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05/13/08

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  Here is the descriptions of beer styles, that exist in my collection. I took this info from RateBeer site. To see descriptions in Russian language, visit www.nuBO.ru.

Style Description
Abbey Dubbel These are dark, malty, yeasty strong ales in the Trappist tradition, but produced (mainly) by secular brewers. Dubbels range between 6.5-8% abv, and have a dark brown, cloudy colour, and a palate mixing malt, a lush fruitiness, and yeast. They are typically bottle-conditioned.
Abbey Tripel Like other abbey ales, Tripels are strong, yeasty-malty beers. But they are also pale, and have a notable hop profile. Hop bitterness may be higher than a typical abbey ale, up to 35IBUs. But the finish is where the hops really shine, as tripels should finish fairly dry. Otherwise, maltiness is still essential to the style, and the assertive yeast note typical of all abbey ales will be more apparent in tripels, since they do not have the rich dark malts to distract the palate. Alcohol flavours feature more prominently in Tripels that in just about any other style.
Abt/Quadrupel Abt, or quadrupel, is the name given to ultra-strong Trappist and abbey ales. The name Abt was pioneered to describe Westvleteren and the beer that would become St. Bernardus. Quadrupel was pioneered by La Trappe. Abts are the darker of the two, with more rich, deep fruity notes. Quads are paler, with corresponding peachy notes. Neither have much in the way of hop, and both are very strong and malty. Though both are bottle-conditioned, abts trend more towards yeastiness. Alcohol is very high (10+% abv) for both.
Altbier Well hopped and malty with copper to dark-brown color. Alt is the German word for "old" or "old style". It is more or less the German equivalent to an English ale. Traditionally fermented warm but aged at cold temperatures.
Amber Ale A style without definition, amber ales range from bland, vaguelly caramelly beers to products with a fairly healthy malt and hop balance. Often the differentiation between a quality amber and an American Pale is that the amber might have more dark malt character, or a less assertive hop rate.
American Wheat Golden to light amber in color, the body is light to medium. The wheat lends a crispness to the brew, often with some acidity. Some hop flavour maybe be present, but bitterness is low. Not as estery as German or Belgian-style wheats.
Baltic Porter The historical remnants of the 19th c. Baltic trade in imperial stouts, Baltic Porters are typically strong, sweet and bottom-fermented. They lack the powerful roast of an imperial stout, but have an intense malt character. Alcohol ranges from 7-9.5% abv. Though they are typically lagers, there are a handful of top-fermented examples.
Barley Wine A Barley Wine is a strong, top-fermenting ale, with an alcohol contents of at least 9% and up to 13% (or more) by volume. Hops may be hardly noticeable at all or very noticeable. Sip them out of the special glass, that will concentrate the aroma. They are excellent with cigars or with dessert.
Belgian Ale Belgian-style ales seldom fit neatly into classic beer styles, but this category represents those "session" ales (in Belgium this means under 7% abv!) that do not fit other categories. Colour ranges from golden to deep amber, with the occasional example coming in darker. Body tends to be light to medium, with a wide range of hop and malt levels. Yeastiness and acidity may also be present.
Belgian Strong Ale Belgian Strong Ales can vary from pale to dark brown in color, darker ales may be colored with dark candy sugar. Hop flavor can range from low to high, while hop aroma is low. The beers are medium to full-bodied and have a high alcoholic character. Types of beers included here include tripels, dubbels and ultra-strong abbey ales.
Belgian White Belgian style wheat beers, are very pale, opaque, with the crisp character of wheat, plus the citric refreshment of orange peel and coriander. Ingredients sometimes also include oats for smoothness, and other spices such as grains of paradise. Serve with light cheeses or mussels.
Bitter A gold to copper color, low carbonation and medium to high bitterness. Hop flavor and aroma may be non-existent to mild. Great to drink with steak and lobster.
