GLOSSARY FOR BREWERS AND VINTNERS

A B C D E F G H I J K L M

N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

A
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ACETIC ACID
The primary acid in vinegar. Created by a wild bacteria (acetobacter) which, in the presence of oxygen, metabolizes ethanol into acetic acid. The presence of this substance in noticeable quantities spells doom for a batch of wine or beer. It can be avoided by careful sanitation techniques and closed fermentors with minimal air space. Wine seriously infected with acetobacter can be made into good vinegar if the winemaker is willing to swallow his/her pride and jazz up his/her salads.

ACID BLEND
Usually a mixture of malic, tartaric, and citric acids. Used by winemakers to correct low acidity levels. In many wines, the blend is preferred to any one acid for its roundness of flavor. Wines made from vinefera grapes may benefit from the use of tartaric acid instead.

ACIDITY
Acidity may refer to the sourness, pH, or total titratable acid content of a wine (or beer, especially in some Belgian styles). Acidity is a major component of wine's flavor, and it contributes to the natural preservative qualities of wine which extend its shelf life far beyond that of beer.

AEROBIC FERMENTATION
Fermentation in the presence of oxygen. Yeast may metabolize with or without the help of oxygen, although alcoholic fermentation is associated with anaerobic fermentation. The presence of oxygen in the first few days of fermentation aids in the synthesis of important structural components of yeast cells, helping the yeast achieve appropriate population levels for active anaerobic fermentation to begin.

ADJUNCTS
Any secondary source of starches and/or sugars used in brewing, the primary source being malted barley (or wheat). Adjuncts include (but are not limited to) flaked cereal grains, sugars, syrups, corn, and rice. The lack of malt flavor in major American beers is due to their use of high proportions of adjuncts, which generally add 100% fermentable sugars. These sugars are completely fermented to alcohol during fermentation, leaving no residual flavor or body. The similar lack of hop flavor in major American beers is due to their use of virtually no hops.

AIRLOCK
Most commonly a plastic water lock which allows the carbon dioxide produced by fermentation to escape, while preventing the influx of outside air (which may carry infectious microbes). A blow-off tube can also be used as an airlock during primary fermentation.

ALCOHOL
Actually a family of organic compounds, the common term "alcohol" refers to Ethyl Alcohol or Ethanol, CH3CH2OH. Alcohol is poisonous by degree to lifeforms small and large, which accounts for the preservative qualities and the hangover potential of any alcoholic beverage.

ALCOHOL CONTENT
The percentage of alcohol in a wine or beer. It may be measured as the percentage of the total volume (Alcohol By Volume, ABV), or as the percentage of the total weight (Alcohol by Weight, ABW). Since alcohol is less dense than wort and water, Alcohol by Volume is the higher of the two values.

ALKALINITY
The opposite of acidity, alkalinity is the prevalence of ions which neutralize H+ ions. A "base" is highly alkaline, or "basic." Usually alkalinity is due to OH- ions which can neutralize H+ ions, although other bases can be responsible for alkalinity.

ALL-GRAIN BREWING
The use of raw malted barley as the primary source of malt sugars in a brewing session, as opposed to the use of malt extracts. Since all-grain brewing requires mashing and sparging, it is considered the "advanced" form of homebrewing.

AMELIORATION
Adjustment or correction of a wine must before fermentation, usually referring to addition of sugar or acid where lacking in the original fruit.

ANAEROBIC FERMENTATION
Fermentation in the absence of oxygen, whereby yeast harvest matter and energy by processing sugar into alcohol, carbon dioxide, and important flavor byproducts.

APERITIF
A fortified or high-alcohol wine intended to be consumed before dinner.

AROMA
The component of flavor perceived in the nose--in fact, it's often called the "nose." Since the tongue can only express four attributes of flavor (sweet, salty, sour, and bitter), aroma is extremely important in the perception of flavor. This fact is brought to the forefront whenever a person with a stuffy nose eats food, which in the absence of aroma seems completely devoid of flavor. In wine jargon, aroma and bouquet are closely related.

ASCORBIC ACID
Also known as vitamin C. An effective agent in preventing oxidation of a wine.

