Beer Style Descriptions

by Tim Dawson,


ADELAIDE SPARKLING ALE - A style of ale from Adelaide, Australia. This beer is heavily sedimented and cloudy, and the lively secondary fermentation in the bottle gives it an almost aggressively rough carbonation and fruitiness. It is sharp, sherbety, and exploding with flavors. Because of the dosage needed to start the secondary fermentation, these were sometimes known as "sugar" beers. Outside Australia, there is nothing quite like the robust sparkling ales of Adelaide. Gold to amber-red in color.
Commercial examples: Coopers Sparkling Ale, Kent Town Real Ale, Lion's Sparkling Bitter Ale.
O.G.: 1.044 - 1.050; Alcohol: 5 - 6%; IBUs: 25 - 26; SRM: 5 - 10.

ALTBIER - German ale associated with the city of Dusseldorf. "Alt" is the German word for old. The Alt style uses a top-fermenting ale yeast, but then is cold-aged. Some wheat may be used in variations. Lacks hop aroma, low hop flavor but has medium to high bitterness, especially in the finish. Restrained fruitiness, dry, clean, bittersweet flavor. Rounded maltiness that is nonetheless not overpowering. Light to medium body. Cleaner, smoother palate, less fruitness, less yeastiness and less acidity than a classic British ale. Very low diacetyl is OK. The color is bronze to copper-brown. Some ales called Amber are actually in the Alt style.
Commercial examples: DAB Dark, Widmer, Zum Uerige, Grolsch Autumn Amber, Broyhan Alt, Brunswiek Alt, Alaskan Amber, Sapporo Alt.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBUs: 28 - 40; SRM: 10 - 19.


American Diet/Lite - Watered-down flavor with all the alcohol. Enzymes are added to break down more sugar into alcohol. Low in body, light beer also has low or no malt taste and is very effervescent. Hop bitterness is below the threshold of taste and no flavor or aroma is detected. No fruitiness, esters or diacetyl. Very pale color.
Commercial examples: Miller Lite, Coors Light, Bud Light, Strohs Light
OG: 1.024 - 1.040; Alcohol: 2.5 - 4.5%; IBUs: 5 - 15; SRM: 1 - 4.

American Standard - The standard American, Canadian, Japanese, and Australian beer style. Brewed with 25 to 40% rice, corn and/or wheat. Dry, lightly hopped, light-bodied and highly carbonated. This style has low malt aroma and flavor. Hop bitterness is barely noticeable with very low flavor and aroma. No fruitiness, esters or diacetyl. Pale straw to pale gold.
Commercial examples: Budweiser, Coors, Strohs, Corona, Fosters.
O.G.: 1.035 - 1.046; Alcohol: 3.5 - 5%; IBUs: 5 - 17; SRM: 2 - 8.

American Premium - The profile for this style is very similar to that of the American standard style, except that there are usually fewer adjuncts or it is all-malt. The body is light, with low malt flavor and aroma. Bitterness is low to medium from American hops, but generally the hops are barely detectable. Low hop flavor and aroma is OK. No fruitiness, esters or diacetyl. Color is very pale to golden.
Commercial examples: Michelob, Henry Weinhards Private Reserve, Coors Herman Josephs.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5%; IBUs: 13 - 22; SRM: 2 - 8.

American Dry - Invented in Japan and copied in the U.S.. Special yeast strains are used to break down normally unfermentable sugars into fermentable form. There is very low body and malt, and almost no malt aroma. The most distinguishing marks to this style are its high effervescence, pale color and lack of aftertaste. Low to medium bitterness that does not linger. Low hop aroma and flavor. No fruitiness, esters or diacetyl.
Commercial examples: Michelob Dry, Asahi Dry.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4 - 5.5%; IBUs: 15 - 23; SRM: 2 - 4.

American Dark - Colored versions of American standard or premium with little or no dark malts used. Color can be artificially derived from the addition of caramel syrup. Deep copper to dark brown. Light to medium body. Low bitterness. Low malt aroma and/or flavor is OK. Low hop aroma and/or flavor is OK. Effervescent. No fruitiness or esters. Very low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Henry Weinhards Special Dark Reserve, Michelob Dark.
O.G.:1.040 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4 - 5.5%; IBUs: 14 - 20; SRM: 10 - 20.

American Malt Liquor - Roughly similar to other American lagers but higher in alcohol. The name "malt liquor" is a designation based on the fact that these brews quite often exceed the legal alcohol level defined for beers. Very pale in color, lightly hopped.
Commercial examples: Molson Brador, Colt 45, Carlsberg Elephant.
O.G.:1.048 - 1.064; Alcohol: 5 - 8%; IBUs: 5 - 14; SRM: 1 - 3.

BARLEY WINE - In England, the name given to any top-fermented beer of unusually high, wine-like alcohol content. The richest and strongest of British ales. Alcoholic, malty, heavy and full-bodied, usually balanced with a high rate of hop bitterness and low aroma, both of which may diminish during aging. The aroma includes esters, and there can be some low to medium diacetyl. May possess a residual flavor of unfermented sugar. Well aged examples may also show oxidative flavors. Barley Wines are usually darker (copper to medium brown) then Strong Ales and they are more commonly bottled. Traditionally, they were matured in the cask, which was rolled round the brewery yard once a week to rouse the yeast in its secondary fermentation. The commercial brewers do not use wine yeast. The effect of extremely high gravities on a top-fermenting yeast can make for a very estery, winy-tasting brew. Barley wines often have little head retention.
Commercial examples: Goldie, Gold Label, Fullers Golden Pride, Old Foghorn, Bass No. 1 Barley Wine, Big Foot, Thomas Hardy Ale, Youngs Old Nick.
O.G.: 1.090 - 1.120; Alcohol: 8.4 - 12%; IBUs: 50 - 100; SRM: 14 - 40.


Belgian Pale Ale - The pale ales of Belgium span a broad spectrum of characteristics. They share the general characteristics of the English pale ales, however, they are more aromatic and spicy in both malt and yeast character. These beers may be called "speciales belges", or just "belges", in the French-speaking regions of Belgium. They are light amber to copper in color. These ales may include candy sugar or other aromatics. They are light to medium in body, with low malt aroma, and low carbonation. Fruity, spicy and soft.
Commercial examples: De Koninck, Op-Ale, Vieux Temps, Horse Ale, Ginder Ale, Palm, Speciale Palm, Dobbel Palm, Aerts 1900, Speciale Aerts, Ster Ale.
O.G.: 1.047 - 1.070; Alcohol: 4.5 - 8.5%; IBUs: 25 - 35; SRM: 8 - 10.

