The Alcohol Industry - Excise Technical Guidelines (current to 30 June 2006)

Chapter 13 - Glossary of Alcohol Industry Terms

This document has been archived. It is current only to 30 June 2006.


Australian Business Number



Australian Customs Service



Australian Government Analytical Laboratories


AV (a/v)

Alcohol by volume. The amount of alcohol (ethyl alcohol or ethanol) contained in an alcoholic beverage.



All references to alcohol are references to ethyl alcohol or ethanol (section 6 of the Distillation Act, section 3 of the Spirits Act and the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act).



A metric hydrometer approved for use in calculating the alcoholic strength of spirits.



A type of beer. A brew made with top-fermenting yeast. Usually brown to dark-brown with a distinctive fruity taste.



Australian Military Forces



A New Tax System


Approved place

The premises specified in a storage licence (section 4 of the Excise Act).



Any vessel in which wort is fermented.



(in UK) A 36 gallon (163 litres) cask. A vessel holding not more than 164 litres and not less than 150 litres (formerly s.77A of the Excise Act). Dutiable contents = 160 litres (formerly s.77B of the Excise Act).


Baum é

The sugar content of grapes is expressed in degrees of Baum é . Measurement is by Baum é hydrometer.



A fermented drink brewed with hops. Lager, ale, stout, porter and so on are included in the general term beer. Section 4 of the Excise Act defines beer as any liquor on which, under the name of beer, any duty of excise imposed by the Parliament is payable.

Beer is also defined in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act as a brewed beverage which:

  1. is the product of the yeast fermentation of an aqueous extract pf malted or unmalted cereals, whether or not containing other sources of carbohydrates
  2. contains hops, or extracts thereof, or other bitters
  3. has not had added to it, at any time, any alcohol from any other source, and
  4. contains more than 1.15% by volume of alcohol.


A type of beer. Pale or amber ale, usually well-hopped for bitter flavour. Most often available on tap (draught) rather than bottled.



A bitter herb, leaf or root. See hop - hops are the bittering agent used in the manufacture of beer.

Other bittering agents used in other applications may include angostura bark, cascarilla, quassia or gentian.



The mixing of spirits. The age of the blended spirits is to be taken as that of the youngest spirit.



Brew-on-premises shops


Bottom fermentation

The method of fermentation to produce lager. During fermentation, the spent yeast sinks to the bottom of the fermenting vessel.



A spirit distilled from wine in such a manner that the spirit possesses the taste, aroma and other characteristics generally attributed to brandy, being a spirit that contains not less than 83% a/v (the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act).


Brewery conditioned beer

Beer which has been brought to condition in the brewery before filtration instead of conditioning in the cask or bottle.


Brewery licence

A licence to manufacture beer (section 77A of the Excise Act). Brewery licence is only mentioned in sections 77A, 77E and 77F of the Excise Act.



A factory in which a person is licensed to manufacture beer (section 77A of the Excise Act).


Bright beer

An industry term for matured, carbonated and filtered beer ready for packaging and drinking. Bright beer is not a term which appears in the Excise Act or Regulations.


Brix (or balling)

Another way of measuring the sugar content of the grape. 1.8 ° Brix = 1 ° Baum é


Brown ale

A container that has the capacity to have packaged in it more than two litres of liquid (section 4 of the Excise Act).


Bulk container

A container that has the capacity to have packaged in it more than two litres of liquid (section 4 of the Excise Act).



Delivery document (now mostly defunct) used to identify goods during delivery. Replaced by multi-part invoice or delivery docket.



Large barrel-like container made of wood, steel or plastic, esp. one for alcoholic liquor.


Cask-conditioned beer

Beer which is conditioned in the cask instead of in a brewery's conditioning tanks.



A machine designed to separate solids from liquids (for example excess yeast from beer) or liquids from other liquids.



Chief Executive Officer (the Commissioner of Taxation)


Certified plan

The plan of a licensed premises outlining the bonded or licensed area and certified by the AIG.



