Beer 101: all about beer

Types of Beer Glassware

American Pint / Shaker Pint Glass

Shaker Pint – AKA American Pint

The most common beer glass in the U.S., holding up to 16 ounces.  It’s a favorite among bars as the thick walls are durable and allow for stacking, all in an easy to drink glass.

American Lagers, American Ales, American Pilsners and American IPAs

Imperial Pint / Nonic Pint Glass

Imperial Pint - AKA Nonic Pint

A 20 ounce staple in British pubs.  The glass is tall with a slight outward curve at the top that helps to prevent chipping.

Brown Ales, ESBs, Dry Stouts, Porters

Pilsner Glass

Pilsner Glass

Long, lean and often trumpet shaped, this glass helps maintain carbonation while showcasing color.  

German Pilsners, American Pilsners, Czech Pilsners

Weizen Glass


Similar in shape to the Pilsner, the tall and thin walls of this Bavarian-inspired glass showcase color and allows more headspace for beers with larger heads.

Hefeweizens, Dunkelweizens, Kristalweizens

Strange Beer Glass


The German translation is ‘rod’ or ‘stick.’  The tall, slender shape of this traditional glass creates a more intense flavor and aroma experience and is used to service more delicate beers, amplifying malt and hop nuances. 

Bocks, Kolsches, Rauchbiers, Altbiers

Tulip Beer Glass


A stemmed glass with a ‘tulip’ shape designed to capture and retain aromas and flavors while it supports large foamy heads.  A perfect vessel for hoppy beers.

Saisons, Bière de Gardes, Belgian Strong Ales

Beer Chalice / Goblet

Chalice - AKA Goblet

Ranging from heavy and thick walled to delicate and long stemmed, these glasses are designed to maintain a head.  The wide and round shape allows aromas and flavors to rise to the top allowing for deep sips of heavier beers.

Belgian Strong Ales, Trappist Ales, Berliner Weisse

Beer Snifter


The bowl-like shape is perfect for capturing the volatiles of aromatic beers while allowing for swirling to agitate them and produce an intense aroma.  The thin stem and large upper body fits nicely in the hand, allowing body warmth to gently warm the beer to optimum serving temperature.   

Double IPAs, American Wild Ales, Imperial Stouts

Beer Thistle Glass


Resembling a stretched out version of the tulip, this stemmed glass is shaped like a thistle bloom - the national flower of Scotland.   It is reserved for enjoying stronger brews, particularly Scottish Ales.

Belgian Strong Ales, Trappist Ales, Berliner Weisse

Beer Flute


The narrow shape helps maintain and display carbonation and sparkling color while providing a strong aromatic front.

Lambics, Eisbocks, Gueuze

Beer wine glass

Oversized Wine Glass

The headspace and open bowl make this 22 ounce wine glass best for serving big beers with high ABVs.

Barleywine, American Wild Ales, Imperial Stouts

Beer Mug / Seidel

Mug - AKA Seidel

Evolving from the German beer stein, mugs are the most popular style of a beer glass. Designed for durability and insulation, this thick glass vessel allows brews to keep colder longer as sturdy handles prevent heat transfer from hand to beer.

Helles Lagers, Dortmunders, Pilsners

Beer Stein


A traditional stein, the German beer tankard or mug is made of a variety of materials including pewter, silver, wood, porcelain or stoneware and is equipped with a hinged lid and levered thumb lift. The lid was implemented during the age of the Black Plague to prevent flies from getting into the beer.

American Lagers, German Lagers, Bocks

Beer Boot

Beer Boot

This glass has been around for 150+ years and used by soldiers, hunting and riding clubs.  Legend has it that during World War I, the German military adopted the use of beer boots as a popular rite of passage when a commander reportedly promised to drink from his boot if a battle was won.  In the US today, Das Boot is popular among German-themed restaurants, pubs and Oktoberfest inspired festivals.

