No Sparge Calc | Sparge Calc | Add sugars | Calc extract | Dilute wort | Co2 Levels | Water | ABV | PreBoil | PreBoil target | Fruits | SHBF | BJCP
----------- BJCP 2021 -----------
1
STANDARD AMERICAN BEER
1A
American Light Lager

1A - American Light Lager

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.028 - 1.040
FG: 0.998 - 1.008
IBU: 8 - 12
BU/GU: 0.29 - 0.3
EBC: 4 - 6 (SRM:2 - 3)
ABV: 2.8 - 4.2%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Bud Light, Coors Light, Grain Belt Premium Light American Lager, Michelob Light, Miller Lite, Old Milwaukee Light
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A highly carbonated, very light-bodied, nearly flavorless lager designed to be consumed very cold. Very refreshing and thirst-quenching.
APPEARANCE
Very pale straw to pale yellow color. White, frothy head seldom persists. Very clear.
MOUTHFEEL
Very light, sometimes watery, body. Very highly carbonated with slight carbonic bite on the tongue.
AROMA
Low malt aroma optional, but may be perceived as grainy, sweet, or corn-like, if present. Light spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma optional. While a clean fermentation profile is desirable, a light amount of yeast character is not a fault.
FLAVOR
Relatively neutral palate with a crisp, dry finish and a low to very low grainy or corn-like flavor that might be perceived as sweetness due to the low bitterness. Low floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor optional, but is rarely strong enough to detect. Low to very low bitterness. Balance may vary from slightly malty to slightly bitter, but is usually close to even. High carbonation may accentuate the crispness of the dry finish. Clean fermentation profile.
COMMENTS
Designed to appeal to as broad a range of the general public as possible. Strong flavors are a fault. With little malt or hop flavor, the yeast character often is what most differentiates brands.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Two- or six-row barley with up to 40% rice or corn as adjuncts. Additional enzymes can further lighten the body and lower carbohydrates. Lager yeast. Negligible hops.
STYLE COMPARISON
A lighter-bodied, lower-alcohol, lower calorie version of an American Lager. Less hop character and bitterness than a German Leichtbier.
HISTORY
Coors briefly made a light lager in the early 1940s. Modern versions were first produced by Rheingold in 1967 to appeal to diet-conscious drinkers, but only became popular starting in 1973 after Miller Brewing acquired the recipe and marketed the beer heavily to sports fans with the 'tastes great, less filling' campaign. Beers of this genre became the largest sellers in the United States in the 1990s.
1B
American Lager

1B - American Lager

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.040 - 1.050
FG: 1.004 - 1.010
IBU: 8 - 18
BU/GU: 0.2 - 0.36
EBC: 4 - 7 (SRM:2 - 3.5)
ABV: 4.2 - 5.3%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Budweiser, Coors Original, Grain Belt Premium American Lager, Miller High Life, Old Style, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Special Export
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A very pale, highly-carbonated, light-bodied, well-attenuated lager with a very neutral flavor profile and low bitterness. Served very cold, it can be a very refreshing and thirst-quenching drink.
APPEARANCE
Very pale straw to medium yellow color. White, frothy head seldom persists. Very clear.
MOUTHFEEL
Low to medium-low body. Very highly carbonated with slight carbonic bite on the tongue.
AROMA
Low malt aroma optional, but may be perceived as grainy, sweet, or corn-like, if present. Light spicy or floral hop aroma optional. While a clean fermentation profile is desirable, a light amount of yeast character is not a fault.
FLAVOR
Relatively neutral palate with a crisp, dry finish and a moderately-low to low grainy or corn-like flavor that might be perceived as sweetness due to the low bitterness. Moderately low hop flavor optional, with a floral, spicy, or herbal quality, if strong enough to distinguish. Low to medium-low bitterness. Balance may vary from slightly malty to slightly bitter, but is usually close to even. High carbonation may accentuate the crispness of the dry finish. Clean fermentation profile.
COMMENTS
Often what non-craft beer drinkers expect to be served if they order beer in the United States. May be marketed as Pilsner outside Europe, but should not be confused with traditional examples. Strong flavors are a fault. With little malt or hop flavor, the yeast character is what most frequently differentiates brands.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Two- or six-row barley with up to 40% rice or corn as adjuncts. Lager yeast. Light use of hops.
STYLE COMPARISON
Stronger, more flavor and body than an American Light Lager. Less bitterness and flavor than an International Pale Lager. Significantly less flavor, hops, and bitterness than traditional European Pilsners.
HISTORY
Evolved from Pre-Prohibition Lager (see Category 27) in the US after Prohibition and World War II. Surviving breweries consolidated, expanded distribution, and heavily promoted a beer style that appealed to a broad range of the population. Became the dominant beer style for many decades, and spawned many international rivals who would develop similarly bland products for the mass market supported by heavy advertising.
1C
Cream Ale

1C - Cream Ale

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.042 - 1.055
FG: 1.006 - 1.012
IBU: 8 - 20
BU/GU: 0.19 - 0.36
EBC: 4 - 10 (SRM:2 - 5)
ABV: 4.2 - 5.6%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Genesee Cream Ale, Liebotschaner Cream Ale, Kiwanda Pre-Prohibition Cream Ale, Little Kings Cream Ale, Sleeman Cream Ale, Sun King Sunlight Cream Ale
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A clean, well-attenuated, highly carbonated, flavorful American 'lawnmower' beer. Easily drinkable, smooth, and refreshing, with more character than typical American lagers, yet still subtle and restrained.
APPEARANCE
Pale straw to light gold color, although usually on the pale side. Low to medium head with medium to high carbonation. Fair head retention. Brilliant, sparkling clarity. Effervescent.
MOUTHFEEL
Generally light and crisp, although body can reach medium. Smooth mouthfeel with medium to high attenuation; higher attenuation levels can lend a 'thirst quenching' quality. High carbonation.
AROMA
Medium-low to low malt notes, with a sweet, corn-like aroma. Low DMS optional. Medium-low hop aroma optional, using any variety but floral, spicy, or herbal notes are most common. Overall, has a subtle, balanced aroma. Low fruity esters optional.
FLAVOR
Low to medium-low hop bitterness. Low to moderate malty sweetness, varying with gravity and attenuation. The malt is generally neutral, possibly grainy or crackery. Usually well-attenuated. Balanced palate, with hops only enough to support the malt. A low to moderate corny flavor is commonly found, but light DMS is optional. Finish can vary from somewhat light, dry, and crisp to faintly sweet. Clean fermentation profile, but low fruity esters are optional. Low to medium-low hop flavor of any variety, but typically floral, spicy, or herbal. Subtle.
COMMENTS
Most commercial examples are in the 1.050-1.053 OG range, and bitterness rarely rises above 20 IBUs.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
American six-row malt, or a combination of six-row and North American two-row. Up to 20% maize in the mash, and up to 20% sugar in the boil. Any variety of hops, often rustic American or Continental. Clean ale yeast, or a mix of ale and lager beer.
STYLE COMPARISON
Similar to a Standard American Lager, but with more character. Lighter body, smoother, and more carbonated than a Blonde Ale. May seem like a somewhat subtle Kölsch.
HISTORY
A sparkling or present-use ale from the second half of the 1800s that survived prohibition. An ale brewed to compete with lagers brewed in Canada and the US Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest states.
1D
American Wheat Beer

1D - American Wheat Beer

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.040 - 1.055
FG: 1.008 - 1.013
IBU: 15 - 30
BU/GU: 0.38 - 0.55
EBC: 6 - 12 (SRM:3 - 6)
ABV: 4.0 - 5.5%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Bell's Oberon, Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer, GoodLife Sweet As! Pacific Ale, Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Widmer Hefeweizen
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A pale, refreshing grainy, doughy, or bready wheat beer with a clean fermentation profile and a variable hop character and bitterness. Its lighter body and higher carbonation contribute to its easy-drinking nature.
APPEARANCE
Usually pale yellow to gold. Clarity may range from brilliant to hazy with yeast approximating a Weissbier. Big, long-lasting white head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body. Medium-high to high carbonation. Slight creaminess is optional; wheat beers sometimes have a soft, 'fluffy' impression.
AROMA
Low to moderate grainy, bready, or doughy wheat character. A light to moderate malty sweetness is acceptable. Moderate esters optional, usually a neutral profile; banana is inappropriate. Low to moderate citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity hop aroma. Not typically dry-hopped. No clove phenols.
FLAVOR
Light to moderately-strong bready, doughy, or grainy wheat flavor, which can linger into the finish. May have a moderate malty sweetness or can finish quite dry and crisp. Low to moderate hop bitterness, sometimes lasting into the finish. Balance is usually even, but may be slightly bitter. Low to moderate citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity hop flavor. Moderate esters optional. No banana. No clove phenols.
COMMENTS
Different variations exist, from an easy-drinking fairly sweet beer to a dry, aggressively-hopped beer with a strong wheat flavor. American Rye beers should be entered as 31A Alternative Grain Beer.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Clean American ale or lager yeast. German Weissbier yeast is inappropriate. Wheat malt (often 30-50%, lower than is typical in Weissbier). American, German, or New World hops.
STYLE COMPARISON
More hop character and less yeast character than Weissbier. Never with the banana and clove character of Weissbier. Generally has the same range and balance as Blonde Ales, but with a wheat character as the primary malt flavor.
HISTORY
An American craft beer adaptation of the Weissbier style using a cleaner yeast and more hops, first produced by Anchor in 1984 and later widely popularized by Widmer.
2
INTERNATIONAL LAGER
2A
International Pale Lager

2A - International Pale Lager

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.042 - 1.050
FG: 1.008 - 1.012
IBU: 18 - 25
BU/GU: 0.43 - 0.5
EBC: 4 - 12 (SRM:2 - 6)
ABV: 4.5 - 6.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Asahi Super Dry, Birra Moretti, Corona Extra, Devils Backbone Gold Leaf Lager, Full Sail Session Premium Lager, Heineken, Red Stripe, Singha
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A highly-attenuated pale lager without strong flavors, typically well-balanced and highly carbonated. Served cold, it is refreshing and thirst-quenching.
APPEARANCE
Pale straw to gold color. White, frothy head may not be long lasting. Very clear.
MOUTHFEEL
Light to medium body. Moderately high to highly carbonated. Can have a slight carbonic bite on the tongue.
AROMA
Low to medium-low grainy-malty or slightly corny-sweet malt aroma. Very low to medium spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma. Clean fermentation profile.
FLAVOR
Low to moderate levels of grainy-malt flavor, medium-low to medium bitterness, with a crisp, dry, well-attenuated finish. The grain character can be somewhat neutral, or show a light bready-crackery quality. Moderate corny or malty sweetness optional. Medium floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor optional. Balance may vary from slightly malty to slightly bitter, but is usually relatively close to even. Neutral aftertaste with light malt and sometimes hop flavors.
COMMENTS
Tends to have fewer adjuncts than American Lagers. They may be all-malt, although strong flavors are still a fault. A broad category of international mass-market lagers ranging from up-scale American lagers to the typical 'import' or 'green bottle' international beers found in America and many export markets. Often confusingly labeled as a 'Pilsner.' Any skunkiness in commercial beers is a handling fault, not a characteristic of the style.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Two- or six-row barley. May use rice, corn, or sugar as adjuncts, but are generally all malt.
STYLE COMPARISON
Generally more bitter and filling than American Lager. Less hoppy and bitter than a German Pils. Less body, malt flavor, and hop character than a Czech Premium Pale Lager. More robust versions can approach a Munich Helles in flavor, but with more of an adjunct quality.
HISTORY
In the United States, developed as a premium version of the standard American lager, with a similar history. Outside the US, developed either as an imitation of American-style lagers, or as a more accessible (and often drier and less bitter) version of a Pilsner-type beer. Often heavily marketed and exported by large industrial or multi-national breweries.
2B
International Amber Lager

2B - International Amber Lager

YEAST STRAIN: Lager ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.042 - 1.055
FG: 1.008 - 1.014
IBU: 8 - 25
BU/GU: 0.19 - 0.45
EBC: 12 - 28 (SRM:6 - 14)
ABV: 4.5 - 6.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Abita Amber Lager, Brooklyn Lager, Capital Wisconsin Amber Lager, Dos Equis Amber, Grain Belt NordEast, Yuengling Lager
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A smooth, easily-drinkable, malty amber lager with a flavorful caramel or toast character. Usually fairly well-attenuated, often with an adjunct quality and restrained bitterness.
APPEARANCE
Golden-amber to reddish-copper color. Bright clarity. White to off-white foam stand which may not last.
MOUTHFEEL
Light to medium body. Medium to high carbonation. Smooth. Some examples can be slightly creamy.
AROMA
Low to moderate grainy malt aroma often with very low to moderate caramel or toasty malt accents. Occasionally, nutty or biscuity, but never roasty. Low, unobtrusive floral or spicy hop aroma. Clean fermentation profile.
FLAVOR
Low to moderate malt flavor, often with caramel or toasty-bready flavors. Low to medium-low corny sweetness optional. Low to moderate bitterness, giving the beer a malty to fairly even balance. Low to moderate spicy, herbal, or floral hop flavor. Clean fermentation profile. The finish is moderately dry with a moderately malty aftertaste. The beer may seem a touch sweet if the bitterness level is low.
COMMENTS
A wide spectrum of mass-market amber lagers either developed independently in various countries, or describing rather generic amber beers with more historical relevance that eventually changed into indistinguishable products in modern times.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Two-row or six-row base malt. Color malts such as Victory, amber, or roast. May be all malt or use adjuncts. Sugars or coloring agents possible. Caramel malt. European or American hops.
STYLE COMPARISON
Less well-developed malt flavor than a Vienna Lager, often with an adjunct taste. Less robust flavor and bitterness than Altbier.
HISTORY
Varies by country, but generally represents either an adaptation of the mass-market International Pale Lager, or an evolution of indigenous styles into more generic products.
2C
International Dark Lager

2C - International Dark Lager

YEAST STRAIN: Lager ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.044 - 1.056
FG: 1.008 - 1.012
IBU: 8 - 20
BU/GU: 0.18 - 0.36
EBC: 28 - 59 (SRM:14 - 30)
ABV: 4.2 - 6.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Baltika #4 Original, Dixie Blackened Voodoo, Heineken Dark Lager, Saint Pauli Girl Special Dark, San Miguel Dark, Shiner Bock
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A darker, richer, and somewhat sweeter version of international pale lager with a little more body and flavor, but equally restrained in bitterness. The low bitterness leaves the malt as the primary flavor element, and the low hop levels provide very little in the way of balance.
APPEARANCE
Deep amber to very dark brown with bright clarity and ruby highlights. Foam stand may not be long lasting, and is beige to light tan in color.
MOUTHFEEL
Light to medium-light body. Smooth with a light creaminess. Medium to high carbonation.
AROMA
Faint malt aroma. Medium-low roast and caramel malt aroma optional. Light spicy, herbal, or floral hop aroma optional. Clean fermentation profile.
FLAVOR
Low to medium sweet maltiness. Medium-low caramel or roasted malt flavors optional, possibly with hints of coffee, molasses, brown sugar, or cocoa. Low floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor optional. Low to medium bitterness. May have a very light fruitiness. Moderately crisp finish. The balance is typically somewhat malty. Burnt or moderately strong roasted malt flavors are inappropriate.
COMMENTS
A broad range of international lagers that are darker than pale, and not assertively bitter or roasted.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Two- or six-row barley with corn, rice, or sugars adjuncts. Light use of caramel and darker roasted malts. Commercial versions may use coloring agents.
STYLE COMPARISON
Less flavor and richness than Munich Dunkel, Schwarzbier, or other dark lagers. Frequently uses adjuncts, as is typical of other International Lagers.
HISTORY
Darker versions of International Pale Lagers often created by the same large, industrial breweries and meant to appeal to a broad audience. Often either a colored or sweetened adaptation of the standard pale industrial lager, or a more broadly accessible (and inexpensive) version of more traditional dark lagers.
3
CZECH LAGER
3A
Czech Pale Lager

3A - Czech Pale Lager

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.028 - 1.044
FG: 1.008 - 1.014
IBU: 20 - 35
BU/GU: 0.71 - 0.8
EBC: 6 - 12 (SRM:3 - 6)
ABV: 3.0 - 4.1%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Bernard svetlé pivo 10, Breznák svetlé výcepní pivo, Notch Session Pils, Primátor Antonín svetlé výcepní, Radegast Rázna 10, Únetické pivo 10°
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A lighter-bodied, rich, refreshing, hoppy, bitter pale Czech lager having the familiar flavors of the stronger Czech Premium Pale Lager (Pilsner-type) beer but in a lower alcohol, lighter-bodied, and slightly less intense format.
APPEARANCE
Light yellow to deep gold color. Brilliant to very clear, with a long-lasting, creamy white head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body. Moderate carbonation.
AROMA
Light to moderate bready-rich malt combined with light to moderate spicy or herbal hop bouquet; the balance between the malt and hops may vary. Faint hint of caramel is acceptable. Light (but never intrusive) diacetyl and light, fruity esters are optional. No sulfur.
FLAVOR
Medium-low to medium bready-rich malt flavor with a rounded, hoppy finish. Low to medium-high spicy or herbal hop flavor. Bitterness is prominent but never harsh. Flavorful and refreshing. Low diacetyl or fruity esters are optional, but should never be overbearing.
COMMENTS
The Czech name of the style is svetlé výcepní pivo.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Soft water with low sulfate and carbonate content. Traditional Czech hops. Czech Pilsner malt. Czech lager yeast. Low ion water provides a distinctively soft, rounded hop profile despite high hopping rates.
STYLE COMPARISON
A lighter-bodied, lower-intensity, refreshing, everyday version of Czech Premium Pale Lager.
HISTORY
Josef Groll initially brewed two types of pale beer in 1842-3, a výcepní and a ležák, with the smaller beer having twice the production; Evan Rail speculates that these were probably 10 °P and 12 °P beers, but that the výcepní could have been weaker. This is the most consumed type of beer in the Czech Republic at present.
3B
Czech Premium Pale Lager

3B - Czech Premium Pale Lager

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.044 - 1.060
FG: 1.013 - 1.017
IBU: 30 - 45
BU/GU: 0.68 - 0.75
EBC: 7 - 12 (SRM:3.5 - 6)
ABV: 4.2 - 5.8%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Bernard svetlé ležák 12°, Budvar 33 svetlý ležák, Pilsner Urquell, Pivovar Jihlava Ježek 11%, Primátor Premium lager, Radegast Ryze horká 12, Únetická pivo 12°
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A refreshing pale Czech lager with considerable malt and hop character and a long finish. The malt flavors are complex for a Pilsner-type beer. The bitterness is strong and clean but lacks harshness, which gives a well-balanced, rounded flavor impression that enhances drinkability.
APPEARANCE
Medium yellow to deep gold color. Brilliant to very clear clarity. Dense, long-lasting, creamy white head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium body. Moderate to low carbonation.
AROMA
Medium to medium-high bready-rich malt and medium-low to medium-high spicy, floral, or herbal hop bouquet; though the balance between the malt and hops may vary, the interplay is rich and complex. Light diacetyl, or very low fruity esters are optional. Esters tend to increase with gravity.
FLAVOR
Rich, complex, bready maltiness combined with a pronounced yet soft and rounded bitterness and floral and spicy hop flavor. Malt and hop flavors are medium to medium-high, and the malt may contain a slight impression of caramel. Bitterness is prominent but never harsh. The long finish can be balanced towards hops or malt but is never aggressively tilted either way. Light to moderately-low diacetyl and low hop-derived esters are acceptable, but need not be present.
COMMENTS
Generally a group of pivo Plzenského typu, or Pilsner-type beers. This style is a combination of the Czech styles svetlý ležák (11-12.9 °P) and svetlé speciální pivo (13-14.9 °P). In the Czech Republic, only Pilsner Urquell and Gambrinus are called Pilsner, despite how widely adopted this name is worldwide. Outside the Czech Republic, Czech Pilsner or Bohemian Pilsner are sometimes used to differentiate the beer from other Pilsner-type beers.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Traditional Czech hops. Czech malt. Czech lager yeast. Water low in sulfate and carbonate provides a distinctively soft, rounded hop profile despite high hopping rates. The bitterness level of some larger commercial examples has dropped in recent years, although not as much as in many contemporary German examples.
STYLE COMPARISON
More color, malt richness, and body than a German Pils, with a fuller finish and a cleaner, softer impression. Stronger than a Czech Pale Lager.
HISTORY
Commonly associated with Pilsner Urquell, which was first brewed in 1842 after construction of a new brewhouse by burghers dissatisfied with the standard of beer brewed in Plzen. Bavarian brewer Josef Groll is credited with first brewing the beer, although there may have been earlier pale lagers in Bohemia. Just as important as the lager yeast was the use of English malting techniques.
3C
Czech Amber Lager