ASTRINGENT/ASTRINGENCY
The mouth-puckering or mouth-drying quality of a wine or beer. Often perceived as extreme "dryness," as in Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Astringency is related to tannins leeched from the skins of the grapes or fruit, or secondarily from the stems and seeds or oak barrels. The astringency of these tannins mark the major differentiation between white and red wine, after color. Although harsh in abundance, tannins help prevent oxidation and can extend the complexity and aging potential of a wine. It is for this reason that most wines suitable for long-term aging are based on highly tannic grapes. Harsh astringency in a young red wine can be softened somewhat by allowing the wine to "breath" before being enjoyed. Decanters are often used for this purpose.

ATTENUATE / ATTENUATION
The ability of a yeast strain to ferment the sugars in a wort or must. Attenuation is more important in brewing, where a blend of complex wort dextrins and sugars must be broken down by the yeast during fermentation. Variations in yeast strain attenuations and brewing conditions will affect the dryness and body of the finished beer. See also, Flocculation.


B
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BALLING
Also known as "Brix." The Balling scale on a hydrometer is commonly used by winemakers and commercial brewers in the same way the Specific Gravity scale is used by Brewers. The Balling scale estimates the percentage by weight of dissolved solids in the solution. That is, a reading of 19o on the Balling scale shows that the solution is composed of approximately 19% solids by weight. The "solids" are almost completely sugars, and the use of the balling scale assumes the reading to be synonymous with sugar content. Most wines begin in the 19o to 24o balling range, and ferment out to just below 0o. The Balling scale can thus be used to estimate alcohol content, since roughly one percent of alcohol is created for each reduction of two degrees balling. A hydrometer with a Potential Alcohol scale measures alcohol content more precisely.

BARREL, OAK
Oak barrels are traditionally used to age certain wines, imparting the flavor of oak while allowing very slow evaporation and mild oxidation which can increase a wine's complexity and flavor. The use of oak adds another dimension to a wine's flavor, beneficial in most full-flavored red wines and some whites (e.g. Chardonnay). The characteristic flavors of American versus French oak are considered when choosing barrels. The amount of "charring" or "toasting," where the barrel staves are exposed to direct flames during their manufacture, is also important to the flavor.

Oak cooperage and barrel aging add time and expense to the winemaking process, and oak barrel use is one factor distinguishing more expensive wine from cheaper wine. Home winemakers can avoid the high cost of oak barrels by adding oak chips to their secondary fermentors. However, not all of the beneficial features of barrel aging are achieved with this method.

Oak barrels are also involved in the fermentation of some beer styles, including Belgian Lambics authentic English Real Ales.

BARREL (UNIT OF BEER VOLUME)
A barrel, 31 U.S. gallons, is the basic unit of measurement for commercial beer production. The kegs commonly sold to bars and consumers are 1/2 barrel and 1/4 barrel in capacity (hence the terms"1/2 Keg" and "1/4 Keg").

BLOW-OFF TUBE
Large-diameter length of tubing used to allow the escape of the carbon dioxide and the krausen or cap during active fermentation. When closed off on one end by the fermentor, and on the other end by a pail of water, a blow-off tube serves as an effective airlock.

BODY
Refers to the fullness or mouth-feel of a beverage. In beer, body is the result of residual malt sugars, dextrins and alcohol. In wine, body is a combination of alcohol, tannins, and other solids in the wine.

BOUQUET
The complex odors presented by a wine, often distinguished from aroma by a matter of proper aging.

BRANDY
Liquor produced by distilling wine.

BRIX
See Balling.


C
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CALCIUM CARBONATE
Known commonly as "chalk." Calcium carbonate is used to precipitate acids in high-acid wines. However, due to its tendency to leave chalky residues or promote oxidation during treatment, better steps to reduce acidity are recommended; dilution, blending, and malo-lactic fermentation being the most important.

CAMPDEN TABLETS
A convenient method of adding Potassium Metabisulfite to wine, campden tablets are clay pills containing a few grains of "Meta."

CAP
The mass of solids pushed to the top of a fermenting wine by the escaping carbon dioxide gas. The cap should be "punched down" a few times daily to prevent the harboring of bacteria and to increase exposure of the wine to its skins, improving color and flavor extraction. Since white wines are generally not fermented "on the skins," the cap is specific to red wine and fruit wine production.

