Glossary

Here you'll find an alphabetical list of helpful industry terms from all of our product categories, plus some general terms that will be helpful as you navigate our website and learn more about our business. Just click on each letter for the full list of terms.

A

  1. Abbey Beers
    top fermented, rich, deep golden beer. This strong flavoured beer is meant to be savoured, with a full-bodied taste and spicy aroma.

    Aftertaste
    the flavour that stays in the mouth after swallowing wine. Also known as a wine's finish, this flavour can be buttery, oaky, spicy, tart or bitter.

    Ale
    beers brewed with top-fermenting yeast strains. This yeast performs at warmer temperatures than yeasts used to brew lager beer. Taste is characteristically fruity and spicy.

    Amber
    an American style ale that is generally bottom-fermented. Amber ale’s colour takes after its name.

    Aperitif
    a wine meant to be enjoyed on its own before a meal in order to stimulate the appetite. 

    Appearance
    refers to a wine's clarity, not colour.

B

  1. Balance
    a well-balanced wine is a primary goal of the wine maker. Such a wine blends all of its components gracefully: the fruit, tannin, acid, and sugar. A wine's balance, in some cases, may only be realized after some aging.

    Bitter
    a traditional ale in England. Gold to amber in colour, low in strength and quite bitter, this ale is highly carbonated.

    Blended Whiskey
    a blend of different types of whiskies, generally a mix of one or more single malt whiskies. Made from 100% grain such as barley or rye.

    Body
    the impression of weight or fullness on the palate; usually the result of a combination of glycerin, alcohol and sugar. Commonly expressed as full-bodied, medium-bodied or medium-weight, or light-bodied.

    Bourbon
    American Whiskey made using at least 51% corn grain mash in a wheat, oats, rye & barley combination.

    Breathing
    allowing a wine to mix with the air. Aeration occurs by pouring the wine into a larger container, such as a decanter or large wine glass. Breathing can be beneficial for many red wines and also for some young white wines. Chemically, breathing enables oxygen to mix with the wine, which hastens the aging process.

    Brandy
    liquor distilled from wine or other fermented fruit juice. The finest brandies are Cognacs.

    Brown Ale
    a British style ale, medium amber to dark brown in colour. Usually, brown ale has a toasted malt and lightly hopped flavour. 

C

  1. Canadian Whisky
    a blended whisky, which is distilled from rye, corn, and barley. Produced only in Canada under government authorization.

    Château
    generally a winery in France although the term is sometimes used for wineries in other parts of the world.

    Clairet
    an English term for a wine of France’s Bordeaux region.

    Cognac
    A high-quality French brandy that is distilled from wine and produced in Cognac, France.

    Cordial
    a liquor (or liqueur) made by mixing or redistilling neutral spirits. Fruits, flowers, herbs, seeds, roots, plants or juices are used and a sweetener is added. Most cordials are sweet, colourful and highly concentrated.

    Corked
    an expression meaning the wine has gone bad. Implies an unpleasant, musty, moldy smell imparted by a flawed cork. Cork can contain bacteria that will cause "off" flavours in the wine.

    Craft Beer
    Craft Beer is a term which generally refers to beer that is brewed using traditional methods, without adding rice or corn.

    Cream Ale
    an American style ale that is golden in colour and has a delicate hop character.

    Crémant
    French sparkling wine made outside the champagne region of France.

    Cult wines
    certain wines for which customers pay higher prices than those of Bordeaux's First Growths (Premiers Crus)

D

  1. Draught
    filtered beer that is served from a pressurized container, such as a keg or a widget can.

    Dry Lager
    style of beer in which all carbohydrates have been fermented into alcohol and does not have an aftertaste.

    Dry

    having no perceptible taste of sugar. Most wine tasters begin to perceive sugar at levels of 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent.

F

  1. Fermentation
    conversion of sugars into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, through the action of yeast.

    Filtering
    the process of removing particles from wine after fermentation. Most wines unless otherwise labeled are filtered for both clarity and stability.

    Fining
    a technique for clarifying wine using agents such as bentonite (powdered clay), gelatin or egg whites, which combine with sediment particles and cause them to settle to the bottom, where they can be easily removed.

    Finish
    the key to judging a wine's quality is finish, also called aftertaste, a measure of the taste or flavours that linger in the mouth after the wine is tasted. Great wines have rich, long, complex finishes.