3C - Czech Amber Lager

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.044 - 1.060
FG: 1.013 - 1.017
IBU: 20 - 35
BU/GU: 0.45 - 0.58
EBC: 20 - 32 (SRM:10 - 16)
ABV: 4.4 - 5.8%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Bernard Jantarový ležák 12°, Gambrinus Polotmavá 12°, Kozel Semi-Dark, Lobkowicz Démon 13, Primátor 13 polotmavé, Strakonický Dudák Klostermann polotmavý ležák
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A malty amber Czech lager with a hop character that can vary from low to quite significant. The malt flavors also can vary, leading to different interpretations and balances ranging from drier, bready, and slightly biscuity to sweeter and somewhat caramel-like.
APPEARANCE
Deep amber to copper color. Clear to bright clarity. Large, off-white, persistent head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-full to medium body. Soft and round, often with a gentle creaminess. Moderate to low carbonation.
AROMA
Moderate intensity, rich malt aroma that can be either bready and Maillard product-dominant or slightly caramelly sweet. Spicy, floral, or herbal hop character may be moderate to none. Clean lager character, though low fruity esters (stone fruit or berries) may be present. Low diacetyl optional.
FLAVOR
Complex malt flavor is dominant (medium to medium-high), though its nature may vary from dry and Maillard product-dominant to caramelly and almost sweet. Some examples have a candy-like to graham-cracker malt character. Low to moderate spicy hop flavor. Prominent but clean hop bitterness provides a balanced finish. Subtle plum or berry esters optional. Low diacetyl optional. No roasted malt flavor. Finish may vary from dry and hoppy to relatively sweet.
COMMENTS
The Czech name of the style is polotmavé pivo, which translates as half-dark beer. This style is a combination of the Czech styles polotmavý ležák (11-12.9 °P) and polotmavé speciální pivo (13-14.9 °P). Some versions may be a blend of pale and dark lagers.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pilsner and caramel malts, but Vienna and Munich malts may also be used. Low mineral content water. Traditional Czech hops. Czech lager yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
The style can be similar to a Vienna Lager but with stronger Czech late hop character, or that approaching a British Bitter but significantly richer with more of a deep caramel character. Large brewery versions are generally similar to Czech Premium Pale Lager with slightly darker malt flavors and less hop, while smaller breweries often make versions with considerable hop character, malt complexity, or residual sweetness.
HISTORY
A Vienna-style lager which has continued to be brewed in the Czech Republic. A resurgence of small breweries opening in the Czech Republic has increased the number of examples of this style.
3D
Czech Dark Lager

3D - Czech Dark Lager

YEAST STRAIN: Lager ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.044 - 1.060
FG: 1.013 - 1.017
IBU: 18 - 34
BU/GU: 0.41 - 0.57
EBC: 33 - 69 (SRM:17 - 35)
ABV: 4.4 - 5.8%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Bernard cerný ležák 12°, Budvar tmavý ležák, Herold lmavé silné pivo 13°, Kozel Dark , Krušovice cerné, Primátor dark lager, U Fleku Flekovský tmavý ležák 13°
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A rich, dark, malty Czech lager with a roast character that can vary from almost absent to quite prominent. Malty balance and an interesting and complex flavor profile, with variable levels of hopping that provides a range of possible interpretations.
APPEARANCE
Dark copper to almost black color, often with a red or garnet tint. Clear to bright clarity. Large, off-white to tan, persistent head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium to medium-full body, considerable mouthfeel without being heavy or cloying. Moderately creamy in texture. Smooth. Moderate to low carbonation. Can have a slight alcohol warmth in stronger versions.
AROMA
Medium to medium-high rich, deep, sometimes sweet maltiness, with optional qualities such as bread crusts, toast, nuts, cola, dark fruit, or caramel. Roasted malt characters such as chocolate or sweetened coffee can vary from moderate to none but should not overwhelm the base malt character. Low to moderate spicy hop aroma optional. Low diacetyl and low to moderate fruity esters (plums or berries) may be present.
FLAVOR
Medium to medium-high deep, complex maltiness dominates, typically with malty-rich Maillard products and a light to moderate residual malt sweetness. Malt flavors such as caramel, toast, nuts, licorice, dried dark fruit, chocolate, or coffee may also be present, with very low to moderate roast character. Low to moderate spicy hop flavor. Moderate to medium-low bitterness, but should be perceptible. Balance can vary from malty to relatively well-balanced to gently hop-forward. Low to moderate diacetyl and light plum or berry esters may be present.
COMMENTS
This style is a combination of the Czech styles tmavý ležák (11-12.9 °P) and tmavé speciální pivo (13-14.9 °P). More modern examples are drier and have higher bitterness while traditional versions often have IBUs in the 18-20 range with a sweeter balance.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pilsner and dark caramel malts with the addition of debittered roasted malts are most common, but additions of Vienna or Munich malt are also appropriate. Low mineral content water. Traditional Czech hops. Czech lager yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
The beer is the Czech equivalent of a dark lager ranging in character from Munich Dunkel to Schwarzbier, but typically with greater malt richness and hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness.
HISTORY
The U Fleku brewery has been operating in Prague since 1499, and produces the best-known version. Many small, new breweries are brewing this style.
4
PALE MALTY EUROPEAN LAGER
4A
Munich Helles

4A - Munich Helles

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.044 - 1.048
FG: 1.006 - 1.012
IBU: 16 - 22
BU/GU: 0.36 - 0.46
EBC: 6 - 10 (SRM:3 - 5)
ABV: 4.7 - 5.4%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Augustiner Lagerbier Hell, Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Gold, Löwenbraü Original, Paulaner Münchner Lager, Schönramer Hell, Spaten Münchner Hell, Weihenstephaner Original Heles
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A gold-colored German lager with a smooth, malty flavor and a soft, dry finish. Subtle spicy, floral, or herbal hops and restrained bitterness help keep the balance malty but not sweet, which helps make this beer a refreshing, everyday drink.
APPEARANCE
Pale yellow to pale gold. Clear. Persistent creamy white head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium body. Medium carbonation. Smooth, well-lagered character.
AROMA
Moderate grainy-sweet malt aroma. Low to moderately-low spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma. Pleasant, clean fermentation profile, with malt dominating the balance. The freshest examples will have more of a malty-sweet aroma.
FLAVOR
Moderately malty start with the suggestion of sweetness, moderate grainy-sweet malt flavor with a soft, rounded palate impression, supported by a low to medium-low bitterness. Soft and dry finish, not crisp and biting. Low to moderately-low spicy, floral, or herbal hop flavor. Malt dominates hops in the palate, finish, and aftertaste, but hops should be noticeable. No residual sweetness, simply the impression of maltiness with restrained bitterness. Clean fermentation profile.
COMMENTS
Very fresh examples can have a more prominent malt and hop character that fades over time, as is often noticed in exported beers. Helles in Munich tends to be a lighter version than those outside the city. May be called Helles Lagerbier.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Continental Pilsner malt. Traditional German hops. Clean German lager yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
Similar in malt balance and bitterness to Munich Dunkel, but less malty-sweet in nature and pale rather than dark and rich. More body and malt presence than a German Pils, but less crisp and with less hop character throughout. Similar malt profile as a German Helles Exportbier, but with fewer hops in the balance and slightly less alcohol. Less body and alcohol than a Festbier.
HISTORY
Created in Munich in 1894 to compete with pale Pilsner-type beers, often first credited to Spaten. More popular in Southern Germany.
4B
Festbier

4B - Festbier

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.054 - 1.057
FG: 1.010 - 1.012
IBU: 18 - 25
BU/GU: 0.33 - 0.44
EBC: 8 - 12 (SRM:4 - 6)
ABV: 5.8 - 6.3%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Augustiner Oktoberfest, Hacker-Pschorr Superior Festbier, Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier, Löwenbräu Oktoberfestbier, Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier, Weihenstephaner Festbier
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A smooth, clean, pale German lager with a moderately strong malty flavor and a light hop character. Deftly balances strength and drinkability, with a palate impression and finish that encourages drinking. Showcases elegant German malt flavors without becoming too heavy or filling.
APPEARANCE
Deep yellow to deep gold color; should not have amber hues. Bright clarity. Persistent white to off-white foam stand. Most commercial examples are pale gold in color.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium body, with a smooth, somewhat creamy texture. Medium carbonation. Alcohol strength barely noticeable as warming, if at all.
AROMA
Moderate malty richness, with an emphasis on toasty-doughy aromatics and an impression of sweetness. Low to medium-low floral, herbal, or spicy hops. The malt should not have a deeply toasted, caramel, or biscuity quality. Clean lager fermentation profile.
FLAVOR
Medium to medium-high malty flavor initially, with a lightly toasty, bread dough quality and an impression of soft malty richness. Medium to medium-low bitterness, definitely malty in the balance. Well-attenuated and crisp, but not dry. Medium-low to medium floral, herbal, or spicy hop flavor. Clean fermentation profile. The taste is mostly of Pils malt, but with slightly toasty hints. The bitterness is supportive, but still should yield a malty, flavorful finish.
COMMENTS
This style represents the modern German beer served at Oktoberfest (although it is not solely reserved for Oktoberfest; it can be found at many other 'fests'), and is sometimes called Wiesn ('the meadow' or local name for the Oktoberfest festival). We chose to call this style Festbier since by German and EU regulations, Oktoberfestbier is a protected appellation for beer produced at large breweries within the Munich city limits for consumption at Oktoberfest. Other countries are not bound by these rules, so many craft breweries in the US produce beer called Oktoberfest, but based on the traditional style described in these guidelines as Märzen. May be called Helles Märzen.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Majority Pils malt, but with some Vienna or Munich malt to increase maltiness. Differences in commercial examples are mostly due to different maltsters and yeast, not major grist differences.
STYLE COMPARISON
Less intense and less richly toasted than a Märzen. Stronger than a Munich Helles, with a bit more body, and hop and malt flavor. Less rich in malt intensity than a Helles Bock. The malt complexity is similar to a higher-gravity Czech Premium Pale Lager, although without the associated hops.
HISTORY
Since 1990, the majority of beer served at Oktoberfest in Munich has been this style. Export beer specifically made for the United States is still mainly of the traditional amber style, as are US-produced interpretations. Paulaner first created the golden version in the mid-1970s because they thought the traditional Oktoberfest was too filling. So they developed a lighter, more drinkable but still malty version that they wanted to be 'more poundable' (according to the head brewer at Paulaner). But the actual type of beer served at Oktoberfest is set by a Munich city committee.
4C
Helles Bock

4C - Helles Bock

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.064 - 1.072
FG: 1.011 - 1.018
IBU: 23 - 35
BU/GU: 0.36 - 0.49
EBC: 12 - 18 (SRM:6 - 9)
ABV: 6.3 - 7.4%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Altenmünster Maibock, Ayinger Maibock, Chuckanut Maibock, Einbecker Mai-Ur-Bock, Hofbräu Maibock, Mahr's Heller Bock
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A relatively pale, strong, malty German lager with a nicely attenuated finish that enhances drinkability. The hop character is generally more apparent and the malt character less deeply rich than in other Bocks.
APPEARANCE
Deep gold to light amber in color. Bright to clear clarity. Large, creamy, persistent, white head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-bodied. Moderate to moderately-high carbonation. Smooth and clean with no harshness or astringency, despite the increased hop bitterness. Light alcohol warming optional.
AROMA
Moderate to strong grainy-sweet malt aroma, often with a lightly toasted quality and low Maillard products. Moderately-low spicy, herbal, or floral hop aroma optional. Clean fermentation profile. Low fruity esters optional. Very light alcohol optional.
FLAVOR
Moderately to moderately strong grainy-sweet, doughy, bready, or lightly toasty malt flavor dominates with some rich Maillard products providing added interest. Few caramel flavors optional. Low to moderate spicy, herbal, floral, peppery hop flavor optional, but present in the best examples. Moderate hop bitterness, more so in the balance than in other Bocks. Clean fermentation profile. Well-attenuated, not cloying, with a moderately-dry finish that may taste of both malt and hops.
COMMENTS
Also known as Maibock. Compared to darker Bock beers, the hops compensate for the lower level of Maillard products in the balance.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
A mix of Pils, Vienna, and Munich malts. No adjuncts. Light use of pale crystal type malts possible. Traditional German hops. Clean lager yeast. Decoction mash is traditional, but boiling is less than in Dunkles Bock to restrain color development. Soft water.
STYLE COMPARISON
Can be thought of as either a pale version of a Dunkles Bock, or a Munich Helles or Festbier brewed to bock strength. While quite malty, this beer typically has less dark and rich malt flavors, and can be drier, hoppier, and more bitter than a Dunkles Bock. Less strong than a pale Doppelbock, but with similar flavors.
HISTORY
A fairly recent development in comparison to the other members of the bock family. The serving of Maibock is a seasonal offering associated with springtime and the month of May, and may include a wider color and hopping range than is seen in exported products.
5
PALE BITTER EUROPEAN BEER
5A
German Leichtbier

5A - German Leichtbier

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.026 - 1.034
FG: 1.006 - 1.010
IBU: 15 - 28
BU/GU: 0.58 - 0.82
EBC: 3 - 8 (SRM:1.5 - 4)
ABV: 2.4 - 3.6%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Autenrieder Schlossbräu Leicht, Greif Bräu Leicht, Hohenthanner Tannen Hell Leicht, Müllerbrau Heimer Leicht, Schönramer Surtaler Schankbier, Waldhaus Sommer Bier
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A pale, highly-attenuated, light-bodied German lager with lower alcohol and calories than standard-strength beers. Moderately bitter with noticeable malt and hop flavors, the beer is still interesting to drink.
APPEARANCE
Pale straw to deep yellow in color. Brilliant clarity. Moderate white head with average to below average persistence.
MOUTHFEEL
Light to very light body. Medium to high carbonation. Smooth, well-attenuated.
AROMA
Low to medium hop aroma, with a spicy, herbal, or floral character. Low to medium-low grainy-sweet or slightly crackery malt aroma. Clean fermentation profile.
FLAVOR
Low to medium grainy-sweet malt flavor initially. Medium hop bitterness. Low to medium hop flavor, with a spicy, herbal, or floral quality. Clean fermentation character, well-lagered. Dry finish with a light malty and hoppy aftertaste.
COMMENTS
Marketed primarily as a diet-oriented beer with lower carbohydrates, alcohol, and calories. Pronounced 'LYESHT-beer.' May also be known as a Diat Pils or Helles, this style is in the schankbier gravity class. Other variations of Leicht class beers can be made from Weissbier, Kölsch, and Altbier; those beers are best entered as 34B Mixed-Style Beer.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Continental Pils malt. German lager yeast. Traditional German hops.
STYLE COMPARISON
Like a lower-alcohol, lighter-bodied, slightly less aggressive German Pils or Munich Helles. More bitter and flavorful than an American Light Lager.
HISTORY
Traditional versions existed as drinks for physical laborers in factories or fields, but modern versions are more based on popular American products in the same class and targeted towards health or fitness conscious consumers. Increasingly supplanted in the current market by non-alcoholic beers and radlers.
5B
Kölsch

5B - Kölsch

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.044 - 1.050
FG: 1.007 - 1.011
IBU: 18 - 30
BU/GU: 0.41 - 0.6
EBC: 7 - 10 (SRM:3.5 - 5)
ABV: 4.4 - 5.2%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Früh Kölsch, Gaffel Kölsch, Mühlen Kölsch, Päffgen Kolsch, Reissdorf Kölsch, Sion Kölsch, Sünner Kölsch
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A subtle, brilliantly clear, pale beer with a delicate balance of malt, fruit, and hop character, moderate bitterness, and a well-attenuated but soft finish. Freshness makes a huge difference with this beer, as the delicate character can fade quickly with age.
APPEARANCE
Medium yellow to light gold. Brilliant clarity. Has a delicate white head that may not persist.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body; most are medium-light. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Smooth and soft, but well-attenuated and not heavy. Not harsh.
AROMA
Low to very low grainy-sweet malt aroma. A subtle fruit aroma (apple, pear, or sometimes cherry) is optional, but welcome. Low floral, spicy, or herbal hop aroma optional. The intensity of aromatics is fairly subtle but generally balanced, clean, fresh, and pleasant.
FLAVOR
A delicate flavor balance between malt, fruitiness, bitterness, and hops, with a clean, well-attenuated finish. The medium to medium-low grainy maltiness may have very light bready or honey notes. The fruitiness can have an almost imperceptible sweetness. Medium-low to medium bitterness. Low to moderately-high floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor; most are medium-low to medium. May have a neutral-grainy to light malty sweet impression at the start. Soft, rounded palate. Finish is soft, dry, and slightly crisp, not sharp or biting. No noticeable residual sweetness. While the balance between the flavor components can vary, none are ever strong.
COMMENTS
A traditional top-fermented, lagered beer from Cologne, Germany (Köln). Köln breweries differentiate themselves through balance, so allow for a range of variation within the style when judging. Drier versions may seem hoppier or more bitter than the IBU levels might suggest. The delicate flavor profile does not age well, so be alert for oxidation defects. Served in Köln in a tall, narrow 20cl glass called a Stange.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Traditional German hops. German Pils, Pale, or Vienna malt. Attenuative, clean German ale yeast. Occasional small use of wheat malt. Current commercial practice is to ferment around 15 °C, cold condition near freezing for up to a month, and serve fresh.
STYLE COMPARISON
Can be mistaken for a Cream Ale or somewhat subtle German Pils.
HISTORY
Köln has a top-fermenting brewing tradition since the Middle Ages, but the beer now known as Kölsch was developed in the late 1800s as an alternative to pale lagers. Bottom fermentation was actually prohibited in Cologne. Kölsch is an appellation protected by the Kölsch Konvention (1986), and is restricted to breweries in and around Köln. The Konvention simply defines the beer as a 'light, highly attenuated, hop-accentuated, clear, top-fermenting Vollbier.'
5C
German Helles Exportbier

5C - German Helles Exportbier

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.050 - 1.058
FG: 1.008 - 1.015
IBU: 20 - 30
BU/GU: 0.4 - 0.52
EBC: 8 - 12 (SRM:4 - 6)
ABV: 5.0 - 6.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Chuckanut Export Dortmunder Lager, DAB Dortmunder Export, Dortmunder Kronen, Landshuter Edel Hell, Müllerbräu Export Gold, Schönramer Gold
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A golden German lager balancing a smooth malty profile with a bitter, hoppy character in a slightly above-average body and strength beer.
APPEARANCE
Medium yellow to deep gold. Clear. Persistent white head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium to medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Smooth and mellow on the palate. Very slight warmth may be noted in stronger versions.
AROMA
Medium-low to medium floral, spicy, or herbal hop aroma. Moderate grainy-sweet malt aroma, possibly with light toasty, bready, or doughy notes. Clean fermentation profile. Hops and malt both noticeable, and generally balanced.
FLAVOR
Moderate, balanced malt and hops with supporting bitterness. Malt and hop flavors similar to aroma (same descriptors and intensities). Medium, noticeable bitterness, full on the palate, with a medium-dry finish. Clean fermentation character. Aftertaste of both malt and hops, generally in balance. Mineral character typically perceived more as a roundness and fullness of flavor, and a dry, flinty sharpness in the finish rather than overt mineral flavors. Background sulfate optional.
COMMENTS
Also known Dortmunder Export, Dortmunder, Export, or simply a Dort. Called Export within Germany, and often Dortmunder elsewhere, Export is also a beer strength descriptor under German brewing tradition, and could be applied to other styles. Splits the difference between a German Pils and a Munich Helles in several aspects: color, hop-malt balance, finish, bitterness.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Minerally water with high levels of sulfates, carbonates, and chlorides. Traditional German or Czech hops. Pilsner malt. German lager yeast. Decoction mash traditional.
STYLE COMPARISON
Less finishing hops and more body than a German Pils. More bitter and drier than a Munich Helles. Stronger, drier, but less hoppy than a Czech Premium Pale Lager.
HISTORY
Developed in Dortmund in the Ruhr industrial region in the 1870s in response to pale Pilsner-type beers. It became very popular after World War II but declined in the 1970s. Other Export-class beers developed independently, and reflected a slightly stronger version of existing beers.
5D
German Pils

