Get to know your beers
Brewed with top fermenting yeast at cellar temperature, ales are fuller-bodied, with nuances of fruit or spice and a pleasantly hoppy finish. Generally robust and complex with a variety of fruit and malt aromas, ales come in many varieties. They could include Bitters, Milds, Abbey Ales, Pale Ales, Nut Browns, etc.
Ales are often darker than lagers, ranging from rich gold to reddish amber. Top fermenting, and more hops in the wort gives these beers a distinctive fruitfulness, acidity and pleasantly bitter seasoning. Ales have a more assertive, individual personality than lager, though their alcoholic strength is the same.
Lager originates from the German word lagern which means 'to store' – it refers to the method of storing it for several months in near-freezing temperatures. Crisp and refreshing with a smooth finish from longer aging, lagers are the world's most popular beer (this includes pilseners).
A lager, which can range from sweet to bitter and pale to black, is usually used to describe bottom-fermented brews of Dutch, German, and Czech styles. Most, however, are a pale to medium color, have high carbonation, and a medium to high hop flavor.
Stouts & Porters
There’s very little distinction between a Porter and a Stout, but they do have their differences.
Porter is a dark, almost black, fruity-dry, top fermenting style. An ale, porter is brewed with a combination of roasted malt to impart flavor, color and aroma.
Stout is also a black, roast brew made by top fermentation. Stout, not as sweet to the taste, features a rich, creamy head and is flavored and colored by barley. Stouts often use a portion of unmalted roasted barley to develop a dark, slightly astringent, coffee-like character.
Bitterness: 20-40 IBU
Significantly hoppy with moderate bitterness, Pale Ales are backed by a solid malt body and sweet notes from an all-malt base.
Bitterness: 20-30 IBU
Pale in color, blonde beers are usually clear, crisp, and dry with low-to-medium bitterness, getting their aromas from hops and a little sweetness from malt.
Pale Ale / IPA
Bitterness: 50-100 IBU
Pale Ales are fruity and copper-colored. Originating in England, they are robust and can be enjoyed with spicier foods like curry.
Bitterness: 20-60 IBU
These beers can be either lagers or ales. Full bodied with malt aromas and hints of caramel, ales are very versatile.
Bitterness: 50-100 IBU
Either red or light brown in color, Red Ales are moderate to heavy in flavor and contain hints of caramel, offset by the predominant hop characteristic of the beer.
Bitterness: 20-60 IBU
Depending on where they’ve been brewed, brown beers may have a slight citrus accent or may be strong, malty or nutty. They are usually dark amber or brown in color and display caramel and chocolate flavors.
Bitterness: 30-60 IBU
Porters have a roasted malt taste with notes of chocolate. Dark in color, they have a medium dry finish and light carbonation.
Bitterness: 30-60 IBU
Stouts are dark in color and display a strong roasted malt taste with coffee, chocolate and caramel flavors.
The Beer Dictionary
Enzymes, preservatives and/or antioxidants that are added to clarify or preserve beer, or to improve head retention
Ethyl alcohol or ethanol, which is a by-product of fermentation.
Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
(ABV) Amount of alcohol in beer expressed as a percentage of total beer volume.
A type of beer brewed using top-fermenting yeast. The yeast also prefers warmer temperatures, 12 to 24 degrees Celsius.
The smell of a beer. Descriptive terms like fruity, flowery, spicy, malty and many others can be used.
Flowers of the hop vine that are added during the later part of the beer-making process to enhance a beer's aroma.
When all the beer's elements are in perfect proportion.
A grain used for making beer. It is first malted, mashed, and then the sugary liquid formed during the mash, called wort, is fermented.
An alcoholic beverage brewed from barley malt mixed with cultured yeast for fermentation, and flavored with hops.
Having a sharp taste. Bitterness is measured in International Bitterness Units (IBU).
Flowers of the hop plant that are added during the first part of the beer making process to counteract the natural sweetness of the brew.
A strong lager served to warm the drinker during the coldest months of the year.
The texture and weight of a beer in the mouth. A beer can be thin or full-bodied.
One of the two types of yeast used in brewing, also referred to as lager yeast; works well at low temperatures.
The supervisor of the brewing process at a brewery.
Small brewery attached to a pub or restaurant.
(CO2) A natural by-product of fermentation that gives beer its bubbles, or carbonation.
Dark ale is a British type beer that combines hops, yeast and a blend of malts. Medium chestnut brown in color they have a delicate fruity smell and a robust, malty character.
A method of dispensing beer from kegs.
The addition of dry hops to fermenting or aging beer to increase its hop character or aroma.
Naturally occurring grain proteins that convert the starches to sugars when the mash is heated.
Yeast converts sugars in beer into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 provides the natural carbonation in beer.
The container where the fermentation process takes place after yeast is added.
Flowers of the hop vine that are added during the beer making process to add hop flavor and aroma to the brew.
While most fruit beers are ales, they don’t typically have ale characters. For the fruit flavor to come through, the malt flavor is not dominant and they usually have a low bitterness.
Malted barley that is ground to expose the starches.
Golden ales were first developed in the UK. They are straw colored with a slight hint of citrus and vanilla and can sometimes contain spicier flavors.
Having the aroma of hops, but not the bitterness.
The flowers of the hop plant. Grown on a climbing vine, hop flowers resemble a green pine cone. Hops balance the sweetness of the malted barley, add flavors and aromas to the brew and make the yeast work better.
Indian Pale Ale (IPA)
(IPA) A pale ale that is generously hopped.
International Bitterness Units (IBU)
(IBUs) A system for measuring hop bitterness in finished beer.
Beers produced with bottom-fermenting yeast strains, at colder fermentation temperatures than ales, to produce a cleaner, crisper tasting beer.
The process of maturation for a set period of time at cold temperatures to settle residual yeast and create carbonation.
A tank with a perforated false bottom on the tank – similar to a strainer or colander. The sweet liquid is drained from the mash in a two-step process and collected.
Extremely light colored and mild flavored, light beers have fewer calories and lower alcohol content.
Having a skunk-like smell due to exposure to light. The reason why craft Beers are in dark brown bottles or cans.
A method of processing any cereal grain, for example, barley. The grain is moistened, begins to sprout and then is quickly heated in a large oven to stop the growing process. Malting develops the enzymes in the grain that are needed to turn starch into sugar.
The mixture of grist and warm water.
The large, stainless-steel vessel where the grist and warm water are combined and heated to create the mash.
Hot water used to rinse the grain to remove sugars.
A strong beer is any beer that contains an ABV (alcohol by volume) of over 7%. They are typically dark in color – some being almost black – and can include different styles such as old ales, double IPAs and barley wines.
Top-fermenting yeast is named as such because most strains exhibit the tendency to gather at the surface of the beer during the first few days of fermentation. After fermentation, the yeast settles to the bottom of the fermenter while a large percentage stay in dispersion. Top-fermenting yeast, 'ale yeast,' finds optimum performance in the temperature range of 12 to 25 degrees Celsius. Lower temperatures tend to inhibit fermentation, causing the yeast to become dormant.
Any large vessel used in brewing. In America, the term "tub" is more commonly used.
Wheat beers are light and easy to drink with very little aftertaste. The wheat provides the beer with a soft character, making it sometimes hazy or cloudy with a hint of spice notes.
The sweet liquid that is drained from the mash in the Lauter Tun.