Friday, July 30, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Pigskin Porter

Today we have a recipe from an award winner brewer, me. This recipe took first place in the Porter category at the Peterson Airforce Base Homebrew Competition back in February. I entered this as a brown porter but I believe it is somewhere between a brown and a robust porter.  

7 lbs Crisp Maris Otter
2 lbs Hugh Baird Brown Malt
1 lb Briess Victory
.5 lb Crisp Dark Crystal
.5 lb flaked barley
.25 lb Crisp Chocolate

Mash grains at 155 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour and 20 mintues

.75 US Perle 7.5AA 60 minutes
.5 oz US Perle 7.5AA 10 minutes
.5 oz US Northern Brewer 8.5AA 10 min
1 oz US Northern Brewer 8.5 AA 2 minutes

Wyeast 1450 Denny's Favorite 
Fermented at 65 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 month. 

Transferred to 2ndary fermentation vessel on to gelatin and cold conditioned at 45 degrees for 1 month.

Bottled 5 gallons with 3.5 oz corn sugar and 3 oz Malto Dextrine 

OG: 1.055 FG: 1.016 IBU: 37.2 SRM: 21.2 Alc %: 5.14

If you choose to brew this one up please come back and post your results. Would love to hear how it turned out for others.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hop of the Week: Sterling

Yes, I know this is called Hop of the Week, but hey it just sounds better then Hop of the any time I freakin feel like it. Got one of my favorites today that is only a little over 10 years old. US Craft breweries seem to have taken a liking to them though, just as I have.

*via Pelican Brewery

Pedigree Released in 1998
Maturity Medium
Yield 2020 - 2245 kg./ha. or 1800 - 2000 lb./ac.
Growth Habit Moderately vigorous
Disease/Pest Susceptibility Moderately resistant to downy mildew.
Pickability/Drying/Baling Good
Cone-Structure Medium
Lupulin Pale yellow
Aroma Herbal, spicy with a hint of floral and citrus.
Alpha Acid 6 - 9% w/w
Beta Acid 4 - 6% w/w
Cohumulone 22 - 28% of alpha acids
Storageability Good alpha acids remaining after 6 months storage at 20°C.
Total Oil 1.3 - 1.9 mls/100 grams
Myrcene 44 - 48% of whole oil
Humulene 19 - 23% of whole oil
Carophyllene 5 - 7% of whole oil
Farnesene 11 - 17% of whole oil
General Trade Perception Perceived to be similar to a Saaz and Mt Hood combination. Finding favor as a Saaz replacement.
Possible Substitutions Czech Saaz
Typical Beer Styles Pilsner and other Lagers, Ales and Belgian-Style Ales
Additional Information Limited, but stable acreage.
Typical Hop Use Dual purpose

Commercial examples today both come from the great brewing state of Oregon. 

 Elemental Ale 
Brewed only once a year at peak hop season, this beer is made with 400 pounds of freshly picked, "wet" Sterling hops from Goschie Farms in Silverton, OR. The hops were only 3 hours from the vine when they went into the kettle. The mash tun was also used as a hop back, holding 300 pounds of hops!!! This beer features a huge floral, spicy, grassy aroma with a firm malt background and a huge, snappy hop finish.

» PILSNER « Matt's own "Bohemian Rhapsody", featuring traditional ingredients used in a distinctly Northwest recipe. We aged this beer for between six and nine weeks -- two to three times our normal program -- to give our Czech lager yeast enough tie to do its thing, and to allow the flavors to mellow and merge. The result was a hophead's Pilsner that was supremely satisfying. Brewed with organic Pilsner malt, Czech lager yeast, and Sterling hops. 5.5%ABV, 50 BU    
Typical use: Sterling hops can be used all over the board. Usually weighing in somewhere around 8%AA they can be used as a bittering addition for lagers and ales. They also have a great aroma and flavor profile which suits them even better for those additions. 
Style use: Pilsner, summer ales, european style lagers, wits, weizens, and Belgian ales.  
Flavor/aroma: Herbal, spicy, earthy, have a touch of citrus, and a little bit of a floral quality. The fresher they are the more citrus and floral come out, I use these for lighter ales quite a bit and I am always happy with the results.
Substitutions: Czech Saaz or Mt. Hood hops would be the closest substitution. I find a lot of the same qualities. They all have very clean bittering. Saaz hops would leave you more on the spicy side whereas Mt Hood will give you a milder, slighty floral spiciness.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beer Review: Magic Hat Brewing - Vinyl Lager

Vinyl Lager is Magic Hat's Spring seasonal beer. Seeing that I only drank this last week this must have been brewed awhile ago, but hey lagers are supposed to be cold aged and it has been sitting in my cool basement cellar so if anything it got a little better.

Vinyl sails in on her shining wings as the spinning sun returns.  She is the season-shifter, bursting from her cocoon to sing the ancient song of vernal yearning and to summon spring's sweet green return... Her metamorphosis becomes our own.  Her thirsts are shared by all.  Drink in her mysterious elixir as the revolution blooms again... Visit Vinyl!

TYPE: Amber Lager
YEAST: Lager
HOPS: Northern Brewer
MALTS: Pale, Crystal, Munich, Victory
ABV: 5.1
GRAVITY: 12.00 Plato
SRM: 12.0

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a thick off white head that diminishes to just over the top with small bits of lacing.

Aroma: Biscuit and toasty carmel malt, that follows up with earthy hops.

Flavor:Toasty and nutty with a bit of caramel leading into a big earthy hop flavor. Bitterness is smooth and finishes dry with a slight metallic taste. 

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation.

