Style Guidelines

Note: Many of these 37 Main Categories contain numerous beer styles — They are not individual sub-categories with their own respective set of Gold, Silver, Bronze awards. Example: “Category 1 – Standard American Beer” could have Awards presented to an American Light Lager(s), an American Lager(S), a Cream Ale(s), and/or an American Wheat Beer(s). “Category 1” will have 3 Medal-placements awarded, not 12.

1. Standard American Beer

1A - American Light Lager

Overall Impression: A highly carbonated, very light-bodied,
nearly flavorless lager designed to be consumed very cold. Very
refreshing and thirst-quenching.

Aroma: Low malt aroma optional, but may be perceived as
grainy, sweet, or corn-like, if present. Light spicy, floral, or
herbal hop aroma optional. While a clean fermentation profile
is desirable, a light amount of yeast character is not a fault.

Appearance: Very pale straw to pale yellow color. White,
frothy head seldom persists. Very clear.

Flavor: Relatively neutral palate with a crisp, dry finish and a
low to very low grainy or corn-like flavor that might be
perceived as sweetness due to the low bitterness. Low floral,
spicy, or herbal hop flavor optional, but is rarely strong enough
to detect. Low to very low bitterness. Balance may vary from
slightly malty to slightly bitter, but is usually close to even.
High carbonation may accentuate the crispness of the dry
finish. Clean fermentation profile.

Mouthfeel: Very light, sometimes watery, body. Very highly
carbonated with slight carbonic bite on the tongue.

Comments: Designed to appeal to as broad a range of the
general public as possible. Strong flavors are a fault. With little
malt or hop flavor, the yeast character often is what most
differentiates brands.

History: Coors briefly made a light lager in the early 1940s.
Modern versions were first produced by Rheingold in 1967 to
appeal to diet-conscious drinkers, but only became popular
starting in 1973 after Miller Brewing acquired the recipe and
marketed the beer heavily to sports fans with the “tastes great,
less filling” campaign. Beers of this genre became the largest
sellers in the United States in the 1990s.

Characteristic Ingredients: Two- or six-row barley with up
to 40% rice or corn as adjuncts. Additional enzymes can
further lighten the body and lower carbohydrates. Lager yeast.
Negligible hops.

Style Comparison: A lighter-bodied, lower-alcohol, lower
calorie version of an American Lager. Less hop character and
bitterness than a German Leichtbier.

Commercial Examples: Bud Light, Coors Light, Grain Belt
Premium Light American Lager, Michelob Light, Miller Lite,
Old Milwaukee Light

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU8 – 12
SRM2 – 3
Original Gravity1.028 – 1.040
Final Gravity0.998 – 1.008
ABV2.8% – 4.2%
1B - American Lager

Overall Impression: A very pale, highly-carbonated, lightbodied,
well-attenuated lager with a very neutral flavor profile
and low bitterness. Served very cold, it can be a very refreshing
and thirst-quenching drink.

Aroma: Low malt aroma optional, but may be perceived as
grainy, sweet, or corn-like, if present. Light spicy or floral hop
aroma optional. While a clean fermentation profile is desirable,
a light amount of yeast character is not a fault.

Appearance: Very pale straw to medium yellow color. White,
frothy head seldom persists. Very clear.

Flavor: Relatively neutral palate with a crisp, dry finish and a
moderately-low to low grainy or corn-like flavor that might be
perceived as sweetness due to the low bitterness. Moderately
low hop flavor optional, with a floral, spicy, or herbal quality, if
strong enough to distinguish. Low to medium-low bitterness.
Balance may vary from slightly malty to slightly bitter, but is
usually close to even. High carbonation may accentuate the
crispness of the dry finish. Clean fermentation profile.

Mouthfeel: Low to medium-low body. Very highly carbonated
with slight carbonic bite on the tongue.

Comments: Often what non-craft beer drinkers expect to be
served if they order beer in the United States. May be marketed
as Pilsner outside Europe, but should not be confused with
traditional examples. Strong flavors are a fault. With little malt
or hop flavor, the yeast character is what most frequently
differentiates brands.

History: Evolved from Pre-Prohibition Lager (see Category
27) in the US after Prohibition and World War II. Surviving
breweries consolidated, expanded distribution, and heavily
promoted a beer style that appealed to a broad range of the
population. Became the dominant beer style for many decades,
and spawned many international rivals who would develop
similarly bland products for the mass market supported by
heavy advertising.

Characteristic Ingredients: Two- or six-row barley with up
to 40% rice or corn as adjuncts. Lager yeast. Light use of hops.

Style Comparison: Stronger, more flavor and body than an
American Light Lager. Less bitterness and flavor than an
International Pale Lager. Significantly less flavor, hops, and
bitterness than traditional European Pilsners.

Commercial Examples: Budweiser, Coors Original, Grain
Belt Premium American Lager, Miller High Life, Old Style,
Pabst Blue Ribbon, Special Export

Vital StatGuideline
IBU8 – 18
SRM2 – 3.5
Original Gravity1.040 – 1.050
Final Gravity1.004 – 1.010
ABV4.2% – 5.3%
1C - Cream Ale

Overall Impression: A clean, well-attenuated, highly
carbonated, flavorful American “lawnmower” beer. Easily
drinkable, smooth, and refreshing, with more character than
typical American lagers, yet still subtle and restrained.

Aroma: Medium-low to low malt notes, with a sweet, cornlike
aroma. Low DMS optional. Medium-low hop aroma
optional, using any variety but floral, spicy, or herbal notes are
most common. Overall, has a subtle, balanced aroma. Low
fruity esters optional.

Appearance:
Pale straw to light gold color, although usually
on the pale side. Low to medium head with medium to high
carbonation. Fair head retention. Brilliant, sparkling clarity.
Effervescent.

Flavor:
Low to medium-low hop bitterness. Low to moderate
malty sweetness, varying with gravity and attenuation. The
malt is generally neutral, possibly grainy or crackery. Usually
well-attenuated. Balanced palate, with hops only enough to
support the malt. A low to moderate corny flavor is commonly
found, but light DMS is optional. Finish can vary from
somewhat light, dry, and crisp to faintly sweet. Clean
fermentation profile, but low fruity esters are optional. Low to
medium-low hop flavor of any variety, but typically floral,
spicy, or herbal. Subtle.

Mouthfeel: Generally light and crisp, although body can
reach medium. Smooth mouthfeel with medium to high
attenuation; higher attenuation levels can lend a “thirst
quenching” quality. High carbonation.

Comments: Most commercial examples are in the 1.050–
1.053 OG range, and bitterness rarely rises above 20 IBUs.

History: A sparkling or present-use ale from the second half
of the 1800s that survived prohibition. An ale brewed to
compete with lagers brewed in Canada and the US Northeast,
Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest states.

Characteristic Ingredients: American six-row malt, or a
combination of six-row and North American two-row. Up to
20% maize in the mash, and up to 20% sugar in the boil. Any
variety of hops, often rustic American or Continental. Clean ale
yeast, or a mix of ale and lager beer.

Style Comparison: Similar to a Standard American Lager,
but with more character. Lighter body, smoother, and more
carbonated than a Blonde Ale. May seem like a somewhat

Commercial Examples: Genesee Cream Ale, Liebotschaner
Cream Ale, Kiwanda Pre-Prohibition Cream Ale, Little Kings
Cream Ale, Sleeman Cream Ale, Sun King Sunlight Cream Ale

Vital StatGuideline
IBU8 – 20
SRM2 – 5
Original Gravity1.042 – 1.055
Final Gravity1.006 – 1.012
ABV4.2% – 5.6%
1D - American Wheat Beer

Overall Impression: A pale, refreshing grainy, doughy, or
bready wheat beer with a clean fermentation profile and a
variable hop character and bitterness. Its lighter body and
higher carbonation contribute to its easy-drinking nature.

Aroma: Low to moderate grainy, bready, or doughy wheat
character. A light to moderate malty sweetness is acceptable.
Moderate esters optional, usually a neutral profile; banana is
inappropriate. Low to moderate citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity
hop aroma. Not typically dry-hopped. No clove phenols.

Appearance: Usually pale yellow to gold. Clarity may range
from brilliant to hazy with yeast approximating a Weissbier.
Big, long-lasting white head.

Flavor: Light to moderately-strong bready, doughy, or grainy
wheat flavor, which can linger into the finish. May have a
moderate malty sweetness or can finish quite dry and crisp.
Low to moderate hop bitterness, sometimes lasting into the
finish. Balance is usually even, but may be slightly bitter. Low
to moderate citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity hop flavor. Moderate
esters optional. No banana. No clove phenols.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Medium-high to
high carbonation. Slight creaminess is optional; wheat beers
sometimes have a soft, ‘fluffy’ impression.

Comments: Different variations exist, from an easy-drinking
fairly sweet beer to a dry, aggressively-hopped beer with a
strong wheat flavor. American Rye beers should be entered as
31A Alternative Grain Beer.

History: An American craft beer adaptation of the Weissbier
style using a cleaner yeast and more hops, first produced by
Anchor in 1984 and later widely popularized by Widmer.

Characteristic Ingredients: Clean American ale or lager
yeast. German Weissbier yeast is inappropriate. Wheat malt
(often 30–50%, lower than is typical in Weissbier). American,
German, or New World hops.

Style Comparison: More hop character and less yeast
character than Weissbier. Never with the banana and clove
character of Weissbier. Generally has the same range and
balance as Blonde Ales, but with a wheat character as the
primary malt flavor.

Commercial Examples: Bell’s Oberon, Boulevard Unfiltered
Wheat Beer, GoodLife Sweet As! Pacific Ale, Goose Island 312
Urban Wheat Ale, Widmer Hefeweizen

Vital StatGuideline
IBU15 – 30
SRM3 – 6
Original Gravity1.040 – 1.055
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.013
ABV4% – 5.5%

2. International Lager

2A - International Pale Lager

Overall Impression: A highly-attenuated pale lager without
strong flavors, typically well-balanced and highly carbonated.
Served cold, it is refreshing and thirst-quenching.

Aroma: Low to medium-low grainy-malty or slightly cornysweet
malt aroma. Very low to medium spicy, floral, or herbal
hop aroma. Clean fermentation profile.

Appearance: Pale straw to gold color. White, frothy head may
not be long lasting. Very clear.

Flavor: Low to moderate levels of grainy-malt flavor,
medium-low to medium bitterness, with a crisp, dry, well attenuated
finish. The grain character can be somewhat
neutral, or show a light bready-crackery quality. Moderate
corny or malty sweetness optional. Medium floral, spicy, or
herbal hop flavor optional. Balance may vary from slightly
malty to slightly bitter, but is usually relatively close to even.
Neutral aftertaste with light malt and sometimes hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Moderately high to highly
carbonated. Can have a slight carbonic bite on the tongue.

Comments: Tends to have fewer adjuncts than American
Lagers. They may be all-malt, although strong flavors are still a
fault. A broad category of international mass-market lagers
ranging from up-scale American lagers to the typical “import”
or “green bottle” international beers found in America and
many export markets. Often confusingly labeled as a “Pilsner.”
Any skunkiness in commercial beers is a handling fault, not a
characteristic of the style.

History: In the United States, developed as a premium
version of the standard American lager, with a similar history.
Outside the US, developed either as an imitation of American style
lagers, or as a more accessible (and often drier and less
bitter) version of a Pilsner-type beer. Often heavily marketed
and exported by large industrial or multi-national breweries.

Characteristic Ingredients: Two- or six-row barley. May
use rice, corn, or sugar as adjuncts, but are generally all malt.

Style Comparison: Generally more bitter and filling than
American Lager. Less hoppy and bitter than a German Pils.
Less body, malt flavor, and hop character than a Czech
Premium Pale Lager. More robust versions can approach a
Munich Helles in flavor, but with more of an adjunct quality.

Entry Instructions: Entrant may specify regional variations,
if desired (Mexican lager, Dutch lager, etc.).

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU18 – 25
SRM2 – 6
Original Gravity1.042 – 1.050
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.012
ABV4.5% – 6%
2B - International Amber Lager

Overall Impression: A smooth, easily-drinkable, malty
amber lager with a flavorful caramel or toast character. Usually
fairly well-attenuated, often with an adjunct quality and
restrained bitterness.

