HomeThe Language of Craft BeerThe Language of Craft Beer

The Language of Craft Beer

Hang out at breweries and brewpubs like I do and you’ll pick up craft beer lingo. Here is a selection of basic craft beer terms common to San Diego County breweries, brewpubs, and tap rooms.

ABV (Alcohol By Volume): a standard measure of how much alcohol is in a certain volume of beer

Ale: a beer brewed using the top-fermenting yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Barrel-aged beer: a beer that has been aged in wood; over time, wood will create new flavors and aromas in the beer

Brewhouse: the area in a brewery or brewpub where beer is brewed

Cask: a stainless steel, aluminum, or plastic container that serves cask-conditioned beer

Firkin: a cask that holds 10.8 gallons of beer

Growler: a container used to take beer from the brewery, brewpub, or tap room to drink elsewhere

Hops: the flowers (aka cones) of the hop plant that give bitterness to beer when it is brewed

IBUs (International Bittering Units): a standard for measuring bitterness in beer; the higher the number, the higher the bitterness

Imperial: a beer style whose characteristics and ABV have been boosted to a higher level

Keg: a stainless steel container used to transport 15.5 gallons of beer

Lager: a beer brewed using the bottom-fermenting yeast, Saccharomyces pastorianus

Malt: any grain has been processed for brewing; one of the four ingredients (malt, hops, yeast, water) of beer

Mead: an alcoholic drink created by fermenting a honey and water mixture, sometimes with fruit and spices added

Pint: 16 fluid ounces

Taster: 4 fluid ounces

Water: one of the four ingredients of beer, usually filtered, and sometimes conditioned with minerals

Yeast: a unicellular fungi that consume sugars to produce alcohol, carbon dioxide, and flavors in beer

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