Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Home Brewing Terminology

Home brewing can be a language all its own, so here is a quick rundown of some common terms:Adjuncts:are sources of fermentable sugars other than malted grain. They serve a myriad of purposes, such as adding distinctive flavors, lightening color and body, and boosting alcohol content without affecting taste.Adjuncts can refer to any ingredient other than water, malt, hops and yeast. Ingredients whose primary purpose is not to add fermentable sugars to the beer are known as flavoring agents or brewing additives. Airlocks: plastic devices that contain one or more liquid chambers and are attached to the fermenter. They allow built up CO2 produced during fermentation to be released, while keeping air and contaminates out. Auto-siphon: allows for quick and easy siphoning. No contamination is caused by having to suck on the hose. No need to fill the racking hose with a liquid to prime the siphon. Simply lift and plunge the inner racking cane and your siphon is started.Blow Off Tube: a length of plastic or vinyl tubing that serves the same purpose as an airlock, and fits in the same place on the fermenter as the airlock. The other end of the tube is placed in a bucket of sanitized water.Bottle Bombs: literally exploding bottles of beer due to too much pressure caused by excessive CO2Bottling Bucket: essentially the same as fermentation bucket, but has a spigot to make bottling easier without having to use a siphonBottling Wand: A metal or stiff plastic tube with a one-way flow valve at the lower end that is used in bottling. In its simplest form, when the tip is pressed against the bottom of a bottle, liquid flows into the bottle. When the tip is lifted, the flow-valve closes and stops the flow of liquid.DWHAHB: Don’t Worry, Have A Homebrew! The homebrewers mantra, which basically reminds you to be patient with your beer–good beer comes to those who wait. If you rush beer (don’t ferment long enough, drink too soon) you will likely not have good beer (green beer). Also a reminder if you make a mistake, not to panic–chances are it can be fixed. Someone else probably made the same mistake and often mistakes are the best batches. Most mistakes can be overcome, especially over time. Worse comes to worse, you learn something about home brewing, whether to repeat the mistake or how to avoid it in the future Green Beer: young beer that has not aged yet, could have off flavors, but often a green beer may taste good–but give it more time to age and it will be much betterHydrometer: A device for measuring the density of a liquid. A hydrometer will float higher in a more dense liquid than in a less dense oneKrausen: thick looking foam that forms at the top of your fermenter. It will fall to the bottom of the fermenter later and is a normal part of fermentation–nothing is wrong with your beer.Mashing: the home brewing term for steeping malt and other grains in hot water in order to extract the starches from the grain and allow them to be converted into sugar. If the grain is not mashed, the starches will end up in the finished beer, affecting the beer’s clarity and mouthfeel, and no fermentable sugars will be available for the yeast.Partial Boil/Full boil: simply refers to boiling a partial wort (2 or 3 gallons) as opposed to a full wort (5 gallons). Partial boils are common for new brewers and extract home brewing, and top off water is added to complete the wort volume (5 gallons). Full boils are required for all grain home brewing, and require larger pots, and usually more space. (Primary) fermentation: is when the wort finally becomes beer through the conversion of sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This conversion is done by the yeast which “eat” the sugars. It is the brewers job to provide the right conditions for the yeast to do its job. Secondary Fermentation is for conditioning and clearing the beer rather than additional fermentationRacking: transferring wort or beer during the home brewing process–from brew pot to fermenter, primary to secondary or from primary/secondary to bottling bucketRacking Cane: a plastic tube that is bent on one end and is used in siphoning beer from one vessel to another, known as racking. Siphon tubing is placed on one end of the cane while a plastic cap is placed on the other end which is inserted into the carboy or bucket. The main advantage to using a racking cane is that it allows liquid to be siphoned while filtering out the undesirable solids from the bottom of the fermentation vessel.Siphon: a tube for transferring either wort to secondary fermentation vessel, from primary or secondary to bottling bucket. Use gravity to start, never the mouth (contamination)Sparging: After steeping grains and filtering them out of the wort, some brewers heat additional water some brewers will heat additional water and pour that through the grains in the colander. This extra rinse helps ensure that as much sugar and flavor from the grains is removed, and is known as sparging.Specific/Original Gravity: Specific Gravity is a ratio of the liquid’s density compared to the density of water, giving water a Specific Gravity of 1. Wort is a sugar solution and is more dense than water. Readings taken after fermentation will give a lower reading since sugars have been converted to alcohol.Strike Water: water used for a mashTrub: is what is left at the bottom of the fermenter after fermentation, and the wort has been removed. The trub is comprised of proteins from the grains.Wort: The term used to describe “raw” beer–beer that has not yet had yeast added to it. Wort (pronounced ‘wert’) is essentially just sugar (from malted grains) and water.

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