beer + education

Have you ever been trapped talking to a beer snob?  They use language the way secret societies use secret handshake.  Sometimes it feels like the only way you can contribute to the conversation is to nod your head every now and again while sipping on your craft brew.  We want to help prevent that from happening to you.  Below is a cheat sheet of terms you are likely to hear thrown around (warning: it is likely you will begin to throw them around as well):


Ales: Ales are beers fermented with top fermenting yeast. Ales typically are fermented and enjoyed at a higher temperature than lagers.  Most of the beers we serve at Knox Co Brew Co will be ales.

Lagers: Since we mentioned lagers in the above definition, let's talk about them.  Lagers are any beer that is fermented with bottom-fermenting yeast and enjoyed at colder temperatures. 

Alcohol by Volume (ABV) A measurement of the alcohol content of a solution in terms of the percentage volume of alcohol per volume of beer. This measurement is always higher than Alcohol by Weight. To calculate the approximate volumetric alcohol content, subtract the final gravity from the original gravity and divide by 0.0075. For example: 1.050 – 1.012 = 0.038/0.0075 = 5% ABV.

IBU (International Bitterness Units): The term used when talking about the bitterness of a beer.  This specifically has to do with the alpha acid per liter of beer. This measurement depends on the style of beer. So for instance, if you have had an IPA, and compared it to a regular Pale Ale or a crisp lager. That factor that made your mouth pucker a little, is the bitterness of the beer caused by early addition hops.  The higher the bitterness of a beer, the higher the IBU.

Bitterness: In beer, the bitterness is caused by the tannins and iso-humulones of hops. Bitterness of hops is perceived in the taste. The amount of bitterness in a beer is one of the defining characteristics of a beer style.

Hops: Hops are the little green flowers that are responsible for contributing a complexity of bitterness, aroma and flavor, all the while preventing the growth of bacteria in beer. Most people who have emotional negative reactions to IPAs assume they don't like hops.  That's not true.  You're simply not a hophead.  Even your light lagers from the grocery store shelf use hops.  The question for you is how much hopping and when they beer is hopped.  Hops are added at the beginning (bittering hops), middle (flavoring hops), and end (aroma hops) of the boiling stage, or even later in the fermenting process (dry hops). 

Water: One of the four ingredients in beer. Some beers are made up by as much as 90% water. Historically and geographically, some locations became famous for their particular type of beer, because of the specific brewing water’s ph and mineral content of that locality. 

Barley/Grains:  Barley/Grains is used as a base malt in the production of beer and certain distilled spirits, as well as a food supply for humans and animals.

Yeast: During the fermentation process, yeast converts the sugars pulled out of the grain into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. There are many strands of yeast used to ferment beer, in fact, yeast is often the element that differentiates the different styles within the broader ale category.  We try to keep at least two beers on hand that are made with the exact same grains but different yeasts so you can experience how much yeast effects beer.  

Adjunct: Any unmalted grain or other fermentable ingredient used in the brewing process. Adjuncts that we will typically add to our beers would be maple syrup, honey, peaches, cherries and other fruits. 

Body: The consistency, thickness and mouth-filling property of a beer. The sensation of palate fullness in the mouth ranges from thin- to full-bodied.

Mouthfeel:  The textures one perceives in a beer. Includes carbonation, fullness and aftertaste.

Head Retention: The foam stability of a beer as measured, in seconds, by time required for a 1-inch foam collar to collapse.

Bomber: A 22-ounce bottle of beer. If you are buying one of our small-batch beers, this is the bottle your beer will come in.

18th Amendment The 18th amendment of the United States Constitution effectively established the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in the United States by declaring illegal the production, transport and sale of alcohol (though not the consumption or private possession).

21st Amendment The 21st amendment to the United States Constitution repealed the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which had mandated nationwide Prohibition on alcohol on January 17, 1920

Barrel:  We have two definitions for this one.  First, a barrel is the standard measure in the U.S. that is 31 gallons. So, when we brew a barrel of beer, we are brewing 31 gallons.  However when most people hear the word barrel they think of a wooden vessel used to age/condition/ferment beer. And that is the other definition for barrel.  Some brewer’s barrels are brand new and others have been used previously to store wine or spirits.

Bottle Conditioning A process by which beer is naturally carbonated in the bottle as a result of fermentation of additional wort or sugar intentionally added during packaging.  All of our bottled beer will be bottle conditioned. 

Yeast During the fermentation process, yeast converts the natural malt sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. Yeast was first viewed under a microscope in 1680 by the Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek; in 1867, Louis Pasteur discovered that yeast cells lack chlorophyll and that they could develop only in an environment containing both nitrogen and carbon.

Brettanomyces Yeast: A type of yeast and more specifically a genus of single-celled yeasts that ferment sugar and are important to the beer and wine industries due to the sensory flavors they produce. Brettanomyces can cause acidity and other sensory notes often perceived as tart (and if not managed, it can get bad). These characteristics can be desirable or undesirable. It is common and desirable in styles such as Lambic, Oud Bruin, several similarly acidic American-derived styles, and many barrel-aged styles.  When you try one of our "tart" beers, you will probably hear us say, "This beer has been bretted"

Saccharomyces Yeast: The genus of single-celled yeasts that ferment sugar and are used in the making of alcoholic beverages and bread. Yeasts of the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces pastorianus are commonly used in brewing.

If you are ready for more terms, click HERE to be directed to 's glossory