Overall: Another breweries hopped up lager. This is a decent beer. Very earthy and the toast plays nice with the profile. A bit too carbonated and the metallic taste at the end is a bit off putting. Maybe a bit more lagering would smooth this beer out more. 

Beer Review: Uerige - Doppelsticke

It's tuesday, I have beer notes covering my desk at home, full fridge of beer, it's dark, and I'm wearing sunglasses. (movie reference) Going to make it a two for tuesday today and go with an imported beer and a domestic.

Our first gem comes from the old town portion of Dusseldorf, Germany (Dusseldorf-Altftadt).  Uerige has been brewing since 1862 and is known as the longest bar in the world. Their lineup includes a standard alt, an unfiltered alt, the doppelsticke, and a weizen. In 2008 they began distilling their standard alt and the doppelsticke into whiskey. The doppelsticke is produced exclusively for US import, and can be classified as Germany's interpretation of a barley wine.

Since 2005, UERIGE has been brewing a special extra strong beer for the US market. Our DoppelSticke has an astonishing 8.5% abv and yet there’s no mistaking its taste: Dat is dat leckere Dröppke, as they say (that is the delicious droplet).
After the ‘gigantic herbal aroma of hops’ (Michael Jackson) that surprises the palate at the first tasting, aromatic sensations follow midway: caramelized sugar, malt and herbs, rich nuances of dark chocolate and rum, rounded off with a smooth and shimmering finish.
Apart from being sold in the USA, this rarity can only be obtained at our STICKUM bar – that is, if we have it in store. This beer also has a guaranteed minimum storage period of four weeks, but true aficionados take this to be a mere suggestion – they swear by storing their DoppelSticke in the cellar for another whole year. But then...! 

Appearance: Pours a deep dark copper to dark brown. Thick brown head reduces to one finger with good lacing.

Aroma: Smells of dark fruit and molasses.

Flavor:  Rich burnt sugar and molasses flavor up front with an array of herbal hops. This leads into dark fruit, somewhat reminding me of brandied fruitcake and black currant. Some hop bitterness is present throughout and it finishes sweet and rich.

Mouthfeel: High body with low carbonation, very thick and chewy.

Overall: I have nothing to judge this upon since I have never had a doppelsticke before. This reminds me of the barley wine style but it is richer and has less hop bitterness and flavor. Runs down the palate smooth, and is a great sipping beer. Something that would be great as an after dinner beer or on a cool fall night. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beer Event Review: Kyle's Brewfest

I guess in the economy that we are living in now $25 may be a lot to some, but for those of us who are doing alright for ourselves it was a small amount to pay for the return on investment of this beerfest.

Upon arriving we were handed a Kyle's Brewfest pint glass (that we got to keep) with an envelope of tickets. 3 blue tickets each worth a pint, 10 red tickets each worth a generously poured 2 oz taster, and a white ticket worth a burger and chips made by the guys at Mountain Sun/Southern Sun/Vine St Pub. I wasn't expecting to get that much for just one admission but I was not going to complain. I looked around and had to decide where I wanted to start. Beer was available from Stone, Deschutes, Upslope, Boulder Beer, Mountain Sun, Avery, Trinity, Odells, Ska, and of course the host Great Divide. I was feeling in a hoppy mood and started out with a favorite from Stone, their Ruination IPA.

The Great Divide had basically opened up their whole brewery for this event. The storage room, bottling line, grain storage, etc was all open to browse around while enjoying the event. Being the beer geek that I am this was probably my favorite part of the whole night.

Plenty of make shift stools available

My guess is that this is their pilot/experiment system

mmmmm Vienna malt

Oak aged Yeti??? Yes, please


After hiding out inside after a bit of rain passed through the area, the Kyle Hollingsworth Band came on and played a set. People would pay $25 alone for a show and a tasty pint of craft, but they gave you the whole shabang here. They had cleared out what I can guess is a parking lot next to the brewery. In the shadow of the huge steel conicals they had set up a stage. 

The place was packed with what I would guess around 400 people. A lot of money was raised for the Conscience Alliance charity.  

Unfortunately Kyle's idea of brewing up a batch on stage was probably nixed by the fire department. Whatever though, it was a great show surrounded by the best beer lineup I have ever seen at a concert. Best of all I wasn't paying 10 bucks for a pint of swill.

Double fisting

Yes, I would enjoy some Ska

How cool is it to get served Great Divide beer right in the middle of the brewing room

Thanks for everyone that made this possible. One of the coolest most unique beer events that I have been to. Best part of all was that all the proceeds went to charity. Hopefully this will not be the only one of it's kind.

Friday, July 23, 2010

BrewDog releases 55% alcohol beer encased in road kill

I have to say, the little brewery over in Scotland has one hell of a marketing department. First they release the most alcoholic beer in Tactical Nuclear Penguin at 32%. Then some German brewery topped them so they released an even stronger beer, Sink the Bismark, at 41%. Now they went and did it again, creating a Belgian blonde beer topping off at 55% alcohol and selling for $765 per bottle. The best part of all is that the bottles are encased in the bodies of dead squirrels, weasels, and rabbits. For our PETA supporting readers out there, don't worry, they picked up the dead bodies after they had already been killed by those awful animal murdering motorized carriages.

