Beer Terminology

(in progress…)

ABV – Often seen on chalkboards/menu boards of craft beer tasting rooms; this shows the alcohol % by volume. Usually followed by IBU.

ALE – Beers fermented with top fermenting yeast at typically warmer temperatures (than lagers)

ALTBIER – Simply put, German for “old” beer. Technique of top fermentation used, usually amber in color and considered an ale. More info from Wikepedia.

BARLEY – A cereal grain we all know & love. Used in brewing as a base malt.

BARLEY WINE – This is a beer- not a wine and it’s very intense in both flavor and alcohol content.

BIERE DE GARDE – Literally means, “beer for keeping”. Originally brewed in a specific region of France, this style was made in the colder months due to the unpredictable problems with yeast in the summer time. Usually top-fermented, unfiltered and strong in alcohol.

BLACK & TAN – Physically layering a dark and a lighter beer.

BLONDE ALE – Similar to Kolsch; pale straw colored to deep gold. Some fruitiness is possible, lightly malted and hopped, medium bitterness. (Beer Bird Chere likes one of these on a summer day)

BOCK – A strong lager of German origin. There are a TON of variations on this which will be explained further down. (see Dopplebock, Weizenbock)

BOMBER – A 650 ml bottle of craft beer.

BOTTOM FERMENTATION – 1 of the 2 basic fermentation methods by where the yeast cells sink to the bottom. (lager)

BRETTANOMYCES – Fancy name for a strain of yeast responsible for some flavors beer connoisseurs refer to as “barnyard”, “funky” or even “leather”. It may sound weird, but funk IS good in a beer. (Four Winds Brewing Juxtapose Brett IPA for example)

CAMRA – Campaign for Real Ale. Membership has it’s perks.

CASK – A barrel shaped vessel for holding beer. CAMRA keeps us up to date of the various “cask nights” around town.

CICERONE (OR BEER SOMMELIER) – Cicerone is a trademarked name, not a general term but it IS what we seem to refer to those who are knowledgeable in beer and have become certified.

CREAM ALE – An American style that is usually lighter in color (but this is open to interpretation nowadays) and subtle in malt and hops. Was taken up during Prohibition, with US and Canadians refining the brew somewhat.

CRYSTAL MALT(S) – Used interchangeably with caramel malt; to describe a type of grain that undergoes a special stewing process during malting resulting in a crystalline sugar structure inside the grain’s hull. Long story short? Provides a sweet, caramel-like flavor.

DOPPELBOCK – A double bock. (see Bock above)

DRY HOPPING/DRY HOPPED – Adding hops later in the brewing process to increase aroma, not bitterness.

DUNKEL– A word used for several types of dark German lager. (its the German word for dark.)

DUNKELWEIZEN – A  darker version of the Hefeweizen. Complex malty taste, low bitterness, dark.

FARMHOUSE ALE – Re-inventions of rustic, traditional ales brewed in France and Germany. Usually highly carbonated and fruity- see saison

GROWLER – 1.9 Liter glass jug one can get filled with beer of choice at various breweries. Economical AND eco-friendly. The Birds approve. (Where to fill your growler, compliments of CAMRA) There is a one time fee to purchase one but then you can fill it up for insanely cheap prices!

HEFEWEIZEN – South German style of wheat beer (see weissbier) with notes of fruit and/or clove, banana due to the yeast.These beers are unfiltered and will pour cloudy into the glass. A popular summer beer.

HOPS – Simply put a perennial vine. The female plant produces what look like soft, delicately shaped green ‘pine cones’. Approximately one inch long, when ripe these are used in beer for flavor. IPA’s (Or India Pale Ales) have an abundance in them.

IBU (INTERNATIONAL BITTERING UNIT) – A measure of the bitterness of a beer as contributed by the acid created from the hops. Most craft beers will put this unit on the label along with the ABV (or written on beer specific menus). IPA’s will have a high IBU whereas as saison or wheat beer will have a low IBU.

INDIA PALE ALE (IPA) – The main thing you have to know here: HOPPY HOPPY HOPPY. We’ve heard “hoppy” tasting beers described as ‘wet, luscious, bitter, deep’. IPA’s are extremely popular but not everyone is a fan of the strong flavor. The IBU will refer to the hoppiness.

ISINGLASS – A true Vegan will be hard pressed to find a wide variety of craft beers they would drink. Isinglass is a gelatinous substance made from the bladders of certain fish, and used to clarify some beers.

KOLSCH – Local beer brewed originally in Cologne, Germany. Prominent hops but no so much as a Pale Ale- usually clear and golden to straw colored.

MALT – Barley (or other grains) that have been steeped, germinated and dried- see Wikipedia.

MOUTHFEEL – The Birds may sometimes use this phrase when reviewing a beer. It relates to a few aspects of how the beer tastes; the body, weight on tongue, astringency, sensation (if highly carbonated).

PORTER – 18th Century London can claim this beer style as solely their own creation. It’s dark, malty, descended from brown beer and well hopped.

SAHTI – Farmhouse ale with roots in Finland.

SAISONWikipedia says it best: “Saison is a broadly defined pale ale that in modern versions is generally around 7% abv, highly carbonated, fruity and/or spicy.” See the Birds post as well on this style.

SESSION ALE – A beer of a lower alcohol & “body”

STOUT – We may refer to people as stout; being of round or heavy build. This style of beer is like that. It’s strong, dark, got tons of malt flavor and can taste of such flavors as licorice, coffee or chocolate (and many more).

TRIPEL – This originated in what is now modern day Netherlands & Belgium and means “strong ale”. Belgian beers are in a league all of their own but beware of the higher alcohol content. They go down smooth.

WHEAT BEER – Brewed with a large proportion of wheat in addition to malted barley. Top fermented. This style includes: weissbier, hefeweizen, and some sour varieties like lambic.


define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M')

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *