Here's just about all of the information you'll ever want on beer styles. If somethings missing let us know and we'll look into adding it.

  6. BOCK
  9. CIDER
  15. HELLES
  18. KÖLSCH
  19. LAMBIC
  21. MEAD
  24. PORTER
  26. RYE BEER
  27. SAHTI
  33. STOUT
  36. VIENNA


Düsseldorf Altbier

German ale associated with the city of Düsseldorf. "Alt" is the German word for old. The Alt style uses a top-fermenting ale yeast, but then is cold-aged. Lacks hop aroma, low hop flavor but has medium to high bitterness, especially in the finish. Restrained fruitiness, dry, clean, bittersweet flavor. Rounded maltiness that is medium to high but not overpowering. Light to medium body. Cleaner, smoother palate, less fruitiness, less yeastiness and less acidity than a classic British ale. Very low diacetyl is OK. The color is bronze to dark brown.
Commercial examples: Widmer, Zum Uerige.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBU's: 40 - 65; SRM: 10 - 19.


This is a form of Altbier that the brewpubs of Düsseldorf brew once or twice a year for their loyal patrons. It is released without much advertisement, hence the word "sticke" which means "secret" in German. Sticke has a higher starting gravity then the traditional, resulting in a stronger, maltier more robust version. It is often dryhopped, creating low to medium hop aroma and low to medium hop flavor. Hop bitterness is on the high end.
Commercial examples: Zum Uerige Sticke, Latzenbier.
OG: 1045-1055; Alcohol: 5 - 6%; IBU's: 45 - 55; SRM: 11 - 19.

Muenster Altbier

A light, pale, less bitter version of Altbier. A significant portion of wheat is used which adds a wheaty flavor. Low to medium malt flavor. No hop aroma, low hop flavor. Hop bitterness is low. Pale to light amber in color. Some examples have a lactic sourness.
Commercial examples: Pinkus Mueller, Otter Creek Helles Alt.
O.G.: 1.040 -1.055; Alcohol: 4.5 -5.5%; IBU's: 12 - 25; SRM: 3 - 8

Northern German Altbier

Lighter, less robust and less bitter than Düsseldorf Altbier. Medium malt flavor. No hop aroma, low hop flavor. Hop bitterness is low to medium, but usually in the medium range. Amber to brown in color. Most Alts produced in countries other then Germany are of this style. Some ales called Amber are actually in this Alt style.
Commercial examples: DAB Dark, Broyhan Alt, Alaskan Amber, Grolsch Autumn Amber, Kirin's Alt, Sapporo Alt, Harpoon Alt, New Ulm Schmaltz Alt.
O.G.: 1.040 -1.057; Alcohol: 4.5 -5.5%; IBU's: 25 - 40; SRM: 8 - 15


American Diet/Light

In the US, the legal meaning for this is a beer with 1/3 less calories then regular beer. In most commercial brands, enzymes are added to break down more sugar into alcohol. Another method is to brew a beer with 1/3 less malt. Low in body, light beer also has low or no malt taste and is effervescent. Hop bitterness is usually below the threshold of taste and no flavor or aroma is detected. No fruitiness, esters or diacetyl. Light DMS flavor and aroma OK. Very pale to golden color.
Commercial examples: Miller Lite, Coors Light, Bud Light, Stroh's Light.
OG: 1.024 - 1.035; Alcohol: 2.5 - 4.5%; IBU's: 5 - 15; SRM: 2 - 4.

American Standard

The standard American, Canadian, Japanese, and Australian beer style. Brewed with 25 to 40% rice, corn and/or wheat. This style runs the gamut from sweet to dry. Lightly hopped, light-bodied and effervescent. This style has low malt aroma and flavor. Hop bitterness is barely noticeable with very low flavor and aroma. No fruitiness, esters or diacetyl. Light DMS flavor and aroma OK. Light acetaldehyde aroma OK. Pale straw to deep gold.
Commercial examples: Budweiser, Coors, Stroh's, Corona, Fosters, Molson Golden, Miller High Life, Moosehead.
O.G.: 1.035 - 1.045; Alcohol: 3.5 - 5%; IBU's: 5 - 17; SRM: 2 - 6.

American Premium

The profile for this style is very similar to that of the American standard style, except that there are usually fewer adjuncts or it is all-malt. The body is light, with low malt flavor and aroma. Bitterness is low to medium from American hops, but generally the hops are barely detectable. Low hop flavor and aroma is OK. No fruitiness, esters or diacetyl. Light DMS flavor and aroma OK. Color is very pale to deep gold.
Commercial examples: Michelob, Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve, Red Dog, Coors Herman Joseph's, Coor's Extra Gold.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5%; IBU's: 13 - 23; SRM: 2 - 7.

American Classic

This is a style of lager that all but died out during prohibition. It was found that American six-row barley had excessive protein levels, so 20% corn (or rice) was usually added along with the malt to dilute the protein. The limited amount of adjuncts does very little to change the malt flavor. It gives the beer a slight sweetness that is usually offset by good hop levels which are light to medium in flavor, aroma and bitterness. It has medium to high malt flavor and aroma. Body is medium to as full as a light colored lager can be. No fruitiness, esters or diacetyl. Light DMS flavor and aroma should be apparent but not overpowering. Color is light gold to deep gold. The style is starting to make a comeback with the American micro-brewery and homebrew movement.
Commercial example: None.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.070; Alcohol: 5 - 6%; IBU's: 25 - 40; SRM: 3 - 6.

American Dark

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

American Malt Liquor

Roughly similar to other American lagers but higher in alcohol. The name "malt liquor" is a designation based on the fact that these brews quite often exceed the legal alcohol level defined for beers by some states. Usually very pale in color although some amber colored versions do exist. Light to no hop bitterness, flavor and/or aroma. Light DMS flavor and aroma should be apparent but not overpowering.
Commercial examples: Molson Brador, Colt 45.
O.G.: 1.048 - 1.064; Alcohol: 5 - 8%; IBU's: 5 - 22; SRM: 1 - 8.


The name given to any top-fermented beer of unusually high, wine-like alcohol content. The richest and strongest of British ales. Alcoholic, malty, heavy and full-bodied, usually balanced with a high rate of hop bitterness and low aroma, both of which may diminish during aging. The aroma includes esters, and there can be low to medium diacetyl. American versions of Barley Wine tend to have more hop aroma then the traditional English versions and can reach high hop aroma. May possess a residual flavor of unfermented sugar. Well aged examples may also show oxidative flavors. Barley Wines are usually darker (copper to medium brown) then Strong Ales though there are some golden versions. Traditionally, they were matured in the cask, which was rolled round the brewery yard once a week to rouse the yeast in its secondary fermentation. The commercial brewers do not use wine yeast. The effect of extremely high gravitates on a top-fermenting yeast can make for a very estery, winy-tasting brew. Barley wines often have little head retention.
Commercial examples: Goldie, Gold Label, Fuller's Golden Pride, Old Foghorn, Bass No. 1 Barley Wine, Big Foot, Young's Old Nick.
O.G.: 1.090 - 1.120; Alcohol: 8.4 - 12%; IBU's: 50 - 100; SRM: 6 - 22.


Belgian Pale Ale

The pale ales of Belgium span a broad spectrum of characteristics. They share the general characteristics of the English pale ales, however, they are more aromatic and spicy in both malt and yeast character. These beers may be called spècials belges, or just belges, in the French-speaking regions of Belgium. They are golden to copper in color. These ales may include candy sugar or other aromatics. They are light to medium in body, with low to medium malt aroma, and usually have low carbonation. Fruity, spicy and soft. Slight acidity OK. No diacetyl. Low caramel or toasted malt flavor OK. Hop character is usually medium though the range can reach high bitterness.
Commercial examples: De Koninck, Op-Ale, Vieux Temps, Horse Ale, Ginder Ale, Palm, Spèciale Palm, Dobbel Palm, Aerts 1900, Spèciale Aerts, Ster Ale, Fat Tire.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.054; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBU's: 20 - 40; SRM: 3.5 - 12.

Flemish Brown Ale (Oud Bruins)

Blend of slight vinegarlike or lactic sourness, spicy, dry, richness of brown malts and fruitiness of ale. Sweet-and-sour character with the sweetness coming from the addition of sugar to sweeten the beer prior to pasteurization. Very complex caramel/nutty/slight chocolate malt character, with flavors sometimes reminiscent of olives, raisins and spices. Complex combinations of malts; water high in sodium bicarbonate; long boiling times, creating a hint of caramelization. Multistrain yeast pitching, sometimes with a lactic character; and the blending of "young" and "old" beers, make for a truly teasing style. No diacetyl. There is no hop aroma and low to medium bitterness. Low roasted malt character is OK. Deep copper to brown.
Commercial examples: Liefmans Oud Bruin, Felix, Cnudde, Dobbelen Bruinen, Oudenaards, Ichtegems Bruin, Bruynen.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4 - 6.5%; IBU's: 15 - 25; SRM: 10 - 18.