CARAMEL MALT
See Crystal Malt.

CARBON DIOXIDE
The gas byproduct of fermentation. The creation of CO2 during primary fermentation protects beer and wine from oxidation and infection. After fermentation, residual carbon dioxide is responsible for the "fizz" or effervescence in beer and sparkling wine.

CARBONATE / CARBONATION
To infuse a wine or beer with dissolved carbon dioxide gas. CO2 produced as a major byproduct of fermentation is responsible for the natural carbonation found in sparkling wine and many craft beers. Beer and wine may also be "force" carbonated by applying pressurized gas to the solution.

CARBOY
A fermentor in the shape of a drinking water tank, the advantage of which is minimal surface area exposed to air contact (which can lead to oxidation and infection). Glass carboys are preferable to plastic due do their impermeability to air and their ease of cleaning. Both glass and plastic carboys are available in several sizes, the standard size being 5 gallons.

CITRIC ACID
The primary acid in oranges and lemons.

CLARIFY
To cause or allow haze-causing particles and solids to precipitate out of solution, with or without the help of finings, or to filter wine or beer. Clarified beer or wine is often called "bright" or "brilliant." Usually, the haze-causing particles have no effect on flavor, and clarification is merely a cosmetic process.

CONCENTRATE
To process a wort or grape juice using boiling and/or vacuum evaporation, or the product thus formed. Concentration of juice and wort allows easier packaging, extends aging capabilities, and reduces shipping costs. Concentrated wort is available to homebrewers as malt extract, which significantly reduces the time and equipment needed for brewing. Similarly, grape concentrates are a convenient alternative to fresh grapes for those who live far from a winegrowing region.

COUNTRY WINE
Often a derogatory term applied to wines based on fruits other than vinifera grapes. The superiority of grapes for winemaking stems from their natural balance of water, sugar, and acids, which allows wine to be made directly from the fruit juice. Most other fruits require amelioration with sugar and/or acid before fermentation, and are thus considered "lesser" fruits for winemaking. However, the near-absence of fruit wine on the commercial market is not completely justifiable. Most home winemakers know that other fruits produce excellent wine, and some are driven to the winemaking hobby by that very fact.

CRAFT BREWING
A newer, less commonly used term for "Microbrewed" beer, since most "Microbrewed" beer is made by breweries whose output now dwarfs the traditional definition of "Microbrewery," which is 15,000 barrels per year. Craft breweries generally produce all-malt beers from quality ingredients, emphasizing flavor and individuality rather than industrial-style costcutting and marketing gimmicks. The term may apply to a brewery as small as your kitchen to one as large as the Boston Beer Company (makers of Samuel Adams). It is interesting to note that, although the craft brewing scene in America has enjoyed remarkable growth in the last decade or so, craft beer still commands only 3% of the beer market share in America.

CRYSTAL MALT
One of the three main categories of brewing grains. Crystal malts are created by the maltster by steeping wet grains to achieve the production of sugars within the whole grains. When the grains are then dried and heated in kilns, the sugars are crystallized and caramelized to varying degrees of darkness. Since crystal malts do not require mashing, they may be used by malt extract brewers and all-grain brewers alike.


D
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DECANT / DECANTER
To pour the beer or wine from the bottle carefully, as not to disturb the sediment. When a red wine is to be exposed to air for some time before serving, it is often transferred to a separate (often decorative) vessel for this purpose, and is then served from this "decanter."

DESSERT WINE
A sweet, fortified wine usually served after dinner, when the flavor can be matched with sugary desserts.

DEXTRIN
Basically a short starch molecule. During the malting and mashing processes, starch in the brewing grain is broken down into dextrins and malt sugars. Residual dextrins contribute to the body of a beer, and isolated "malto-dextrins" are available as an additive. The name "Dextrin" also applies to a particular type of crystal malt (a.k.a. CaraPils) which contributes a high proportion of these compounds to the beer.

