Brewing Glossary
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saccharification
The conversion of starch to sugars in the mash through enzymatic activity by alpha-amylase and beta-amylase acting in concert.
 
saccharification rest
A stage of the mashing process during which complex glucose chains are broken down into fermentable sugars. This stage of mashing requires a temperature range between 145-158 °F (63-70 °C). Higher mash temperatures will produce full-bodied worts because beta-amylase becomes deactivated sooner at higher temperatures. Lower mash temperatures yield more fermentable sugars. Rest durations vary with temperature. At higher temperatures a 20-40 minute rest will accomplish conversion. At lower temperatures a rest of 45-20 minutes is required.
 
Saccharomyces
Scientific genus name of yeast used in brewing. Saccharomyces cerevesiae, which is ale yeast and Saccharmyces uvarum, which is lager yeast.
 
salts
Minerals present in water that have various effects on the brewing process.
 
salty flavor
Flavor associated with table salt. Sensation is experienced on the sides of the tongue. Can be caused by the presence of too much sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium sulfate or other brewing salts.
 
secondary fermentation
A second fermentation in a second, closed fermenter allowing for a slow reduction or conditioning of the remaining fermentable sugars. The beer is racked off the trub and degenerating yeast cells that can impair the flavor.
 
secondary fermenter
  1. A Foam Ranger that is second in command only to the Grand Wazoo.
  2. Any container in which secondary fermentation is allowed to occur. Also known as secondary fermentor or secondary and is usually a closed vessel.
set mash
  1. Condition that sometimes develops during sparging which makes runoff difficult. Too much fine flour as a result of improper grinding is often the culprit. Mashes with a high percentage of unmalted grains often have this problem.
  2. The cessation of runoff flow not caused by a blockage in the lauter/mash tun. Set mashes can be caused by grain that was too finely crushed inadequate husk content or by a compacted filter bed. This condition can only be corrected by stirring the mash to allow the liquid to pass through the filter bed. After all particulate has settled the runnings should be recirculated to re-establish the grain bed. Also known as stuck mash.
setting the grain bed
A procedure used to avoid compacting the grain bed. In this procedure the lauter tun is filled to one eighth-inch above the false bottom with 175 °F (79 °C) water. Then the mash is put into the lauter tun. This procedure prevents compacting of the grain bed by providing support for the grains as they enter the lauter tun. This is used when you have separate mash and lauter tuns.
 
siphon
A pipe or tube fashioned or deployed in an inverted U shape and filled until atmospheric pressure is sufficient to force a liquid from a reservoir in one end of the tube over a barrier higher than the reservoir and out the other end.
 
six-row barley
This malt variety has six distinct seed rows on the grain head. Very high diastatic power allows mashing with up to 60% grain adjuncts, great if added diastatic strength is needed in a recipe. Six-Row also has greater husks per weight ratio than two-row. Protein rest recommended to avoid chill-haze.
 
skunky
Faint "skunk" aroma caused by overexposure of beer to light. Light struck.
 
slaked lime
Calcium hydroxide. Used to precipitate bicarbonate from water.
 
soft water
Water with the absence of bicarbonate, magnesium and calcium ions in the supply. Less than 100 ppm CaCO3.
 
solubilization
The dissolving of a substance into solution.
 
solvent-like flavor
Flavor and aroma of higher alcohols, often due to high fermentation temperatures. Like acetone or lacquer thinner.
 
sour flavor
Pungent aroma, sharp taste. Can be like vinegar (acetic) or lemony (citric or lactic acid). Often the result of bacterial contamination or the use of citric acid. Sensation experienced on the sides of the tongue. Also known as acidic flavor.
 
sparge
Process of rinsing mashed grains with hot water to recover all available fermentable sugars. The sparge water is layered in a fine spray on top of the grain bed at about the same rate as the runoff.
 
sparger
A device used to deliver an evenly dispersed spray of water over the grain bed in the mash/lauter tun. The spray is employed to make sure the grain bed is not disturbed during sparging.
 
specialty malt
Barley malt with a higher degree of roasting during the kilning process. This creates a range of color and flavor characteristics in the finished malt. Malt characteristics range from pale to black and each style has a particular flavor from mild to a burnt roast. Specialty malts usually do not need to be mashed.
 
specific gravity
A measurement of density, expressed relative to the density of water. Used in brewing to follow the course of percent attenuation.
 
sporulation
Ascospore formation, reproduction by division of the cell contents.
 
SRM
Standard Reference Method. A method of measuring color intensity roughly equal to Lovibond degrees, used by the ASBC (American Society of Brewing Chemists). Expressed as 10 times the absorbance of beer, as measured at 346 nm. This system has largely replaced the older Lovibond color rating system in the brewing industry. The Europeans use a unit called EBC "(European Brewery Convention) degree." To convert between the two use these formulas: 1 °SRM = 0.375 °EBC + 0.46 or 1 °EBC = 2.65 °SRM - 1.2.
 
stale flavor
Develops in the presence of oxygen as the beer ages or is exposed to high temperatures; winey, wet cardboard, papery, rotten vegetable, pineapple, sherry, baby diapers. Often coupled with an increase in sour, harsh, or astringent taste. Also known as oxidized flavor.
 
starch
Complex polymers of sugars, which are converted into sugars during mashing.
 
starch haze
Cloudiness in beer due to suspended starch particles. Usually caused by, incorrect mash temperature resulting in incomplete saccharification, or sparging temperatures over 180 °F (82 °C), which can dissolve residual starch from the mash.
 
starter
The small amount of fermenting beer used in pitching.
 
steely
A quality of raw or undermodified malt in which portions of the grains are hard and "steely." These hard ends resist milling and saccharification.
 
steeping
The soaking barley or wheat in water to begin germination in the malting process. Steeping barley provides the moisture required for seed growth. The term steeping also refers to the practice of crushing and immersing specialty grains in the brewing kettle prior to producing wort with malt extract.
 
steinbier
Type of beer brewed in Germany, using hot stones to boil the wort.
 
step infusion
A temperature-controlled mash procedure often called a step mash that employs multiple temperature rests. With this mashing method the temperature of the mash is changed by applying heat or introducing hot water to produce the desired temperature increase. Typical steps are acid rest, protein rest, saccharification rest and mash out.
 
strike temperature
The target temperature of a mash rest, the temperature at which a desired reaction occurs.
 
sucrose
A fermentable disaccharide consisting of one unit of dextrose, and one unit of fructose. It occurs naturally in malt. Sucrose is also known as common table sugar.
 
sulfur-like flavor
Hydrogen sulfide. Rotten eggs, burning matches. Is a by-product of certain yeast strains. Fermentation temperatures can affect intensity.
 
sweet flavor
Basic taste associated with sugar, taste sensation on tip of the tongue.
 


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