Beer is one of the oldest beverages. It is made from fermented grain that has been cooked to produce fermentable sugars that the yeast will consume. Adam Richard Seger, CCP, shares that in the 19th century, beer was only consumed locally. Through the years, beer production has greatly improved and people from all over the world can enjoy various types of the drink. Here are some important beer terms every drink lover should be familiar with.
Alcohol by volume or ABV describes the amount of ethyl alcohol in 100ml of a beverage when measured at 20°C. This detail is important as it is considered in calculating the tax when exporting alcoholic drinks. Beverages produced in Europe also need to display the ABV. Drink lovers should know that low ABV beers are at 4.5% while high ABV beers have around 7 to 10% ABV.
Body is how the beer feels in the palate. It can also describe the “weight” of the drink that involves its viscosity, mostly due to the alcohol content. When tasters describe the body, they usually describe it as thin, medium, or heavy, depending on its sensation in the mouth.
IBU or International Bittering Units, Adam Richard Seger explains, are a scale used that describes the bitterness of beer due to the number of hops used. Many brewers are putting this information on their bottles. Having less than 10 IBUs are considered mild while those that are balanced can have around 40, even as the stronger ones can go from 50 to 100 IBU.
Gravity describes the measure of the substances in a beer wort before the fermentation process. This is usually done before and after fermentation to gauge the potential alcohol content once the brew is finished. The drink’s gravity can help brewers measure the ABV.
Knowing these terms will help beer lovers compare and describe their drink better. This can be especially beneficial these days, as more and more people are getting into crafting their own beer at home.
Passionate about food and wine, Adam Richard Seger has spent a lifetime in hospitality, flavor, and teaching. He is alumnus of Cornell Hotel School, Michelin-Starred restaurants Chez Julien in Strasbourg, TRU in Chicago and The French Laundry in Napa Valley. Visit this blog for more on cocktail culture.