Categorized | Education

A Glossary of Brewing and Packaging Terms

A Glossary of Brewing and Packaging Terms:-


Where chemical compounds are removed from a liquid by being retained on a solid surface – examples – proteins adsorbed by silica gel or organic compounds adsorbed by activated carbon.


Measure of alcohol content by volume – expressed as % alcohol by volume


A flavour compound produced during fermentation – tastes of “raw apple skins”

Acetic Acid

Acid (Vinegar) produced by bacteria under aerobic conditions. Usually indicates the presence of Beer spoilage organisms.


An aerobic bacteria produces an off flavour of acetic acid and turbidity in beer.


An addition source of extract (starch or sugar) which is not malted barley.


Cool wort is aerated/oxygenated to provide oxygen for yeast growth.


Waste product produced by yeast during fermentation to be consumed and enjoyed by the customer.


Originally a term for un-hopped beer. Now used to describe most darker beers (top fermented) with ale yeast. (common in UK and Belgium)

Alpha acid

A natural hop resin which is isomerised to iso alpha acid during wort boiling and to give beer its bitterness.

Amber Malt

A medium brown grade of malt made by higher temperatures during the later stages of kilning. It provides beer with a crisp biscuit taste and aroma.

Amino Acids

Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids. Amino acids are produced by the enzymic breakdown of proteins during malting & mashing. They are required as essential nutrients for yeast growth.


A general name for the enzymes that breaks down starch.

  • Alpha amylase is an endo enzymes which liquefies starch by breaking long starch chains in smaller polysaccharides.
  • Beta amylase is an exo enzyme which is a saccharifying enzyme by breaking pairs of sugars off from the non reducing end of starch and polysaccharide molecules to form maltose.


A mouth drying/bitter harsh after tastes which are often produced by polyphenols derived from malt and hops.


A term used for controlling or cooling beer during fermentation

Attenuation Limit

A measure of the fermentability of wort tested by fermenting with an excess of yeast. It represents the amount of non-fermentable carbohydrates left in beer.

Auxiliary finings

Liquid finings made from alginate or silicate which helps to settle protein. It usually works best when added sequentially in combination with isinglass finings.


Small living organisms which lives by breaking down organic matter such as beer. Specific bacterial species infect wort and beer producing off flavours and turbidity.


A cereal a member of the grass family grows in temperate regions of the world. Barley is the most common cereal used to produce malt for beer. It has a thick husk which makes it robust in the malting process, and the husk forms a filter bed during mash separation.


A traditional volume for measuring beer. The UK standard barrel contains 36 gallons of beer. Barrels are still used in measuring capacity but few full barrel containers (36 gallon casks) are still in use.


A drink produced by the fermentation of sugars derived from malted barley flavoured with hops

Beta Glucan

A gummy material which comes from barley cell walls. It is largely degraded during malting, but if present in wort or beer can cause filtration problems.


An soluble salt which produces “temporary hardness” reducing the fall in acidity (pH), and generally has to be reduced in waters used for brewing. Bicarbonates decompose to form carbonates which form a scale on heating surfaces.


A taste associated usually associate with iso-alpha acids in beer (isomerised alpha acids from hop). Some traditional ales were bitter and hence the term is also used to describe types of ales with a high hop rate

Black Malt

Is made from pale malt which is then roasted in a malt drum. It gives beer a black colour and strong burnt flavour.


The mixing of beers to achieve quality or in high gravity beer.


A deposit on bottles often due to carbonates in the water


BOD is the measure of the amount of oxygen in milligrams per litre of sample which is utilised over a five day period in the biological oxidation of the sample after suitable dilution. It is often written as BOD5 to reflect the 5 day duration of the test. BOD is an indication of the amount of oxygen which will be taken up from a watercourse due to microbial growth on discharge of the sample.

Body Feed

Filter powder added to the beer flow in line to improve solids loading and to aid filtration

Boiling Wort

A stage in the brewhouse process when clarified wort from mash separation is boiled to stabilise the wort, remove unwanted aromas and isomerise the alpha acids from the hops.