Flemish Brown Ale - Blend of slight sourness, spicy, dry, richness of brown malts and fruitiness of ale. Sweet-and-sour character. Very complex, with flavors sometimes reminiscent of olives, rasins and spices. Complex combinations of malts; water high in sodium bicarbonate; long boiling times, creating a hint of caramelization; multistrain yeast pitching, sometimes with a lactic character; and the blending of "young" and "old" beers, make for a truly teasing style. There may be some low diacetyl. There is no hop aroma and low to medium bitterness. Deep copper to brown.
Commercial examples: Liefmans Goudenband, Liefmans Oud Bruin, Felix, Cnudde, Dobbelen Bruinen, Oudenaards, Bruynen, Gouden Carolus.
O.G.: 1.035 - 1.055; Alcohol: 5 - 6.5%; IBUs: 25 - 50; SRM: 10 - 30

Belgian Red Ale - A sharp and sour red beer of light to medium body, it contains up to twenty strains of yeast. The taste is tart with a wide range of fruitiness. The red color comes, in part, from the use of Vienna malt, but also is derived from aging in the brewerys uncoated oak tuns, which also creates the flavors of caramels, tannins and acidity. This is not a hoppy beer. Very refreshing.
Commercial examples: Rodenbach, Ouden Tripel, Petrus, Paulus, Bacchus, Pandoer, Ichtegems Bruin, La Duchesse de Bourgogne, Vlaamse Bourgogne.
O.G.: 1.052 - 1.056; Alcohol: 5.5 - 6%; IBUs: 10 - 25; SRM: 10 - 18

Saison - Brewed in France and Belgium during the spring for the summer. It is often only 50% attenuated (fermented). Hard water may have helped provide the body, mouth-feel and extraction of flavors from the grains. Sometimes a small portion of spelt (a variety of wheat) , or raw oats or raw rice was used. Fruity with a pungent sourness and hop aroma, they are often dry-hopped. Low malt aroma. Distinctively bitter but not assertive. Bottled-conditioned with additional yeast added to the bottle. The profile includes a dense head on a fairly well-carbonated beer with a palate of some tart, citric notes. Light to medium body. Slight acidity and low diacetyl are OK.
Commercial examples: Saison Dupont, Saison Silly, Saison Enghien, Saison Regal, Saison de Pipaix, Saison 1900.
O.G.: 1.048 - 1.080; Alcohol: 5.5 - 7.5%; IBUs: 20 - 40; SRM: 3.5 - 10.

Belgian Strong Golden Ales - References to the devil are often a trademark of these beers. These beers are pale to golden in color. The light color and deceiving body are the result of very pale malt. Full of fruity, hoppy, alcoholic complexity. Top-fermented and cold-conditioned.
Commercial examples: Duvel, Lucifer, Teutenbier, Deugniet, Sloeber, Judas
O.G.: 1.060 - 1.070; Alcohol: 6.5 - 8%; IBUs: 30; SRM: 3 - 5.5.

Belgian Strong Dark Ales - There are many variations of this Belgian style which is characterized by full body and a deep burgundy to brown color. Rich, creamy, and sweet, these ales are malty with low hops. Colored with candy sugar and not so much dark malt.
Commercial examples: Pawel Kwak, Bush, Gouden Carolus.
O.G.: 1.070 - 1.096; Alcohol: 8 - 11%; IBUs: 25 - 35; SRM: 25 - 35.

BIERE DE GARDE - The name means "beer to keep," implying that it was laid down as a provision to be drawn upon during the summer. The style belongs to northern France. Typically made with several malts, this is a strong, top-fermenting, laying-down beer, quite commonly corked not capped. Biere de Garde is full gold to a dark reddish-brown. They have a malt accent and an ale-like fruitiness, often with spicy notes, and are medium to strong in alcohol. It has a malty and fruity aroma. Lager yeast fermenting at higher temperatures is being employed in some examples today.
Commercial examples: 3 Monts, Jenlain, Biere des Sans Culottes, Saint Leonard, Lutece, Pot Flamand, Pastor Ale, Cuvee des Jonquilles, Saison Saint Medard, Cuvee de Noel, Chti Blonde, Chti Brune, Chti Ambree, La Choulette, Brassin Robespierre, Septante 5 ("75"), Vieille Garde (Old Garde), La Bavaisienne, Reserve du Brasseur.
OG:1.060 - 1.076; Alcohol:5.5 - 7.5%; IBUs: 25; SRM: 25 - 40.

BITTER - Usually a draft, it is traditionally cask-conditioned. There are some esters, and it is possible to detect a trace of diacetyl. The styles vary along geographic lines, with the northern type being maltier, stronger, a nd less carbonated, while the southern type is more aggressively hopped and carbonated. Pale ale malts are the principal grist; if crystal is used at all, it is employed with great restraint. The essential ingredient is the hearty smack of hops. Fuggles and Goldings are the classics for the style. Generally available in three strengths.
Commercial examples: Ind Coope Burton Ale, Timothy Taylors Landlord, Shepherd Neames Masterbrew Bitter.

Ordinary Bitter - Medium gold to medium copper-brown. Grain and malt tend to predominate over hop flavor and bitterness (altough there are exceptions) with enough hop aroma to balance and add interest. Light to medium body.
Commercial examples: Brakspear Ordinary Bitter, Youngs Bitter, Fullers Chiswick, Ballard Bitter.
O.G.: 1.035 - 1.038; Alcohol: 3 - 3.5%; IBUs: 20 - 25; SRM: 8 - 12.

Special Bitter - Similar to an ordinary bitter, but stronger and more robust with a more evident malt flavor and hop character.
Commercial examples: Sheffield Best Bitter, Theakstons Best, Fullers London Pride, Tom Sheimos Favourite.
O.G.: 1.038 - 1.042; Alcohol: 3.5 - 4.5%; IBUs: 25 - 30; SRM: 12 - 14.

Extra Special Bitter - A full-bodied, robust copper colored beer with a maltier, more complex flavor than either the ordinary or special bitter.
Commercial examples: Youngs Special, Adnams Extra, Red Hook ESB, Fullers ESB, Mitchells ESB, Theakstons XB, Redhook ESB.
O.G.:1.042 - 1.055; Alcohol:4.5 - 5.5%; IBUs: 30 - 35; SRM: 12 - 14.


Bock - A very strong lager from Einbeck, Germany. Strong in alcohol with very malty-sweet character. It is the water and the malt that give this style some special characteristics. The bock beer is full bodied with a prevalent malty sweetness that can include some chocolate undertones. It is traditionally dark amber to dark brown and uses just enough "noble-type" hop flavor to balance the malt. Bitterness is low. There is no fruitiness or esters but there may be low to medium diacetyl. No hop aroma. By German law, bocks must be of at least 1.064 gravity.
Commercial examples: Aass Bock, Frankenmuth Bock.
O.G.: 1.064 - 1.074; Alcohol: 6 - 7.5%; IBUs: 20 - 30; SRM: 20 - 35.

Helles Bock or Maibock - These bocks possess the same characteristics of traditional bock except for the chocolate undertaste and they are lighter in color, gold to light amber. Medium to full bodied, it has predominantly malty taste. Hops just balance the bitterness with no aroma.
Commercial examples: Ayinger Mai Bock, Pschorr Marzenbock, Sierra Nevada Pale Bock, Wurzburger Maibock, Hacker-Pschorr Maibock, Einbecker Mai Ur-Bock, Hofbrauhaus Maibock.
O.G.: 1.064 - 1.068; Alcohol: 6%; IBUs: 20 - 35; SRM: 4.5 - 6.

