A - E

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Ethyl alcohol, a chemical compound formed by the action of natural or added yeast on the sugar content of grapes during fermentation.

Auto Siphon -

Starting a siphon is the most difficult thing to do properly (without wasting a lot of wine) because it requires a lot of dexterity and timing. With the FermTech Auto Siphon, siphoning has become a snap and nary a drop of wine is splashed during racking. Just attach some tubing, insert one end into the carboy, and give the pump handle a couple of strokes on the other end. Within seconds, a siphon is started and wine begins moving to the other vessel. Even experienced winemakers prefer this siphoning method because it's more sanitary than the old-fashioned way!

Acetic Acid -

All wines contain acetic acid, or vinegar, but usually the amount is quite small--from 0.03 percent to 0.06 percent--and not perceptible to smell or taste. Once table wines reach 0.07 percent or above, a sweet-sour vinegary smell and taste becomes evident. At low levels, acetic acid can enhance the character of a wine, but at higher levels (over 0.1 percent), it can become the dominant flavor and is considered a major flaw. A related substance, ethyl acetate, contributes a nail polish-like smell.

Acid -

A compound present in all grapes and an essential component of wine that preserves it, enlivens and shapes its flavors and helps prolong its aftertaste. There are four major kinds of acids -- tartaric, malic, lactic and citric--found in wine. Acid is identifiable by the crisp, sharp character it imparts to a wine.

Acid Blend -

This compound is used to raise the acidity of wine, thus increasing tartness. It is comprised of equal amounts of malic, tartaric, and citric acids. Use: Acid blend is most widely used by winemakers who start their wine recipes from scratch, you will not need this chemical if you are making wine from one of the wine concentrate kits. Its usage varies depending on the acidity of the wine or must. An acid test kit should be used to determine the acidity and usage.

Acid Test Kit -

Acid titration test kit for the percentage of total acidity or titratable acidity(TA), in a wine or must. Sample Kit contains 16cc color solution (phenolphthalein), 4 ounce sodium hydroxide, 1 plastic syringe 3cc, plastic syringe 20cc, 1 test jar and instructions.

Adjunct -

Is any fermentable ingredient added to beer except for malted barley and malted wheat.

Aftertaste -

The flavor that stays in the mouth after swallowing wine. Also known as a wine's finish, this flavor can be buttery, oaky, spicy, tart, bitter, etc.

Airlocks -

Airlocks act as a filter, allowing your wine or beer to breath during fermentation, while preventing the outside air (and wild yeasts) from entering the carboy. It's easy to use- just fill the airlock half full of distilled water and put it into the stopper on top of the carboy or grommet on top of the fermentation bucket.

Amber/Biscuit Malt -

A toasty and nutty flavored malt that lacks the strong aroma of a munich malt. Also called "victory".

Appearance -

Refers to a wine's clarity, not color.

Ascorbic Acid -

This reduces oxidation in bottled wine when added just prior to bottling (not effective for bulk storage). Use: 1 teaspoon per 6 US gallons of wine.

Alpha Acids -

The alpha acids are in reference to hops and their bitterness. The higher the alpha acids the more bitterne


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Balance -

Wine - A well-balanced wine is a primary goal of the wine maker. Such a wine blends all of its components gracefully: the fruit, tannin, acid, and sugar. A wine's balance may only be realized after some aging.

B-Brite -

This compound is used to sanitize winemaking equipment. It cleans with active oxygen and does not contain chlorine or bisulfite. Effectively removes fermentation residues.Use: Dissolve one tablespoon of B-Brite powder in one gallon of water to create a sanitizing solution. Sanitize wine and beer making equipment for at least one minute, then rinse with clear tap water. Discard solution after use.

Beer -

A fermented beverage usually made of water, malt, hops and yeast. A well-balanced beer is neither too malty nor too bitter. Most of large commercial breweries generally add adjuncts of corn and/or rice to lighten the color and flavor. As alcohol content rises so does the amount of hop bitterness to balance the additional malt and alcohol.

Beet Sugar -

See: Belgium Candi Suger

Belgium Candi Suger -

Amber rock candi suger that is aunthentic crystalized beet suger. It is used to increase alcohol and, lightens body

Bentonite -

This is powdered clay that is used as a fining agent to clarify wine. Caution: If too much is used, your wine will have an earthy flavor. Use: Bentonite should be made up 24 hours before adding to wine. For a standard six gallon kit, add no more than 2 tablespoons of bentonite to 1/2 cup warm water, mix or shake well. The manufacturer recommends mixing 2 1/2 teaspoons into 2 1/2 cups boiling water. Mix really well, allow to cool, and add to wine. Some folks we know use a blender.