Bottom Fermentation

For a successful fermentation yeast has to be in suspension in the wort. Once the fermentation is complete (the final gravity is achieved) lager strains of yeast clump together or flocculate and sink and settle to the bottom of the fermentation vessel.


This is the term given to protein/polpeptide molecules which for insoluble solids and settle to the bottom of the vessel. Hot Break or trub forms after wort boiling and also contains hop debris. Cold break forms in cooled wort and can often be collected at the bottom of fermentation vesses.

Bright Beer

Beer that has been through filter to remove visible haze and most micro-organisms in preparation for packaging.

Brown Malt

A roasted malt which produces a reddy brown colour and gives beer a rich malty, biscuit flavour.

Buffer Tank

Is any vessel used as a break between two processes eg between maturation vessel and filter is the filter inlet buffer tank.


It is an important metal ion which is added to mash and has a number of beneficial effects in brewing – particularly in help to drop pH which is necessary for many enzyme activities and yeast growth and flocculation.


A measure of energy. Beer has quite a low level of calories typically around 450 kcal or 1870 kJ per litre. Most of the calories in beer come from alcohol, hence the higher the % alacohol the greater the number of calories.

Candle Filter

Is a design of primary filter where rods or candles are used to support the filter aid.


Dark burnt sugar which is usually added to beer to adjust colour.


A continental darker malt used to add some colour but principally mouthfeel and texture to lagers.


Complex sugars which are generally found as a energy store in plants such as barley endosperm.

Carbon Dioxide

A gas which is produced during fermentation, under pressure it combines with water to form carbonic acid. A level of carbon dioxide is present in all beer and it proves beer with its “ fizz”.


A salt which dissolved in hot water but tends to precipitate in cold water producing a hard coat of scale or beer stone.

Cask Conditioned Beer

Beer that that remains unfiltered at the end of fermentation is conditioned and matured in a cask. It is usually clarified in trade through the addition of isinglass finings.


Equipment for clarifying beer by spinning it at high velocity separating the solids from the liquid. It is able to remove most yeast from beer in a matter of seconds.

Cereal Cooker

A separate vessel used to prepare cereal adjuncts by heating (boiling) to gelatinise the starch (used for adjuncts which have a gelatinisation temperature greater than malt).

Colloidal stability

Haze causing colloids such as proteins and tannin must be removed from beer. This is done through good brewing practice and chilling the beer prior to filtration For beers which require a long shelf life adsorption stabilization agents which are insoluble in beer are used to reduce the haze forming compounds (principally protein and ployphenol) prior to filtration.


Is a anion often added as Calcium Chloride and gives beer smooth full palate. This is characteristic of many lagers and mild beers.

Chocolate malt

A dark roast malt used in dark beers and stouts

CIP Cleaning in Place

Automated system of vessel and line cleaning – Cleaning In Place.


Separating suspended solids from wort or beer.


Where beer foam adherers to a glass


The attraction of solid (often protein) to each other resulting in the formation of solids during boiling


A chemical method of measuring BOD used to look at the biological load in effluent.


A protein also known as finings – usually derived from Isinglass and is added to clarify beer.

Conditioning (Maturation)

Is the process during which the raw flavours of fermentation are removed and CO2 is formed which helps to carbonate the beer.


A term used to describe the breakdown of starch into sugar in the brewhouse.


A liquid used to cool beer or wort

Copper (Kettle)

A vessel used for boiling wort

Copper (kettle) finings

Material (usually Irish Moss) added to the copper kettle to aid coagulation and clarification of trub.


Regulations for handling hazardous material

Crown Cork

A cap for sealing bottles

Crystal Malt

A malt prepared by stewing on the kiln to produce crystallised sugars. It adds colour and flavour to beer.

Customs & Excise

The regulatory body for collection of Excise duty.


Equipment for offloading bottles, cans or kegs delivered on pallets

Deaerated Liquor/Water

Water where the dissolved oxygen stripped out or removed

Decoction Mashing

A method of heating the mash where part is taken out into a separate cooker and boiled before being added back to the mash to raise the temperature by a required amount.


A liquid which is capable of dissolving soil (dirt) used for vessel and line cleaning.


Unfermentable sugar often left in mash because of the incomplete breakdown of amylopectin which has branched chains.