American Bock - Less assertive than European Bocks, this American style originated in Wisconsin and spread throughout the U.S. market. They are almost identical to American dark beers, with just a bit darker color.
Commercial examples: Augsburger Bock, Shiner Bock, Rolling Rock Bock.
O.G.:1.045 - 1.052; Alcohol:4.5 - 5.5%; IBUs: 18 - 25; SRM: 4.5 - 12.

Dopplebock - Stronger version of bock which must have a gravity of at least 1.072. By tradition, dopplebock names end in "ator". Very full bodied. Can be pale or dark, very sweet or balanced with bitterness. Malty sweetness evident in aroma and flavor can be intense. High alcohol flavor. Some esters and diacetyl can be detectable, but are not very desirable. Low hop flavor from "noble-types" is OK. No hop aroma.
Commercial examples: Paulaners Salvator, Ayinger Celebrator, Spaten Optimator, Tucher Bajuvator, Augustiner Maximator, EKU Kulminator, Samichlaus, LF6wenbrE4u Triumphator, Hacker Pschorr Animator.
O.G.:1.072 - 1.120; Alcohol:7.5 - 14%; IBUs:17 - 40; SRM:12 - 35.

Eisbock - The strongest type of bock. Very alcoholic. A doppelbock is chilled till ice is formed. The ice is removed, leaving behind a beer with a higher concentrated amount of alcohol. The beer is very full bodied with increased sweetness and warmth. Color is amber to dark brown. The detectable bitterness is low.
Commercial examples: Kulmbacher Reichelbrau Eisbock Bayrisch Gfrorns, EKU "28".
O.G.:1.092 - 1.116; Alcohol: 10 - 14%; IBUs: 26 - 33; SRM: 10 - 40.


Mild Ale - Originating in coal mining areas of England and Wales, this was a low-alcohol beer designed for generous consumption by manual laborers. The style is sweeter and paler than porter, and the body is as malty as is possible in a low gravity beer. The color is deep copper to dark brown, and is derived from a mixture of malts. There is very little hop flavor, aroma and low hop bitterness. Light to medium bodied. Low esters.
Commercial example: McMullens AK, Fullers Hock, Highgate Mild, Banks Mild.
O.G.: 1.031 - 1.037; Alcohol: 2.5 - 3.6%; IBUs: 12 - 37; SRM: 17 - 34.

English Brown Ale - A British ale that is sweeter, fuller bodied and stronger then mild ales. Some have nutty characters. Low bitterness. Low diacetyl is OK. The style splits along geographic lines.

Southern Brown Ale - Southern brown ales are darker (dark brown and almost opaque), sweeter from the use of caramel malts and are made from lower gravities. They have a medium body. Some fruitiness and esters are present. They have low hop flavor and aroma.
Commercial example: Manns Brown Ale.

Northern Brown Ale - Northern varieties, though still medium-bodied, are less sweet, dryer, have a "nuttier" malt flavor with a pale copper color. Some esters and fruitiness are present, and the hops are similar or higher then the southern. Usually have a higher alcohol level. Brewed from soft water.
Commercial examples: High Level, Newcastle Brown Ale, Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale, Double Maxim.
OG.:1.040 - 1.050; Alcohol:4.5 - 6.5%; IBUs:15 - 30; SRM:12 - 30.

American Brown Ale - An adaptation by American homebrewers desiring higher alcohol and hop bittering levels to go along with the malty richness characteristic of all brown ales. A drier and more bitter style of English brown ale. Some maltiness is present in a medium body. Hops are American varieties and are assertive in bitterness, flavor and aroma. Dark amber to dark brown. Low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Cooper Smiths Dunraven Ale, Harts Pacific Crest Ale, Petes Wicked Ale, Brooklyn Brown.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4.5 - 6.5%; IBUs: 25 - 60; SRM: 15 - 22.

CALIFORNIA COMMON BEER (STEAM BEER) - A California creation. Beer brewed with lager yeast at ale temperatures. This beer has been likened to an India Pale Ale in taste with a medium body and a hint of toasted or caramel-like maltiness in aroma and flavor. The color is light amber to copper. Hops are medium to high in bitterness and flavor, and medium in aroma. Fruitiness and esters are low. Low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Anchor Steam, New England Atlantic Amber, Dampfbier.
O.G.: 1.044 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4 - 5%; IBUs: 35 - 45; SRM: 8 - 17.

CIDER - Cider comes from apple juice in a variety of styles and is usually fermented by wine yeast. There are four types of ciders.

Still Cider - Still cider has a light body and apple flavor. Under 7% alcohol, it can be dry to sweet and is a clear, pale yellow color.

Sparkling Cider - Sparkling cider has many of the same traits as the still varity with the addition of effervescence. There should be no head or foam. It may be dry to sweet and light to medium in body. The color is clear pale yellow.

New England-Style Cider - This cider has a strong apple aroma and a higher level of alcohol, at 8 to 14%. They can be still or sparkling. Medium to full bodied with some tannins, but no "hot" alcohol taste. The color is pale to medium yellow. Adjuncts may include sugars, molasses, and/or raisins.

Specialty Cider - At least 75% apple juice, with the remainder made from a variety of adjuncts. The alcohol content must be below 14%, but any type of yeast can be used in the production.

CREAM ALE - An American beer that may employ the use of both ale and lager yeast. The beer is fermented as an ale followed by a period of cold conditioning. Hoppier, stronger and fruitier than standard American light lagers. Often brewed with corn or rice. The profile includes light to medium body with high effervescence. The color is pale. Some low esters may be detectable Hop bitterness is low to medium, with low hop aroma and flavor.
Commercial examples:Genesee Cream Ale, Little Kings Cream Ale, Molson Golden Ale, Weinhards Light American Ale.
O.G.: 1.044 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4.5 - 7%; IBUs: 10 - 22; SRM: 2 - 4.


Munich Dunkel - A product of the German brewing tradition. Distinctly toasted (not burnt) chocolate-like malt sweetness in aroma and flavor. Medium hop bitterness. Hop flavor and aroma from "noble-types" is OK. No fruitiness or esters. Low diacetyl is OK. Low to moderate alcohol and medium body. Color ranges from dark amber to dark brown. At its most sophisticated, this style combines the dryish, coffee and licorice notes of dark malts with the roundness and cleanness imparted by a lager yeast. The best examples have a spicy maltiness that is neither sweet nor roastily dry, with the clean roundness that derives from the use of a lager yeast, working at low temperatures.
Commercial examples: Paulaner, Koenig Ludwig Dunkel, Franz Joseph Jubelbier, Frankenmuth Bavarian Dark, Ayinger Alt-Bairisch Dunkel, Sparten Dunkel Export.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.058; Alcohol: 4.5 - 6%; IBUs: 18 - 30; SRM: 10 - 23

Continental Dark - A general term for dark lagers from Europe which don't fit the Munich Dark profile. Generally a bit drier in flavor and lighter in body than the Munich style. Commercial examples: Becks Dark, Grolsch Dark.