You'd expect a lot from a bottle of beer costing $765. What you get is 55 percent alcohol — and served in a squirrel.
According to Scottish firm BrewDog, "The End of History" is the "strongest, most expensive and most shocking beer in the world."
Just 12 bottles were made and the company has already sold out. They will be shipped out to buyers in the United States, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Scotland and England next week.
The dead animals which were used to create the beers' unusual appearance were four squirrels, seven weasels and a hare. All were roadkill, James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog, told
The name of the blond Belgian ale is taken from the title of a book by philosopher Francis Fukuyama, "The End of History and the Last Man" which the company said had been chosen to imply "this is to beer what democracy is to history."
Watt said the beer should be treated with care when drinking.
"It tastes more like a whisky and you have got to handle it in that way as opposed to the way you would handle a normal beer," he told

Well, looks like I missed my chance at wasting 765 dollars. It just proves that there are bigger beers geeks out there than me. BrewDog makes some decent beer, when I can get my hands on some more I will do a proper review. I don't remember being blown away by what I had but hey, I give it to them for being the Howard Stern of breweries.

You may want to know how the hell does a beer reach those levels of alcohol. There is no yeast strain that can live in that type of environment so they have to be creative. Basically what they do is brew up a normal strong ale, then use a process somewhat like distillation. Since alcohol has a much lower freezing temperature than water does, the beer is frozen and the ice is taken out of the batch. They repeat the process over and over again until they have what they are looking for. The German's originally came up with the process, and you can read about it here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Quiet Storm Stout

So now that it's almost the end of July, it may be time to start thinking about making some nice fall/winter beers that develop with a little age. Today's recipe comes from an award winning brewer who has been featured in Zymurgy magazine. Jimvy developed this recipe on his own and it was an award winner from the start. This recipe garners rave reviews from the homebrewing world.

Oatmeal is not only a hot breakfast cereal but it is a nice additive to beer recipes. It gives them a nice creamy smoothness and also helps with head retention. The addition in this recipe is perfect to give a nice frothy head and a smooth texture while it crosses your tongue.

This is for a 5 gallon batch

Grain Bill:
7 lbs British Pale Malt
1.5 lbs Flaked Oats
1 lb German Munich Malt
 .75 lb CaraMunich Malt
.5 lb American Chocolate Malt
.5 lb British Crystal 120L
.5 lb American Roasted Barley
.5 lb American Black Patent Malt
.5 lb Cara-Pils Dextrine Malt

Use a single infusion mash at 156 degrees for one hour

1.5 oz Fuggle 4.75AA whole 60 minutes
1 oz U.K. Goldings 10.1AA whole 30 minutes
1 oz Willamette 5AA whole 2 minutes

WLP-004 Irish Stout Yeast or Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale Yeast
Ferment at 67 degrees Fahrenheit

OG: 1.065 FG: 1.021 SRM: 49 IBU: 43.2 Alc by Vol: 5.82%

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Can't eat wheat? No problem - Gluten Free Beer

Little known to most, there is a decent sized problem of gluten intolerance that is widespread. Not only is there just a gluten intolerance but an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease. To break it down, people with celiacs have reactions to gluten protein found in wheat and other proteins found in barley, rye, etc. These reactions cause a variety of problems in the digestive system that are no fun at all. Many people go years and years without knowing about their issue which can lead to a very down trodden life. If you would like to learn more here are a few links, I am no doctor nor do I have the disorder so I don't want to go on like I know much.



So how does this have anything to do with beer? Well if you didn't know, the majority of beer is made with some type of malted cereal grain. Whether it be barley, wheat, or rye they all contain the proteins that are intolerable to celiacs sufferers.

I know beer drinkers that have found out they suffer from this and it really can't be that fun to hear "You cannot drink beer for the rest of your life." I know I would probably spat off swear after swear then fall to the floor into the fetal position and cry like a baby for hours.

In the not so distant past a savior became apparent for all of the gluten intolerant beer drinkers. Sorghum, a little known but important cereal crop, is said to be the third most important grain crop in the US. Sorghum can be made into a syrup which in turn gives brewers something they can brew with that has none of the proteins that our beer intolerant friends can't have. For more information find sorghum's wiki page here.

Since this is a relatively new brewing practice not many breweries are producing gluten free beer nor is it perfected as brewing with barley has been over thousands of years. There are a few viable options out there that I would like to share with the beer drinking community as a whole.

The three I am going to list are the most readily available at your local liquor superstore. You may even be able to find at least one of these at your smaller neighborhood store and if they don't carry it, ask, and tell them why it would be beneficial for them to carry them.

Redbridge beer doesn’t need to make promises to stand out from the crowd; its very essence sets it apart. Redbridge is made without wheat or barley, so the approximately 3.2 million consumers who are unable to drink beer made with barley due to Celiac Disease or because they follow a wheat-free or gluten-free diet can once again enjoy a great tasting beer. Redbridge is a rich, full-bodied lager brewed from sorghum for a well-balanced, moderately hopped taste. 

I wouldn't usually rep a Anheuser Busch product but I have to say this is a pretty good tasting beer for the gluten intolerant. I also list this because it will probably be the easiest to find at liquor stores, restaurants, sporting events, etc because of the massive distribution channel that AB holds.   


Style: American Lager

Ingredients: Sorghum, yeast, hops and water—contains no wheat, barley, rye or oats and is naturally gluten-free

Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses, some of which are raised for grain that can be used in the production of beer. Sorghum has been used in making beer for centuries in other parts of the world and is naturally gluten-free.

Taste: Rich and refreshing

Body: Medium

Bitterness: Low (20.5 IBUs)

Aroma: Floral

Color: Amber (SRM 11)

Alcohol Content: 3.8% ABW / 4.6% ABV

Calories: 155 calories per 12-oz serving

Carbohydrates: 14.2 carbohydrates per 12-oz serving

Hops: Imported Hallertauer Magnum, Imported Tettnanger Tettnang

Malt: Proprietary malted sorghum

Yeast: German Lager Yeast (Strain #3470)

Serving Temperature: 39º- 45ºF

This is probably my least favorite of the three, although I give them points for having the first sorghum beer, I think it is too molasses like. Give it a try though as your taste my be different than mine. 

