Terms explained



ABV : Alcohol by volume (abbreviated as ABV, abv, or alc/vol) is a standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in a given volume of an alcoholic beverage (expressed as a percentage of total volume). It is defined as the number of millilitres of pure ethanol present in 100 millilitres of solution at 20 °C. The number of millilitres of pure ethanol is the mass of the ethanol divided by its density at 20 °C, which is 0.78924 g/ml. The ABV standard is used worldwide.


AEROBIC FERMENT : The beginning phase of fermentation where the yeast use the availiable oxygen to grow a population.


ANAEROBIC FERMENT: The phase where the yeast produces alcohol.

AG: All Grain.

AGING: Leaving your spirits on the shelf and not touching them.

AIRING: After running your still into collection jars it is left for 24-48 hours to 'air' before your blending is done.

    Fyfo adds - Leaving the distillate overnight so lower boiling point alcohols can evaporate off.

ALCOMETER: An alcoholmeter is a hydrometer which is used for determining the alcoholic strength of liquids. It is also known as a proof and Tralles hydrometer. It only measures the density of the fluid.

AZEOTROPE: is a mixture of two or more liquids whose proportions cannot be altered by simple distillation. In our hobby we are really only concerned with the water/ethanol azeo, 96.5% ABV.

BACKSET: The stuff left in the boiler after a run. It is depleted of alcohol and can be used in various ways.

    Fyfo adds - The liquid left in the still after distilling. Can be added to the next wash to provide extra flavour and nutrients.

BLENDING: The act of putting your 'cuts' together to get a good drink. This is where we seperate out our heads and tails and so on and so forth.

BOTANICALS: The various flavouring agents that go into making a Gin.

CAP: Krauesen.

CM: Cooling Management Reflux still.

CONDENSER: A device used on a still to cool hot vapours therefore condensing them into liquid.

CUTS: Seperating the distillate into small sample jars throughout a spirit run to allow for blending and seperating the foreshots, heads, hearts and tails. (Fyfo)

DAP: Diammonium Phosphate.

DRY: When the ferment is done and ready to run!

DISTILLATION: is a process of seperating liquids by evaporation and condensing.


DUNDER: The backset of a rum run.

     Fyfo adds, Can be kept in what is known as a "pit" or "muck hole"

FORESHOTS: The first higher point boiling volatiles that come off the still, these are discarded with extreem predjudice.

FEINTS: Tokoroa_Shiners fave bit :) No really, they are the heads and tails that are put aside when blending cuts together. There is still reclaimable alcohol that can be removed from these factions.

FERMENTATION: The conversion of sugar to alcohol by yeast.

FORESHOTS: The first portion of spirits during distillation. This is discarded as it is not suitable for drinking but can be used as a cleaning agent. (Fyfo)

HEADS: The second portion of spirits during distillation. This is seperated as it is high in methanol. (Fyfo)

HEARTS: The third part of the distillation process. This is the desirable ethanol portion. (Fyfo)

HYDROMETER: A glass device that reads ABV or wash specific gravity (SG) (Fyfo)

     Inglishill adds, An alcometer measures ABV, the two are easily mixed up. Hydrometer for wash and Alcometer for spirit.

LEES: What remains in your fermeneter after the wash has been racked into the still. This contains spent yeast and some useful nutrients. Can be reused in a second wash. (Fyfo)

LOW WINES: The distillate taken from a stripping run, low in ABV. (Fyfo)

LYNE ARM: The take off tube in a pot still that runs through the condenser. It can be horizontal, or angled up or down. (Fyfo)

NEUTRAL: Clear alcohol either low in flavour or none at all. (Fyfo)

    Inglishill adds, NGS = Neutral Grain Spirit.

PARROT: A device that holds the hydrometer so real time monitoring of ABV during distillation is possible. (Fyfo)

PITCH: Adding yeast to fermenter. (Fyfo)

SPECIFIC GRAVITY (SG): The density of a liquid read from a hydrometer. Water (or a completed wash might be) is 1.000, A wash starting gravity might be 1.070. (Fyfo)

   Inglishill adds, You can get a FG (Final Gravity) of less than 1.000.

REFLUX: Condensing a vapour so it returns back into the boiler. The amount of reflux can be controlled in different ways (depending on the configuration of the still). Examples include Cooling Management (CM), Vapour Management (VM) and Liquid Management (LM). (Fyfo)

SPIRIT RUN: The last and final run of a multiple stripping run process. Ran slow to get the best product. (Fyfo)

STRIPPING RUN: A fast primary distillation done when re distillation is planned for a finished product. See spirit run above. (Fyfo)

TAILS: The higher boiling point alcohols that come off last. Tails usually contain greater amounts of flavour congeners. (Fyfo)

UJSSM: Uncle Jesse Simple Sour Mash. (Corn) Recipe.

WASH: A barrel of liquid typically made up of water, yeast, sugar, grains, nutrients. Once completed there will be a percentage of alcohol present that can be extracted by distilling. (Fyfo)