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Cheat Sheet

Homebrewing For Dummies

When you’re brewing your own beer at home, get to know the abbreviated versions of homebrewing terms to help read your recipes and directions, keep a basic measurement conversion chart handy, and check out the hierarchy of beers chart so you know what category and type of beer you want to homebrew and possibly enter into competition.

Beer Style Guidelines Hierarchy

The following list has been compiled by the Beer Judge Certification Program and is used by the American Homebrewers Association for competitive purposes. This hierarchical list presents an overview of all the world's beer styles (along with Cider and Mead). All beers are categorized as Ale, Lager or Mixed Style; under each of these headings are listed all of the major beer styles (in capital letters) and their sub-styles.

ALE

ENGLISH PALE ALE

  • Standard Ordinary Bitter

  • Special / Best Bitter

  • Extra Special / Strong Bitter

SCOTTISH AND IRISH ALE

  • Scottish Light 60

  • Scottish Heavy 70

  • Scottish Export 80

  • Irish Red Ale

  • Scotch Strong Ale

AMERICAN ALE

  • American Pale Ale

  • American Amber Ale

  • American Brown Ale

ENGLISH BROWN ALE

  • Mild

  • Southern English Brown Ale

  • Northern English Brown Ale

PORTER

  • Brown Porter

  • English Porter

  • Baltic Porter

STOUT

  • Dry Stout

  • Sweet Stout

  • Oatmeal Stout

  • Foreign Extra Stout

  • American Stout

  • Russian Imperial Stout

INDIA PALE ALE

  • English IPA

  • American IPA

  • Imperial IPA

BELGIAN AND FRENCH ALE

  • Witbier

  • Belgian Pale Ale

  • Saison

  • Biere de Garde

SOUR ALE

  • Berliner Weisse

  • Flanders Red Ale

  • Straight (unblended) Lambic

  • Gueuze

  • Fruit Lambic

BELGIAN STRONG ALE

  • Belgian Blonde Ale

  • Belgian Dubbel

  • Belgian Tripel

  • Belgian Golden Strong Ale

  • Belgian Dark Strong Ale

STRONG ALE

  • Old Ale

  • English Barley Wine

  • American Barley Wine

LAGER

LIGHT LAGER

  • Lite American Lager

  • Standard American Lager

  • Premium American Lager

  • Munich Helles

  • Dortmunder Export

PILSENER

  • German Pilsener (Pils)

  • Bohemian Pilsener

  • Classic American Pilsener

EUROPEAN AMBER LAGER

  • Vienna Lager

  • Oktoberfest / Märzen

DARK LAGER

  • Dark American Lager

  • Munich Dunkel

  • Schwarzbier (black beer)

BOCK

  • Maibock / Helles Bock

  • Traditional Bock

  • Doppelbock

  • Eisbock

MIXED STYLE

LIGHT HYBRID BEER

  • Cream Ale

  • Blonde Ale

  • Kölsch

  • American Wheat or Rye

AMBER HYBRID BEER

  • Northern German Altbier

  • California Common Beer

  • Dusseldorf Altbier

GERMAN WHEAT AND RYE BEER

  • Weizen / Weiss bier

  • Dunkelweizen

  • Weizenbock

  • Roggenbier (Rye beer)

FRUIT BEER

SPICE / HERB / SPECIALTY BEER

  • Spice / Herb / Vegetable beer

  • Christmas / Winter / Specialty Spiced Beer

SMOKE FLAVORED and WOOD AGED BEER

  • Classic Rauchbier

  • Other Smoked Beer

  • Wood Aged Beer

SPECIALTY BEER

MEAD AND CIDER

TRADITIONAL MEAD

  • Dry Mead

  • Semi-sweet Mead

  • Sweet Mead

MELOMEL (FRUIT MEAD)

  • Cyser (apple Melomel)

  • Pyment (grape Melomel)

  • Other Fruit Melomel

OTHER MEAD

  • Metheglin (spiced Mead)

  • Braggot (barley Mead)

  • Open Category Mead

STANDARD CIDER and PERRY

  • Common Cider

  • English Cider

  • French Cider

  • Common Perry

  • Traditional Perry

SPECIALTY CIDER and PERRY

  • New England Cider

  • Fruit Cider

  • Apple Wine

  • Other Specialty Cider and Perry

Homebrewing Abbreviation Slang

Quite a few technical (and wordy) homebrewing terms exist, so to make it easier to read homebrewing recipes and directions, terms have been abbreviated. Here’s a handy guide for homebrewing abbreviations:

Abbreviation What It Stands For
AAU Alpha Acid Unit. A measurement of hop bittering potential.
ABV Alcohol By Volume. One of two methods of expressing alcohol content in beer. (See ABW.)
ABW Alcohol By Weight. One of two methods of expressing alcohol content in beer. (See ABV.)
BJCP Beer Judge Certification Program. National organization for official homebrew judges.
DME Dry Malt Extract. The spray-dried version of liquid malt extract.
DMS Di-Methyl Sulfide. An off flavor and aroma reminiscent of cooked corn.
ESB Extra Special Bitter. A medium-high gravity ale of British origin.
FG Final Gravity. The measurement of gravity taken at the end of fermentation that allows the brewer to compute the alcohol content of beer. (See OG.)
FWH First Wort Hopping. The practice of introducing bittering hops to the beer during the sparging / lautering phase of the mashing procedure.
HBU Homebrew Bitterness Unit. A unit of measurement used by homebrewers to denote the amount of bittering in beer.
HSA Hot Side Aeration. The unintentional exposure of the still-warm wort to oxygen that can lead to problems in your brew, not the least of which is premature staling.
HCU Homebrew Color Unit. A crude method of measuring beer color devised for homebrewers.
IBU International Bittering Unit. An international unit of measurement used by professional brewers to denote the amount of bittering in beer.
IPA India Pale Ale. A highly hopped Pale Ale.
OG Original Gravity. The measurement of gravity taken at the beginning of fermentation that allows the brewer to compute alcohol content of beer. (See FG.)
pH Percent Hydrion (also potential hydrogen). A scale used to measure the acidity and alkalinity of a liquid.
RIS Russian Imperial Stout. High gravity stout brewed for the Russian Imperial Court.
SRM Standard Reference Measure. A measurement of beer color.
TSP Tri-Sodium Phosphate. An effective sudsless, powdered cleanser often used to clean brewery equipment.

Basic Conversions for Homebrewing

In case you need the metric equivalents of basic measurements, keep this simple conversions guide close by when you’re brewing your own beer at home:

Liquid Conversions Mass Conversions
1 teaspoon (tsp.) = 5 milliliters 1 ounce (oz.) = 28 grams
1 tablespoon (Tbsp.) = 15 milliliters 1 pound (lb.) = 0.45 kilogram
1 ounce (oz.) = 29.6 milliliters
1 cup (c.) = 237 milliliters
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