New Grist is the first beer brewed without malted barley or any gluten-containing products to be recognized as beer by the U.S. Government. Each batch brewed at Lakefront’s Milwaukee headquarters is tested for gluten prior to fermentation, before being bottled and shipped. The beer is now available for distribution nationwide in six packs of 12-ounce bottles.

New Grist is brewed from sorghum, hops, water, rice and gluten-free yeast grown on molasses. These ingredients are carefully combined to form a crisp and refreshing "session ale" sure to be popular among those with Celiac Disease, but really brewed for anyone with an appreciation for great tasting, handmade beer.

Well they claim to have made the first beer without malted barley just as Bard's tale has said. Well I don't really care who was the first. New Grist is my absolute favorite of the three. It is very light and refreshing and they do a good job at making it taste most like an actual malted barley beer. I have read other reviews where people have just ripped it, and I don't get it. Yea it may not have the flavor of an Imperial Stout but they did a great job of making something flavorful for the gluten intolerant crowd and I commend them for it. 

So if you have celiacs or just want to join the gluten free lifestyle you CAN still drink beer. Although just gaining ground, there are a good amount of resources out there for you. Here are some links that you may find helpful:

(list of beers)

(recipe for homebrewers)

(another list of GF beers)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beer Review: Burton Bridge Brewery - Old Expensive Ale

Traveling back over the Atlantic for another British ale. Today's is brewed in the famous brewing city of Burton on Trent, which is known for its great ales directly related to the water profile. Quite the contrary to the name the beer really isn't that expensive here in the States. The reason for the name is that in England beers with a higher alcohol content are taxed higher. Reviews of this beer in the States are all over the board, probably because of the long way they have to ship, and after they leave the brewery it's out of their hands.

Barley Wine aroma, Estery
Smooth & bitter with a barley wine taste
Target & Challenger
Pale, Chocolate & invert sugar
November to January

Old Expensive is a strong, dark winter warmer with a full bodied rounded bitterness. It has a rich port wine aroma in the nose, massive mouth-filling malt and ripe fruit flavors and a deep finish with hops, raisins and sultanas on the palate.

I found information on this beer in two separate places. On the brewery's official website the label is different and the malt types used seem a little different than what I am tasting. The other info can be found here and I think it falls more in line with what I was drinking. 

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy orange copper with a thin white head that diminishes to just over the top, no lacing present.

Aroma: Toasty biscuit malt with hints of caramel. Good amount of fruitiness also present.

Flavor: Starts with a slight bitterness quickly moving into fruit. Apple, pear and a tinge of grape are present. Biscuit malt overtones throughout with a slight bit of toffee. Has a cidery feel to it which is probably from the oxidation that comes with aging. Ends moderately dry, with a small bit of sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation.

Overall: At 6.5% alcohol this is a moderately strong ale that I could sip on all day. It is quintessentially British with a good amount of fruity esters from the yeast but has a good base of biscuity malt to round things out. For an old ale this seems much lighter and easier to drink than most examples I have had. As I drank I thought this would be perfect with a nice pork tenderloin. 


Friday, July 16, 2010

Brewing Glossary of Terms

So it was brought to my attention that not everyone reading this has a strong background in brewing and it may be helpful to have an area where someone can look up a term. I will oblige this, so here is a glossary of terms in alphabetic order. 


acetaldehyde flavor
Green apple-like aroma; by-product of fermentation.

acidic flavor
Pungent aroma, sharp taste. Can be like vinegar (acetic) or lemony (citric or lactic acid). Often the result of bacterial contamination or the use of citric acid. Sensation experienced on the sides of the tongue. Also known as sour flavor.

acid rest
A stage of the mashing process that allows the enzyme phytase to convert phytic acid to phosphoric acid to acidify the mash. During this rest the mash is held at about 95° F (35° C). Lowers the pH of the mash, but also increases the mineral content and producing more accessible sources of nutrients for the yeast.

Any grain added to barley malt for beer making, especially rice, corn, unmalted wheat and unmalted barley. These adjuncts must be gelatinized before mashing. They must be used with a high diastatic powered barley malt to insure diastatic enzymes.

To saturate with atmospheric air or oxygen into solution.

American Homebrewers Association.

alcohol by volume
A measurement of the alcohol content of a solution in terms of the percentage volume of alcohol per volume of water or beer. To approximately calculate the volumetric alcohol content, subtract the terminal gravity from the original gravity and divide the result by 7.5. Abbrev: v/v.

alcohol by weight
A measurement of the alcohol content of a solution in terms of the percentage weight of alcohol per volume of water or beer. The percent of alcohol by weight figure is approximately 20% lower than the "by volume" figure because alcohol weighs less than its equivalent volume of water. Abbrev: w/v. 

Any beer produced with top-fermenting or ale yeast.

all-grain beer
A beer made entirely from malt as opposed to one made from malt extract, or from malt extract and malted barley.

alpha acid
The bitter component of hops that can be made soluble when isomerized by boiling. Given in percentage of alpha acid, which may be used to estimate the amount of bitterness in beer. See HBU and IBU.

