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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Adjustment or correction of a wine must before fermentation, usually referring to addition of sugar
or acid where lacking in the original fruit.
A fortified or high-alcohol wine intended to be consumed
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.
Also known as vitamin C. An effective agent in preventing
oxidation of a wine.
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
of the finished beer. See also, Flocculation.
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.
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
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").
Large-diameter length of tubing used to allow the escape of
the carbon dioxide
and the krausen
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.
Refers to the fullness or mouth-feel of a beverage. In beer,
body is the result of residual malt sugars, dextrins
In wine, body is a combination of alcohol, tannins,
and other solids in the wine.
The complex odors presented by a wine, often distinguished
by a matter of proper aging.
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,
fermentation being the most important.
A convenient method of adding Potassium
Metabisulfite to wine, campden tablets are clay pills containing
a few grains of "Meta."
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.
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.
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.
The primary acid in oranges and lemons.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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."
A sweet, fortified wine usually served after dinner, when
the flavor can be matched with sugary desserts.
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
malt (a.k.a. CaraPils) which contributes a high proportion of
these compounds to the beer.
The removal of the yeast
sediment from the bottle neck during the making of sparkling
wine or "champagne." Since sparkling wine must undergo a
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,
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.
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.
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.
The process whereby yeast
metabolizes sugars into energy, alcohol,
dioxide, secondary byproducts, and more yeast. Brewers and
winemakers alike make a distinction between primary
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
brewing, "grist" refers to the mixture of crushed grains
when used) which are the raw material for the mash.
Mashing begins when the hot liquor
is mixed with the grist.
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
A floating graduated glass instrument which uses relative
density to measure approximate sugar content in a must
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
or Brix, Specific
Gravity, and Potential
The foamy, dirty head of bubbles, yeast,
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),
tubes can be substituted during primary
"Krausening" refers to the addition of freshly fermenting
(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.
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.
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,
at regular intervals is required.
Also known as "strike water." In all-grain
brewing, "liquor" refers to the hot water mixed with the
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.
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
of the wine. Byproducts of "M-L fermentation" are sometimes
said to add buttery overtones or additional complexity to the
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
An "all-malt" beer, favored by home brewers and commercial
brewers, will be created from an all-malt wort, rather
than one including cheaper adjuncts
produced from corn or rice.
A form of concentrated
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
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
has been extracted from what were once raw cereal grains.
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.
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
Grape or fruit juice and solids before or during fermentation
of wine. Brewers use the analogous term wort.
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
The trees whose bark provides the soft porous wood used in
natural corks are also oak.
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
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
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.
Oxygen exposure before primary
fermentation is generally advantageous, since yeast can
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.
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.
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.
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.
The commonly used form of sulfite
addition in winemaking. Potassium Metabisulfite, or "Meta,"
is the active ingredient in campden
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.
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.
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
caused by the rapid escape of carbon dioxide.
Once the sugars are substantially depleted, the activity slows
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.
One of the three major categories of malted
grains available for brewing, along with base malts
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
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.
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.
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
wine, usually white or ros�. 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.
The Specific Gravity scale on a hydrometer
is commonly used by brewers and some winemakers to measure the
sugar content of the wort
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.
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,
If a wine is to be sweetened before bottling, stabilization
with Potassium Sorbate (Sorbistat K) is required.
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.
A wine of 10 to 15 percent alcohol created by natural fermentation,
as opposed to a fortified
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
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
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 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.
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
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).
To most winemakers, vinegar is simply wine gone bad. Vinegar
is created by a widespread bacteria which ferments alcohol into
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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