5D - German Pils

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.044 - 1.050
FG: 1.008 - 1.013
IBU: 22 - 40
BU/GU: 0.5 - 0.8
EBC: 4 - 8 (SRM:2 - 4)
ABV: 4.4 - 5.2%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
ABK Pils Anno 1907, Jever Pilsener, König Pilsener, Paulaner Pils, Bierstadt Slow-Pour Pils, Rothaus Pils, Schönramer Pils, Trumer Pils
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A pale, dry, bitter German lager featuring a prominent hop aroma. Crisp, clean, and refreshing, showing a brilliant gold color with excellent head retention.
APPEARANCE
Straw to deep yellow, brilliant to very clear, with a creamy, long-lasting white head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light body. Medium to high carbonation. Should not feel heavy. Not harsh, but may have a flinty, minerally, sharpness in some examples.
AROMA
Moderately to moderately-high flowery, spicy, or herbal hops. Low to medium grainy, sweet, or doughy malt character, often with a light honey and toasted cracker quality. Clean fermentation profile. The hops should be forward, but not totally dominate the malt in the balance.
FLAVOR
Initial malt flavor quickly overcome with hop flavor and bitterness, leading into a dry, crisp finish. Malt and hop flavors similar to aroma (same descriptors and intensities). Medium to high bitterness, lingering into the aftertaste along with a touch of malt and hops. Clean fermentation profile. Minerally water can accentuate and lengthen the dry finish. Hops and malt can fade with age, but the beer should always have a bitter balance.
COMMENTS
Modern examples of Pils tend to become paler in color, drier and sharper in finish, and more bitter moving from South to North in Germany, often mirroring increasing sulfates in the water. Pils found in Bavaria tend to be a bit softer in bitterness with more malt flavor and late hop character, yet still with sufficient hops and crispness of finish to differentiate itself from Munich Helles. The use of the term 'Pils' is more common in Germany than 'Pilsner' to differentiate it from the Czech style, and (some say) to show respect.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Continental Pilsner malt. Traditional German hops. Clean German lager yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
Lighter in body and color, drier, crisper, more fully attenuated, more lingering bitterness, and higher carbonation than a Czech Premium Pale Lager. More hop character, malt flavor, and bitterness than International Pale Lager. More hop character and bitterness with a drier, crisper finish than a Munich Helles; the Helles has more malt intensity, but of the same character as the German Pils.
HISTORY
Adapted from Czech Pilsner to suit brewing conditions in Germany, particularly water with higher mineral content and domestic hop varieties. First brewed in Germany in the early 1870s. Became more popular after WWII as German brewing schools emphasized modern techniques. Along with its cousin Czech Pilsner, it is the ancestor of the most widely produced beer styles today.
6
AMBER MALTY EUROPEAN LAGER
6A
Märzen

6A - Märzen

YEAST STRAIN: Lager ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.054 - 1.060
FG: 1.010 - 1.014
IBU: 18 - 24
BU/GU: 0.33 - 0.4
EBC: 16 - 33 (SRM:8 - 17)
ABV: 5.6 - 6.3%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Märzen, Hofmark Märzen, Paulaner Oktoberfest, Saalfelder Ur-Saalfelder, Weltenburger Kloster Anno 1050
OVERALL IMPRESSION
An amber, malty German lager with a clean, rich, toasty, bready malt flavor, restrained bitterness, and a well-attenuated finish. The overall malt impression is soft, elegant, and complex, with a rich malty aftertaste that is never cloying or heavy.
APPEARANCE
Amber-orange to deep reddish-copper color; should not be golden. Bright clarity, with persistent, off-white foam stand.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium body, with a smooth, creamy texture that often suggests a fuller mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Fully attenuated, without a sweet or cloying impression. May be slightly warming, but the strength should be relatively hidden.
AROMA
Moderate malty aroma, typically rich, bready, somewhat toasty, with light bread crust notes. Clean lager fermentation character. Very low floral, herbal, or spicy hop aroma optional. Caramel-sweet, biscuity-dry, or roasted malt aromas are inappropriate. Very light alcohol might be detected, but should never be sharp. Clean, elegant malt richness should be the primary aroma.
FLAVOR
Moderate to high rich malt flavor often initially suggests sweetness, but the finish is moderately-dry to dry. Distinctive and complex maltiness often includes a bready, toasty aspect. Hop bitterness is moderate, and the floral, herbal, or spicy hop flavor is low to none. Hops provide sufficient balance that the malty palate and finish do not seem sweet. The aftertaste is malty, with the same elegant, rich malt flavors lingering. Noticeable sweet caramel, dry biscuit, or roasted flavors are inappropriate. Clean fermentation profile.
COMMENTS
Modern domestic German Oktoberfest versions are golden - see the Festbier style for this version. Export German versions (to the United States, at least) are typically orange-amber in color, have a distinctive toasty malt character, and are often labeled Oktoberfest. Many craft versions of Oktoberfest are based on this style. Historic versions of the beer tended to be darker, towards the brown color range, but there have been many 'shades' of Märzen (when the name is used as a strength); this style description specifically refers to the stronger amber lager version. The modern Festbier can be thought of as a lighter-bodied, pale Märzen by these terms.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Grist varies, although traditional German versions emphasized Munich malt. The notion of elegance is derived from the finest quality ingredients, particularly the base malts. A decoction mash is traditional, and enhances the rich malt profile.
STYLE COMPARISON
Not as strong and rich as a Dunkles Bock. More malt depth and richness than a Festbier, with a heavier body and slightly less hops. Less hoppy but equally malty as a Czech Amber Lager, but with a different malt profile.
HISTORY
As the name suggests, brewed as a stronger 'March beer' in March and lagered in cold caves over the summer. Modern versions trace back to the lager developed by Spaten in 1841, contemporaneous to the development of Vienna lager. However, the Märzen name is much older than 1841 - the early ones were dark brown, and the name implied a strength band (14 °P) rather than a style. The amber lager style served at Oktoberfest from 1872 until 1990 when the golden Festbier was adopted as the standard festival beer.
6B
Rauchbier

6B - Rauchbier

YEAST STRAIN: Lager ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.050 - 1.057
FG: 1.012 - 1.016
IBU: 20 - 30
BU/GU: 0.4 - 0.53
EBC: 24 - 43 (SRM:12 - 22)
ABV: 4.8 - 6%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Cervejaria Bamberg Rauchbier, Göller Rauchbier, Rittmayer Rauchbier, Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen, Spezial Rauchbier Märzen
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A beechwood-smoked, malty, amber German lager. The expected Märzen profile of toasty-rich malt, restrained bitterness, clean fermentation, and a relatively dry finish is enhanced by a noticeable to intense smoke character.
APPEARANCE
Very clear, with a large, creamy, rich, tan- to cream-colored head. Deep amber to coppery-brown in color, often a little darker than the underlying Märzen style.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium body. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Smooth lager character. Significant astringent, phenolic harshness is inappropriate.
AROMA
Blend of smoke and malt, varying in balance and intensity. The beechwood smoke character can range from subtle to fairly strong, and can seem smoky, woody, or bacon-like. The malt character can be low to moderate, and be somewhat rich, toasty, or malty-sweet. The malt and smoke components are often inversely proportional (i.e., when smoke increases, malt decreases, and vice versa). Low floral or spicy hop aroma optional. Clean fermentation profile.
FLAVOR
Generally follows the aroma profile, with a blend of smoke and malt in varying balance and intensity, yet always mutually supportive. Märzen-like qualities should be evident, particularly a malty, toasty richness, but the beechwood smoke flavor can be low to high. The palate can be somewhat malty, rich, and sweet, yet the finish tends to be medium-dry to dry with the smoke character sometimes enhancing the dryness of the finish. The aftertaste can reflect both malt richness and smoke flavors, with a balanced presentation desirable. Moderate, balanced, hop bitterness. Can have up to a moderate hop flavor with spicy, floral, or herbal notes. Clean lager fermentation character.
COMMENTS
Literally smoke beer in German. The smoke character and intensity varies by maltster and brewery, so allow for variation in the style when judging - not all examples are highly smoked. Many other traditional German styles are smoked; those should be entered in the 32A Classic Style Smoked Beer style. This style is only for the more common Märzen-based beer.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Märzen-type grist, with the addition of a sizeable quantity of German Rauchmalz (beechwood-smoked Vienna-type malt). Some breweries smoke their own malt. German lager yeast. Traditional German or Czech hops.
STYLE COMPARISON
Like a Märzen with but with a balanced, sweet, smoky aroma and flavor and a somewhat darker color.
HISTORY
A historical specialty of the city of Bamberg, in the Franconian region of Bavaria in Germany. While smoked beers certainly were made long ago, the origins of this specific style are unclear but must have been developed after Märzen was created.
6C
Dunkles Bock

6C - Dunkles Bock

YEAST STRAIN: Lager ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.064 - 1.072
FG: 1.013 - 1.019
IBU: 20 - 27
BU/GU: 0.31 - 0.38
EBC: 28 - 43 (SRM:14 - 22)
ABV: 6.3 - 7.2%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Aass Bock, Einbecker Ur-Bock Dunkel, Kneitinger Bock, Lindeboom Bock, Schell's Bock, Penn Brewery St. Nikolaus Bock
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A strong, dark, malty German lager beer that emphasizes the malty-rich and somewhat toasty qualities of continental malts without being sweet in the finish.
APPEARANCE
Light copper to brown color, often with attractive garnet highlights. Good clarity despite the dark color. Large, creamy, persistent, off-white head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium to medium-full bodied. Moderate to moderately low carbonation. Some alcohol warmth may be found, but should never be hot. Smooth, without harshness or astringency.
AROMA
Medium to medium-high rich bready-malty aroma, often with moderate amounts of rich Maillard products or toasty overtones. Virtually no hop aroma. Some alcohol may be noticeable. Clean lager character, although a slight dark fruit character is allowable.
FLAVOR
Medium to medium-high complex, rich maltiness is dominated by toasty-rich Maillard products. Some dark caramel notes may be present. Hop bitterness is generally only high enough to support the malt flavors, allowing a bit of malty sweetness to linger into the finish. Well-attenuated, not cloying. Clean fermentation profile, although the malt can provide a slight dark fruit character. No hop flavor. No roasted, burnt, or dry biscuity character.
COMMENTS
Decoction mashing plays an important part of flavor development, as it enhances the caramel and Maillard flavor aspects of the malt.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Munich and Vienna malts, rarely a tiny bit of dark roasted malts for color adjustment, never any non-malt adjuncts. Continental European hop varieties are used. Clean German lager yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
Darker, with a richer malty flavor and less apparent bitterness than a Helles Bock. Less alcohol and malty richness than a Doppelbock. Stronger malt flavors and higher alcohol than a Märzen. Richer, less attenuated, and less hoppy than a Czech Amber Lager.
HISTORY
Originated in the Northern German city of Einbeck, which was a brewing center and popular exporter in the days of the Hanseatic League (14th to 17th century). Recreated in Munich starting in the 17th century. 'Bock' translates to 'Ram' in German, which is why the animal is often used in logos and advertisements.
7
AMBER BITTER EUROPEAN BEER
7A
Vienna Lager

7A - Vienna Lager

YEAST STRAIN: Lager ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.048 - 1.055
FG: 1.010 - 1.014
IBU: 18 - 30
BU/GU: 0.38 - 0.55
EBC: 18 - 30 (SRM:9 - 15)
ABV: 4.7 - 5.5%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Chuckanut Vienna Lager, Devils Backbone Vienna Lager, Figueroa Mountain Red Lager, Heavy Seas Cutlass, Ottakringer Wiener Original, Schell's Firebrick, Theresianer Vienna
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A moderate-strength continental amber lager with a soft, smooth maltiness and a balanced, moderate bitterness, yet finishing relatively dry. The malt flavor is clean, bready-rich, and somewhat toasty, with an elegant impression derived from quality base malts and process, not specialty malts or adjuncts.
APPEARANCE
Light reddish amber to copper color. Bright clarity. Large, off-white, persistent head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body, with a gentle creaminess. Moderate carbonation. Smooth.
AROMA
Moderately-intense malt aroma, with toasty and malty-rich accents. Floral, spicy hop aroma may be low to none. Clean lager character. A significant caramel, biscuity, or roasted aroma is inappropriate.
FLAVOR
Soft, elegant malt complexity is in the forefront, with a firm enough hop bitterness to provide a balanced finish. The malt flavor tends towards a rich, toasty character, without significant caramel, biscuity, or roast flavors. Fairly dry, soft finish, with both rich malt and hop bitterness present in the aftertaste. Floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor may be low to none. Clean fermentation profile.
COMMENTS
A standard-strength everyday beer, not a beer brewed for festivals. Many traditional examples have become sweeter and more adjunct-laden, now seeming more like International Amber or Dark Lagers.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Traditionally, best-quality Vienna malt, but can also use Pils and Munich malts. Traditional continental hops. Clean German lager yeast. May use small amounts of specialty malts for color and sweetness.
STYLE COMPARISON
Similar malt flavor as a Märzen, but lighter in intensity, and body, with a touch more bitterness and dryness in the balance. Lower in alcohol than Märzen or Festbier. Less rich, malty, and hoppy than Czech Amber Lager.
HISTORY
Developed by Anton Dreher in Vienna in 1841, became popular in the mid-late 1800s. The style was brought to Mexico by Santiago Graf and other Austrian immigrant brewers in the late 1800s. Seems to be embraced as a modern craft style in other countries.
7B
Altbier

7B - Altbier

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.044 - 1.052
FG: 1.008 - 1.014
IBU: 25 - 50
BU/GU: 0.57 - 0.96
EBC: 18 - 33 (SRM:9 - 17)
ABV: 4.3 - 5.5%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Bolten Alt, Diebels Alt, Füchschen Alt, Original Schlüssel Alt, Schlösser Alt, Schumacher Alt, Uerige Altbier
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A moderately colored, well-attenuated, bitter beer with a rich maltiness balancing a strong bitterness. Light and spicy hop character complements the malt. A dry beer with a firm body and smooth palate.
APPEARANCE
The color ranges from amber to deep copper, stopping short of brown; bronze-orange is most common. Brilliant clarity. Thick, creamy, long-lasting off-white head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium body. Smooth. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Astringency low to none.
AROMA
Malty and rich with grainy characteristics like baked bread or nutty, toasted bread crusts. Should not have darker roasted or chocolate notes. Malt intensity is moderate to moderately-high. Moderate to low hops complement but do not dominate the malt, and often have a spicy, peppery, or floral character. Fermentation character is very clean. Low to medium-low esters optional.
FLAVOR
Malt profile similar to the aroma, with an assertive, medium to high hop bitterness balancing the rich malty flavors. The beer finishes medium-dry to dry with a grainy, bitter, malty-rich aftertaste. The finish is long-lasting, sometimes with a nutty or bittersweet impression. The apparent bitterness level is sometimes masked by the malt character if the beer is not very dry, but the bitterness tends to scale with the malt richness to maintain balance. No roast. No harshness. Clean fermentation profile. Light fruity esters, especially dark fruit, may be present. Medium to low spicy, peppery, or floral hop flavor. Light minerally character optional.
COMMENTS
Classic, traditional examples in the Altstadt ('old town') section of Düsseldorf are served from casks. Most examples have a balanced (25-35 IBU) bitterness, not the aggressive hop character of the well-known Zum Uerige. Stronger sticke and doppelsticke beers should be entered in the 27 Historical Beer style instead.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Grists vary, but usually consist of German base malts (usually Pils, sometimes Munich) with small amounts of crystal, chocolate, or black malts. May include some wheat, including roasted wheat. Spalt hops are traditional, but other traditional German or Czech hops can be used. Clean, highly attenuative ale yeast. A step mash program is traditional. Fermented at cool ale temperatures, then cold conditioned.
STYLE COMPARISON
More bitter and malty than International Amber Lagers. Somewhat similar to California Common, both in production technique and finished flavor and color, though not in ingredients. Less alcohol, less malty richness, and more bitterness than a Dunkles Bock. Drier, richer, and more bitter than a Vienna Lager.
HISTORY
Developed in the late 19th century in Düsseldorf to use lager techniques to compete with lager. Older German styles were brewed in the area but there is no linkage to modern Altbier.
8
DARK EUROPEAN LAGER
8A
Munich Dunkel

8A - Munich Dunkel

YEAST STRAIN: Lager ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.048 - 1.056
FG: 1.010 - 1.016
IBU: 18 - 28
BU/GU: 0.38 - 0.5
EBC: 33 - 55 (SRM:17 - 28)
ABV: 4.5 - 5.6%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel, Ettaler Kloster-Dunkel, Eittinger Urtyp Dunkel, Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Dunkel, Hofbräuhaus Dunkel, Weltenburger Kloster Barock-Dunkel
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A traditional malty brown lager from Bavaria. Deeply toasted, bready malt flavors without any roasty or burnt flavors. Smooth and rich, with a restrained bitterness and a relatively dry finish that allows for drinking in quantity.
APPEARANCE
Deep copper to dark brown, often with a red or garnet tint. Creamy, light to medium tan head. Usually clear.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium to medium-full body, providing a soft and dextrinous mouthfeel without being heavy or cloying. Moderate carbonation. Smooth lager character. No harsh or biting astringency. Not warming.
AROMA
Moderate to high malt richness, like toasted bread crusts with hints of chocolate, nuts, caramel, or toffee. Fresh traditional versions often show higher levels of chocolate. The malt character is more malty-rich than sugary or caramelly sweet. Clean fermentation profile. A light spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma is optional.
FLAVOR
Rich malt flavors similar to aroma (same malt descriptors apply), medium to high. Restrained bitterness, medium-low to medium, giving an overall malty balance. Malty and soft on the palate without being overly sweet, and medium-dry in the finish with a malty aftertaste. No roast, burnt, or bitter malt flavors, toasted flavors shouldn't have a harsh grainy dryness, and caramel flavors should not be sweet. Low spicy, herbal, or floral hop flavor optional. Clean fermentation profile.
COMMENTS
A traditional Munich style, the dark companion to Helles. Franconian versions are more bitter than ones from Munich.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Traditionally, Munich malts, but Pils and Vienna can be used too. Light use of specialty malts for color and depth. Decoction mash traditional. German hops and lager yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
Not as intense in maltiness or as strong as a Dunkles Bock. Lacking the more roasted flavors and often the hop bitterness of a Schwarzbier. Richer, more malt-centric, and less hoppy than a Czech Dark Lager.
HISTORY
Developed at Spaten in the 1830s after the development of Munich malt, and seen as a successor to dark regional beers of the time. While originating in Munich, the style became popular throughout Bavaria (especially Franconia).
8B
Schwarzbier

8B - Schwarzbier

YEAST STRAIN: Lager ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.046 - 1.052
FG: 1.010 - 1.016
IBU: 20 - 35
BU/GU: 0.43 - 0.67
EBC: 37 - 59 (SRM:19 - 30)
ABV: 4.4 - 5.4%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Chuckanut Schwarz Lager, Devils Backbone Schwartz Bier, Köstritzer Schwarzbier, Kulmbacher Mönchshof Schwarzbier, Nuezeller Original Badebier, pFriem Schwarzbier
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A dark German lager that balances roasted yet smooth malt flavors with moderate hop bitterness. The lighter body, dryness, and lack of a harsh, burnt, or heavy aftertaste helps make this beer quite drinkable.
APPEARANCE
Medium to very dark brown in color, often with deep ruby to garnet highlights, yet almost never truly black. Very clear. Large, persistent, tan-colored head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body. Moderate to moderately-high carbonation. Smooth. No harshness or astringency, despite the use of dark, roasted malts.
AROMA
Low to moderate malt, with low aromatic malty sweetness and hints of roast malt often apparent. The malt can be clean and neutral or moderately rich and bready, and may have a hint of dark caramel. The roast character can be somewhat dark chocolate- or coffee-like but should never be burnt. A moderately low spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma is optional. Clean lager yeast character.
FLAVOR
Light to moderate malt flavor, which can have a clean, neutral character to a moderately rich, bread-malty quality. Light to moderate roasted malt flavors can give a bitter-chocolate palate that is never burnt. Medium-low to medium bitterness. Light to moderate spicy, floral, or herbal hop flavor. Clean lager character. Dry finish. Some residual sweetness is acceptable but not traditional. Aftertaste of hop bitterness with a complementary but subtle roastiness in the background.
COMMENTS
Literally means black beer in German. While sometimes called a 'black Pils,' the beer is rarely as dark as black or as hop-forward and bitter as a Pils. Strongly roasted, Porter-like flavors are a flaw.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
German Munich malt and Pilsner malts for the base, with huskless dark roasted malts that add roast flavors without burnt flavors. German hop varieties and clean German lager yeasts are traditional.
STYLE COMPARISON
In comparison with a Munich Dunkel, usually darker in color, drier on the palate, lighter in body, and with a noticeable (but not high) roasted malt edge to balance the malt base. Should not taste like an American Porter made with lager yeast. Drier, less malty, with less hop character than a Czech Dark Lager.
HISTORY
A regional specialty from Thuringia, Saxony, and Franconia in Germany. Served as the inspiration for black lagers brewed in Japan. Popularity grew after German reunification in 1990.
9
STRONG EUROPEAN BEER
9A
Doppelbock

9A - Doppelbock

YEAST STRAIN: Lager ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.072 - 1.112
FG: 1.016 - 1.024
IBU: 16 - 26
BU/GU: 0.22 - 0.23
EBC: 12 - 49 (SRM:6 - 25)
ABV: 7 - 10%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES

OVERALL IMPRESSION
A strong, rich, and very malty German lager that can have both pale and dark variants. The darker versions have more richly-developed, deeper malt flavors, while the paler versions have slightly more hops and dryness.
APPEARANCE
Good clarity, with a large, creamy, persistent head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-full to full body. Moderate to moderately-low carbonation. Very smooth without harshness, astringency. A light alcohol warmth may be noted, but it should never burn.
AROMA
Very strong maltiness, possibly with light caramel notes, and up to a moderate alcohol aroma. Virtually no hop aroma.
FLAVOR
Very rich and malty. Hop bitterness varies from moderate to moderately low but always allows malt to dominate the flavor. Faint hop flavor optional. Most examples are fairly malty-sweet on the palate, but should have an impression of attenuation in the finish. The impression of sweetness comes from low hopping, not from incomplete fermentation. Clean fermentation profile.
COMMENTS
Doppelbock means double bock. Most versions are dark colored and may display the caramelizing and Maillard products of decoction mashing, but excellent pale versions also exist. The pale versions will not have the same richness and darker malt and fruit flavors of the dark versions, and may be a bit drier, hoppier, and more bitter. While most traditional examples are in the lower end of the ranges cited, the style can be considered to have no upper limit for gravity and alcohol, provided the balance remains the same.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pils, Vienna, Munich malts. Occasionally dark malt for color adjustment. Traditional German hops. Clean German lager yeast. Decoction mashing is traditional.
STYLE COMPARISON
A stronger, richer, more full-bodied version of either a Dunkles Bock or a Helles Bock. Pale versions will show higher attenuation and less dark fruity character than the darker versions.
HISTORY
A Bavarian specialty originating in Munich, first made by the monks of St. Francis of Paula by the 1700s. Historical versions were less well-attenuated than modern interpretations, thus with higher sweetness and lower alcohol levels. Was called 'liquid bread' by monks, and consumed during the Lenten fast. Breweries adopted beer names ending in '-ator' after a 19th century court ruling that no one but Paulaner was allowed to use the name Salvator. Traditionally dark brown in color; paler examples are a more recent development.
9B
Eisbock

9B - Eisbock

YEAST STRAIN: Lager ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.078 - 1.120
FG: 1.020 - 1.035
IBU: 25 - 35
BU/GU: 0.32 - 0.29
EBC: 33 - 59 (SRM:17 - 30)
ABV: 9.0 - 14.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Kulmbacher Eisbock
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A strong, full-bodied, rich, and malty dark German lager often with a viscous quality and strong flavors. Even though flavors are concentrated, the alcohol should be smooth and warming, not burning.
APPEARANCE
Deep copper to dark brown in color, often with attractive ruby highlights. Good clarity. Head retention may be moderate to poor. Off-white to deep ivory colored head. Pronounced legs are often evident.
MOUTHFEEL
Full to very full-bodied. Low carbonation. Significant alcohol warmth without sharp hotness. Very smooth and silky without harsh edges from alcohol, bitterness, fusels, or other concentrated flavors.
AROMA
Dominated by rich, intense malt and a definite alcohol presence. The malt can have bready, toasty, qualities, with some caramel or faint chocolate, often with dark fruit notes like plums or grapes. No hop aroma. Alcohol aromas should not be harsh or solventy. Clean fermentation profile.
FLAVOR
Rich, sweet malt balanced by a significant alcohol presence. The malt can have Maillard products, toasty qualities, some caramel, and occasionally a slight chocolate flavor. May have significant malt-derived dark fruit esters. Hop bitterness just offsets the malt sweetness enough to avoid a cloying character. No hop flavor. Alcohol helps balance the strong malt presence. The finish should be of rich malt with a certain dryness from the alcohol. It should not be sticky, syrupy, or cloyingly sweet. Clean fermentation profile.
COMMENTS
Extended lagering is often needed post-freezing to smooth the alcohol and enhance the malt and alcohol balance. Pronounced 'ICE-bock.'
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Same as Doppelbock. Produced by freezing a doppelbock-like beer and removing ice ('freeze distillation'), thus concentrating flavor and alcohol, as well as any defects present. Commercial eisbocks are generally concentrated anywhere from 7% to 33% by volume.
STYLE COMPARISON
Eisbocks are not simply stronger Doppelbocks; the name refers to the process of freezing and concentrating the beer, and is not a statement on alcohol; some Doppelbocks are stronger than Eisbocks. Not as thick, rich, or sweet as a Wheatwine.
HISTORY
Originating in Kulmbach in Franconia in the late 1800s, although exact origins are not known. Fables describe it as coming from beer accidentally freezing at a brewery.
9C
Baltic Porter

9C - Baltic Porter

YEAST STRAIN: Lager ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.060 - 1.090
FG: 1.016 - 1.024
IBU: 20 - 40
BU/GU: 0.33 - 0.44
EBC: 33 - 59 (SRM:17 - 30)
ABV: 6.5 - 9.5%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Aldaris Mežpils Porteris, Baltika 6 Porter, Devils Backbone Danzig, Okocim Mistrzowski Porter, Sinebrychoff Porter, Zywiec Porter
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A strong, dark, malty beer with different interpretations within the Baltic region. Smooth, warming, and richly malty, with complex dark fruit flavors and a roasted flavor without burnt notes.
APPEARANCE
Dark reddish-copper to opaque dark brown color, but not black. Thick, persistent tan-colored head. Clear, although darker versions can be opaque.
MOUTHFEEL
Generally quite full-bodied and smooth, with a well-aged alcohol warmth that can be deceptive. Medium to medium-high carbonation, making it seem even more mouth-filling. Not heavy on the tongue due to carbonation level.
AROMA
Rich maltiness often containing caramel, toffee, nuts, deep toast, or licorice notes. Complex alcohol and ester profile of moderate strength, and reminiscent of plums, prunes, raisins, cherries, or currants, occasionally with a vinous Port-like quality. Deep malt accents of dark chocolate, coffee, or molasses, but never burnt. No hops. No sourness. Smooth, not sharp, impression.
FLAVOR
As with aroma, has a rich maltiness with a complex blend of deep malt, dried fruit esters, and alcohol. The malt can have a caramel, toffee, nutty, molasses, or licorice complexity. Prominent yet smooth Schwarzbier-like roasted flavor that stops short of burnt. Light hints of black currants and dark dried fruits. Smooth palate and full finish. Starts malty-sweet but darker malt flavors quickly dominate and persist through the dryish finish, leaving a hint of roast coffee or licorice and dried fruit in the aftertaste. Medium-low to medium bitterness, just to provide balance and prevent it from seeming cloying. Hop flavor from slightly spicy hops ranges from none to medium-low. Clean fermentation profile.
COMMENTS
Most commercial versions are in the 7-8.5% ABV range. The best examples have a deceptive strength that makes them dangerously easy to drink. The character of these beers varies by country of origin, so be careful about generalizing based on a single example. Some beers are truer to their English roots, while others are more of the style first popularized in Poland.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Generally lager yeast (cold fermented if using ale yeast, as is required when brewed in Russia). Debittered dark malt. Munich or Vienna base malt. Continental hops. May contain crystal malts or adjuncts. Brown or amber malt common in historical recipes. As a collection of regional beers, different formulations are expected.
STYLE COMPARISON
Combines the body, maltiness, richness, and smoothness of a Doppelbock, the darker malt character of an English Porter, the roast flavors of a Schwarzbier, and alcohol and fruitiness of and Old Ale. Much less roasted and often lower in alcohol than an Imperial Stout.
HISTORY
Developed indigenously (and independently) in several countries bordering the Baltic Sea after import of popular English porters and stouts was interrupted in the early 1800s. Historically top-fermented, many breweries adapted the recipes for bottom-fermenting yeast along with the rest of their production. The name Baltic Porter is recent (since the 1990s) and describes the modern collection of beers with a somewhat similar profile from these countries, not historical versions.
10
GERMAN WHEAT BEER
10A
Weissbier

10A - Weissbier

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.044 - 1.053
FG: 1.008 - 1.014
IBU: 8 - 15
BU/GU: 0.18 - 0.28
EBC: 4 - 12 (SRM:2 - 6)
ABV: 4.3 - 5.6%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES

OVERALL IMPRESSION
A pale, refreshing, lightly-hopped German wheat beer with high carbonation, dry finish, fluffy mouthfeel, and a distinctive banana-and-clove weizen yeast fermentation profile.
APPEARANCE
Pale straw to gold in color. Very thick, moussy, long-lasting white head. Can be hazy and have a shine from wheat and yeast, although this can settle out in bottles.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body; never heavy. Fluffy, creamy fullness progressing to a light, spritzy finish aided by high to very high carbonation. Effervescent.
AROMA
Moderate to strong esters and phenols, typically banana and clove, often well balanced and typically stronger than the malt. Light to moderate bready, doughy, or grainy wheat aroma. Light vanilla optional. Light floral, spicy, or herbal hops optional. Bubblegum (strawberry with banana), sourness, or smoke are faults.
FLAVOR
Low to moderately strong banana and clove flavor, often well balanced. Low to moderate soft, somewhat bready, doughy, or grainy wheat flavor supported by the slight Pils malt grainy sweetness. Very low to moderately low bitterness. Well-rounded, flavorful palate with a relatively dry finish. Light vanilla optional. Very low floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor optional. Any impression of sweetness is due more to low bitterness than any residual sweetness; a sweet or heavy finish impairs drinkability. Bubblegum, sourness, or smoke are faults. While the banana-and-clove profile is important, it should not be so strong as to be extreme and unbalanced.
COMMENTS
Also known as hefeweizen or weizenbier, particularly outside Bavaria. These beers are best enjoyed while young and fresh, as they often don't age well. In Germany, lower-alcohol light (leicht) and non-alcoholic versions are popular. Kristall versions are filtered for brilliant clarity.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Malted wheat, at least half the grist. Pilsner malt. Decoction mash traditional. Weizen yeast, cool fermentation temperatures.
STYLE COMPARISON
Compared to American Wheat, has a banana and clove yeast character and less bitterness. Compared to a Dunkles Weissbier, has a paler color and less malt richness and flavor.
HISTORY
While Bavaria has a wheat beer tradition dating back before the 1500s, brewing wheat beer used to be a monopoly reserved for Bavarian royalty. Modern Weissbier dates from 1872 when Schneider began production of its amber version. However, pale Weissbier only became popular since the 1960s (although the name historically could be used in Germany to describe beer made from air-dried malt, a different tradition). It is quite popular today, particularly in southern Germany.
10B
Dunkles Weissbier

10B - Dunkles Weissbier

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.044 - 1.057
FG: 1.008 - 1.014
IBU: 10 - 18
BU/GU: 0.23 - 0.32
EBC: 28 - 45 (SRM:14 - 23)
ABV: 4.3 - 5.6%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES

OVERALL IMPRESSION
A moderately dark German wheat beer with a distinctive banana-and-clove weizen yeast fermentation profile, supported by a toasted bread or caramel malt flavor. Highly carbonated and refreshing, with a creamy, fluffy texture and light finish.
APPEARANCE
Light copper to dark, mahogany brown in color. Very thick, moussy, long-lasting off-white head. Can be hazy and have a shine from wheat and yeast, although this can settle out in bottled versions.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium-full body. Fluffy, creamy fullness progressing to a lighter finish, aided by moderate to high carbonation. Effervescent.
AROMA
Moderate esters and phenols, typically banana and clove, often well balanced with each other and with the malt. Light to moderate bready, doughy, or grainy wheat aroma, often accompanied by caramel, bread crust, or richer malt notes. Low to moderate vanilla optional. Light floral, spicy, or herbal hops optional. Bubblegum (strawberry with banana), sourness, or smoke are faults.
FLAVOR
Low to moderately strong banana and clove flavor, often well balanced with each other and with the malt, although the malt may sometimes mask the clove impression. Low to medium-high soft, somewhat bready, doughy, or grainy wheat flavor with richer caramel, toast, or bread crust flavors. No strongly roasted flavors, but a touch of roasty dryness is allowable. Very low to low bitterness. Well-rounded, flavorful, often somewhat malty palate with a relatively dry finish. Very light to moderate vanilla optional. Low spicy, herbal, or floral hop flavor optional. Bubblegum, sourness, or smoke are faults.
COMMENTS
Often known as dunkelweizen, particularly in the United States. Increasingly rare and often being replaced by Kristall and non-alcoholic versions in Germany.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Malted wheat, at least half the grist. Munich, Vienna, or Pilsner malt. Dark wheat, caramel wheat, or color malt. Decoction mash traditional. Weizen yeast, cool fermentation temperatures.
STYLE COMPARISON
Combines the yeast and wheat character of Weissbier with the malty richness of a Munich Dunkel. The banana-and-clove character is often less apparent than in a Weissbier due to the increased maltiness. Has a similar yeast character as Roggenbier, but without the rye flavor and increased body.
HISTORY
Bavaria has a wheat beer brewing traditional hundreds of years old, but the brewing right was reserved for Bavarian royalty until the late 1700s. Old-fashioned Bavarian wheat beer was often dark, as were most beers of the time. Pale Weissbier started to become popular in the 1960s, but traditional dark wheat beer remained somewhat of an old person's drink.
10C
Weizenbock

10C - Weizenbock

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.064 - 1.090
FG: 1.015 - 1.022
IBU: 15 - 30
BU/GU: 0.23 - 0.33
EBC: 12 - 49 (SRM:6 - 25)
ABV: 6.5 - 9%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Dark - Plank Bavarian Dunkler Weizenbock, Penn Weizenbock, Schalchner Weisser Bock, Schneider Weisse Aventinus; Pale -Ayinger Weizenbock, Distelhäuser Weizen Bock, Ladenburger Weizenbock Hell, Weihenstephaner Vitus
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A strong and malty German wheat beer combining the best wheat and yeast flavors of a Weissbier with the rich maltiness, strength, and body of a Bock. The style range includes Bock and Doppelbock strength, with variations for pale and dark color.
APPEARANCE
Very thick, moussy, long-lasting head. Can be hazy and have a shine from wheat and yeast, although this can settle out with age.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-full to full body. Soft, smooth, fluffy or creamy texture. Mild alcohol warmth. Moderate to high carbonation.
AROMA
Medium-high to high malty richness with a significant bready, grainy wheat character. Medium-low to medium-high weizen yeast character, typically banana and clove. Vanilla accents optional. No hops. Low to moderate alcohol, not hot or solventy. The malt, yeast, and alcohol are well balanced, complex, and inviting. Bubblegum (strawberry with banana), sourness, or smoke are faults.
FLAVOR
Medium-high to high malty richness with significant bready, grainy wheat flavor. Low to moderate banana and spice (clove, vanilla) yeast character. No hop flavor. Low to medium-low bitterness can give a slightly sweet palate impression, but the beer typically finishes dry. Light alcohol can enhance this character. The interplay between the malt, yeast, and alcohol adds complexity and interest, which is often enhanced with age. Bubblegum, sourness, or smoke are faults.
COMMENTS
A Weissbier brewed to bock or doppelbock strength, although Schneider also produces an Eisbock version. Pale and dark versions exist, but dark is most common. Lightly oxidized Maillard products can produce some rich, intense flavors and aromas that are often seen in aged imported commercial products; fresher versions will not have this character. Well-aged examples might also take on a slight sherry-like complexity. Pale versions, like their doppelbock cousins, have less rich malt complexity and often more hop-forward. However, versions that have significant late hops or are dry-hopped should be entered in 34B Mixed-Style Beer.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS

STYLE COMPARISON

HISTORY
Dopplebock-strength Aventinus was created in 1907 at the Schneider Weisse Brauhaus in Munich. Pale versions are a much more recent invention.
11
BRITISH BITTER
11A
Ordinary Bitter

11A - Ordinary Bitter

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.030 - 1.039
FG: 1.007 - 1.011
IBU: 25 - 35
BU/GU: 0.83 - 0.9
EBC: 16 - 28 (SRM:8 - 14)
ABV: 3.2 - 3.8%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Bateman's XB, Brains Bitter, Brakspear Gravity, Fuller's Chiswick Bitter, Greene King IPA, Tetley's Original Bitter
OVERALL IMPRESSION
Low gravity, alcohol, and carbonation make this an easy-drinking session beer. The malt profile can vary in flavor and intensity, but should never override the overall bitter impression. Drinkability is a critical component of the style.
APPEARANCE
Pale amber to light copper color. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. May have very little head due to low carbonation.
MOUTHFEEL
Light to medium-light body. Low carbonation, although bottled examples can have moderate carbonation.
AROMA
Low to moderate malt aroma, often (but not always) with a light caramel quality. Bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty malt complexity is common. Mild to moderate fruitiness. Hop aroma can range from moderate to none, typically with a floral, earthy, resiny, or fruity character. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.
FLAVOR
Medium to moderately high bitterness. Moderately low to moderately high fruity esters. Moderate to low hop flavor, typically with an earthy, resiny, fruity, or floral character. Low to medium maltiness with a dry finish. The malt profile is typically bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty. Low to moderate caramel or toffee flavors are optional. Balance is often decidedly bitter, although the bitterness should not completely overpower the malt flavor, esters, and hop flavor. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.
COMMENTS
The lowest gravity member of the British Bitter family, typically known to consumers simply as 'bitter' (although brewers tend to refer to it as Ordinary Bitter to distinguish it from other members of the family).
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pale ale, amber, or crystal malts. May use a touch of dark malt for color adjustment. May use sugar adjuncts, corn, or wheat. English finishing hops are most traditional, but any hops are fair game; if American hops are used, a light touch is required. Characterful British yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
Some modern variants are brewed exclusively with pale malt and are known as golden ales, summer ales, or golden bitters. Emphasis is on the bittering hop addition as opposed to the aggressive middle and late hopping seen in American ales.
HISTORY
See comments in category introduction.
11B
Best Bitter

11B - Best Bitter

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.040 - 1.048
FG: 1.008 - 1.012
IBU: 25 - 40
BU/GU: 0.63 - 0.83
EBC: 16 - 32 (SRM:8 - 16)
ABV: 3.8 - 4.6%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Adnams Southwold Bitter, Fuller's London Pride, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Salopian Darwin's Origin, Surrey Hills Shere Drop, Timothy Taylor Landlord
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A flavorful, yet refreshing, session beer. Some examples can be more malt balanced, but this should not override the overall bitter impression. Drinkability is a critical component of the style.
APPEARANCE
Pale amber to medium copper color. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. May have very little head due to low carbonation.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body. Low carbonation, although bottled examples can have moderate carbonation.
AROMA
Low to moderate malt aroma, often (but not always) with a low to medium-low caramel quality. Bready, biscuit, or lightly toasty malt complexity is common. Mild to moderate fruitiness. Hop aroma can range from moderate to none, typically with a floral, earthy, resiny, or fruity character. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.
FLAVOR
Medium to moderately high bitterness. Moderately low to moderately high fruity esters. Moderate to low hop flavor, typically with an earthy, resiny, fruity, or floral character. Low to medium maltiness with a dry finish. The malt profile is typically bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty. Low to moderate caramel or toffee flavors are optional. Balance is often decidedly bitter, although the bitterness should not completely overpower the malt flavor, esters and hop flavor. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.
COMMENTS
More evident malt flavor than in an ordinary bitter; this is a stronger, session-strength ale.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pale ale, amber, or crystal malts. Most contain sugar. May use a touch of caramel or dark malt for color adjustment. May use corn or wheat. English finishing hops are most traditional, but any hops are fair game; if American hops are used, a light touch is required. Characterful British yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
More alcohol than an ordinary bitter, and often using higher-quality ingredients. Less alcohol than a strong bitter. More caramel or base malt character and color than a British Golden Ale. Emphasis is on the bittering hop addition as opposed to the aggressive middle and late hopping seen in American ales.
HISTORY
See comments in category introduction.
11C
Strong Bitter