Wash. The fermented material (for example distillation wine) used in a still and from which spirit is distilled.



A method for separating a mixture of chemical compounds into individual components by selective distribution between two immiscible (cannot be mixed) materials (or phases), one stationary and the other mobile. The phases are selected so that the mobile phase will carry the various components through the stationary or solid phase at differing rates to give separation. This is the method used by the major beer and spirit manufacturers to measure alcohol strength.



Maturation of beer after it leaves the fermentation tank.


Continuing movement permission (CMP)

A written permission issued under section 61A of the Excise Act authorising the use of commercial documents for the under bond movement of goods from one specified place to another without the need for Tax Office authority for each individual movement.



A person who makes and repairs wooden casks.


Copper (or kettle)

Copper or stainless steel vessel in which wort is boiled with hops to give beer its bitter flavour.



Methylating substance added to spirit to make it unfit for human consumption.



The licensed premises of a distiller (section 6 of the Distillation Act).



Term for beer which is drawn through a tap or pump to the bar.


Dry hopping

Addition of hops to beer during maturation to improve flavour and aroma.



An instrument designed for determining the alcoholic strength of wine or beer by observing the difference between the boiling point of the wine or beer and that of water under identical conditions. By the use of a conversion table, the difference can be expressed as a percentage of alcohol by volume at the standard 20 ° C.

Special precautions must be taken to inhibit foaming when using the Ebulliometer to test the strength of beer.



Export declaration number.



A document (for example Nature 40 Entry for home consumption) formerly used to clear excisable goods into home consumption. For clients who were required to pre-pay duty before delivery of goods, the entry, once passed by Customs, became the authority for the manufacturer or owner to deliver excisable goods into home consumption. For clients on weekly settlement permissions, the entry supplied duty payment details of those goods which had been delivered for home consumption during the settlement period. Replaced in July 2003 by the excise return form.



Agents which cause changes from one substance to another. Present in all living things. During mashing they convert carbohydrates into sugars.


Essential oil

A volatile oil obtained from a natural vegetable product by steam distillation. Often mixed with high strength spirit and other substances to manufacture flavourings, essences, scents or toilet preparations. Many manufacturers use concessional spirit for this purpose.



Excise tariff item


Excise manufacturer

A person licensed to manufacture excisable goods (section 25 of the Excise Act).



The premises on which any person is licensed to manufacture excisable goods, and includes all adjoining premises used in connection therewith or with the business of the licensed manufacturer (section 4 of the Excise Act).



The raw material used in a process. For example, wheat, barley, rice, tubers, grapes and other fruits. Feedstock may also be ethyl alcohol used to manufacture an other excisable product (see also raw materials ).



A natural process whereby living yeasts convert sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The process in which yeast converts wort into beer.



Removal of solid particles from beer using a filter unit.



Substance which is added to beer or wine to aid its clarification, for example isinglass , gelatin, silica and bentonite.



Standard UK 9 gallon (41 litres) cask.



The act of adding spirit to wine to produce a fortified wine (for example port, sherry). Australian wine must not be fortified to more than 23% a/v (section 59 of the Distillation Act).


Gas chromatography

See chromatography . Gas chromatography may be used to separate ethanol from the other by-products produced in fermentation and to measure them quantitatively.


General distiller

A person who is the holder of a spirit maker's general licence issued under Part III of the Distillation Act. They are authorised to distil spirits from any feedstock or raw material, for example barley, malt, molasses or wine.


Grain spirit

Spirit made from grain, such as barley, maize or wheat.


Grape spirit

Spirit made from grape wine; the fermented juice of fresh grapes.



Crushed malt ready for mashing.



Goods and Services Tax



A perennial climbing plant. Its cones or flowers give beer a bitter flavour and aroma. There are many varieties of hops but they are divided into two main categories, bittering and aromatic. Bittering hops, the main bittering agent, are high in Alpha acids (typically around 10%). Aromatic hops are lower (around 5%).