Diacetyl is a by-product of the metabolism of yeast during the fermentation process. The majority is removed by well controlled secondary fermentation.

Small amounts of diacetyl in beer cause an unpleasant odour and taste of “butterscotch”.


General name given to enzymes that break down starch. In Brewing these are mainly alpha and beta amylase.

Diatomaceous Earth

A powder made up of the mined skeletal remains of diatoms which is used as a filter aid in beer filtration.

Dissolved Oxygen

A measure of oxygen dissolved in beer

DMS Dimethyl Sulphide

A flavour compound derived from malt which gives a “sweetcorn” character.


A natural delay in the onset of barley germination

Draught Beer

Beer served from large containers (casks or kegs)

Dry Hopping

The process of adding hops to casks beer to provide hop aroma

EBU (also called IBU)

A measure of beer bitterness (based on the European Brewery Convention)


Process waste stream which leaves the brewery – either for in house treatment or to municipal treatment (Sewage Works)


The starch food store of the barley corn which provides the extract for brewing.


A group of flavour compounds found in beer – generally produced during fermentation through the combination of acids and alcohols. They give beer strong fruity aromas and taste.

Ethanol (ethyl alcohol)

The main alcohol produced by fermentation. This is an important property which determines the “strength” of the beer.


A measure of sugar potential or yield from the raw materials. Most extract comes from the malted barley but additional extract can be added in the form of adjuncts.

False Bottom

The slotted base of a mash or lauter tun


The process when yeast metabolises simple sugars to produce alcohol abd carbon dioxide (and some heat) under anaerobic conditions.


The process of using a porous surface medium to hold back solids thus separating solids from the liquid beer.


A changed material added either as liquids or solids and used aggregate suspended particles in the beer to aid clarification. (eg Kettle finings, auxiliary finings and isinglass finings)


A container or cask which holds 9 gallons capacity

Flash Pasteurisation

Pasteurisation (heating) through a plate heat exchanger to kill/reduce live micro-organisms

Flavour Stability

The extent to which a beer tastes as good on ageing as it did fresh when packaged.


The stable head/bubbles on beer formed by protein coating bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. Beer is the only beverage with a stable foam.


Excessive or uncontrolled foam

Forcing Test

A procedure for heating and holding samples at a higher temperature to check for flavour or microbiological stability.


The initial process in mashing when the starch has to unwind from its crystalline structure in order to make it accessible to enzyme degradation.

German Purity Laws

The German Beer Purity Law or Reinheitsgebot is the world’s oldest food law purity law. It was decreed by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria in 1516. The decree states that only barley, hops and water may be used in the brewing of beer. Yeast was added subsequently but had not been identified as essential for fermentation in 1516 and natural “wild” yeast produced the necessary fermentation.


The growth or sprouting of the grain – second stage in the malting process.


A simple sugar which forms the base unit of starch

Gram Stain

A procedure for differentiating between different species of bacteria. It relies on the structure of the bacterial cell wall.

Green Beer

Immature beer at the end of fermentation before it has been matured.

Green Malt

Germinated barley before it is kilned


A term for milled crushed malt ready for mashing.


Calcium Sulphate present in some brewing water such as Burton on Trent, and often added as a salt to water or mash as part of water treatment. It contributes to permanent hardness bringing out the dryer, bitter flavours in a beer.


Beer should be clear. Haziness or cloudiness in beer occurs because of suspended material which can be organic chemicals – colloidal haze or micro-organisms – biological haze.

Head Retention

A measure of the foam stability of the head on beer (common methods used to assess foam are direct observation or instruments like Rudin & Nibem )


The volume of gas above the beer in a bottle. Part of this gas can be air or oxygen which contributes to beer staling.


The usually volume of measurement in most breweries One hectolitre = 100 litres

High Gravity Brewing

Many beers are brewed with an original gravity (OG) higher than sales producing beers with higher levels of ethanol. After processing the beer is dilutee to sales gravity using de aerated water, usually post filtration.


Is an oversize barrel or cask which holds 54 gallons. Few if any are still in use.

Hop Back

A vessel used for hot wort clarification after wort boiling when using whole (cone) hops which are used as the filter medium.