11C - Strong Bitter

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.048 - 1.060
FG: 1.010 - 1.016
IBU: 30 - 50
BU/GU: 0.63 - 0.83
EBC: 16 - 35 (SRM:8 - 18)
ABV: 4.6 - 6.2%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Bass Ale, Bateman's Triple XB, Robinsons Trooper, Samuel Smith's Organic Pale Ale, Shepherd Neame Bishop's Finger, Summit Extra Pale Ale
OVERALL IMPRESSION
An average-strength to moderately-strong British bitter ale. The balance may vary between fairly even between malt and hops to somewhat bitter. Drinkability is a critical component of the style. A rather broad style that allows for considerable interpretation by the brewer.
APPEARANCE
Light amber to deep copper color. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. A low head is acceptable when carbonation is also low.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium-full body. Low to moderate carbonation, although bottled versions will be higher. Stronger versions may have a slight alcohol warmth but this character should not be too high.
AROMA
Hop aroma moderately-high to moderately-low, typically with a floral, earthy, resiny, or fruity character. Medium to medium-high malt aroma, optionally with a low to moderate caramel component. Medium-low to medium-high fruity esters. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.
FLAVOR
Medium to medium-high bitterness with supporting malt flavors evident. The malt profile is typically bready, biscuity, nutty, or lightly toasty, and optionally has a moderately low to moderate caramel or toffee flavor. Hop flavor moderate to moderately high, typically with a floral, earthy, resiny, or fruity character. Hop bitterness and flavor should be noticeable, but should not totally dominate malt flavors. Moderately-low to high fruity esters. Optionally may have low amounts of alcohol. Medium-dry to dry finish. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.
COMMENTS
In England today, 'ESB' is a Fullers trademark, and no one thinks of it as a generic class of beer. It is a unique (but very well-known) beer that has a very strong, complex malt profile not found in other examples, often leading judges to overly penalize traditional English strong bitters. In America, ESB has been co-opted to describe a malty, bitter, reddish, standard-strength (for the US) British-type ale, and is a popular craft beer style. This may cause some judges to think of US brewpub ESBs as representative of this style.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pale ale, amber, or crystal malts, may use a touch of black malt for color adjustment. May use sugar adjuncts, corn or wheat. English finishing hops are most traditional, but any hops are fair game; if American hops are used, a light touch is required. Characterful British yeast. Burton versions use medium to high sulfate water, which can increase the perception of dryness and add a minerally or sulfury aroma and flavor.
STYLE COMPARISON
More evident malt and hop flavors than in a special or best bitter, as well as more alcohol. Stronger versions may overlap somewhat with British Strong Ales, although Strong Bitters will tend to be paler and more bitter. More malt flavor (particularly caramel) and esters than an American Pale Ale, with different finishing hop character.
HISTORY
See comments in category introduction. Strong bitters can be seen as a higher-gravity version of best bitters (although not necessarily 'more premium' since best bitters are traditionally the brewer's finest product). British pale ales are generally considered a premium, export-strength pale, bitter beer that roughly approximates a strong bitter, although reformulated for bottling (including increasing carbonation levels). While modern British pale ale is considered a bottled bitter, historically the styles were different.
12
PALE COMMONWEALTH BEER
12A
British Golden Ale

12A - British Golden Ale

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.038 - 1.053
FG: 1.006 - 1.012
IBU: 20 - 45
BU/GU: 0.53 - 0.85
EBC: 4 - 10 (SRM:2 - 5)
ABV: 3.8 - 5.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Adnams Explorer, Crouch Vale Brewers Gold, Golden Hill Exmoor Gold, Hop Back Summer Lightning, Oakham JHB, Spitfire Golden Ale
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A hop-forward, average-strength to moderately-strong pale bitter. Drinkability and a refreshing quality are critical components of the style, as it was initially a summer seasonal beer.
APPEARANCE
Straw to golden in color. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white head. A low head is acceptable when carbonation is also low.
MOUTHFEEL
Light to medium body. Low to moderate carbonation on draught, although bottled commercial versions will be higher. Stronger versions may have a slight alcohol warmth, but this character should not be too high.
AROMA
Hop aroma is moderately low to moderately high, and can use any variety of hops - floral, herbal, or earthy English hops and citrusy American hops are most common. Frequently a single hop varietal will be showcased. Low bready malt aroma with no caramel. Medium-low to low fruity aroma from the hops rather than esters. Low diacetyl optional.
FLAVOR
Medium to medium-high bitterness. Hop flavor is moderate to moderately high of any hop variety, although citrus flavors are increasingly common. Medium-low to low malt character, generally bready with perhaps a little biscuity flavor. Caramel flavors are typically absent. Hop bitterness and flavor should be pronounced. Moderately-low to low esters. Medium-dry to dry finish. Bitterness increases with alcohol level, but is always balanced. Low diacetyl optional.
COMMENTS
Well-hopped, quenching beer with an emphasis on showcasing hops. Served colder than traditional bitters, this style was originally positioned as a refreshing summer beer, but is now often brewed year-round. Once brewed with English hops, increasingly American citrus-flavored hops are used. Golden Ales are also called Golden Bitters, Summer Ales, or British Blonde Ales. Can be found in cask, keg, and bottle.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Low-color pale or lager malt acting as a blank canvas for the hop character. May use sugar adjuncts, corn, or wheat. English hops frequently used, although citrusy American varietals are becoming more common. Somewhat clean-fermenting British yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
More similar to an American Pale Ale than anything else, although it is often lower in alcohol and usually features British ingredients. Has no caramel and fewer esters compared to British Bitters and pale ales. Dry as Bitters but with less malt character to support the hops, giving a different balance. Often uses (and features) American hops, more so than most other modern British styles. Balance of hoppiness between a Blonde Ale and an American Pale Ale.
HISTORY
Modern golden ales were developed in England to take on strongly-marketed lagers. While it is difficult to identify the first, Hop Back's Summer Lightning, first brewed in 1986, is thought by many to have got the style off the ground.
12B
Australian Sparkling Ale

12B - Australian Sparkling Ale

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.038 - 1.050
FG: 1.004 - 1.006
IBU: 20 - 35
BU/GU: 0.53 - 0.7
EBC: 8 - 14 (SRM:4 - 7)
ABV: 4.5 - 6.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Coopers Sparkling Ale
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A well-balanced, pale, highly-carbonated, and refreshing ale suitable for drinking in a hot climate. Fairly bitter, with a moderate herbal-spicy hop and pome fruit ester profile. Smooth, neutral malt flavors with a fuller body but a crisp, highly-attenuated finish.
APPEARANCE
Deep yellow to light amber in color, often medium gold. Tall, frothy, persistent white head with tiny bubbles. Noticeable effervescence due to high carbonation. Brilliant clarity if decanted, but typically poured with yeast to have a cloudy appearance. Not typically cloudy unless yeast roused during the pour.
MOUTHFEEL
High to very high carbonation, giving mouth-filling bubbles and a crisp, spritzy carbonic bite. Medium to medium-full body, tending to the higher side if poured with yeast. Smooth but gassy. Stronger versions may have a light alcohol warmth, but lower alcohol versions will not. Very well-attenuated; should not have any residual sweetness.
AROMA
Fairly soft, clean aroma with a balanced mix of esters, hops, malt, and yeast - all moderate to low in intensity. The esters are frequently pears and apples, optionally with a very light touch of banana. The hops are earthy, herbaceous, or might show the characteristic iron-like Pride of Ringwood nose. The malt can range from neutral grainy to moderately sweet to lightly bready; no caramel should be evident. Very fresh examples can have a lightly yeasty, sulfury nose.
FLAVOR
Medium to low rounded, grainy to bready malt flavor, initially mild to malty-sweet but a medium to medium-high bitterness rises mid-palate to balance the malt. Caramel flavors typically absent. Highly attenuated, giving a dry, crisp finish with lingering bitterness, although the body gives an impression of fullness. Medium to medium-high hop flavor, somewhat earthy and possibly herbal, resinous, peppery, or iron-like but not floral, lasting into aftertaste. Medium-high to medium-low esters, often pears and apples. Banana is optional, but should never dominate. May be lightly minerally or sulfury, especially if yeast is present. Should not be bland.
COMMENTS
Coopers has been making their flagship Sparkling Ale since 1862, although the formulation has changed over the years. Presently the beer will have brilliant clarity if decanted, but publicans often pour most of the beer into a glass then swirl the bottle and dump in all the yeast. In some bars, the bottle is rolled along the bar. When served on draught, the brewery instructs publicans to invert the keg to rouse the yeast. A cloudy appearance for the style seems to be a modern consumer preference. Always naturally carbonated, even in the keg. A present-use ale, best enjoyed fresh.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Lightly kilned Australian 2-row pale malt, lager varieties may be used. Small amounts of crystal malt for color adjustment only. Modern examples use no adjuncts, cane sugar for priming only. Historical examples using 45% 2 row, 30% higher protein malt (6 row) would use around 25% sugar to dilute the nitrogen content. Traditionally used Australian hops, Cluster, and Goldings until replaced from mid-1960s by Pride of Ringwood. Highly attenuative Burton-type yeast (Australian-type strain typical). Variable water profile, typically with low carbonate and moderate sulfate.
STYLE COMPARISON
Superficially similar to English Pale Ales, although much more highly carbonated, with less caramel, less late hops, and showcasing the signature yeast strain and hop variety. More bitter than IBUs might suggest due to high attenuation, low final gravity, and somewhat coarse hops.
HISTORY
Brewing records show that the majority of Australian beer brewed in the 19th century was draught XXX (Mild) and porter. Ale in bottle was originally developed to compete with imported bottled pale ales from British breweries, such as Bass and Wm Younger' Monk. By the early 20th century, bottled pale ale went out of fashion and 'lighter' lager beers were in vogue. Many Australian Sparkling and Pale Ales were labeled as ales, but were actually bottom-fermented lagers with very similar grists to the ales that they replaced. Coopers of Adelaide, South Australia is the only surviving brewer producing the Sparkling Ale style.
12C
English IPA

12C - English IPA

YEAST STRAIN: Ale ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.050 - 1.070
FG: 1.010 - 1.015
IBU: 40 - 60
BU/GU: 0.8 - 0.86
EBC: 12 - 28 (SRM:6 - 14)
ABV: 5 - 7.5%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Berkshire Lost Sailor IPA, Fuller's Bengal Lancer, Marston's Old Empire IPA, Meantime London IPA, Thornbridge Jaipur, Worthington White Shield
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A bitter, moderately-strong, very well-attenuated pale British ale with a dry finish and a hoppy aroma and flavor. Classic British ingredients provide the most authentic flavor profile.
APPEARANCE
Color ranges from golden to deep amber, but most are fairly pale. Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy. Moderate-sized, persistent head stand with off-white color.
MOUTHFEEL
Smooth, medium-light to medium body without hop-derived astringency. Medium to medium-high carbonation can give an overall dry sensation despite a supportive malt presence. A low, smooth alcohol warming can be sensed in stronger versions.
AROMA
A moderate to moderately-high hop aroma, typically floral, spicy-peppery, or citrus-orange in nature. A slight dry-hop aroma is acceptable, but not required. Medium-low to medium bready or biscuity malt, optionally with a moderately-low caramel-like or toasty malt presence. Low to moderate fruitiness is acceptable. Optional light sulfury note.
FLAVOR
Hop flavor is medium to high, with a moderate to assertive hop bitterness. The hop flavor should be similar to the aroma (floral, spicy-peppery, or citrus-orange). Malt flavor should be medium-low to medium, and be somewhat bready, optionally with light to medium-light biscuit, toast, toffee, or caramel aspects. Medium-low to medium fruitiness. Finish is medium-dry to very dry, and the bitterness may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. The balance is toward the hops, but the malt should still be noticeable in support. If high sulfate water is used, a distinctively minerally, dry finish, some sulfur flavor, and a lingering bitterness are usually present. Some clean alcohol flavor can be noted in stronger versions.
COMMENTS
The attributes of IPA that were important to its arrival in good condition in India were that it was very well-attenuated, and heavily hopped. Simply because this is how IPA was shipped, doesn't mean that other beers such as Porter weren't also sent to India, that IPA was invented to be sent to India, that IPA was more heavily hopped than other keeping beers, or that the alcohol level was unusual for the time.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pale ale malt. English hops, particularly as finishing hops. Attenuative British ale yeast. Refined sugar may be used in some versions. Optional sulfate character from Burton-type water.
STYLE COMPARISON
Generally will have more late hops and less fruitiness and caramel than British pale ales and Bitters. Has less hop intensity and a more pronounced malt flavor than typical American IPAs.
HISTORY
Originally a pale stock ale from London that was first shipped to India in the late 1700s. George Hodgson of the Bow Brewery did not create the style, but was the first well known brewer to dominate the market. After a trade dispute, the East India Company had Samuel Allsopp recreate (and reformulate) the beer in 1823 using Burton's sulfate-rich water. The name India Pale Ale wasn't used until around 1830.
13
BROWN BRITISH BEER
13A
Dark Mild

13A - Dark Mild

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.030 - 1.038
FG: 1.008 - 1.013
IBU: 10 - 25
BU/GU: 0.33 - 0.66
EBC: 28 - 49 (SRM:14 - 25)
ABV: 3.0 - 3.8%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Brain's Dark, Greene King XX Mild, Hobson's Champion Mild, Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, Moorhouse Black Cat, Theakston Traditional Mild
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A dark, low-gravity, malt-focused British session ale readily suited to drinking in quantity. Refreshing, yet flavorful for its strength, with a wide range of dark malt or dark sugar expression.
APPEARANCE
Copper to dark brown or mahogany color. Generally clear, although is traditionally unfiltered. Low to moderate off-white to tan head; retention may be poor.
MOUTHFEEL
Light to medium body. Generally low to medium-low carbonation. Roast-based versions may have a light astringency. Sweeter versions may seem to have a rather full mouthfeel for the gravity. Should not be flat, watery, or thin.
AROMA
Low to moderate malt aroma, and may have some fruitiness. The malt expression can take on a wide range of character, which can include caramel, toffee, grainy, toasted, nutty, chocolate, or lightly roasted. Low earthy or floral hop aroma optional. Very low diacetyl optional.
FLAVOR
Generally a malty beer, although may have a very wide range of malt- and yeast-based flavors (e.g., malty, sweet, caramel, toffee, toast, nutty, chocolate, coffee, roast, fruit, licorice, plum, raisin) over a bready, biscuity, or toasty base. Can finish sweet to dry. Versions with darker malts may have a dry, roasted finish. Low to moderate bitterness, enough to provide some balance but not enough to overpower the malt in the balance. Moderate fruity esters optional. Low hop flavor optional. Low diacetyl optional.
COMMENTS
Most are low-gravity session beers around 3.2%, although some versions may be made in the stronger (4%+) range for export, festivals, seasonal or special occasions. Generally served on cask; session-strength bottled versions don't often travel well. A wide range of interpretations are possible. Pale (medium amber to light brown) versions exist, but these are even more rare than dark milds; these guidelines only describe the modern dark version.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pale British base malts (often fairly dextrinous), crystal malt, dark malts or dark sugar adjuncts, may also include adjuncts such as flaked maize, and may be colored with brewer's caramel. Characterful British ale yeast. Any type of hops, since their character is muted and rarely is noticeable.
STYLE COMPARISON
Some versions may seem like lower-gravity modern English Porters. Much less sweet than London Brown Ale.
HISTORY
Historically, 'mild' was simply an unaged beer, and could be used as an adjective to distinguish between aged or more highly hopped keeping beers. Modern milds trace their roots to the weaker X-type ales of the 1800s, which started to get darker in the 1880s, but only after WWI did they become dark brown. In current usage, the term implies a lower-strength beer with less hop bitterness than bitters. The guidelines describe the modern British version. The term 'mild' is currently somewhat out of favor with consumers, and many breweries no longer use it. Increasingly rare. There is no historic connection or relationship between Mild and Porter.
13B
British Brown Ale

13B - British Brown Ale

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.040 - 1.052
FG: 1.008 - 1.013
IBU: 20 - 30
BU/GU: 0.5 - 0.58
EBC: 24 - 43 (SRM:12 - 22)
ABV: 4.2 - 5.9%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
AleSmith Nut Brown Ale, Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale, Maxim Double Maxim, Newcastle Brown Ale, Riggwelter Yorkshire Ale, Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A malty, caramelly, brown British ale without the roasted flavors of a Porter. Balanced and flavorful, but usually a little stronger than most average UK beers.
APPEARANCE
Dark amber to dark reddish-brown color. Clear. Low to moderate off-white to light tan head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body. Medium to medium-high carbonation.
AROMA
Light, sweet malt aroma with toffee, nutty, or light chocolate notes, and a light to heavy caramel quality. A light but appealing floral or earthy hop aroma may also be noticed. A light fruity aroma may be evident, but should not dominate.
FLAVOR
Gentle to moderate malt sweetness, with a light to heavy caramel character, and a medium to dry finish. Malt may also have a nutty, toasted, biscuity, toffee, or light chocolate character. Medium to medium-low bitterness. Malt-hop balance ranges from even to malt-focused. Low floral or earthy hop flavor optional. Low to moderate fruity esters optional.
COMMENTS
A wide-ranging category with different interpretations possible, ranging from lighter-colored to hoppy to deeper, darker, and caramel-focused; however, none of the versions have strongly roasted flavors. A stronger Double Brown Ale was more popular in the past, but is very hard to find now. While London Brown Ales are marketed using the name Brown Ale, we list those as a different judging style due to the significant difference in balance (especially sweetness) and alcohol strength; that doesn't mean that they aren't in the same family, though.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
British mild ale or pale ale malt base with caramel malts. May also have small amounts darker malts (e.g., chocolate) to provide color and the nutty character. English hop varieties are most authentic.
STYLE COMPARISON
More malty balance than British Bitters, with more malt flavors from darker grains. Stronger than a Dark Mild. Less roast than an English Porter. Stronger and much less sweet than London Brown Ale.
HISTORY
Brown ale has a long history in Great Britain, although different products used that name at various times. Modern brown ale is a 20th century creation; it is not the same as historical products with the same name. A wide range of gravities were brewed, but modern brown ales are generally of the stronger (by current UK standards) interpretation. This style is based on the modern stronger British brown ales, not historical versions or the sweeter London Brown Ale described in the Historical Beer category. Predominantly but not exclusively a bottled product currently.
13C
English Porter

13C - English Porter

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.040 - 1.052
FG: 1.008 - 1.014
IBU: 18 - 35
BU/GU: 0.45 - 0.67
EBC: 39 - 59 (SRM:20 - 30)
ABV: 4 - 5.4%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Bateman's Salem Porter, Burton Bridge Burton Porter, Fuller's London Porter, Nethergate Old Growler Porter, RCH Old Slug Porter, Samuel Smith Taddy Porter
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A moderate-strength dark brown English ale with a restrained roasty, bitter character. May have a range of roasted flavors, generally without burnt qualities, and often has a malty chocolate and caramel profile.
APPEARANCE
Brown to dark brown in color, often with ruby highlights. Good clarity, although may be opaque. Moderate off-white to light tan head with good to fair retention.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body. Moderately-low to moderately-high carbonation. Light to moderate creamy texture.
AROMA
Moderate to moderately low bready, biscuity, and toasty malt aroma with mild roastiness, often like chocolate. Additional malt complexity may be present as caramel, nuts, toffee sweetness. May have up to a moderate level of floral or earthy hops. Moderate fruity esters optional, but desirable. Low diacetyl optional.
FLAVOR
Moderate bready, biscuity, and toasty malt flavor with a mild to moderate chocolate roastiness, and often a significant caramel, nutty, or toffee character, possibly with lower levels of darker flavors like coffee or licorice. Should not be burnt or harshly roasted, although small amounts may contribute a bitter chocolate complexity. Up to moderate earthy or floral hop flavor optional. Low to moderate fruity esters. Medium-low to medium bitterness varies the balance from slightly malty to slightly bitter, with a fairly dry to slightly sweet finish. Moderately-low diacetyl optional.
COMMENTS
This style description describes the modern version of English Porter, not every possible variation over time in every region where it existed. Historical re-creations should be entered in the 27 Historical Beer category, with an appropriate description describing the profile of the beer. Modern craft examples in the UK are bigger and hoppier.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Grists vary, but something producing a dark color is always involved. Chocolate or other roasted malts, caramel malt, brewing sugars, and the like are common. London-type porters often use brown malt as a characteristic flavor.
STYLE COMPARISON
Differs from American Porter in that it usually has softer, sweeter, and more caramelly flavors, lower gravities, and usually less alcohol; American Porter also usually has more hop character. More substance and roast than a British Brown Ale. Higher in gravity than a Dark Mild.
HISTORY
Originating in London in the early 1700s, porter evolved as a more heavily hopped and aged (keeping) version of the Brown Beer popular at the time. It evolved many times based on various technological and ingredient developments (such as the invention of black malt in 1817, and large-scale industrial brewing), as well as consumer preferences, wars, and tax policy. It became a highly-popular, widely-exported style in the early 1800s before declining by the 1870s as it changed to a lower gravity, unaged beer. As gravities continued to decline in all UK beers in the first half of the 1900s, styles stopped being made (including porter, gone by the 1950s). The craft beer era led to its re-introduction in 1978.
14
SCOTTISH ALE
14A
Scottish Light

