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Home Brewing and Wine Making Glossary of Terms and Definitions



The penetration of a liquid or solid into or through another liquid or solid, the particles that are absorbed being molecular or micellar in size. A few solid bodies have the power of taking up or absorbing gases, for instance, charcoal or activated carbon.

Acetic acid

Acetic acid is what gives vinegar it's sour kick. It is created by the acetobacter family of bacteria.


Adjucts are any ingredients that are additional or unnecessary to the style of beer you are making. Even though they might still be beneficial or attractive to reach a desired outcome.


The adhesion, in an extremely thin layer of the molecules of gases, of dissolved substances, or of liquids, to the surfaces of solid bodies, with which they are in contact.

Air Lock

An airlock is essentially a piece of equipment or lid that is designed to let CO2 out without letting air back in to your fermentation vessel. This is essential to consistently successful fermentation as it will keep out wild yeast and bacteria that can spoil your beer.


Proteins in beer which affect head retention.

Alcohol tolerance

The level of alcohol that a yeast strain can survive at. If the alcohol rises above this level during fermentation yeast will die or become dormant.


An ale is a beer fermented with top-fermenting ale yeast. It can also sometimes refer to beers with more body or darker in color.


An alkali is a salt that will usually dissolve in water. A solution of one of these salts would have a pH that is greater than 7.0. These alkalis are what you would use to raise the pH of your mash water if it is too acidic.


Alkalinity is the measurement of an alkali solution's ability neutralize an acid.

Alpha Acid

Alpha acids are responsible for the bitterness we taste in beer. When boiling the wort the heat extracts these componds and isomerizes them into iso-alpha acids.

Amber malt

Amber malt is a more toasted version of pale malt. It is a traditional malt used in the making of brown porters and must be mashed. Amber malt can also refer to amber malt extract which is darker in color than gold malt extract.

American Light Lager

American light lagers have a light fizzy body with a crispness usually enhanced by rice and/or corn. These were made popular by the large Macro-Breweries after prohibition ended.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are compounds that join together to form proteins.


Amylases are enzymes responsible for breaking large starches into smaller sugars so that the yeasts used in brewing can easily digest them.


Aphids are small bugs that can infest hop bines. These infestations result in yield decline and effect hop cone quality.

Artesian Well

A well that flows to the surface with force, due to the pressure it is under.


An autoclave is a chamber used to increase heat and pressure, typically for the process of sterilization.


Autolysis is the process of yeast cells breaking open in a sort of self-digestion. This process can create muddy, soy sauce-like flavors.


Bacteria are microscopic organisms that are typically undesirable it beer. However some bacteria are cultivated for their ability to create sour flavors in Lambics, Berliner Weisses, and American style sour beers.

Ball Lock

The most common type of home brew keg fitting used on soda kegs, for the liquid and gas connections. The quick-disconnect locks onto a groove in the keg fitting using a spring-loaded collar, and small steel ball bearings.

Banana Powder

Additive used to increase body in wine recipes.


Barleywines tend to be high in alcohol, with a lot of sweetness left from unfermented sugars. Many are quite hoppy as well, to balance that sweetness.


  • A. Generic name for a cask or keg.
  • B. Container for transporting draft beer.
  • C. Unit of liquid volume measure: U.S. beer barrel = 31 U.S. Gallons, Canada beer barrel = 25 Imperial Gallons, British beer barrel = 36 Imperial Gallons

Base Malt

Base malt refers to a malt such as pale malt that serves as the "backbone" of the beer, as well as the main sugar source for fermentation.


Quantity of wine/beer produced at one time.


The term for stirring the lees or sediment back up into the wine.

Beer geek

Any homebrewer who has advanced beyond basic kit brewing, or any person who has taken (and passed) the BJCP Certification Exam.

Beer Stone

Grayish-brown deposit of calcium oxalate and organic matter on surface of equipment in prolonged contact with beer.

Bittering Hops

Hops used early in the boil to impart bitterness. They do not generally impart much flavor or aroma.


The bitter substances in beer which are mainly iso-alpha acids.

Bitterness Unit (BU)

A method of measuring the degree of bitterness in beer. The bitter substances are extracted from acidified beer with iso-octane and the absorbance measured with a spectrophotometer at 275 nm.


Beer Judging Certification Program. A program of certifying and ranking beer judges, involving a written examination, scoring test beers, and gaining points by helping run BJCP Registered competitions (judging, stewarding, organizing, etc.).


A Blow-Off is a type of airlock arrangement consisting of a tube exiting from the fermenter, submerging into a bucket of water, that allows the release of carbon dioxide and removal of excess fermentation material.

Bottle Condition

Carbonating beer with an additional fermentation in the bottle.

Bottle sickness

A temporary condition characterized by muted or disjointed fruit flavors. It often occurs immediately after bottling or when wines (usually fragile wines) are shaken in travel. Also called bottle shock. A few days of rest is the cure.


A French term for the aroma of a wine. The bouquet is often the first indicator of a wine's quality during wine tasting. Aromas may include fruit, spice, and other smells associated with a particular grape variety, region, or condition of the wine. The bouquet of a Merlot, for example, will often contain aromas of raspberry and cassis (black currant).


A mead in which some of the fermentable sugars come from malt; or, a mixture of ale and mead.


Property (of a beer) of being transparent and sparkling.


Water to which sodium chloride is added to lower its freezing point. Term can also be applied if calcium chloride, potassium carbonate, specially denatured ethyl alcohol or propylene glycol are added. Level of corrosion inhibitor and pH must be controlled.

Brown Malt

A medium-dark toasted malt, not as dark as chocolate or black malt. Color is typically around 60°L; imparts a pronounced coffee/roasted flavor, seemingly out of proportion to its color. Contains starch, but no enzymes (should be mashed with pale malt). Historically, brown malt was dried over a wood or peat fire, giving it a smokey character; contemporary brown malt is not smoky.


A chemical solution, such as a salt, that by disassociation or re-association stabilizes the pH of a solution.

California Common

California Commons are thought to have originated on the west coast of the US in the 1800s. They are similar to Pale Ales, but they have a unique quality from being fermented with lager yeasts are warmer than normal temps.


Amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Centigrade.


The protective metal or plastic sheath over the cork and neck of a wine bottle. The capsule keeps the cork from drying out and admitting air into the bottle. Can also be called a PVC capsule.

Caramel Malt

A malt that is made by raising the temperature of wet green malt to a temperature during which the enzymes in the malt convert the starch to sugars, in effect mashing the grain "in the husk." Also referred to interchangeably as "Crystal malt."

Carbon Dioxide

A heavy, colorless, gas (CO2). Two grams fermented wort extract will produce about 1 gram of alcohol and 1 gram of CO2.


Large glass jug, such as you see on old-fashioned water coolers. Really fine for fermenting beer and wine as long as you don’t use the cap forming or top fermenting ale yeasts.


The protective metal or plastic sheath over the cork and neck of a wine bottle. The capsule keeps the cork from drying out and admitting air into the bottle. Can also be called a PVC capsule.


Is the polysaccharide fraction of Irish Moss, soluble in hot water.


Originally an oak container (barrel) with a side bung hole and tap for holding,transporting and dispensing beer. Later versions similar in design and concept but made from aluminum or stainless steel. Ranging in size from a Pin (4.5 Imp. Gallon) to a Hogs Head (54 Imp. Gallon).


A cellar is a storage room for wine and beer.


(C6H10O5)x: a polysaccharide composed of D-glucopyranoside units. It forms the cell walls and fibrous structure of many plants, and is the chief constituent of paper and wood.


The common name for calcium carbonate (CaCO3) also know as precipitated chalk in older recipes. Used to reduce high acid levels in juice, must, and wine. Use at a rate of 0.7-1.5 g/l to reduce TA by 1g/l (0.1%). This method should be used at least 3 months before bottling to prevent a chalk haze or crystalline deposit from forming in bottle.


A stoppage or slowing up of the main fermentation before the beer's fermentation has completely attenuated.

Chit malt

Highly undermodified malt.

Chlorine Bleach

Unscented Clorox or similar product, diluted at about one tablespoon per gallon, is an excellent sterilizing agent for bottles and equipment. Its disadvantage over campden tablets is that if not thoroughly rinsed from equipment, even a small amount will kill the yeast in your fermenter.


Newly fermented beers and wines are murky due to the presence of suspended solids, mainly yeast. These solids will settle naturally to the bottom of a vessel or bottle in time, speeded by adding various substances to the brew near the end of fermentation. Unflavored gelatin is the clarifying substance recommended by many sources.

Classic American Pilsner

The ancestor of the American Light Lager style, as it existed prior to Prohibition. More flavor and body than an American Light Lager — closer to its Continental Pilsner roots, but with an American malt and hop character. Frequently contains corn as an adjunct.


Overly sweet, typically leaving a slickness on your tongue.


The act or state of becoming viscous, jelly-like or solid, or of uniting into a coherent mass; especially the change from a liquid to a thickened, curd- like state by chemical reaction.

