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The Big Butcombe Beer Glossary

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July 27, 2018

The language of beer, it’s almost as romantic as the Italian dialect…

Beer (not to downplay the great drink) is simple; water, yeast, a grain to get your malt from and a few hops all mixed together… Although when discussing beer and the brewing process some of the more technical terms and jargon used can be somewhat confusing to those not within the brewery world (you should come and join us, the brewery industry needs more people like you!). We think that no matter who you are beer should never be too complicated to talk about and thus we’ve explained in layman’s terms all the key terms you should know about:

Alcohol – Woohoo! A by-product of the fermentation process, it’s a colourless liquid which makes beer, well, alcoholic.

ABV – An abbreviation of Alcohol by Volume, it stands for the percentage of the total volume of the beer which is alcohol, expressed as a percentage.

Ale – Beers that are fermented with top-fermenting yeast at warmer temperatures and are often served slightly warmer. Butcombe Gold is a great example of a Golden Ale.

Barley – A common grain used for making beer.

Barrel – The unit of measurement used by brewers, in the UK it equates to 36 gallons.

Body – The descriptive term used to outline the consistency, thickness and mouth-filling property of a beer.

Bottle Conditioning – Where a beer has been bottled without the yeast being filtered out, the natural sediment means that the beers flavour continues to develop in the bottle.

CAMRA – The Campaign for Real Ale, an independent voluntary consumer organisation which promotes real ale, real cider and the traditional British pub

Cask – A barrel-shaped container made traditionally from wood but can also be made from metal used for storing beer.

Cellaring – Storing or aging beer at a controlled temperature to allow maturing.

Cask Conditioning – A step in the brewing process where the beer continues to develop in the cask after it’s left the brewery. Promotes secondary fermentation and creates light carbonation.

Craft Beer – A term coined by our friends over the pond, the American Brewers Association. A craft beer comes from a craft brewery which is small, independent and traditional, we’d call it a microbrewery.

Dry Hopping – Adding in hops later in the brewing process to increase hoppiness.

Fermentation – The specific part of the brewing process where sugar is converted to alcohol.

Fresh Hopping – Also known as wet hopping it involves adding hops that haven’t been dried out to the beer.

Grist – The milled grain or grains used in beer making.

Hops – One of beers key ingredients, a vine like plant of which we use the female flowers to make beer. There are currently over one hundred different types of hops cultivated around the world.

IBU – The abbreviation for International Bitterness Unit and is the measurement of how bitter a beer is, to calculate IBU = Ounces of Hops x AA% x Utilization% /Gallons x 1.34.

Keg – An 11-gallon, metal, cylindrical container used to store beer.

Lager- Any beer that is made with bottom-fermenting yeast at colder temperatures. Often served at colder temperatures too. Butcombe Bohemia is a Pilsner which means it is a type of lager.

Mashing – Where grist is soaked in water and heated in order to extract sugar from the malt.

Quaff – Apart from being an excellent word, it’s used to describe drinking deeply.

Real Ale – A phrase developed by CAMRA, used to describe beer that has been brewed and delivered using their recommended processes;” Beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide”

Sediment – The solid stuff that you sometimes get at the bottom of a beer. It usually means the beer has gone through secondary fermentation.

Session Beer – A lighter beer which is lower in alcohol content. Called a session beer as you could drink a few in the same ‘session’. Original is the classic session beer…

Top Fermentation – One of the two standard fermentation methods where the yeast floats to the top rather than sitting at the bottom. Most common in the production of Ale.

Wet Hopping – Also known as fresh hopping it’s the term used to describe adding hops that haven’t been dried out.

Yeast – What makes your beer alcoholic. Yeast eats up the sugar and produces carbon dioxide and the all-important alcohol.

Zymurgy – The branch of chemistry that relates to the fermentation processes, as in brewing.


Consider this blog like you would your trustworthy dictionary, like an encyclopaedia of everything beer-based. If you want to learn more discover how beer is made or impress your mates with these lesser known facts about beer. Cheers!





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