DORTMUNDER / EXPORT - Strong pale lager from Dortmunder, Germany brewed a bit stronger than other light lagers in order to travel well for export. Characterized by more bitterness and less maltiness then helles, but less bitterness, sweeter, stronger and more malt body than German pilseners. Neither malt or hops are distinctive, but both are in good balance with a touch of sweetness, providing a smooth yet crisply refreshing beer. The hop aroma and flavor that is present is from "noble-types". The water in Dortmunder is quite hard containing both calcium carbonate and sulfate, and this, combined with a special malting process which results in increased enzyme power, contributes to the final unique taste. The mash for Dortmunder typically leaves sufficient unfermentables in the brew to provide that firmness of body. Alcoholic warmth can be evident. Straw to medium gold, Light to medium body. There are no traces of diacetyl or esters.
Commercial examples: DAB Export, Thiers Export, Dortmunder Union Export, Kronen Export, Newmans Brand Saratoga Lager, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Yebisu, Ritter Export.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.060; Alcohol: 5 - 6%; IBUs: 18 - 35; SRM: 4 - 6.

FRUIT BEER - Lagers and ales with fruit or fruit juice in them for flavor, color and/or aroma. Cherries and raspberries are the most popular additives. The particular fruit qualities of the beer should be distinct in flavor and aroma, yet harmonious with the total flavor profile.
Commercial examples: Boston Beer Works Blueberry Ale, Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic.
O.G.: 1.030 - 1.110; Alcohol: 2.5 - 12%; IBUs: 5 - 70; SRM: 5 - 50.

HELLES - Mildly hopped, malty beer from Munich, Germany. The medium malt sweetness, often described as almost a caramel, is the mark of this beer. Part of the malty flavor comes from the unique Munich style of malting which involves "curing" the malt at temperatures of 212B0 to 225B0F. The body is a bit heavier (medium) than a Bohemian pils due to being less attenuated then a pils. Pleasingly low bitterness that does not linger at all. Hop aroma and flavor, if present, are from "noble-types". No fruitiness or esters. Low diacetyl is OK. Color is pale to golden.
Commercial Examples: Altenmunster, Ayinger Jahrhundert.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBUs: 18 - 30; SRM: 2 - 5

HERB BEER - Lagers and ales with unusual herbs in them for aroma, flavor and/or color. Commonly used spices include marjoram, cinnamon, garlic, peppers, spruce, juniper, cloves, anise, nutmeg, coriander, caraway, ginger, etc..
Commercial Examples: Harpoon Winterfest, New England Brewing Co. Holiday Ale, Eds Chili Beer, Anchor Our Special Ale.
O.G.: 1.030 - 1.110; Alcohol: 2.5 - 12%; IBUs: 5 - 70; SRM: 5 - 50.

IRISH ALE - Malt-accented ales, often with a buttery note, rounded, and with a soft but notable fruitiness and reddish tinge. This style was undoubtedly influenced by the success of some malty, but tawnier, Scottish brews. Pale ale is the main ingrediant, with crystal malt and roasted barley also being used. In todays Irish ales, corn has found its way in. In the United States, larger yeast is used in most commercial examples. During the 1960s, the last independent ale brewery in Ireland closed. Today all ale breweries are owned by Guinness.
Commercial Examples:Phoenix Beer, George Killians Irish Red, Macardle Ale, Michael Sheas Irish Amber, McNallys Extra, Smithwicks Ale, Kilkenny Irish Beer, Kilkenny Strong.
O.G.: 1.036 - 1.064; Alcohol: 4 - 7%; IBUs: 20 - 30; SRM: 7 - 14.

KOELSCH - Can only be brewed in the area of Koeln (Cologne), Germany. Kolsch is a blond Alt-style beer with a light to medium body. Light, fruity, acidic, dry wine like brew. Low hop flavor and aroma and medium bitterness. Has a soft palate and a delicate dryness in the finish. As pale as a Pilsner, but with the fruitiness of an ale. Kolsch is noted for its delicacy rather than for any more robust distinctiveness. Kolsch has a conventional gravity and strength, is very pale, with a fine bead, and is clean-tasting (all-malt), remarkably light-bodied (very well attenuated), soft and drinkable, only faintly fruity (often in the aroma and the beginning of the palate), with a slight acidity and a restrained but definite hoppy dryness, often slightly herbal-tasting in the finish. Can be an ale or a lager. Sometimes up to 15% wheat is used to give added complexity to the fruitiness, to provide paleness of color, and to enhance head-retention and lacework. Bottle conditioned examples may be called "wiess".
Commercial Examples: Kueppers, Froeh, Sion, Gaffel Koelsch, Muhlen, Gilden, Dom Koelsch, Garde, Gereons, Kurfursten, Reissdorf, Sester, Zunft.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.045; Alcohol: 4 - 5%; IBUs: 16 - 30; SRM: 3.5 - 10.


Lambic - A sour wheat beer made from the wild yeasts of the Senne Valley in Belgium, a region south and west of Brussels. 30 to 40% unmalted wheat is used. Aged hops are also used but they create no hop bitterness, flavor or aroma. Pungently sour, almost still, earthy aromas, fruity complexity including rhubarb-like flavors, very low in bitterness, , peculiarly aromatic and aged for years. Medium bodied. "Young" lambic or vos (less then 1 year old) has a hazy, rusty color. It can be quite sharp and lactic. "Old" lambic (2 or 3 years old) becomes clearer, pinkish and more complex Unblended lambic is hard to find.
Commercial examples: Boon Lambic, Cantillon Lambic, Girardins Unblended Lambic.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.054; Alcohol: 4 - 6%; IBUs: 3 - 22; SRM: 4 - 15.

Gueuze - Combination of young lambic with old lambic to create a bottle-conditioned beer without sugar or yeast being added. Noticeably sharp, very effervescent, toasty aroma, tart, and delicate acidity. Should age in the bottle from several months to several years. Diacetyl very low.
Commercial examples: Cantillon Gueuze, Geuze Boon, Boon Mariage Parfait, Girardins Classic Gueuze, De Troch Gueuze, Timmermans Gueuze, Timmermans Caveau, Lindemans Gueuze, Mort Subite.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.056; Alcohol: 5 - 6%; IBUs: 3 - 23; SRM: 4 - 13. Faro - Lambic to which sugar and sometimes caramel or molasses are added. So much alcohol is formed that it inhibits further fermentation and leaves behind residual sugars. A Faro will have a sweet, fruity and complex flavor. When bottled, they are pasteurized so that the sugar will not ferment.
Commercial examples: Faro Pertotale, Cantillon Faro, Lindemans Faro Lambic, Vander Linden Faro, Vander Linden "Double" Faro.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.054; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBUs: 3 - 22; SRM: 4 - 13

Mars - A version of Faro that has been diluted with water to make everyday, easy-drinking beers. Commercially, it vanished some years ago.
Close Commercial example: Lembeeks 2%.

