditioning beer. Sediment is mostly comprised of yeast, grain solids, hop solids and adjunct solids. As the beer ferments or conditions, the dense solids fall out of the beer and settle to the bottom of a fermenter or bottle in the case of a bottle conditioned beer.

A session beer is defined as a beer with an alcohol by volume or ABV of circa. 5%. The purpose of a session beer is to permit the drinker to enjoy multiple beers at a sitting without becoming overly intoxicated.

Sparging is a beer brewing process that involves passing heated water through the grain bed of a mash to extract sugars from the crushed grains and adjuncts. Sparging is typically conducted at approximately 75 to 77 degrees Celsius; if the temperature exceeds 77 degrees Celsius the brewer risks extracting excessive amounts of tannins from the grains and if the temperature is too low than the sparge will be ineffective at liquefying the remaining converted sugars from the grains.

In brewing terms, specific gravity is defined as the ratio of the density of a brewing liquid such as wort or beer as compared to the density of pure water. Typically either a hydrometer or a refractometer is used to determine the specific gravity of a beer or wort.

Standard Reference Method or SRM is a method of measurement used to determine and define a beers colour on a numeric scale using a photometer or spectrophotometer . The colour of a beer is an important factor when judging a beers overall quality. Different beer styles are expected to fall into a specific colour range and the SRM is a way of measuring that. The lighter the colour of a beer, the lower the corresponding SRM value will be and as expected, the darker the beer the higher the SRM value will be. Beers range anywhere from 2 to in excess of 40 on the SRM scale.

Step infusion is a beer mashing method where differing temperatures and quantities of water are infused in the mash tun from the hot liquor tank at specific intervals or steps in the mash process to control sugar conversion and extraction.

Tannins are organic compounds found in the husks grains. Excessive tannins are almost always considered to be a flaw in beers and are interpreted as a harsh astringent bitterness or a mouth drying sensation. Excessive tannins are typically caused by too high of a mash pH or excessive temperatures during mash out or sparging. Ways of removing excess tannins from beer include cold crashing or cold conditioning the beer. This should cause some of the excess tannins and proteins to precipitate out of the beer onto the bottom of the fermenter. You may also use a beer a beer fining agent to help clear the tannins.

Top fermentation of top fermenting describes the tendency of ale yeast cells to conduct the majority of fermentation on the surface of the fermenter as opposed to the bottom as is common with lager yeast. Top fermenting ale yeast is typically fermented at a temperature range between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius. When a top fermenting ale is most active, a thick head of foam known as a krausen forms on the top of the fermentation vessel and will subside as the fermentation draws to an end. The length of fermentation is dependent of the health of the yeast, the original gravity of the wort, the temperature of the fermentation and the amount of yeast pitched but typically takes anywhere from 7 to 14 days for the majority of fermentation activity to complete.

Trub is the excess material left in the boil kettle after the wort has been transferred. Boil kettle trub typically consists of hop matter, grain fibre, tannins and the dense proteins known as the hot break that combine during the first 15 minutes of the boil and ultimately drop to the bottom of the kettle.

Turbidity is the haziness or cloudiness of a beer or wort and is caused by the suspension of particulate matter in the fluid. In order to remove the turbidity of wort in the mash or lauter tun, it is recommended that you recirculate the wort over the grain bed which will act as a particle filter. Recirculation is a great method of clearing the wort prior to sending it to the boil kettle.

See Fermentation Airlock.

See Fresh Hopping.

Whirlfloc are a fining agent typically found in tablet form. Whirlfloc is an enhanced blend of Irish Moss and purified carrageenan that aids in the coagulation and settling of haze producing proteins and beta glucans.

Whirl pooling is the process of separating the trub from the wort by utilizing centrifugal force to confine the trub to the centre of the kettle so the wort can be drawn off without disturbing the trub cone. Whirl pooling can be achieved by quickly moving wort in a clockwise or counter clockwise motion until a vortex begins to form in the centre of the kettle. Once the vortex has formed, the trub will begin collecting and settling into the centre of the kettle and forming a cone as the spinning wort forces the denser particulates towards the centre. It is important to allow 15 to 20 minutes for the cone to form before drawing the wort from the kettle. If you are using an immersion chiller, you would want to chill the wort prior to whirl pooling and then draw the wort out slowly as not to disturb to trub cone.

Wort (pronounced wert) is the name given to the sugar rich liquid that is extracted from the mash, prior to fermentation. Prior to the boil when the hops have not yet bittered the wort, it is known as sweet wort. After the boil but prior to fermentation it is known as bitter wort since the beta acids from the hops have imparted a bitter flavour upon it.

A wort chiller is a device used to rapidly cool the wort after the boil has completed. Typically the wort is knocked down from boiling temperatures to less than 26 degrees Celsius as quickly as possible so that yeast can be pitched. Once the wort falls below boiling temperatures it becomes susceptible to bacterial and wild yeast contamination. It is important to get the wort below 26 degrees Celsius without splashing or aerating it too much as hot side aeration can oxidize your wort above that temperature. There are three typical types of home brewing wort chillers. Immersion chillers, are large coils constructed of copper or stainless steel and are placed inside the brew kettle while cold water is pumped through the chiller, cooling the wort. Plate chillers are made of fused plates and have channels where the cold water being pumped though one end, intersects with the plates being heated by the wort from the other end, rapidly cooling the wort. Lastly, counter flow wort chillers have hot wort flowing through one tube as chilled water passes over it from the opposite direction in a surrounding tube.

Brewing yeast strains are unicellular funguses that convert simple sugars into approximately equal parts of alcohol and carbon dioxide during the fermentation process. There are two main types of beer yeast varieties, saccharomyces cerevisiae which is a top fermenting ale yeast and saccharomyces pastorianusis a bottom fermenting lager yeast.

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