Belgian Red Ale

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


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

Belgian Strong Golden Ales

References to the devil are often a trademark of these beers. These beers are pale to golden in color. The light color and relatively light body for a beer of this OG are the results of very pale malt and judicious additions of refined candi sugar. Full of fruity, hoppy, alcoholic complexity. Can be vinous. Low hop flavor and aroma. Top-fermented and cold-conditioned. Usually very effervescent.
Commercial examples: Duvel, Lucifer, Teutenbier, Deugniet, Sloeber, Judas.
O.G.: 1.060 - 1.070; Alcohol: 6.5 - 8%; IBU's: 20 - 30; SRM: 3 - 6.

Belgian Strong Dark Ales

There are many variations of this Belgian style which is characterized by full body and a deep burgundy to dark brown color. Rich, creamy, and usually sweet, these ales are malty but some examples do have high hop bitterness. Colored with candy sugar and not so much dark malt. Low hop flavor and aroma.
Commercial examples: Pawel Kwak, Bush (Scaldis), Liefmans Goudenband, Gouden Carolus.
O.G.: 1.070 - 1.096; Alcohol: 8 - 11%; IBU's: 25 - 50; SRM: 15 - 25.


The name means "beer to keep," implying that it was laid down as a provision to be drawn upon during the summer. The style belongs to northern France. Typically made with several malts, this is a strong, top-fermenting, laying-down beer, quite commonly corked not capped. Bière de Garde is full gold to a dark reddish-brown. They have a medium to high malt flavor accent and a light to medium ale-like fruitiness, often with spicy notes, and are medium to strong in alcohol. Often they have a mild phenolic/clovey character and many are slightly sweet. Light to medium body, medium hop bitterness and light to medium hop flavor and aroma. It has a malty and fruity aroma. Lager yeast fermenting at higher temperatures is being employed in some examples today. Earthy, cellarlike, musty aromas OK. Light diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: 3 Monts, Jenlain, Bière des Sans Culottes, Saint Leonard, Lutèce, Pot Flamand, Pastor Ale, Cuvée des Jonquilles, Saison Saint Médard, Ch'ti Brune, Cuvée de Noël, Ch'ti Blonde, Ch'ti Ambrée, La Choulette, Brassin Robespierre, Septante 5 ("75"), Vieille Garde (Old Garde), La Bavaisienne, Réserve du Brasseur.
OG: 1.060 - 1.080; Alcohol: 5 - 8%; IBU's: 25 - 30; SRM: 8 - 15.



A very strong lager originally from Einbeck, Germany. Strong in alcohol with a clean, smooth, malty-sweet character. The idea is to balance the big, warming, alcohol with a quenching touch. It is the water and the malt that give this style some special characteristics. The Bock beer is medium to full bodied with a malty sweetness in aroma and flavor that can include some toasted chocolate-like undertones. The dark flavors of chocolate and black malt is not appropriate for Bocks. They get their color and flavor from dark Munich malts. It is traditionally dark amber to dark brown and uses just enough "noble-type" hop flavor (low) to balance the malt. Bitterness is low. There is no fruitiness or esters and there should not be any diacetyl. No hop aroma. Until recently, German law stated that all Bocks had to have an original gravity of at least 16 Plato (1.064).
Commercial examples: Aass Bock, Frankenmuth Bock.
O.G.: 1.064 - 1.074; Alcohol: 6 - 7.5%; IBU's: 20 - 30; SRM: 20 - 30.

Helles Bock / Maibock

These Bocks possess the same characteristics as traditional Bock except for the toasted chocolate character and they are lighter in color, gold to light amber. Medium to full bodied, it has predominantly malty taste. Hop bitterness is usually low and just balances the malt sweetness. Low "noble-type" hop flavor is OK. No hop aroma, fruitiness or esters and there should not be any diacetyl.
Commercial examples: Ayinger Mai Bock, Pschorr Marzenbock, Wurzburger Maibock, Hacker-Pschorr Maibock, Einbecker Mai Ur-Bock, Augustiner Hellerbock, Fieders Bock Im Stein, Forschungs St. Jakobus Bock.
O.G.: 1.064 - 1.068; Alcohol: 6 - 7%; IBU's: 20 - 30; SRM: 4.5 - 10.


Stronger version of Bock which must have a gravity of at least 18 Plato (1.072). Any beer with a starting gravity of over 18 Plato must, by German law, be called a Doppelbock regardless of any character the beer may have. Doppelbock was invented in Munich by the brothers of Saint Francis of Paula. They named their strong beer Salvator. By tradition, and in deference to Salvator, Doppelbock names end in "ator". They are very full bodied. Can be dark gold to very dark brown, very sweet or balanced with bitterness. The malty sweetness that is evident in aroma and flavor can be intense. High alcohol flavor. Some esters and fruitiness may be detectable, but are not very desirable. Low hop flavor from "noble-types" is OK. No hop aroma. There should not be any diacetyl.
Commercial examples: Paulaner's Salvator, Ayinger Celebrator, Spaten Optimator, Tucher Bajuvator, Augustiner Maximator, Kulminator EKU 28, Samichlaus, Löwenbräu Triumphator, Hacker Pschorr Animator, Old Dominion Dominator.
O.G.: 1.072 - 1.120; Alcohol: 7.5 - 14%; IBU's: 17 - 40; SRM: 6 - 30.


The strongest type of Bock. Very alcoholic. A Doppelbock is chilled till ice is formed. The ice is removed, leaving behind a beer with a higher concentration of alcohol. The beer is very full bodied with increased sweetness and warmth. Color is amber to black. The detectable bitterness is low.
Commercial examples: Kulmbacher Reichelbräu Eisbock Bayrisch G'frorns.
O.G.: 1.092 - 1.116; Alcohol: 10 - 14.5%; IBU's: 26 - 33; SRM: 10 - 40.


Mild Ale

Originating in coal mining areas of England and Wales, this was a low-alcohol beer designed for generous consumption by manual laborers. The name "Mild" refers to the lack of hop bitterness. The style is sweeter and paler than porter, and the body is light but as malty as is possible in a low gravity beer. Mild is gentle, with a soft body and may have a very lightly nutty flavor. The color is light amber to very dark brown, and is derived from a mixture of malts. There is very little hop flavor and aroma. The hop bitterness can be undetectable to low. Low esters.
Commercial example: McMullen's AK, Fuller's Hock, Highgate Mild, Bank's Mild.
O.G.: 1.030 - 1.038; Alcohol: 2.5 - 3.5%; IBU's: 10 - 24; SRM: 8 - 34.

English Brown Ale

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

Southern Brown Ale

Southern brown ales are darker (dark brown and almost opaque), sweeter from the use of caramel malts and are made from lower gravities. They have a medium body. Some fruitiness and esters are present. They have low hop flavor, aroma and bitterness. Low diacetyl OK.
Commercial example: Mann's Brown Ale.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.045; Alcohol: 3.5 - 5%; IBU's: 15 - 20; SRM: 20 - 34.

Northern Brown Ale

Northern varieties, though still medium-bodied, are less sweet, dryer, have a "nuttier" malt flavor with a pale copper to dark brown color. Some esters and fruitiness are present, and the hop flavor, aroma and bitterness is usually in the low range but can approach medium. Usually have a higher alcohol level. Low diacetyl OK.
Commercial examples: High Level, Newcastle Brown Ale, Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, Double Maxim, Oregon Original Nut Brown Ale.
OG.: 1.040 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4.5 - 6.5%; IBU's: 15 - 30; SRM: 12 - 30.

American Brown Ale

An adaptation by American homebrewers desiring higher alcohol and hop bittering levels to go along with the malty richness characteristic of all brown ales. A drier and more bitter style of English brown ale. Medium maltiness is present in a medium body. Hops are American varieties and can be assertive in bitterness, flavor and aroma (medium to high). Dark amber to dark brown. Low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Cooper Smith's Dunraven Ale, Hart's Pacific Crest Ale, Pete's Wicked Ale, Brooklyn Brown, Smuttynose Old Brown Dog.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4 - 6%; IBU's: 25 - 60; SRM: 15 - 22.


A California creation. Legend has it that Steam Beer was named for the hiss of carbon dioxide that accompanied the tapping of a keg. The Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco holds a registered trademark on the words "Steam Beer" meaning no other beer can use that term. This style is fermented with lager yeast at ale temperatures then aged cold. It is fermented in wide, shallow fermenters. This increases surface area and promotes cooling. It also influences yeast behavior. It is made from pale and crystal malt and usually hopped with Northern Brewer. It has the roundness and cleanness of a lager, with some of the complexity of an ale. A very light phenolic character that has been described as "thick, muddy" and "milk-like" may be detectable but should be light at most. May have a slight residual sweetness but finish very dry. The style has a medium body and a hint of toasted or caramel-like maltiness in aroma and flavor. The color is light amber to brown. Hops are medium to high in bitterness and flavor, and low to medium in aroma. Fruitiness and esters are low. Low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Anchor Steam, New England Atlantic Amber.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.055; Alcohol: 3 - 5%; IBU's: 35 - 45; SRM: 8 - 17.