Beer Styles by Color
Beers by Color

Pale Straw to Straw
Lite American Lager
Berliner Weisse

Pale Straw to Pale Gold
Standard American Lager
German Pilsner
Cream Ale

Pale Straw to Deep Gold
Premium American Lager
Weizen/ Weissbier

Straw to Pale Gold
Munich Helles

Straw to Deep Gold
Classic American Pilsner
Blonde Ale
American Wheat or Rye
Belgian Golden Strong Ale
Straight (Unblended) Lambic
Fruit Lambic
Bohemian Pilsner

Pale Gold to Deep Gold
Dortmunder Export
Belgian Blond Ale
Belgian Tripel

Pale Gold to Medium Amber
Standard/ Ordinary Bitter
American Pale Ale

Pale Gold to Deep Amber
Special/ Best/ Premium Bitter

Deep Gold to Pale Amber
Maibock/ Helles Bock

Deep Gold to Deep Amber
American IPA

Deep Gold to Amber Brown
Extra Special/ Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)
Bière de Garde

Deep Gold to Ruby Brown

Deep Gold to Medium Amber
Oktoberfest/ Märzen
English IPA
Belgian Pale Ale

Deep Gold to Deep Amber
Imperial IPA

Deep Gold to Brown
English Barleywine

Pale Amber to Deep Amber
Scottish Light 60/ Heavy 70/ Export 80

Pale Amber to Amber Brown
Irish Red Ale

Pale Amber to Medium Amber
California Common Beer

Pale Amber to Deep Amber
Vienna Lager
Flanders Red Ale
American Amber Ale
Belgian Dubbel

Pale Amber to Amber Brown
American Barleywine

Pale Amber to Brown
Old Ale

Pale Amber to Deep Amber
Düsseldorf Altbier

Medium Amber to Brown
Northern English Brown Ale
Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Classic Rauchbier

Medium Amber to Ruby Brown

Medium Amber to Amber Brown
Northern German Altbier
Roggenbier (German Rye Beer)

Medium Amber to Brown
Dark American Lager
Traditional Bock

Medium Amber to Ruby Brown
Strong Scottish Ale
Munich Dunkel

Deep Amber to Brown
Flanders Brown Ale/ Oud Bruin

Deep Amber to Deep Brown
Schwarzbier (Black Beer)
Baltic Porter

Amber Brown to Deep Brown
American Brown Ale
Southern English Brown

Brown to Deep Brown
Brown Porter
Robust Porter

Brown to Black
Oatmeal Stout

Ruby Brown to Black
Dry Stout

Deep Brown to Black
Sweet Stout
Foreign Extra Stout
American Stout
Russian Imperial Stout

Beer Glossary

Enzymes, preservatives and antioxidants which are added to simplify the brewing process or prolong shelf life. Also refers to adjunct ingredients used as flavor or aroma enhancers.

Fermentable material used as a substitute for traditional grains, to make beer lighter-bodied or cheaper.

Ethyl alcohol or ethanol. An intoxicating by-product of fermentation, which is caused by yeast acting on sugars in the malt. Alcohol content is expressed as a percentage of volume or weight.

Alcohol by weight
Amount of alcohol in beer measured in terms of the percentage weight of alcohol per volume of beer, i.e., 3.2% alcohol by weights equals 3.2 grams of alcohol per 100 centiliters of beer. (It is approximately 20% less than alcohol by volume.)

Alcohol by volume
Amount of alcohol in beer in terms of percentage volume of alcohol per volume of beer.

Warming taste of ethanol and higher alcohol's.

Beers distinguished by use of top fermenting yeast strains, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The top fermenting yeast perform at warmer temperatures than do yeast's used to brew lager beer, and their byproducts are more evident in taste and aroma. Fruitiness and esters are often part of ale’s character.

A relatively new term in America. "All malt" refers to a beer made exclusively with barley malt and without adjuncts.

Any top or bottom fermented beer having an amber color, that is, between pale and dark.

Aroma Hops
Varieties of hop chosen to impart bouquet. (See Hops)

A drying, puckering taste; tannic; can be derived from boiling the grains, long mashes, over sparging or sparging with hard water.

Extent to which yeast consumes fermentable sugars (converting them into alcohol and carbon dioxide).

A general term covering off-flavors such as moldy, musty, woody, lactic acid, vinegar, or microbiological spoilage.

A cereal grain that is malted for use in the grist that becomes the mash in the brewing of beer.

A unit of measurement used by brewers in some countries. In the United States, a barrel holds 31 US gallons. Barrel may also refer to aromas of flavors imparted in a beer due to barrel-aging. This may be oaky or boozy.

Bitterness of hops or malt husks; sensation on back of tongue.

The perception of a bitter flavor, in beer from is-alpha-acid in solution (derived from hops). It is measured in International Bitterness Units (IBU).