DISGORGING
The removal of the yeast sediment from the bottle neck during the making of sparkling wine or "champagne." Since sparkling wine must undergo a fermentation in the bottle to produce carbonation, the bottles contain yeast in abundance. Disgorging is a means of removing this yeast sediment while containing the carbon dioxide within the bottle. It usually involves freezing the bottle neck before opening the bottle, removing the sediment, and recorking.

DISTILL
Distilling is a process of heating an alcoholic beverage and condensing the high-alcohol vapors, producing a much stronger solution by leaving behind much of the water in the original drink. Due to the tendency to produce toxic forms of alcohol in unknown proportions, distilling beverages in the United States requires a commercial license.

DRY / DRYNESS
Referring to an alcoholic beverage, "dry" is defined as "not sweet." Beer yeast strains will ferment different proportions of the malt sugars present in a wort, leading to different levels of dryness. Wine yeast will generally ferment all of the simple sugars present in a wine must, unless measures are taken to halt fermentation. Home winemakers who desire a sweet wine must stabilize their wine before sweetening, to prevent in-bottle fermentation.

DRY HOPS/DRY HOPPING
"Dry hops" are any hops added to a beer during or after fermentation. Since these hops are not exposed to boiling (or even hot) wort, the bittering acids from the hops are not effectively extracted. However, the aromatic oils responsible for hop aroma are extracted, and in an unadulterated state that many feel expresses the true character of a good hop variety. Although dry hopping is typical of many beer styles, the technique is most commonly associated with the Pale Ale style and all its subcategories.


E
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ETHANOL / ETHYL ALCOHOL
The common terms "ethanol" and "alcohol" refer to a specific member of the alcohol family, CH3CH2OH, also known as Ethyl Alcohol. It is the most important product of alcoholic fermentation and therefore central to brewing and winemaking.


F
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FALSE BOTTOM
A raised perforated platform in a lauter tun, designed to allow for drainage of sweet wort during the sparge while retaining the grain bed. False bottoms range from fitted metal screens to perforated plastic domes to simple mesh bags.

FERMENTATION
The process whereby yeast metabolizes sugars into energy, alcohol, carbon dioxide, secondary byproducts, and more yeast. Brewers and winemakers alike make a distinction between primary and secondary fermentation.

FERMENTATION LOCK
See Airlock.

FERMENTER
Any yeast or human who engages in fermenting sugar-laden liquids into alcoholic drinks. As opposed to a fermentor, the container to which the human adds the yeast and the sugar-laden liquid.

FERMENTOR
A container used to hold fermenting wort or must as it turns into beer or wine, respectively. Commercially, fermentors are usually composed of stainless steel . Home beer and winemakers generally settle for plastic buckets or glass carboys. See also, fermenter.

FILTRATION
Forcing wine or beer through a porous material capable of trapping larger particles (including yeast, haze-causing proteins, etc.). Filtration of beer removes the yeast, requiring either forced carbonation or the addition of more yeast for natural carbonation. Filtration of wine is almost standard in the commercial winemaking community, but less common in home winemaking due to the tendency to oxidize or otherwise adversely affect the wine. Alternatives to wine filtration are patience, clarifiers, and cold-conditioning.

FINING / FININGS
The use of additives which clarify wine or beer by causing suspended particles to clump and precipitate. Also refers to the additive itself. In the history of winemaking, finings have included milk, eggs, ox blood, isinglass (from the stomach of sturgeon), gelatin, clay, and small particles of charged plastic.

FLOCCULATION
The tendency of a yeast strain to clump together and precipitate from solution, thereby clarifying the beer or wine. Ability to flocculate is an important quality of yeasts used for brewing and winemaking (as opposed to baking yeasts). Traditional methods developed in the Champagne region of France require flocculant yeast strains which settle in the neck of the overturned bottles, where they may be removed before the wine is sold. Highly flocculant strains may produce stuck fermentations if temperatures dip below the recommended level. See also, Attenuation.

FORTIFY / FORTIFICATION
To supplement the alcohol content of a wine with spirits, usually brandy. Fortified wines, usually containing 15% to 21% alcohol, include Port and Sherry.