Aroma: Low to moderate grainy malt aroma often with very
low to moderate caramel or toasty malt accents. Occasionally,
nutty or biscuity, but never roasty. Low, unobtrusive floral or
spicy hop aroma. Clean fermentation profile.

Appearance: Golden-amber to reddish-copper color. Bright
clarity. White to off-white foam stand which may not last.

Flavor: Low to moderate malt flavor, often with caramel or
toasty-bready flavors. Low to medium-low corny sweetness
optional. Low to moderate bitterness, giving the beer a malty to
fairly even balance. Low to moderate spicy, herbal, or floral
hop flavor. Clean fermentation profile. The finish is moderately
dry with a moderately malty aftertaste. The beer may seem a
touch sweet if the bitterness level is low.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Medium to high
carbonation. Smooth. Some examples can be slightly creamy.

Comments: A wide spectrum of mass-market amber lagers
either developed independently in various countries, or
describing rather generic amber beers with more historical
relevance that eventually changed into indistinguishable
products in modern times.

History: Varies by country, but generally represents either an
adaptation of the mass-market International Pale Lager, or an
evolution of indigenous styles into more generic products.

Characteristic Ingredients: Two-row or six-row base malt.
Color malts such as Victory, amber, or roast. May be all malt or
use adjuncts. Sugars or coloring agents possible. Caramel malt.
European or American hops.

Style Comparison: Less well-developed malt flavor than a
Vienna Lager, often with an adjunct taste. Less robust flavor
and bitterness than Altbier.

Commercial Examples: Abita Amber Lager, Brooklyn
Lager, Capital Wisconsin Amber Lager, Dos Equis Amber,
Grain Belt NordEast, Yuengling Lager

Vital StatGuideline
IBU8 – 25
SRM6 – 14
Original Gravity1.042 – 1.055
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.014
ABV4.5% – 6%
2C - International Dark Lager

Overall Impression: A darker, richer, and somewhat
sweeter version of international pale lager with a little more
body and flavor, but equally restrained in bitterness. The low
bitterness leaves the malt as the primary flavor element, and
the low hop levels provide very little in the way of balance.

Aroma: Faint malt aroma. Medium-low roast and caramel
malt aroma optional. Light spicy, herbal, or floral hop aroma
optional. Clean fermentation profile.

Appearance: Deep amber to very dark brown with bright
clarity and ruby highlights. Foam stand may not be long
lasting, and is beige to light tan in color.

Flavor: Low to medium sweet maltiness. Medium-low
caramel or roasted malt flavors optional, possibly with hints of
coffee, molasses, brown sugar, or cocoa. Low floral, spicy, or
herbal hop flavor optional. Low to medium bitterness. May
have a very light fruitiness. Moderately crisp finish. The
balance is typically somewhat malty. Burnt or moderately
strong roasted malt flavors are inappropriate.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-light body. Smooth with a light
creaminess. Medium to high carbonation.

Comments: A broad range of international lagers that are
darker than pale, and not assertively bitter or roasted.

History: Darker versions of International Pale Lagers often
created by the same large, industrial breweries and meant to
appeal to a broad audience. Often either a colored or sweetened
adaptation of the standard pale industrial lager, or a more
broadly accessible (and inexpensive) version of more
traditional dark lagers.

Characteristic Ingredients: Two- or six-row barley with
corn, rice, or sugars adjuncts. Light use of caramel and darker
roasted malts. Commercial versions may use coloring agents.

Style Comparison: Less flavor and richness than Munich
Dunkel, Schwarzbier, or other dark lagers. Frequently uses
adjuncts, as is typical of other International Lagers.

Commercial Examples: Baltika #4 Original, Dixie
Blackened Voodoo, Heineken Dark Lager, Saint Pauli Girl
Special Dark, San Miguel Dark, Shiner Bock

Vital StatGuideline
IBU8 – 20
SRM14 – 30
Original Gravity1.044 – 1.056
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.012
ABV4.2% – 6%

3. Czech Lager

3A - Czech Pale Lager

Overall Impression: A lighter-bodied, rich, refreshing,
hoppy, bitter pale Czech lager having the familiar flavors of the
stronger Czech Premium Pale Lager (Pilsner-type) beer but in a
lower alcohol, lighter-bodied, and slightly less intense format.

Aroma: Light to moderate bready-rich malt combined with
light to moderate spicy or herbal hop bouquet; the balance
between the malt and hops may vary. Faint hint of caramel is
acceptable. Light (but never intrusive) diacetyl and light, fruity
esters are optional. No sulfur.

Appearance: Light yellow to deep gold color. Brilliant to very
clear, with a long-lasting, creamy white head.

Flavor: Medium-low to medium bready-rich malt flavor with
a rounded, hoppy finish. Low to medium-high spicy or herbal
hop flavor. Bitterness is prominent but never harsh. Flavorful
and refreshing. Low diacetyl or fruity esters are optional, but
should never be overbearing.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Moderate
carbonation.

Comments: The Czech name of the style is světlé výčepní
pivo.

History: Josef Groll initially brewed two types of pale beer in
1842–3, a výčepní and a ležák, with the smaller beer having
twice the production; Evan Rail speculates that these were
probably 10 °P and 12 °P beers, but that the výčepní could have
been weaker. This is the most consumed type of beer in the
Czech Republic at present.

Characteristic Ingredients: Soft water with low sulfate and
carbonate content. Traditional Czech hops. Czech Pilsner malt.
Czech lager yeast. Low ion water provides a distinctively soft,
rounded hop profile despite high hopping rates.

Style Comparison: A lighter-bodied, lower-intensity,
refreshing, everyday version of Czech Premium Pale Lager.

Commercial Examples: Bernard světlé pivo 10, Březňák
světlé výčepní pivo, Notch Session Pils, Primátor Antonín
světlé výčepní, Radegast Rázna 10, Únětické pivo 10°

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU20 – 35
SRM3 – 6
Original Gravity1.028 – 1.044
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.014
ABV3% – 4.1%
3B - Czech Premium Pale Lager

Overall Impression: A refreshing pale Czech lager with
considerable malt and hop character and a long finish. The
malt flavors are complex for a Pilsner-type beer. The bitterness
is strong and clean but lacks harshness, which gives a well-balanced,
rounded flavor impression that enhances
drinkability.

Aroma: Medium to medium-high bready-rich malt and
medium-low to medium-high spicy, floral, or herbal hop
bouquet; though the balance between the malt and hops may
vary, the interplay is rich and complex. Light diacetyl, or very
low fruity esters are optional. Esters tend to increase with
gravity.

Appearance: Medium yellow to deep gold color. Brilliant to
very clear clarity. Dense, long-lasting, creamy white head.

Flavor: Rich, complex, bready maltiness combined with a
pronounced yet soft and rounded bitterness and floral and
spicy hop flavor. Malt and hop flavors are medium to medium-high,
and the malt may contain a slight impression of caramel.
Bitterness is prominent but never harsh. The long finish can be
balanced towards hops or malt but is never aggressively tilted
either way. Light to moderately-low diacetyl and low hop-derived
esters are acceptable, but need not be present.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Moderate to low carbonation.

Comments: Generally a group of pivo Plzeňského typu, or
Pilsner-type beers. This style is a combination of the Czech
styles světlý ležák (11–12.9 °P) and světlé speciální pivo (13–
14.9 °P). In the Czech Republic, only Pilsner Urquell and
Gambrinus are called Pilsner, despite how widely adopted this
name is worldwide. Outside the Czech Republic, Czech Pilsner
or Bohemian Pilsner are sometimes used to differentiate the
beer from other Pilsner-type beers.
Kvasnicové (“yeast beer”) versions are popular in the Czech
Republic, and may be either kräusened with yeasted wort or
given a fresh dose of pure yeast after fermentation. These beers
are sometimes cloudy, with subtle yeastiness and enhanced
hop character. Modern examples vary in their malt to hop
balance and many are not as hop-forward as Pilsner Urquell.

History: Commonly associated with Pilsner Urquell, which
was first brewed in 1842 after construction of a new brewhouse
by burghers dissatisfied with the standard of beer brewed in
Plzeň. Bavarian brewer Josef Groll is credited with first
brewing the beer, although there may have been earlier pale
lagers in Bohemia. Just as important as the lager yeast was the
use of English malting techniques.

Characteristic Ingredients: Traditional Czech hops. Czech
malt. Czech lager yeast. Water low in sulfate and carbonate
provides a distinctively soft, rounded hop profile despite high
hopping rates. The bitterness level of some larger commercial
examples has dropped in recent years, although not as much as
in many contemporary German examples.

Style Comparison: More color, malt richness, and body than
a German Pils, with a fuller finish and a cleaner, softer
impression. Stronger than a Czech Pale Lager.

Commercial Examples: Bernard světlé ležák 12°, Budvar 33
světlý ležák, Pilsner Urquell, Pivovar Jihlava Ježek 11%,
Primátor Premium lager, Radegast Ryze hořká 12, Únětická
pivo 12°

Vital StatGuideline
IBU30 – 45
SRM3.5 – 6
Original Gravity1.044 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.013 – 1.017
ABV4.2% – 5.8%
3C - Czech Amber Lager

Overall Impression: A malty amber Czech lager with a hop
character that can vary from low to quite significant. The malt
flavors also can vary, leading to different interpretations and
balances ranging from drier, bready, and slightly biscuity to
sweeter and somewhat caramel-like.

Aroma: Moderate intensity, rich malt aroma that can be
either bready and Maillard product-dominant or slightly
caramelly sweet. Spicy, floral, or herbal hop character may be
moderate to none. Clean lager character, though low fruity
esters (stone fruit or berries) may be present. Low diacetyl
optional.

Appearance: Deep amber to copper color. Clear to bright
clarity. Large, off-white, persistent head.

Flavor: Complex malt flavor is dominant (medium to
medium-high), though its nature may vary from dry and
Maillard product-dominant to caramelly and almost sweet.
Some examples have a candy-like to graham-cracker malt
character. Low to moderate spicy hop flavor. Prominent but
clean hop bitterness provides a balanced finish. Subtle plum or
berry esters optional. Low diacetyl optional. No roasted malt
flavor. Finish may vary from dry and hoppy to relatively sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to medium body. Soft and round,
often with a gentle creaminess. Moderate to low carbonation.

Comments: The Czech name of the style is polotmavé pivo,
which translates as half-dark beer. This style is a combination
of the Czech styles polotmavý ležák (11–12.9 °P) and
polotmavé speciální pivo (13–14.9 °P). Some versions may be a
blend of pale and dark lagers.

History: A Vienna-style lager which has continued to be
brewed in the Czech Republic. A resurgence of small breweries
opening in the Czech Republic has increased the number of
examples of this style.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pilsner and caramel malts, but
Vienna and Munich malts may also be used. Low mineral
content water. Traditional Czech hops. Czech lager yeast.

Style Comparison: The style can be similar to a Vienna
Lager but with stronger Czech late hop character, or that
approaching a British Bitter but significantly richer with more
of a deep caramel character. Large brewery versions are
generally similar to Czech Premium Pale Lager with slightly
darker malt flavors and less hop, while smaller breweries often
make versions with considerable hop character, malt
complexity, or residual sweetness.

Commercial Examples: Bernard Jantarový ležák 12°,
Gambrinus Polotmavá 12°, Kozel Semi-Dark, Lobkowicz
Démon 13, Primátor 13 polotmavé, Strakonický Dudák
Klostermann polotmavý ležák

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 35
SRM10 – 16
Original Gravity1.044 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.013 – 1.017
ABV4.4% – 5.8%
3D - Czech Dark Lager

Overall Impression: A rich, dark, malty Czech lager with a
roast character that can vary from almost absent to quite
prominent. Malty balance and an interesting and complex
flavor profile, with variable levels of hopping that provides a
range of possible interpretations.