Kriek - Cherries are combined with young lambic.
Commercial examples: Lindemans Kriek, Cantillon Kriek Lambic, Girardins Kriek, Mort Subite Kriek.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.054; Alcohol: 6%; IBUs: 3 - 22; SRM: 4 - 15.

Framboisel - Raspberries are combined with young lambic.
Commercial examples: Timmermans Framboise, Cantillon Framboise, Framboise Boon.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.054; Alcohol: 6%; IBUs: 3 - 22; SRM: 4 - 15.

Peche - Peaches are combined with young lambic.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.054; Alcohol: 6%; IBUs: 3 - 22; SRM: 4 - 15.

Cassis - Black currant is combined with young lambic.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.054; Alcohol: 6%; IBUs: 3 - 22; SRM: 4 - 15.

MAERZEN / OKTOBERFEST - A lager produced in Munich, Germany with an assertively malty sweetness, toasted malt aroma and flavor. Origin credited to the famous brewer Gabriel Sedelmayer. The style is an adaptation of Vienna that was found to better suit the Munich water. The body is medium. Sharp but not lingering hop bitterness which is low to medium. Low hop flavor and aroma from "noble-type" hops is OK. No fruitiness, esters or diacetyl. Quite strong in alcohol. The color is amber to deep copper or light brown.
Commercial examples: Paulaner Oktoberfest, Gosser, Spaten Ur-Marzen Oktoberfest, Ayinger Fest Marzen, Harpoon Oktoberfest, Samuel Adams Octoberfest.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.065; Alcohol: 4.5 - 6.5%; IBUs: 20 - 30; SRM: 7 - 14.

MEAD - Meads are produced from honey, yeast, water, and in subcategories, by the addition of herbs and fruits. Wine, Champagne, sherry, mead, ale or lager yeast may be used. Traditional Mead - Very pale to deep yellow. Lighter color honey is used in dry types while darker honey is used for sweet styles. The final gravity determines how the mead is classified: dry at 0.996-1.009, medium at 1.010-1.019, and sweet from 1.020-1.050. It can be either sparkling or still. Still is dry, medium, or sweet to very sweet with a light to full body. Honey is the predominate flavor and aroma. There may be some low to fruity acidity, but there are no harsh flavors. Sparkling mead can be of dry to medium sweetness. There is honey character in the flavor and aroma. Body is light to medium.

Flavored Mead - May be still or effervescent. Still types may be light to full bodied, while the sparkling examples are light to medium bodied. The color and aroma should reflect the ingredients used.


English Pale Ale - A special variety of British ale that tends to be more hoppy and higher in alcohol then Bitter is. The colors range from light to pale amber with many as deep as copper. Pale ales are bottled, light to medium-bodied, have high hop bitterness with good support from the malt and well-attenuated. They have medium hop flavor and aroma. They are fruity and estery and there can be some low diacetyl. Dry hopping is common creating a fine hop aroma with malt for balance. The pale ale malts used impart a light nuttiness to the flavor. Brewed with water that is extraordinarily hard.
Commercial examples: Worthington White Shield, Bass Ale, Marstons Pedigree, Samuel Smiths Old Brewery Pale Ale, Royal Oak, Whitbread Pale Ale.
O.G.: 1.043 - 1.056; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBUs: 20 - 40; SRM: 6 - 12.

American Pale Ale - In comparison to its English counterpart, it is slightly less malty, in the range of low to medium. It is fruity and estery with some crystal malt providing a bit of residual sweetness. A distinction of the American version is the high hopping of American varieties. Dry hopping is appropriate. Stock ale is generally in the pale ale style, and is slightly stronger version meant for longer storage. Pale to deep amber/red/copper. Low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Gearys Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Hopland Red Tail Ale, Red Hook Ale, Long Trail Ale.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.056; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBUs: 20 - 40; SRM: 4 - 11.

India Pale Ale - A special style of pale ale that has high hop bitterness, medium to high hop flavor and aroma and a higher alcohol content. Originally brewed in England for the long trip to India. High hops were added for preservation. An IPA should have a medium body, medium maltiness with evident alcohol. It can have fruity or estery notes, yet the diacetyl should be low. Often paler than that of classic British Pale Ale, medium gold to light orange-copper.
Commercial examples:Anchor Liberty Ale, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Youngs Special London Ale, Ballantines Old India Pale Ale.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.070; Alcohol: 5.5 - 7%; IBUs: 30 - 60; SRM: 6 - 18.


Bohemian Pilsner - This beer originally debuted in Plzen, Czechoslovakia in 1842, and quickly gained popularity in other brewing countries. Light to medium bodied, the beer benefits from extremely soft water. Creamy dense head and well-carbonated. Low accent of rich, sweet malt in aroma and flavor. Bitterness, flavor and aroma from the Saaz hop is very noticeable. Clean, crisp, hop-spicy bitter with malty overtones. Esters are not appropriate in pilsners, but, in some of the clasic renditions, such as Pilsner Urquell, low diacetyl adds a complexity. Light gold to deep copper-gold.
Commercial examples: Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser Budvar, Gambrinus, Staropramen, Branik, VelkE9 Popovice, Kru'ovice, Cristal.
OG: 1.044 - 1.056; Alcohol: 4 - 5.5%; IBUs: 25 - 45; SRM: 2 - 5.

German Pilsner - More bitter, drier, less malty, simpler, cleaner and from a lower extract then Czech Pilsner. The distinctive characteristic is the flowery, medium hop bouquet and flavor from "noble" hops and its dry finish from a more thorough fermentation. Light gold to medium gold. Crisp flavor with prominent high hop bitterness. Low maltiness in aroma and flavor. No fruitness or esters. Very low diacetyl is OK. Light to medium in body.
Commercial examples: Warsteiner, Becks, Aass Pilsner, Pinkus Ur-Pils, Bitburger, Radeberger-Pils, Wernesgruner, Jever, Koenig, Veltins, Holstens Diat Pils.
O.G.: 1.044 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4 - 5%; IBUs: 30 - 45; SRM: 2.5 - 4.5

Scandinavian / Dutch Pilsner - Similar to German pilsners but with somewhat lower original gravities, dryer flavor, and lighter palate. The hop character in flavor and aroma is considerably lower. Usually paler than German pilsners. Rice or corn may be used as adjuncts.
Commercial examples: Carlsberg, Grolsch, Heineken, Brand-Up, Christoffel, Plzen.


Robust Porter - A medium to full body in a balanced beer that has a noticeably coffee-like dryness, malty sweet flavor. Chocolate and black malts add a sharp bitterness, but do so without roasted or charcoal notes. Hop bitterness is medium to high. Hop flavor and aroma is none to medium. Fruitiness, esters and low diacetyl are OK. The color is deep with red hues, but not opaque.
Commercial examples: Anchor Porter, Sierra Nevada Porter, Black Hook Porter.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.058; Alcohol: 4.5 - 6%; IBUs: 25 - 40; SRM: 25 - 35

Brown Porter - A bit lighter than the robust, with light to medium body and generally lower in alcohol. The malt sweetness is low to medium and well-balanced with the hops. Color is deep with reddish tones. None to medium hop aroma and flavor. Fruitiness, esters and low diacetyl are OK. Some versions are made with lager yeast.
Commercial examples: Samuel Smiths Taddy Porter, Youngs London Port er, Yuengling Porter, Stegmeter Porter, Pickwicks Porter, Essex Porter, Burton Porter, Pimlico Porter, Catamount Porter, Whitbread Porter.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBUs: 20 - 30; SRM: 20 - 35.

