Basic Beer Terms – Beer Dictionary
Ale: A beer brewed from hops, malt, and top-fermenting yeast. Varies from pale to dark amber in color, texture is smooth, and sweet, flavor is fruity, stronger, and more bitter than beer.
Amber: A beer named for its reddish-brown color, ranging from pale to dark.
Barley wine: A dark, rich, bittersweet beer with higher alcohol content.
Bitter: Amber ale with a fragrant bouquet whose dry, sharp flavor is produced from hops.
Bock: A strong, malty lager varying from pale to dark brown in color with an alcohol content around 6 percent by volume.
Brewpub: A brewery alongside an eatery or pub that sells beer on site.
Brown ale: Nutty, malty ale that’s dark brown in color with flavors ranging from dry to sweet.
Burton: Strong ale that’s dark brown in color with roasty malt flavors.
Cooper: Woodworker who crafts wooden beer kegs.
Dopplebock: A version of bock, meaning “double bock,” with a stronger alcohol content, varying from 8 to 13 percent by volume.
Draft (draught): A method of dispensing beer from a keg, cask, or bright tank.
Hard cider: A sweet fermented drink made from apples.
Hefeweizen: A refreshing, frothy wheat beer that is lighter in body, flavor, and alcohol content.
Holiday beer: A special seasonal brew varying from amber to dark brown in color with sweet flavor and often special spicy, fruity, or herby notes.
India Pale Ale (IPA): A pale ale that is profusely hoppy.
Kolsch: A mildly malty West German ale that is very pale in color and a bit tart in flavor.
Lager: A crisp, clean beer made with bottom-fermenting yeasts at near freezing temperatures for longer periods of time than ales.
Malt liquor: A malty lager that’s pale in color with an alcohol content above 5 percent by volume, as defined in the United States.
Pale ale: A highly hopped beer made from high-quality malt that’s dry in flavor.
Pilsner: A beer brewed from bottom-fermenting yeast. Very pale in color with a dry, hoppy flavor and aroma.
Porter: Ale brewed from well-roasted barley. Dark brown in color, full-bodied in texture, and bittersweet or chocolaty in flavor.
Pub: An abbreviation for “public house,” a gathering place that serves beer and often other alcoholic beverages on site.
Publican: A pub owner or manager.
Stout: A rich beer brewed from full-flavored roasted malts andtop-fermenting yeast, sometimes with caramel sugar and high hop content. Dark brown in color, full-bodied in texture, and slightly burnt in flavor.
Wheat beer: A beer brewed with wheat malt. Pale in color, medium-bodied in texture, and slightly tart in flavor.
Beer Brewing Terms – Beer Dictionary
Additives: Enzymes, antioxidants, and preservatives added to a beer to preserve it or improve its shelf life.
Alcohol: Ethyl alcohol or ethanol, which results naturally from fermentation.
Anaerobic: An organism, or yeast in the case of beer, that thrives without oxygen.
Aroma hops: A hop variety chosen for its enhanced bouquet.
Barley: A grain that is malted for use in the mash during the brew process.
Bottle conditioning: The method of secondary fermenting or maturing in the bottle, which can develop a beer’s complexity.
Bottom-fermenting yeast: One of two strains of yeast used in brewing beer, essentially lagers, that responds best at lower temperatures and ferments more sugars for a cleaner flavor.
Black malt: Partially malted barley that is roasted at high temperatures and used to give beer its dark color and roasty flavor.
Brew kettle: A receptacle in which mash is boiled with hops.
Bright beer tank: See conditioning tank.
Bung: The plug used in the opening of a keg or cask.
Caramel: A less expensive cooked sugar used to add color and alcohol content to a beer.
Caramel malt: A sugary, amber-colored malt used to sweeten beer and increase head retention.
Carbonation: The natural carbon dioxide sparkle or bubble in beer that is produced in fermentation or injected artificially afterward.
Cask: A barrel-like, and often metal, receptacle for holding beer.
Cask conditioning: The method of secondary cask fermenting or maturing, which can develop a beer’s carbonation.
Chill haze: A haziness that appears in beers at low temperatures, due to protein-tannin compound precipitation.
Chill proof: Beers treated to resist chill haze.
Conditioning: The method of warm or cold secondary fermenting or maturing, which can develop a beer’s carbonation or complexity of flavor.
Conditioning tank: A receptacle or vessel used for conditioning beer.
Copper: See brew kettle.
Dextrin: An unfermentable carbohydrate found in malted barley, which gives beer its flavor and mouthfeel.
Dosage: A quantity of yeast and/or sugar added to the bottle or cask to facilitate conditioning.
Dry-hopping: The method of adding dry hops to fermenting or aging beer to increase hop quality or aroma.
Enzymes: The natural grain proteins that convert the malted barley starches to sugars or maltose in the heating phase of mashing.
Ethanol: A type of alcohol formed from yeast during fermentation.
Fermentation: The activation of yeast, which converts sugar into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Filter: The brewing method by which impurities in the wort are removed. Yeast in suspension is often removed.
Final specific gravity: The measurement of a beer’s density after fermentation, as compared to water.
Fining: A substance that attracts suspended particles in beer and provides clarification.
Grist: The mixture of milled grains to be used in a specific brew.
Heat exchanger: A mechanism used to quickly reduce the wort temperature.
Infusion: Mash-making method in which malt is soaked in water and kept at one temperature.
Keg: A barrel or container for beer.
Lagering: The method of maturing at cold temperatures.
Lauter: The method of extracting malt sugars from the wort by raking through the mash tun.