Cider comes from apple juice and optional ingredients such as fruits and spices and comes in a variety of styles. It can be fermented by wine, Champagne, ale, lager or wild yeast. There are several types of ciders.

Still Cider

As the name implies, not effervescent. Still cider has a light body and crisp apple flavor. Under 7% alcohol, it can be dry to sweet and is a pale yellow color. It must be clear and brilliant with an apple aroma. Sugar adjuncts may be used.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.053; Alcohol: 5.5 - 7%.

Sparkling Cider

Sparkling cider has many of the same traits as the still variety with the addition of effervescence. There should be no head or foam. It may be force-carbonated. It may be dry to sweet and light to medium in body with a crisp apple taste. The color is clear pale yellow, and must be clear and brilliant. Sugar adjuncts may be used.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.061; Alcohol: 5.5 - 8%.

New England-Style Cider

This cider has a strong, pronounced apple aroma and a higher level of alcohol, at 8 to 14%. They can be still or sparkling but are usually dry. Carbonation must be natural. Medium to full bodied with some tannins, but no "hot" alcohol taste. The color is pale to medium yellow. Adjuncts may include white and brown sugars, molasses, and/or raisins. Should use wild or wine yeasts only.
O.G.: 1.061 - 1.105; Alcohol: 8 - 14%.

Specialty Cider

At least 75% apple juice, with the remainder made from any variety of adjuncts. The alcohol content must be below 14%, but any type of yeast can be used in the production.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.105; Alcohol: 5.5 - 14%.


Scrumpy is a low-grade cider traditionally made in small quantities in rural areas by farmers who use ordinary scruffy apples and crush and usually ferment in the pulp without separation of the juice. The apples are usually high in tannin. Traditional country English cider is often called scrumpy. Supposedly it traditionally had meat in it. The flavor is typically lactic, acetic, cloudy, appley and strong flavored due to the natural mix of wild yeast and bacteria which ferment the pomace. It has a higher amount of methanol in it than quality cider made from clear juice due to the action of the pectin methyl esterase on the pomace. It is usually served from casks flat and cloudy without aging at regional rural pubs, etc.


An American beer that may employ the use of either ale or lager yeast, or a combination of both. The beer is usually fermented as an ale followed by a period of cold conditioning. Can be hoppier, stronger and fruitier than standard American light lagers. Often brewed with corn or rice. The profile is light to medium body with high effervescence. The color is pale. Some low fruitiness/esters may be detectable. Hop bitterness is low to medium. Low hop aroma and flavor are OK. Light DMS flavor and aroma are OK.
Commercial examples: Genesee Cream Ale, Little Kings Cream Ale, Weinhard's Light American Ale.
O.G.: 1.044 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4.5 - 7%; IBU's: 10 - 22; SRM: 2 - 4.


Munich Dunkel

A product of the German brewing tradition. Distinctly toasted (not burnt), nutty chocolate-like malt sweetness in aroma and flavor. The dark flavors of chocolate and black malt is not appropriate in Dunkel lagers. They get their color and flavor from dark Munich malts. Low to medium hop bitterness. Low hop flavor and aroma from "noble-types" is OK. No fruitiness or esters. Low diacetyl is OK. Low to moderate alcohol and medium body. Color ranges from dark amber to dark brown. At its most sophisticated, this style combines the dryish, nutty, chocolate notes of toasted malts with the roundness and cleanness imparted by a lager yeast. The best examples have a spicy maltiness that is neither sweet nor roasty dry.
Commercial examples: König Ludwig Dunkel, Spaten Dunkel Export, Paulaner, Franz Joseph Jubelbier, Frankenmuth Bavarian Dark, Ayinger Alt-Bairisch Dunkel, Wurzburger Hofbrau Bavarian Dark, Dinkel Acker Dark.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.058; Alcohol: 4.5 - 6%; IBU's: 16 - 30; SRM: 15 - 23.

Continental Dark

A general term for dark lagers from Europe which don't fit the Munich Dark profile. Generally a bit drier in flavor and lighter in body than the Munich style. The nutty chocolate-like malt sweetness in aroma and flavor is more subdued then in the Munich Dunkel. Low hop bitterness. Low hop flavor and aroma from "noble-types" is OK. No fruitiness or esters. Low diacetyl is OK. Color ranges from dark amber to dark brown.
Commercial examples: Beck's Dark, Grolsch Dark.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4 - 5.5%; IBU's: 16 - 25; SRM: 15 - 23.


Strong pale lager from Dortmunder, Germany brewed a bit stronger than other light lagers in order to travel well for export. Characterized by more bitterness and less maltiness then Helles, but less bitterness, sweeter, stronger and more malt body than German Pilsners. Neither malt or hops are distinctive, but both are medium in flavor and in good balance with a touch of sweetness, providing a smooth yet crisply refreshing beer. The very low hop aroma and flavor that is present is from "noble-types". The water in Dortmunder is quite hard containing both calcium carbonate and sulfate. This, combined with a special malting process which results in increased enzyme power, contributes to the final unique taste. The mash for Dortmunder typically leaves sufficient unfermentables in the brew to provide that firmness of body. Alcoholic warmth can be evident. Straw to medium gold with medium body. There are no traces of diacetyl or esters.
Commercial examples: DAB Export, Thier's Export, Ritter Export, Kronen Export, Dortmunder Union Export, Newman's Brand Saratoga Lager, Yebisu.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.060; Alcohol: 5 - 6%; IBU's: 23 - 30; SRM: 4 - 6.


Any lager and ale with fruit or fruit juice in it for flavor, color and/or aroma. Fruit was once a common seasoning in beer, especially before hops became universally used. The quenching quality of fruit beers makes them very well suited to hot summers. Cherries and raspberries are the most popular additives. Raspberry Wheat Beer, Cherry Stout, Blueberry Ale, and Lemon Lager are but a few of the fruit beer styles made. The particular fruit qualities of the beer should be distinctive in color, flavor and aroma, yet harmonious with the total flavor profile. Body, color, hop character and strength can very greatly. If the base beer is a classic-style, the original style should come through in aroma and flavor. The fruit should complement the original style and not overpower it.
Commercial examples: Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale, Oregon Original Raspberry Wheat, Saranac Mountain Berry Ale, Pete's Wicked Summer Brew, Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat, Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic, Boston Beer Works Blueberry Ale.
O.G.: 1.030 - 1.110; Alcohol: 2.5 - 12%; IBU's: 5 - 70; SRM: 5 - 50.


Golden Ale

In the mid-to-late 1800's, American brewers were making golden lagers that were lightened in body and flavor by reducing the traditional barley-malt content and using cheaper, more readily available materials such as corn and rice. In response, the ale-brewers gave a similar treatment to their products. Today, Golden Ales still tend to be very similar to an American Standard Lager but perhaps with a little more hop flavor. Most of the Mega-Brewed Canadian Ales are of this style. Brewed with 25 to 40% rice or corn. This style runs the gamut from sweet to dry. Lightly hopped, light-bodied and effervescent. This style has low malt aroma and flavor. Hop bitterness is barely noticeable with low flavor and aroma. Very little fruitiness, esters or diacetyl. Light DMS flavor and aroma OK. Pale straw to deep gold.
Commercial examples: Labatt's 50/50.
O.G.: 1.035 - 1.045; Alcohol: 3.5 - 5%; IBU's: 5 - 20; SRM: 2 - 6.

Blonde Ale

This is the type of Golden Ale being brewed by the microbreweries and brewpubs. It is usually an all-malt brew as opposed to the Golden Ale. It is likely to have a pleasant hop bouquet, a soft, lightly malty palate, and some fruitiness. It has an apparent light to medium malt aroma and flavor but should not have a syrupy flavor. They are usually balanced with light to medium hop bitterness though the accent should remain with the malt. The bitterness may come out more in the aftertaste creating a very dry sensation. Hop aroma may be medium to non-existent. There are a few versions of this style with very restrained use of hops, making the beer sweet in character. Fruitiness may be light to medium. Light diacetyl and DMS is OK.
Commercial examples: Sea Dog Windjammer, Mill City Spring Fever Blonde Ale, Catamount Gold, Goose Island Blonde Ale.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.060; Alcohol: 4 - 6.5%; IBU's: 15 - 33; SRM: 4 - 7.


Mildly hopped, malty beer from Munich, Germany. The medium malt sweetness, often described as almost a caramel, is the mark of this beer. Part of the malty flavor comes from the unique Munich style of malting which involves "curing" the malt at temperatures of 212 to 225 °F. The medium body is a bit heavier than a Bohemian pils due to being less attenuated then a pils. Pleasingly low bitterness that does not linger at all. The very low hop aroma and flavor, if present, are from "noble-types". No fruitiness, esters or diacetyl. Color is very pale yellow to golden.
Commercial Examples: Altenmunster, Ayinger Jahrhundert, Lowenbrau (Munich) Helles, Augustiner Helles, Spaten Helles, Paulaner Helles, Hacker-Pschorr Helles.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBU's: 18 - 25; SRM: 2 - 5.