Bohemian Pilsener Hallmarked by the generous use of the Saaz hop, Bohemian (or Czech) pilsners are also noted for their rich gold colour, fat maltiness and moderate to full body. Regardless of origin, to be a pilsner a beer must have at least 28 units of bitterness, and preferably much more.
Brown Ale Color ranges from reddish-brown to dark brown. Lower in alcohol than porter, medium to full body flavor. Appropriate foods are apple pie, pork with brown sauce, beef vegetable soup and cheddar.
Classic German Pilsener German pilsners typically come in two varieties, the northern and the southern. Southern examples are akin to a Bohemian pilsner with German hops and less malt. Northern examples are very well-attenuated (leaner in body) and dry.
Doppelbock Doppel means double and while these are stronger brews than the traditional German bocks, they are typically not twice the strength. Color is light amber to dark brown. Very full body with a high alcoholic flavor. Low hop flavor and aroma.
Dortmunder/Helles These two styles are closely related, the former hailing from Dortmund and the latter from Bavaria. Both are slightly strong (5.0-5.6%), malt-accented pale lagers. The cookie-like or bready maltiness should be very much in evidence in a traditional example. These beers are clean and easy to drink in quantity. Some Dortmunders made in Denmark and the Netherlands are stronger.
Dry Stout The “Irish-style” stout is typically a low-gravity stout with bitterness ranging between 30-45 IBUs. Roastiness is present, but restrained, and there should not be hops in either the flavour or aroma. A little bit of acidity can be present. Often, this type of stout is serving via nitrogen, with all the effects that has on a beer – low carbonation, extra-thick head, lifeless palate and muted flavour and aroma.
Dunkel Copper to dark brown. Medium body. Nutty, toasted, chocolatelike malty sweetness in aroma and flavor. Medium bitterness. Low "noble-type" hop flavor and aroma. No fruitiness or esters.
Dunkelweizen A dark take on the German wheat theme, dunkelweizens have the same banana and clove notes of their pale cousins, but also have earthy, toasty, chocolatey notes from the addition of dark malts. They are "shoulder season" wheat beers to many drinkers - something a little more robust than a hefeweizen for the fall and spring seasons, but not as rich as winter's weizenbocks. Alcohol is between 4.8-5.6% generally, bitterness is low, and carbonation is high. Occasionally, you will see dark versions of American Wheats, but these are uncommon.
Eisbock A stronger version of Doppelbock. Deep copper to black. Very alcoholic. Typically brewed by freezing a doppelbock and removing resulting ice to increase alcohol content.
English Pale Ale The term 'pale' was originally intended to distinguish beers of this type from the brown London Porter. Classic English Pale Ales are not pale but rather are golden to copper colored and display English variety hop character. Distinguishing characteristics are dryness and defined hop taste, but more malt balance than what you’ll typically find in an American Pale Ale. Great to drink with all sorts of meats including roast beef, lamb, burgers, duck, goose, etc. Note that the term 'pale ale' is used in England to signify a bottled bitter, and in that way there is no such thing as 'English Pale Ale' to the English. The style is a North American construct, borne of the multitude of pale ales that pay homage to these bottled bitters – Bass in particular – and therefore the majority of true examples of the style are found outside Britain.
English Strong Ale Malty, with complex fruity esters. Some oxidative notes are acceptable, akin to those found in port or sherry. Hop aromas not usually present, due to extended age. Medium amber to very dark red-amber color. Malty and usually sweet. Alcoholic strength should be evident, though not overwhelming. Medium to full body; alcohol should contribute some warmth. An ale of significant alcoholic strength, though usually not as strong or rich as barleywine. Usually tilted toward a sweeter, more malty balance. Often regarded as winter warmers, and often released as seasonal beers.
European Strong Lager Most commonly found in Poland, but also in other European countries as well, especially the East. These are essentially stronger versions of pilsners, though the increased malt and alcohol will noticeable reduce the hop accent. Because these are usually all-malt, and comfortably hopped, they are easily distinguishable from malt liquors. Without the malt character of bocks, these are worthy of a style all their own.