Lauter tun: See mash tun.
Liquor: The water infusion used in malting, mashing, or sparging.
Malt extract: The processed mash now in the form of syrup or powdered sugar, with maltose and dextrins, which is then reactivated with water for fermentation.
Malting: The method of converting barley grain starches to maltose in order to begin fermentation.
Maltose: The fermentable malt sugar, which is water-soluble.
Mash: The resulting mixture that comes from soaking and cooking barley malt in water, wherein the fermentable sugars are released.
Mashing: The process of making mash.
Mash tun: A preparation tank used for turning mash into wort.
Mead: Substance produced when honey, water, yeast, and other possible additives like spices, herbs, or fruit are fermented.
Microbrewery: A small brewery that makes its own beer and sells less than 15,000 barrels a year.
Original gravity: See specific gravity.
Pasteurization: The method of heating beer to stabilize its microscopic organisms and their effects.
Pitch: The method of adding yeast to the wort.
Priming: The method of adding sugar to the beer in maturation to promote a secondary fermentation.
Secondary fermentation: The method of warm or cold secondary fermenting or maturing, which can develop a beer’s carbonation or complexity of flavor.
Sediment: The yeasty substance at the bottom of a bottle of conditioned beer.
Sparge: The method of spraying the grist with hot water at the end of the mash in order to remove soluble sugars.
Specific gravity: The measurement of a beer’s density before fermentation, as compared to water.
Terminal gravity: See final specific gravity.
Top-fermenting yeast: One of two strains of yeast used in brewing beer, essentially ales, that responds best at warmer temperatures, ferments fewer sugars for a sweeter flavor, and sustains higher alcohol concentrations.
Tun: A large receptacle or vessel used in brewing beer.
Wort: The mixture of grain sugars filtered from the mash tun.
Wort chiller: See heat exchanger.
Yeast: A fungi that is added to wort, which aids in turning fermentable sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Beer Tasting Terms – Beer Dictionary
Acidic: A sour or sharp flavor characteristic.
Alcoholic: Warming effect of ethanol and higher alcohols.
Aroma: The nose or smell of a beer, ranging from fruity to malty, flowery to spicy, and more.
Astringent: A quality that produces a drying, puckering sensation of the gums and tongue.
Bacterial: A flavor suggestive of mold or mustiness often due to spoilage.
Balance: When a beer’s elements, including the bouquet and palate are in perfect proportionate agreement with one another.
Bitter: A twinge or strong sensation noticeable at the back of the tongue.
Body: The texture and weight of a beer as perceived in the mouth. A beer may have thin or full body.
Bouquet: The nose or smell of a beer, ranging from fruity to malty, flowery to spicy, and more.
Bright: A visual quality, describing a beer’s clarity or color.
Cabbage-like: An aroma or flavor suggestive of cabbage often due to rotten wort.
Chlorophenolic: An aroma suggestive of plastic, usually resulting from chemical reactions between chlorine and phenol compounds.
Clove-like: A spicy flavor suggestive of clove often due to wild yeast.
Creamy: The texture and weight of a beer with good natural carbonation.
Dank: An aroma suggestive of mold.
Dry: A beer that finishes sharp in the mouth, not sweet.
Ester: Complex flavor mix produced naturally in fermentation, ranging from fruity and spicy to flowery.
Finish: The lingering aftertaste that remains in the mouth after swallowing a sip of beer.
Fruity: A sweet aroma or flavor suggestive of bananas, apples, pears, citrus, strawberries, and more.
Grainy: A flavor suggestive of raw grain or cereal.
Hang: A long-lingering bitterness or harshness that remains in the mouth after swallowing a sip of beer.
Hoppy: An aroma suggestive of hops.
Hops: The herb added to fermenting beer or boiling wort to produce a bitter flavor and aroma.
IBU (International Bitterness Units): A system that measures hop bitterness in beer.
Light-Struck: A taste fault suggestive of skunk, usually caused by overexposure to light.
Medicinal: A flavor or aroma suggestive of chemical, plastic, smoke, or cloves, usually resulting from wild yeast or sanitizer residue.
Mouthfeel: The texture and weight of a beer as perceived in the mouth. A beer may have a thin or full mouthfeel.
Musty: A stale or mildewy aroma or flavor.
Nose: See bouquet.
Oxidized: A rotting or stale flavor, usually resulting from overexposure to air or high temperatures during aging.
Palate: The complex taste or notes found in a beer, determined by well-proportioned hop, malt, and fruit.
Phenolic: A flavor or aroma suggestive of medicine, plastic, smoke, or cloves, usually resulting from wild yeast or sanitizer residue.
Salty: A flavor suggestive of table salt.
Shelf life: The period of time a beer remains at peak drinkability.
Skunky: A taste fault suggestive of skunk, usually caused by overexposure to light.
Solvent-like: A flavor or aroma suggestive of acetone, usually caused by high temperatures of fermentation.
Sour: An intense acidic or vinegary sensation along the sides of the tongue.
Sulfur-like: An aroma or flavor suggestive of sulfur or rotten eggs, usually resulting from a sulfur compound in some yeast varieties.
Sweet: A sugary taste quality noticeable at the tip of the tongue.
Tangy: An intensely piercing impression along the sides of the tongue.
Tart: An intensely sharp sensation along the sides of the tongue caused by acidic tastes.
Units of bitterness: See IBU.
Vinous: An aroma or flavor suggestive of wine.
Winy: Having the rich, fruity essence of a fine wine.
Yeasty: A flavor suggestive of yeast, usually resulting from beer sitting too long on sediment.