Black malt
Partially malted barley roasted at high temperatures. Black malt gives a dark color and roasted flavor to beer.

Thickness and mouth-filling property of a beer described as "full or thin bodied".

Secondary fermentation and maturation in the bottle, creating complex aromas and flavors.

Bottom-fermenting yeast
One of the two types of yeast used in brewing. Bottom-fermenting yeast works well at low temperatures and ferments more sugars leaving a crisp, clean taste and then settles to the bottom of the tank. Also referred to as "lager yeast".

Brew Kettle
The vessel in which wort from the mash is boiled with hops. Also called a copper.

Pub that makes its own beer and sells at least 50% of it on premises. Also known in Britain as a home-brew house and in Germany as a house brewery.

The stopper in the hole in a keg or cask through which the keg or cask is filled and emptied. The hole may also be referred to as a bung or bunghole. Real beer must use a wooden bung.

The Campaign for Real Ale. An organization in England that was founded in 1971 to preserve the production of cask-conditioned beers and ales.

Sparkle caused by carbon dioxide, either created during fermentation or injected later.

A cooked sugar that is used to add color and alcohol content to beer. It is often used in place of more expensive malted barley.

Caramel malt
Sweet, coppery-colored malt. Caramel or crystal malt imparts both color and flavor to beer. Caramel malt has a high concentration of unfermentable sugars that sweeten the beer and, contribute to head retention.

A closed, barrel-shaped container for beer. They come in various sizes and are now usually made of metal. The bung in a cask of "Real" beer or ale must be made of wood to allow the pressure to be relived, as the fermentation of the beer, in the cask, continues.

Secondary fermentation and maturation in the cask at the point of sale. Creates light carbonation.

Chill haze
Cloudiness caused by precipitation of protein-tannin compound at low temperatures, does not affect flavor.

Chill proof
Beer treated to allow it to withstand cold temperatures without clouding.

Period of maturation intended to impart "condition" (natural carbonation). Warm conditioning further develops the complex of flavors. Cold conditioning imparts a clean, round taste.

Conditioning Tank
A vessel, in which beer is placed after primary fermentation where the beer matures, clarifies and, is naturally carbonated through secondary fermentation. Also called bright beer tank, serving tank and, secondary tank.

Contract Beer
Beer made by one brewery and then marketed by a company calling itself a brewery. The latter uses the brewing facilities of the former.

Draft (Draught)
The process of dispensing beer from a bright tank, cask or, keg, by hand pump, pressure from an air pump or, injected carbon dioxide inserted into the beer container prior to sealing.

The addition of dry hops to fermenting or aging beer to increase its hop character or aroma.

Catalysts that are found naturally in the grain. When heated in mash, they convert the starches of the malted barley into maltose, a sugar used in solution and fermented to make beer.

Volatile flavor compound naturally created in fermentation. Often fruity, flowery or spicy.

Aroma or flavor reminiscent of flowers or fruits.

Conversion of sugars into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, through the action of yeast.

Final specific gravity
Specific gravity of a beer when fermentation is complete (that is, all fermentable sugars have been fermented).

An aid to clarification: a substance that attracts particles that would otherwise remain suspended in the brew.

The removal of designated impurities by passing the wort through a medium, sometimes made of diatomaceous earth (made up of the microscopic skeletal remains of marine animals). Yeast in suspension is often targeted for removal.

Flavor and aroma of bananas, strawberries, apples, or other fruit; from high temperature fermentation and certain yeast strains.

Tastes like cereal or raw grain.

Hand Pump
A device for dispensing draft beer using a pump operated by hand. The use of a hand pump allows the cask-conditioned beer to be served without the use of pressurized carbon dioxide.

Lingering bitterness or harshness.

Hard Cider
A fermented beverage made from apples.

Heat Exchanger
A mechanical device used to rapidly reduce the temperature of the wort.

A German word meaning "yeast". Used mostly in conjunction with wheat (Weiss) beers to denote that the beer is bottled or kegged with the yeast in suspension (hefe-weiss). These beers are cloudy, frothy and, very refreshing.

Herb added to boiling wort or fermenting beer to impart a bitter aroma and flavor.

Aroma of hops, does not include hop bitterness.

International Bittering units. A system of indicating the hop bitterness in finished beer.

One-half barrel or 15.5 U. S. gallons. A half keg or, 7.75 U. S. gallons, is referred to as a pony-keg.