Cold Break

Materials that precipitate out of the wort when it is chilled, consisting primarily of proteins and tannins. One of the components of trub. Some experts claim that carrying at least some of the cold break over into the fermenter is beneficial, because it acts as a yeast nutrient.

Cold Stabilizing

This is the process of removing tartaric acid from wine by chilling the wine down below 30°F for a few weeks. The cold temperature causes the tartaric acid to bond to potassium and create large potassium bitartrate crystals that are too large to stay in solution. This is done for two reasons; to reduce the Total Acidity in the wine, and/or to prevent it from happening in the bottle of chilled wines.


Any of several cone-like flower or fruit clusters, as in the hop.


A British term for the kettle.


Sweet fruit beverage, 20-24% alcohol


An expression used when a wine has gone bad. Typically because the cork has lost its resiliency and may even be crumbly.


A cereal grain commonly used as an adjunct in American Light Lagers, and Classic American Pilsners. Also used in some British ales.

Corn syrup

A sugar syrup which has been manufactured from corn. May contain flavorings (e.g. vanilla), and/.or preservatives.


A device that serves to connect the ends of adjacent parts or objects. Example: hose couplings.

Cream Ale

A variation on American Light Lager. Fermented as a ale but lagered. Typically contains rice or corn as an adjunct.

Crown Caps

Common metal caps used to seal beverage bottles by being crimped or squeezed on.


As a noun, cultivation of living organisms in prepared medium; as a verb, to grow in prepared medium.

Culture medium

Any nutrient system for the artificial cultivation of bacteria or other cells; usually a complex mixture of organic and inorganic materials.


Decanting is a process of removing liquid from sediment that have fallen out of suspension. For example after making your yeast starter and cold crashing so that the yeast can fall out of suspension you would decant off the liquid.


Mash method involving the boiling of parts of the mash and return of coagulation. It is characterized by a loss of solubility at the iso electric points, greater susceptibility to proteolytic enzymes, and a change in the specific rotation. It does not occur without the presence of water.


Diacetyl is an organic compound belonging to the chemical group known as ketones. It is a fermentation by-product that may lend buttery or butterscotch notes to beer. This is considered an off-flavor in excessive amounts in any beer, however it is considered an off-flavor in most lagers in any amount. Several factors can affect diacetyl levels in beer; these include fermentation temperature, aeration level, yeast strain, and bacterial contamination. Learn more about Diacetyl.


The splitting of a compound into two or more simpler molecules, atoms, or ions.

DMS- (Dimethyl Sulfide)

An off-flavor is excessive amounts that resembles the aroma or flavor of canned corn/cooked vegetables.


Most commonly used to refer to a very strong, German-style lager beer. To be called a Doppelbock under German law, a beer must have an original gravity of at least 18 P (specific gravity of 1.072). Most Doppelbocks have names ending in -otor, in the tradition of Paulaner Savator, which is widely acknowledged to be the "original" Doppelbock. The term Doppelbock can be also be used as a designation of strength, as with Schneider Aventinues (a Wheat Doppelbock Ale, or Weizen Doppelbock).


The addition of unyeasted wort to beer in the first stage of the main fermentation.

Dry Stout

A very dark ale, with a roasted (sometimes coffee-like) character. Guinness Stout (draft) is the prototypical Dry Stout. Contrary to popular belief, Dry Stouts are generally not very alcoholic, and some examples may even be lower in alcohol than a typical American "mega-brew".


Adding hops to finished beer which provides hop aroma and flavor but no bitterness.


Depending on experience or observation alone.


A fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible.

English Bitter

A gold to copper colored ale, with pronounced hop bitterness. The terms Ordinary Bitter, Best Bitter, and Strong Bitter are commonly used to refer to increasingly higher strength versions of Bitter. Stronger versions may slo be referred to as English Pale Ale.


The science and study of winemaking. Also spelled oenology.


Product of a reaction between an acid and alcohol.


The "fruity" flavor or aroma most commonly found in ales. Created from the interaction between acids and alcohol.


Also known as grain alcohol, ethanol is what gets us drunk. It is produced (along with co2) when sugars are fermented by yeast. The chemical formula for ethanol is C2H5OH.


The soluble material derived from barley malt and adjuncts. Not necessarily fermentable.

False Wine

A second wine made from the left over grape skins with sugar and water.

Fermentation Lock

A fermentation lock better known as an airlock is a piece of equipment or lid that is designed to let CO2 out without letting air back in to your fermentation vessel.

First runnings

First runnings are the liquid that you would drain out of your mash tun before sparging.