Aroma: Medium to medium-high rich, deep, sometimes sweet
maltiness, with optional qualities such as bread crusts, toast,
nuts, cola, dark fruit, or caramel. Roasted malt characters such
as chocolate or sweetened coffee can vary from moderate to
none but should not overwhelm the base malt character. Low
to moderate spicy hop aroma optional. Low diacetyl and low to
moderate fruity esters (plums or berries) may be present.

Appearance: Dark copper to almost black color, often with a
red or garnet tint. Clear to bright clarity. Large, off-white to
tan, persistent head.

Flavor: Medium to medium-high deep, complex maltiness
dominates, typically with malty-rich Maillard products and a
light to moderate residual malt sweetness. Malt flavors such as
caramel, toast, nuts, licorice, dried dark fruit, chocolate, or
coffee may also be present, with very low to moderate roast
character. Low to moderate spicy hop flavor. Moderate to
medium-low bitterness, but should be perceptible. Balance can
vary from malty to relatively well-balanced to gently hopforward.
Low to moderate diacetyl and light plum or berry
esters may be present.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body, considerable
mouthfeel without being heavy or cloying. Moderately creamy
in texture. Smooth. Moderate to low carbonation. Can have a
slight alcohol warmth in stronger versions.

Comments: This style is a combination of the Czech styles
tmavý ležák (11–12.9 °P) and tmavé speciální pivo (13–14.9
°P). More modern examples are drier and have higher
bitterness while traditional versions often have IBUs in the 18–
20 range with a sweeter balance.

History: The U Fleků brewery has been operating in Prague
since 1499, and produces the best-known version. Many small,
new breweries are brewing this style.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pilsner and dark caramel malts
with the addition of debittered roasted malts are most
common, but additions of Vienna or Munich malt are also
appropriate. Low mineral content water. Traditional Czech
hops. Czech lager yeast.
Style Comparison: The beer is the Czech equivalent of a
dark lager ranging in character from Munich Dunkel to
Schwarzbier, but typically with greater malt richness and hop
aroma, flavor, and bitterness.

Commercial Examples: Bernard černý ležák 12°, Budvar
tmavý ležák, Herold lmavé silné pivo 13°, Kozel Dark ,
Krušovice černé, Primátor dark lager, U Fleků Flekovský
tmavý ležák 13°

Vital StatGuideline
IBU18 – 34
SRM17 – 35
Original Gravity1.044 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.013 – 1.017
ABV4.4% – 5.8%

4. Pale Malty European Lager

4A - Munich Helles

Overall Impression: A gold-colored German lager with a
smooth, malty flavor and a soft, dry finish. Subtle spicy, floral,
or herbal hops and restrained bitterness help keep the balance
malty but not sweet, which helps make this beer a refreshing,
everyday drink.

Aroma: Moderate grainy-sweet malt aroma. Low to
moderately-low spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma. Pleasant,
clean fermentation profile, with malt dominating the balance.
The freshest examples will have more of a malty-sweet aroma.

Appearance: Pale yellow to pale gold. Clear. Persistent
creamy white head.

Flavor: Moderately malty start with the suggestion of
sweetness, moderate grainy-sweet malt flavor with a soft,
rounded palate impression, supported by a low to medium-low
bitterness. Soft and dry finish, not crisp and biting. Low to
moderately-low spicy, floral, or herbal hop flavor. Malt
dominates hops in the palate, finish, and aftertaste, but hops
should be noticeable. No residual sweetness, simply the
impression of maltiness with restrained bitterness. Clean
fermentation profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Medium carbonation. Smooth,
well-lagered character.

Comments: Very fresh examples can have a more prominent
malt and hop character that fades over time, as is often noticed
in exported beers. Helles in Munich tends to be a lighter
version than those outside the city. May be called Helles
Lagerbier.
History: Created in Munich in 1894 to compete with pale
Pilsner-type beers, often first credited to Spaten. More popular
in Southern Germany.
Characteristic Ingredients: Continental Pilsner malt.
Traditional German hops. Clean German lager yeast.
Style Comparison: Similar in malt balance and bitterness to
Munich Dunkel, but less malty-sweet in nature and pale rather
than dark and rich. More body and malt presence than a
German Pils, but less crisp and with less hop character
throughout. Similar malt profile as a German Helles
Exportbier, but with fewer hops in the balance and slightly less
alcohol. Less body and alcohol than a Festbier.

Commercial Examples: Augustiner Lagerbier Hell, Hacker-
Pschorr Münchner Gold, Löwenbraü Original, Paulaner
Münchner Lager, Schönramer Hell, Spaten Münchner Hell,
Weihenstephaner Original Heles

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU16 – 22
SRM3 – 5
Original Gravity1.044 – 1.048
Final Gravity1.006 – 1.012
ABV4.7% – 5.4%
4B - Festbier

Overall Impression: A smooth, clean, pale German lager
with a moderately strong malty flavor and a light hop
character. Deftly balances strength and drinkability, with a
palate impression and finish that encourages drinking.
Showcases elegant German malt flavors without becoming too
heavy or filling.

Aroma: Moderate malty richness, with an emphasis on toastydoughy
aromatics and an impression of sweetness. Low to
medium-low floral, herbal, or spicy hops. The malt should not
have a deeply toasted, caramel, or biscuity quality. Clean lager
fermentation profile.
Appearance: Deep yellow to deep gold color; should not have
amber hues. Bright clarity. Persistent white to off-white foam
stand. Most commercial examples are pale gold in color.

Flavor: Medium to medium-high malty flavor initially, with a
lightly toasty, bread dough quality and an impression of soft
malty richness. Medium to medium-low bitterness, definitely
malty in the balance. Well-attenuated and crisp, but not dry.
Medium-low to medium floral, herbal, or spicy hop flavor.
Clean fermentation profile. The taste is mostly of Pils malt, but
with slightly toasty hints. The bitterness is supportive, but still
should yield a malty, flavorful finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, with a smooth, somewhat creamy
texture. Medium carbonation. Alcohol strength barely
noticeable as warming, if at all.
Comments: This style represents the modern German beer
served at Oktoberfest (although it is not solely reserved for
Oktoberfest; it can be found at many other ‘fests’), and is
sometimes called Wiesn (“the meadow” or local name for the
Oktoberfest festival). We chose to call this style Festbier since
by German and EU regulations, Oktoberfestbier is a protected
appellation for beer produced at large breweries within the
Munich city limits for consumption at Oktoberfest. Other
countries are not bound by these rules, so many craft breweries
in the US produce beer called Oktoberfest, but based on the
traditional style described in these guidelines as Märzen. May
be called Helles Märzen.

History: Since 1990, the majority of beer served at
Oktoberfest in Munich has been this style. Export beer
specifically made for the United States is still mainly of the
traditional amber style, as are US-produced interpretations.
Paulaner first created the golden version in the mid-1970s
because they thought the traditional Oktoberfest was too
filling. So they developed a lighter, more drinkable but still
malty version that they wanted to be “more poundable”
(according to the head brewer at Paulaner). But the actual type
of beer served at Oktoberfest is set by a Munich city committee.

Characteristic Ingredients: Majority Pils malt, but with
some Vienna or Munich malt to increase maltiness. Differences
in commercial examples are mostly due to different maltsters
and yeast, not major grist differences.

Style Comparison: Less intense and less richly toasted than
a Märzen. Stronger than a Munich Helles, with a bit more
body, and hop and malt flavor. Less rich in malt intensity than
a Helles Bock. The malt complexity is similar to a highergravity
Czech Premium Pale Lager, although without the
associated hops.

Commercial Examples: Augustiner Oktoberfest, Hacker-
Pschorr Superior Festbier, Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier,
Löwenbräu Oktoberfestbier, Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier,
Weihenstephaner Festbier

Vital StatGuideline
IBU18 – 25
SRM4 – 6
Original Gravity1.054 – 1.057
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.012
ABV5.8% – 6.3%
4C - Helles Bock

Overall Impression: A relatively pale, strong, malty German
lager with a nicely attenuated finish that enhances drinkability.
The hop character is generally more apparent and the malt
character less deeply rich than in other Bocks.

Aroma: Moderate to strong grainy-sweet malt aroma, often
with a lightly toasted quality and low Maillard products.
Moderately-low spicy, herbal, or floral hop aroma optional.
Clean fermentation profile. Low fruity esters optional. Very
light alcohol optional.
Appearance: Deep gold to light amber in color. Bright to
clear clarity. Large, creamy, persistent, white head.

Flavor: Moderately to moderately strong grainy-sweet,
doughy, bready, or lightly toasty malt flavor dominates with
some rich Maillard products providing added interest. Few
caramel flavors optional. Low to moderate spicy, herbal, floral,
peppery hop flavor optional, but present in the best examples.
Moderate hop bitterness, more so in the balance than in other
Bocks. Clean fermentation profile. Well-attenuated, not
cloying, with a moderately-dry finish that may taste of both
malt and hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate to moderately-high
carbonation. Smooth and clean with no harshness or
astringency, despite the increased hop bitterness. Light alcohol
warming optional.

Comments: Also known as Maibock. Compared to darker
Bock beers, the hops compensate for the lower level of Maillard
products in the balance.

History: A fairly recent development in comparison to the
other members of the bock family. The serving of Maibock is a
seasonal offering associated with springtime and the month of
May, and may include a wider color and hopping range than is
seen in exported products.

Characteristic Ingredients: A mix of Pils, Vienna, and
Munich malts. No adjuncts. Light use of pale crystal type malts
possible. Traditional German hops. Clean lager yeast.
Decoction mash is traditional, but boiling is less than in
Dunkles Bock to restrain color development. Soft water.

Style Comparison: Can be thought of as either a pale version
of a Dunkles Bock, or a Munich Helles or Festbier brewed to
bock strength. While quite malty, this beer typically has less
dark and rich malt flavors, and can be drier, hoppier, and more
bitter than a Dunkles Bock. Less strong than a pale
Doppelbock, but with similar flavors.

Commercial Examples: Altenmünster Maibock, Ayinger
Maibock, Chuckanut Maibock, Einbecker Mai-Ur-Bock,
Hofbräu Maibock, Mahr’s Heller Bock

Vital StatGuideline
IBU23 – 35
SRM6 – 9
Original Gravity1.064 – 1.072
Final Gravity1.011 – 1.018
ABV6.3% – 7.4%

5. Pale Bitter European Beer

5A - German Leichtbier

Overall Impression: A pale, highly-attenuated, light-bodied
German lager with lower alcohol and calories than standardstrength
beers. Moderately bitter with noticeable malt and hop
flavors, the beer is still interesting to drink.

Aroma: Low to medium hop aroma, with a spicy, herbal, or
floral character. Low to medium-low grainy-sweet or slightly
crackery malt aroma. Clean fermentation profile.

Appearance: Pale straw to deep yellow in color. Brilliant
clarity. Moderate white head with average to below average
persistence.

Flavor: Low to medium grainy-sweet malt flavor initially.
Medium hop bitterness. Low to medium hop flavor, with a
spicy, herbal, or floral quality. Clean fermentation character,
well-lagered. Dry finish with a light malty and hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light to very light body. Medium to high
carbonation. Smooth, well-attenuated.

Comments: Marketed primarily as a diet-oriented beer with
lower carbohydrates, alcohol, and calories. Pronounced
“LYESHT-beer.” May also be known as a Diat Pils or Helles,
this style is in the schankbier gravity class. Other variations of
Leicht class beers can be made from Weissbier, Kölsch, and
Altbier; those beers are best entered as 34B Mixed-Style Beer.

History: Traditional versions existed as drinks for physical
laborers in factories or fields, but modern versions are more
based on popular American products in the same class and
targeted towards health or fitness conscious consumers.
Increasingly supplanted in the current market by non-alcoholic
beers and radlers.

Characteristic Ingredients: Continental Pils malt. German
lager yeast. Traditional German hops.
Style Comparison: Like a lower-alcohol, lighter-bodied,
slightly less aggressive German Pils or Munich Helles. More
bitter and flavorful than an American Light Lager.

