Breaking Down the Jargon of Beer


If you’re a beer lover you’ve likely noticed that there is a lot of unfamiliar words being thrown around by the professionals. But you want to be on the same level of familiarity as the pros, and we’ll get started here today. Rather than picking a logical order to layout the following definitions, I’m just going to go alphabetically and hope you can hang on for the ride.

  • Alcohol by Volume or ABV: Simply put, ABV is a standard measurement that explains how much alcohol is contained within the give volume of the container. Expressed as a percent, the higher the ABV, the more alcoholic the drink is and the slower you should drink the beverage.
  • Cold Conditioning: Generally speaking, cold conditioning occurs during the second fermentation process. Used in a lager-style process cold conditioning ultimately means chilling the beer for a week or two in order to get rid of ill tasting compounds and clearing the beer’s appearance.
  • Double IPA: While we all know what an IPA is, a double IPA can sometimes confuse those of us not up on the brew talk. To phrase it as basically as possible, there are double the hops, double the ABV, and a lot more malts.
  • Dry Hopping: The point of dry hopping is to greatly increase the hoppy aromas to a brew. Basically to dry hop a beer, you add hops to the keg or fermenter post fermentation. This process doesn’t add to the bitterness of the beer, but does make it a very enjoyable aromatic experience.
  • Esters: Fruity flavors produces during fermentation. Sometimes they are a blessing to  a beer and other times they are a burden. A seasoned brewer knows just how to work them right.
  • Head: The head of a beer is the foamy portion that forms at the top of a beer after a pour. Sometimes thick, sometimes thin; the head can tell you a lot about the quality of a beer or its style.
  • International Bittering Units or IBUs: IBUs measure isohumulone, and thus the bitterness of a beer, specifically India Pale Ales.
  • Malted Barley: Barley is the primary grain in beer. During the malting process, barley is allowed to partially germinate, thus increasing the amount of sugars in the grain.
  • Mouthfeel: Very hard to define without trying out a few beers, mouthfeel really describes the sensations occurring in your mouth while you drink your beer. It helps you determine the beers heaviness, crispness, and carbonation.
  • Skunky: Skuny beers have been exposed to UV rays through a clear or green bottle which is why most beers are kept in brown glass. However, some varieties are intentionally skunked beers and go great with spicy foods and hot summer days. Personally, I’m a huge fan of skunk beer.
  • Two-Row Malted Barely: Two-row malted barley simply makes for a maltier beer because of a higher sugar content in the barley.

Alright, those are the definitions I have for today. Anything you are still curious about?

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