Flor is Spanish and Portuguese for flower. It is a winemaking term that refers to the film of yeast on the surface of wine.

Foreign Extra Stout

Foreign Extra Stouts were designed for export. They are more heavily hopped than standard stouts. They also typically have a higher alcohol content.


Framboise is used primarily in reference to a Belgian lambic that is fermented using raspberries.

Full-bodied (wine)

Full-bodied wines are characterized by their ability to coat your mouth.


Starch gelatinization is the process of irreversibly dissolving the starch granule in water with the application of heat usually.


Part of the malting process where the acrospire grows and begins to erupt from the hull.


The primary sugar found in grapes.


Used in wine making to make the wine more mellow, or have less bite.

Grain bill

A list of the types and quantities of malt and other grains used in a beer recipe.


Crushed malt grains used for mashing. Grist should be only gently crushed to expose the husk interior, not broken apart or ground into powder. Ground grains will result in tannins and astringency in beer.


Glass jug, typically ½ gallon capacity. Commonly used by brewpubs and micro breweries in the US, to sell fresh draft beer for carry-out.


Sulfate of lime combined with water forms gypsum. Plaster of Paris is burnt gypsum, or gypsum freed from one half of its water content.


The hardness of water is equal to the concentration of dissolved calcium and magnesium ions. Usually expressed as ppm of (CaCO₃).

Head (of beer)

The foam on beer.


Describes a wine that smells or tastes grassy or green. Often a characteristic of wines made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes. Can also be found in very young wines that will change flavor as they age. Primarily a function of the grape variety, not soil or climate.


A circular band, of metal, wire or wood, used to hold the staves of a barrel together.

Hop Jack

A hop strainer.

Hop Nose

The fragrant odor of hops in beer.


A hopback is a sealed chamber that is inserted in between the brewing kettle and counter-flow wort chiller. Hops are added to the chamber, the hot wort from the kettle is run through it, and then immediately cooled in the wort chiller before entering the fermentation chamber.

It facilitates maximum retention of volatile hop aroma compounds that would normally be driven off when the hops contact the hot wort. Because it is a sealed chamber, the volatile hop compounds are trapped in the hot wort, and then the wort is immediately cooled, which keeps the volatile compounds in solution.


One of the four main ingredients in beer. The flower or cone of a perennial vine that contributes to the bitterness, flavor, and aroma in beer. They are considered the "spice" of beer, and there are many varieties of hops that each impart different flavors, aromas, and bitterness levels.


a. The absolute humidity is the amount of vapor actually present in the air and is expressed either in its expansive force, or in its weight per given volume.

b. Relative humidity is the ratio of the quantity of vapor actually present, to the greatest amount possible at the given condition. Complete saturation of the air by a vapor is designated as Humidity 100.

Hybrid grapes

A cross between North American and European grapes.


A chemical process of decomposition involving addition of water.


A hydrometer is a floating instrument for determining specific gravities; especially of liquids and solutions. It is usually a hollow glass or metal instrument, weighted at one end so as to float upright. The stem of the instrument is graduated so as to indicate the gravity of the liquid. Many instruments, for use with specific solutions, have arbitrary scales and are usually known by the names of the inventors, such as Balling and Plato. Homebrewers and winemakers use hydrometers to measure the amount of alcohol in their fermented beverages.


International Bitterness Unit. A measure of the bitterness in beer.

In Vitro

Literally, "in glass." Performed in a test tube or other laboratory apparatus.

In vivo

In the living organism.

India Pale Ale

Commonly referred to as an I.P.A. — A strong, hoppy Pale ale. The style originated in Britain in the 19th century, and had a high alcohol content and hopping rate, allowing it to survive the long sea voyage to India.


Infusion is the process of extracting flavours from plant material by allowing the material to remain suspended within water.

Infusion Mash

Simplest procedure for conducting a mash in which crushed grain is mixed with hot water to arrive at a pre-determined rest.

Initial Mashing

The temperature at which malt and water are brought together at Temp commencement of mashing.

Irish Moss

Is a form of dried seaweed, used to help clarify beer. Irish moss is added to the kettle during the boil; it causes more of the dissolved proteins to precipitate out, in the form of hot break. This means there are less proteins left in the finished beer, resulting in less chill haze.


A semi-transparent, whitish and very pure form of gelatine, prepared from the air-bladders of certain fish, originally sturgeons, now largely cod, ling and carp.

Iso-electric Point

pH value at which the electrical charge of an amino acid is zero.