Commercial Examples: Autenrieder Schlossbräu Leicht,
Greif Bräu Leicht, Hohenthanner Tannen Hell Leicht,
Müllerbrau Heimer Leicht, Schönramer Surtaler Schankbier,
Waldhaus Sommer Bier

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU15 – 28
SRM1.5 – 4
Original Gravity1.026 – 1.034
Final Gravity1.006 – 1.010
ABV2.4% – 3.6%
5B - Kölsch

Overall Impression: A subtle, brilliantly clear, pale beer
with a delicate balance of malt, fruit, and hop character,
moderate bitterness, and a well-attenuated but soft finish.
Freshness makes a huge difference with this beer, as the
delicate character can fade quickly with age.

Aroma: Low to very low grainy-sweet malt aroma. A subtle
fruit aroma (apple, pear, or sometimes cherry) is optional, but
welcome. Low floral, spicy, or herbal hop aroma optional. The intensity of aromatics is fairly subtle but generally balanced,
clean, fresh, and pleasant.

Appearance: Medium yellow to light gold. Brilliant clarity.
Has a delicate white head that may not persist.

Flavor: A delicate flavor balance between malt, fruitiness,
bitterness, and hops, with a clean, well-attenuated finish. The
medium to medium-low grainy maltiness may have very light
bready or honey notes. The fruitiness can have an almost
imperceptible sweetness. Medium-low to medium bitterness.
Low to moderately-high floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor; most
are medium-low to medium. May have a neutral-grainy to light
malty sweet impression at the start. Soft, rounded palate.
Finish is soft, dry, and slightly crisp, not sharp or biting. No
noticeable residual sweetness. While the balance between the
flavor components can vary, none are ever strong.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body; most are
medium-light. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Smooth
and soft, but well-attenuated and not heavy. Not harsh.

Comments: A traditional top-fermented, lagered beer from
Cologne, Germany (Köln). Köln breweries differentiate
themselves through balance, so allow for a range of variation
within the style when judging. Drier versions may seem
hoppier or more bitter than the IBU levels might suggest. The
delicate flavor profile does not age well, so be alert for
oxidation defects. Served in Köln in a tall, narrow 20cl glass
called a Stange.

History: Köln has a top-fermenting brewing tradition since
the Middle Ages, but the beer now known as Kölsch was
developed in the late 1800s as an alternative to pale lagers.
Bottom fermentation was actually prohibited in Cologne.
Kölsch is an appellation protected by the Kölsch Konvention
(1986), and is restricted to breweries in and around Köln. The
Konvention simply defines the beer as a “light, highly
attenuated, hop-accentuated, clear, top-fermenting Vollbier.”

Characteristic Ingredients: Traditional German hops.
German Pils, Pale, or Vienna malt. Attenuative, clean German
ale yeast. Occasional small use of wheat malt. Current
commercial practice is to ferment around 15 °C, cold condition
near freezing for up to a month, and serve fresh.

Style Comparison: Can be mistaken for a Cream Ale or
somewhat subtle German Pils.

Commercial Examples: Früh Kölsch, Gaffel Kölsch, Mühlen
Kölsch, Päffgen Kolsch, Reissdorf Kölsch, Sion Kölsch, Sünner
Kölsch

Vital StatGuideline
IBU18 – 30
SRM3.5 – 5
Original Gravity1.044 – 1.050
Final Gravity1.007 – 1.011
ABV4.4% – 5.2%
5C - German Helles Exportbier

Overall Impression: A golden German lager balancing a
smooth malty profile with a bitter, hoppy character in a slightly
above-average body and strength beer.

Aroma: Medium-low to medium floral, spicy, or herbal hop
aroma. Moderate grainy-sweet malt aroma, possibly with light
toasty, bready, or doughy notes. Clean fermentation profile.
Hops and malt both noticeable, and generally balanced.

Appearance: Medium yellow to deep gold. Clear. Persistent
white head.

Flavor: Moderate, balanced malt and hops with supporting
bitterness. Malt and hop flavors similar to aroma (same
descriptors and intensities). Medium, noticeable bitterness, full
on the palate, with a medium-dry finish. Clean fermentation
character. Aftertaste of both malt and hops, generally in
balance. Mineral character typically perceived more as a
roundness and fullness of flavor, and a dry, flinty sharpness in
the finish rather than overt mineral flavors. Background sulfate
optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body. Medium
carbonation. Smooth and mellow on the palate. Very slight
warmth may be noted in stronger versions.

Comments: Also known Dortmunder Export, Dortmunder,
Export, or simply a Dort. Called Export within Germany, and
often Dortmunder elsewhere, Export is also a beer strength
descriptor under German brewing tradition, and could be
applied to other styles. Splits the difference between a German
Pils and a Munich Helles in several aspects: color, hop-malt
balance, finish, bitterness.

History: Developed in Dortmund in the Ruhr industrial
region in the 1870s in response to pale Pilsner-type beers. It
became very popular after World War II but declined in the
1970s. Other Export-class beers developed independently, and
reflected a slightly stronger version of existing beers.

Characteristic Ingredients: Minerally water with high
levels of sulfates, carbonates, and chlorides. Traditional
German or Czech hops. Pilsner malt. German lager yeast.
Decoction mash traditional.

Style Comparison: Less finishing hops and more body than
a German Pils. More bitter and drier than a Munich Helles.
Stronger, drier, but less hoppy than a Czech Premium Pale
Lager.

Commercial Examples: Chuckanut Export Dortmunder
Lager, DAB Dortmunder Export, Dortmunder Kronen,
Landshuter Edel Hell, Müllerbräu Export Gold, Schönramer
Gold

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 30
SRM4 – 6
Original Gravity1.050 – 1.058
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.015
ABV5% – 6%
5D - German Pils

Overall Impression: A pale, dry, bitter German lager
featuring a prominent hop aroma. Crisp, clean, and refreshing,
showing a brilliant gold color with excellent head retention.

Aroma: Moderately to moderately-high flowery, spicy, or
herbal hops. Low to medium grainy, sweet, or doughy malt
character, often with a light honey and toasted cracker quality.
Clean fermentation profile. The hops should be forward, but
not totally dominate the malt in the balance.

Appearance: Straw to deep yellow, brilliant to very clear,
with a creamy, long-lasting white head.

Flavor: Initial malt flavor quickly overcome with hop flavor
and bitterness, leading into a dry, crisp finish. Malt and hop
flavors similar to aroma (same descriptors and intensities).
Medium to high bitterness, lingering into the aftertaste along
with a touch of malt and hops. Clean fermentation profile.
Minerally water can accentuate and lengthen the dry finish.
Hops and malt can fade with age, but the beer should always
have a bitter balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium to high carbonation.
Should not feel heavy. Not harsh, but may have a flinty,
minerally, sharpness in some examples.

Comments: Modern examples of Pils tend to become paler in
color, drier and sharper in finish, and more bitter moving from
South to North in Germany, often mirroring increasing sulfates
in the water. Pils found in Bavaria tend to be a bit softer in
bitterness with more malt flavor and late hop character, yet still
with sufficient hops and crispness of finish to differentiate
itself from Munich Helles. The use of the term ‘Pils’ is more
common in Germany than ‘Pilsner’ to differentiate it from the
Czech style, and (some say) to show respect.

History: Adapted from Czech Pilsner to suit brewing
conditions in Germany, particularly water with higher mineral
content and domestic hop varieties. First brewed in Germany
in the early 1870s. Became more popular after WWII as
German brewing schools emphasized modern techniques.
Along with its cousin Czech Pilsner, it is the ancestor of the
most widely produced beer styles today.

Characteristic Ingredients: Continental Pilsner malt.
Traditional German hops. Clean German lager yeast.
Style Comparison: Lighter in body and color, drier, crisper,
more fully attenuated, more lingering bitterness, and higher
carbonation than a Czech Premium Pale Lager. More hop
character, malt flavor, and bitterness than International Pale
Lager. More hop character and bitterness with a drier, crisper
finish than a Munich Helles; the Helles has more malt
intensity, but of the same character as the German Pils.

Commercial Examples: ABK Pils Anno 1907, Jever
Pilsener, König Pilsener, Paulaner Pils, Bierstadt Slow-Pour
Pils, Rothaus Pils, Schönramer Pils, Trumer Pils

Vital StatGuideline
IBU22 – 40
SRM2 – 4
Original Gravity1.044 – 1.050
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.013
ABV4.4% – 5.2%

6. Amber Malty European Lager

6A - Märzen

Overall Impression: An amber, malty German lager with a
clean, rich, toasty, bready malt flavor, restrained bitterness,
and a well-attenuated finish. The overall malt impression is
soft, elegant, and complex, with a rich malty aftertaste that is
never cloying or heavy.

Aroma: Moderate malty aroma, typically rich, bready,
somewhat toasty, with light bread crust notes. Clean lager
fermentation character. Very low floral, herbal, or spicy hop
aroma optional. Caramel-sweet, biscuity-dry, or roasted malt
aromas are inappropriate. Very light alcohol might be detected,
but should never be sharp. Clean, elegant malt richness should
be the primary aroma.

Appearance: Amber-orange to deep reddish-copper color;
should not be golden. Bright clarity, with persistent, off-white
foam stand.

Flavor: Moderate to high rich malt flavor often initially
suggests sweetness, but the finish is moderately-dry to dry.
Distinctive and complex maltiness often includes a bready,
toasty aspect. Hop bitterness is moderate, and the floral,
herbal, or spicy hop flavor is low to none. Hops provide
sufficient balance that the malty palate and finish do not seem
sweet. The aftertaste is malty, with the same elegant, rich malt
flavors lingering. Noticeable sweet caramel, dry biscuit, or
roasted flavors are inappropriate. Clean fermentation profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, with a smooth, creamy texture that
often suggests a fuller mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Fully
attenuated, without a sweet or cloying impression. May be
slightly warming, but the strength should be relatively hidden.

Comments: Modern domestic German Oktoberfest versions
are golden – see the Festbier style for this version. Export
German versions (to the United States, at least) are typically
orange-amber in color, have a distinctive toasty malt character,
and are often labeled Oktoberfest. Many craft versions of
Oktoberfest are based on this style. Historic versions of the
beer tended to be darker, towards the brown color range, but
there have been many ‘shades’ of Märzen (when the name is
used as a strength); this style description specifically refers to
the stronger amber lager version. The modern Festbier can be
thought of as a lighter-bodied, pale Märzen by these terms.

History: As the name suggests, brewed as a stronger “March
beer” in March and lagered in cold caves over the summer.
Modern versions trace back to the lager developed by Spaten in
1841, contemporaneous to the development of Vienna lager.
However, the Märzen name is much older than 1841 – the early
ones were dark brown, and the name implied a strength band
(14 °P) rather than a style. The amber lager style served at
Oktoberfest from 1872 until 1990 when the golden Festbier was
adopted as the standard festival beer.

Characteristic Ingredients: Grist varies, although
traditional German versions emphasized Munich malt. The
notion of elegance is derived from the finest quality
ingredients, particularly the base malts. A decoction mash is
traditional, and enhances the rich malt profile.

Style Comparison: Not as strong and rich as a Dunkles
Bock. More malt depth and richness than a Festbier, with a
heavier body and slightly less hops. Less hoppy but equally
malty as a Czech Amber Lager, but with a different malt profile.

Commercial Examples: Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest
Märzen, Hofmark Märzen, Paulaner Oktoberfest, Saalfelder
Ur-Saalfelder, Weltenburger Kloster Anno 1050

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU18 – 24
SRM8 – 17
Original Gravity1.054 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.014
ABV5.6% – 6.3%
6B - Rauchbier

Overall Impression: A beechwood-smoked, malty, amber
German lager. The expected Märzen profile of toasty-rich malt,
restrained bitterness, clean fermentation, and a relatively dry
finish is enhanced by a noticeable to intense smoke character.

Aroma: Blend of smoke and malt, varying in balance and
intensity. The beechwood smoke character can range from
subtle to fairly strong, and can seem smoky, woody, or baconlike.
The malt character can be low to moderate, and be
somewhat rich, toasty, or malty-sweet. The malt and smoke
components are often inversely proportional (i.e., when smoke
increases, malt decreases, and vice versa). Low floral or spicy
hop aroma optional. Clean fermentation profile.

