Frequently Asked Beer Questions

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What is a finger of head mean?
A beer’s head is the foam that comes from Carbon Dioxide being released when a beer is poured. The thickness of this ‘head’ is often measured by the width of a finger at the side of the glass.

What is lace or lacing on a beer glass?
When the head settles into a beer after being poured it can leave a residue on the side of the glass. Lace is the ability for a beer to retain its head after being poured and the residue left behind is often called lacing. A beer’s ability to retain its head is caused by the protein content within a beer. Lacing is a sign of quality beer poured into clean glassware.

What does a beer’s IBU Mean?
IBU is short for International Bitterness Units this is a measure of how bitter a beer is. The higher the IBU the more bitter a beer will taste. Here is a basic guide on ranges for different types of beer.

Pale Ale / Amber Ale 20-50 IBU
India Pale Ale 40-60 IBU
Double IPA/ Imperial IPA – 60-100 IBU
Extra Special Bitter (ESB) 30-50 IBU
English Brown Ale 20-30 IBU
Porter 20-40 IBU
Irish Stout 30-60 IBU
Barleywine 50-100 IBU

American Lager 10-20 IBU
Pilsner 20-40 IBU
Bock 20-30 IBU

What does a beer’s gravity mean?
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of density before a beer is fermented. The Final Gravity (FG) is that same measure of density after the fermentation process. The difference between these two values is used to calculate the alcoholic content of beer.

What is beer made from?
The German Beer Law of 1516 says that beer should only contain barley, hops, yeast and water. These are the building blocks of beer. Many German and Belgian beers also contain wheat and mass produced beer can contain Corn. Seasonal and specialty brews may also contain additional fruits, grains or ingredients that vary from this list.

What is the difference between an Ale and a Lager?
An Ale is fermented in a warm situation where the yeast floats to the top of the fermenter. A Lager on the other hand is fermented in a cold scenario where the yeast remains at the bottom. The brewing process for an Ale can be as quick as 7 days while a Lager typically takes much longer. In general a lager tastes cleaner, smoother and crisper than an ale but a broader range of flavours can be brought out in an Ale.

Which is darker: a Porter or a Stout?
Traditionally a stout is simply a strong version of porter. Today a stout is typically thicker, heavier and has stronger flavours as well. The boundary between these two beer styles has diminished in recent history

What are Cascadian Hops?
Cascadian, or Northwest hops are grown in the Pacific Northwest of North America. Crops can be found from Northern California up into British Columbia Canada. The Cascadian Style Hop grows best at elevation and in a mild/cool climate. The distinctive taste of this style of hop is of a pine-tree like bitterness.

What is the difference between an English IPA and a North American IPA?
An English style IPA has a flavour of caramel malts, hop bitterness, and a rather smooth malted barley base. A North American IPA is often seen as having higher IBUs, higher alcohol, citrus notes, pine-bitter hops and a lack of sweetness.

What is the difference between a Weizen and a Witbier?
A Weizen is a wheat beer that comes from Germany while a Witbier is a Belgian style wheat beer. A Weizen often has flavours of banana, clove and orange while a Witbier tastes of Coriander, and citrus.

Why does beer come in a dark bottle?
Light, heat and air are three two things that can make a beer go bad sooner than expected. it is best to store beer in a cool, dark place before consuming. The dark bottle helps to limit the exposure to light before consumption.

How long will beer last before going bad?
Most craft beers will last for up to 6 months if kept in a cool dark place. Certain higher Alcohol content beers such as Barley Wines and imperial stouts can be aged for several years though as their flavours will develop.

Why is beer not vegan?
Beer does not contain any animal products but some English style beer is processed using isinglass, gelatin, glycerin or casein which all come from animals. German and Belgium beers using traditional methods of brewing are vegan. As a rule of thumb: Vegans should avoid British beer and choose German or Belgium beer instead.

Why is beer carbonated?
Carbonation is a natural result of the fermentation process. All beer is carbonated otherwise it would not contain alcohol. Many beer is artificially carbonated following fermentation where C02 is forced into the beer and is dissolved. This secondary carbonation adds more fizz to the beer than would occur naturally.

Why is beer so bitter?
A beer’s bitterness is measured by its IBU. A low IBU beer like a lager or Pilsner will make for a beer that is less bitter than a high IBU Pale Ale or IPA.

Why does beer make you fat?
Beer does not contain any fat. The belief that beer will make you fat comes from carbohydrates that if not burned can be transformed into fat by the body. If you drink in moderation and exercise regularly beer will not lead to weight gain.

Is beer good for your health?
Yes, When consumed in moderation it has been proven that beer can lead to improved health. Beer has been shown to help fight disease, increase the body’s levels of antioxidants, help prevent cancer, reduce menopausal hot flashes and fight off osteoporosis. Plus it is nutritious!

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