Flemish Sour Ale The style with no particular name generally incorporates the light, fruity Rodenbach Red to the richly malty, strong, but still acidic, Liefmans Goudenband, and everything in between. No matter if the beer occupies the red or brown end of the spectrum, it should display a fruity, vinous character and a deft balance between sweet malt flavours and acidity.
Foreign Stout Foreign Stout began with the beer that would become Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. This was a stronger, extra-hopped version of the basic Guinness Extra Stout, brewed to survive long journeys overseas. The classic FES still exists in a few different forms, but many of the original destination countries (Jamaica, Sri Lanka, etc.) now have their own, locally-produced versions. Foreign stout occupies a position between basic stout and imperial stout. It is sweeter than a basic stout, but not as robust as an imperial. It is less fruity and less hoppy as well. Foreign stouts are sometimes made with local grains and adjuncts – sugar is not uncommon. Alcohol ranges from 6-8%.
Fruit Beer Any ale or lager made with fruit. See beer description for flavor. Body, color, hop character and strength vary depending on the type of fruit used.
German Hefeweizen Depending on the style can range from pale and light body to dark brown with full body. Wheat beer is characterized by it's cloudy appearance and it's banana and sometimes vanilla aftertaste.
German Kristallweizen Kristalweizens are the third member of the German Wheat trifecta. Deriding by many beer lovers as “castrated hefeweizens”, kristalweizens are known for their filtered, sparkling colour. They have the classic spritzy carbonation of wheat beers, and the same tart wheat notes and signature components of banana, bubblegum and spice. The body is light, and alcohol ranging around the 5% mark, give or take half a point.
Golden Ale/Blond Ale There are a few different types of blond ale. The first is the traditional “Canadian Ale”, an adjunct-laden, macrobrewed, top-fermented equivalent of the American Standard. The second is common in US brewpubs – a light starter ale, with marginally more hop and body than a macrobrew, fewer adjuncts, but still not a flavourful beer by any means. The British interpretation is easily the boldest, hoppiest blond ale rendition. Some of these can almost be considered American Pales they are so hopped up – very crisp, refreshing, with relatively low alcohol compared with their North American counterparts.
Heller Bock The pale Bock is dark golden to copper in color. Medium to full-bodied with an emphasis on malt sweetness. Hop flavor and aroma tend to be light. Maibock often falls into this category.
India Pale Ale India Pale Ale gets its name and unique style from British brewers who were making beer for export to India. This style has an intense hop flavor which was used to preserve the beer for the long voyage. India Pale Ale has a golden to copper color with a medium maltiness and body. The aroma is moderate to very strong. IPAs work especially well at cutting the heat of chili, vindaloo or Sichuan cuisine.
Irish Ale The red ales of Ireland have a gentle maltiness, caramelly, earthy notes, and a generally restrained hop character. They are session ales, so alcohol is generally at 5% abv or less, though you will find the occasion stronger example.
Irish Red The red ales of Ireland have a gentle maltiness, caramelly, earthy notes, and a generally restrained hop character. They are session ales, so alcohol is generally at 5% abv or less, though you will find the occasion stronger example.
Kolsch Golden, top-fermented style native to Köln, Germany. The style has a very narrow profile and many beers that consider themselves to be kölschbiers are not. Generally they have a moderate bitterness, but fairly prominent hop flavour (typically Spalt, Tettnang or Hallertau). They have high effervescence, medium esters, but a rounded, stylish character derived from lagering.
Lambic - Fruit One of the oldest styles of beer style produced today, and one of the most complex. Lambics are wheat beers made with stale hops and fermented with wild yeasts and other microorganisms, traditionally only on the Senne Valley in and around Brussels. The beer is aged from one to three years in wooden barrels. Lambic is occasionally available unblended from the barrel, but is more commonly found as gueuze, a sparkling, vinous blend of several barrels, or in versions where the beer has been matured with fruit. The most traditional of the fruit lambics are kriek (cherry) and framboise (raspberry). In modern times, peaches (pêche), blackcurrants (cassis), grapes, as well as more exotic fruits are used. Traditional lambics are commonly denoted by the term "oud", which is a reference to "old-style", and these are the most sour. More commonly, though, lambics are sweetened to cut the intense acidity. Serve with sharp cheeses or pickled dishes, or use in the preparation of mussels.
