All the craft beer terms you were afraid to ask about, explained

We talked to a brewer to find out what all those weird words and abbreviations mean.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Have you ever wondered what the heck your friend means when they're talking about beer? 

We've been there, so we're here to help. We talked to head brewer Keigan Knee of Modist Brewing in Minneapolis and had him explain some common – and sometimes misunderstood – words that are used when talking about craft beer. 

Here they are (with more coming soon): 

What does ABV mean? 

ABV – alcohol by volume – is the percentage of alcohol content in a beer. The average, according to CNBC, is an ABV of 5.9 percent. 

What does it mean when a beer is clean?

Clean can refer to how well the beer is produced (there aren't any flaws in it), to the equipment and brewery being clean, to the yeast that's used (one that doesn't have much flavor). 

What does easy to drink mean?

The beer is literally easy to drink. The flavor isn't aggressive, it's approachable – like a pale lager. It's light on alcohol and body, and typically pretty refreshing. 

What does hoppy mean?

Hoppy is a blanket term that can mean anything from something tasting bitter to being very aromatic and flavorful. So when saying the type of beer you like to drink, it's good to specify whether you like a beer bitter or not – don't just say you do or don't like hoppy beers. 

What's an IBU in beer?

IBU – international bitterness unit – is a measurement of how bitterness is perceived in a beer, but the term isn't that accurate because sometimes a beer can have high IBUs, but not taste bitter at all. 

What does piney mean?

It's when a beer smells and/or tastes kind of like pine needles or is reminiscent of fresh-cut lumber. This can come from the hops, or if a brewer adds pine needles or spruce tips into the beer. 

What's a malty beer?

Malty (it comes from what malt – or grain – is used in the beer) can mean how sweet a beer could be or how rich the flavor is. The less hop-forward beers tend to have a more malt-forward taste. 

What's mouthfeel?

Mouthfeel is how the beer feels in your mouth, or how much body it has. It can range from feeling like water, with little flavor, all the way up to a heavy, thick body.

What does SRM mean?

SRM – standard reference model/method – is a way to measure what color the beer is. Technically, it's how much light can go through a beer. 

Is there a beer term you don't quite understand? Let us know, and we'll get it defined and add it to the list above. Just send Melissa an email at melissa@gomn.com. 

Next Up

Flickr -  Bank Plaze Nov 2020 - Chad Davis

US Bank employees won't return to downtown Minneapolis office next month

The company, citing COVID's resurgence, has pushed back its office return plans.

Katie Storm Twitter Bally Sports North - Aug 4 2021

MN native Katie Storm returning home for role with Bally Sports North

The St. Cloud State grad had worked for Fox Sports North before leaving for Philadelphia.

Flickr - Wisconsin State Fair cream puff - USDA

Free cream puff for people who get vaccinated at the Wisconsin State Fair

Get a shot, then head over to Cream Puff Pavilion for a free treat.

theodore wirth trailhead

Minneapolis parks now requiring masks in all indoor spaces

Anyone going inside recreation centers, ice arenas, and indoor spaces at pools must put on a mask.

Eric Reinbold - Pennington County Sheriff Aug 4 2021

At-large murder suspect was caught after triggering trail camera

Authorities had been searching for Eric Reinbold for nearly a month.

Flickr - toxic algae bloom - MPCA Photos

Climate change is warming lakes, leading to more toxic algae blooms

The MPCA says blue-green algae blooms are occurring all across the state.

vaccine, covid

Minnesotans can now register to get $100 for getting the COVID-19 vaccine

It's available for those who get their first jab between July 30 and Aug. 15.

Phillip Miller

Benton County prosecutor charged with sexual assault of teenager

Phillip Miller has been charged with varying levels of sexual assault charges.

Pixabay - pistol holster handgun

Permit-to-carry law doesn't violate 2nd amendment, MN Supreme Court says

A man charged with carrying a pistol without a permit argued it was unconstitutional.

covid

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, August 4

The delta variant has been leading to higher case counts and hospitalizations in Minnesota.

Related

On tap: New craft beers to watch for in Minnesota

Drink up, there are a bunch of new beers coming to Minnesota soon.

Modist's new beer is a remake of a retired favorite

Toats was retired because words can be confusing.

Summit's new High Sticke beer pays tribute to all of Minnesota's hockey players

The limited-release beer (which has a great name) will be available starting next week.

Modist made a beer with 100 percent huskless barley

It was an experiment that turned out pretty good.

This beer festival lets you taste rare, one-of-a-kind beers

They're beers you won't be able to find anywhere else.

Video: We tried – and rated – 7 Oktoberfest beers from Minnesota

These sweet and malty beers are super popular this time of year.