An enzyme that breaks down starch into smaller molecules by splitting the chains from the center. It produces glucose, maltose, maltotriose, maltotetraose and long dextrin chains. Until these longer chains are broken into one to three molecule long glucose chains they are not fermentable. This process is called liquefaction or dextrinization. Alpha amylase is most active at temperatures between 131-158 °F (55-70 °C).

alt or altbier
German type of beer made from top fermenting yeast.

ambient temperature
The surrounding temperature.

astringent flavor
Drying, puckering (like chewing on a grape skin) feeling often associated with sourness. Tannin. Most often derived from boiling grains, long mashes, oversparging or sparging with alkaline water.

Reduction of the extract density by fermentation in finished beer. Apparent attenuation can be claculated by subtracting the difference between the original gravity and the final gravity. Real attenuation can be estimated by multiplying the apparent attenuation by 0.816.

Self-digestion and disintegration of yeast cells in nutrient-depleted solutions. This can impart "soapy" off-flavors if beer is allowed to sit too long on the dead yeast. 


A group of unicellular microorganisms lacking chlorophyll and reproducing rapidly by simple fission. Are known to be responsible for the spoilage and contamination of beer. There are no known pathogenic bacteria that can grow in beer.

A cereal of the genus Hordeum, a member of the Gramineae or grass family of plants that also includes wheat, rye, oats, maize, rice, millet and sorghum. There are two varieties (2-row, 6-row) classified according to the number of rows of seeds on each of the heads of the plant. When malted, barley is the cereal grain preferred for brewing because the seed is covered by a husk that protects the germ during malting and helps to filter the wort during lautering by forming a filter bed. The essential qualities for brewing barley are high starch content, sufficient diastatic power to transform the starch into sugar, and low protein content.

Standard unit in commercial brewing. U.S. barrel is 31.5 gallons; British barrel is 43.2 U.S. gallons. Abbreviation; bbl.

An enzyme that bleaks down starches into smaller chains by chopping off maltose molecules from the end. This process is called saccharification because it produces fermentable sugars. Beta-amylase is most active at temperatures between 113-149 °F (45-65 °C).

Brownish-gray, calcium oxalate and organic deposits left on fermentation equipment.

A desirable flavor quality created by the isohumulones of hops. See HBU and IBM.

A quality of beer, largely determined by the presence of colloidal protein complexes. Also partially due to the presence of unfermentable sugars (dextrins) in the finished beer.

The sudden precipitation of proteins and resins in wort. The hot break occurs during the boil, and the cold break occurs during rapid chilling.


campden tablets
Pellets of sodium metabisulphite used as infection-inhibiting agent. Not technically a sterilizer. Used more in wine, mead, and cider making than brewing.

The heat-induced browning of sugars, different from the Maillard reactions in malt kilning.

Tradename for a specially processed malt used to add body to pale beers. Similar to crystal but not roasted. Also called dextrine malt.

A large, narrow-necked glass, plastic or earthenware bottle used to ferment beer or wine. Available in 2, 5, 6.5, and 7-gallon sizes.

chill haze
Haze caused by precipitation of protein-tannin compounds at cold temperatures. Does not affect flavor. Reduce proteins or tannins in brewing.

chocolate (malt)
Medium-brown roasted malt.

cold break
Rapid precipitation of proteins, which occurs when boiled wort is rapidly chilled.

The process of maturation of beer, whether in bottles or in kegs. During this phase, complex sugars are slowly fermented, carbon dioxide is dissolved, and yeast settles out.
The enzymatic transformation of starches into various fermentable and unfermentable sugars that occurs during the mashing process.

cornelius keg
Kegs commonly used in homebrewing. Stainless steel canisters once used for soft drinks. They can be found in 3, 5, and 10 gallon sizes with two types of connector, pin-lock or ball-lock.

corn sugar
Also called dextrose or glucose. A simple sugar sometimes used in beer making, derived from corn.

A procedure used to break grain in to small pieces while maintaining the integrity of the barley husk.

crystal malt
A specially processed type of malt that is used to add body and caramel color and flavor to amber and dark beers. Comes in several shades of color (10 - 220° Lovibond) 


To extract by boiling. This continental mashing technique takes the mash through a series of controlled temperature stages by removing a portion of the mash, bringing this mixture to a boil and returning it back to main portion of the mash. Each successive step or decoction is used to raise the temperature of the main mash. This type of mash typically employs two or three decoction steps that correspond to temperature rests employed by other mashing methods. Decoction mashing typically achieves an extremely high rate of extraction and increased amount of malt character. Decoction mashing is a historical method of achieving starch conversion before the existence of the thermometer.

diacetyl flavor
Described as buttery or butterscotch. Sometimes caused by abbreviated fermentation, mutated yeast or bacteria. Also known as buttery flavor.

The term used to refer to all enzymes in barley and malt involved in the conversion of starch to sugar during mashing.

DMS flavor
Dimethyl sulfide. A sweet corn-like aroma. Can be attributed to malt, short, covered or non-vigorous boiling of the wort, slow wort chilling, or in extreme cases, bacterial contamination.

The gradual addition of water to crushed malt to create a uniformly moistened grain and water solution. Doughing-in is used to prevent the formation of dry spots in the mash.

draft, draught
Beer from a cask or a keg, as opposed to bottled beer. Draft beer stored (usually under pressure) in metal kegs is often non-pasteurized and minimally or not filtered.

A method of adding hops directly to the secondary, to increase hop aroma without adding bitterness.

German word for "dark," as in dark beer. Usually refers to Munich dark style.


The yield of fermentable sugar from the mash. This can be measured directly as degrees of specific gravity per gallon of wort, or as an absolute percentage of dry grain weight.
essential oil
The aromatic volatile liquid of the hop.

estery flavor
Similar to banana, pear, raspberry, apple or strawberry flavor, may include other fruits. Often accentuated by high fermentation temperatures and certain yeast strains. Also known as fruity flavor.