Any lager or ale with unusual herbs in it for aroma, flavor and/or color. Herbs and spices were once common seasonings in beer, especially before hops became universally used. Commonly used spices include marjoram, cinnamon, garlic, peppers, spruce, juniper, cloves, anise, nutmeg, coriander, caraway, ginger, etc.. Body, color, hop character and strength can very greatly. If the base beer is a classic-style, the original style should come through in aroma and flavor. The spices should complement the original style and not overpower it.
Commercial Examples: Harpoon Winter Warmer, Ed's Chili Beer, New England Brewing Co. Holiday Ale, Anchor Our Special Ale.
O.G.: 1.030 - 1.110; Alcohol: 2.5 - 12%; IBU's: 5 - 70; SRM: 5 - 50.


Malt-accented ales, often with a buttery note, rounded, and with a soft but notable fruitiness and reddish tinge. This style was more than likely influenced by the success of some malty, but tawnier, Scottish brews. During the 1960's, the last independent ale brewery in Ireland closed. Today all ale breweries are owned by Guinness. Pale ale malt is the main ingredient, with crystal malt and roasted barley also being used. In today's Irish ales, corn has found its way in. In the United States, lager yeast is used in most commercial examples and the beers are far more highly carbonated than typical Irish Ales. Very light hop aroma and flavor is OK. Hop bitterness is usually low.
Commercial Examples: Phoenix Beer, George Killian's Irish Red, Macardle Ale, Michael Shea's Irish Amber, McNally's Extra, Smithwick's Ale, Kilkenny Irish Beer, Kilkenny Strong, Magic Hat Ale.
O.G.: 1.036 - 1.064; Alcohol: 4 - 7%; IBU's: 20 - 30; SRM: 7 - 14.


Technically, this style can only be brewed in the area of Köln (Cologne), Germany. The Kölsch Convention, signed in 1985, protects the definition of Kölsch and designates the shape of a glass and the region in which the beer may be produced. Kölsch is a light to dark gold beer with a light to medium body. Light, fruity, acidic, wine like brew. Some are dryish others are slightly sweet. One distinctive note of the better Koelsches is that they have a very grainy nose, almost like the smell of spent grain. Low hop flavor and aroma and low to medium bitterness. Has a soft palate and a delicate finish that can be dry or sweet. Can be as pale as a Pilsner, but with a light fruitiness of an ale. Kölsch is noted for its delicacy rather than for any robust distinctiveness. Kölsch has a conventional gravity and strength, a fine bead, and is clean-tasting (all-malt), very well attenuated, soft and drinkable, only faintly fruity (often in the aroma and the beginning of the palate), with a slight acidity and a restrained but definite hoppy dryness, often slightly herbal-tasting in the finish. Can use ale or lager yeast or both. Sometimes up to 15% wheat is used to give added complexity to the fruitiness, to provide paleness of color, and to enhance head-retention and lacework. Bottle conditioned examples may be called "wiess".
Commercial Examples: Küppers, Früh, Sion, Gaffel Kölsch, Muhler, Gilden, Dom Kölsch, Garde, Gereons, Kurfursten, Reissdorf, Sester, Zunft, Long Trail Kölsch.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.048; Alcohol: 4 - 5%; IBU's: 16 - 30; SRM: 3.5 - 6.


Lambic (Lambik or Lambiek)

A sour wheat beer made from the wild yeasts of the Senne Valley in Belgium, a region south and west of Brussels. The wort will sit overnight, exposed to the outside air so that it can be visited by the wild yeasts. The beer will spend the next three years in wooden barrels, undergoing different stages of fermentation. Over 70 microorganisms are involved in fermenting Lambic beers. Brettanomyces is the type of yeast that gives these beers their leathery, horse-blanket flavors and aromas. Four oxidative yeast strains give Lambics sherry-like flavors. The proportion of wheat to be used in Lambic, and the use of spontaneous fermentation, are set by a Royal Decree of 1965. Lambic and Gueuze are protected as exclusively Belgian terms under a European Community ordinance of 1992. 30 to 40% unmalted wheat is used. The unmalted wheat produces a milky-white mash that requires a boil of three hours or longer. Aged hops are also used but they create no hop flavor or aroma. Assertive hop flavors do not blend well with the tart, sour characteristics of Lambic beers. The hop bitterness can be undetectable to very low. Pungently sour, almost still, earthy, "horsey", and "mousy" aromas, fruity complexity including rhubarb-like flavors, peculiarly aromatic and aged for years. Some acetic character is acceptable, but excessive amounts are undesirable. Light to medium bodied. "Young" Lambic or vos (less then 1 year old) has a hazy, rusty color. It can be quite sharp and lactic. "Old" Lambic (2 or 3 years old) becomes clearer, pinkish and more complex. Basically, color is light gold to amber. Unblended Lambic is hard to find.
Commercial examples: Boon Lambic, Cantillon Lambic, Girardin's Unblended Lambic.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.056; Alcohol: 4 - 6%; IBU's: 3 - 22; SRM: 4 - 13.

Gueuze (Geuze)

Combination of young Lambic with old Lambic to create a bottle-conditioned beer without sugar or yeast being added. A Gueuze may contain as little as 15% young Lambic, conferring freshness and life, while the older portion brings depth, length, and aroma. Noticeably sharp, very dry or mildly sweet, usually very effervescent, toasty aroma, tart, and intense sour and acidic flavor. The carbonation level may drop due to leaking cork caps. Fruity-estery, "horsey", and "mousy" aromas and light body. The hop bitterness can be undetectable to very low. Some acetic character is acceptable, but excessive amounts are undesirable. Should age in the bottle from several months to several years. Diacetyl very low. Color is light gold to amber. Some commercial examples that are available today are very sweet and are considered "Out Of Style" by many.
Commercial examples: Cantillon Gueuze, Geuze Boon, Mort Subite, De Troch Gueuze, Boon Mariage Parfait, Girardin's Classic Gueuze, Timmermans Gueuze (Sweet), Timmermans Caveau, Lindemans Gueuze (Sweet), Lindemans Fond Gueuze.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.056; Alcohol: 4 - 6%; IBU's: 3 - 23; SRM: 4 - 13.


Lambic to which sugar and sometimes caramel or molasses are added. A Faro will have a sweet, fruity and complex flavor. A true faro is a cask product, sweetened in the brewery and then sent to the cafe. There, the faro will dry out as it ages and as the sugars are eaten up. When bottled, they are pasteurized so that the sugar will not ferment. The hop bitterness can be undetectable to very low. Color is light gold to amber.
Commercial examples: Boon Faro Pertotale, Vander Linden "Double" Faro, Cantillon Faro, Lindemans Faro Lambic, Vander Linden Faro.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.056; Alcohol: 4 - 6%; IBU's: 3 - 22; SRM: 4 - 13.


A version of Faro that has been diluted with water or made from the second runnings of the mash to make everyday, easy-drinking beers. Commercially, it vanished some years ago.
Close Commercial example: Lembeek's 2%.


Cherries are combined with young Lambic. Fermentation eats the flesh of the fruit until the stone is exposed, adding the almond notes that make Kriek especially complex. Kriek is made with small, dark, bitter cherries grown in the village of Schaarbeek, immediately north of Brussels, and to the west toward Ninove. As the Schaarbeek cherry has become harder to obtain, brewers have gravitated toward the northern variety grown in the province of Limburg, and in Germany and Denmark. This cherry is larger and possesses a less intense dryness.
Commercial examples: Lindeman's Kriek, Cantillon Kriek Lambic, Girardin's Kriek, Mort Subite Kriek.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.072; Alcohol: 4 - 7%; IBU's: 3 - 22; SRM: red.


Raspberries are combined with young Lambic.
Commercial examples: Timmerman's Framboise, Cantillon's Rose De Gambrinus, Framboise Boon.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.072; Alcohol: 4 - 7%; IBU's: 3 - 22; SRM: red.


Peaches are combined with young Lambic.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.072; Alcohol: 4 - 7%; IBU's: 3 - 22; SRM: 4 - 15.


Black currant is combined with young Lambic.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.072; Alcohol: 4 - 7%; IBU's: 3 - 22; SRM: 4 - 15.


A lager produced in Munich, Germany with a slight to strong malt sweetness, toasted malt aroma and flavor. Origin credited to the famous brewer Gabriel Sedelmayr of the Spaten Brewery in Munich. The style is an adaptation of Vienna Lager. It was found to better suit the Munich water then Vienna Lager. The body is medium. Hop bitterness, which is low to medium, may be sharp but does not linger. The balance is decidedly towards maltiness with just enough bitterness to keep the beer from tasting too sweet. Low hop flavor and aroma from "noble-type" hops is OK. No fruitiness, esters or diacetyl. Can be quite strong in alcohol. The color is amber to deep copper or light brown.
Commercial examples: Paulaner Oktoberfest, Harpoon Oktoberfest, Gosser, Spaten Ur-Marzen Oktoberfest, Ayinger Fest Marzen, Samuel Adams Octoberfest, Catamount Octoberfest.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.065; Alcohol: 4.5 - 6.5%; IBU's: 20 - 30; SRM: 7 - 14.


