Beer News Lists

Beer Terms for Beginners

Terms to know when talking about craft beer

Ever heard a craft beer lover talk about their love for Brett? No they aren’t talking about their love of a specific brewers named Brett, but talking about Brettanomyces a specific yeast strain that is mainly responsible for those excellent barrel sours with a tart and funky profile. It’s these types of terms that can leave some newcomers out of the conversation, so we’ve compiled a few of the most common terms so the next time you hear them out in the wild, you know what people are talking about!

ABV

This is the industry term for Alcohol By Volume. Essentially ABV is the standard for telling consumers how strong a particular beer is. The higher the ABV, the quicker you’re going to get drunk.

Brett

As mentioned above, Brett is short for Brettanomyces, one of the main yeasts in sour beer. The other most popular sour yeast is Lactobacillus, which is more commonly used in kettle sours.

Bomber

A 22oz bottle of beer. Looks like a large cousin to a normal sized bottle of beer.

Bottle Conditioned

A process by which beer is naturally carbonated in the bottle as a result of additional wort or sugar intentionally added to increase fermentation during packaging.

Crowler

Crowlers are a combination of a growler (see below) and a can. It means a brewer is pouring fresh into a can and sealing it up at the time of purchase, instead of packaging it for a typical shelf life. These tend to be around the 32oz size.

Crushable

An easy-going, super-drinkable beer. These are generally low alcohol beers with tons of flavour that make you want to go back for more. A crushable beer is something you could drink a lot of and not get sick of it.

Dank

If you’re familiar with weed terms, this is exactly what it sounds like. Generally means a beer has a sticky, resin like quality similar to marijuana. A lot of IPAs can be described in this way thanks to the massive amounts of hops.

Diacetyl

An off flavour of beer similar to buttery, movie theater popcorn or butterscotch. This results from over-stressed yeast during fermentation, and could mean a bacterial infection has occurred. Note: some beers are meant to have a buttery taste, so check first to make sure that’s not the brewers intention.

Dry Hopped

The addition of hops late in the brewing process to increase the hop aroma of a finished beer without significantly affecting its bitterness.

Growler

You’ll likely have seen these around. They are the larger, mostly glass, containers used to purchase beer directly from a brewery. The typical size is around 64oz, but there are also smaller versions in 32oz (which could also be known as a Boston Round).

IBU

International Bitterness Units are another standard set of measurements that inform consumers how bitter a beer is. Typically, but not always, lighter beers like Pilsners will be on the low scale, while IPAs tend to score on the higher end of the bitter scale. It’s not a perfect measurement to understand the profile of a beer, but if you really hate bitter beer, look for something on the low end (40 IBU and under).

Juicy

A term generally reserved for North Eastern IPAs. Has plenty of fruit like characteristics and a very juice-like mouthfeel.

Oxidation

A result of beer going bad due to increased exposure to oxygen. Tends to smell/taste like wet paper or rotten pineapple.

Skunked

A beer turned bad. Skunked beer tends to smell skunky and tastes like burnt rubber. Skunked beer occurs when certain compounds in hops react with light; thus why beer stored in clear or green bottles is a big no-no. (Also known as Lightstruck)

Whale

An incredibly rare and sought after beer, akin to Ahab’s Moby Dick. These are the beers worshiped by the craft beer community.

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