Alcohol by Volume (ABV) is a measurement of the quantity of alcohol in a given volume, represented as a percentage. In the absence of lab tests, ABV is determined by taking gravity measurements before and after fermentation in order to determine how much alcohol the yeast produced based on the amount of sugars they consumed.
Outside of a delicious taste and smell, this is the fun stuff most homebrewers are after. One of the two by-products of fermentation, alcohol, specifically ethanol, is produced when yeast metabolize the sugars created during mash or by the addition of sugars or extracts.
One of the two major branches of beer categories, ales encompass beers that have been fermented at temperatures generally between 59 and 68 degrees, although some fermentations can push into the 70s or even 80s with good results. Ales are noted for being more flavorful than lagers.
The place where we all aim to end up, but rarely start. All-grain brewing involves going through the process of mashing grains in order to extract sugars from them, rather than using extracts as the primary source of sugar for your fermentation. It typically allows for greater control over the beer that will ultimately end […]
The measurement of the conversion of sugars, via fermentation, into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
The grain that is used as the base of most beer that is produced. As a homebrewer, you’ll be purchasing barley that has already been malted, which will determine the flavor, aroma, and color that will be lent to your beer.
If it weren’t for this step, we’d all end up with beer that is overly sweet. It’s during this step of the boil that we add our hops in order to balance out the sugars that will remain after fermentation has finished. Depending on the style, you might tip the scales heavily in favor of bitterness.
The boil serves several purposes when making beer. Boiling wort will sanitize it, which helps ensure that you’ll have a healthy fermentation. It drives off compounds that would cause off flavors in your beer, since we don’t want beer that tastes like buttery popcorn. It helps to get the sugar content where you want it […]
The container in which fermentation occurs.
This step serves two major purposes. First, the sanitary wort you’ve just boiled is far too hot for yeast, so you need to get it down to a temperature range that works for them. Second, you chill your beer quickly to make sure that off-flavor compounds don’t reform after boiling.
While we want to cut back on Carbon Dioxide in the air, we certainly want it in our beer. It’s produced as a by-product of fermentation, so there is already a naturally occurring small amount in finished beer. You can add more through bottle/keg conditioning or force carbonation. CO2 provides effervescence, mouthfeel and a slight […]
A “can growler”, usually 32 ounces, is a means of getting brewery-fresh beer directly from the source. Essentially very large cans, Crowlers are made of aluminum and require a special sealing machine in order to close them properly. Once sealed, they have an excellent shelf life until opened.
The process used to create a customized label shape, usually around the visual elements of a label. Some amazing examples of custom die-cutting can be found in our interview with Hired Guns Creative.
Not only are hops added during the boil, they can be added during and after fermentation. Dry hopping will allow the beer to strip away the oils that will lend flavor and aroma to the beer. A popular technique with IPAs, but can be used to add an accent to any style of beer.
Extract brewing entails using malt extract in order to provide the necessary sugars to your wort. It’s a nice way to get started as a homebrewer since it requires less equipment, but still allows you go through most of the brewing process you’ll continue to use if you upgrade to all-grain brewing.
This is where the magic happens. Yeast will metabolize the sugars that you’ve either extracted during the mash or added from an extract and produce both alcohol and CO2. This is the most hands-off step of the brewing process, but it is critical to maintain a proper temperature during fermentation. You can read more about […]
The measure of dissolved sugar in both your wort and beer. By taking measurements using the proper equipment before and after brewing, you can use formulas or software to determine the ABV of your finished beer. Taking good measurements also helps you determine process issues along the way.
The to-go cup for the adult, beer drinking crowd. They’re reusable containers typically made from glass, stainless steel or even plastic that can be filled with draft beer at a bar or taproom. Typically, you’ll find them in 32oz, 64oz, or 128oz sizes.
A “handle of liquor” refers to a 1.75 liter (59.2 ounce) bottle of booze that is made with a handle, typically of glass. Usage: “That sonuvabitch Jimmy could put away a handle of vodka on his worst day.”
For IPA and Pale Ale drinkers, this is the good stuff. Used in almost all beer to provide bitterness during the boil, hops also provide aroma and flavor when used during different parts of the brewing process. The percentage of Alpha Acids (AA) is an important measurement when creating a beer.
A measurement tool used for determining the amount of dissolved solids, or sugars in the case of beer, in a liquid. By taking measurements before and after fermentation, a brewer can determine the of the finished beer. For more information, please check out our post, Eliminate Your Fears and Doubts About the Hydrometer
International Bitterness Unit is the measurement of the bitterness in beer. Generally speaking, the higher the IBUs, the more a drinker will perceive bitterness in a beer. However, IBUs can be balanced out by creating a beer with a sweeter finish, affecting both the flavor and mouthfeel of a beer.
Isinglass is a substance that is derived from the swim bladders of certain fish. It comes from the Dutch word “huisenblas”, which translates directly to “sturgeon’s bladder”- sturgeon is the type of fish traditionally used for brewing purposes. Isinglass is a traditional finings – a substance that is used for clarifying liquid by causing yeast […]
Lager is both a category of beer and brewing terminology. To lager a beer is to store it at cool temperatures for an extended period of time to mature the beer. Lagers, the style, are fermented at lower temperatures to produce lighter flavors than ales. The most popular commercial beers in the world are lagers.
Grains that have gone through the malting process are referred to as malt. They have been processed in such a way that germination was started and stopped in order to produce the enzymes needed to convert starches to sugars. They’ve also been toasted for varying length of times to produce a variety of flavors and […]
Available as a liquid (LME or Liquid Malt Extract) or a power (DME or Dry Malt Extract), these are made from malted grains that have been mashed and dehydrated. Since the mashing process has already been performed, brewers making extract beers can skip that step.
The portion of the brewing process where grains are steeped in hot water, causing an enzymatic reaction that converts the starches contained in the malted grains into sugar. Temperature is very important during this step, as it will impact the kinds of sugars that are produced and even the chemical reactions that take place.
An inert gas that can be used in addition to CO2 to add effervescence to beer. Beers that have had nitrogen forced into them are known for the fuller, creamier mouthfeel, bubbles that sink into the glass and a nice, thick head.
A catchall term for any style of beer that has been brewed with traditional ingredients, is fermented in its serving vessel and has no extra CO2 forced into it. Generally referred to as living beer, they’re meant to be consumed in a short amount of time once their cask starts being served.
This process serves two purposes after mashing is completed. First, it raises the temperature of the grains to a point that halts the conversion of starches into sugars. Second, it aides in rinsing the sugars off of the grains while you’re transferring your wort to your boil kettle.
This is the sugary liquid that is collected after mashing and sparging. It needs to be sanitized through the boiling process in order to make sure your yeast have a healthy fermentation. Once fermentation starts and CO2 and alcohol are produced, the wort becomes beer.
A single-celled microorganism that metabolizes the sugar in your wort, producing alcohol and CO2 as a byproduct. There are two main species used for brewing beers, one for ales and the other for lagers. Using different strains within those species can produce very different results for flavor, aroma and appearance, so choose carefully and appropriately.