A single concentric aperture container in aluminum and stainless steel, ranging in size from 5 liters (1.1 Imp. Gallon) to 170 liters (36 Imp. Gallon). Originally designed for automated processing, improved dispensing and extending the shelf life of filtered beers by dispensing under inert gas (CO₂ and/or N₂) pressure.


The whole grain or seed of a cereal or the inner portion of a seed.


Natural diatomaceous earth.


Usually refers to a hopped malt extract.


Krausen, pronounced, kroy-zen, is the foamy and bubbly head that forms on top of beer during primary fermentation. As yeast ferments the sugars in a beer, it creates a great deal of CO2. The Krausen is formed as the CO2 rises to the top of the beer mixing with proteins, yeast and residues in the beer forming a tall layer of yeast saturated bubbles.


A Lambic fermented with cherries.

Lactic acid

An organic acid, which gives spoiled milk its sourness. Small amounts of pure lactic acid are commonly used as a brewing water additive to reduce pH. Certain types of bacterial infections may produce large quantities of lactic acid during fermentation, imparting a distinct sour flavor to the finished beer. In certain styles of beer (e.g. Lambic, Berliner Weisse, Oud Bruin) some lactic sourness is a desirable characteristic. Result of Malolactic fermentation.


To age; to store, frequently while a slow after or secondary fermentation process under bunging pressure is taking place; lager means storage in German.

A class of beer made with a bottom-fermenting yeast strain. Usually fermented at cooler temperatures than ale and lagered (stored cold) after fermentation to drive off yeast by-products, usually resulting in a "cleaner" character in the finished beer.


A type of Belgian beer fermented using wild instead of cultured yeasts.

Lauter Tub

Vertical and usually cylindrical, straining tank having a false bottom for separating the wort from the spent grains.


Removal of dissolvable matter from its mixture with an insoluble solid; major part occurring during mashing


The sediment that forms over time as small pieces of yeasts and grape skins settle to the bottom of the carboy or barrel. Healthy lees contribute a texture, richness and complexity that define great wine.

Les garagistes

Is a French term that describes small-scale, progressive winemakers who have very basic facilities but make outstanding wines. The movement started in Bordeaux in the 1980s and has spread worldwide. Les garagistes- winemakers who break all traditions and spurn the idea that one needs millions of dollars to start a quality winemaking facility- make world-class wines in their garages (or similarly sized facility) Many of the wines are among the most sought after in the world. The point is that having lots of space and equipment is great, but the grapes and hte person making the decisions are what really count.


As alpha amylase breaks up the branched amylopectin molecules in the mash, the mash becomes less viscous and more fluid; hence the term liquefaction of the mash and alpha amylase being referred to as the liquefying enzyme


Measurement with which malt and beer color is compared against. The higher the lovibond, the darker the color.


The fine, yellow, resinous powder on the strobile of hops.


Breaking apart of cells.


Essentially the same thing as Helles Bock. A pale colored Bock beer.


Usually refers to malted barley but is also used to refer to any grain, rye, wheat, or barely, etc, that has gone through the malting process.

Malt Extract

A condensed/concentrated wort that is used by homebrewers. It is found in either a liquid or dry form.


The process which basically consists of immersing or soaking grains in water until they germinate, then drying and kilning them in a way which develops the needed enzymes in malt for mashing later.


A crystalline sugar C12H22O11 formed from starch by the action of amylase. It is dextrorotatory and the main source of fermentable extract in brewing.


A device used at the bottom of a lauter tun, to strain the wort from the grain. Manifolds are commonly constructed from pieces of metal or plastic tubing, connected in a flat ring or "H" shape, into which holes or slots have been cut. The tubing is attached to a fitting which passes through the wall of the lauter tun, to allow the wort to be drawn off. Manifolds can also be constructed using pieces of welded tubular metal screen. See also, false bottom.

Maris Otter

A type of British 2-row malt, prized for its plump kernels and refined flavor. Since Maris Otter does not yield as well as other, newer strains, it is not grown in great quantities; this tends to make it significantly more expensive than "normal 2-row malt.


The mixture of water with malt, fruit, grain, etc., used in fermenting alcoholic beverages. In beer making, called mash, then wort when the solids are removed and the liquid is boiled with hops. In wine making, called must, which may include crushed fruit and sugar or just the juice or liquid. Mashing converts the starch in malt to sugar via action of naturally occuring enzymes.

Step in all-grain or partial mash brewing in which crushed grains/malt are mixed with hot water to rest at a pre-determined temperature or temperatures(if step mashing etc). The enzymes in the malt then convert the starches in the grain to fermentable and unfermentable sugars which the yeast will then consume during fermentation.