14A - Scottish Light

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.030 - 1.035
FG: 1.010 - 1.013
IBU: 10 - 20
BU/GU: 0.33 - 0.57
EBC: 33 - 49 (SRM:17 - 25)
ABV: 2.5 - 3.3%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Belhaven Best, McEwan's 60/-
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A low-alcohol, malty beer with light caramel, toast, toffee, and fruit flavors. A slight roast dryness offsets the residual sweetness in the finish, with the bitterness perceived only to keep the beer from being cloying.
APPEARANCE
Deep copper to dark brown. Clear. Low to moderate, creamy off-white.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-low to medium body. Low to moderate carbonation. Maybe be moderately creamy.
AROMA
Low to medium maltiness with caramel and toffee notes, and light toasty and sugary qualities that might be reminiscent of toasted breadcrumbs, ladyfingers, English biscuits, graham crackers, or butterscotch. Light pome fruitiness and light English hop aroma (earthy, floral, orange-citrus, spicy, etc.) allowable.
FLAVOR
Medium toasty-bready malt with caramel and toffee overtones, finishing with a slightly roasty dryness. A wide range of caramelized sugar and toasted bread type of flavors are possible, using similar descriptors as the aroma. Clean maltiness and fermentation profile. Light esters and hop flavor allowable (similar descriptors as aroma). Sufficient bitterness to not be cloying, but with a malty balance and aftertaste.
COMMENTS
See category introduction for detailed comments. May not seem as bitter as specifications indicate due to higher finishing gravity and residual sweetness. Typically a draught product, but somewhat rare. Do not mis-perceive the light roasty dryness as smoke; smoke is not present in these beers.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
At its simplest, pale ale malt, but can also use colored malt, sugars, corn, wheat, crystal malts, colorants, and a variety of other grains. Clean yeast. Soft water. No peat-smoked malt.
STYLE COMPARISON
See category introduction. Similar to other Scottish Ales but lower in alcohol, and darker in color. Similar in strength to the low end of Dark Mild, but with a different flavor profile and balance.
HISTORY
See category introduction. The Shilling ale names were used for mild (unaged) beer before World War I, but the styles took modern form only after World War II.
14B
Scottish Heavy

14B - Scottish Heavy

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.035 - 1.040
FG: 1.010 - 1.015
IBU: 10 - 20
BU/GU: 0.29 - 0.5
EBC: 24 - 39 (SRM:12 - 20)
ABV: 3.3 - 3.9%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
McEwan's 70/-, Orkney Raven Ale
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A lower-alcohol, malty beer with light caramel, toast, toffee, and fruity flavors. A slight roast dryness offsets the residual sweetness in the finish, with the bitterness perceived only to keep the beer from being cloying.
APPEARANCE
Pale copper to brown. Clear. Low to moderate, creamy off-white.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-low to medium body. Low to moderate carbonation. Maybe be moderately creamy.
AROMA
Medium-low to medium maltiness with caramel and toffee notes, and light toasty and sugary qualities that might be reminiscent of toasted breadcrumbs, ladyfingers, English biscuits, graham crackers, or butterscotch. Light pome fruitiness and light English hop aroma (earthy, floral, orange-citrus, spicy, etc.) allowable.
FLAVOR
Medium toasty-bready malt with caramel and toffee overtones, finishing with a slightly roasty dryness. A wide range of caramelized sugar and toasted bread type of flavors are possible, using similar descriptors as the aroma. Clean maltiness and fermentation profile. Light esters and hop flavor allowable (similar descriptors as aroma). Sufficient bitterness to not be cloying, but with a malty balance and aftertaste.
COMMENTS
See category introduction for detailed comments. May not seem as bitter as specifications indicate due to higher finishing gravity and residual sweetness. Do not mis-perceive the light roasty dryness as smoke; smoke is not present in these beers.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
At its simplest, pale ale malt and colored malt, but can also use sugars, corn, wheat, crystal malts, colorants, and a variety of other grains. Clean yeast. Soft water. No peat-smoked malt.
STYLE COMPARISON
See category introduction. Similar to other Scottish Ales in flavor profile, lighter in color and stronger than a Scottish Light. Similar in strength to Ordinary Bitter, but with a different flavor profile and balance.
HISTORY
See category introduction. The Shilling ale names were used for mild (unaged) beer before World War I, but the styles took modern form only after World War II.
14C
Scottish Export

14C - Scottish Export

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.040 - 1.060
FG: 1.010 - 1.016
IBU: 15 - 30
BU/GU: 0.38 - 0.5
EBC: 24 - 39 (SRM:12 - 20)
ABV: 3.9 - 6.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Belhaven Scottish Ale, Broughton Wee Jock 80 Shilling, Caledonian Edinburgh Castle, McEwan's 80/-, McEwan's Export, Traquair Bear Ale
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A moderate-strength, malty beer with light caramel, toast, toffee, and fruit flavors. A slight roast dryness offsets the residual sweetness in the finish, with the bitterness perceived only to keep the beer from being cloying.
APPEARANCE
Pale copper to brown. Clear. Low to moderate, creamy off-white.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium body. Medium-low to medium carbonation. Maybe be moderately creamy.
AROMA
Medium maltiness with caramel and toffee notes, and light toasty and sugary qualities that might be reminiscent of toasted breadcrumbs, ladyfingers, English biscuits, graham crackers, or butterscotch. Light pome fruitiness and light English hop aroma (earthy, floral, orange-citrus, spicy, etc.) allowable.
FLAVOR
Medium toasty-bready malt with caramel and toffee overtones, finishing with a slightly roasty dryness. A wide range of caramelized sugar and toasted bread type of flavors are possible, using similar descriptors as the aroma. Clean maltiness and fermentation profile. Light esters and hop flavor allowable (similar descriptors as aroma). Sufficient bitterness to not be cloying, but with a malty balance and aftertaste.
COMMENTS
See category introduction for detailed comments. May not seem as bitter as specifications indicate due to higher finishing gravity and residual sweetness. Do not mis-perceive the light roasty dryness as smoke; smoke is not present in these beers. Americanized versions are often greater in strength (similar to American treatment of Irish Red Ales).
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
At its simplest, pale ale malt and colored malt, but can also use sugars, corn, wheat, crystal malts, colorants, and a variety of other grains. Clean yeast. Soft water. No peat-smoked malt.
STYLE COMPARISON
See category introduction. Stronger than other Scottish Ales, but with a similar flavor profile. Similar in strength to Best Bitter and Strong Bitter, but with a different flavor profile and balance.
HISTORY
See category introduction. The Shilling ale names were used for mild (unaged) beer before World War I, but the styles took modern form only after World War II.
15
IRISH BEER
15A
Irish Red Ale

15A - Irish Red Ale

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.036 - 1.046
FG: 1.010 - 1.014
IBU: 18 - 28
BU/GU: 0.5 - 0.61
EBC: 18 - 28 (SRM:9 - 14)
ABV: 3.8 - 5.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Franciscan Well Rebel Red, Kilkenny Irish Beer, Murphy's Irish Red, O'Hara's Irish Red Ale, Porterhouse Nitro Red Ale, Smithwick's Irish Ale
OVERALL IMPRESSION
An easy-drinking pint, often with subtle flavors. Slightly malty in the balance sometimes with an initial soft toffee or caramel sweetness, a slightly grainy-biscuity palate, and a touch of roasted dryness in the finish. Some versions can emphasize the caramel and sweetness more, while others will favor the grainy palate and roasted dryness.
APPEARANCE
Medium amber to medium reddish-copper color. Clear. Low off-white to tan colored head, average persistence.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body, although examples containing low levels of diacetyl may have a slightly slick mouthfeel (not required). Moderate carbonation. Smooth.
AROMA
Low to moderate malt aroma, either neutral-grainy or with a lightly caramel, toast, or toffee character. Very light buttery character optional. Low earthy or floral hop aroma optional. Quite clean.
FLAVOR
Moderate to very little caramel malt flavor and sweetness, rarely with a light buttered toast or toffee-like quality. The palate often is fairly neutral and grainy, or can take on a lightly toasty or biscuity note as it finishes with a light taste of roasted grain, which lends a characteristic dryness to the finish. A light earthy or floral hop flavor is optional. Medium to medium-low bitterness. Medium-dry to dry finish. Clean and smooth. Low esters optional. The balance tends to be slightly towards the malt, although light use of roasted grains may increase the perception of bitterness slightly.
COMMENTS
The style is fairly broad to allow for examples beyond the traditional ones from Ireland. Irish examples tend to be lower alcohol, grainier, and drier in the finish, while non-Irish versions are often higher in alcohol, sweeter, perhaps more caramelly and estery, and are often seasonal offerings.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Generally has a bit of roasted barley or black malt to provide reddish color and dry roasted finish. Pale base malt. Caramel malts were historically imported and more expensive, so not all brewers would use them.
STYLE COMPARISON
A less-bitter and hoppy Irish equivalent to an English Bitter, with a dryish finish due to roasted barley. More attenuated with less caramel flavor and body than equivalent-strength Scottish Ales.
HISTORY
While Ireland has a long ale brewing heritage, the modern Irish Red Ale style is essentially an adaptation or interpretation of the popular English Bitter style with less hopping and a bit of roast to add color and dryness, although some suggest a longer history. Rediscovered as a craft beer style in Ireland, today it is an essential part of most brewery lineups, along with a pale ale and a stout.
15B
Irish Stout

15B - Irish Stout

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.036 - 1.044
FG: 1.007 - 1.011
IBU: 25 - 45
BU/GU: 0.69 - 1.02
EBC: 49 - 79 (SRM:25 - 40)
ABV: 3.8 - 5.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Beamish Irish Stout, Belhaven Black Stout, Guinness Draught, Murphy's Irish Stout, O'Hara's Irish Stout, Porterhouse Irish Stout
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A black beer with a pronounced roasted flavor, often similar to coffee. The balance can range from fairly even to quite bitter, with the more balanced versions having a little malty sweetness and the bitter versions being quite dry. Draught versions typically are creamy from a nitro pour, but bottled versions will not have this dispense-derived character. The roasted flavor can range from dry and coffee-like to somewhat chocolaty.
APPEARANCE
Jet black to deep brown with garnet highlights in color. According to Guinness, 'Guinness beer may appear black, but it is actually a very dark shade of ruby.' Opaque. A thick, creamy, long-lasting, tan- to brown-colored head is characteristic when served on nitro, but don't expect a tight, creamy head on a bottled beer.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium-full body, with a somewhat creamy character - especially when served by nitro pour. Low to moderate carbonation. For the high hop bitterness and significant proportion of dark grains present, this beer is remarkably smooth. May have a light astringency from the roasted grains, although harshness is undesirable.
AROMA
Moderate coffee-like aroma typically dominates; may have slight dark chocolate, cocoa, or roasted grain secondary notes. Medium-low esters optional. Low earthy or floral hop aroma optional.
FLAVOR
Moderate roasted grain or malt flavor with a medium to high bitterness. The finish can be dry and coffee-like to moderately balanced with a touch of caramel or malty sweetness. Typically has coffee-like flavors, but also may have a bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate character in the palate, lasting into the finish. Balancing factors may include some creaminess, medium-low fruitiness, or medium earthy hop flavor. The level of bitterness is somewhat variable, as is the roasted character and the dryness of the finish; allow for interpretation by brewers.
COMMENTS
Traditionally a draught product. Modern examples are almost always associated with a nitro pour. Do not expect bottled beers to have the full, creamy texture or very long-lasting head associated with mixed-gas dispense. Regional differences exist in Ireland, similar to variability in English Bitters. Dublin-type stouts use roasted barley, are more bitter, and are drier. Cork-type stouts are sweeter, less bitter, and have flavors from chocolate and specialty malts.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Dark roasted malts or grains, enough to make the beer black in color. Pale malt. May use unmalted grains for body.
STYLE COMPARISON
Lower strength than an Irish Extra Stout. Darker in color (black) than an English Porter (brown).
HISTORY
The style evolved from London porters, but reflecting a fuller, creamier, more 'stout' body and strength. Guinness began brewing only porter in 1799, and a 'stouter kind of porter' around 1810. Irish stout diverged from London single stout (or simply porter) in the late 1800s, with an emphasis on darker malts and roast barley. Guinness began using flaked barley after WWII, and Guinness Draught was launched as a brand in 1959. Draught ('widget') cans and bottles were developed in the late 1980s and 1990s.
15C
Irish Extra Stout

15C - Irish Extra Stout

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.052 - 1.062
FG: 1.010 - 1.014
IBU: 35 - 50
BU/GU: 0.67 - 0.81
EBC: 59 - 79 (SRM:30 - 40)
ABV: 5.0 - 6.5%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Guinness Extra Stout, O'Hara's Leann Folláin, Porterhouse XXXX, Sheaf Stout
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A fuller-bodied black beer with a pronounced roasted flavor, often similar to coffee and dark chocolate with some malty complexity. The balance can range from moderately bittersweet to bitter, with the more balanced versions having up to moderate malty richness and the bitter versions being quite dry.
APPEARANCE
Jet black. Opaque. A thick, creamy, persistent tan head is characteristic.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-full to full body, with a somewhat creamy character. Moderate carbonation. Very smooth. May have a light astringency from the roasted grains, although harshness is undesirable. A slightly warming character may be detected.
AROMA
Moderate to moderately high coffee-like aroma, often with slight dark chocolate, cocoa, biscuit, vanilla, or roasted grain secondary notes. Medium-low esters optional. Hop aroma low to none, may be lightly earthy or spicy, but is typically absent. Malt and roast dominate the aroma.
FLAVOR
Moderate to moderately high dark-roasted grain or malt flavor with a medium to medium-high bitterness. The finish can be dry and coffee-like to moderately balanced with up to moderate caramel or malty sweetness. Typically has roasted coffee-like flavors, but also often has a dark chocolate character in the palate, lasting into the finish. Background mocha or biscuit flavors are often present and add complexity. Medium-low fruitiness optional. Medium earthy or spicy hop flavor optional. The level of bitterness is somewhat variable, as is the roasted character and the dryness of the finish; allow for interpretation by brewers.
COMMENTS
Traditionally a stronger, bottled product with a range of equally valid possible interpretations, varying most frequently in roast flavor and sweetness. Most traditional Irish commercial examples are in the 5.6 to 6.0% ABV range.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Similar to Irish Stout. May have additional dark crystal malts or dark sugars.
STYLE COMPARISON
Midway between an Irish Stout and a Foreign Extra Stout in strength and flavor intensity, although with a similar balance. More body, richness, and often malt complexity than an Irish Stout. Black in color, not brown like an English Porter.
HISTORY
Same roots as Irish Stout, but as a stronger product. Guinness Extra Stout (Extra Superior Porter, later Double Stout) was first brewed in 1821, and was primarily a bottled product.
16
DARK BRITISH BEER
16A
Sweet Stout

16A - Sweet Stout

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.044 - 1.060
FG: 1.012 - 1.024
IBU: 20 - 40
BU/GU: 0.45 - 0.67
EBC: 59 - 79 (SRM:30 - 40)
ABV: 4.0 - 6.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout, Firestone Nitro Merlin Milk Stout, Left Hand Milk Stout, Lancaster Milk Stout, Mackeson's XXX Stout, Marston's Pearl Jet Stout
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A very dark, sweet, full-bodied, slightly roasty stout that can suggest coffee-and-cream, or sweetened espresso.
APPEARANCE
Very dark brown to black in color. Clear, if not opaque. Creamy tan to brown head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-full to full-bodied and creamy. Low to moderate carbonation. High residual sweetness from unfermented sugars enhances the full-tasting mouthfeel.
AROMA
Mild roasted grain aroma, sometimes with coffee or chocolate notes. An impression of cream-like sweetness often exists. Fruitiness can be low to moderately high. Low diacetyl optional. Low floral or earthy hop aroma optional.
FLAVOR
Dark, roasted, coffee or chocolate flavors dominate the palate. Low to moderate fruity esters. Moderate bitterness. Medium to high sweetness provides a counterpoint to the roasted character and bitterness, lasting into the finish. The balance between dark grains or malts and sweetness can vary, from quite sweet to moderately dry and somewhat roasty. Low diacetyl optional. Low floral or earthy hop flavor optional.
COMMENTS
Gravities are low in Britain (sometimes lower than the statistics below), higher in exported and US products. Variations exist, with the level of residual sweetness, the intensity of the roast character, and the balance between the two being the variables most subject to interpretation.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Base of pale malt with dark malts or grains. May use grain or sugar adjuncts. Lactose is frequently added to provide additional residual sweetness.
STYLE COMPARISON
Much sweeter and less bitter-tasting than other stouts, except the stronger Tropical Stout. The roast character is mild, not burnt like other stouts. Can be similar in balance to Oatmeal Stout, albeit with more sweetness.
HISTORY
An English style of stout developed in the early 1900s. Historically known as 'Milk' or 'Cream' stouts, legally this designation is no longer permitted in England but may be acceptable elsewhere. The 'milk' name is derived from the use of the milk sugar lactose as a sweetener. Originally marketed as a tonic for invalids and nursing mothers.
16B
Oatmeal Stout

16B - Oatmeal Stout

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.045 - 1.065
FG: 1.010 - 1.018
IBU: 25 - 40
BU/GU: 0.56 - 0.62
EBC: 43 - 79 (SRM:22 - 40)
ABV: 4.2 - 5.9%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, Broughton Stout Jock, St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Summit Oatmeal Stout, Young's London Stout
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A dark, roasty, full-bodied stout with enough sweetness to support the oat backbone. The sweetness, balance, and oatmeal impression can vary considerably.
APPEARANCE
Brown to black in color. Thick, creamy, persistent tan- to brown-colored head. Clear, if not opaque.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-full to full body, with a smooth, silky, velvety, sometimes an almost oily slickness from the oatmeal. Creamy. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Stronger versions may be lightly warming.
AROMA
Mild grainy, roasty, coffee-like character with a light malty sweetness that can give a coffee-and-cream impression. Low to medium-high fruitiness. Medium-low earthy or floral hop aroma optional. A light grainy-nutty oatmeal aroma is optional. Medium-low diacetyl optional but typically absent.
FLAVOR
Similar to the aroma, with a mild roasted coffee, milk chocolate, or coffee-and-cream flavor, and low to moderately-high fruitiness. Oats can add a toasty-nutty, grainy, or earthy flavor. Medium bitterness. Medium-sweet to medium-dry finish, which affects the perception of balance. Malty, roasty, nutty aftertaste. Medium-low earthy or floral hop flavor optional. Medium-low diacetyl optional but typically absent.
COMMENTS
When judging, allow for differences in balance and interpretation. American versions tend to be more hoppy, less sweet, and less fruity than English examples. Bitterness, sweetness, and oatmeal impression varies. Light use of oatmeal may give a certain silkiness of body and richness of flavor, while heavy use of oatmeal can be fairly intense in flavor with an almost oily mouthfeel and dryish finish.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pale, caramel, and dark roasted malts (often chocolate) and grains. Oatmeal or malted oats (5-20% or more). Hops primarily for bittering. Can use brewing sugars or syrups. English ale yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
Most are like a cross between an Irish Extra Stout and a Sweet Stout with oatmeal added. Several variations exist, with the sweeter versions more like a Sweet Stout with oatmeal instead of lactose, and the drier versions more like a more nutty, flavorful Irish Extra Stout. Both tend to emphasize the body and mouthfeel.
HISTORY
A variant of nourishing or invalid stouts around 1900 using oatmeal in the grist, similar to but independent of the development of sweet stout using lactose. An original Scottish version used a significant amount of oat malt. Later went through a shady phase where some English brewers would throw a handful of oats into their parti-gyled stouts in order to legally produce a 'healthy' Oatmeal Stout for marketing purposes. Most popular in England between the World Wars, was revived in the craft beer era for export, which helped lead to its adoption as a popular modern American craft beer style that uses a noticeable (not symbolic) quantity of oats.
16C
Tropical Stout