The two carbon alcohol found in beer.

Term used to refer to sugars derived from malt. Also, the commercially prepared syrups or dried products.


A thermometer scale in which the freezing point of water is 32° and the boiling point is 212°. Abbreviated °F.
To convert °Fahrenheit to °Celsius: °C=(°F - 32) x 5/9
To convert °Celsius to °Fahrenheit: °F=(°C x 9/5) + 32

false bottom
A perforated plate or screen set above the bottom of the lauter/mash tun to separate grain from the mash liquor. Aids in filtering back the grain during siphoning and sparging.

The chemical conversion of fermentable sugars in the wort into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide gas, by yeast, resulting in a drop in the specific gravity of the beer as the alcohol content increases.  

A generic name for any open or closed vessel in which fermentation takes place.

A procedure used by brewers to clarify beer with the use of gelatin, Irish moss or isingglass.

Grains that have been moistened and pressed or rolled into flakes. Flaked grains are gelatinized during the flaking process and can be added directly to the mash.

The formation of clumps or masses. Usually referring to yeast in later stages of fermentation. Can also be used referring to proteins in a cold or hot break.

The head on the surface of beer or fermenting wort

fusel alcohol
Higher, more complex alcohols, found in all fermented beverages.


Used in beermaking as a fining agent. See Fining.

grain bed
The grain bed is formed by the collection of grist particles and grain husks on top of the false bottom of the lauter/mash tun. Once established the grain bed allows for the separation of the clear wort from the spent grains during sparging.
grain bill
The list of grains and their amounts used for a particular recipe.

Specific gravity. Density of a solution as compared to water; expressed in grams per milliliter. One milliliter of water weighs one gram. S.G.=1.000.

A container (as a jug or pitcher) for beer bought by the measure.

A medieval herb mixture used in beer.

A Belgian ale, uniquely fermented with wild yeasts. Final product is made by blending old and young beers.


Foam on the surface of beer or fermenting wort.

German word for "light," denoting a pale Munich syle.
Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash System. A variant of the RIMS. With this mashing method the temperature of the mash is changed by applying heat via a heat exchanger instead of the mash liquor itself. This produces greater temperature control and eliminates scorching of the mash liquor. Like the RIMS this system employs constant circulation of the mash liquor and the multiple temperature steps like acid rest, protein rest, saccharification rest and mash out, giving greater control over the mash schedule.

A perennial climbing vine, also known by the Latin botanical name of Humulus lupulus, a member of the natural family of Cannabinaceae. Only the female ripened flower is used to give beer its bitterness and characteristic aroma.

hop back
A strainer tank used in commercial brewing to filter hops and trub from boiled wort before it is chilled.

hop schedule
Adding hops to the boil at different intervals producing complex hop bitterness, aromas and flavors.

hot break
The rapid coagulation of proteins and resins, assisted by the hops, which occurs after a sustained period of boiling.

hot liquor tank
The vessel used to hold the hot water used for brewing steps, like sparging.

One of the most plentiful of the many oils which give hops their characteristic aroma.

A glass instrument for measuring the specific gravity of liquids as compared to that of water, consisting of a graduated stem resting on a weighted float. Most hydrometers are calibrated for use at 15.6°C (60°F) and tables or charts are provided listing corrections for variations in temperature. The accuracy of a hydrometer is tested in water at 15.6°C (60°F) where it should read 1.000.


International Bittering Unit. The accepted method of expressing hop bitterness in beer. PPM of dissolved iso-alpha acids present in beer. 

infusion mash
A single-step single-temperature method employed to mash highly modified malt. During an infusion mash the temperature of the mash is maintained between 150 and 158 °F 1(66 and 70 °C) for one half to one hour for the saccharification rest. This mash technique of the simplest type used to make ales and stouts.

The introduction of a microbe into surroundings capable of supporting its growth. See pitching.

iodine test
A procedure used to determine whether starch conversion has been completed. An iodine solution turns dark blue or black in the presence of unconverted starch. Total saccharification causes no change in the color of the iodine.

irish moss
A marine algae, Chrondus crispus, that is used during wort boiling to enhance the hot break. Also known as carrageen.

A type of gelatin obtained from the swim bladder of certain types of fish (usually sturgeon), used as a fining agent in ales.

The structural chemical change that takes place in hop bittering resin (alpha-acids) which allows them to become soluble in wort during boiling.


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The boiling vessel, also known as a copper.

The process of drying germinated barley. Kilning terminates the germination process and roasts the grain. The degree of kilning determines the final characteristics of the malt being produced. The lowest temperature and duration kilnings provide a light straw-colored malt. Higher temperatures and longer kilning produce specialty malts like roast, chocolate or black patent.

A style of ale made in the city of Koln (Cologne).
The period of fermentation characterized by a rich foam head.

The practice of adding vigorously fermenting young beer to beer in the secondary.

Cherry, usually referring to a cherry Belgian lambic ale.


lactic acid
An organic acid sometimes used to assist the acidification of the mash. Also, a by-product of Lactobacillus.

Large class of aerobic bacteria. May be either a spoilage organism, or a consciously added fermenting agent in Kolsch, or Berliner weisse.

"To store." A long, cold period of subdued fermentation and sedimentation to active (primary) fermentation. Any beer produced with bottom-fermenting or lager yeast.

A highly distinctive wheat ale made in Belgium. Brewed with wild yeast and beer souring bacteria. Lambics have a sharp, tart taste, and usually flavored with fruit.

