20 Brewing Questions

So you think you know brewing, huh? Well step up to the plate and try to answer these 20 brewing questions. If you can pick the right answers from the wrong answers, the doubly wrong answers, and the answers that are so wrong that they just might be right, you will have our undying respect. This quiz is meant to be challenging, but also fun. And, given that you’ll score it yourself, you can still score 100% no matter what you answer (you know, like most online quizzes). If you’re brave, post your answers — that you gave without Googling — in the comments section. I’ll post the answer key with explanations of everything — and hopefully better jokes — on Thursday. So, grab your #2 pencil, then set it back down because you shouldn’t draw on your computer screen and . . . begin the quiz!

For each question, give the BEST answer.

1.) The liquid that yeast cells ferment to make beer is

a.) strike water.

b.) trub.

c.) wort.

d.) brewing liquor.

e.) my second favorite liquid. 

2.) Besides beer, another fermented beverage made from plants is

a.) mead.

b.) vodka.

c.) wine.

d.) kefir.

e.) mysteriously rarely mentioned in Beer & Wine Journal.

3.) Stale beer frequently contains elevated levels of

a.) acetaldehyde

b.) trans 2 nonenol

c.) 4 vinyl guaiacol

d.) ethyl acetate

e.) enthusiasm for getting off your butt and brewing your next batch of beer.

4.) A hop stand is

a.) a mixture of spices that can replace hops when they are scarce.

b.) adding hops before the boil has started.

c.) a device that holds hops during the boil.

d.) adding lots of hops after the boil is finished.

e.) a good start.

5.) Which of the following is most closely associated with fermentation?

a.) glycolysis

b.) the Krebs cycle

c.) the Calvin cycle

d.) mitochondria

e.) A party in my garage when it’s finished. 

6.) In the boil, roughly 25–35% of the alpha acids in the bittering hops are converted to

a.) alpha acetolactate

b.) iso alpha acids

c.) beta acids

d.) myrcene

e.) something else.

7.) Barley is

a.) a cereal grain, in the same botanical family as buckwheat.

b.) a non-cereal grass, in the same botanical family as rushes.

c.) a cereal grain, in the same botanical family as wheat.

d.) a fungus in the Division Ascomycota, related to Penicillium.

e.) in my heart, it’s in my soul. It’ll be my breath should I grow old.

8.) The products of alcoholic fermentation are

a.) ethanol, carbon dioxide, and heat.

b.) methanol, oxygen, and heat.

c.) ethanol, carbon dioxide, and gamma rays.

d.) isopropyl alcohol, air, and infrared light

e.) in my bloodstream.

9.) The most abundant sugar in wort

a.) glucose

b.) maltose

c.) amylose

d.) fructose

e.) about to meet my yeast.

10.) Wort boils at

a.) 315 °F (157 °C)

b.) 215 °F (102 °C)

c.) 212 °F (100 °C)

d.) 100 °F (38 °C)

e.) my command.

11.) The chemical formula for ethanol is

a.) H2O + CO2

b.) C2H5OH

c.) C6H12O6

d.) 6.02 X 1023

e.) known and beloved by chemists all over the world. 

12.) Hops are most closely related to which of the following?

a.) hackberries, also called nettle trees

b.) wisteria, a flowering vine in the legume family 

c.) hemlock, a type of conifer

d.) lupine, a flowering vine in the legume family

e.) This will be revealed on Maury later. 

13.) In the mash, the enzymes that degrade starch by hydrolysis are

a.) alpha amylase, beta amylase, and limit dextrinase

b.) alpha amylase and beta amylase

c.) The starch degrading enzymes work by pyrolysis, not hydrolysis

d.) beta amylase

e.) in my heart, they’re in my soul. They’ll be my breath should I grow old.

14.) Another term for mashing in is

a.) doughing in

b.) knocking out

c.) casting out

d.) ringing Jerry 

e.) not needed since we already have the term “mashing in.”

15.) Kräusening is

a.) adding vigorously fermenting lager beer to a lager fermentation that is finishing.

b.) mixing a small amount of trub with the wort being transferred to the kettle.

c.) rousing the yeast by rolling a barrel fermented beer around the brewery.

d.) carbonating the beer by injecting CO2 via a sintered stone.

e.) a great word. One of the best. I hear a lot of good things about kräusening these days, and I wish them all the best. 

16.) A mash in which a portion of the grist is removed and boiled, then returned to the main mash

a.) is a vorlauf.

b.) is a decoction mash.

c.) used to be known as the Crabtree Effect.

d.) will become a hopscotch mash, after the mash out. 

e.) makes for a long, tiring brew day. 

17.) Malt extract is made by

a.) starch pyrolysis under pressure.

b.) starch synthesis on a cellulose matrix.

c.) light driven reactions combining carbon dioxide and water in an organelle.

d.) evaporating water from wort in a vacuum.

e.) the fine people at Briess Malting, who once bought an ad on our site. 

18.) Yeast is

a.) a bacteria, related to Lactobaccilus

b.) a protist, related to red algae

c.) a plant, related to Irish moss

d.) a fungus, related to truffles

e.) the word. It’s got groove. It’s got meaning. Yeast is the time, is the place, is the motion. And yeast is the way we are feeling. 

19.) The steps in malting are

a.) amination and phosphorylation, followed by adiabatic deamination

b.) the soft spile, the shive, and the hard spile.

c.) wetting, saccharification, and denaturing the enzymes.

d.) steeping, germination, drying, and kilning.

e.) totally worth it, from the standpoint of friability. 

20.) Which of the following is NOT an essential oil commonly found in hops?

a.) caryophyllene

b.) farnesene

c.) geraniol

d.) Answers a, b, and c are all common hop oils.

e.) 10W-30

I’ll post the answers Thursday. If you answered to “e” to every question, congratulations, you flunked. But you also passed with flying colors.


  1. Dave King says:

    Too funny, see you in Minneapolis, James. Thanks, that was a really good one.

  2. Rômulo Rocha says:

    1C 2C 3B 4D 5B 6B 7C 8A 9B 10C 11B 12C 13B14A 15A 16B 17D 18D 19D 20E
    That was fun!

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