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Craft Beer 101: Your Basic Beer Lingo

Learn the slang before you start slurring
by Khatrina Bonagua | Oct 20, 2016
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Before you attend those Oktoberfest parties or inuman sessions, make sure you know your beer lingo first. You don’t want to sound stupid in front of your drinking date, right?

Don’t fret! Just in case you want to impress the lady you've taken out for a round of beers (two bottles lang, promise), FHM is here to tutor you on some of the basic terms that you should know. Read up before you bottoms up!

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1) Craft Beer

Beers that were made by small, independently owned breweries.

2) Fermentation

Fermentation is the first and main step in the beer-making process. There are two main ways of fermentation: top fermentation and bottom fermentation.

3) Top-Fermentation

Top-fermentation is fermenting at warmer temperatures, which gives the beer fruiter flavors, higher alcohol content, and produces the type of beer we know as, Ales.

4) Bottom Fermentation

This second fermentation method uses yeast that typically sinks to the bottom of the vessel. This yeast produces Lagers.

5) Ales

Ales are beers that are fermented with top-fermenting yeast. They are typically fruiter in flavor than Lagers. 

6) Lagers

Lagers are fermented with a different type of yeast, known as bottom-fermenting yeast. Beers like these usually have smoother and crisper flavors.

7) Alcohol by Volume (ABV)

The ABV, or Alcohol By Volume, is a measurement of just how high the percentage volume of alcohol is per volume of beer.


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8) International Bitterness Units (IBU)

The IBU, or International Bitterness Units, determines the level of bitterness that you taste.

9) Hops

Hops are one of the most basic ingredients in beer, apart from the yeast and grain. It adds that bitter flavor you taste when you sip your beer.

10) Barley

Barley, the seed of a grain, is another main ingredient used in brewing beer.

11) Malt

Malt is produced after the barley has been processed. The barley must steep in water and go through a germination period. After, it must be dried to stop germination.

12) Carbonation

The process of introducing carbon dioxide into beer, either created during fermentation or injected later.

13) Body

Thickness and mouth-filling property of a beer described as "full or thin bodied."

14) Head Retention

Head Retention is a measurement of the amount of time (in seconds) it will take for the foam at the top of the beer (1 inch) to reside.

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