As home brewing becomes ever more popular in Ireland we've had increasing numbers of requests for a glossary of brewing. Many of the more technical activities in brewing are described by terms we tend not to see elsewhere in ordinary life, and several others have a meaning in brewing quite distinct from what we're used to. So, as an enhancement to the brewing chat in our Forums, and as a general reference tool, we've initiated this guide to the language of brewing.
The bulk of the initial work was carried out by Dr Jacoby, with contributions from Hendrixcat and some overview from the Editorial Team. It is intended to grow organically with the needs of the whole community, so if there's a term you think should be included, let us know in this thread.
- The Editorial Team
Brewing isn't hard. If you can cook you can brew, people just like to make it sound more complicated than it is. So in this spirit I decided to make the simplest brew possible with the least possible equipment. I got my friend Colum over whose only knowledge of brewing was that it produced alcohol which he likes to drink. After a few beers he brewed a cider and proves that any idiot can brew.
Thanks to Colum and here's the photo tutorial.
Websites and books are full of recipes, extract and all-grain, telling you how to make a clone of your favourite beer. The ingredient lists is usually five or more different malts, two unmalted grains, three different hops and a special liquid yeast culture, to make a particular ale. Then you look at what you can get from your local Irish supplier and despair begins to set in.
The problem is that most of these books and sites are American. I'm not saying that that makes them bad or wrong, I'm just saying that that means that they are designed with American brewers and the myriad speciality grains and hops available to them, in mind. We just don't have that kind of selection here, but that doesn't mean we can't make good beer.
Brewing beer at home can be done using one of three methods, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Whether kit brewing, extract brewing or all grain brewing suits you best,depends on how much you are willing to put into the process, what you are willing to spend on equipment and what kind of results you are looking for.
I have arranged these methods in order of ascending complexity, but please note that even the most complex methods are not rocket science. People have been brewing beer for thousands of years and for most of that time it was mainly brewed by ordinary people in their own homes, with very basic equipment.
Note taking is not really stressed by most brewing resources, if it is mentioned at all, but, in my opinion, it is one of the most important elements of the brewing process and can make the difference between producing good beers and producing great beers.
Brewing is a craft and there is a lot to learn. Inevitably you will have your successes and your failures. Your brew book will give you the ability to learn from both.
It is in the nature of the process, that the results are several weeks, or even several months removed from the original brew day, so by the time you taste that fine Pilsner or beautiful Golden Triple, you may not even remember the basic recipe you used, let alone what temperature the mash was at. Without notes, how can you possibly hope to make this beer again?