Appearance: Very clear, with a large, creamy, rich, tan- to
cream-colored head. Deep amber to coppery-brown in color,
often a little darker than the underlying Märzen style.

Flavor: Generally follows the aroma profile, with a blend of
smoke and malt in varying balance and intensity, yet always
mutually supportive. Märzen-like qualities should be evident,
particularly a malty, toasty richness, but the beechwood smoke
flavor can be low to high. The palate can be somewhat malty,
rich, and sweet, yet the finish tends to be medium-dry to dry
with the smoke character sometimes enhancing the dryness of
the finish. The aftertaste can reflect both malt richness and
smoke flavors, with a balanced presentation desirable.
Moderate, balanced, hop bitterness. Can have up to a moderate
hop flavor with spicy, floral, or herbal notes. Clean lager
fermentation character.
The quality and character of the smoke is important; it should
be cleanly smoky. At higher levels, the smoke can take on a ham- or bacon-like character, which is acceptable as long as it
doesn’t veer into the greasy range. Harsh, bitter, burnt, acrid,
charred, rubbery, sulfury, or creosote-like smoky-phenolic
flavors are inappropriate.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Medium to medium-high
carbonation. Smooth lager character. Significant astringent,
phenolic harshness is inappropriate.

Comments: Literally smoke beer in German. The smoke
character and intensity varies by maltster and brewery, so
allow for variation in the style when judging – not all examples
are highly smoked. Many other traditional German styles are
smoked; those should be entered in the 32A Classic Style
Smoked Beer style. This style is only for the more common
Märzen-based beer.

History: A historical specialty of the city of Bamberg, in the
Franconian region of Bavaria in Germany. While smoked beers
certainly were made long ago, the origins of this specific style are unclear but must have been developed after Märzen was
created.

Characteristic Ingredients: Märzen-type grist, with the
addition of a sizeable quantity of German Rauchmalz
(beechwood-smoked Vienna-type malt). Some breweries
smoke their own malt. German lager yeast. Traditional German
or Czech hops.

Style Comparison: Like a Märzen with but with a balanced,
sweet, smoky aroma and flavor and a somewhat darker color.

Commercial Examples: Cervejaria Bamberg Rauchbier,
Göller Rauchbier, Rittmayer Rauchbier, Schlenkerla Rauchbier
Märzen, Spezial Rauchbier Märzen

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 30
SRM12 – 22
Original Gravity1.050 – 1.057
Final Gravity1.012 – 1.016
ABV4.8% – 6%
6C - Dunkles Bock

Overall Impression: A strong, dark, malty German lager
beer that emphasizes the malty-rich and somewhat toasty
qualities of continental malts without being sweet in the finish.

Aroma: Medium to medium-high rich bready-malty aroma,
often with moderate amounts of rich Maillard products or
toasty overtones. Virtually no hop aroma. Some alcohol may be
noticeable. Clean lager character, although a slight dark fruit
character is allowable.

Appearance: Light copper to brown color, often with
attractive garnet highlights. Good clarity despite the dark color.
Large, creamy, persistent, off-white head.

Flavor: Medium to medium-high complex, rich maltiness is
dominated by toasty-rich Maillard products. Some dark
caramel notes may be present. Hop bitterness is generally only
high enough to support the malt flavors, allowing a bit of malty
sweetness to linger into the finish. Well-attenuated, not
cloying. Clean fermentation profile, although the malt can
provide a slight dark fruit character. No hop flavor. No roasted,
burnt, or dry biscuity character.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full bodied. Moderate to
moderately low carbonation. Some alcohol warmth may be
found, but should never be hot. Smooth, without harshness or
astringency.

Comments: Decoction mashing plays an important part of
flavor development, as it enhances the caramel and Maillard
flavor aspects of the malt.

History: Originated in the Northern German city of Einbeck,
which was a brewing center and popular exporter in the days of
the Hanseatic League (14th to 17th century). Recreated in
Munich starting in the 17th century. “Bock” translates to “Ram”
in German, which is why the animal is often used in logos and
advertisements.

Characteristic Ingredients: Munich and Vienna malts,
rarely a tiny bit of dark roasted malts for color adjustment,
never any non-malt adjuncts. Continental European hop
varieties are used. Clean German lager yeast.
Style Comparison: Darker, with a richer malty flavor and
less apparent bitterness than a Helles Bock. Less alcohol and
malty richness than a Doppelbock. Stronger malt flavors and
higher alcohol than a Märzen. Richer, less attenuated, and less
hoppy than a Czech Amber Lager.

Commercial Examples: Aass Bock, Einbecker Ur-Bock
Dunkel, Kneitinger Bock, Lindeboom Bock, Schell’s Bock, Penn
Brewery St. Nikolaus Bock

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 27
SRM14 – 22
Original Gravity1.064 – 1.072
Final Gravity1.013 – 1.019
ABV6.3% – 7.2%

7. Amber Bitter European Beer

7A - Vienna Lager

Overall Impression: A moderate-strength continental
amber lager with a soft, smooth maltiness and a balanced,
moderate bitterness, yet finishing relatively dry. The malt
flavor is clean, bready-rich, and somewhat toasty, with an
elegant impression derived from quality base malts and
process, not specialty malts or adjuncts.

Aroma: Moderately-intense malt aroma, with toasty and
malty-rich accents. Floral, spicy hop aroma may be low to
none. Clean lager character. A significant caramel, biscuity, or
roasted aroma is inappropriate.

Appearance: Light reddish amber to copper color. Bright
clarity. Large, off-white, persistent head.

Flavor: Soft, elegant malt complexity is in the forefront, with a
firm enough hop bitterness to provide a balanced finish. The
malt flavor tends towards a rich, toasty character, without
significant caramel, biscuity, or roast flavors. Fairly dry, soft
finish, with both rich malt and hop bitterness present in the
aftertaste. Floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor may be low to
none. Clean fermentation profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, with a gentle
creaminess. Moderate carbonation. Smooth.

Comments: A standard-strength everyday beer, not a beer
brewed for festivals. Many traditional examples have become
sweeter and more adjunct-laden, now seeming more like
International Amber or Dark Lagers.

History: Developed by Anton Dreher in Vienna in 1841,
became popular in the mid-late 1800s. The style was brought
to Mexico by Santiago Graf and other Austrian immigrant
brewers in the late 1800s. Seems to be embraced as a modern
craft style in other countries.

Characteristic Ingredients: Traditionally, best-quality
Vienna malt, but can also use Pils and Munich malts.
Traditional continental hops. Clean German lager yeast. May
use small amounts of specialty malts for color and sweetness.

Style Comparison: Similar malt flavor as a Märzen, but
lighter in intensity, and body, with a touch more bitterness and
dryness in the balance. Lower in alcohol than Märzen or
Festbier. Less rich, malty, and hoppy than Czech Amber Lager.

Commercial Examples: Chuckanut Vienna Lager, Devils
Backbone Vienna Lager, Figueroa Mountain Red Lager, Heavy
Seas Cutlass, Ottakringer Wiener Original, Schell’s Firebrick,
Theresianer Vienna

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU18 – 30
SRM9 – 15
Original Gravity1.048 – 1.055
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.014
ABV4.7% – 5.5%
7B - Altbier

Overall Impression: A moderately colored, well-attenuated,
bitter beer with a rich maltiness balancing a strong bitterness.
Light and spicy hop character complements the malt. A dry
beer with a firm body and smooth palate.

Aroma: Malty and rich with grainy characteristics like baked
bread or nutty, toasted bread crusts. Should not have darker
roasted or chocolate notes. Malt intensity is moderate to
moderately-high. Moderate to low hops complement but do not
dominate the malt, and often have a spicy, peppery, or floral
character. Fermentation character is very clean. Low to
medium-low esters optional.

Appearance: The color ranges from amber to deep copper,
stopping short of brown; bronze-orange is most common.
Brilliant clarity. Thick, creamy, long-lasting off-white head.

Flavor: Malt profile similar to the aroma, with an assertive,
medium to high hop bitterness balancing the rich malty flavors.
The beer finishes medium-dry to dry with a grainy, bitter,
malty-rich aftertaste. The finish is long-lasting, sometimes with
a nutty or bittersweet impression. The apparent bitterness level
is sometimes masked by the malt character if the beer is not
very dry, but the bitterness tends to scale with the malt
richness to maintain balance. No roast. No harshness. Clean
fermentation profile. Light fruity esters, especially dark fruit,
may be present. Medium to low spicy, peppery, or floral hop
flavor. Light minerally character optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Smooth. Medium to medium-high
carbonation. Astringency low to none.

Comments: Classic, traditional examples in the Altstadt (“old
town”) section of Düsseldorf are served from casks. Most
examples have a balanced (25-35 IBU) bitterness, not the
aggressive hop character of the well-known Zum Uerige.
Stronger sticke and doppelsticke beers should be entered in the
27 Historical Beer style instead.

History: Developed in the late 19th century in Düsseldorf to
use lager techniques to compete with lager. Older German
styles were brewed in the area but there is no linkage to
modern Altbier.

Characteristic Ingredients: Grists vary, but usually consist
of German base malts (usually Pils, sometimes Munich) with
small amounts of crystal, chocolate, or black malts. May
include some wheat, including roasted wheat. Spalt hops are
traditional, but other traditional German or Czech hops can be
used. Clean, highly attenuative ale yeast. A step mash program
is traditional. Fermented at cool ale temperatures, then cold
conditioned.

Style Comparison: More bitter and malty than International
Amber Lagers. Somewhat similar to California Common, both
in production technique and finished flavor and color, though
not in ingredients. Less alcohol, less malty richness, and more
bitterness than a Dunkles Bock. Drier, richer, and more bitter
than a Vienna Lager.

Commercial Examples: Bolten Alt, Diebels Alt, Füchschen
Alt, Original Schlüssel Alt, Schlösser Alt, Schumacher Alt,
Uerige Altbier

Vital StatGuideline
IBU25 – 50
SRM9 – 17
Original Gravity1.044 – 1.052
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.014
ABV4.3% – 5.5%

8. Dark European Lager

8A - Munich Dunkel

Overall Impression: A traditional malty brown lager from
Bavaria. Deeply toasted, bready malt flavors without any roasty
or burnt flavors. Smooth and rich, with a restrained bitterness
and a relatively dry finish that allows for drinking in quantity.

Aroma: Moderate to high malt richness, like toasted bread
crusts with hints of chocolate, nuts, caramel, or toffee. Fresh
traditional versions often show higher levels of chocolate. The
malt character is more malty-rich than sugary or caramelly
sweet. Clean fermentation profile. A light spicy, floral, or herbal
hop aroma is optional.

Appearance: Deep copper to dark brown, often with a red or
garnet tint. Creamy, light to medium tan head. Usually clear.

Flavor: Rich malt flavors similar to aroma (same malt
descriptors apply), medium to high. Restrained bitterness,
medium-low to medium, giving an overall malty balance. Malty
and soft on the palate without being overly sweet, and mediumdry
in the finish with a malty aftertaste. No roast, burnt, or
bitter malt flavors, toasted flavors shouldn’t have a harsh
grainy dryness, and caramel flavors should not be sweet. Low
spicy, herbal, or floral hop flavor optional. Clean fermentation
profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body, providing a soft
and dextrinous mouthfeel without being heavy or cloying.
Moderate carbonation. Smooth lager character. No harsh or
biting astringency. Not warming.

Comments: A traditional Munich style, the dark companion
to Helles. Franconian versions are more bitter than ones from
Munich.

History: Developed at Spaten in the 1830s after the
development of Munich malt, and seen as a successor to dark
regional beers of the time. While originating in Munich, the
style became popular throughout Bavaria (especially
Franconia).
Characteristic Ingredients: Traditionally, Munich malts,
but Pils and Vienna can be used too. Light use of specialty
malts for color and depth. Decoction mash traditional. German
hops and lager yeast.

Style Comparison: Not as intense in maltiness or as strong
as a Dunkles Bock. Lacking the more roasted flavors and often
the hop bitterness of a Schwarzbier. Richer, more malt-centric,
and less hoppy than a Czech Dark Lager.