    Fortified wine
    wine such as Port, Sherry and Madeira, whose alcohol level has been fortified by the addition of spirits.

    Fragrant

    a wine that is very aromatic and flowery.

    Frappes
    several liqueurs combined and poured over shaved or crushed ice.

    Fruity
    a fruity wine is one in which fruit flavours dominate the aroma and taste. Often these wines are easy-drinking and light.

G

  1. Grenadine
    flavouring for cocktails that’s made from pomegranates or red currants.

    Gin
    a spirit that is distilled from grain and flavoured with Juniper berries and other botanicals. The barrel aging process gives it a golden or straw colour.

H

  1. Hop
    herb added to boiling wort or fermenting beer to impart a bitter aroma and flavour.

I

  1. Ice Beer
    beer that has been frozen to concentrate alcohol.

    Icewine
    wine made from frozen grapes. Written, and trademarked as a single word - Icewine - in Canada. Called Eiswein in Germany.

    Irish Whisky
    made in Ireland. A blend of barley malt whisky and grain whisky.

L

  1. Lager
    beers produced with bottom-fermenting yeast strains at colder fermentation temperatures than ales.

    Light Lager
    lager that offers lower alcohol content, that is pale in colour and lightly hopped.

    Liqueur
    a sweet alcoholic beverage made from an infusion of flavouring ingredients and a spirit.

M

  1. Malt
    is a barley seed that has been soaked until sprouted then dried.

    Malt Liquor

    a stronger version of American lager, often with an increased proportion of rice or corn. Sometimes malt liquor is flavoured with fruit or menthol.

    Microbrewery
    a brewery that produces less than 150,000 hectolitres of beer annually.

N

  1. Neat
    a term referring to liquor that is consumed undiluted by ice, water or mixers.

O

  1. Oak
    the most popular wood for constructing barrels. Oak imparts flavours and tannin to wines during the barrel aging process. Home winemakers can also accomplish this by using oak chips or powder.

    ‘On The Rocks’
    a beverage served over ice without adding water or other mixers.

P

  1. Pale Ale
    broad family of British-styled ales that are deep golden in colour, often considered bitter and strong in hop aroma.

    Pilsner
    style of bottom-fermented lager with a very pronounced taste of hops.

    Porter
    a heavy, dark-brown, strongly flavoured beer, usually higher in alcohol than regular beers. The dark colour and strong flavour comes from roasted malt.

    Premier Cru
    a French wine term corresponding to "first growth”. Premier Cru is considered a fine wine.

R

  1. Rum
    made by distilling the fermented juice of sugar cane, cane syrup and molasses. There are three colours of rum: white, amber and dark. When aged in uncharred barrels, the barrels change the colour and flavour. The longer the rum is aged the darker it is. Caramel and molasses is added to create dark rum.

S

  1. Scotch Whiskey
    produced only in Scotland, this traditional whiskey is a blend of whiskeys from native barley grain and Scottish pot stills. All Scotch blends contain malt whiskey. The smokey flavour comes from drying malted barley over peat fires.  

    Snifter
    a short-stemmed, pear-shaped glass that is larger at the bottom than at the top, used for drinking liqueurs.  

    Single Malt
    a variation of Scotch whiskey made in a single distillery, in a pot still with malted barley as the principal ingredient.

    Stout
    a strong, dark beer. More fragrant of hops than other beer, stout is made with dark-roasted barley giving it its deep, dark colour.

T

  1. Tequila
    is an agave based spirit made primarily in the surrounding area of Tequila, Mexico.

    Trappist beer
    an abbey style beer brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by or under control of Trappist monks. 

V

  1. Varietals
    wines made from particular grape varieties, as opposed to blends. Well-known red varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot. Popular white varietals include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.

    Vermouth
    herb flavoured wine fortified with brandy. 

    Vintage
    the term that describes both the year of the actual grape harvest and the wine made from those grapes

    Vodka
    refined and filtered liquor that is distilled. Originally made in Russia from potatoes, it’s now usually distilled from corn and wheat.

W

  1. Whisky
    the term used for whiskies made in Scotland and Canada.

    Whiskey
    the term used for whiskies distilled in Ireland and United States.

    Wine
    made from the fermented juice of grapes.