Beer Terms and Definitions

Alcohol by Volume: A measure of the amount of alcohol in beer. The measure of the amount of space the alcohol in a beer takes up as a percentage of total space. Commonly known as "ABV"


Alcohol by Weight: A measure of the amount of alcohol in beer. The measure of the amount of weight the alcohol in a beer has as a percentage of total weight.


Balance: The proportion to malt sweetness to hop bitterness in beer.


Barrel: As a measurement of the amount of beer the term barrel is equal to two kegs, or 31 gallons.


Beer: At its essence, beer is a beverage containing alcohol derived from the fermentation of malt and flavored with hops. Depending upon the style or origin of the beer, it may be fermented with other grains, spices, and fruits.


Bitter: One of the flavor characteristics of beer, contributed by the hops. A bitter is also a style that originated in Britain. It was the most popular style of ale. Moderately hopped and typically amber in color, the style accounts for the majority of draft ale sales in English pubs.


Bitterness Units: An international system of units for measuring and expressing the hop bitterness in beer. Also called IBU's. The unit of measure is parts per million of isomerized alpha acids.


 Carbonation: Sparkle caused by carbon dioxide, either created during fermentation or injected later.


Craft Beer: An American craft beer is produced by a small, independent brewer who follows traditional brewing processes. While we follow the Brewers Association definition of a craft brewer, we include a craft brewer who grows beyond two million barrels and continues to adhere to craft brewing standards. We hope to be the first craft beer to reach this threshold.


Draft Beer: Dispensing beer from a keg or cask using a hand pump, air pump, or injected carbon dioxide inserted prior to sealing.


Fermentation: At its core, fermentation is process of yeast converting sugars (from wort in brewing) into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. Normal fermentation can take up to seven days.


Filtration Beer: is still slightly cloudy after lagering, and requires filtering to remove any remaining yeast and other insoluble materials to achieve a brilliant clarity. The beer can be passed through a variety of materials like diatomaceous earth, cellulose pads, or plastic membranes.


Head: The foam at the top of a beer. The head is the protein which is pushed out of suspension by the bubbles.


Keg: A keg is one half barrel or 15.5 gallons (1,984 oz) and is equal to 6.88 cases of beer.


Malt: Malt is the end product after a grain has been malted (see malting). Most often barley is the grain referred to but many different grains can be malted. The variety of barley, the extent to which it is allowed to germinate, and the temperature at which it is dried, all influence the character, color, and flavor of beer.


Pasteurization: Beer must either be pasteurized or sterile-filtered to protect it from the continued growth of any stray yeast or other beer-loving micro-organisms. (No, you are more likely considered a beer loving macro-organism.) The process of pasteurization takes place by heating the beer to 60-79�C or 140-179�F to kill any beer spoiling micro-organisms. Beer can be pasteurized by heating it briefly in process or bottled beer can be passed through a heated tunnel for a more gradual process. Typically, kegged beer is not pasteurized making its life cycle much shorter than bottled beer.


Seasonal Beers: Special beer styles brewed for specific seasons. All beers may have originated as seasonal in nature but the term now signifies the beer's availability and often the tastes it is meant to evoke.


Water: One of the four ingredients of beer. The primary requirement for water used in brewing is that it be drinkable. Chemically speaking, brewing water should be non-alkaline and of a certain hardness, prerequisites easily attained with the proper treatment. In earlier days, breweries were founded close to where barley grew and close to where there was a constant source of clean river or spring water. The hardness or softness of the water affected the beers an individual region was able to produce.


Yeast: One of the four ingredients of beer. Yeast is a single cell organism whose metabolism converts the sugars contained in the malt into alcohol and carbon dioxide. One species, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, is used to make ale, and another, Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis, is used to make lager. The further variations of these types of yeast are different per brewery.