Hop extract

Bittering substance produced from hops and concentrated into syrup.


Hop pellets

Natural hop powder which has been compressed.



An instrument for measuring the density or specific gravity of liquids. It generally comprises a long stemmed tube, weighted at the bottom, which floats at different levels in liquids of different densities. Hydrometers are used in conjunction with thermometers and the Practical Alcohol Tables to correct readings to the standard 20 ° C. A Thorpe's Still may also be required to extract the spirit from the sample being tested where the specific gravity of the sample is affected by obscuration.


Illicit spirits

Spirits distilled, moved, altered or interfered with in contravention of the Distillation Act (section 6).


Immature spirits

Brandy, whisky or rum which has not been matured in wood for a minimum period of two years.



Industrial methylated spirits



Semi-transparent colloidal substance obtained from the swim bladders of sturgeon. One of the raw material of finings.



Sealed container usually for chilled and filtered beers.



See copper .



The drying and curing of malt by heat treatment.



Any beer made by bottom fermentation. In Australia and UK they are generally a golden colour but in parts of Europe they can also be dark.



Litres of alcohol (the volume of alcohol in an alcoholic product).


Lauter tun

A filtration vessel used in modern mashing techniques.



The sediment deposited by wine during manufacture and maturation (includes grape skins and other residue).



In relation to alcohol, licence means a manufacturer licence or storage licence (section 4 of the Excise Act), distiller's licence (section 13 of the Distillation Act) or methylator's licence (section 20 of the Spirits Act).


Licensed manufacturer

A person or partnership who holds a manufacturer licence (section 4 of the Excise Act).


Light ale

UK term for the bottled counterpart of draught beer.


Light beer

Any beer with reduced alcohol content (Excise Tariff - not exceeding 3% by volume of alcohol).



The product obtained by mixing or by distillation of spirit with or over fruits, flowers, leaves or other vegetable substances or their juices either singly or in combination or with extracts derived by distillation, infusion, percolation or maceration of such vegetable substances and containing not less than 25 grams per litre of sugars and not less than 17% a/v (The Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act).


Low wines

Spirits of the first extraction (distillation run) received into the low wines receiver. Low wines are a process in the production of spirits in saleable form.


Low wines receiver

A tank into which low wines flow from the still.


Malt barley

Barley which has been steeped in water, allowed to germinate and then heated in a kiln to halt further germination.


Malt extract

Sugars extracted from malt and concentrated by evaporation.


Malt mill

Machine for crushing malt into grist.



Includes all processes in the manufacture of excisable goods and, in relation to beer, includes the provision to the public at particular premises of commercial facilities and equipment for use in the production of beer at those premises (section 4 of the Excise Act).


Manufacturer licence

A licence granted under Part IV of the Excise Act, the holding of which authorises the licence holder to manufacture excisable goods (section 4 of the Excise Act).



A mixture of milled grain or other fermented carbohydrate in water used in the production of ethanol. The term may be used at any stage from the initial mixing of the feedstock in water prior to any cooking and conversion into fermentable sugars through to the completion of fermentation when it is referred to as beer.


Mash tun

Vessel in which mashing takes place and in which wort is separated from the spent grains.



Mixing of grist and hot water at precise temperatures to form malt sugars which the yeast will eventually ferment.


Maturation (1)

The storage of spirit in wooden vessels to mature and develop certain characteristics of that particular type of spirit (brandy, whisky or rum). Sometimes referred to as ageing in the wood. Australian legislation requires a minimum of two years maturation for brandy, whisky and rum (sections 11 and 12 of the Spirits Act).


Maturation (2)

The storage of beer for a period during which its quality improves.


Methylated spirits

Denatured spirit. Spirit which has been rendered unsuitable for human consumption by the addition of an approved denaturant (section 14 of the Spirits Act).


Metric hydrometer

See alcoholometer .



