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Brewing Terms You Should Know

While Merriam-Webster defines homebrew as "an alcoholic beverage (such as beer) made at home," we think of it more as a way of life. As with any way of life, brewing has its own language.

Find a comprehensive translation below. 

Brewing Vocabulary

Airlock / Fermentation Lock

Allows CO2 to escape the fermentor created by yeast during fermentation.

Bottle Conditioning

How beer is naturally carbonated. During this period the yeast consumes the priming sugar creating co2 and should be done at room temps.

 Bung / Stopper

Used to close the hole of a carboy or fermenter and also holds the airlock in place on the fermentor.

Carboy

A common glass or plastic fermenter. Great for primary and secondary fermentation.

Dry Hops

Hops that are added to the beer during fermentation, adding even more flavor and aroma.

Dry Malt Extract (DME)

An even more reduced down version of Liquid Malt Extract (LME).

Fermentation

Converting sugar to alcohol and CO2.

Fermenter

A food grade container used to ferment. 

Final Gravity (FG)

The amount of sugar left after fermentation in the beer.

Hops

Used to add bitterness, flavor, and aroma to the beer. In general, hops added in the first 30mins of the boil are for bitterness and hops added in the last 30mins are for flavor and aroma.

Hydrometer

A tool used to measure the gravity of wort/beer.

Krausen

Foamy head created during fermentation. A good sign that fermentation is happening.

Malt

Grain that has been sprouted and heated making it ready for the brewing process.

Primary Fermentation

The first 1-2 weeks of fermentation where the sugar is converted to CO2 and alcohol. If you have clear fermenter you will see foaming and turning of the wort as the yeast go to work.

Primary Fermenter

The Fermenter/Carboy that the chilled wort and yeast are mixed together in. The real magic happens here.

Priming Solution

A measured amount of sugar dissolved in water that is added at bottling time.

Priming Sugar

Corn sugar used to make a priming solution at bottling to produce co2 in the bottle. Yeast consumes the sugar converting into CO2 giving us the carbonation we love in beer.

Secondary Fermentation

No fermentation happens in this step, just flavor development and improved clarity. Helps to get clearer beer into the bottle.

Secondary Fermenter

A fermenter used to hold the beer allowing flavor development and clarification. 

Siphon / Racking

Carefully moving the beer from one fermenter to another, using an auto siphon or racking cane.

Specialty / Steeping Grain

Grain that adds sugar and flavor to the beer that can be steeped in water. Simply cracking them, and steeping them in hot water will impart their flavors to the beer.

Specific Gravity

Measurement of the sugar in the wort/beer.

Syrup / Liquid Malt Extract (LME)

Thick syrup made from grain base sugars all set to add to the boil for your brew day.

Starting Gravity (SG) / Original Gravity (OG)

The initial amount of sugar in the wort before yeast consumes it. SG and OG are used interchangeably.

Steeping

Soaking grain in hot water, 150-170 is best, for 20 mins allowing the sugar and flavor to come out.

Wort

Boiled malt sugar solution made from malt extract and hops.

Yeast

Microorganism that converts the sugar to alcohol for us, they make the wort into beer.