Commercial Examples: Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel, Ettaler
Kloster-Dunkel, Eittinger Urtyp Dunkel, Hacker-Pschorr
Münchner Dunkel, Hofbräuhaus Dunkel, Weltenburger Kloster
Barock-Dunkel

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU18 – 28
SRM17 – 28
Original Gravity1.048 – 1.056
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.016
ABV4.5% – 5.6%
8B - Schwarzbier

Overall Impression: A dark German lager that balances
roasted yet smooth malt flavors with moderate hop bitterness.
The lighter body, dryness, and lack of a harsh, burnt, or heavy
aftertaste helps make this beer quite drinkable.

Aroma: Low to moderate malt, with low aromatic malty
sweetness and hints of roast malt often apparent. The malt can
be clean and neutral or moderately rich and bready, and may
have a hint of dark caramel. The roast character can be
somewhat dark chocolate- or coffee-like but should never be
burnt. A moderately low spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma is
optional. Clean lager yeast character.

Appearance: Medium to very dark brown in color, often with
deep ruby to garnet highlights, yet almost never truly black.
Very clear. Large, persistent, tan-colored head.

Flavor: Light to moderate malt flavor, which can have a clean,
neutral character to a moderately rich, bread-malty quality.
Light to moderate roasted malt flavors can give a bitterchocolate
palate that is never burnt. Medium-low to medium
bitterness. Light to moderate spicy, floral, or herbal hop flavor.
Clean lager character. Dry finish. Some residual sweetness is
acceptable but not traditional. Aftertaste of hop bitterness with
a complementary but subtle roastiness in the background.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Moderate to
moderately-high carbonation. Smooth. No harshness or
astringency, despite the use of dark, roasted malts.

Comments: Literally means black beer in German. While
sometimes called a “black Pils,” the beer is rarely as dark as
black or as hop-forward and bitter as a Pils. Strongly roasted,
Porter-like flavors are a flaw.

History: A regional specialty from Thuringia, Saxony, and
Franconia in Germany. Served as the inspiration for black
lagers brewed in Japan. Popularity grew after German
reunification in 1990.

Characteristic Ingredients: German Munich malt and
Pilsner malts for the base, with huskless dark roasted malts
that add roast flavors without burnt flavors. German hop
varieties and clean German lager yeasts are traditional.

Style Comparison: In comparison with a Munich Dunkel,
usually darker in color, drier on the palate, lighter in body, and
with a noticeable (but not high) roasted malt edge to balance
the malt base. Should not taste like an American Porter made
with lager yeast. Drier, less malty, with less hop character than
a Czech Dark Lager.

Commercial Examples: Chuckanut Schwarz Lager, Devils
Backbone Schwartz Bier, Köstritzer Schwarzbier, Kulmbacher
Mönchshof Schwarzbier, Nuezeller Original Badebier, pFriem
Schwarzbier

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 35
SRM19 – 30
Original Gravity1.046 – 1.052
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.016
ABV4.4% – 5.4%

9. Strong European Beer

9A - Doppelbock

Overall Impression: A strong, rich, and very malty German
lager that can have both pale and dark variants. The darker
versions have more richly-developed, deeper malt flavors,
while the paler versions have slightly more hops and dryness.

Aroma: Very strong maltiness, possibly with light caramel
notes, and up to a moderate alcohol aroma. Virtually no hop
aroma.
Dark versions have significant, rich Maillard products, deeply
toasted malt, and possibly a slight chocolate-like aroma that
should never be roasted or burnt. Moderately-low dark fruit,
like plums, dark grapes, or fruit leather, is allowable.
Pale versions have a rich and strong, often toasty, malt
presence, possibly with a light floral, spicy, or herbal hop
accent.

Appearance: Good clarity, with a large, creamy, persistent
head.
Dark versions are copper to dark brown in color, often with
ruby highlights, and an off-white head.
Pale versions are deep gold to light amber in color, with a white
head.

Flavor: Very rich and malty. Hop bitterness varies from
moderate to moderately low but always allows malt to
dominate the flavor. Faint hop flavor optional. Most examples
are fairly malty-sweet on the palate, but should have an
impression of attenuation in the finish. The impression of
sweetness comes from low hopping, not from incomplete
fermentation. Clean fermentation profile.
Dark versions have malt and ester flavors similar to the aroma
(same descriptors and intensities).
Pale versions have a strong bready and toasty malt flavor, a
light floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor, and a drier finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body. Moderate to
moderately-low carbonation. Very smooth without harshness,
astringency. A light alcohol warmth may be noted, but it should
never burn.

Comments: Doppelbock means double bock. Most versions
are dark colored and may display the caramelizing and
Maillard products of decoction mashing, but excellent pale
versions also exist. The pale versions will not have the same
richness and darker malt and fruit flavors of the dark versions,
and may be a bit drier, hoppier, and more bitter. While most
traditional examples are in the lower end of the ranges cited,
the style can be considered to have no upper limit for gravity
and alcohol, provided the balance remains the same.

History: A Bavarian specialty originating in Munich, first
made by the monks of St. Francis of Paula by the 1700s.
Historical versions were less well-attenuated than modern
interpretations, thus with higher sweetness and lower alcohol
levels. Was called “liquid bread” by monks, and consumed
during the Lenten fast. Breweries adopted beer names ending
in “-ator” after a 19th century court ruling that no one but
Paulaner was allowed to use the name Salvator. Traditionally
dark brown in color; paler examples are a more recent
development.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pils, Vienna, Munich malts.
Occasionally dark malt for color adjustment. Traditional German hops. Clean German lager yeast. Decoction mashing is
traditional.

Style Comparison: A stronger, richer, more full-bodied
version of either a Dunkles Bock or a Helles Bock. Pale versions
will show higher attenuation and less dark fruity character than
the darker versions.

Entry Instructions: The entrant will specify whether the
entry is a pale or a dark variant.

Commercial Examples: Dark Versions – Andechs
Doppelbock Dunkel, Ayinger Celebrator, Paulaner Salvator,
Spaten Optimator, Tröegs Troegenator, Weihenstephaner
Korbinian; Pale Versions – Eggenberg Urbock 23º, Meinel
Doppelbock Hell, Plank Bavarian Heller Doppelbock, Riegele
Auris 19, Schönbuch Doppelbock Hell, Staffelberg-Bräu
Zwergator

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU16 – 26
SRM6 – 25
Original Gravity1.072 – 1.112
Final Gravity1.016 – 1.024
ABV7% – 10%
9B - Eisbock

Overall Impression: A strong, full-bodied, rich, and malty
dark German lager often with a viscous quality and strong
flavors. Even though flavors are concentrated, the alcohol
should be smooth and warming, not burning.

Aroma: Dominated by rich, intense malt and a definite
alcohol presence. The malt can have bready, toasty, qualities,
with some caramel or faint chocolate, often with dark fruit
notes like plums or grapes. No hop aroma. Alcohol aromas
should not be harsh or solventy. Clean fermentation profile.

Appearance: Deep copper to dark brown in color, often with
attractive ruby highlights. Good clarity. Head retention may be
moderate to poor. Off-white to deep ivory colored head.
Pronounced legs are often evident.

Flavor: Rich, sweet malt balanced by a significant alcohol
presence. The malt can have Maillard products, toasty
qualities, some caramel, and occasionally a slight chocolate
flavor. May have significant malt-derived dark fruit esters. Hop
bitterness just offsets the malt sweetness enough to avoid a
cloying character. No hop flavor. Alcohol helps balance the
strong malt presence. The finish should be of rich malt with a
certain dryness from the alcohol. It should not be sticky,
syrupy, or cloyingly sweet. Clean fermentation profile.

Mouthfeel: Full to very full-bodied. Low carbonation.
Significant alcohol warmth without sharp hotness. Very
smooth and silky without harsh edges from alcohol, bitterness,
fusels, or other concentrated flavors.

Comments: Extended lagering is often needed post-freezing
to smooth the alcohol and enhance the malt and alcohol
balance. Pronounced “ICE-bock.”

History: Originating in Kulmbach in Franconia in the late
1800s, although exact origins are not known. Fables describe it
as coming from beer accidentally freezing at a brewery.

Characteristic Ingredients: Same as Doppelbock. Produced
by freezing a doppelbock-like beer and removing ice (“freeze distillation”), thus concentrating flavor and alcohol, as well as
any defects present. Commercial eisbocks are generally
concentrated anywhere from 7% to 33% by volume.

Style Comparison: Eisbocks are not simply stronger
Doppelbocks; the name refers to the process of freezing and
concentrating the beer, and is not a statement on alcohol; some
Doppelbocks are stronger than Eisbocks. Not as thick, rich, or
sweet as a Wheatwine.

Commercial Examples: Kulmbacher Eisbock

Vital StatGuideline
IBU25 – 35
SRM17 – 30
Original Gravity1.078 – 1.120
Final Gravity1.020 – 1.035
ABV9% – 14%
9C - Baltic Porter

Overall Impression: A strong, dark, malty beer with
different interpretations within the Baltic region. Smooth,
warming, and richly malty, with complex dark fruit flavors and
a roasted flavor without burnt notes.

Aroma: Rich maltiness often containing caramel, toffee, nuts,
deep toast, or licorice notes. Complex alcohol and ester profile
of moderate strength, and reminiscent of plums, prunes,
raisins, cherries, or currants, occasionally with a vinous Portlike
quality. Deep malt accents of dark chocolate, coffee, or
molasses, but never burnt. No hops. No sourness. Smooth, not
sharp, impression.

Appearance: Dark reddish-copper to opaque dark brown
color, but not black. Thick, persistent tan-colored head. Clear,
although darker versions can be opaque.

Flavor: As with aroma, has a rich maltiness with a complex
blend of deep malt, dried fruit esters, and alcohol. The malt can
have a caramel, toffee, nutty, molasses, or licorice complexity.
Prominent yet smooth Schwarzbier-like roasted flavor that
stops short of burnt. Light hints of black currants and dark
dried fruits. Smooth palate and full finish. Starts malty-sweet
but darker malt flavors quickly dominate and persist through
the dryish finish, leaving a hint of roast coffee or licorice and
dried fruit in the aftertaste. Medium-low to medium bitterness,
just to provide balance and prevent it from seeming cloying.
Hop flavor from slightly spicy hops ranges from none to
medium-low. Clean fermentation profile.

Mouthfeel: Generally quite full-bodied and smooth, with a
well-aged alcohol warmth that can be deceptive. Medium to
medium-high carbonation, making it seem even more mouthfilling.
Not heavy on the tongue due to carbonation level.

Comments: Most commercial versions are in the 7–8.5% ABV
range. The best examples have a deceptive strength that makes
them dangerously easy to drink. The character of these beers
varies by country of origin, so be careful about generalizing
based on a single example. Some beers are truer to their
English roots, while others are more of the style first
popularized in Poland.

History: Developed indigenously (and independently) in
several countries bordering the Baltic Sea after import of
popular English porters and stouts was interrupted in the early
1800s. Historically top-fermented, many breweries adapted the
recipes for bottom-fermenting yeast along with the rest of their
production. The name Baltic Porter is recent (since the 1990s)
and describes the modern collection of beers with a somewhat
similar profile from these countries, not historical versions.

Characteristic Ingredients: Generally lager yeast (cold
fermented if using ale yeast, as is required when brewed in
Russia). Debittered dark malt. Munich or Vienna base malt.
Continental hops. May contain crystal malts or adjuncts.
Brown or amber malt common in historical recipes. As a
collection of regional beers, different formulations are
expected.

Style Comparison: Combines the body, maltiness, richness,
and smoothness of a Doppelbock, the darker malt character of
an English Porter, the roast flavors of a Schwarzbier, and
alcohol and fruitiness of and Old Ale. Much less roasted and
often lower in alcohol than an Imperial Stout.

Commercial Examples: Aldaris Mežpils Porteris, Baltika 6
Porter, Devils Backbone Danzig, Okocim Mistrzowski Porter,
Sinebrychoff Porter, Zywiec Porter

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 40
SRM17 – 30
Original Gravity1.060 – 1.090
Final Gravity1.016 – 1.024
ABV6.5% – 9.5%

10. German Wheat Beer

10A - Weissbier

Overall Impression: A pale, refreshing, lightly-hopped
German wheat beer with high carbonation, dry finish, fluffy
mouthfeel, and a distinctive banana-and-clove weizen yeast
fermentation profile.

