How To Talk Like a Brew Master

AKA: How To Be Like Sam Calagoine.

(The founder of Dogfish Head Beer)

When I was starting out brewing, I found that one of the hardest parts was that I did not understand the terminology. Whether I was trying to read a book about brewing, a recipe, an article, or a question on a forum, I would get stuck in the terminology and acronyms. I didn’t speak the same language as advanced home brewers.

(A Clip with Sam Calagoine from Dogfish Head)

There are a lot of terms to learn in home brewing and it can seem overwhelming. It turns out many relatively experienced brewers don’t know the terms very well and still have to look them up. That’s why I’ve developed an easily implemented system to internalize all the brewing terms you need to know without doing any of the hard work.

My goal is for you actually internalize the material. I personally strive to set every reader up for success in brewing no matter how far they want to take it. To be a successful brewer you need to know the brewing terms.

When I was a novice brewer, as a tool for learning the terms, I wrote down a list of all the brewing terms I knew and then added to it whenever I learned a new one. I kept this with my brewing supplies and regularly referred to it.

That was a fairly good tool but I’ve created an even better version of it. Here’s what you will do: Create a list of all the brewing terms you know, and unless it’s a super obvious one, define it to test whether you actually know what it means or if you’re just familiar with it.

Once you’ve created the list, go through your brewing supplies and make sure that anything with a special name is on the list. Lastly you are going to write down your brewing process step by step and make sure you include any special brewing terms in it. At this point a brewing glossary might help, which you can find easily online with a quick Google search of “Brewing Definitions”.

Do this once before each of your three next brew days, and then during the brew days try to use the terms you remember. Either think them to yourself or talk to a brewing partner (you could also talk to yourself, which I often do during my brew process, but my friends and neighbors already think I’m crazy).

I’ve included a terminology worksheet for you to download here. Use this process I’ve just described with the worksheet to easily get all your terminology solid and start talking like a master brewer.

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