Hop Extract

An extract of the bitter and some times the aroma components of hops

Hop Oil

An extract of the hop aroma compounds


A perennial plant which produces hop cones in the female plant which contain bitter substances (alpha acids) and aromas and used to ‘bitter’ and add aroma/flavour to beer

Horizontal Leaf Filter

A beer filter with horizontal screens on which the filter aid is deposited and then used to filter rough beer.

Ice Beer

Beer where the contents is partially frozen – ice is formed – to produce a smother flavour.


A term for single temperature mashing traditionally used in mash tuns

Ion Exchange

A method of treating water to remove un wanted mineral ions.


Collagen, the active ingredient in finings made from the swim of selected fish


Isomerised hop bitterness compounds iso-alpha acid is also called iso humulone. This is derived from alpha acids or humulone


A small jet of hot water is often fired into a bottle after filling to cause it to froth up so that it is capped on foam to reduce dissolved oxygen.


A metal container for holding beer (usually 11 gallon 50 litre or 22 gallon 100 litre – some are as large as 36 gallons or a UK barrel)

Kettle / Copper

The name given to the vessel used for boiling wort


A bung which holds the tap in a cask of beer


A filter aid made up skeletal diatoms used in beer filtration

Kilderkin (Kil)

A cask holding 18 gallons (half a barrel)


The last stage in malting where the moisture is driven off to produce a stable malt with increase colour and flavour compounds.


The process of enhancing warm maturation (secondary fermentation) by adding fermenting wort from a subsequent brew to the maturation tank of a beer on completion of primary fermentation.


Equipment for labelling bottles


The effect of foam clinging to a glass of beer as it empties

Lactic Acid

An acid produced by certain bacteria (lactic bacteria) which can effect the beer flavour


Species of lactic acid bacteria which produce acid and turbidity

Lag Phase

The stage at the start of a fermentation before the yeast start to replicate (bud)


Beer brewed using traditional ‘Continental’ methods (usually typified by using bottom cropping yeast and pale lager malt)


The process of maturing lager beer traditionally the beer was stored for several months at zero or below.


The process of wort separation using a lauter tun which is a filter vessel with a false slotted bottom.


A hazardous bacteria found in warm and cooling water assoacited with cooling towers and tunnel pasteurisers


Fatty material in raw materials such as malt and produced by yeast when aerated at the start of a fermentation.


A term used in the UK and Ireland for brewing water


The difference between the volume and strength of what you started with in comparison to the volumes and strength at the start and finish of a process

Lupulin gland

The resin gland of the hop cone which hold the acids and oils used in brewing.

Maize Grits

Broken embryo of Maize milled which has to be cooked in a cereal cooker before being mixed with the malt mash.

Malting Variety

A type of barley suitable for malting


The principle sugar produced by conversion of starch to wort during mashing.


The process of mixing grist (ground malt) and water at the necessary temperature and mash thickness.


Post fermentation processing – during warm maturation flavour development occurs – cold maturation is required for colloidal stabilisation.


A very small living organism usually only visible under a microscope.


A term to describe the change of barley into malt and the extent to which the cell walls in the endosperm have been digested.


Chemical salts found in water often indicating contamination. There are maximum permitted levels and many breweries use water treatment to remove nitrates.

Nitrogen gas

Inert gas used to eliminate air or to give beer a stable head (nitrogen is sometimes incorrectly used to describe proteins, polypeptides and amino acids, found in beer)

Non Biological Shelf Life

The time that beer remains free of non biological haze (protein/polyphenol complex chill haze)


Original Gravity. The specific gravity or density of wort before fermentation has started


Gas required by living organisms. It is added to stimulate yeast growth before fermentation starts. If present in finished beer it will cause beer staleness


Equipment for loading packs onto pallets


Procedure for heating beer to sterilise it

Pasteurisation Unit

A measure of the degree of pasteurisation (1 PU is the energy given by holding beer at 600C for 1 minute)


An anaerobic of bacteria infecting beer


A type of filter aid made from volcanic dust


A measure of the acidity/alkalinity of a liquid (measures -log10 H+ ions)


A style of beer (lager) originally from Pilsen in the Czech Republic


A cask holding 4.5 gallons


The process of adding yeast to wort to start fermentation

Plate and Frame Filter

A vertical chamber used with filter aid to filter green beer

Plate Heat Exchanger

Counter current flow through a of plates for cooling or heating liquids flowing through


Unit of measurement of specific gravity expressed in percent based on a sucrose solution

Polish Filtration

Fine filtration of beer usually after a primary green beer filter.