Aroma: Moderate to strong esters and phenols, typically
banana and clove, often well balanced and typically stronger
than the malt. Light to moderate bready, doughy, or grainy
wheat aroma. Light vanilla optional. Light floral, spicy, or
herbal hops optional. Bubblegum (strawberry with banana),
sourness, or smoke are faults.

Appearance: Pale straw to gold in color. Very thick, moussy,
long-lasting white head. Can be hazy and have a shine from
wheat and yeast, although this can settle out in bottles.

Flavor: Low to moderately strong banana and clove flavor,
often well balanced. Low to moderate soft, somewhat bready,
doughy, or grainy wheat flavor supported by the slight Pils malt
grainy sweetness. Very low to moderately low bitterness. Wellrounded,
flavorful palate with a relatively dry finish. Light
vanilla optional. Very low floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor
optional. Any impression of sweetness is due more to low
bitterness than any residual sweetness; a sweet or heavy finish
impairs drinkability. Bubblegum, sourness, or smoke are faults.
While the banana-and-clove profile is important, it should not
be so strong as to be extreme and unbalanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body; never heavy.
Fluffy, creamy fullness progressing to a light, spritzy finish
aided by high to very high carbonation. Effervescent.

Comments: Also known as hefeweizen or weizenbier,
particularly outside Bavaria. These beers are best enjoyed while
young and fresh, as they often don’t age well. In Germany,
lower-alcohol light (leicht) and non-alcoholic versions are
popular. Kristall versions are filtered for brilliant clarity.

History: While Bavaria has a wheat beer tradition dating back
before the 1500s, brewing wheat beer used to be a monopoly
reserved for Bavarian royalty. Modern Weissbier dates from
1872 when Schneider began production of its amber version.
However, pale Weissbier only became popular since the 1960s
(although the name historically could be used in Germany to
describe beer made from air-dried malt, a different tradition).
It is quite popular today, particularly in southern Germany.

Characteristic Ingredients: Malted wheat, at least half the
grist. Pilsner malt. Decoction mash traditional. Weizen yeast,
cool fermentation temperatures.

Style Comparison: Compared to American Wheat, has a
banana and clove yeast character and less bitterness.
Compared to a Dunkles Weissbier, has a paler color and less
malt richness and flavor.
Entry Instructions: The entrant may specify whether the
yeast should be roused before serving.

Commercial Examples: Ayinger Bräuweisse, Distelhäuser
Hell Weizen, Hacker-Pschorr Hefeweißbier, Hofbräuhaus
Münchner Weisse, Schneider Weisse Original Weissbier,
Weihenstephaner Hefeweißbier

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU8 – 15
SRM2 – 6
Original Gravity1.044 – 1.053
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.014
ABV4.3% – 5.6%
10B - Dunkles Weissbier

Overall Impression: A moderately dark German wheat beer
with a distinctive banana-and-clove weizen yeast fermentation
profile, supported by a toasted bread or caramel malt flavor.
Highly carbonated and refreshing, with a creamy, fluffy texture
and light finish.

Aroma: Moderate esters and phenols, typically banana and
clove, often well balanced with each other and with the malt.
Light to moderate bready, doughy, or grainy wheat aroma,
often accompanied by caramel, bread crust, or richer malt
notes. Low to moderate vanilla optional. Light floral, spicy, or
herbal hops optional. Bubblegum (strawberry with banana),
sourness, or smoke are faults.

Appearance: Light copper to dark, mahogany brown in color.
Very thick, moussy, long-lasting off-white head. Can be hazy
and have a shine from wheat and yeast, although this can settle
out in bottled versions.

Flavor: Low to moderately strong banana and clove flavor,
often well balanced with each other and with the malt,
although the malt may sometimes mask the clove impression.
Low to medium-high soft, somewhat bready, doughy, or grainy
wheat flavor with richer caramel, toast, or bread crust flavors.
No strongly roasted flavors, but a touch of roasty dryness is
allowable. Very low to low bitterness. Well-rounded, flavorful,
often somewhat malty palate with a relatively dry finish. Very
light to moderate vanilla optional. Low spicy, herbal, or floral
hop flavor optional. Bubblegum, sourness, or smoke are faults.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium-full body. Fluffy,
creamy fullness progressing to a lighter finish, aided by
moderate to high carbonation. Effervescent.

Comments: Often known as dunkelweizen, particularly in the
United States. Increasingly rare and often being replaced by
Kristall and non-alcoholic versions in Germany.

History: Bavaria has a wheat beer brewing traditional
hundreds of years old, but the brewing right was reserved for
Bavarian royalty until the late 1700s. Old-fashioned Bavarian
wheat beer was often dark, as were most beers of the time. Pale
Weissbier started to become popular in the 1960s, but
traditional dark wheat beer remained somewhat of an old
person’s drink.

Characteristic Ingredients: Malted wheat, at least half the
grist. Munich, Vienna, or Pilsner malt. Dark wheat, caramel
wheat, or color malt. Decoction mash traditional. Weizen yeast,
cool fermentation temperatures.

Style Comparison: Combines the yeast and wheat character
of Weissbier with the malty richness of a Munich Dunkel. The
banana-and-clove character is often less apparent than in a
Weissbier due to the increased maltiness. Has a similar yeast
character as Roggenbier, but without the rye flavor and
increased body.

Commercial Examples: Ayinger Urweisse, Ettaler
Benediktiner Weißbier Dunkel, Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse
Dunkel, Hirsch Dunkel Weisse, Tucher Dunkles Hefe Weizen,
Weihenstephaner Hefeweißbier Dunkel

Vital StatGuideline
IBU10 – 18
SRM14 – 23
Original Gravity1.044 – 1.057
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.014
ABV4.3% – 5.6%
10C - Weizenbock

Overall Impression: A strong and malty German wheat beer
combining the best wheat and yeast flavors of a Weissbier with
the rich maltiness, strength, and body of a Bock. The style
range includes Bock and Doppelbock strength, with variations
for pale and dark color.

Aroma: Medium-high to high malty richness with a
significant bready, grainy wheat character. Medium-low to
medium-high weizen yeast character, typically banana and
clove. Vanilla accents optional. No hops. Low to moderate
alcohol, not hot or solventy. The malt, yeast, and alcohol are
well balanced, complex, and inviting. Bubblegum (strawberry
with banana), sourness, or smoke are faults.
Dark versions have a deeper, highly toasted, bready malt
richness with significant Maillard products, similar to a
Dunkles Bock or dark Doppelbock. They can also have caramel
and dark fruit esters, like plums, prunes, dark grapes, fruit
leather, and raisins, particularly as they age.
Pale versions have a grainy-sweet, bready, toasty malty
richness, similar to a Helles Bock or pale Doppelbock.

Appearance: Very thick, moussy, long-lasting head. Can be
hazy and have a shine from wheat and yeast, although this can
settle out with age.
Dark versions are dark amber to dark ruby-brown in color,
with a light tan head.
Pale versions are gold to amber in color, with a very white to
off-white head.

Flavor: Medium-high to high malty richness with significant
bready, grainy wheat flavor. Low to moderate banana and spice
(clove, vanilla) yeast character. No hop flavor. Low to mediumlow
bitterness can give a slightly sweet palate impression, but
the beer typically finishes dry. Light alcohol can enhance this
character. The interplay between the malt, yeast, and alcohol
adds complexity and interest, which is often enhanced with
age. Bubblegum, sourness, or smoke are faults.
Dark versions have deeper, richly bready or toasty malt flavors
with significant Maillard products, optionally with caramel or
light chocolate but not roast. Can have some dark fruit esters
like plums, prunes, dark grapes, fruit leather, or raisins,
particularly as they age.
Pale versions have a bready, toasty, grainy-sweet malt richness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body. Soft, smooth, fluffy or
creamy texture. Mild alcohol warmth. Moderate to high
carbonation.

Comments: A Weissbier brewed to bock or doppelbock
strength, although Schneider also produces an Eisbock version.
Pale and dark versions exist, but dark is most common. Lightly
oxidized Maillard products can produce some rich, intense
flavors and aromas that are often seen in aged imported
commercial products; fresher versions will not have this
character. Well-aged examples might also take on a slight
sherry-like complexity. Pale versions, like their doppelbock
cousins, have less rich malt complexity and often more hopforward.
However, versions that have significant late hops or
are dry-hopped should be entered in 34B Mixed-Style Beer.

History: Dopplebock-strength Aventinus was created in 1907
at the Schneider Weisse Brauhaus in Munich. Pale versions are
a much more recent invention.

Characteristic Ingredients: Malted wheat, at least half the
grist. Munich, Vienna, or Pilsner malt. Color malts may be used
sparingly. Decoction mash traditional. Weizen yeast, cool
fermentation temperatures.

Style Comparison: Stronger and richer than a Weissbier or
Dunkles Weissbier, but with similar yeast character. More
directly comparable to the Doppelbock style, with the pale and
dark variations. Can vary widely in strength, but most are in
the Bock to Doppelbock range.

Entry Instructions: The entrant will specify whether the
entry is a pale (SRM 6-9) or a dark (SRM 10-25) version.

Commercial Examples: Dark – Plank Bavarian Dunkler
Weizenbock, Penn Weizenbock, Schalchner Weisser Bock,
Schneider Weisse Aventinus; Pale –Ayinger Weizenbock,
Distelhäuser Weizen Bock, Ladenburger Weizenbock Hell,
Weihenstephaner Vitus

Vital StatGuideline
IBU15 – 30
SRM6 – 25
Original Gravity1.064 – 1.090
Final Gravity1.015 – 1.022
ABV6.5% – 9%

11. British Bitter

11A - Ordinary Bitter

Overall Impression: Low gravity, alcohol, and carbonation
make this an easy-drinking session beer. The malt profile can
vary in flavor and intensity, but should never override the
overall bitter impression. Drinkability is a critical component
of the style.

Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, often (but not always)
with a light caramel quality. Bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty
malt complexity is common. Mild to moderate fruitiness. Hop
aroma can range from moderate to none, typically with a floral,
earthy, resiny, or fruity character. Generally no diacetyl,
although very low levels are allowed.

Appearance: Pale amber to light copper color. Good to
brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. May
have very little head due to low carbonation.

Flavor: Medium to moderately high bitterness. Moderately
low to moderately high fruity esters. Moderate to low hop
flavor, typically with an earthy, resiny, fruity, or floral
character. Low to medium maltiness with a dry finish. The malt
profile is typically bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty. Low to
moderate caramel or toffee flavors are optional. Balance is
often decidedly bitter, although the bitterness should not
completely overpower the malt flavor, esters, and hop flavor.
Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-light body. Low carbonation,
although bottled examples can have moderate carbonation.

Comments: The lowest gravity member of the British Bitter
family, typically known to consumers simply as “bitter”
(although brewers tend to refer to it as Ordinary Bitter to
distinguish it from other members of the family).

History: The family of British bitters grew out of English pale ales as a draught product after the late 1800s. The use of crystal malts in bitters
became more widespread after WWI. Traditionally served very fresh under no pressure (gravity or hand pump only) at cellar
temperatures (i.e., “real ale”). Most bottled or kegged versions of UK-produced bitters are often higher-alcohol and more highly
carbonated versions of cask products produced for export, and have a different character and balance than their draught
counterparts in Britain (often being sweeter and less hoppy than the cask versions).

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale ale, amber, or crystal
malts. May use a touch of dark malt for color adjustment. May
use sugar adjuncts, corn, or wheat. English finishing hops are
most traditional, but any hops are fair game; if American hops
are used, a light touch is required. Characterful British yeast.

Style Comparison: Some modern variants are brewed
exclusively with pale malt and are known as golden ales,
summer ales, or golden bitters. Emphasis is on the bittering
hop addition as opposed to the aggressive middle and late
hopping seen in American ales.