RAUCHBIER - Smoked-flavored beer in the tradition of Bamberg, Germany. Oktoberfest style made with malts that have been dried over moist beechwood log flames to give this beer its assertive smoky aroma and flavor. The beer presents a full body and a generally sweet, malty taste beneath the smoke. The color is dark amber to dark brown. Hop bitterness and aroma is low to medium. Intensity of the smoke is medium to high. Low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Kaiserdom Rauchbier, Maisels Rauchbier, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier.
O.G.: 1.048 - 1.060; Alcohol: 5 - 6%; IBUs: 20 - 30; SRM: 10 - 20.

RYE BEER - Rye bread or flour is used as the basis of kvass and similar beer-like fermented drinks that were, and sometimes still are, traditional in many parts of eastern, central and Baltic Europe. It is not an easy grain with which to work, in that, like wheat, it has no husk. It also absorbs and retains water more than other brewing grains.
Commercial examples: Rileys Rye, Schierlinger Roggenbier, Goldroggen.

SAHTI - The traditional Estonian and Finnish brew sahti is often made with rye or oats. One or other of these grains, or a blend of both, may comprise half the mash, the remainder being malted barley. Juniper is the traditional seasoning, although hops are also used. In the past, a proportion of raw rye was used, although the grain was malted for the finest brews. Traditionally, the brew is filtered through straw, reeds and juniper twigs, in a distinctively shaped wooden trough, called a kuurna, and bakers yeast is typically employed. It has a rusty, reddish-brown color, with a considerable haze; a relatively low, but lasting, head and carbonation (like a British cask-conditioned ale); a slightly sticky, oily, but soft body (reminiscent of a fortified wine); and a winy, spicy, smokey, almondy palate.
Commercial examples: Lammin Sahti, SysmE4 Sahti, Honkajoki Sahti, Mafia Sahti.
O.G.: 1.080 - 1.100; Alcohol: 7.5 - 8.75%; IBUs: 20 - 30; SRM: 10 - 20.

SAKE (RICE WINE) - Sake comes in several different sub-categories. All are 12 - 20% alcohol and clear to very pale color. Traditional sake is semi-dry to dry with no carbonation. Sparkling sake is re-primed in the bottle.

SCHWARZBIER (BLACK BEER) - Judicious amounts of roasted malts so as to not impart a burnt flavor. Moderate bitterness from hops and roasted malt. Medium body with malty aroma and low sweetness in aroma and flavor. Should have a distinctive bitter-chocolate palate. Hop flavor and aroma from "noble-types" is OK. No fruitiness or esters. Low diacetyl is OK. Color is dark brown to black. This style is hard to find in the U.S.
Commercial examples: Koestritzer Schwarzbier, Kloster Schwarz-Bier, Kulmbacher Monchshof Schwarzes Pils, Black Bavarian, Mathers Black Beer, Asahi Black Beer, Kirin Black Beer, Sapporo Black Beer, Suntory Black Beer.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.052; Alcohol: 3.5 - 5%; IBUs: 20 - 35; SRM: 25 - 40

SCOTTISH ALE - Of Scottish origin. Strong, very dark, thick and creamy. Maltier flavor and aroma, darker colors, more full-bodied and smokier character then the English ales. Fermented at cooler temperatures than English ales and results in less fruity esters. In order to accentuate maltiness and body, the Scots spmetimes ferment their beers less fully than brewers elsewhere. Their distinctive color and dryness is derived from roasted or black malts, and their underlying sweetness is derived from crystal. The "shilling" designation is believed to be from the old method of taxing by basing the tax rate on the gravity of the beer. The style is very full-bodied and malt is very evident in the flavor and aroma. They come in 4 versions.
Commercial examples: Belhaven, Maclay Scotch Ale.

Light 60/- - Gold to amber. Low carbonation. Low bitterness. May or may not have hop flavor or aroma. Medium maltiness. Medium-bodied. Low to medium diacetyl is OK. Fruitiness and esters are OK. Faint smoky character is OK.
O.G.: 1.030 - 1.035; Alcohol: 3 - 4%; IBUs: 9 - 15; SRM: 10 - 17.

Heavy 70/- - Gold to dark brown. Low carbonation. Low bitterness. May or may not have hop flavor or aroma. Medium to high maltiness. Medium to full bodied. Low to medium diacetyl is OK. Fruitiness and esters are OK. Faint smoky character is OK.
Commercial example: Orkney Raven.
O.G.: 1.035 - 1.040; Alcohol: 3.5 - 4%; IBUs: 10 - 17; SRM: 10 - 19

Export 80/- - Gold to dark brown. Low carbonation. Low to medium bitterness. May or may not have hop flavor or aroma. High maltinerss. Full bodied, drier, more bitter. Low to medium diacetyl is OK. Fruitiness and esters are OK. Faint smoky character is OK.
Commercial examples: Arrols 80/-, Edinburgh 80/- Export Ale, McEwans Export, McEwans 80/-, Youngers No. 3, Orkney Dark Island
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4 - 5.5%; IBUs:10 - 20; SRM: 10 - 19

Scottish Strong Ale 90/- - The fermentation is roused so the yeast will stay in suspension and attenuate the beer. This is a full bodied beer with color that is deep copper to brown. There can be medium diacetyl present. These beers are much less hopped than English versions, and therefore are maltier with some kettle caramelization. Slight roasted malt qualities may be provide by the limited use of dark roasted malt or roasted barley.
Commercial examples: MacAndrews Scotch Ale, Belhavens 90/-, Fowlers Wee Heavy, McEwans Scotch Ale, Gordon Highland Scotch Ale, Traquir House Ale, Vermont Pub & Brewery Wee Heavy, Edinburgh Strong Ale, Orkney Skullsplitter.
O.G.: 1.072 - 1.085; Alcohol: 6 - 8%; IBUs:14 - 35; SRM: 11 - 25.

SPECIALTY BEERS - These are beers that do not fit the other descriptions. The purposeful inclusion of additives (other than fruit) combine to impart unique characteristics. Maple syrup, sorghum, honey, chocolate, pumpkin and smoke flavor can be added to create a specialty beer. The major style characteristics must still be readily recognized.
Commercial examples: Buffalo Bills Pumpkin Ale, Vermont Pub and Brewery Smoked Porter, Otter Creek Brewery Smoked Porter.