Polyclar PVPP

A beer stabilising agent which adsorbs polyphenols in beer.


Procedure for coating a filter with filter aid


Sugar added to fermented beer to fuel a secondary fermentation or sweeten the beer.


Complex organic compounds made of nitrogen, carbon and hydrogen important in malt quality and break down to provide compounds for beer foam, haze pre-coursers and yeast nutrition.


The process of protein breakdown during mashing

Pure Culture

A procedure for producing high quality pitching yeast


The process of filling casks/kegs with beer

Recovered Beer

Beer recovered from yeast after fermentation


The process of cooling beer down to lower temperature (usually below 00C)


The process of oxygen use by living matter

Roast Barley

An adjunct used in some dark beers and stouts to produce a very dark black colour and roast bitter taste.

Rough or Primary Filtration

Used to remove most of the particles – all yeast, most bacteria and settled haze top produce beer from green beer.


The process during mashing when starch is broken down into simple sugars principally through the activity of beta amylase enzyme


An instrument for measuring specific gravity (see hydrometer)

Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Yeast used in ale fermentation

Saccharomyces Uvarum

Yeast used in lager fermentation (sometime Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis)

Secondary Fermentation

A fermentation which occurs after the principle fermentation is complete usually at a lower temperature to improve flavour or increase carbonation.

Shelf Life

The time during which a beer retains its marketable quality in terms of flavour and haze stability.


A bung that fits into the top of a cask

Silica Hydrogel

A material for stabilising beer it adsorbs protein


Removal of top cropping yeast after fermentation particularly for ale brewing where the yeast is harvested from the top of the vessel.


Water used to wash out extract from the mash after strong wort run off during mash separation.


The tube in a keg used for filling and emptying the keg

Specific Gravity

A measure of the relative density of a liquid

Spent Grain

The brewery co-product which remains after all the wort is extracted and is used for cattle feed.

Spray Ball

Equipment fitted to a tank for spraying water and detergent during cleaning


The process of processing beer to retain quality


The process whereby beer loses its fresh flavour usually due to oxidation


The carbohydrate food source of plants

Starch Granules

Starch is held as granules in the barley endosperm


First step during malting which involves adding water to grain to start germination


Material for killing micro-organisms

Sterile Filtration

Fine filtration designed to remove micro-organisms


A simple sugar broken down by yeast outside the cell and used to fuel fermentation.


A salt dissolved in water often added to bitter beers as permanent hardness

Sunstruck Flavour

The ‘skunky’ flavour created when hopped beer is subjected to sunlight or UV light


A substance in barley or other plants which affects beer stability (also called polyphenols)

Top Fermentation

A fermentation where the yeast floats to the surface on completion of fermentation


Solids protein and hop debris created when wort is boiled and separated in a whirlpool or hop back.

Tunnel Pasteuriser

A chamber where hot water is sprayed on packaged small pack beers (bottles & cans) to heat them to kill any micro-organisms by pasteurisation.


A term for the cloudiness of beer

Vertical Leaf Filter

A type of beer filter


A measure of the number of live yeast cells usually done by staining


Substances essential for healthy yeast growth

Water Softening

A process for removing water hardness for boiler feed, CIP, and bottle washer. Brewing water may be softened to remove temporary hardness or have more extensive treatment.


Equipment for clarifying hot wort which is not bittered with whole hops after boiling


A smallpack insert for creating foam usually nitrogen gas

Wild Yeast

A yeast strain different from that approved for pitching the beer. Many wild yeast strains affect flavour and beer stability.


Extract of malt produced in the brewhouse before fermentation


A single celled fungus – micro-organism used to ferment wort

Yeast Count

A measure of the number of yeast cells in a sample

Tags | , , ,

Sunday, December 17, 3:56 pm

Search by Tag