An alcoholic beverage produced by the fermentation of honey. For a traditional mead, the honey is mixed with water. In a fruit mead, the honey is mixed with fruit juice. Mead is really more of a wine than a beer, since it does not contain any grain sugars. Mead can be broadly classified based on whether it is sparkling or still, and whether it is dry or sweet.


Antioxidant and bactericide that releases sulphur dioxide into wine.


0.001 millimeter.

Mulled Wine

Red wine that has been mixed with sugar, lemon, and spices, usually including cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Served hot.


Raw wine. The mixture of fruit juice, sugar, water and yeast which eventually ferments into wine.


Mycoderma is a spoilage organism. Also known as a mother in vineger.


National Homebrew Competition. An annual homebrew competition sponsored by the American Homebrewers Association. Brewers submit entries to a first round judging in their geographic area; winners from the first round judging advance to a second round (national) judging.


A gold to amber colored, malty, German-style lager beer, with moderate hop bitterness. Also sometimes called Marzen.

Ordinary Bitter

A gold to copper colored, low alcohol, low carbonation English-style ale.


Basically the chemistry of natural or synthetic carbon compounds with Chemistry carbon combining mainly with O, H, N, S, P.

Original Gravity

Abbreviated O.G. Strictly speaking, the specific gravity, but usually taken Gravity to mean the degree Balling or Plato of the wort leaving the brew kettle.


Off-flavor in most beer styles which is caused by the introduction of oxygen to fermented beer. It produces a stale, cardboardy flavor and aroma.


Exposure of packaged beer to 140°F or 60°C., for one Unit (PU) minute.


The negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration. pH values range from 0 to 14, below 7 being the acid range and above 7 the basic range.


Off-flavor in most beer styles (except weizens and some Belgian styles) which can manifest themselves as a medicinal/clovey/band-aid type flavor or aroma. High levels of phenols may be caused by contamination or tannins extracted from the grain husks.


Adding yeast to the cooled wort.


A substance capable of or the property of being deformed continuously and permanently in any direction without rupture, under a stress greater than the yield value.


A scale for measuring the weight of the wort relative to a weight of a solution of sucrose in water. 12 degrees Plato represents 100 grams of sucrose/water solution of which 12 grams are sucrose. It is said to be more accurate than the Balling scale.

Points Per Pound Per Gallon (PPG)

The US homebrewers unit for total soluble extract of a malt, based on specific gravity. The unit describes the change in specific gravity (points) per pound of malt, when dissolved in a known volume of water (gallons). Can also be written as gallon*degrees per pound.


A small, spring-loaded valve located inside a soda keg fitting. The poppet is what seals the fitting when the hose fitting is removed. Poppets are the most likely source of leaks on older soda kegs; replacements are available from various on-line vendors.

Potassium sorbate

Stabilizing agent that prevents renewed fermentation in sweetened wine.


Squeezing juice from crushed fruit


Addition of a fermentable sugar to a finished beer to carbonate the beer in the bottle. Also called bottle conditioning. Corn sugar is a common priming sugar.


The alcohol content of beer and wine is normally described in percent by volume. With spirits or distilled products the percentage multiplies by two, i.e., whiskey that is 50% alcohol is 100 proof. Now you know.


To be produced or multiplied by generation. To cause to spread, to multiply as by seeds, cuttings, etc.


Crushed fruit or grape solids


Also referred to as "transfer." To move beer from one vessel to another, usually through siphoning.


Trisaccharide composed of one galactose, one glucose and one fructose molecules. Although not a major component of beer wort, raffinose is used to biochemically define lager and ale yeast. Lager yeast completely process raffinose; ale yeast leave a residual G- G sugar, known as melibiose.

Reductive Wines

Wines that are permitted little or no oxygen and are consumed young.


The process of adding water to dry dormant yeast cells to hydrate the cell walls, and bring the yeast into an active state. Consult yeast manufacturer’s instructions for proper yeast rehydration.


  • The sum total chemical reactions in living cells which release energy.
  • The aggregate of those processes by which oxygen is introduced into the system and carbon dioxide removed.

Roasted Malt

Malt used for coloring purposes.

Russian Imperial Stout

A very strong, dark (nearly black), intensely roasty and malty ale. So named becasue it supposedly was originally brewed (in England) for export to Russia.


Any devise for measuring the amount of sugar in a solution. A specially calibrated hydrometer.

Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis

Scientic name for lager yeast. Bottom fermenting yeast.

Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Scientific name for ale yeast. Top fermenting yeast.