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GRAVITY
A reference to the specific gravity of a beer or wine. Gravity may at times refer to "Gravity Points", which are the units of the reading which follow the decimal point. That is, a wort with a specific gravity of 1.045 has 45 gravity points, and a wort with a gravity of 1.105 has 105 points. Since gravity points effectively remove the "water portion" of a specific gravity reading (water being 1.000 in gravity), they isolate the sugar content of the wort. This facilitates the mathematics of beer, where the amount of sugar each ingredient adds to the wort may be measured or predicted using points per pound per gallon (p/p/g). This technique is the principle behind the original gravity portion of the brewer's calculator.

GRIST
In all-grain brewing, "grist" refers to the mixture of crushed grains (and adjuncts, when used) which are the raw material for the mash. Mashing begins when the hot liquor is mixed with the grist.


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HOPS
The hops used in brewing are the flower of a tall-growing vine of the same name. The green buds are covered with lupulin glands, tiny sacks containing acids and aromatic oils which provide the bitterness and aromatic qualities hops are prized for. Along with balancing the flavor of beer and enhancing its aroma, hops act as a preservative by inhibiting many potentially spoiling organisms.

HYDROMETER
A floating graduated glass instrument which uses relative density to measure approximate sugar content in a must or wort. The hydrometer is useful for determining the quality of the wort or must, monitoring the progress of fermentation, and estimating alcohol content. A "Triple-Scale" Hydrometer will have scales for Balling or Brix, Specific Gravity, and Potential Alcohol.


K
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KRAUSEN
The foamy, dirty head of bubbles, yeast, and fermentation by-products floating on the top of an actively fermenting beer. Some believe that removal of the krausen improves the final beer's flavor. Since the krausen has a tendency to clog airlocks (sometimes leading to exploding fermentors), blow-off tubes can be substituted during primary fermentation.

"Krausening" refers to the addition of freshly fermenting wort (that is, wort with a krausen) to a previously fermented batch just before it is bottled. Krausening will carbonate the packaged product, and produce a freshness of flavor not found in artificial carbonation methods or natural priming with residual yeast.


L
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LAUTER/LAUTERING
See Sparging and Lauter Tun.

LAUTER TUN
Any vessel used to hold all-grain brewing ingredients during the lauter (sparge). Lauter tuns must contain a false bottom to allow drainage of sweet wort while retaining the grain bed. However, anything from a brewing kettle to nested plastic buckets will do, provided a false bottom set-up is created. Many lauter tuns are equipped with sprinklers above the grains to allow an even spray of sparge water over the grain bed.

LEES
The sediment of a fermenting wine, usually composed of fruit solids and/or spent yeast cells. Long exposure of the wine to the lees can result in off-flavors, so racking at regular intervals is required.

LIQUOR
Also known as "strike water." In all-grain brewing, "liquor" refers to the hot water mixed with the grist to begin the mashing process. Liquor must be adjusted to specific temperatures to achieve the appropriate mash-in temperatures for a particular mashing style. At times, it is also treated to achieve the desired water chemistry or pH.


M
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MALIC ACID
The primary acid in apples. Also significant in grape wines, especially due to its role in malo-lactic fermentation.

MALO-LACTIC FERMENTATION
A process important in winemaking whereby a common bacteria strain ferments malic acid into lactic acid (a mild acid found in milk). Because lactic acid is a much weaker acid, this process reduces the acidity of the wine. Byproducts of "M-L fermentation" are sometimes said to add buttery overtones or additional complexity to the wine.

MALT
In brewing, the noun "malt" generally refers to the sugars extracted from malted cereal grains (usually barley or wheat). Malt is available as a concentrated syrup or powder that most homebrewers reconstitute to create their wort. Malt is also the term for the malted grains all-grain brewers use to extract their wort sugars.

"Malting" itself is the process whereby the raw grains are soaked, allowed to germinate (sprout), heated, and then dried. This process is produced by malting companies, commonly known as "maltsters." Malting stimulates the creation of enzymes crucial to mashing and begins the process of chemical breakdown necessary to create sweet, fermentable wort from raw grains. Various malting techniques create the three major categories of malted grains: Base or Pale Grains, Crystal or Caramel Malts, and Roasted Grains.

An "all-malt" beer, favored by home brewers and commercial craft brewers, will be created from an all-malt wort, rather than one including cheaper adjuncts produced from corn or rice.

