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Decoding the Language of Home Brewing: A Glossary of Key Terms

For any craft or hobby, it's essential to understand the unique jargon. It’s how you communicate effectively with your fellow enthusiasts, ask the right questions, and grasp the complex processes involved. Home brewing is no exception. So, whether you're a newbie or a seasoned brewer needing a refresher, we've compiled this exhaustive glossary of home brewing terms to keep you in the know.


Home Brewing Glossary


Adjunct: Any grain used in brewing that is not barley. These can include corn, rice, rye, oats, wheat, and more. Adjuncts are used to enhance the beer's flavour, colour, or fermentable sugar content.

Ale: A type of beer brewed from malted barley using a top-fermenting yeast. Ales typically ferment at warmer temperatures (15-24°C), resulting in a wide range of flavours and styles.

Attenuation: The percentage of sugars in the wort that are converted by yeast into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Higher attenuation results in a drier, less sweet beer.

Barley: The most common grain used in brewing. It is malted (see 'Malting') to create malt, the primary source of fermentable sugar in most beers.

Bittering Hops: Hops added early in the boil for the purpose of imparting bitterness to the beer. They are boiled for a longer time to extract more alpha acids, the compounds responsible for bitterness.

Bottle Conditioning: The process of naturally carbonating beer in the bottle. This is achieved by adding a small amount of sugar before sealing, which the yeast consumes, producing CO2.

Cold Crash: Rapidly cooling beer before bottling or kegging to encourage yeast and other particulates to settle at the bottom of the fermenter.

Conditioning: The process following primary fermentation where beer matures and develops its flavours. During this phase, residual sugars are consumed by yeast, and any sediment settles to the bottom of the fermenter.

Draught (or Draft): Beer served directly from a keg rather than a bottle or can.

Fermentation: The process by which yeast consumes sugars in the wort, producing alcohol, CO2, and heat.

Gravity: A measure of the sugar content in the wort or beer. Original gravity (OG) is measured before fermentation and final gravity (FG) is measured after, with the difference between the two indicating the alcohol content.

Hop Pellets: Hops that have been processed and formed into small pellets. They are more stable and easier to store than whole hops, making them a popular choice for home brewers.

IBU (International Bitterness Units): A measurement used to quantify the bitterness of beer, which comes from the hops used during brewing.

Krausen: The foamy head that forms on top of the wort during active fermentation.

Lager: A type of beer fermented and conditioned at low temperatures. Lagers use a specific type of yeast, often resulting in a clean, crisp taste.

Malting: The process of soaking, germinating, and drying barley to convert the grain's starches into sugars, which yeast can ferment into alcohol.

Mash: The process of mixing milled grain (usually malted barley) with hot water to convert remaining grain starches into fermentable sugars.

Pitch: The act of adding yeast to the wort to begin fermentation.

Trub: The sediment left at the bottom of the fermenter after beer has been transferred. Trub is composed of hops, grain particles, yeast, and proteins.

Wort: The sweet, malty liquid extracted from the mash, which is boiled with hops and then cooled and fermented by yeast to produce beer.

Yeast: A microorganism that consumes the sugars in the wort, producing alcohol, CO2, and other compounds that greatly contribute to the flavour and aroma of beer.

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