National Association of Testing Authorities


Near infra red spectrometer

See spectrometer . Near infra red spectrometry covers the region of the electromagnetic spectrum between the visible and the short-wavelength microwave.



National Standards Association


Oast house

Kiln where hops are dried.



The difference between the true and apparent strength of spirituous liquor to which sweetening, flavouring and colouring agents have been added.


Other excisable beverage

Any beverage containing more than 1.15% a/v but does not include:

  1. beer
  2. brandy
  3. fruit brandy
  4. whisky
  5. rum
  6. liqueurs, or
  7. wine as defined in Subdivision 31-A of the A New Tax System (Wine Equalisation Tax) Act 1999 (the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act).


The written permission of the Tax Office (section 4 of the Excise Act)


Periodic settlement

(formerly weekly settlement)

The deferred payment of excise duty by approved persons/entities on a periodic basis (weekly). It allows the delivery of excisable goods into home consumption before payment of duty (section 61C of the Excise Act).



A type of beer. German brewers produce this style as inspired by the original brew from the town of Pilsen in Czechoslovakia. A classic Pilsener is characterised by the hoppiness of its flowery aroma and dry finish.



Adding yeast to the wort in the fermenting vessel.



A London-style beer so named because it was popular with porters from the great London markets. It became obsolete but has recently been revived. A lighter bodied companion to stout.



Drinkable (L. potare, to drink)


Proof spirit

Obsolete system of measuring strength of alcohol. Replaced by litres of alcohol.

Derived from the UK system. In Australia proof spirit was 100 units by volume of alcohol mixed with 75 units by volume of water.

The system in the USA uses a proof spirit standard of 50 units of alcohol in 50 units of water.

To convert UK/Australian proof spirit to Lals, multiply proof gallons by 2.5958 (note that this method is not sufficiently accurate for large quantities and produces an approximate result only).


An instrument with a calibrated capillary for measuring the relative density of a liquid.



  1. The operation in the manufacture of wine where the liquid is separated from the solids (lees - grape skins, seeds) by transferring the clear wine from one vat to another.
  2. Filling casks with beer.


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Raw materials

(see also feedstock)

In the production of ethyl alcohol, the basic ingredients are sugars and starches (which can be easily converted to fermentable sugars). For example:

  • sugars may come from grapes, sugar cane and fruits such as plums, peaches and apples
  • starches may come from grains such as wheat, barley, rye, maize, rice or tubers such as potatoes.


Under certain circumstances, duty which has been paid on excisable goods generally or on a class of excisable goods may be returned to the payer (section 78 of the Excise Act and regulation 50(1) of the Excise Regulations).



When excisable goods are destroyed, or dealt with in a prescribed set of circumstances, while under Tax Office control, the manufacturer or owner may be relieved of the liability to pay the duty on such goods, that is the duty is remitted (section 78 of the Excise Act and regulation 50(1) of the Excise Regulations).



See entry



Ready-to-drink beverage



A spirit obtained by distillation of a fermented liquor derived from the products of sugar cane, being distillation carried out in such a manner that the spirit possesses the taste, aroma and characteristics generally attributed to rum (the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act).


Secondary fermentation

Process by which beer continues to ferment and mature slowly in the bottle or cask (the finished product is known as naturally conditioned beer).


Section 50 direction

A written instruction issued under section 50 of the Excise Act by the Tax Office to a licensed manufacturer or a proprietor of an approved place. A standard direction is usually issued with each new licence requiring the licence holder to keep prescribed records, furnish prescribed returns, retain records for a prescribed period and produce records on demand by the Tax Office. A more detailed, prescriptive Section 50 Direction may be issued if a licensee's record keeping is later found to be inadequate.


Section 60 claim

A claim made on a person who has been entrusted with the possession, custody or control of excisable goods and who fails to keep them safely or cannot account for those goods to the satisfaction of the Tax Office (subsection 60(1) of the Excise Act).



A bond, guarantee or cash deposit given by a person to the Tax Office to ensure compliance with legislative requirements (section 17 of the Excise Act).