MALT EXTRACT
A form of concentrated brewer's wort used by most homebrewers as their main source of malt sugars (as opposed to all-grain brewing). Malt extract comes in both syrup and powder forms, and may or may not include hop flavoring.

MASH/MASHING
The first major phase of all-grain brewing (before sparging), where the crushed malted (and occasionally unmalted) grains are soaked in water and steeped for various times in specific temperature ranges. During these "temperature rests", the natural enzymes present in the barley (and active at the specific temperature) break down starches and/or proteins. Mashing is the completion of a process begun by the maltster, at the end of which the final sweet brewer's wort has been extracted from what were once raw cereal grains.

MASH TUN
Any vessel used to hold all-grain brewing ingredients during the mash. Mash tuns range from simple brewing kettles and igloo coolers to combination mash/lauter tuns equipped with false bottoms and heating devices.

METABISULPHITE
The primary ion used to add SO2 (sulfites) to a wine before, during, and after fermentation. Winemakers usually use Potassium Metabisulfite for direct additions, while Sodium Metabisulfite is a cheaper chemical commonly used for sanitizing equipment.

MUST
Grape or fruit juice and solids before or during fermentation of wine. Brewers use the analogous term wort.


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OAK
The wood most preferred in the making of barrels for its qualities of cooperability and flavor. American White Oak and French Oak are the most common forms used in wine barrels.

The trees whose bark provides the soft porous wood used in natural corks are also oak.

OXIDATION
The adverse effects of exposure to oxygen, whereby oxygen transforms various wine and beer components into compounds which taste harsh or stale. The browning of an apple after it is bitten or cut is a good visual example of the rapid deterioration caused by oxygen exposure. Along with microbiological stability, reduced oxidation is the reason carboys and airlocks are required for secondary fermentation of beer and wine.

Oxidation is related sometimes to "aeration" and "oxygenation," which refer to the advantageous influx of oxygen preceding active fermentation.

OXYGEN
The importance of oxygen in brewing and winemaking cannot be overestimated. Due to oxygen's prevalence and high electronegativity, it readily reacts with the organic compounds found in beer and wine--usually producing irreversible damage. Oxygen is the primary cause of "staling" in beer and "browning" in wine. After primary fermentation, oxygen exposure should be avoided at all costs to avoid oxidation.

OXYGENATION
Oxygen exposure before primary fermentation is generally advantageous, since yeast can use oxygen to synthesize many of the fatty acids and sterols required to reproduce themselves. The oxygen dissolved before fermentation by the methods of aeration is generally consumed by the yeast or displaced by carbon dioxide during primary fermentation.


P
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PECTIC ENZYME
Also known as Pectinase. This natural enzyme chemically breaks down the pectins in fruits, thereby allowing for a higher degree of juice extraction and greater wine clarity.

pH
A measure of the free H+ ions in a solution, with 7 (the pH of distilled water, an equal solution of H+ and OH- ions) being neutral. Since it is based on a negative logarithm, lower numbers will have higher concentrations of H+, which is acidity. Higher pH numbers will have lower concentrations of H+ and higher concentrations of OH-, or alkalinity. pH is important in all-grain brewing due its effect on enzyme activity during the mash. In winemaking, pH is measured to assure proper fermentation characteristics, acidity levels, and preservative qualities. pH is not a measure of total acidity, although the two are related.

PORT
A sweet, fortified wine (originally from a particular region of Portugal), produce by the addition of brandy during active fermentation. The high alcohol content of the added brandy is enough to stifle the yeast's fermentation of sugar, leaving the wine strong and sweet.

POTASSIUM METABISULFITE
The commonly used form of sulfite addition in winemaking. Potassium Metabisulfite, or "Meta," is the active ingredient in campden tablets.

POTASSIUM SORBATE
An additive or stabilizer used to disable the remaining yeast in a fully fermented wine, thus preventing refermentation in the bottle after sweetening with sugar. Ineffective in the presence of high yeast cell counts, this additive must be used after fermentation has ceased.

POTENTIAL ALCOHOL
A scale on the hydrometer which treats the estimated sugar content as "pre-alcohol." As fermentation continues, the alcohol content (by volume) can be estimated by subtracting the current potential alcohol reading from the original one.

