Beginner’s Home Brewing Dictionary

Below is a list of terms you may find helpful to start your home brewing adventures. You are bound to run into many of these when reading recipes, instructions, or articles about home brewing. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list. It is only intended as a place to start in hopes of reducing your confusion and frustrations. For any field of study, it helps to know a bit of the language going in. Since this is aimed at beginners, the definitions here are kept intentionally short and simple for the sake of clarity. Cheers!

Additives: Preservatives, enzymes or antioxidants which get added to beer.
Adjunct: A substitute material used instead of more traditional grains.
All-malt: A beer made from barley malt with no adjuncts.
Amber: A color of beer between pale and dark.
Aroma Hops: Varieties of hops used to enhance how a beer smells.
Astringent: A term for a dry taste.
Attenuation: The degree to which sugar has been converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Barrel: A unit of measure equal to 31.5 gallons (U.S.).
Base Grain: A malted grain, like barley, mashed to extract the sugars and begin the brewing process.
Black Malt: Partially malted barley which imparts a dark color to a beer.
Brew Kettle: The vessel wherein wort is boiled with hops.
Bung: The stopper in a keg or cask. The term is also sometimes used for the hole the stopper goes in.
Carbonation: The sparkle and bubbliness from carbon dioxide in a drink.
Chill Haze: Cloudiness caused by low temperatures.
Chill Proof: Treating a beer so it is resistent to clouding at low tempuratures.
Conditioning: Letting a beer mature so it acquires additional natural carbonation.
Conditioning Tank: A secondary tank that beer is placed in for the conditioning process.
Conversion: Grain starch changes into sugars.
Copper: Another term for brew kettle.
Dosage: Adding yeast or sugar to help with secondary fermentation.
Enzymes: Catalysts which, in beer making, convert starches into sugars when heated.
Fermentation: Using yeast to convert sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Filter: To remove impurities from wort.
Full Conversion: The point at which no starch remains in the wort as it has all changed into sugar.
Hogshead: A large cask which holds 54 imperial (British) gallons.
Hop Back: A device used to strain the petals from the hop flowers. Also known as a hop jack.
Hops: An herb used in some beer recipes.
Iodine Test: A means to determine whether or not the wort has acheived full conversion.
Keg: A unit of measure equal to half a barrel.
Mash: (noun) The mixture grain and water.
Mash: (verb) The process of mixing water and crushed grain.
Mash-tun: A vessel in which grains are mashed.
Mead: Fermentation made with honey instead of sugar.
Pitch: Adding yeast to wort.
Specialty Grain: Grains used primarily to enhance the aroma, flavor, body or color of a beer.
Trub: The solids left after boiling.
Wort: Raw beer, before yeast has been added. Basically, the grain sugars plus water.