STEINBIER (STONE BEER) - This is actually more of a method of brewing then a style but it does add a special flavor to any beer made in this method. Porous stones (graywacke, a type of sandstone) are superheated and lowered into the beer wort, causing that to boil. They are then removed, and when the resulting beer has begun to ferment and the stones are cool, they are again lowered into the beer. The yeast ferments the strong sugars crystalized on the stones. The result is a delicious, rare and somewhat smokey beer. It has a smokey, treacle-toffee palate, less dry than smooth, and a long, roundish finish. This beertype has recently been revived in Germany.
Commercial examples: Rauchenfels Steinbier, Rauchenfels Steinweizen.
O.G.: 1.048; Alcohol: 4.7%; IBUs: 27; SRM: 9.


Dry Stout - An Irish version of Porter. A rich, dry, extra-dark, black opaque ale. Low to medium bodied, the distinguishing feature is the use of roasted barley to produce a slightly roasted (coffee-like) trait, which is required. It starts with a taste of malt and caramel and ends with a dry-roasted, bitter taste. Hop bitterness is medium to high. There may be low to medium diacetyl. There is just enough English variety hop flavor present to offset the malt. Thus, there is no noticeable hop flavor or aroma. Sweet maltiness and caramel malt should be evident. A small % of soured beer is sometimes added to balance the dry roast flavors. Starting gravities are lower in Ireland, higher elsewhere.
Commercial examples: Guinness, Sierra Nevada, Murphys Irish Stout, Beamish Stout, Old No 38, Black Hawk Stout, Shef Stout, Rainbow Trout Stout.
O.G.: 1.036 - 1.055; Alcohol: 3 - 6%; IBUs: 25 - 40; SRM: 35 +.

Foreign Stout - This is a stronger version of dry with the additional malt offset by hopping up to 60 IBU for balance. Usually brewed for tropical markets. Some could be described as strong dry stouts, but others are too sweet for that designation. Around 1.060, it becomes difficult to produce a true dry stout, as the malty fullness and the fruity esters take charge.
Commercial example: Guinness Extra Stout, Dragon Stout, ABC Stout, Lion Stout.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.070; Alcohol: 5.5 - 7%; IBUs: 25 - 60; SRM: 35 +.

Imperial Stout (Russian) - Originally brewed for exportation to Russia. A robust and stronger version of dry stout, highly hopped for bitterness, aroma and flavor. High gravity and hops are used to prepare these stouts for export, much as was done with India Pale Ales. Often has an intense "burnt currant" character. Full bodied, it is dark copper to black. The high gravity leads to a notable esters and fruitiness. Alcoholic strength should be evident. Rich maltiness. Low diacetyl is OK. The roastiness melds with smoky, tar-like, burnt, fruity, estery notes and alcohol flavors. There is a suggestion of cocoa, or strong coffee. The fruitiness is reminiscent of the burnt currants on the edge of a cake that has just been removed from the oven, or the Christmas pudding in Britain, heavy with dried and candied fruits. The alcohol suggests that the cocoa or coffee, pudding or cake, has been laced with spirit.
Commercial example:Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout, Grants Imperial Stout, Courages Imperial Russian Stout.
O.G.: 1.075 - 1.095+; Alcohol: 7 - 9+%; IBUs: 50 - 90+; SRM: 20 - 35 +.

Sweet Stout - The British version of Stout. Differentiated by lower gravity than dry and possessing a unique chocolate-caramel malt flavor. The overall character is sweet. Lacks most of the hop bitterness and roasted barley character. The flavor is derived from the use of chocolate malt and milk sugar (lactose). No hop flavor or aroma. Medium to full body. There may be low diacetyl detected. The color is black opaque. Often called "Farm Stout", "Milk Stout" and "Cream Stout".
Commercial example: Mackeson Stout, Sweetheart Stout, Watneys Cream Stout, Samuel Adams Cream Stout.
O.G.: 1.038 - 1.056; Alcohol: 4 - 6%; IBUs: 15 - 25; SRM: 35 +.

Oatmeal Stout - This beer is a variation of the sweet stout but has oatmeal added to increase the fullness of body and flavor. The result of this mixture is often described as firm, smooth, silky body, and a hint of nuttiness in their complex of coffee, chocolate and roast flavors. Because oats gelatinize, they can make mashing difficult.
Commercial example: Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout, Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, Youngs Oatmeal Stout, Lacto Milk Stout.
O.G.: 1.038 - 1.056; Alcohol: 4 - 6%; IBUs: 15 - 25; SRM: 35 +.

STRONG ALE / OLD ALE - High-alcohol version of pale ale though generally not as strong or rich as a barleywine. Often regarded as winter warmers. Old ales have a fruity character although the finish may be dry. A bit syrupy when young, but improve with up to five years of aging. Long term aging in the bottle or tun may give old ales oxidative flavors like a fine old port or Madeira wine. Very full-bodied, with a nutty malt sweetness, and are very estery. Usually not very thoroughly fermented, so to leave some of the sweetness, flavor and body of the malt sugars in the beer. Color is usually light amber to very dark red. Hopping is assertive, but hop aroma is low from the aging process. Well-attenuated. Alcoholic strength should be recognizable. Low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Theakstons Old Peculiar, Old Buzzard, Wobbly Bob, Thomas Hardys Ale, Youngs Winter Warmer, Ram Tam, Old Tom, Owd Roger, Old Jock, Old Fart, Strong Suffolk, Gales Prize Old Ale, Gales 5X.
O.G.: 1.060 - 1.075+; Alcohol: 6.5 - 8.5+%; IBUs: 30 - 60; SRM: 10 - 16.

TRAPPIST ALE (ABBEY BEER) - Only beer brewed in one of the six remaining brewing abbeys may use the term "Trappist". They are the Westmalle, Orval, Rochefort, Sint Sixtus at Westvleteren, and Chimay breweries in Belgium, and the Trappists of Schaapskooi at Koningshoeven in the Netherlands. The six Trappist abbeys produce around 20 beers. Strong, amber to copper colored, fruity, aromatic beer with a spiciness and slight acidity that sets them apart. They are all bottle conditioned, with plenty of yeast sediment. 3 varieties are made.

House Brew -
Commercial examples: Chimay Premiere (Capsule Rouge), Orval, Rochefort 6, Westmalle Extra, Westvleteren 4 Dubbel.
O.G.: 1.060 - 1.065; Alcohol: 6 - 7%; IBUs: 25 - 40; SRM: 10 - 25.
Special (Dubbel) - Dark amber-brown ales with a sweet malty flavor and a slightly nutty aroma that may give way to some hoppy dryness in the finish. Medium- to full-bodied. Low bitterness. Low diacetyl is OK. Aromas and flavors are sometimes derived from unique yeast strains. Small amounts of spices may be added.
Commercial examples: Grimbergen Dubbel, Affligem Dubbel, Rochefort 8, Chimay Cinq Cents (Capsule Blanche), Chimay Grande Reserve (Capsule Bleue), La Trappe Dubbel, Westmalle Dubbel, Westvleteren 6 Special.
O.G.:1.075 - 1.085; Alcohol:7.5 - 8%; IBUs:30 - 45; SRM: 10 - 30.