Meads are produced from honey, yeast, water, and in subcategorizes, by the addition of herbs and fruits. Wine, Champagne, sherry, mead, ale or lager yeast may be used. It is likely that Mead was made even before the wheel was invented. Cave paintings have been found depicting the making of Mead. Honey is made from the nectar of flowers, and is named according to the type of blossom from which the nectar is collected by the bees. There are a few plants whose nectar is toxic to man. Rhododendron nectar has long been under suspicion in this respect. Clover is the largest single source of nectar. Mead in its matured state is very much like a good white wine, and may reach full maturity within two or three years. Mead made from stronger flavored honeys may taste unbalanced unless it is matured for perhaps as long as eight years. Meads are usually made from single-blossom honeys such as clover, acacia, orange, rose, wild-rose and rosemary. Eucalyptus blossom honey has a peculiar bitter flavor and shouldn't be used to make Mead. Some honey is light in color and some dark. With a few exceptions the darker honey is more strongly flavored. The lighter and milder honeys are usually more suitable for Mead. Good Mead demands good honey. Some Mead makers do not boil or brew their product as this has a tendency to drive off the light flavors. Instead they use sulfites to protect their product. This fact should be noted by anyone that has a problem with sulfite intake.

Traditional Mead

Very pale to deep yellow. Lighter color honey is used in dry types while darker honey is used for sweet styles. It can be dry, medium, or sweet to very sweet with a light to full body. The final gravity determines how the mead is classified: dry at 0.996-1.009, medium at 1.010-1.019, and sweet from 1.020-1.050.
Commercial example: Merrydown Mead.
O.G.: 1.090 - 1.140; Alcohol: 11 - 15%; IBU's: 0; SRM: 1 - 5.

Sparkling Traditional Mead

Sparkling mead is effervescent and can be of dry to medium sweetness. There is honey character in the flavor and aroma. Body is light to medium. No flavors other then honey. Honey is the predominate flavor and aroma. There may be some low to fruity acidity, but there should be no harsh and/or stale flavors.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.090; Alcohol: 5 - 11%; IBU's: 0; SRM: 1 - 4.

Flavored Mead

May be still or effervescent. Still types may be light to full bodied, dry to very sweet, while the sparkling examples are light to medium bodied and dry to sweet. The flavor and aroma should reflect the ingredients used, but the honey character should also be apparent. The color should represent the ingredients. There should be no harsh and/or stale flavors. Original gravities and such are basically the same as their Traditional counterpart, be it still or sparkling. For Flavored Meads, darker and stronger honeys may sometimes be preferable. Like other wines, they benefit from maturing, but they can often be drunk as young as a few months with great satisfaction and reach their maximum maturity after about two years.


Made with fruits other than apples or grapes. Melomels utilize less honey per gallon than Mead.


Flavored from the use of apples or apple juice. A mixture of cooking, cider and crab apples tends to produce a drink with more character than if dessert apples are used alone.


Produced with the additions of grapes. Ferments to a higher strength then just grapes alone would.


A variation of Pyment that includes spices. It was named after Hippocrates and was a typical product of Greek civilization.


Ingredients are honey, herbs, and spices. Taken from the Welsh word Medclyglin meaning medicine. One of the problems in making Metheglin is that of obtaining a balanced flavor. A great deal of time may be required to achieve the balance. A second problem is that of hazes caused by the herbs.

Braggot or Bracket

A Braggot is typically made with most of its fermentable sugars coming from honey and 25 to 50% from malted barley. The flavor should reflect both of these ingredients. Hops may or may not be used. Original gravity is usually not over 1.070 and may go as low as 1.040.


In Britain, there are no rules as to what a brewer must name his beer. As a result many brewers use the words "Bitter" and "Pale Ale" interchangeably. Traditionally, Pale Ale was a bottled product while Bitters were in casks or kegs. Now, even this separation is no longer in use. Today, the major difference between a Pale Ale and a Bitter is the name. They are light to full-bodied, have medium to high hop bitterness with good support from the low to medium maltiness and are well-attenuated. Some are dry and others are sweet. They have medium to high hop flavor and aroma. The styles vary along geographic lines, with the northern type being maltier, stronger and usually has a lower hop bitterness, while the southern type is more aggressively hopped and carbonated. They are fruity and estery and they can have low to medium diacetyl. Low caramel character is OK. Pale ale malts are the principal grist; if crystal is used at all, it is employed with great restraint. The pale ale malts used may impart a light nuttiness to the flavor. The essential ingredient is the hearty smack of hops. Dry hopping is common, creating a fine hop aroma with malt for balance. English hops such as Fuggles and Goldings are usually used, though there are a very limited amount of examples using German hops for flavor and aroma. They are brewed with water that is extraordinarily hard. The calcium content makes for a firmness of body, while the sulfate will increase the perception of bitterness and will give the beer a long, lingering dry finish. The "Bitters" are generally available in three strengths (Ordinary, Special and Extra Special). The "Pale Ales" are usually around the ESB strength though some fall into the area of Special Bitter.

Ordinary Bitter

Mildest form of Bitter. Dark gold to medium copper-brown. Grain and malt tend to predominate over hop flavor and bitterness (although there are exceptions) with enough hop aroma to balance and add interest. Light to medium body. Low diacetyl and fruity-esters.
Commercial examples: Brakspear Ordinary Bitter, Young's Bitter, Fuller's Chiswick.
O.G.: 1.033 - 1.038; Alcohol: 3 - 3.5%; IBU's: 20 - 35; SRM: 8 - 12.

Special Bitter

Moderate strength. Similar to an ordinary bitter, but stronger and more robust with a more evident malt flavor and hop character.
Commercial examples: Sheffield Best Bitter, Theakston's Best, Fuller's London Pride, Tom Sheimo's Favourite.
O.G.: 1.038 - 1.045; Alcohol: 3.5 - 4.5%; IBU's: 28 - 46; SRM: 12 - 14.

Extra Special Bitter

A full-bodied, robust copper colored beer with a maltier, more complex flavor than either the ordinary or special bitter. Maltiness should be evident with medium to high hop bitterness, flavor and aroma.
Commercial examples: Young's Special, Adnams' Extra, Red Hook ESB, Fullers ESB, Mitchell's ESB, Theakston's XB, Belk's ESB.
O.G.: 1.046 - 1.060; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBU's: 30 - 55; SRM: 12 - 14.

Commercial examples of other various Bitters: Shepherd Neame's Masterbrew Bitter, Ind Coope Burton Ale, Marston's Pedigree, Timothy Taylor's Landlord.

English Pale Ale

If a brewery produces both a Pale Ale and a Bitter, the Pale Ale will have the higher gravity. The Pale Ale may be less obviously hoppy than the Bitter. The colors range from light to pale amber with many as deep as copper. They are light to medium body, have medium to high hop bitterness and medium hop flavor and aroma.
Commercial examples: Worthington White Shield, Bass Ale, Royal Oak, Whitbread Pale Ale.
O.G.: 1.043 - 1.056; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBU's: 20 - 40; SRM: 6 - 12.

American Pale Ale

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

India Pale Ale

A special style of pale ale that has high hop bitterness, medium to high hop flavor and aroma and a higher alcohol content. Originally brewed in England for the long trip to India. High hop rates were used for preservation. The beers continued to ferment during the journey, coming into peak condition at arrival. The effects of this heavy hopping might not be quite as severe as it seems. Hops were not as high in alpha acids as today, and they may have been aged to reduce bitterness. An IPA should have a medium body, medium maltiness with evident alcohol, though the finest examples tend to mask the alcohol well. It can have fruity or estery notes, yet the diacetyl should be low. Often paler than that of classic British Pale Ale, being a full gold to light orange-copper/deep amber. Oak flavor from aging in oak is not appropriate in traditional IPA's, but has shown up in American versions. Traditionally, English hops such as Fuggles and Goldings were usually used, but today Willamette, Cascade and other American varieties are catching on.
Commercial examples: Ballantine's Old India Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Anchor Liberty Ale, Harpoon IPA, Tupper's Hop Pocket, Oregon Original IPA, Sea Dog Old East India.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.070; Alcohol: 5.5 - 7%; IBU's: 30 - 60; SRM: 6 - 18.


Bohemian Pilsner

This beer originated in Plzen, Czechoslovakia in 1842, and quickly gained popularity in other brewing countries. Light to medium bodied and medium attenuation which leaves behind some malt body and sweetness. This beer benefits from extremely soft water. Creamy dense head and well-carbonated. Low to medium accent of rich, sweet malt in aroma and flavor. The hop bitterness is medium to high. The hop flavor and aroma from the Saaz hop is very noticeable at a level of medium to high. One key factor in Bohemian Pilsners is that the bitterness, although high, does not linger in the finish and ends rather abruptly, thanks to the very soft water. Clean, crisp, hop-spicy bitter with malty overtones. Esters and fruitiness are not appropriate in Pilsners, but, in some of the classic renditions, such as Pilsner Urquell, low diacetyl adds a complexity. The color should be light gold to medium gold.
Commercial examples: Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser Budvar, Gambrinus, Staropramen, Branik, Velké Popovice, Krušovice, Cristal.
OG: 1.044 - 1.056; Alcohol: 4 - 5.5%; IBU's: 25 - 45; SRM: 2 - 5.