Low Alcohol Low alcohol beers range from the typical “Non-Alc” beers, which typically contain 0.5%, to the various European table beer styles. These include hvidtøl and skibsøl from Denmark, kvass from Russia, the Dutch oud bruins, svagdricka from Sweden, kalja from Finland, various Klass I Scandinavian lagers and table beers from the Teutonic countries as well. The base criteria is that the beer should be under 3%, but still contain alcohol (which rules out malta/malzbier). Otherwise, the class can be a bit of a free-for-all stylistically, ranging from bland lagers, to alcohol-free weizenbiers, to the smoky skibsøl.
Oktoberfest / Marzen Amber to deep copper/orange. Malty sweetness, toasted malt aroma and flavor dominant. Medium body. Low to medium bitterness. Low hop flavor and aroma.
Old Ale Old Ale is a simple enough style to figure out. At least, once you understand that there are three or four different beer styles called Old Ale. The first is the best known - the strong dark Old Peculier style. A malty beer, between 6-7%, with a dark brown colour and notes of molasses, toffee, and dark fruit. Hop profile is minimal, though bitterness will creep up to 25-32 IBUs. The second Old Ale is epitomized by Gale's Prize Old Ale. This is not necessarily stronger than the other version, but may be. It is dark brown, and made from a blend of two or more beers. At least one of the beers going into the blend will be aged for a couple of years in oak casks. In terms of production, this beer is related to Flemish Ales, and Lambics. But in character, these are dark, fruity, sweet beers of distinction. Other hallmarks of this type of Old Ale are low carbonation, a developing acid presence, and a slightly oily palate. Hop character is non-existent, and malty notes ranging from raisins and brown sugar to vinuous flavours abound.The third version of Old Ale is closely related to the first. For me, these are robustly malty beers, akin to a top-fermented version of a doppelbock. They are differentiated from an English Strong Ale by their lack of hop or yeast character. Alcohol tends to be 6.5% or higher and the chewy malt predominates from the warm nose to the long finish. The last are lower alcohol beers (between 4 and maybe just north of 5%) that are very dark, with chewy, malty flavours - almost like a robust version of a mild. These are found in small quantities in England, sometimes as a harvest ale.
Pale Lager Pale lager is the world's most popular style of beer. Modeled on the three original, world-famous examples Carlsberg, Heineken and Budweiser, these are the mainstream of the beer world. The color ranges from light bronze to nearly transparent and the alcohol anywhere from 4-6%. Adjunct usage may be quite high, though in some cases the beer is all-malt. Carbonation is typically forced, though not always. One thing that doesn't vary is that neither the malt nor the hops make much of an impression on the palate. These beers are brewed for minimum character, though faint traces of hop or malt may show through. More likely though is that adjuncts like corn will show through, or you'll find notes of higher alcohols (fuel notes) due to the use of high-gravity brewing. The body will be thin and watery, and the finish is typically non-existent.
Pilsener While the definition of “pilsner” is open to much debate in beer community, it generally refers to pale, hoppy lagers, ranging from 28IBUs and up. Pilsners that do not meet the specific characteristics of a German or Bohemian pils will be given this generic classification.
Porter Black or chocolate malt gives the porter it's dark brown color. Porters are well hopped and heavily malted. This is a medium-bodied beer. Porters can be sweet. Hoppiness can range from bitter to mild. Porters are often confused with stouts.
Premium Bitter/ESB In England, many breweries have a number of bitters in their range. The style that has come to be known as Premium Bitter generally includes the stronger (4.3-6.0%) examples. These are mostly served in the traditional way from the cask, but some are also found in bottle form where the extra malt allows them to stand up better than the more delicate ordinary Bitter. In the US, the designation ESB is common for this style, owing to the influence of Fuller's ESB, the London brew that was among the first to be exported to the States. In the US, some ESBs are made with American hops and a clean yeast, but the alcohol range is the same, as is the range of bitterness, usually between 25 and 35 but occasionally creeping higher.