The thin mash after saccharification; the sweet mash liquor.

lauter tun
A vessel used to separate spent grains or draff from the lauter. This vessel is typically fitted with a false bottom that holds the grain bed during sparging. Also called the sparging vessel.

A standard scale for the measurement of grain wort and beer color. A particular sample is characterized with a Lovibond rating by comparing it to a standard liquid reference sample. Malt is as signed a Lovibond rating by producing a sample wort from a single malt grist and comparing the result to the standard color reference samples. Expressed in &degLovibond.

The resiny substance in hops containing all the resins and aromatic oils.


maillard reactions
Complex chemical reactions of carbohydrates and amino acids which occur during the roasting of malt. Responsible for the production of melanoidins and many different roasted flavors. Also called maillard browning.

Barley that has been processed for the purpose of converting the insoluble starch to the soluble substances and sugars. Three factors determine the quality of malt: 1-its protein content must be as low as possible, 2-its starch content must be as high as possible, 3-its germinative power must be superior.

The process of converting barley into malt. The process is divided into three stages: 1-steeping the barley in water until a designated moisture content has been reached, 2-germinating the wet barley under controlled conditions, 3-kilning the germinated barley (green malt) to dry it and/or roast it.

malt extract
Concentrated preparations of wort. Available as syrup or powder, in a wide range of colors, hopped or unhopped.

Purified long-chain unfermentable sugar (dextrin). Used as an additive in extract beers, to add body. Isomaltose, amylodextrin
Type of German lager brewed in March for consumption during Oktoberfest. Slightly darker and stronger than standard pale lager.

The process of enzymatically extracting and converting malt solubles to wort. Mashing involves combining crushed malt grain and water at various temperatures to induce enzymatic activities.

mash out
The final stage of decoction and step mashing. During the mash out the mash temperature is raised to 168 °F (76 °C) and allowed to rest for five minutes. This procedure is used to terminate enzymatic activity and to improve the flow of the sugar solution during lautering.

mash tun
A vessel used to hold the grain and water mixture during the mashing process. Mash tuns come in a variety of styles to accommodate various mashing methods. Usually fitted with false bottoms allow for use as combination mash/lauter tuns.

Wine made from honey, sometimes with the addition of malt, fruit, spices, etc.

Group of complex color compounds formed by heating sugars and starches in the presence of proteins. Created in brewing during grain roasting and wort boiling.

Sensory qualities of a beverage other than flavor, such as body and carbonation.


nitrogen gas
Used to pressurize stouts to give a rich creamy head.

oast house
Facility where hops are dried and processed.

1-A beer festival held annually in Münich's Theresienwiese (Theresa's Meadow) for sixteen days and nights in late September and early October. The festival originated with the wedding festivities of the Bavarian heir prince Ludwig to the princess Theresa in 1810. 2-A bottom-fermented Vienna- or Marzen-style beer originally brewed especially for the Oktoberfest but now available year round.

original gravity (OG)
Specific gravity of wort before fermentation has started.

Chemical reaction that occurs between oxygen and various components in beer resulting off-flavor.

oxidized flavor
Develops in the presence of oxygen as the beer ages or is exposed to high temperatures; winey, wet cardboard, papery, rotten vegetable, pineapple, sherry, baby diapers. Often coupled with an increase in sour, harsh, or astringent taste. Also known as stale flavor.


Antiquated brewhouse practice in England. First and strongest runnings become strong ale, second runnings become ordinary beer, and the last and weakest runnings become small beer. Useful technique for no sparge mashing where the last runnings is used for yeast starters.

The process of sterilizing by heat.

A chain of galacturonic acid that becomes gelatinous in the presence of sugars and acids.

A numerical measurement of acidity or alkalinity determined by the presence of hydrogen ions. The pH scale ranges in values from one to 14 with seven being neutral. A pH of lower than seven indicates acidity or the presence of more hydrogen ions. The lower the pH number, the higher the concentration of hydrogen ions and the stronger the acidity of the solution. Numbers above seven represent alkalinity with 14 representing the strongest alkali solution.

pH meter
An instrument with a digital display that measures, calculates and displays the pH of a solution. This device must be calibrated with a solution of known pH. A properly calibrated pH meter is more accurate than pH paper because visual comparison of color is not required.

pH paper
Chemically treated strips used to measure the pH of a solution. The strips change color in response to the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The degree of color on the strip is compared to a standard scale to determine the level of acidity or alkalinity.

Aromatic hydroxyl precursors of tannins (polyphenols).

phenolic flavor
Can be any one or a combination of medicinal. plastic, electrical fire, Listerine-like, Band-Aid-like, smoky or clovelike aromas and flavors. Most often caused by wild yeast or bacterial contaminations. Can be extracted from grains, sanitizing residues left in brewing equipment can contribute.

Inoculating wort with a yeast starter to begin fermentation.

European and American scale of gravity based on a percentage of pure sugar in the wort. A newer, more accurate version of the Balling scale. Expressed as °Plato.

Polyphenols are derived from the husk and are acidic precursors of tannins. These molecules can give beer an astringent taste. Polyphenol extraction can be reduced by keeping the pH of the mash between 5.0 and 5.5. Polyphenols form complexes with proteins and are the cause of chill haze.

primary fermentation
The first stage of fermentation. Initial rapid stage of yeast activity when the simple sugars in the wort are metabolized.

The process of adding sugar to beer before bottling or racking to kegs. Induces fermentation to carbonate the beer (bottle condition).


To drink a beer heartily.