PRIMARY FERMENTATION
The most noticeably active phase of fermentation, usually beginning one to three days after pitching the yeast. Primary fermentation is marked by the presence of a krausen or cap caused by the rapid escape of carbon dioxide. Once the sugars are substantially depleted, the activity slows and secondary fermentation begins.

PRIMING
Adding sugar or malt to a fermented beer before packaging, creating a renewed fermentation in the bottle or keg, which produces carbonation in the finished product.


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RACK / RACKING
Winemaker's term for the syphoning of wine from one fermentor to another, removing the wine from its lees.

ROASTED MALT / ROASTED GRAINS
One of the three major categories of malted grains available for brewing, along with base malts and crystal malts. Roasted malts are kilned at high temperatures for extended times, creating much darker colors and coffee/burnt flavors than in other grains. Roasted grains are most important to the darker styles like Porter and Stout. Since roasted malts do not require mashing, they may be used by malt extract brewers as well as all-grain brewers.


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SACHAROMETER
A hydrometer as used to measure sugar content, as in the Balling (Brix) scale.

SECONDARY FERMENTATION
The period of fermentation and aging (or lagering) which follows primary fermentation. During secondary fermentation, the remaining fermentable sugars are fermented and the beer or wine begins to clarify and age. Secondary fermentation must be complete before the wine or beer is packaged.

SHERRY
A fortified wine (originally from a particular region in Spain) produced by the addition of brandy and sugar (if desired) after fermentation has ceased. It is often made with grapes of unusually high sugar content and special strains of yeast. See also, Port.

SOUR / SOURNESS
Flavor perceived on the tongue and caused by the acidity of a wine or beer. Some acidity is as essential part of the "backbone" or "structure" of a wine, providing a crispness of flavor important in wine. Acidity also contributes to the aging potential of wine. White wines are generally slightly more sour or acidic than reds, often balanced by residual sugar. Red wines are generally more tannic.

Sourness is also associated with some unique beer styles, especially Belgian Lambics.

SPARGING
The second major phase of all-grain brewing (after mashing), where the sweet wort is separated from the spent grains. The water already in the mash, plus additional hot sparge water, is allowed to slowly soak through the grain bed, absorbing the sugars from the husks and passing them into the brewing kettle. Sparging requires a lauter tun.

SPARKLING WINE
Carbonated wine, usually white or ros´┐Ż. Originally referring to a specific region of France where common winemaking methods are agreed upon and adhered to, "Champagne" has been adopted by many American winemakers as a generic term for sparkling wine.

SPECIFIC GRAVITY
The Specific Gravity scale on a hydrometer is commonly used by brewers and some winemakers to measure the sugar content of the wort or must. The scale is based on density relative to water. Pure water at the calibration temperature (usually 60o F) measures 1.000 on the Specific Gravity scale. If exactly one gallon of pure water was weighed next to exactly one gallon of a solution with a S.G. of 1.048, the second gallon would weigh 1.048 times the weight of the gallon of water. Because Specific Gravity relates to sugar content, alcohol content can be estimated from the change in Specific Gravity caused by fermentation. A triple-scale hydrometer will have a Potential Alcohol scale for just this purpose.

STABILIZE
To prepare the wine for long term storage by allowing all microbiological activity to cease or by disabling the yeast with additives. Potassium sorbate and sulfites are often added to the wine before bottling due to their effectiveness in preventing renewed fermentation, microbiological activity, and oxidation. If a wine is to be sweetened before bottling, stabilization with Potassium Sorbate (Sorbistat K) is required.

STARCH
Chemically, starch is a long molecular chain composed of linked units of sugar. The grains used for brewing are seeds loaded with starch as a stored source of energy. This starch (along with protein) will be modified (broken down) in the course of malting and mashing, creating the simple sugars which are the main component of beer wort.

STILL WINE
Non-carbonated wine, as opposed to carbonated or "sparkling wine."

STRIKE WATER
See Liquor.

STUCK FERMENTATION
A fermentation which ceases prematurely, usually due to inappropriate temperatures, yeast nutrient deficiencies, or misproportioned ingredients.

