Glossary of Terms
Don’t understand the beer gibberish the author is yammering about? See if this helps.
Abv Alcohol by volume (percentage alcohol). Most beers are 4-5 percent abv, though some, like the Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, exceed 20 percent abv.
Ale One of the major classifications of beer, ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeasts at warmer temperatures, resulting in a more full-bodied beer than your lagers.
Beer A delectable concoction consumed by mankind for the last 6,000 years. Its four essential ingredients are water, malt, hops and yeast.
Bock A type of strong lager, with a higher abv (6-7 percent) and more malty characteristics. Double bocks (a.k.a. dobblebocks) are even stronger in both alcohol and flavor.
Dobblebock See “Bock.”
Hefe-weiss German for “yeast-white,” because of the pale coloring of this style of beer. Hefe-weiss (also called “hefeweizen,” which actually means “yeast wheat”) is made with a predominantly wheat malt —not the usual barley—that yields the golden colors. It’s also often cloudy, as the yeast is left unfiltered.
Hops The flowering cone of a vining plant, hops are used as an herb to season beer, providing the bitterness to balance the sweetness of the malt.
IBU International bitterness unit, this measures the degree of bitterness. Generally, the hoppier the beer, the higher the IBUs. A domestic lager measures 5-7 IBUs, while an IPA is generally greater than 40 IBUs.
IPA Stands for India Pale Ale, a heavily hopped style of beer developed by the colonial British in order to withstand long voyages to India.
Lager One of the major classifications of beer, lagers are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeasts at cooler temperatures, producing a cleaner, crisper taste than ales.
Malt Refers to the malted grains, usually barley. The grains become malt when they’re allowed to germinate, breaking down their starch into sugars and giving beer its substance and sweetness.
Triple A complex Belgian-style beer, triples are so-called because they use up to three times the malt of a typical Belgian. Often fruity or spicy in aroma with a sweet finish, they also generally have a high alcohol content, at 7-10 percent abv.
Yeast The microorganism used to ferment the malt, converting sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. In general, top-fermenting yeasts are used to make ales, while bottom-fermenting yeasts are used to make lagers.