Scrumpy is a term used to describe hard ciders made in West Country in England. It can be used in reference to commercial or homemade hard cider. Scrumpy can be dry or sweet, and is generally higher in alcohol. It is usually cloudy, is served still instead of carbonated, and can be rather pulpy.

Silica gel

A hard, glassy substance made from specially processed silica (sand), which contains microscopic pores. SOmetimes used as a beer clarification agent; can also be used as a dessicant (moisture absorber), due to its extreme attraction for water.


A thin mixture of water and insoluble solids.

Sound wine

Wine with no obvious defect


Rinsing excess sugars from the grain after mashing.

Specialty Malts

Malts used in lesser quantities in the mash that are usually used to impart flavor/color/aroma. Most specialty grains do not need to be mashed and can be steeped.


A faucet used to regulate the flow of liquids from the bunghole of a barrel.


Small, wooden pegs or plugs, used to close vent holes in barrels.


Aerating wine or beer to release carbon dioxide gas, also known as de-gassing.


Complex branches chain of from 25 to more than 1000 glucose residues. Starch is often used as a general term for all large glucose sugars (amylose, amylopectin, and true starch). This usage is, in strict biochemical terms, incorrect.

Starch haze

A haze in the finished beer which results from the presence of unconverted starch. Starch haze differs from chill haze in that it is present regardless of whether the beer is chilled, or at room temperature.


A vigorous yeast culture prepared in advance to ensure a strong initial ferment. Also describes reserving and nurturing a sample of yeast for future use.

Steam Beer

Top fermenting beer of very high carbon dioxide content, originated in California. See California Common.

Steeping Grains

Used in extract brewing applications. It is the process of soaking grains (usually specialty grains) in water to extract color/flavor/aroma/body. Steeping differs from mashing in that there is no starch-to-sugar conversion.


To kill all microbes present in a substance (or on surface). Typically requires the use of an autoclave.


The process by which crystal malts are produced. Whole damp malt is heated to saccharification temperatures, allowing the amylase enzymes which are naturally present in the malt to convert the starches into sugars. The malt is then kilned (heated), to dry it and impart color and flavor.


This disaccharide consists of a fructose molecule joined with a glucose molecule. It is most readily available as cane sugar

Sur lie

French term for leaving the wine in contact with its lees.


The state of a solid when its particles are mixed with, but undissolved in, a fluid or another solid; a two-phase system consisting of a finely divided solid dispersed in a solid, liquid or gas.

Sweet Stout

A sub-style of Stout characterized by a sweet taste. The sweetness is usually achieved by the addition of lactose (a.k.a. milksugar), which is not fermentable by brewers yeast. Because of teh use of lactose, also sometimes referred to as Milk Stout.

Sweet wine

Wine with more than 2% residual sugar


Astringent polyphenol compounds that can cause haze and/or join with large proteins to precipitate them from solution. Tannins are most commonly found in the grain husks and hop cone material.

Temperature rest

In all-grain brewing, refers to bringing the mash to a specific temperature, and holding that temperature for a specified period of time.


A method, or the process, of using a standard solution to determine the strength of another solution.


Puffed. Many grains are available in torrified form, alas, all must be mashed.

Trappist ale

In its broadest sense, refers to any style of ale that is brewed in a Trappist monastery. The most commonly seen sub-styles of Trappist Ale are Dubbel and Tripel; other beers which do not fit either of these styles may still be referred to as Trappist Ales, provided that they are still brewed at a Trappist monastery. All authentic Trappist Ales are currently produced in Belgium or Holland.


The British term for molasses.


A pale, very strong Belgian ale. high alcohol content is achieved without making the beer too sweet, but adding generous amounts of sucrose (cane or beet sugar) to the wort. This can be done without the negative flavor impacts generally associated with the use of sucrose, because there is also a lot of malt present (remember, this is a high gravity style). One of the "Trappist" styles.


(pronounced troob)

The whitish, scummy layer that forms on the bottom of fermenting wort containing precipitated proteins, dead or dying yeast cells, lipids and fats, and other molecules. If beer is not removed from contact with the trub after two to three weeks, off flavors can develop.


Cloudy or opaque.

Turbinado sugar

Cane sugar which has not been fully refined. Still contains some of the natural molasses, giving it a golden color, and a rum-like flavor. Sometimes called raw sugar.


The sludge contained between the false bottom and the real bottom of a straining tank. It consists of rather hard parts of the mash and contains at times considerable amounts of starch.


The sludge on top of the layer of grains in a straining tank, consisting of finely divided light particles, mostly coagulated protein.