German Pilsner

More bitter, drier, less malty, simpler, cleaner and from a lower extract then Bohemian Pilsner. The distinctive characteristic is the flowery, medium hop bouquet and flavor from "noble" hops and its dry finish from a more thorough fermentation. The color should be light gold to medium gold. Crisp flavor with prominent high hop bitterness. A higher level of perceived bitterness is achieved through the use of water that is harder and higher in sulfates than that of Czechoslovakia. Low to medium maltiness in aroma and flavor, but the balance is decidedly towards bitterness throughout the palate. No fruitiness or esters. Very low diacetyl is OK. Light to medium in body.
Commercial examples: Warsteiner, Becks, Aass Pilsner, Pinkus Ur-Pils, Bitburger, Radeberger-Pils, Wernesgrüner, Jever, König, Veltins, Holsten's Diat Pils.
O.G.: 1.044 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4 - 5%; IBU's: 30 - 45; SRM: 2.5 - 4.5.

Scandinavian - Dutch Pilsner

Similar to German Pilsners but with somewhat lower original gravity's, lighter palate (light body), a much lower bitterness and they are typically sweetish throughout the palate. Hop bitterness is usually low but can make it up to medium. The hop character in flavor and aroma is low and is, therefore, considerably lower. Usually paler than German Pilsners at a color of yellow to light gold. Rice or corn may be used as adjuncts.
Commercial examples: Carlsberg, Grolsch, Heineken, Brand-Up, Christoffel, Plzen.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.050; Alcohol: 3.5 - 5%; IBU's: 25 - 35; SRM: 2 - 4.


Robust Porter

A medium to full body in a balanced beer that has a noticeably coffee-like dryness, and may have a malty sweet flavor that comes through in the finish. Chocolate and black malts add a sharp bitterness, but do so without adding roasted or charcoal notes. There can be a little roast barley character or none at all. Hop bitterness is medium to high. Hop flavor and aroma is none to medium. Fruitiness, esters and low diacetyl are OK. The color is deep brown with red hues to black. Some versions are made with lager yeast.
Commercial examples: Anchor Porter, Sierra Nevada Porter, Black Hook Porter.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.058; Alcohol: 4.5 - 6%; IBU's: 25 - 40; SRM: 25 - 35.

Brown Porter

A bit lighter than the robust, with light to medium body and generally lower in alcohol. The malt sweetness is low to medium and well-balanced with the medium hop bitterness. No strong roast barley or burnt malt character. Color is medium to dark brown with reddish tones. None to medium hop aroma and flavor. Fruitiness, esters and low diacetyl are OK. Some versions are made with lager yeast.
Commercial examples: Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter, Young's London Porter, Yuengling Porter, Stegmeter Porter, Pickwick's Porter, Essex Porter, Burton Porter, Pimlico Porter, Catamount Porter, Whitbread Porter.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBU's: 20 - 30; SRM: 20 - 35.


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


Rye bread or flour is used as the basis of kvass and similar beer-like fermented drinks that were, and sometimes still are, traditional in many parts of eastern, central and Baltic Europe. Rye, with its fruity, bitter, spicy, oily sometimes almost peppermint flavors, is the most assertively flavored cereal grain. It is not an easy grain with which to work, in that, like wheat, it has no husk. It also absorbs and retains water more than other brewing grains.
Commercial examples: Riley's Rye, Schierlinger Roggenbier, Goldroggen.


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


This type of Sake can be semidry to very dry. No carbonation. The color is a pale yellow to almost clear. It must be made with rice koji, rice and yeast only. Sake should be served at precisely 76 degrees F. It is said that any variation from this temperature will change the true flavor of the Sake.

  1. Genshu Sake is a full strength Sake at 18 to 20% alcohol.
  2. Ordinary Sake has a strength of 16 to 17% alcohol.
  3. Nigori Sake is unfiltered and unpasteurized. It will often be cloudy and have sediment.
  4. Ginjo Sake is made from highly polished rice, making it crystal clear and almost colorless.
  5. Brown Rice (Genmai) Sake is made from unpolished rice and rice koji.

Sparkling Sake - This is regular sake refermented in the bottle to produce carbonation. It has about 12.5% alcohol and is primed with rice syrup and yeast. Fruits and/or herbs may be added.


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


A style of ale from Scotland. Maltier flavor and aroma, often balanced with a toasty dryness, darker colors, more full-bodied and smokier character then the English ales. Fermented at cooler temperatures than English ales and results in less fruity esters. In order to accentuate maltiness and body, the Scots sometimes ferment their beers less fully than brewers elsewhere. Color traditionally comes from very small amounts of roast barley, although malts from crystal to chocolate to black are now commonly used. The "shilling" designation is believed to be from the old method of taxing by basing the tax rate on the gravity of the beer. The style is medium to full-bodied and malt is very evident in the flavor and aroma. Some diacetyl is acceptable. Some fruitiness is acceptable, but esters should be relatively low. Hop bitterness is medium to low. Low hop flavor and aroma is acceptable. They come in several versions.

Light 60/-

The color is brown to black. Low carbonation. Very low bitterness. Very low hop flavor and aroma is acceptable. Medium maltiness. Light to medium bodied. Low to medium diacetyl is OK. Low fruitiness and esters are OK. Faint smoky character is OK.
Commercial example: Belhaven 60/-, Caledonian 60/-, Glaschu Keely Light, Maclays 60/-.
O.G.: 1.030 - 1.034; Alcohol: 3 - 3.5%; IBU's: 9 - 15; SRM: 17 - 34.

Heavy 70/-

The color is amber to dark brown. Low carbonation. Low bitterness. Very low hop flavor and aroma is acceptable. Medium to high maltiness. Medium to full bodied. Low to medium diacetyl is OK. Low fruitiness and esters are OK. Faint smoky character is OK.
Commercial example: Orkney Raven Ale, Alloa Archibald Arrol's 70/-, Belhaven 70/-, Borve Heavy Ale, Tomintoul Caillie, Caledonian 70/-, Mansfield Arms Devon Original, Vaux Lorimers Best Scotch, Maclays 70/-, Tartan Special McEwans 70/-, Harviestoun Waverley 70/-.
O.G.: 1.034 - 1.040; Alcohol: 3.5 - 4%; IBU's: 10 - 20; SRM: 10 - 19.

Export 80/-

The color is amber to dark brown. Low carbonation. Low to medium bitterness. May or may not have hop flavor or aroma. High maltiness. Medium to full bodied. Low to medium diacetyl is OK. Low to medium fruitiness and esters are OK. Faint smoky character is OK.
Commercial examples: Arrol's 80/-, Edinburgh 80/- Export Ale, McEwan's 80/-, Younger's No. 3, Orkney Dark Island, Alloa Archibald Arrols 80/-, Rose Street Auld Reekie 80/-, Belhaven 80/-, Glaschu Best Bracken, Caledonian 80/-, Mansfield Arms Devon Pride, Caledonian Golden Promise, Maclays 80/-, Harviestoun Original 80/-, Tomintoul Stag.
O.G.: 1.040 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4 - 5%; IBU's: 15 - 20; SRM: 10 - 19.

Scottish Strong Ale 90/-

In this style it is quite common for the fermentation to be roused so the yeast will stay in suspension and attenuate the beer. This is a full bodied beer with color that is deep copper to very black but not opaque. There can be medium to high diacetyl present. These beers are much less hopped than English Strong Ales. They have low to medium hop bitterness and the hop flavor and aroma is very low or absent. They are overwhelmingly malty with some kettle caramelization. Slight roasted malt qualities may be provide by the limited use of dark roasted malt or roasted barley. Faint smoky character is OK. Malt character balanced by clean alcohol flavors.
Commercial examples: Belhaven's 90/-, McEwan's Scotch Ale, Traquir House Bear Ale, Gordon Highland Scotch Ale, Caledonian Edinburgh Strong Ale, Rose Street Auld Reekie 90/-, Glaschu Double Whammy, Maclays Scotch Ale, Maclays Old Alloa Ale, Harviestoun Old Manor.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.070; Alcohol: 5 - 7%; IBU's: 25 - 35; SRM: 10 - 35.