Single movement permission (SMP)

Permission under section 61A of the Excise Act for the once-only movement of under bond goods between specified places (compare continuing movement permission).



Removing yeast from the top of the beer as it ferments.



Specially methylated spirits



Status of forces agreement



Spraying hot water through a rotating arm over the mash in the mash tun to ensure complete extraction of malt sugars.


Specified place

A place nominated in a Section 61A permission for the dispatch or receipt of under bond goods.


Specific gravity

The ratio of the density of a material to the density of water at a specific temperature. For example at a temperature of 20 ° C and in vacuum, the specific gravity of ethanol in relation to water is 0.79067.



An instrument used for the measurement of observed spectra (each substance has its own characteristic emission spectrum).


Spent wash

The liquor which remains after the spirits have been extracted by distillation.



Potable spirits (brandy, fruit brandy, whisky, rum and liqueurs), that is goods described in item 2 (other than sub item 2H) of the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act Absolute alcohol and rectified spirit.



The exposure of barley to moisture for germination; the first stage of the malting process.


Standard temperature and pressure

Means a temperature of 20 ° centigrade and a pressure of one standard atmosphere (section 4 of the Excise Act)



Any apparatus for or capable of distilling spirits and any part of or any connection with such an apparatus.


Storage licence

A licence granted under Part IV of the Excise Act, the holding of which authorises the licence holder:

  1. to keep and store goods that are:
    1. excisable goods on which duty has not been paid, and
    2. of the kind specified in the licence at the premises specified in the licence, and
  2. carry out at the premises activities of a kind specified in the licence in relation to those goods.

(section 4 of the Excise Act)



A type of beer. An extra dark, almost black, top-fermenting brew made with highly roasted malts. Can be dry in the Irish style or sweet (sometimes called milk stout because it contains milk sugars or lactose which sweeten the brew without fermenting).



From the Latin spiritus vini rectificatus - rectified spirit of the vine, very high strength spirit. Usually of the order of 96% a/v produced through distillation. SVR is rectified grape spirit, but the term is commonly used as a synonym for any neutral spirit.


Top fermentation

Traditional method of fermenting wort to make beer. Yeast rises to the top of the beer during the process.



Therapeutic Goods Administration.



The amount by which a cask falls short of being full.


Under bond

An expression not found in excise legislation but widely used to describe goods that are subject to Tax Office control. Excisable goods remain under bond until any liability has been acquitted through the lodgement of an excise return and payment of excise duty or exported. With Tax Office permission, a person may move under bond goods from a specified place to another specified place without payment of excise duty (section 61A of the Excise Act). If the goods are sold while under bond, the excise liability transfers to the new owner.



Includes bottle, can or any other container.



A person who holds a licence issued under the Distillation Act to distil spirits from wine or lees of wine for the purpose of fortifying Australian wine only.



The liquor from mashed material after it has commenced to ferment and before it has been distilled.



Wine equalisation tax



A warehouse licensed under the Customs Act 1901 .



A spirit obtained by distillation of a fermented liquor of a mash of cereal grain in such a manner that the spirit possesses the taste, aroma and other characteristics generally attributed to whisky (the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act).



Wine means:

  • grape wine
  • grape wine products
  • fruit or vegetable wine
  • cider or perry
  • mead
  • sake.

However, wine does not include beverages that do not contain more than 1.15% by volume of ethyl alcohol.

See Division 31 of A New Tax System (Wine Equalisation Tax) Act 1999 .


Wine distiller

A person who holds a licence issued under the Distillation Act to distil spirits from wine or lees of wine.



(pronounced wert).

A brewery term used occasionally in distilleries. It refers to an unfermented mash, particularly if produced from a liquid feedstock or if the solids have been removed to yield a relatively clear, free-flowing liquid.



Any of various single-celled fungi used as a fermenting agent.


Commonwealth of Australia 2005

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ATO references:
NO NAT 14790-04.2006

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