The transfer of wort or beer from one vessel to another.

A dark German lager beer made from smoked malts.

A German law the title of which signifies "pledge of purity" or "order of purity." This purity law governs the production and quality of beer in Germany. Enacted in 1516 that only water, malted barley, malted wheat and hops could be used to make beer. Yeast was not mentioned but taken for granted. This law is still effective today in Germany and was adopted by some neighboring countries. The German beer law prohibits the use of adjuncts, including sugar.

Any of numerous clear to translucent yellow or brown, solid or semisolid, viscous substances of plant origin, such as lupulin in the hop flower.

Holding the mash at a specific temperature to induce certain enzymatic reactions.
Recirculating Infusion Mash System. A temperature-controlled mash procedure that employs multiple temperature rests and constant circulation of the mash liquor. With this mashing method the temperature of the mash is changed by applying heat to the mash tun to produce the desired temperature increase. Typical steps are acid rest, protein rest, saccharification rest and mash out. Another variant is the HERMS.
Term used to describe a "rocky" like texture of kraeusen, especially during primary fermentation.

Creating turbulence by agitation, stirring or mixing.

The liquid that is separated from the spent grains during lautering or sparging. Also called runnings, wort, sweet wort or sweet liquor.

Scientific genus name of yeast used in brewing. Saccharomyces cerevesiae, which is ale yeast and Saccharmyces uvarum, which is lager yeast.

secondary fermentation
A second fermentation in a second, closed fermenter allowing for a slow reduction or conditioning of the remaining fermentable sugars. The beer is racked off the trub and degenerating yeast cells that can impair the flavor.

A pipe or tube fashioned or deployed in an inverted U shape and filled until atmospheric pressure is sufficient to force a liquid from a reservoir in one end of the tube over a barrier higher than the reservoir and out the other end.

six-row barley
This malt variety has six distinct seed rows on the grain head. Very high diastatic power allows mashing with up to 60% grain adjuncts, great if added diastatic strength is needed in a recipe. Six-Row also has greater husks per weight ratio than two-row. Protein rest recommended to avoid chill-haze.

Faint "skunk" aroma caused by overexposure of beer to light. Light struck.

Process of rinsing mashed grains with hot water to recover all available fermentable sugars. The sparge water is layered in a fine spray on top of the grain bed at about the same rate as the runoff. 

specialty malt
Barley malt with a higher degree of roasting during the kilning process. This creates a range of color and flavor characteristics in the finished malt. Malt characteristics range from pale to black and each style has a particular flavor from mild to a burnt roast. Specialty malts usually do not need to be mashed.

specific gravity
A measurement of density, expressed relative to the density of water. Used in brewing to follow the course of percent attenuation.

Standard Reference Method. A method of measuring color intensity roughly equal to Lovibond degrees, used by the ASBC (American Society of Brewing Chemists). Expressed as 10 times the absorbance of beer, as measured at 346 nm. This system has largely replaced the older Lovibond color rating system in the brewing industry. The Europeans use a unit called EBC "(European Brewery Convention) degree." To convert between the two use these formulas: 1 °SRM = 0.375 °EBC + 0.46 or 1 °EBC = 2.65 °SRM - 1.2.

The small amount of fermenting beer used in pitching. 

The soaking barley or wheat in water to begin germination in the malting process. Steeping barley provides the moisture required for seed growth. The term steeping also refers to the practice of crushing and immersing specialty grains in the brewing kettle prior to producing wort with malt extract.

Type of beer brewed in Germany, using hot stones to boil the wort.

step infusion
A temperature-controlled mash procedure often called a step mash that employs multiple temperature rests. With this mashing method the temperature of the mash is changed by applying heat or introducing hot water to produce the desired temperature increase. Typical steps are acid rest, protein rest, saccharification rest and mash out.

strike temperature
The target temperature of a mash rest, the temperature at which a desired reaction occurs.


Complex polyphenol polymers with a characteristic astringent flavor, extracted from hops and the husks of barley. Tannins react with proteins and contribute to haze formation.

terminal gravity
The density of the fully fermented beer. The final specific gravity.

Coagulated protein and hop resin sludge which precipitates out of wort during boiling and again at chilling.

Sediment or foreign particles stirred up or suspended.

two-row barley
A variety of malt that forms two seed rows along the stem on the grain head. Well modified with a high diastatic power allows mashing with up to 35% grain adjuncts. Because it is fairly neutral two-row makes an excellent base malt and is known as the "workhorse" of many recipes. Greater starch per weight ratio than six-row.  


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Readily vaporized, especially essential oils and higher alcohols.


Term applied to German wheat ales of the Bavarian, or Suddeutsch, style.

German word meaning "white," applied to the tart wheat beers of the Berliner style.

German word for "wheat." Synonymous with weiss.

Device used to separate hops and trub from wort after boiling. Wort is stirred in a circular motion and collects in the center of the whirlpool. Clear wort is drained from the edge.

Belgian word for "white," a type of wheat beer brewed in the north, around Louvain. Often spiced with coriander and Curacao.

The sweet sugar solution obtained by mashing the malt (sweet wort); the hopped sugar solution before pitching (bitter wort).

wort chiller
Heat exchanger used to rapidly cool wort from near boiling to pitching temperature.


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Large class of microscopic fungi, several species of which are used in brewing. The productivity of yeasts in wort varies with the temperature and reaches a maximum at about 86 °F (30 °C). Usually considered to be two major types, ale yeast and lager yeast. Also known as yeastie beasties.


The branch of chemistry that deals with fermentation processes, as in brewing. Also the magizine that the AHA puts out.