Scottish Wee Heavy

Very strong ale, usually dark, and always sweet and full-bodied. Strong malt character with faint roasty background. Hint of smoke (as a yeast byproduct, not from smoked malt) and some diacetyl acceptable. Low esters. Clean alcohol flavor balanced by rich maltiness. Deep amber to deep brown color. Hop bitterness very subdued and no hop aroma evident.
Commercial examples: Borve Extra Strong, Harviestoun Nouveau Ale, Campbells Scotch Ale, Belhaven Fowlers Wee Heavy, McEwans Scotch Ale, Orkney Skullsplitter Ale, Traquair House Ale, Fowler's Wee Heavy, Vermont Pub & Brewery Wee Heavy.
OG: 1.070 - 1.100; Alcohol: 7 - 10.5%; IBU's: 25 - 35; SRM: 10-47


These are beers that do not fit the other descriptions. The purposeful inclusion of additives (other than fruit or herbs) combine to impart unique characteristics. Maple syrup, sorghum, honey, chocolate, pumpkin and smoke flavor can be added to create a specialty beer. The major style characteristics must still be readily recognized.
Commercial examples: Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale, Pete's Wicked Honey Wheat, Vermont Pub and Brewery Smoked Porter, Samuel Adams Honey Porter, Otter Creek Brewery Hickory Switch Smoked Ale, JW Dundee's Honey Brown,
Oregon Original Honey Red.
O.G.: 1.030 - 1.110; Alcohol: 2.5 - 12%; IBU's: 0 - 100; SRM: 1 - 50.


This is actually more of a method of brewing then a style but it does add a special flavor to any beer made in this method. Porous stones (graywacke, a type of sandstone) are superheated and lowered into the beer wort, causing the wort to boil. The rocks are then removed, and when the resulting beer has begun to ferment and the stones are cool, they are again lowered into the beer. The yeast ferments the strongly-flavored, caramelized sugars crystallized on the stones. The result is a delicious, rare and somewhat smoky beer. It has a smoky, treacle-toffee or butterscotch-like palate, and a long, roundish finish. The hop bitterness should be medium. The color is amber. This method of brewing was used in the time before it was possible to make large kettles from metal. This beer type has recently been revived in Germany. In 1982, Gerd Borges reintroduced Steinbier.
Commercial examples: Rauchenfels Steinbrau, Rauchenfels Steinweizen, Brimstone M.O.B. Stone.
O.G.: 1.048; Alcohol: 4.7%; IBU's: 27; SRM: 9.


Dry Stout

Originally this was an Irish version of Porter. A rich, dry, extra-dark, black opaque ale. A proper dry stout is intensely roasty, with plenty of hop bitterness. It should be top-fermented, with the attendant fruitiness and complexity. Low to medium bodied, the distinguishing feature is the requisite roasted coffee like flavor and aroma from the use of roasted barley which is required but can be at low levels. It starts with a taste of malt and caramel and ends with a dry-roasted, bitter taste. Hop bitterness is medium to high, but malt should still dominate slightly. There may be very low to medium diacetyl. There is just enough English variety hop flavor present to offset the malt. Thus, the hop flavor is barely noticeable and there is no hop aroma. Sweet maltiness and caramel malt should character is OK. A small % of soured beer is sometimes added giving the beer an acidity/sourness that balances the dry roast flavors and high carbonate levels. Oysters have been, and still are, an ingredient in some Stouts. The practice may have originated when oyster shells were ground up and used as finings to help precipitate unwanted solids from beer. The alkaline shells also counteract the sourness in the beer. Starting gravity's are lower in Ireland, higher elsewhere.
Commercial examples: Guinness, Sierra Nevada, Sheaf Stout, Murphy's Irish Stout, Beamish Stout, Old No 38, Black Hawk Stout, Rainbow Trout Stout.
O.G.: 1.036 - 1.050; Alcohol: 3 - 5.5%; IBU's: 25 - 40; SRM: 35 +.

Foreign Stout

This is a stronger version of Dry Stout with the additional malt offset by hopping up to 60 IBU for balance. Usually brewed for 'tropical' markets. Some could be described as strong dry stouts, but others are too sweet for that designation. Around 1.060, it becomes difficult to produce a true dry stout, as the malty fullness and the fruity esters take charge. It is black to opaque and medium to full bodied. There should be no hop flavor or aroma but a slight acidity/sourness flavor is OK. Slight malt sweetness or caramel malt character and very low to medium diacetyl is OK. Low fruity-esters are OK.
Commercial example: Guinness Extra Stout, Dragon Stout, ABC Stout, Lion Stout.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.075; Alcohol: 5 - 7.5%; IBU's: 25 - 60; SRM: 35 +.

Imperial Russian Stout

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

Sweet Stout

The English version of Stout. Usually possessing a unique chocolate-caramel malt flavor. The overall character is sweet. Lacks most of the roasted barley character and hop bitterness which is on the low end. The flavor is derived from the use of chocolate malt and milk sugar (lactose). Lactose is unfermentable and hence adds sweetness to the beer. No hop flavor or aroma. Medium to full body. There may be low diacetyl detected. Sweet maltiness and caramel flavors should be evident. The color is black opaque. Often called "Farm Stout", "Milk Stout" and "Cream Stout". Most Sweet Stouts are low in alcohol, containing 3 to 3.5 percent alcohol by volume.
Commercial example: Mackeson XXX Stout, Sweetheart Stout, Watneys Cream Stout, Samuel Adams Cream Stout.
O.G.: 1.038 - 1.056; Alcohol: 3 - 6%; IBU's: 15 - 25; SRM: 35 +.

Oatmeal Stout

This beer is a variation of the sweet stout but has oatmeal added to increase the fullness of body and flavor and to make a more "nutritious" Stout. The result of this mixture is often described as firm, smooth, silky body, and a hint of nuttiness in their complex of coffee, chocolate and roast flavors. Because oats gelatinize at low temperatures, they can make mashing difficult. Hop bitterness is low. No hop flavor or aroma. Medium to full body. There may be low diacetyl detected. Sweet maltiness and caramel flavors should be evident. The color is black opaque.
Commercial example: Young's Oatmeal Stout, Lacto Milk Stout, Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout.
O.G.: 1.038 - 1.056; Alcohol: 3 - 6%; IBU's: 15 - 25; SRM: 35 +.


Higher alcohol version of pale ale though generally not as strong or rich as a Barleywine. Often regarded as winter warmers. Old ales have a fruity character although the finish may be dry. A bit syrupy when young, but improve with up to five years of aging. Long term aging in the bottle or tun may give old ales oxidative flavors like a fine old port or Madeira wine. They are medium to full bodied, with a nutty malt sweetness, and are very estery. Usually not very thoroughly fermented, so to leave some of the sweetness, flavor and body of the malt sugars in the beer. Color is usually light amber to very dark red. Hop flavor and bitterness is medium to high, but hop aroma is low from the aging process. Alcoholic strength should be recognizable. Low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Theakston's Old Peculiar, Old Buzzard, Wobbly Bob, Owd Roger, Young's Winter Warmer, Old Tom, Old Jock, Old Fart, Strong Suffolk, Gale's 5X, Gale's Prize Old Ale.
O.G.: 1.055 - 1.080; Alcohol: 5.5 - 8.5%; IBU's: 30 - 50; SRM: 10 - 16.


Only beer brewed in one of the six remaining brewing abbeys may use the term "Trappist". They are the Westmalle, Orval, Rochefort, Sint Sixtus at Westvleteren, and Chimay breweries in Belgium, and the Trappists of Schaapskooi at Koningshoeven in the Netherlands. The six Trappist abbeys produce around 20 beers. Beers brewed by regular breweries that are in the Trappist style are called abbey beers. They are strong, top-fermented, amber to copper colored, fruity, aromatic beers with a spiciness and slight acidity that sets them apart. Several have rum notes that come from the addition of dark candy sugar in the kettle. Candy sugar contributes to the beer's aroma, texture and flavor. They are all bottle conditioned, with plenty of yeast sediment. Although its hard to classify all the Trappist and Abbey ales into clear-cut subcategorizes, it is generally accepted that 3 varieties are made.

Enkel (House Brew)

The weakest of the 3 variations. It is meant for everyday consumption. The color is amber to copper with light to medium hop bitterness. Hop flavor and aroma can be medium to none. Medium body. Slight fruitiness and esters are OK. Low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Westvleteren 4 Dubbel, Orval, Chimay PremiFre (Capsule Rouge), Rochefort 6, Westmalle Extra.
O.G.: 1.050 - 1.070; Alcohol: 5.5 - 7%; IBU's: 15 - 25; SRM: 10 - 15.


Dark amber to full brown ales with a sweet malty flavor and a slightly nutty aroma that may give way to some hoppy dryness in the finish. They are very fruity/plummy in the nose and chocolate malt aroma is OK. Medium- to full-bodied. Low bitterness. Very low diacetyl is OK. Aromas and flavors are sometimes derived from unique yeast strains. Low to medium fruity-esters (especially banana) are OK. Small amounts of spices may be added.
Commercial examples: Grimbergen Dubbel, Affligem Dubbel, Rochefort 8, Chimay Cinq Cents (Capsule Blanche), Chimay Grande RTserve (Capsule Bleue), La Trappe Dubbel, Westmalle Dubbel, Westvleteren 6 Special.
O.G.: 1.070 - 1.095; Alcohol: 7 - 10%; IBU's: 20 - 25; SRM: 12 - 20.


