Katie’s Glossary of Terms

stock image of book

When I first started trying to learn and read about homebrewing, I was a bit annoyed at times by all the words and special terms I didn’t understand. Here’s my own glossary with my own understanding of these special terms.

(If you want a real glossary, maybe look at Palmer’s glossary.)

7/25/21 Update: Trub, Flameout


Aerate – Mixing your liquid to make sure the yeast gets enough air to breathe (or eat, I guess).


Brew In A Bag (BIAB) – You’re making a giant tea bag full of barley, for your barley tea (see Mash).


Carboy – A glass jug or bucket (if you’re slummin’ it like me) that holds the barley-hop juice while it ferments.


Fermentation – The magical process that turns a sugary liquid (barley-hop juice) into booze.

Flameout – It sounds hilarious, but it’s when you turn off the heat (after the boil part), add certain ingredients, and start cooling the liquid.

Fly Sparging – Something that ain’t nobody got time for. Fuck that. (Also see Fly Sparging vs Brew in a Bag)


Gravity – Apparently, this number describes the concentration of malt sugar (water is 1.000 at 59F). I still don’t fully understand this though.


Hydrometer – The thing that measures the relative gravity. You look at how high it floats in a test jar full of liquid (look at the number where it floats). You can check how badly you screwed up your homebrew.


Katie – The ridiculous person who writes these blog posts and struggles with homebrewing.

Kettle (or Brew Kettle) – It’s just big fucking stock pot.


Mash – Barley tea stage; you’re steeping (not boiling) the grains in hot water in this process.


Pitching – Nothing to do with baseball, unless you’re winding up your arm to throw the yeast into the barley-hop juice.


Sanitize – To reduce microbial contaminants to insignificant levels.

Sterilize – KILL IT ALL TO DEATH WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE (Palmer’s glossary says “eliminate all forms of life”, so it’s pretty dire).


Trub – Just like it sounds… it’s the gunky stuff (sediment) left at the bottom of the fermentor. Varying quantities of yeast, hop particles, and whatever wasn’t fermentable.


Whirfloc – It has Irish Moss and carrageenan in it, and I guess it’s supposed to clarify (prevent too much haziness).

Wort – The barley-hop juice before it ferments. Basically, you’re making a barley tea (because you steep the barley) that you boil while you add hops and stuff.