We’ve produced a short glossary of key beer-related terms that you will probably see frequently pop up on the site.
Alcohol by volume - expressed as a percentage, this is a standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in a volume of your drink.
A broad family of beers brewed with a top-fermenting yeast. Ales typically ferment quickly at warm temperatures (around 2-4 days at 61-75°F). Style of ales include Hefeweizen, Kolsch, Best Bitters, Stout, Saison, IPA, Barley Wines and many more.
A way of discussing the percentage of sugars that the yeast converts during the fermentation process. A highly attenuated beer will be dry and have little sweetness; an under-attenuated beer will be sweet.
The oldest alcoholic drink in the world and, when enjoyed responsibly, is one of the best! Made from water, fermented grain, hops and yeast.
This is the weight and feeling of the beer in the mouth. It comes from the combination of the grain base, whether it’s filtered or not, and is dependent on the attenuation of the beer.
Bottle Conditioned Beer
Beer that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle. This means that priming sugar and yeast are added to the bottle, which starts a slow, gradual conditioning process to produce a natural carbonation. Some bottle conditioned beers will continue to mature for decades. Watch out for yeast when you pour these beers - some drinkers like sediment in the glass but others don’t.
This is a difficult one to define, there is no one definition for craft beer. However, we define craft beer as a beer that has a story and purpose behind it and is brewed by an independent in small batches using the best ingredients possible.
Adding hops to beer after (or during) fermentation. This gives extra hop aroma and flavour to a beer.
Esters come out of beers as aromas which are created during the higher temperatures of fermentation when alcohol and organic acids react with each other. They are often fruity and common aromas include banana, pear, apple, rose, honey and strawberry.
This is how the flavour of the beer ends in the mouth and then hangs around. It can be short or long; dry, bitter, sweet or sharp; or combinations of these.
Beer made using bottom-fermenting yeast. Lagers typically ferment slowly at cool temperatures (around 6-10 days at 46-54°F). The name lager comes from the process of lagering (or storing) beer in a cold place for it to mature. Styles of lager include Pilsner, Helles, Bock, Doppelbock and more.
Beer that is made by big, multinational brewing companies.
The hot water steeping process which hydrates the barley, activates the malt enzymes, and converts the grain starches into fermentable sugars.
A reference to the type of gas used in the carbonation process. Nitrogen beers tend to be smoother and creamier compared to carbon dioxide beers which are livelier. Typically nitrogenised beer contains about 70 percent nitrogen and 30 percent carbon dioxide.
An incredibly versatile style of beer that is hard to define. Generally, porter is a dark beer that is made from brown malts.
These are beers that are made with wild yeast and souring bacteria. Many of the best sour beers take years of gradual slow fermentation to develop their complexity and you should expect funky aromas, sharp acidity but not a vinegary quality. They will also be clean-tasting. Many Belgian-style beers are the best examples of sour beers.
A dark beer made using roasted malt or roasted barley. Stouts were traditionally the generic term for the strongest or stoutest porters. Over time after being adopted in Ireland, the stout porter name was shortened to just to stout.
This is beer that hasn’t had the yeast filtered out of it. Unfiltered beers are generally hazy and have more flavour and texture than a filtered equivalent. These haze may also be cleared by the use of a fining agent, which pulls all the particles left in the beer to the bottom of the container.
Wild Yeast & Bacteria
Some brewers deliberately add wild yeast and bacteria to get sourness and funky flavours into their beer. Brettanomyces is a common wild yeast while pediococcus and lactobacillus are common bacteria. If any of the these ingredients get into a beer unintentionally then it’s a bad thing!
Microorganisms that are responsible for turning fermentable sugars into alcohol. There are hundreds of varieties and strains of yeast.