16C - Tropical Stout

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.056 - 1.075
FG: 1.010 - 1.018
IBU: 30 - 50
BU/GU: 0.54 - 0.67
EBC: 59 - 79 (SRM:30 - 40)
ABV: 5.5 - 8.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
ABC Extra Stout, Bahamian Strong Back Stout, Dragon Stout, Jamaica Stout, Lion Stout, Royal Extra Stout
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A very dark, sweet, fruity, moderately strong stout with smooth, roasty flavors, yet no burnt harshness.
APPEARANCE
Very deep brown to black in color. Clarity usually obscured by deep color. Clear, if not opaque. Large tan to brown head with good retention.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-full to full body, often with a smooth, creamy character. May have a warming but not hot alcohol presence. Moderate to moderately-high carbonation.
AROMA
Moderate to high intensity sweetness is prominent. Moderate to high coffee or chocolate roasty aroma, but not burnt. Medium to high fruitiness. May have a molasses, licorice, burnt sugar, dried fruit, or vinous aromatics. Stronger versions can have a subtle, clean aroma of alcohol. Low hop aroma optional. Low diacetyl optional.
FLAVOR
Quite sweet with a smooth dark grain flavors, and restrained, medium-low to medium bitterness. Smooth, roasty flavor, often like coffee or chocolate, although moderated in the balance by the sweet finish. No burnt malt flavor or harsh bite in the finish. Moderate to high fruity esters. Can have a sweet, dark rum, molasses, or burnt sugar-like quality. Low hop flavor optional. Medium-low diacetyl optional.
COMMENTS
Surprisingly refreshing in a hot climate. Sweetness levels can vary significantly. Tropical implies that the beer originated in and is popular in the tropics, not that it has characteristics of tropical fruit from hops or fruit.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Similar to a Sweet Stout, but higher gravity. Pale and dark roasted malts and grains. Hops mostly for bitterness. May use adjuncts and sugar to boost gravity. Typically made with warm-fermented lager yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
Tastes like a scaled-up Sweet Stout with higher fruitiness. Similar to some Imperial Stouts without the high bitterness, strong or burnt roastiness, and late hops, and with lower alcohol. Much sweeter and less hoppy than American Stouts. Much sweeter and less bitter than the similar-gravity Foreign Extra Stouts.
HISTORY
A local adaptation of Foreign Extra Stouts brewed with indigenous ingredients and methods in the Caribbean and other tropical markets. Bitterness lower than export-type stouts since these beers do not have to be shipped abroad, and to suit local palate preferences.
16D
Foreign Extra Stout

16D - Foreign Extra Stout

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.056 - 1.075
FG: 1.010 - 1.018
IBU: 50 - 70
BU/GU: 0.89 - 0.93
EBC: 59 - 79 (SRM:30 - 40)
ABV: 6.3 - 8.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Coopers Best Extra Stout, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, The Kernel Export Stout London 1890, La Cumbre Malpais Stout, Pelican Tsunami Export Stout, Ridgeway Foreign Export Stout
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A very dark, rich, moderately strong, fairly dry stout with prominent roast flavors.
APPEARANCE
Very deep brown to black in color. Clarity usually obscured by deep color. Clear, if not opaque. Large tan to brown head with good retention.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-full to full body, often with a smooth, sometimes creamy character. May have a warming but not hot alcohol presence. Moderate to moderately-high carbonation.
AROMA
Moderate to high roast, like coffee, dark chocolate, or lightly burnt grain. Low to medium fruitiness. May have a sweet aroma, or molasses, licorice, dried fruit, or vinous aromatics. Stronger versions can have a subtle, clean aroma of alcohol. Low earthy, herbal, or floral hop aroma optional. Low diacetyl optional.
FLAVOR
Moderate to high roast, like coffee, dark chocolate, or lightly burnt grain, although without a sharp bite. Low to medium esters. Medium to high bitterness. Moderately dry finish. Moderate earthy, herbal, or floral hop flavor optional. Medium-low diacetyl optional.
COMMENTS
Also known as Foreign Stout, Export Stout, and Foreign Export Stout. Historic versions (before WWI, at least) had the same OG as domestic Extra Stouts, but depending on the brewery could have had a higher ABV because it had a long secondary with Brett chewing away at it. The difference between domestic and foreign versions were the hopping and length of maturation.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pale and dark roasted malts and grains, historically also could have used brown and amber malts. Hops mostly for bitterness, typically English varieties. May use adjuncts and sugar to boost gravity.
STYLE COMPARISON
Similar in balance to an Irish Extra Stout, but with more alcohol. Not as big or intense as an Imperial Stout. Lacking the strong bitterness and high late hops of American Stout. Similar gravity as Tropical Stout, but with a drier finish and higher bitterness.
HISTORY
Stronger stouts brewed for the export market today, but with a history stretching back to the 18th and 19th centuries when they were more heavily-hopped versions of stronger export stouts. Vatted originally, but Guinness stopped this practice in the 1950s. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (originally, West India Porter, later Foreign Extra Double Stout) was first brewed in 1801 according to Guinness with 'extra hops to give it a distinctive taste and a longer shelf life in hot weather.'
17
STRONG BRITISH ALE
17A
British Strong Ale

17A - British Strong Ale

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.055 - 1.080
FG: 1.015 - 1.022
IBU: 30 - 60
BU/GU: 0.55 - 0.75
EBC: 16 - 43 (SRM:8 - 22)
ABV: 5.5 - 8.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES

OVERALL IMPRESSION
An ale of respectable alcoholic strength, traditionally bottled-conditioned and cellared. Can have a wide range of interpretations, but most will have varying degrees of malty richness, late hops and bitterness, fruity esters, and alcohol warmth. The malt and adjunct flavors and intensity can vary widely, but any combination should result in an agreeable palate experience.
APPEARANCE
Amber to dark reddish-brown color; many are fairly dark. Generally clear, although darker versions may be almost opaque. Moderate to low cream- to light tan-colored head with average retention.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium to full, chewy body. Alcohol warmth is often evident and always welcome. Low to moderate carbonation. Smooth texture.
AROMA
Malty-sweet with fruity esters, often with a complex blend of dried-fruit, caramel, nuts, toffee, or other specialty malt aromas. Some alcohol notes are acceptable, but shouldn't be hot or solventy. Hop aromas can vary widely, but typically have earthy, resiny, fruity, or floral notes. The balance can vary widely, but most examples will have a blend of malt, fruit, hops, and alcohol in varying intensities.
FLAVOR
Medium to high malt character often rich with nutty, toffee, or caramel flavors. Light chocolate notes are sometimes found in darker beers. May have interesting flavor complexity from brewing sugars. Balance is often malty, but may be well hopped, which affects the impression of maltiness. Moderate fruity esters are common, often with a dark fruit or dried fruit character. The finish may vary from medium dry to somewhat sweet. Alcoholic strength should be evident, not overwhelming. Low diacetyl optional, but generally not desirable.
COMMENTS
An entry category more than a style; the strength and character of examples can vary widely. Fits in the style space between normal gravity beers and Barley Wines. Can include pale malty-hoppy beers, English winter warmers, strong dark milds, smaller Burton ales, and other unique beers in the general gravity range that don't fit other categories. Judges should allow for a significant range in character, as long as the beer is within the alcohol strength range and has an interesting 'British' character, it likely fits the style.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Grists vary, often based on pale malt with caramel and specialty malts. Some darker examples suggest a light use of dark malts (e.g., chocolate, black malt). Sugary and starchy adjuncts (e.g., maize, flaked barley, wheat) are common. Finishing hops are traditionally English.
STYLE COMPARISON
Significant overlap in gravity with Old Ale, but not having an aged character. A wide range of interpretations is possible. Should not be as rich or strong as an English Barley Wine. Stronger than the stronger everyday Strong Bitter, British Brown Ale, and English Porter. More specialty malt or sugar character than American Strong Ale.
HISTORY
A collection of unrelated minor styles, each of which has its own heritage. Do not use this category grouping to infer a historical relationship between examples - none is intended. This is a modern British specialty judging category where the 'special' attribute is alcohol level.
17B
Old Ale

17B - Old Ale

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.055 - 1.088
FG: 1.015 - 1.022
IBU: 30 - 60
BU/GU: 0.55 - 0.68
EBC: 20 - 43 (SRM:10 - 22)
ABV: 5.5 - 9.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Avery Old Jubilation, Berlina Old Ale, Greene King Strong Suffolk Ale, Marston Owd Roger, Theakston Old Peculier
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A stronger-than-average English ale, though usually not as strong or rich as an English Barley Wine, but usually malty. Warming. Shows positive maturation effects of a well-kept, aged beer.
APPEARANCE
Deep amber to very dark reddish-brown color, but most are fairly dark. Age and oxidation may darken the beer further. Clear, but can be almost opaque. Moderate to low cream- to light tan-colored head; retention average to poor.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium to full, chewy body, although older examples may be lower in body due to continued attenuation during conditioning. Alcohol warmth is often evident and always welcome. Low to moderate carbonation, depending on age and conditioning. Light acidity may be present, as well as some tannin if wood-aged; both are optional.
AROMA
Malty-sweet with fruity esters, often with a complex blend of dried fruit, vinous, caramel, molasses, toffee, light treacle, or other specialty malt aromas. Some alcohol and nutty oxidative notes are acceptable, akin to those found in Sherry, Port, or Madeira. Hop aroma not usually present.
FLAVOR
Medium to high malt character with a luscious malt complexity, often with nut, caramel, or molasses-like flavors. Light chocolate or roasted malt flavors are optional, but should never be prominent. Balance is often malty-sweet, but may be well hopped; the impression of bitterness often depends on amount of aging. Moderate to high fruity esters are common, and may take on a dried-fruit or vinous character. The finish may vary from dry to somewhat sweet. Extended aging may contribute oxidative flavors similar to a fine old Sherry, Port, or Madeira. Alcoholic strength should be evident, though not overwhelming. Low diacetyl optional.
COMMENTS
Strength and character vary widely. The predominant defining quality for this style is the impression of age, which can manifest itself in different ways (complexity, oxidation, leather, vinous qualities, etc.). Many of these qualities are otherwise faults, but if the resulting character of the beer is pleasantly drinkable and complex, then those characteristics are acceptable. In no way should those allowable characteristics be interpreted as making an undrinkably off-flavored beer as somehow in style. Old Peculier is a well-known but fairly unique beer that is quite different than other Old Ales.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Composition varies, although generally similar to British Strong Ales. The age character is the biggest driver of the final style profile, which is more handling than brewing.
STYLE COMPARISON
Roughly overlapping the British Strong Ale and the lower end of the English Barley Wine styles, but always having an aged quality. The distinction between an Old Ale and a Barley Wine is somewhat arbitrary above 7% ABV, and generally means having a more significant aged quality.
HISTORY
Historically, an aged ale used as stock ales for blending or enjoyed at full strength (stale or stock refers to beers that were aged or stored for a significant period of time). There are at least two definite types in Britain today, weaker, unaged draught ones that are similar to milds of around 4.5%, and stronger aged ones that are often 6-8% or more.
17C
Wee Heavy

17C - Wee Heavy

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.070 - 1.130
FG: 1.018 - 1.040
IBU: 17 - 35
BU/GU: 0.24 - 0.27
EBC: 28 - 49 (SRM:14 - 25)
ABV: 6.5 - 10.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES

OVERALL IMPRESSION
Rich, sweet malt depth with caramel, toffee, and fruity flavors. Full-bodied and chewy, with warming alcohol. Restrained bitterness, but not cloying or syrupy.
APPEARANCE
Light copper to dark brown color, often with deep ruby highlights. Clear. Usually has a large tan head, which may not persist. Legs may be evident in stronger versions.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-full to full-bodied, sometimes with a thick, chewy, sometimes creamy, viscosity. A smooth alcohol warmth is usually present and is desirable since it balances the malty sweetness. Moderate carbonation.
AROMA
Strong bready-toasty malt, with a high caramel and toffee aspect. A wide range of supportive caramelized sugar and toasty bread type aromas are possible (toasted breadcrumbs, ladyfingers, English biscuits, graham crackers, nougat, butterscotch, etc.). Faint hint of roast is sometimes noted. Low to moderate dark or dried fruit esters and alcohol. Very low earthy, floral, orange-citrus, or spicy hops optional.
FLAVOR
Rich, bready-toasty malt that is often full and sweet on the palate with caramel and toffee flavors, but balanced by alcohol and a hint of grainy roast in the finish. The malt often has caramelized sugar and toasty flavors of the same type as described in the aroma. Medium to low alcohol and esters (plums, raisins, dried fruit, etc.). Bitterness low in the balance, giving a sweet to medium-dry finish. Medium-low hop flavor optional, with similar descriptors as the aroma.
COMMENTS
A range of strengths is allowable; not all versions are very strong. Also known as 'Strong Scotch Ale,' the term 'wee heavy' means 'small strong' and traces to the beer that made the term famous, Fowler's Wee Heavy, a 12 Guinea Ale.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Scottish pale ale malt, a wide range of other ingredients are possible, including adjuncts. Some may use crystal malt or darker grains for color. No peat-smoked malt.
STYLE COMPARISON
Somewhat similar to an English Barley Wine, but often darker and more caramelly.
HISTORY
Descended from Edinburgh Ales, a stronger malty beer brewed in a range of strengths, similar to Burton Ale (although at half the hopping rate). Modern versions have two main variants, a more modest 5% ABV beer and the more widely known 8-9% ABV beer. As gravities decreased over times, some of the variations ceased to be produced.
17D
English Barley Wine

17D - English Barley Wine

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.080 - 1.120
FG: 1.018 - 1.030
IBU: 35 - 70
BU/GU: 0.44 - 0.58
EBC: 16 - 43 (SRM:8 - 22)
ABV: 8.0 - 12.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES

OVERALL IMPRESSION
A strong and richly malty ale with a pleasant fruity or hoppy depth. A wintertime sipper with a full, chewy body and warming alcohol.
APPEARANCE
Color ranging from golden amber to dark brown, often with ruby highlights and significant depth of color. Should not be black or opaque. Low to moderate off-white head. May have low head retention. Brilliant clarity, particularly when aged, although younger versions can have a little haze. High alcohol and viscosity may be visible as legs.
MOUTHFEEL
Full-bodied and chewy, with a velvety, luscious texture, declining with age. A smooth warmth from aged alcohol should be present, but shouldn't burn. Carbonation may be low to moderate, depending on age and conditioning.
AROMA
Very rich, strongly malty, often with a caramel-like aroma in darker versions or a light toffee character in paler versions. May have a rich character including bready, toasty, or toffee notes. May have moderate to strong fruitiness, often with a dark- or dried-fruit character, particularly in dark versions. The hop aroma may range from mild to assertive, and is typically floral, earthy, tea-like, or marmalade-like. Alcohol may be low to moderate, but are soft and rounded. Aromatic intensity subsides with age, and can develop a quality like sherry, wine, or port.
FLAVOR
Medium to high rich, malty sweetness, often complex and multi-layered, with bread, biscuit, and caramel malt flavors (more toffee-like in paler versions) and having a medium to high fruitiness (often with dark or dried fruit aspects). When aged, these fruity components come out more, and darker versions will have a higher level than paler ones. The hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness can vary wildly. Light to strong hops, with an English character (floral, earthy, tea, or marmalade-like) are common. Bitterness can be light to fairly strong, fading with time, so the balance can be malty to somewhat bitter. Stronger versions will have a little alcohol character. The finish and aftertaste can be moderately dry to moderately sweet, often depending on age.
COMMENTS
The richest and strongest of modern English Ales. Their character can change significantly over time; both young and old versions should be appreciated for what they are. The malt profile can vary widely; not all examples will have all possible flavors or aromas. Paler varieties won't have the caramel and richer malt flavors, nor will they typically have the darker dried fruits - don't expect flavors and aromatics that are impossible from a beer of that color. Typically written as 'Barley Wine' in the UK, and 'Barleywine' in the US.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
British pale ale and crystal malts. Limited use of dark malts. Often uses brewing sugars. English hops. British yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
Less hoppy and bitter, maltier and fruitier than American Barleywine. Can overlap Old Ale on the lower end of the range, but without heavier signs of age. Not as caramelly and often not as sweet as a Wee Heavy.
HISTORY
A modern descendent of the strongest Burton Ales. Bass No. 1 was first called a barley wine in 1872. Traditionally a darker beer until Tennant (now Whitbread) first produced Gold Label, a gold-colored version in 1951. The original style that inspired derivative variations in Belgium, the United States, and elsewhere in the world.
18
PALE AMERICAN ALE
18A
Blonde Ale

18A - Blonde Ale

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.038 - 1.054
FG: 1.008 - 1.013
IBU: 15 - 28
BU/GU: 0.39 - 0.52
EBC: 6 - 12 (SRM:3 - 6)
ABV: 3.8 - 5.5%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Firestone Walker 805, Kona Big Wave Golden Ale, Real Ale Firemans #4 Blonde Ale, Russian River Aud Blonde, Victory Summer Love, Widmer Citra Summer Blonde Brew
OVERALL IMPRESSION
Easy-drinking, approachable, malt-oriented American craft beer, often with interesting fruit, hop, or character malt notes. Well-balanced and clean, is a refreshing pint without aggressive flavors.
APPEARANCE
Light yellow to deep gold in color. Clear to brilliant. Low to medium white head with fair to good retention.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body. Medium to high carbonation. Smooth without being heavy.
AROMA
Light to moderate malty aroma, generally neutral or grainy, possibly with a light bread or caramel note. Low to moderate fruitiness is optional, but acceptable. May have a low to medium hop aroma, and can reflect almost any hop variety although citrusy, floral, fruity, and spicy notes are common. Clean fermentation profile.
FLAVOR
Initial soft maltiness, but can also have light character malt flavor (e.g., bread, toast, biscuit, wheat). Caramel flavors usually absent; if present, they are typically low-color caramel or honey notes. Low to medium fruity esters optional, but are welcome. Light to moderate hop flavor (any variety), but shouldn't be overly aggressive. Medium-low to medium bitterness, but the balance is normally towards the malt or even between malt and hops. Finishes medium-dry to slightly malty; an impression of sweetness is often an expression of lower bitterness than actual residual sweetness. Clean fermentation profile.
COMMENTS
Oxidized versions can develop caramel or honey notes, which should not be mistaken for similar malt-derived flavors. Sometimes known as Golden Ale or simply a Gold.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Generally all-malt, but can include wheat malt or sugar adjuncts. Any hop variety can be used. Clean American, lightly fruity English, or Kölsch yeast. May also be made with lager yeast, or cold-conditioned.
STYLE COMPARISON
Typically has more flavor than American Lager and Cream Ale. Less bitterness than an American Pale Ale. Perhaps similar to some maltier examples of Kölsch.
HISTORY
An American craft beer style produced as a faster-produced alternative to standard American lagers. First believed to be produced in 1987 at Catamount. Often positioned as an entry-level house ale.
18B
American Pale Ale

18B - American Pale Ale

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.045 - 1.060
FG: 1.010 - 1.015
IBU: 30 - 50
BU/GU: 0.67 - 0.83
EBC: 10 - 20 (SRM:5 - 10)
ABV: 4.5 - 6.2%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Half Acre Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, Great Lakes Burning River, La Cumbre Acclimated APA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale 2.0
OVERALL IMPRESSION
An average-strength, hop-forward, pale American craft beer with sufficient supporting malt to make the beer balanced and drinkable. The clean hop presence can reflect classic or modern American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of characteristics.
APPEARANCE
Pale golden to amber. Moderately large white to off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body. Moderate to high carbonation. Overall smooth finish without astringency or harshness.
AROMA
Moderate to moderately-high hop aroma from American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of possible characteristics, including citrus, floral, pine, resin, spice, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon. None of these specific characteristics are required, but a hoppy aroma should be apparent. Low to moderate neutral to grainy maltiness supports the hop presentation, and can show low amounts of specialty malt character (e.g., bread, toast, biscuit, caramel). Fruity esters optional, up to moderate in strength. Fresh dry-hop aroma optional.
FLAVOR
Hop and malt character similar to aroma (same intensities and descriptors apply). Caramel flavors are often absent or fairly restrained, but are acceptable as long as they don't clash with the hops. Moderate to high bitterness. Clean fermentation profile. Fruity yeast esters can be moderate to none, although many hop varieties are quite fruity. Medium to dry finish. The balance is typically towards the late hops and bitterness; the malt presence should be supportive, not distracting. Hop flavor and bitterness often linger into the finish, but the aftertaste should generally be clean and not harsh. Fresh dry-hop flavor optional.
COMMENTS
Modern American versions are often just lower gravity IPAs. Traditionally was a style that allowed for experimentation with hop varieties and usage methods, which can now often be found as international adaptations in countries with an emerging craft beer market. Judges should allow for characteristics of modern American or New World hops as they are developed and released.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Neutral pale malt. American or New World hops. Neutral to lightly fruity American or English ale yeast. Small amounts of various specialty malts.
STYLE COMPARISON
Typically lighter in color, cleaner in fermentation profile, and having fewer caramel flavors than English counterparts. There can be some overlap in color between American Pale Ale and American Amber Ale. The American Pale Ale will generally be cleaner, have a less caramelly malt profile, less body, and often more finishing hops. Less bitterness in the balance and alcohol strength than an American IPA. Maltier, more balanced and drinkable, and less intensely hop-focused and bitter than session-strength American IPAs (aka Session IPAs). More bitter and hoppy than a Blonde Ale.
HISTORY
A modern American craft beer era adaptation of English pale ale, reflecting indigenous ingredients. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was first made in 1980 and helped popularize the style. Prior to the explosion in popularity of IPAs, this style was the most well-known and popular of American craft beers.
19
AMBER AND BROWN AMERICAN BEER
19A
American Amber Ale