Bitterness -

The taste that the hops produce in the beer

Black (Patent) Malt -

A pale malt that is roasted at high temperatures until black but not burned . Very pungent flavor, sometimes debitterized for smoothness.

Bocksin -

This solution of silicium dioxide removes H2S (hydrogen sulfide) odors and related off-flavors in wine. An indication of H2S is the smell of rotten eggs.

Body -

Wine - The impression of weight or fullness on the palate, usually the result of a combination of glycerin, alcohol and sugar. Commonly expressed as full-bodied, medium-bodied or medium-weight, or light-bodied. Beer - The impression of weight or fullness on the palate usually the result of alcohol and unfermentable sugars. Unfermentable sugars can be created by mashing at higher mash temperatures about 156 to 158 degrees or higher.

Boil -

The process by which water, malt, hops, and flavoring is cooked in the brewpot to make the wort.

Boil Kettle -

A five gallon or larger stainless steel pot used to cook the wort.

Bottle Capper -

A tool used to secure a cap on top of a beer bottle

Bottle Tree -

A device used to dry beer bottles after washing by inverting the bottles in such a way to drain all water out of them

Brew Buddies -

That is the lazy group of guys that are sitting around drinking all your beer when you are brewing the next batch.

Brewer -

There are many kinds of brewers from the home brewer that an make a very nice brew to a pro. Brew Master that has put years in making beer brewing a science.

Brewing -

The entire process of making beer through the use of grain and hops to the finished product and all steps in between.

Brewpot -

A five gallon or larger stainless steel pot used to cook the wort.

Brown Sugar -

Light and dark

B-T-F -

This concentrated iodine-based solution sanitizes wine and beer making equipment.Use - Dilute with cool or lukewarm water to obtain desired iodine concentration. Adding 0.3 oz in 3 gallons of water creates 12.5 ppm, while adding 0.6 oz in 3 gallons of water makes a solution of 25 ppm. Immerse items for 1 to 2 minutes, allow sanitized items to drain well or air dry. CAUTION: Never add to hot water, might stain clothes. Equipment must be cleansed separately beforehand since B-T-F is not rated as a cleanser.

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Calcium Carbonate -

This chemical is basic, in other words, it lowers the acidity of your wine to within your targeted range. Calcium carbonate is often used in place of adding water to achieve a more basic wine, since adding water will dilute your wine. Usage: 1/2 oz reduces acidity by 1 ppt in 6 US gallons of wine. Be sure to perform an acid test so you don't overshoot your desired mark.

Campden -

Campden, available in tablet form, is used to kill all the naturally occurring wild yeasts and undesirable bacteria in must and thus prepare it for a "clean" fermentation. It contains potassium or sodium metabisulfite, which is a fancy term for sulfites. Use: Use one Campden tablet per gallon of must. Crush tablets well, then mix in with the must. Be sure to add it to must 24 hours before pitching your wine yeast, if you are impatient and pitch the yeast too soon, the campden will kill it too! Campden can also be used to make a sanitizing solution for winemaking equipment. Each tablet contains 0.50 - 0.55 grams of potassium metabisulfite, chemically speaking, each tablet contains 57% sulphur content, therefore, 1 tablet per gallon = 75 ppm SO2.

Capsules -

Capsules are used to cover the corked end of the bottle, and prevent contaminants from gathering in the crevice between the cork and the bottle. Capsules are usually made of plastic or foil.

Caramel -

A usually hard candy make by boiling cane sugar and water. As the sugar is boiled, it will become increasingly darker with more intense flavor.

Carboy -

The carboy is an essential part of your home wine and beer making hobby. May be used as a primary fermenter for beer or used during secondary fermentation and bulk aging of either. Either the glass type of carboy or the plastic Better Bottle work well since you can visually track the process and air can't penetrate the carboy wall. The 6-gallon size is perfect size for all the wine kits except the Ports, Sherries and Ice Wines, which use the 3-gallon size. We also stock 5-gallon and 6.5-gallon carboys.

Carboy Brush -

With its narrow neck and large capacity, glass carboys are awfully hard to clean properly without this specialized brush. The business end of the carboy brush (bristles) is bent at a ninety degree angle - just right for ensuring proper sanitation. Brushes should not be used on the Better Bottle PETE plastic carboys.