Usually a fermenting or storage vessel.

Vertical tasting

A tasting of several different vintages of the exact same wine or beer.

Victory malt

Victory Malt is a toasted malt, similar to biscuit malt, that can improve body and head retention in beer. The color is between 25-28 Lovibond, and has been described as slightly red or amber in color with highlights of orange.

Vienna Lager

An amber or light brown lager, with a light toasted character.


Winelike; tasting or smelling like good wine


Stickiness, aka; the resistance offered by a fluid (liquid or gas) to flow. The viscosity is a characteristic property and is a measure of the combined effects of adhesion and cohesion.

Volatile Acid

Acid created during fermentation or spoilage; for example, vinegar.


Any one of a class of substances of plant or animal origin, insoluble in water, partly soluble in alcohol, ether, etc., and miscible (mixable) in all proportions with oils and fats. They consist of esters and often, in addition, free fatty acids, free alcohols and higher hydrocarbons. Find our Bottle Sealing Wax here.


A German-style wheat ale, with a fruity/spicy character imparted by unique yeast strains. Unfiltered versions are generally referred to as Hefeweizen.


The second most common grain used in beer brewing. Malted wheat makes up at least 50% of the grist of traditional Weizen and Hefeweizen beers, and may also be added in lesser amounts in other styles (generally as an aid to head retention). Unmalted wheat makes up a substantial percentage of the grist in Witbier and Lambic.


Round cylindrical flat bottom tank into which hot wort from the brew kettle is pumped at high velocity tangentially to its straight wall. This high speed stream causes the wort in the tank to rotate slowly and to deposit its trub in a more or less compact cone in the center of the tank.

Wild yeast

Uninvited yeast other than our cultured yeasts.

Wine Conditioner

Mixture of liquid invert sugar and sorbic acid, used to sweeten finished wine.


A pale, cloudy beer, brewed with a high percentage of unmalted wheat (and sometimes oats), and spiced with coriander and orange peel.


Basically, unfermented beer. You will have made wort after the mashing and sparging process. Liquid or Dry malt extract can be described as a concentrated wort. Pronounced "wert."


One of the four main ingredients used in making beer. A group of unicellular organisms of the family Saccharomycetaceae which ferment sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide by virtue of its enzymes (Zymase).

A general term for single-celled fungi that reproduce by budding. Some yeasts can ferment carbohydrates (starches and sugars), and thus are important in brewing and baking.

Yeast Crop

Yeast collected from fermentors during or after the fermentation.

Yeast energizer

A brewing additive which is typically produced by extracting the "futs" of yeast cells in a centrifuge. Provides essential nutrients to the yeast. Since barley malt already contains all of hte nutrients that yeast need, yeast energizer is generally unnecessary when brewing beer. It may be more helpful in wines, ciders and meads (fruit juices and honey do not contain the level of nutrients that barley does).

Yeast nutrient

A brewing additive which adds free amino nitrogen (FAN), a substance which is essential for good yeast health. Think of it as fertilizer for your yeast. As with yeast energizer, should not be necessary for beer wort, since malt already contains all of the essential nutrients for your yeast.

Yield of

Number of pounds of extract, obtained from 100 pounds of brewing material, given in percent. Also kilos extract per kilo brewing material. Distinguish between laboratory yield of malt and adjunct which is determined by standard ASBC methods and brewhouse yield, which depends on equipment and operating conditions. Brewhouse yield ranges from 92 to 98% of laboratory yields.


Term often used to describe the 'bite' that some wines have in them. Usually associated with new, or young, wines. The zest is often due to the alcohol in the wine.


Also known as Primativo, Zinfandel is at home in California. Zinfandels range in style from fruity blush wines, to fresh early drinking reds, to almost portlike reds. Zinfandel is a great example of how terrior influences and winemaking techniques can make totally different wines from the same grape variety.

  • Taste characteristics: fruit flavors, with spicy overtones
  • Serve: red Zinfandel should be served at cellar temperature (60 °F); white Zinfandel should be chilled, at white wine temp
  • Pair with: Red: duck, lamb, chorizo sausage, other spicy, full-flavored meats
  • White: ethnic foods, such as AIndian, Asian, Caribbean, and Mexican


A group of enzymes (originally found in yeasts and bacteria) which, in the presence of oxygen, convert glucose and a few other carbohydrates into carbon dioxide and water or, in the absence of oxygen, into alcohol and carbon dioxide or into lactic acid.


The chemistry of Fermentation with Yeasts, especially the Science involved in Beer and Wine Making.

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