SULFITES
Common term for sulphur dioxide and its derivatives in wine. Sulphur dioxide acts as a sanitizer and anti-oxidant in a must or wine.

SYPHON / SYPHONING
The gravity-powered act of transferring beer or wine from one container to another, or the equipment used to do so. Winemakers and some brewers commonly refer to syphoning as "racking."


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TABLE WINE
A wine of 10 to 15 percent alcohol created by natural fermentation, as opposed to a fortified wine.

TANNIN
A form of acid leeched from the skins and stems of fruits or the husks of grains. Tannins produce an astringent quality in wine or beer. They are generally avoided in brewing and white wine making, and accepted in red wine making. Red wines ferment "on the skins," allowing the color and tannins in the skins to be extracted into the wine. Cabernet Sauvignon is known as a very "tannic" grape, and it is often blended with softer varieties like Merlot and/or Cabernet Franc. Since tannins have a somewhat harsh flavor in young wine but can help to preserve wine quality over time, it is usually tannic wines which benefit from aging.

TARTARIC ACID
The primary acid in ripe grapes. Tartaric acid tends to precipitate from wine when in overabundance or when exposed to cool temperatures or extended aging, leading to crystalline sediment in the wine bottle or around the cork. This has no adverse effects on the wine's flavor.

TITRATABLE ACID
The total titratable acid of a wine is the real acid content expressed as a percentage by weight. This is not the same as pH because pH measures only the free H+ ions, not accounting for the ions bound in compounds. As an acid titration proceeds, all the acid ions are progressively freed, allowing for a measure of the complete acidity level.

TITRATION
Measuring the presence of a particular chemical ion or compound by adding a measured volume of a prepared neutralizing solution. Titration using a highly alkaline base and a color change indicator is used by winemakers to measure total acidity.

TOTAL ACIDITY
See Titratable Acid.


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VARIETAL
A wine whose name refers to the major grape variety used in its making, instead of to a geographical area where the grapes were grown and vinified. Varietal naming (e.g. Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon) is characteristic of non-European winemaking. European wines are more commonly named according to the geographical region where they were produced (e.g. Bordeaux, Chianti).

VINEGAR
To most winemakers, vinegar is simply wine gone bad. Vinegar is created by a widespread bacteria which ferments alcohol into sour-tasting acetic acid. Although vinegar is often made from red or white wine, it can be made from unhopped beer ("malt vinegar") or any other previously fermented beverage. Vinegar requires only time, acetobacter, and oxygen to be created.

VINIFERA GRAPES
The classification for the type of grapes specifically used for winemaking ("wine grapes"), as opposed to common table grape varieties. Vinifera grapes evolved in the winegrowing regions of Europe. They are smaller and have a higher sugar content than table grapes like Concord.

VINTAGE
Technically, "vintage" refers to the harvesting and processing of wine grapes, usually occurring in early fall. A "vintage wine" refers to any wine made in a year where the harvest was good enough that blending with wine from other years was not required. Because the vagaries of weather produce vintages of variable quality from year to year, "vintage" became an adjective referring to aged wines from superior years, and then to cherished older things in general.


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WATER LOCK
See Airlock.

WORT
Pronounced "Wert." A brewer's term for beer before and during fermentation. Winemakers use the analogous term must.


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YEAST
Single-celled ascomycetous fungi (!) used to ferment beer and wine. Brewing and Winemaking yeast strains differ from bread yeast in that they are selected for tolerance to alcohol (and sulfites), tendency to attenuate and flocculate, and flavor characteristics imparted by the by-products they produce during fermentation. Yeast is a good source of Vitamin B, which is why Brewer's Yeast (dead) is sold in health food stores.

YEAST NUTRIENT
A mixture of various nutrients, minerals, and dead yeast ("yeast hulls" or "yeast ghosts") which provide the materials necessary for yeast to reproduce and ferment vigorously. Nutrients are helpful in almost any batch of beer or wine, and required in low-nutrient broths like mead.


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ZYMURGY
The science of fermentation, like in that of brewing and winemaking. One of the many perks of being brewers and vintners is that we get the last word in the dictionary. "Zymurgy" is also the name of a popular homebrewing magazine.