Extra special (Triple) - A paler and stronger ale, brewed from pale pilsner malts with candy sugar added to boost the O.G.. Complex aroma and palate with delicate aromatic hop characteristics and a light citric fruitness. Medium- to full-bodied. As with dubbels, aromas and flavors are sometimes derived from unique yeast strains and small amounts of spice are sometimes added. Deep golden. Alcoholic, but best examples do not taste strongly of alcohol.
Commercial examples: Grimbergen Tripel, Mateen, Affligem Tripel, Westmalle Tripel, Rochefort 10, La Trappe Tripel, La Trappe Quadrupel, Westvleteren 8 Extra, Westvleteren 12 Abbot.
O.G.:1.090 - 1.100; Alcohol: 8 - 10%; IBUs: 20 - 50; SRM: 20 - 30.

VIENNA - The classic amber lager style. Originally brewed in Austria by the famous brewer, Anton Dreher, in 1841. It has now become rare in Austria. Reminiscent of Octoberfest but with a less robust sweet malt character. This distinctive style owes much of its character to the method of malting. Vienna malt provides the dominant toasty flavor, aroma, and unique color. May have low sweetness on the palate but should have a fairly dry finish. Low to medium bitterness from "noble-type" hops. This beer is light to medium bodied with a reddish-amber color. Very mild hop flavor and aroma from "noble-type" hops put the emphasis on the malt. No fruitiness or esters. Low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Newmans Albany Amber, Dos Equis Amber, Portland Lager, Ambier Genuine Vienna Style, Negra Modelo.
O.G.: 1.046 - 1.052; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBUs: 18 - 30; SRM: 8 - 20.


Weizenbier (or Weissbier) - Wheat beers of southern Germany. Light to medium bodied, lightly hopped, yeasty, highly effervescent, slightly sour and suggestive of cloves and bananas. They are, above all, a summer beer. At least 50% wheat malt. Some cloudiness is acceptable in this style since a mash of up to 60% wheat can add haze from protein. Fermented as an ale by unique yeast strains. Clove, vanilla, nutmeg, smoke and cinnamon-like phenolics are permissible. No diacetyl. Light straw to amber.
Commercial examples: Paulaner, Hofbrauhaus, Julius Echter Weizenbier, Edelweiss, Spaten Club-Weisse, Erdinger Kristall Weissbier, Schneider Weisse.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5%; IBUs: 8 - 14; SRM: 3 - 9.

Hefe-Weizen - Overall the profile of this beer is similar to Weizen. This is a real ale style that is conditioned in the bottle or keg and will contain some yeast sediment. Lager or ale yeast may be used to condition the beer.
Commercial examples: Pschorr Weizen, Wurzburger, Paulaner Hefe-Weizen, Prince Luitpold Hefe-Weissbier, Erdinger Mit Feiner Hefe-Weizen, Schneider Hefe-Weizen.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5%; IBUs: 8 - 14; SRM: 3 - 9.

Dunkel Weizen - Dark version of Weizenbier and can be a bit stronger. The color is deep copper to brown. Chocolate-like maltiness is evident. Medium to full bodied beer with an emphasis of dark malt. It usually has a little less of the characteristic clove-banana aromas. The combination of wheaty tartness and the lusciousness of dark malts makes this style full of flavor and complexity. Low diacetyl is OK. Low hop flavor and aroma is OK.
Commercial examples:EKU,Hecker-Pschorr Dark Wheat, Oberdorfer Dunkelweizen, Erdinger Dunkel Weizen.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.055+; Alcohol: 4.5 - 6%; IBUs: 10 - 15; SRM: 17 - 22.

Weizenbock - Stronger and more robust than Dunkelweizen. A medium- to full-bodied beer, it is made from 40-60% wheat, but the palate emphasis is on the malt. Hop flavor and aroma are very low, but the clove and banana flavor and aroma are still evident. Can be either light or dark. Alcoholic strength should be evident. Low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Erdinger Pinkantus, Shneider Aventinius.
O.G.: 1.066 - 1.080; Alcohol: 6.5 - 7.5%; IBUs: 10 - 15; SRM: 7 - 30.

Berliner Weisse - This tart, refreshing, thirst-quenching beer can only be brewed in Berlin, Germany, although a few brewers in Northern Germany brew wheat beers in a similar style. Often called the Champagne of beers. Anywhere up to 75% malted wheat is used and results in a characteristic foamy large white head which tends to die quickly due to a lack of protein structure. The ale-type yeast and up to 20% lactic combination produces a light body which is dry, tart, and almost sour. Very pale, effervescent, modest alcohol content, no bitterness and low fruity notes. No diacetyl. May be mixed with sweet syrups.
Commercial examples: Berliner Kindl Weisse, Schultheiss Berliner Weisse.
O.G.: 1.028 - 1.032; Alcohol: 2.5 - 3.5%; IBUs: 3 - 12; SRM: 2 - 4.

American Wheat Beer - A standard ale yeast is used. Typically have light grain flavors and aromas characteristic of wheat. The clovey aromas and flavors of Bavarian weizenbiers are absent (and inappropriate). Low to medium fruitiness and esters. Low to medium bitterness. Hop aroma and flavor can be high or low. The proportion of wheat is often greater than 50%. Light to medium body, pale straw to gold although dark versions exist. Low diacetyl is OK. The use of lager yeast is OK.
O.G.: 1.030 - 1.050; Alcohol: 3.5 - 5%; IBUs: 5 - 17; SRM: 2 - 4.

Wit or Belgian White Beer - This beer has a low to medium body and is brewed with up to 50% unmalted wheat, malted barley, and maybe oats. It is stronger and maltier than Berlin Weiss but not as acidic. Wit is tangy and sharply refreshing with hints of orange, honey, and even muscat. They typically have a full yellow-white color and sport very white heads. Coriander seed, Curacao orange peel, Hallertauer and/or Saaz may all be used. Low to medium bitterness. Dry. Low diacetyl is OK. Has low to medium esters. Bottle conditioned.
Commercial examples: Hoegaarden Witbier, Celis White, Steendonk, Blanche de Namur, Titje, Wieckse Witte.
O.G.: 1.044 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5%; IBUs: 20 - 35; SRM: 2 - 4.

Graetzer - Graetzer beer is of low gravity and strongly hopped with "noble-type" hops. It is made from 2/3 smoked, highly roasted wheat malt and 1/3 pale barley malt. A single step infusion mash is usually used. The flavor is very smokey and the style is very rare.
O.G.: 1030 - 1034; Alcohol: 3 - 3.5%; IBUs: 50.

Grodzisk - Grodzisk is a specialty of Grodzisk, Poland, near Poznan. It is made with a significant proportion of malted wheat, smoked over oak. The beer is top-fermented, perhaps with some wild yeast influence, and bottled-conditioned. It can be low in alcohol or of conventional strength. It is an extremely pale golden beer, with a faint haze, adense white head, and a surprisingly light body. It has a sourish, sappy, oaky aroma (like a box that had held smoked herring), and a smoky, very deep, crisp palate. After a period of storage, it begins to develop a tart, quenching acidity.


Tim Dawson, 5/11/95,
Manchester NH, Brew Free or Die!