The addition of a small proportion of partly fermented wort to a brew during lagering. Stimulates secondary fermentation and imparts a crisp, spritzy character.

Beers produced with bottom fermenting yeast strains, Saccharomyces uvarum (or carlsbergensis) at colder fermentation temperatures than ales. This cooler environment inhibits the natural production of esters and other byproducts, creating a crisper tasting product.

From the German word for storage. Refers to maturation for several weeks or months at cold temperatures (close to 0°C /32°F) to settle residual yeast, impart carbonation and make for clean round flavors.

To run the wort from the mash tun. From the German word to clarify. A lauter tun is a separate vessel to do this job. It uses a system of sharp rakes to achieve a very intensive extraction of malt sugars.

Skunk like smell; from exposure to light.

The brewer's word for water used in the brewing process, as included in the mash or, used to sparge the grains after mashing.

Malt (ing)
The process by which barley is steeped in water, germinated, and then kilned to convert insoluble starch to soluble substances and sugar. The foundation ingredient of beer.

Malt Extract
The condensed wort from a mash, consisting of maltose, dextrins and, other dissolved solids. Either as a syrup or powdered sugar, it is used by brewers, in solutions of water and extract, to reconstitute wort for fermentation.

Mash (Verb)
To release malt sugars by soaking the grains in water. (Noun) The resultant mixture.

Mash Tun
A tank where grist is soaked in water and heated in order to convert the starch to sugar and extract the sugars and other solubles from the grist.

Meads are produced by the fermentation of honey, water, yeast and optional ingredients such as fruit, herbs, and/or spices. According to final gravity, they are categorized as: dry (0.996 to 1009); medium (1010 to 1019); or sweet (1020 or higher). Wine, champagne, sherry, mead, ale or lager yeasts may be used.

Chemical or phenolic character; can be the result of wild yeast, contact with plastic, or sanitizer residue.

Tastes tinny, bloodlike or coin like; may come from bottle caps.

Small brewery generally producing less than 15,000 barrels per year. Sales primarily off premises.

Mouth feel
A sensation derived from the consistency or viscosity of a beer, described, for example as thin or full.

Original gravity
A measurement of the density of fermentable sugars in a mixture of malt and water with which a brewer begins a given batch.

Stale flavor of wet cardboard, paper, rotten pineapple, or sherry, as a result of oxygen as the beer ages or is exposed to high temperatures.

Heating of beer to 60-79(°C/140-174°F to stabilize it microbiologically. Flash-pasteurization is applied very briefly, for 15-60 seconds by heating the beer as it passes through the pipe. Alternately, the bottled beer can be passed on a conveyor belt through a heated tunnel. This more gradual process takes at least 20 minutes and sometimes much longer.

To add yeast to wort.

The addition of sugar at the maturation stage to promote a secondary fermentation.

The owner or manager of a pub.

Regional specialty brewery
A brewery that produces more than 15,000 barrels of beer annually, with its largest selling product a specialty beer.

"Purity Law" originating in Bavaria in 1516 and now applied to all German brewers making beer for consumption in their own country. It requires that only malted grains, hops, yeast and water may be used in the brewing.

Secondary fermentation
Stage of fermentation occurring in a closed container from several weeks to several months.

Shelf life
Describes the number of days a beer will retain its peak drinkability. The shelf life for commercially produced beers is usually a maximum of four months.

Vinegar like or lemon like; can be caused by bacterial infection.

Specific gravity
A measure of the density of a liquid or solid compared to that of water (1.000 at 39°F (4°C)).

To spray grist with hot water in order to remove soluble sugars (maltose). This takes place at the end of the mash.

Taste sensation cause by acidic flavors.

Top-fermenting yeast
One of the two types of yeast used in brewing. Top-fermenting yeast works better at warmer temperatures and are able to tolerate higher alcohol concentrations than bottom-fermenting yeast. It is unable to ferment some sugars, and results in a fruitier, sweeter beer. Also known as "ale yeast".

Any large vessels used in brewing. In America, "tub" is often preferred.

Reminiscent of wine.

Sherry like flavor; can be caused by warm fermentation or oxidation in very old beer.

The solution of grain sugars strained from the mash tun. At this stage, regarded as "sweet wort", later as brewed wort, fermenting wort and finally beer.

A micro-organism of the fungus family. Genus Saccharomyces.

Yeast like flavor; a result of yeast in suspension or beer sitting too long on sediment.