Mead Made Easy: Glossary

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Acid blend: A mixture of ascorbic and citric acids. Used for adjusting the pH of a must.

Airlock: Used for locking the air out of your fermenter while letting the gases produced by fermentation escape.

B-Brite: A sanitizing solution. Kills bugs dead.

Barley malt: Malted barley.

Bottle capper: Used for putting caps on bottles.

Blow-off tube: A plastic tube, one end going into the stopper in your fermenter, the other going into a container with some water. It lets extra foam and such blow off from the fermenter, while still working as an airlock.

Bottle filler: Used for filling bottles. It's typically got a spring loaded valve on the bottom of it so it doesn't pour mead on your floor.

Bottle, Grolsch-style: A type of beer bottle with a ceramic lid attached by a wire thingie, sealed by a rubber gasket.

Bottling bucket: A bucket. Used while bottling. It's used as an intermediate container between the fermenter and the bottles, so you don't have to worry as much about siphoning sediment into your bottles.

Brewing pot: Something vaguely pot-like that you boil stuff in. Bigger than three gallons is good. Stainless steel is best.

Carbonater, The: A handy little cap that screws onto two-litre plastic pop-bottles, and has a ball-lock quick-connect on it that works with CO2 systems. It's a pretty swell way to carbonate up 2 litres of mead or other beverage to see if you want to carbonate more of it. When I get around to finding the address of the company that makes it, I'll add a link to them here.

Carboy: A three, five or six-and-a-half gallon bottle that probably used to hold bottled water. Carboy comes from karabah (I bet I mangled the spelling of that), which means "jug".

Cetacean: Belonging to an order of marine mammals, including whales and dolphins.

Cheesecloth: Cloth normally used to squeeze the watery stuff out of cheese curds without squeezing cheese all over the kitchen. Handy in general for filtering solids out of liquids.

Chore Boy: A metal scrubby thing you usually use for getting the spilled goo off the top of your stove. It'll work as a filter.

Di-ammonium phosphate: (NH4)2PO4--it's something that yeast need to grow strong and healthy bodies.

Dry-hopping: Tossing hops directly into the fermenter without boiling 'em up in water, i.e. dry.

Electrasol: A dishwashing detergent. Kills bugs dead.

Fermentation: Yeast eat sugar, burp CO2, and excrete ethanol. Any questions?

Fermenter: Yet another bucket, except when it's a carboy.

Fermenter, primary: Almost always a bucket. Sometimes open to the air. Sometimes sealed with an airlock. Early stages of fermentation happen here.

Fermenter, secondary: (Optional.) Almost always a carboy. Never open to the air. Always sealed with an airlock. Later stages of fermentation happen here. It's used because in the early stages of fermentation, stuff will settle out. If the brew is left sitting on that stuff for a prolonged period, funky flavors will get into the brew.

Flocculate: To form flocculent masses, which are clumps like wool, according to my dictionary. It's typically used to describe what happens to the yeast when it quits partying and settles out of the must.

Gruit: A mixture of herbs and spices that was used for flavor in early beer and mead brewing. Gruits were replaced by hops, because the recipes for gruits were closely held secrets, whereas it's hard to keep plants a secret.

Hard cider: Fermented apple squeezin's. Yee-Haw!

Hop-boiling bag: A smallish (well, smaller than your head,) bag made of some kind of mesh. They come in either cotton (disposable) or nylon (reusable) varieties. It's like a teabag in that you can pull the chunks out and not have to strain.

Hops: The flower of any plant of the genus Humulus. Used for preserving beer, due to their anti-bacterial properties, and also for bittering it. They look kinda like pine-cones before they get processed into the pellets you buy.

Hydrometer: Used to measure the specific gravity of a liquid.

IBU: International Bittering Units. They measure how bitter a brew is, which you shouldn't worry much about since you'll be making mead, not beer.

Internet mailing list: A keen way of exchanging information between geographically distant parties. Computer and modem required.

Lovibond, degrees: A measure of the color of a brew. Higher numbers are darker.

Malted barley: See barley malt.

Mead: An alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey. Also known as meathe in older tymes. From the Sanskrit `madhu', which meant `honey.'

Must: A mixture of fermentable sugars, typically from fruits, and water.

Neutral grain spirits: Ever Clear. Wee-Haw! It's alcohol with only as much water as is required by the laws of physics. About 192 proof.

Peak flavor: Good taste. Fermented beverages are icky straight out of the fermenter and need some aging to taste good.

Pectin: A carbohydrate found in fruits that tends to clump up and make jelly after you boil it.

Pitching yeast: The act of tossing yeast into your fermenter. It sounds technical, which is probably why brewers say `pitching' instead of `tossing.'

Rack: The act of siphoning the mead off a layer of sediment, leaving the sediment behind, which leads to a clearer mead.

Sediment: Stuff that settles out of a mixture. The gunk on the bottom of the bucket.

Siphon: Pulling liquid up a tube, down the same tube, and into another container. One practical application is transferring mead from a fermenter into bottles. Another is getting gasoline in your mouth. The first is more pleasurable.

Sodium phosphates: Nax(PO4)y--Many are good at killing bugs dead.

Specific gravity: The ratio of the density of a given liquid to the density of water, and like that. It's a way to measure how much stuff you've dissolved in water. Typically sugars, in our case.

Trub: Sediment. Especially dead yeasties and fruit skins. The leftovers in the bottom of the fermenter. Looks kinda like baby diarrhea.

Wild yeast: Saccharomyces that haven't been hanging around man long enough, so they're not much good for baking bread or brewing beer, wine or mead.

Wort: Beer before it's any fun. A mix of malted barley, hops and water.

Yeast hulls: The dehydrated skins of dead little yeasts. Contain all the essential nutrients to make more yeast.

Yeast nutrient: Things that build strong yeasts twelve ways.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:09:10.