Carboy Handle -

Did you know that a full 5 gallon carboy weighs better than 50 pounds? Don't try to move a full carboy unless you have one of these handles. They attach easily to the neck of the carboy with a wing nut and bolt assembly.

Character -

That which makes a wine distinctive. A region's winemaking tradition, soils, and grape varieties combine to produce a wine's character. Also known as terroir.

Chinese Rock Candy -

A fermentable hard candy used for flavoring and to increase the alcohol content.

Chocolate Malt -

A pale ale malt that is roasted to a deep chocolate color. Sometimes harsh in flavor.

Clarification -

The process of removing cloudiness in the wine by filtration and/or fining.

Cloudy -

The opposite of clear or brilliant. Possibly the result of sediment being stirred up during transportation.

Cloying -

Overly sweet, and lacking the correct amount of acidity to give the wine balance.

Cold Stabilization -

A clarification technique in which a wine's temperature is lowered to 32°F, causing the tartrates and other insoluble solids to precipitate.

Cork Retriever -

Ever accidentally push your cork inside a bottle of wine? With this magical device you can easily retrieve that naughty cork and salvage a bottle. It's the wine lover's equivalent to a golf ball retriever! Many Belgium beers have corks as well as a cap.

Corked -

An expression meaning the wine has gone bad. Implies an unpleasant, musty, moldy smell imparted by a flawed cork. Cork can contain bacteria that will cause "off" flavors in the wine. Quality cork manufacturers bleach and process corks to minimize the chance of a bottle being "corked." Unfortunately, almost one out of twelve bottles will have some off, corky flavors. It is for this reason that alternative wine bottle closures have been tested in recent years, but the use of non-cork closures has been resisted by traditionalists. Any closure that seals the bottle airtight is a perfect one for wine. Contrary to popular belief, cork does not - or should not - let air into a wine bottle over time. It is intended to create an airtight seal.

Corks -

Corks are produced from the bark of cork trees, which are grown mainly in Spain and Portugal. Corks are airtight and have for years been the best way to seal wine bottles.

Corks - Altec -

Our bulk straight wine corks, made by Altec, were developed by fusing the purest part of cork (suberin) and synthetic cells. These corks have been tested for over 10 years and have been awarded "winery grade" status because of their effectiveness under adverse conditions. Other key features of these corks include: absolutely symmetrical, provide optimal gaseous interchange (key to aging process), contain 10 times less cork dust content than conventional corks, guaranteed 100% leakproof at a pressure of 2 bars, homogenous surface - no defects on sides or ends and smooth surface ideal for branding.

Couching -

The second stage of malting where the grain begins to sprout.The desired temperature is between 59-65 degrees. The grain is aerated to introduce oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide that is generated by the sprouting plants.

Crystal Malt -

Two or six row barley that is made by heating undried malt to mash temperatures and allowing it to convert before raising to roasting temperatures that when cooled the sugars harden and that gives it a crystalline texture. There are a wide variety of crystal malts, from pale to extra dark.

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The word that first comes out of your mouth when your wort just boiled over on the stove and, onto your wifes new kitchen floor.

Decanting -

A process for separating the sediment from a wine before drinking. Accomplished by slowly and carefully pouring the wine from its bottle into another container.

Degasser -

What a great idea! If you've ever needed to mix ingredients within a carboy, you've probably been frustrated by its narrow neck. With the degasser or the Whip, stirring in a carboy is effective and simple - just attach it to your portable drill and squeeze the trigger. The centrifugal force caused by the rotation of the shaft agitates the wine for mixing or degassing.

Demarara Sugar -

A partially refined type of cane sugar with a course texture.

Dextrine -

Between 4-25 glucose units- not sweet and not fermentable.

Dextrose - Corn sugar
DME - See dry malt extract
Dosage -

etween 4-25 glucose units- not sweet and not fermentable. In bottle-fermented sparkling wines, a small amount of wine (usually sweet) that is added back to the bottle once the yeast sediment that collects in the neck of the bottle is removed.

Dry -

Having no perceptible taste of sugar. Most wine tasters begin to perceive sugar at levels of 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent.

Dry Malt Extract -

Grains that have been mashed and sparged to extract the fermentable sugars and flavors and then dried to a fine powder.


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Enology -

Grains that have been mashed and sparged to extract the fermentable sugars and flavors and then dried to a fine powder. The science and study of winemaking. Also spelled oenology.

Ethyl Acetate -

A sweet, vinegary smell that often accompanies acetic acid. It exists to some extent in all wines and in small doses can be a plus. When it is strong and smells like nail polish, it's a defect.