Premium Lager A beer that straddles between the mainstream Pale Lager and Pilsner. Not all beers that call themselves Premium Lager are, but those that are will typically have a deep gold to light bronze colour, and distinct influence of malt and hops. They should be free of adjuncts and will have a softer carbonation than Pale Lager or Classic German Pilsner. IBUs will typically range in the 20's, and lagering times will typically be 4-6 weeks, more in line with what pilsners have. Overall accent will be malty-to-balanced, alcohol in a slightly tighter range than either Pale Lager or Pilsner (4.5-5.5%). Most often the product of a microbrewery or brewpub, but macrobreweries can make this style if they jack up the hops a bit and make it all-malt.
Schwarzbier Dark brown to black. Medium body. Roasted malt evident. Low sweetness in aroma and flavor. Low to medium bitterness. Low bitterness from roast malt. Hop flavor and aroma, "noble-type" OK. No fruitiness, esters.
Scotch Ale Though you won't find too many examples of this style in Scotland, strong Scotch Ales have come into their own in the New World. The term denotes a strong, dark, malty ale typically ranging between 6.5-8.5%. The malt character has caramel and toffee leanings, but is most distinguished by the use of malt smoked over peat. The overall character is sweet, sometimes earthy, smoky or alcoholic as well. Yeast character is usually restrained.
Smoked The classic smoked beers hail from Bamberg in Franconia, Germany. These are made using malt that has been smoked over beechwood. The insistent smokiness may be applied to any lager style. In North America, the same technique has been used to make smoked porter. Whiskey malt beers are made using peat-smoked malt.
Spice / Herb / Vegetable Any ale or lager made with herbs, spices or vegetables. The additive should be distinctive in the aroma. See beer description for flavor. Body, color, hop character and strength vary depending on the type of spice, herb or vegetable used.
Stout Many stouts do not fit the classic “Irish” definition as exemplified by Guinness, either due to their hop or roast rates, or higher gravity (in the case of many American stouts). They are still basic stouts, however, not falling into any of the subclasses.
Sweet Stout Dark brown to black in colour. Sweet stouts come in three main varieties - milk stout, oatmeal stout, and foreign stout. Milk stouts are made with the addition of lactose, and are sweet, low-alcohol brews. Oatmeal lends a smooth fullness of body to stouts, while foreign stouts are stronger (6.5-8% abv) and have a sweet malt profile and high esters. All of the sweet stouts are noted for their restrained roastiness in comparison with other stouts, and low hop levels.
Traditional Ale A catch-all category that we use to classify all of those ancient or resurrected styles of antiquity that are appearing more and more in brewing today. From sahti to heather ale to sorghum beer to gruit, and beers like Adam and Midas Touch, these ales will vary tremendously in character from one another. Many are unhopped, strength can vary, but all are a glimpse into brewing's past.
Vienna Given this name because the style was developed around Vienna, Austria. A light to medium body, with a malty aroma. Beers produced and labeled as Marzen or Oktoberfest are likely to be of the Vienna Lager style.
Weizen Bock Strong, dark wheat beers. Weizenbocks typically have a high ester profile, with more malt and alcohol than is typically associated with a wheat beer.
Zwickel / Keller / Lanbier Three related, minor, lager styles most common in Franconia. Essentially, these are hoppier versions of a helles, served with natural carbonation and unfiltered - they are the lager world's answer to real ale. Kellerbier will on average be hoppier than zwickelbier. There is also Landbier, which is more malt-accented, may be filtered, but is similarly lacking in carbonation. Gravity is standard, hop rates ranging from 22-40 IBUs, the colour from pale to reddish-amber and the palate should be balanced with a hop accent.
     

 

This site was last updated 05/13/08