19A - American Amber Ale

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.045 - 1.060
FG: 1.010 - 1.015
IBU: 25 - 40
BU/GU: 0.56 - 0.67
EBC: 20 - 33 (SRM:10 - 17)
ABV: 4.5 - 6.2%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale, Bell's Amber Ale, Full Sail Amber, North Coast Red Seal Ale, Saint Arnold Amber Ale, Tröegs Hopback Amber Ale
OVERALL IMPRESSION
An amber, hoppy, moderate-strength American craft beer with a malty caramel flavor. The balance can vary quite a bit, with some versions being fairly malty and others being aggressively hoppy. Hoppy and bitter versions should not have clashing flavors with the caramel malt profile.
APPEARANCE
Deep amber to coppery-brown in color, sometimes with a reddish hue. Moderately large off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium to medium-full body. Medium to high carbonation. Overall smooth finish without astringency. Stronger versions may have a slight alcohol warmth.
AROMA
Low to moderate hop aroma reflective of American or New World hop varieties (citrus, floral, pine, resin, spice, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon). A citrusy hop character is common, but not required. Moderately-low to moderately-high maltiness, usually with a moderate caramel character, that can either support, balance, or sometimes mask the hop presentation. Esters vary from moderate to none.
FLAVOR
Moderate to high hop flavor with similar characteristics as the aroma. Malt flavors are moderate to strong, and usually show an initial malty sweetness followed by a moderate caramel flavor and sometimes toasty or biscuity malt flavors in lesser amounts. Dark or roasted malt flavors absent. Moderate to moderately-high bitterness. Balance can vary from somewhat malty to somewhat bitter. Fruity esters can be moderate to none. Caramel sweetness, hop flavor, and bitterness can linger somewhat into the medium to full yet dry finish.
COMMENTS
Can overlap in color with darker American pale ales, but with a different malt flavor and balance. A range of balance exists in this style, from balanced and malty to more aggressively hopped.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Neutral pale ale malt. Medium to dark crystal malts. American or New World hops, often with citrusy flavors, are common but others may also be used. Neutral to lightly estery yeast.
STYLE COMPARISON
Darker, more caramelly, more body, and generally less bitter in the balance than American Pale Ales. Less alcohol, bitterness, and hop character than Red IPAs. Less strength, malt, and hop character than American Strong Ales. Less chocolate and dark caramel than an American Brown Ale.
HISTORY
A modern American craft beer style developed as a variation from American Pale Ales. Mendocino Red Tail Ale was first made in 1983, and was known regionally as a Red Ale. This served as the progenitor of Double Reds (American Strong Ale), Red IPAs, and other hoppy, caramelly beers.
19B
California Common

19B - California Common

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.048 - 1.054
FG: 1.011 - 1.014
IBU: 30 - 45
BU/GU: 0.63 - 0.83
EBC: 18 - 28 (SRM:9 - 14)
ABV: 4.5 - 5.5%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Anchor Steam, Steamworks Steam Engine Lager
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A toasty and caramelly, fairly bitter, standard-strength beer with an interesting fruitiness and rustic, woody hop character. Smooth and well carbonated.
APPEARANCE
Medium amber to light copper color. Generally clear. Moderate off-white head with good retention.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-bodied. Medium to medium-high carbonation.
AROMA
Moderate to high herbal, resinous, floral, or minty hops. Light fruitiness acceptable. Low to moderate caramel or toasty malt supports the hops.
FLAVOR
Moderately malty with a pronounced hop bitterness. The malt character usually has toast (not roast) and caramel flavors. Low to moderately high hop flavor, usually showing rustic, traditional American hop qualities (often herbal, resinous, floral, minty). Finish fairly dry and crisp, with a lingering hop bitterness and a firm, grainy malt flavor. Light fruity esters are acceptable, but otherwise clean.
COMMENTS
This style is narrowly defined around the prototypical Anchor Steam example, although allowing other typical ingredients of the era. Northern Brewer hops are not a strict requirement for the style. Modern American and New World-type hops (especially citrusy ones) are inappropriate.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pale ale malt, non-citrusy hops (often Northern Brewer), small amounts of toasted malt or crystal malts. Lager yeast; however, some strains (often with the mention of 'California' in the name) work better than others at the warmer fermentation temperatures (55 to 60 °F) typically used. Note that some German yeast strains produce inappropriate sulfury character.
STYLE COMPARISON
Superficially similar to an American Amber Ale, but with specific choices for malt and hopping - the hop flavor and aroma is traditional (not modern) American hops, malt flavors are toastier, the hopping is always assertive, and a warm-fermented lager yeast is used. Less attenuated, less carbonated and less fruity than Australian Sparkling ale.
HISTORY
American West Coast original, brewed originally as Steam Beer during the Gold Rush era. Large shallow open fermenters (coolships) were used to compensate for the lack of refrigeration and to take advantage of the cool temperatures in the San Francisco Bay area. Modern versions are based on Anchor Brewing re-launching the style in the 1970s.
19C
American Brown Ale

19C - American Brown Ale

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.045 - 1.060
FG: 1.010 - 1.016
IBU: 20 - 30
BU/GU: 0.44 - 0.5
EBC: 35 - 69 (SRM:18 - 35)
ABV: 4.3 - 6.2%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Avery Ellie's Brown Ale, Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Bell's Best Brown, Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale, Telluride Face Down Brown
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A malty but hoppy standard-strength American ale frequently with chocolate and caramel flavors. The hop flavor and aroma complement and enhance the malt rather than clashing with it.
APPEARANCE
Light to very dark brown color. Clear. Low to moderate off-white to light tan head.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium to medium-full body. More bitter versions may have a dry, resiny impression. Moderate to moderately-high carbonation. Stronger versions may be lightly warming.
AROMA
Moderate malty-sweet to malty-rich aroma with chocolate, caramel, nutty, or toasty qualities. Hop aroma is typically low to moderate, of almost any type that complements the malt. Some interpretations of the style may optionally feature a stronger hop aroma, an American or New World hop character (citrusy, fruity, tropical, etc.), or a dry-hopped aroma. Fruity esters are moderate to very low. The dark malt character is more robust than other brown ales, yet stops short of being overly Porter-like.
FLAVOR
Medium to moderately-high malty-sweet or malty-rich flavor with chocolate, caramel, nutty, or toasty malt complexity, with medium to medium-high bitterness. Medium to medium-dry finish with an aftertaste of both malt and hops. Light to moderate hop flavor, sometimes citrusy, fruity, or tropical, although any hop flavor that complements the malt is acceptable. Very low to moderate fruity esters. The malt and hops are generally equal in intensity, but the balance can vary in either direction. Should not have a roasted character suggestive of a Porter or Stout.
COMMENTS
Most commercial American Browns are not as aggressive as the original homebrewed versions, and some modern craft-brewed examples. This style reflects the current commercial offerings typically marketed as American Brown Ales rather than the hoppier, stronger homebrew versions from the early days of homebrewing. These IPA-strength brown ales should be entered as 21B Specialty IPA: Brown IPA.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pale malt, plus crystal and darker malts (typically chocolate). American hops are typical, but continental or New World hops can also be used.
STYLE COMPARISON
More chocolate and caramel flavors than American Pale or Amber Ales, typically with less prominent bitterness in the balance. Less bitterness, alcohol, and hop character than Brown IPAs. More bitter and generally hoppier than English Brown Ales, with a richer malt presence, usually higher alcohol, and American or New World hop character.
HISTORY
An American style from the early modern craft beer era. Derived from English Brown Ales, but with more hops. Pete's Wicked Ale (1986) defined the style, which was first judged at the Great American Beer Festival in 1992.
20
AMERICAN PORTER AND STOUT
20A
American Porter

20A - American Porter

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.050 - 1.070
FG: 1.012 - 1.018
IBU: 25 - 50
BU/GU: 0.5 - 0.71
EBC: 43 - 79 (SRM:22 - 40)
ABV: 4.8 - 6.5%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Anchor Porter, Bell's Porter, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Sierra Nevada Porter, Smuttynose Robust Porter
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A malty, bitter, and often somewhat hoppy dark beer with a balanced, roasted, and frequently chocolatey character.
APPEARANCE
Medium brown to very dark brown, often with ruby- or garnet-like highlights. Can approach black in color. Clear, if not opaque. Full, tan-colored head with moderately good head retention.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium to medium-full body. Moderately low to moderately high carbonation. Stronger versions may have a slight alcohol warmth. May have a slight dark malt astringency, but this character should not be strong.
AROMA
Medium-light to medium-strong roast aroma, often with a chocolate, light coffee, or lightly burnt character, sometimes with a background caramel or toffee sweetness, or a malty richness. The resiny, earthy, or floral hop character can vary from low to high. Moderate fruity esters optional. Should not seem sharp, acrid, or acidic. The malt-hop balance can vary, but it should always have a roasted malt aroma.
FLAVOR
Moderately strong roasted flavor, often with a chocolate and lightly burnt character, sometimes with a sweet caramel or malty richness in support. Medium to high bitterness, and a dry to medium-sweet finish. Dark malts may sharpen this impression, but should not add an acrid, burnt, or harsh flavor. Low to high resiny, earthy, or floral hop flavor, which should not clash with the dark malt. Dry-hopped versions may have a fresh hop or resiny flavor. Moderate fruity esters optional. Should not have an acidic bite.
COMMENTS
Sometimes called Robust Porter, becoming increasingly hard to find. A rather broad style open to interpretation by the brewer. Dark malt intensity and flavor can vary significantly. May or may not have a strong hop character, or significant fermentation byproducts; thus may seem to have an 'American' or 'British' character.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pale base malt, frequently crystal malt. Dark malts, often black malt or chocolate malt. American hops typically used for bittering, but US or UK finishing hops can be used. Ale yeast can either be clean US versions or characterful English varieties.
STYLE COMPARISON
More bitter and often stronger with more dark malt qualities and dryness than English Porters or Pre-Prohibition Porters. Less strong and assertive than American Stouts.
HISTORY
A stronger, more aggressive version of earlier Pre-Prohibition Porters or English Porters, first brewed in the modern craft beer era (introduced in 1974). This style describes the modern craft version; see Historical Beer: Pre-Prohibition Porter for the older US version.
20B
American Stout

20B - American Stout

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.050 - 1.075
FG: 1.010 - 1.022
IBU: 35 - 75
BU/GU: 0.7 - 1
EBC: 59 - 79 (SRM:30 - 40)
ABV: 5.0 - 7.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Avery Out of Bounds Stout, Bell's Kalamazoo Stout, Deschutes Obsidian Stout, Sierra Nevada Stout, Trillium Secret Stairs
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A fairly strong, highly roasted, bitter, hoppy dark stout. The body and dark flavors typical of stouts with a more aggressive American hop character and bitterness.
APPEARANCE
Generally a jet black color, although some may appear very dark brown. Large, persistent head of light tan to light brown in color. Usually opaque.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium to full body. Can be somewhat creamy. Can have a bit of roast-derived astringency, but this character should not be excessive. Medium-high to high carbonation. Light to moderately strong alcohol warmth, but smooth and not excessively hot.
AROMA
Moderate to strong roast aroma, often with a roasted coffee or dark chocolate quality. Burnt or charcoal aromas are acceptable at low levels. Medium to very low hop aroma, often with a citrusy or resiny character. Medium esters optional. Light alcohol optional. Should not seem sharp, acrid, or acidic.
FLAVOR
Moderate to very high roasted flavors, often tasting of coffee, dark or bittersweet chocolate, or roasted coffee beans. May taste of slightly burnt coffee grounds, but this character should not be prominent. Low to medium malt sweetness, often with rich chocolate or caramel flavors. Medium to high bitterness. Low to high hop flavor, generally citrusy or resiny. Medium to dry finish, occasionally with a lightly burnt quality. Low esters optional. Light but smooth alcohol flavor optional.
COMMENTS
Breweries express individuality through varying the roasted malt profile, malt sweetness and flavor, and the amount of finishing hops used. Generally has bolder roasted malt flavors and hopping than other traditional stouts (except Imperial Stouts). Becoming increasingly hard to find.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Common American base malts, yeast, and hops. Varied use of dark and roasted malts, as well as caramel-type malts. Adjuncts or additives may be present in low quantities to add complexity.
STYLE COMPARISON
Like a hoppy, bitter, strongly roasted Irish Extra Stout. Much more roast and body than a Black IPA. Bigger, stronger versions belong in the Imperial Stout style. Stronger and more assertive, particularly in the dark malt or grain additions and hop character, than American Porter.
HISTORY
A modern craft beer and homebrew style that applied a more aggressive American hopping regime to a strong traditional English or Irish Stout. The homebrew version was once known as West Coast Stout, a common naming scheme for a more highly-hopped beer.
20C
Imperial Stout

20C - Imperial Stout

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.075 - 1.115
FG: 1.018 - 1.030
IBU: 50 - 90
BU/GU: 0.67 - 0.78
EBC: 59 - 79 (SRM:30 - 40)
ABV: 8.0 - 12.0%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES

OVERALL IMPRESSION
An intensely-flavored, very strong, very dark stout with a broad range of interpretations. Roasty-burnt malt with a depth of dark or dried fruit flavors, and a warming, bittersweet finish. Despite the intense flavors, the components need to meld together to create a complex, harmonious beer, not a hot mess - sometimes only accomplished with age.
APPEARANCE
Color ranges from very dark reddish-brown to jet black. Opaque. Deep tan to dark brown head. Generally has a well-formed head, although head retention may be low to moderate. High alcohol and viscosity may be visible as legs.
MOUTHFEEL
Full to very full-bodied and chewy, with a velvety, luscious texture. The body and texture may decline with age. Gentle, smooth warmth should be present and noticeable, but as a background character. Low to moderate carbonation.
AROMA
Rich, deep, complex, and often quite intense, with a pleasant blend of roast, fruit, hops, and alcohol. Light to moderately strong roast can have a coffee, bittersweet or dark chocolate, cocoa, black licorice, tar, or slightly burnt grain quality, sometimes with a light caramel sweetness or toasty maltiness. Low to moderately strong esters often perceived as dark or dried fruits like plums, prunes, figs, black currants, or raisins. Very low to fairly aggressive hops, often English or American in character. Alcohol flavor optional, but should not be sharp, hot, or solventy. The balance between these main four components can vary greatly; not all need to be noticeable, but those present should have a smooth interplay. Age can add another dimension, including a vinous or port-like impression, but not sourness. Age can decrease aroma intensity.
FLAVOR
Like the aroma, a complex mix of roast, fruit, hops, and alcohol (same descriptors apply). The flavors can be quite intense, often greater than in the aroma, but the same warning about the balance varying greatly still applies. Medium to aggressively high bitterness. The maltiness balances and supports the other flavors, and may have qualities of bread, toast, or caramel. The palate and finish can be fairly dry to moderately sweet, an impression that often changes with age. Should not by syrupy or cloying. Aftertaste of roast, bitterness, and warmth. Same age effects as in the aroma apply.
COMMENTS
Sometimes known as Russian Imperial Stout or RIS. Varying interpretations exist with American versions having greater bitterness, and more roasted character and late hops, while English varieties often reflect a more complex specialty malt character with a more forward ester profile. Not all Imperial Stouts have a clearly 'English' or 'American' character; anything in between is allowable as well, which is why it is counter-productive to define strict sub-types. Judges must be aware of the broad range of the style, and not try to judge all examples as clones of a specific commercial beer.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pale malt with significant roasted malts or grain. Flaked adjuncts common. American or English ale yeast and hops are typical. Ages very well. Increasingly used as the base beer for many specialty styles.
STYLE COMPARISON
Darker and more roasty than Barleywines, but with similar alcohol. More complex, with a broader range of possible flavors, than lower-gravity stouts.
HISTORY
A style with a long, although not necessarily continuous, heritage. Traces roots to strong English porters brewed for export in the 1700s, and said to have been popular with the Russian Imperial Court. After the Napoleonic wars interrupted trade, these beers were increasingly sold in England. The style eventually all but died out, until being popularly embraced in the modern craft beer era in England as a revival export and in the United States as an adaptation by extending the style with American characteristics.
21
IPA
21A
American IPA

21A - American IPA

YEAST STRAIN: - ()
TASTE
CLARITY | HOPS | MALT | CARAMELL | ESTERS | ALCOHOL | SWEETNESS | Co2

OG: 1.056 - 1.070
FG: 1.008 - 1.014
IBU: 40 - 70
BU/GU: 0.71 - 1
EBC: 12 - 28 (SRM:6 - 14)
ABV: 5.5 - 7.5%

COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES
Bell's Two-Hearted Ale, Cigar City Jai Alai, Fat Heads Head Hunter IPA, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Maine Lunch, Russian River Blind Pig IPA
OVERALL IMPRESSION
A decidedly hoppy and bitter, moderately strong, pale American ale. The balance is hop-forward, with a clean fermentation profile, dryish finish, and clean, supporting malt allowing a creative range of hop character to shine through.
APPEARANCE
Color ranging from medium gold to light reddish-amber. Clear, but light haze allowable. Medium-sized, white to off-white head with good persistence.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium-light to medium body, with a smooth texture. Medium to medium-high carbonation. No harshness. Very light, smooth warmth optional.
AROMA
A prominent to intense hop aroma often featuring American or New World hop characteristics, such as citrus, floral, pine, resin, spice, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon. Low to medium-low clean, grainy maltiness supports the hop presentation. Generally clean fermentation profile, but light fruitiness acceptable. Restrained alcohol optional.
FLAVOR
Medium to very high hop flavor (same descriptors as aroma). Low to medium-low clean and grainy maltiness, possibly with light caramel and toast flavors. Medium-high to very high bitterness. Dry to medium-dry finish. Hoppy, bitter aftertaste with supportive malt. Low esters optional. Background clean alcohol flavor optional.
COMMENTS
The basis for many modern variations, including the stronger Double IPA as well as IPAs with various other ingredients. Those other IPAs should generally be entered in the 21B Specialty IPA style. An India Pale Lager (IPL) can be entered as an American IPA if it has a similar character, otherwise 34B Mixed-Style Beer. Oak is inappropriate in this style; if noticeably oaked, enter in 33A Wood-Aged Beer. Dry, sharply bitter, clear examples are sometimes known as West Coast IPA, which is really just a type of American IPA.
CHARACTERISTICS INGREDIENTS
Pale base malt. American or English yeast with a clean or slightly fruity profile. Generally all-malt, but sugar additions are acceptable. Restrained use of crystal malts. Often uses American or New World hops but any are varieties are acceptable; new hop varieties continue to be released and may be used even if they do not have the sensory profiles listed as examples.
STYLE COMPARISON
Stronger and more highly hopped than American Pale Ale. Compared to English IPA, has less caramel, bread, and toast; often more American or New World hops; fewer yeast-derived esters; less body and often a more hoppy balance; and is slightly stronger than most examples. Less alcohol than a Double IPA, but with a similar balance.
HISTORY
The first modern American craft beer adaptation of this traditional English style is generally believed to be Anchor Liberty Ale, first brewed in 1975 and using whole Cascade hops; the style has evolved beyond that original beer, which now tastes more like an American Pale Ale in comparison. American-made IPAs from earlier eras were not unknown (particularly the well-regarded Ballantine's IPA, an oak-aged beer using an old English recipe). This style is based on the modern craft beer examples.