Acid Blend

A powder made up of equal parts citric, tartarid and malic acids. It is used to raise the acidity of mead to increase tartness or decrease cloy.

Airlock

This is a liquid filled trap that keeps the outside air from backing up into the product and possibly contaminating it with wild yeast. There are a few different styles.

Alocohol By Volume (ABV)

A number, in percent, representing what portion of a total liquid volume is alcohol.

Brewing Term Defined

Definitions of common brewing terms in alphabetacle order.

Campden Tablets

Used to kill all the naturally occurring wild yeasts and undesirable bacteria in must, and thus prepare it for a "clean" fermentation.

Cane

A rigid plastic tube with a bend at top, used to siphon liquid from one container to another.

Carboy

A secondary container where fermentation and bulk aging occurs. Can be made of glass or food grade plastic.

Cloy or Cloying

Excessive sweetness or excessively sweet.

Fermenting

The process by which yeast converts sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Final Specific Gravity (FSG)

The specific gravity of your finished product.

Hydrometer

The hydrometer is used to compare the density, or specific gravity (SG), of a liquid with that of water. Water being 1.000 on the SG scale anything added to water will change its SG. Ingredients such as honey for Mead will increase the SG and will have a value of greater than 1.000. If you add alcohol to water it decreases the SG and will have a value of less than 1.000. An estimate of the amount of alcohol produced can be determined by comparing the original SG (OSG) with the final SG (FSG) of the end product.

Lees

The sediments left at the bottom of a fermenting container when the yeast has finished most of the fermenting. Usually refers to wines or meads.

Mature

Ready to drink.

Mead

A type of wine made from honey and water.

Must

The unfermented mixture before it is turned into wine or mead.

Original Specific Gravity (OSG)

The specific gravity of your product before adding yeast.

Pectic Enzyme

Acts as a clarifier, and is used to clear hazes.

Racking

The act of moving product, by hose, from one container to another, leaving the sediment behind. Also promotes aeration or clarification.

Specific Gravity

The density of a liquid compared to water. On hydrometers the specific gravity of water is 1.000. When other chemicals are added to water the specific gravity changes either up or down, depending on what is added.

Tannin

Aids in the clearing of particles in wine or mead and adds astringency or zest. Astringency from the tannin is what causes the tart feeling in the mouth after drinking wine.

Thief

A thief is used to take a small sample of product without disturbing the contents of the carboy. It can be as simple as a turkey baster or a more complex store bought model. Samples are taken to facilitate measurement of things like specific gravity, potential alcohol, sugar content etc.

Trub

The sediments left at the bottom of a fermenting container when the yeast has finished most of the fermenting. Usually refers to Beer.

Yeast

Micro-organisms that produce the enzymes which convert sugar to alcohol.

Yeast Nutrient

Acts as a food for the yeast and promotes rapid starting and complete fermentation.