A paler and stronger ale, brewed from pale Pilsner malts with candy sugar added to boost the O.G.. Complex aroma and palate with delicately light aromatic hop characteristics, light malt aroma and a light citric fruitiness. Medium- to full-bodied. Neutral hop/malt balance in the flavor, each being low to medium. Finish may be sweet. As with doubles, aromas and flavors are derived from unique yeast strains and small amounts of spice are sometimes added. Deep gold to brown. Alcoholic, but best examples do not taste strongly of alcohol. Spicy, phenolic-clove, banana flavors, esters are OK.
Commercial examples: Grimbergen Tripel, Mateen, Affligem Tripel, Westmalle Tripel, Rochefort 10, La Trappe Tripel, La Trappe Quadrupel, Westvleteren 8 Extra, Westvleteren 12 Abbot.
O.G.: 1.090 - 1.100; Alcohol: 9 - 10%; IBU's: 20 - 30; SRM: 7 - 18.


The classic amber lager style. Originally brewed in 1841 by the famous Austria brewer, Anton Dreher. It has now become rare in Austria. Reminiscent of Oktoberfest but with a less robust sweet malt character. This distinctive style owes much of its character to the method of malting. Vienna malt provides the dominant toasty flavor, aroma, and color. May have low malt sweetness on the palate but should have a fairly dry finish. Low to medium bitterness from "noble-type" hops. This beer is light to medium bodied with a reddish-amber to light brown color. Low hop flavor and aroma from "noble-type" hops put the emphasis on the malt. No fruitiness or esters. Very low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Newman's Albany Amber, Dos Equis Amber, Portland Lager, Ambier Genuine Vienna Style, Negra Modelo, Red Wolf.
O.G.: 1.046 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4.5 - 6%; IBU's: 20 - 30; SRM: 10 - 15.


Weizenbier (or Weissbier)

Wheat beer of southern Germany. Light to medium bodied, lightly hopped, yeasty, highly effervescent, and suggestive of cloves and bananas. It is, above all, a summer beer. At least 50% wheat malt. Some cloudiness is acceptable in this style since a mash of wheat can add haze from protein. Fermented as an ale by unique yeast strains. Clove and slight banana character is required. Vanilla, nutmeg, smoke and cinnamon-like phenolics are permissible. A slight bubble-gum flavor may show up in fresh examples, but this flavor diminishes quickly with time. Fruity/estery character can be low to medium. Mild sourness is OK. Bitterness is low to unnoticeable. Very low hop flavor and aroma is OK. No diacetyl. Light straw to amber.
Commercial examples: Paulaner Krystal Weizen, Hofbrauhaus Krystal Weizen, Edelweiss, Schneider Weisse, Julius Echter Weizenbier, Spaten Club-Weisse, Oderdorfer Weiss, Erdinger Kristall Weissbier.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBU's: 8 - 15; SRM: 3 - 9.


Overall the profile of this beer is similar to Weizen. "Hefe" means "yeast" and that the only difference between this and the previous style is that the previous one does not have yeast in the bottom. A good wheat beer mit Hefe has a complex flavor but does not have the grittiness of autolyzed yeast or wort protein. Clove and slight banana character is required. Vanilla, nutmeg, smoke and cinnamon-like phenolics are permissible. Fruity/estery. Mild sourness is OK. Bitterness is low to unnoticeable. Low hop flavor and aroma is OK. No diacetyl. Light straw to amber. This style of beer is conditioned in the bottle or keg and will contain some yeast sediment. Lager or ale yeast may be used to condition the beer.
Commercial examples: Pschorr Weizen, Wurzburger, Paulaner Hefe-Weizen, Prince Luitpold Hefe-Weissbier, Erdinger Mit Feiner Hefe-Weizen, Schneider Hefe-Weizen.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5%; IBU's: 8 - 15; SRM: 3 - 9.

Dunkel Weizen

Dark version of Weizenbier which can be a bit stronger. The color is deep copper to full brown. Slight chocolate-like or toasted maltiness may be evident but should be very subdued at most. Medium bodied beer with an emphasis of dark malt. It usually has a little less of the characteristic clove-banana aromas. The combination of wheaty tartness and the lusciousness of dark malts makes this style full of flavor and complexity. Low diacetyl is OK. Low hop flavor and aroma is OK. The classic examples are unfiltered.
Commercial examples: Hecker-Pschorr Dark Wheat, Oberdorfer Dunkelweizen, Erdinger Dunkel Weizen, Tucher Dunkles Hefe Weizen.
O.G.: 1.045 - 1.055; Alcohol: 4.5 - 6%; IBU's: 10 - 15; SRM: 10 - 23.


A stronger and more robust version of Weizen. A medium- to full-bodied beer, it is made from 40-60% wheat, but the palate emphasis is on the high malt flavor. Hop bitterness is low to undetectable. No hop flavor or aroma, but the clove and banana flavor and aroma are still evident. Color can be from light amber to dark brown. Dark versions may have a mild toasted malt flavor and aroma. Alcoholic strength should be evident. Low diacetyl is OK.
Commercial examples: Erdinger Pinkantus, Shneider Aventinius.
O.G.: 1.066 - 1.080; Alcohol: 6.5 - 7.5%; IBU's: 10 - 15; SRM: 7 - 25.

Berliner Weisse

This tart, refreshing, thirst-quenching beer can legally only be brewed in Berlin, Germany, although a few brewers in Northern Germany brew wheat beers in a similar style. Often called the Champagne of beers. Anywhere up to 75% malted wheat is used and results in a characteristic foamy large white head. The ale-type yeast and lactic combination produces a light body which is dry, tart, and has a sharp lactic sourness. The sourness can be very intense. Very pale yellow color, effervescent, modest alcohol content, no bitterness, no hop flavor or aroma and low fruity ester notes. No diacetyl. May be mixed with sweet syrups.
Commercial examples: Berliner Kindl Weisse, Schultheiss Berliner Weisse.
O.G.: 1.028 - 1.032; Alcohol: 2.5 - 3.5%; IBU's: 3 - 6; SRM: 2 - 4.

American Wheat Beer

A standard ale yeast is used. Typically have light, crisp grain flavors and aromas characteristic of wheat. The clovey aromas and flavors of Bavarian Weizenbiers are absent (and inappropriate). Low to medium fruitiness and esters. Hop bitterness can be from medium to none. Hop aroma and flavor can be high or low. The proportion of wheat is often greater than 50%. Light to medium body, pale straw to gold although light amber versions exist. Low diacetyl is OK. The use of lager yeast is OK. No phenolic character.
Commercial examples: Wheat Hook, Samuel Adam's Summer Wheat, Oregon Original Hefeweizen, Catamount American Wheat. O.G.: 1.030 - 1.050; Alcohol: 3.5 - 5%; IBU's: 5 - 30; SRM: 2 - 8.

Wit or Belgian White Beer

The orange taste and sweet-dry spiciness of Belgian-style wheat beer sets it apart from other wheat beers. Although orange peels are a common ingredient in this style, it is the type of yeast used that is mainly responsible for the orange/citrus aromas and flavors. This beer has a low to medium body and is brewed with up to 50% unmalted wheat, malted barley, and possibly oats. The unmalted wheat gives Witbier more firmness of body and graininess then German Weizen beers. The unmalted wheat has a "different" taste than malted wheat. It is stronger and maltier than Berlin Weiss but not as acidic. Wit is tangy and sharply refreshing with hints of orange, honey, and even muscat. It typically has a full yellow-white color and sports a very white head. Coriander seed, Curacao orange peel, Hallertauer and/or Saaz may all be used. Low to medium bitterness. Hop flavor and aroma is usually from "noble-types" is desired but not absolutely necessary. A young example will have a fruity, quenching quality, but the bottle-conditioned varieties will mature over two to three months, during which time the hop flavor will recede and the orange flavors will be accented, possibly by some Madeira notes. Dry. Low diacetyl is OK. Has low to medium fruity esters. Bottle conditioned.
Commercial examples: Hoegaarden Witbier, Celis White, Steendonk, Blanche de Namur, Titje, Wieckse Witte, Spring Street 1444 Wit.
O.G.: 1.044 - 1.050; Alcohol: 4.5 - 5%; IBU's: 15 - 30; SRM: 2 - 4.


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


Grodzisk is a specialty of Grodzisk, Poland, near Poznan. It is made with a significant proportion of malted wheat, smoked over oak. The beer is top-fermented, perhaps with some wild yeast influence, and bottled-conditioned. It can be low in alcohol or of conventional strength. It is an extremely pale golden beer, with a faint haze, a dense white head, and a surprisingly light body. It has a sourish, sappy, oaky aroma (like a box that had held smoked herring), and a smoky, very deep, crisp palate. After a period of storage, it begins to develop a tart, quenching acidity.
O.G.: 1.030 - 1.055; Alcohol: 2.5 - 5%; IBU's: 10 - 20; SRM: 4