Getting into beer is a rollicking good time. For one, you get to drink tasty brews as “research.” That’s always fun. Along the way, you also get to geek out on the process of crafting the beers you love. After all, brewers are, in essence, chemists. And what better way to nerd out on science than in a discipline that leaves you buzzed?
Therein lies a bit of a barrier though. Beer, like most subcultures, has a specific language. That beer-specific vernacular is intimidating. When beer aficionados, brewers, and servers start throwing around terms like “ester” or “diacetyl” or “secondary fermentation,” the average beer drinker isn’t going to know what the hell they’re talking about. But this doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems at first glance. Esters and diacetyl are volatile flavor compounds that lead to fruity/flowery and butterscotch flavors respectively. Secondary fermentation is simply a second fermentation in a sealed container. See? We’re learning already.
To help you break into the world of beer, we thought we’d throw down some basic terms and explain what they mean. This is by no means a comprehensive list of beer-related buzzwords. This is a gateway to the larger beer world. Some basics that invite you to dive deeper. It’s also worth noting that where there’s a rule or definition in beer, there’s almost always an exception. Though that might seem annoying at first, once you get the hang of things it’s sure to be part of the fun.
Malts are the foundation of beer. This is where you start your flavor journey. Basically, malts are made from barley that’s “malted.” That means,