Commercial Examples: Bateman’s XB, Brains Bitter,
Brakspear Gravity, Fuller’s Chiswick Bitter, Greene King IPA,
Tetley’s Original Bitter

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU25 – 35
SRM8 – 14
Oiginal Gravity1.030 – 1.039
Final Gravity1.007 – 1.011
ABV3.2% – 3.8%
11B - Best Bitter

Overall Impression: A flavorful, yet refreshing, session beer.
Some examples can be more malt balanced, but this should not
override the overall bitter impression. Drinkability is a critical
component of the style.

Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, often (but not always)
with a low to medium-low caramel quality. Bready, biscuit, or
lightly toasty malt complexity is common. Mild to moderate
fruitiness. Hop aroma can range from moderate to none,
typically with a floral, earthy, resiny, or fruity character.
Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

Appearance: Pale amber to medium copper color. Good to
brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. May
have very little head due to low carbonation.

Flavor: Medium to moderately high bitterness. Moderately
low to moderately high fruity esters. Moderate to low hop
flavor, typically with an earthy, resiny, fruity, or floral
character. Low to medium maltiness with a dry finish. The malt
profile is typically bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty. Low to
moderate caramel or toffee flavors are optional. Balance is
often decidedly bitter, although the bitterness should not
completely overpower the malt flavor, esters and hop flavor.
Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Low carbonation,
although bottled examples can have moderate carbonation.

Comments: More evident malt flavor than in an ordinary
bitter; this is a stronger, session-strength ale.
History: See comments in category introduction.
Characteristic Ingredients: Pale ale, amber, or crystal
malts. Most contain sugar. May use a touch of caramel or dark
malt for color adjustment. May use corn or wheat. English
finishing hops are most traditional, but any hops are fair game;
if American hops are used, a light touch is required.
Characterful British yeast.

Style Comparison: More alcohol than an ordinary bitter,
and often using higher-quality ingredients. Less alcohol than a
strong bitter. More caramel or base malt character and color
than a British Golden Ale. Emphasis is on the bittering hop
addition as opposed to the aggressive middle and late hopping
seen in American ales.

Commercial Examples: Adnams Southwold Bitter, Fuller’s
London Pride, Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter, Salopian Darwin’s
Origin, Surrey Hills Shere Drop, Timothy Taylor Landlord

Vital StatGuideline
IBU25 – 40
SRM8 – 16
Oiginal Gravity1.040 – 1.048
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.012
ABV3.8% – 4.6%
11C - Strong Bitter

Overall Impression: An average-strength to moderatelystrong
British bitter ale. The balance may vary between fairly
even between malt and hops to somewhat bitter. Drinkability is
a critical component of the style. A rather broad style that
allows for considerable interpretation by the brewer.

Aroma: Hop aroma moderately-high to moderately-low,
typically with a floral, earthy, resiny, or fruity character.
Medium to medium-high malt aroma, optionally with a low to
moderate caramel component. Medium-low to medium-high
fruity esters. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are
allowed.

Appearance: Light amber to deep copper color. Good to
brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. A low
head is acceptable when carbonation is also low.

Flavor: Medium to medium-high bitterness with supporting
malt flavors evident. The malt profile is typically bready,
biscuity, nutty, or lightly toasty, and optionally has a
moderately low to moderate caramel or toffee flavor. Hop
flavor moderate to moderately high, typically with a floral,
earthy, resiny, or fruity character. Hop bitterness and flavor
should be noticeable, but should not totally dominate malt
flavors. Moderately-low to high fruity esters. Optionally may
have low amounts of alcohol. Medium-dry to dry finish.
Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium-full body. Low to
moderate carbonation, although bottled versions will be
higher. Stronger versions may have a slight alcohol warmth but
this character should not be too high.

Comments: In England today, “ESB” is a Fullers trademark,
and no one thinks of it as a generic class of beer. It is a unique
(but very well-known) beer that has a very strong, complex
malt profile not found in other examples, often leading judges
to overly penalize traditional English strong bitters. In
America, ESB has been co-opted to describe a malty, bitter,
reddish, standard-strength (for the US) British-type ale, and is
a popular craft beer style. This may cause some judges to think
of US brewpub ESBs as representative of this style.

History: See comments in category introduction. Strong
bitters can be seen as a higher-gravity version of best bitters
(although not necessarily “more premium” since best bitters
are traditionally the brewer’s finest product). British pale ales
are generally considered a premium, export-strength pale,
bitter beer that roughly approximates a strong bitter, although
reformulated for bottling (including increasing carbonation
levels). While modern British pale ale is considered a bottled
bitter, historically the styles were different.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale ale, amber, or crystal
malts, may use a touch of black malt for color adjustment. May
use sugar adjuncts, corn or wheat. English finishing hops are
most traditional, but any hops are fair game; if American hops
are used, a light touch is required. Characterful British yeast.
Burton versions use medium to high sulfate water, which can
increase the perception of dryness and add a minerally or
sulfury aroma and flavor.

Style Comparison: More evident malt and hop flavors than
in a special or best bitter, as well as more alcohol. Stronger
versions may overlap somewhat with British Strong Ales,
although Strong Bitters will tend to be paler and more bitter.
More malt flavor (particularly caramel) and esters than an
American Pale Ale, with different finishing hop character.

Commercial Examples: Bass Ale, Bateman’s Triple XB,
Robinsons Trooper, Samuel Smith’s Organic Pale Ale,
Shepherd Neame Bishop’s Finger, Summit Extra Pale Ale

Vital StatGuideline
IBU30 – 50
SRM8 – 18
Oiginal Gravity1.048 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.016
ABV4.6% – 6.2%

12. Pale Commonwealth Beer

12A - British Golden Ale

Overall Impression: A hop-forward, average-strength to
moderately-strong pale bitter. Drinkability and a refreshing
quality are critical components of the style, as it was initially a
summer seasonal beer.

Aroma: Hop aroma is moderately low to moderately high, and
can use any variety of hops – floral, herbal, or earthy English
hops and citrusy American hops are most common. Frequently
a single hop varietal will be showcased. Low bready malt aroma
with no caramel. Medium-low to low fruity aroma from the
hops rather than esters. Low diacetyl optional.

Appearance: Straw to golden in color. Good to brilliant
clarity. Low to moderate white head. A low head is acceptable
when carbonation is also low.

Flavor: Medium to medium-high bitterness. Hop flavor is
moderate to moderately high of any hop variety, although
citrus flavors are increasingly common. Medium-low to low
malt character, generally bready with perhaps a little biscuity
flavor. Caramel flavors are typically absent. Hop bitterness and
flavor should be pronounced. Moderately-low to low esters.
Medium-dry to dry finish. Bitterness increases with alcohol
level, but is always balanced. Low diacetyl optional.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Low to moderate
carbonation on draught, although bottled commercial versions
will be higher. Stronger versions may have a slight alcohol
warmth, but this character should not be too high.

Comments: Well-hopped, quenching beer with an emphasis
on showcasing hops. Served colder than traditional bitters, this
style was originally positioned as a refreshing summer beer,
but is now often brewed year-round. Once brewed with English
hops, increasingly American citrus-flavored hops are used.
Golden Ales are also called Golden Bitters, Summer Ales, or
British Blonde Ales. Can be found in cask, keg, and bottle.

History: Modern golden ales were developed in England to
take on strongly-marketed lagers. While it is difficult to identify
the first, Hop Back’s Summer Lightning, first brewed in 1986,
is thought by many to have got the style off the ground.

Characteristic Ingredients: Low-color pale or lager malt
acting as a blank canvas for the hop character. May use sugar
adjuncts, corn, or wheat. English hops frequently used,
although citrusy American varietals are becoming more
common. Somewhat clean-fermenting British yeast.

Style Comparison: More similar to an American Pale Ale
than anything else, although it is often lower in alcohol and
usually features British ingredients. Has no caramel and fewer
esters compared to British Bitters and pale ales. Dry as Bitters
but with less malt character to support the hops, giving a
different balance. Often uses (and features) American hops,
more so than most other modern British styles. Balance of
hoppiness between a Blonde Ale and an American Pale Ale.

Commercial Examples: Adnams Explorer, Crouch Vale
Brewers Gold, Golden Hill Exmoor Gold, Hop Back Summer
Lightning, Oakham JHB, Spitfire Golden Ale

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU20 – 45
SRM2 – 5
Oiginal Gravity1.038 – 1.053
Final Gravity1.006 – 1.012
ABV3.8% – 5%
12B - Australian Sparkling Ale

Overall Impression: A well-balanced, pale, highlycarbonated,
and refreshing ale suitable for drinking in a hot
climate. Fairly bitter, with a moderate herbal-spicy hop and
pome fruit ester profile. Smooth, neutral malt flavors with a
fuller body but a crisp, highly-attenuated finish.

Aroma: Fairly soft, clean aroma with a balanced mix of esters,
hops, malt, and yeast – all moderate to low in intensity. The
esters are frequently pears and apples, optionally with a very
light touch of banana. The hops are earthy, herbaceous, or
might show the characteristic iron-like Pride of Ringwood
nose. The malt can range from neutral grainy to moderately
sweet to lightly bready; no caramel should be evident. Very
fresh examples can have a lightly yeasty, sulfury nose.

Appearance: Deep yellow to light amber in color, often
medium gold. Tall, frothy, persistent white head with tiny
bubbles. Noticeable effervescence due to high carbonation.
Brilliant clarity if decanted, but typically poured with yeast to
have a cloudy appearance. Not typically cloudy unless yeast
roused during the pour.

Flavor: Medium to low rounded, grainy to bready malt flavor,
initially mild to malty-sweet but a medium to medium-high
bitterness rises mid-palate to balance the malt. Caramel flavors
typically absent. Highly attenuated, giving a dry, crisp finish
with lingering bitterness, although the body gives an
impression of fullness. Medium to medium-high hop flavor,
somewhat earthy and possibly herbal, resinous, peppery, or
iron-like but not floral, lasting into aftertaste. Medium-high to
medium-low esters, often pears and apples. Banana is optional,
but should never dominate. May be lightly minerally or sulfury,
especially if yeast is present. Should not be bland.

Mouthfeel: High to very high carbonation, giving mouthfilling
bubbles and a crisp, spritzy carbonic bite. Medium to
medium-full body, tending to the higher side if poured with
yeast. Smooth but gassy. Stronger versions may have a light
alcohol warmth, but lower alcohol versions will not. Very wellattenuated;
should not have any residual sweetness.

Comments: Coopers has been making their flagship
Sparkling Ale since 1862, although the formulation has
changed over the years. Presently the beer will have brilliant
clarity if decanted, but publicans often pour most of the beer
into a glass then swirl the bottle and dump in all the yeast. In
some bars, the bottle is rolled along the bar. When served on
draught, the brewery instructs publicans to invert the keg to
rouse the yeast. A cloudy appearance for the style seems to be a
modern consumer preference. Always naturally carbonated,
even in the keg. A present-use ale, best enjoyed fresh.

History: Brewing records show that the majority of Australian
beer brewed in the 19th century was draught XXX (Mild) and
porter. Ale in bottle was originally developed to compete with
imported bottled pale ales from British breweries, such as Bass
and Wm Younger’ Monk. By the early 20th century, bottled pale
ale went out of fashion and “lighter” lager beers were in vogue.
Many Australian Sparkling and Pale Ales were labeled as ales,
but were actually bottom-fermented lagers with very similar
grists to the ales that they replaced. Coopers of Adelaide, South
Australia is the only surviving brewer producing the Sparkling
Ale style.

Characteristic Ingredients: Lightly kilned Australian 2-row
pale malt, lager varieties may be used. Small amounts of crystal
malt for color adjustment only. Modern examples use no
adjuncts, cane sugar for priming only. Historical examples
using 45% 2 row, 30% higher protein malt (6 row) would use
around 25% sugar to dilute the nitrogen content. Traditionally
used Australian hops, Cluster, and Goldings until replaced
from mid-1960s by Pride of Ringwood. Highly attenuative
Burton-type yeast (Australian-type strain typical). Variable
water profile, typically with low carbonate and moderate
sulfate.

Style Comparison: Superficially similar to English Pale Ales,
although much more highly carbonated, with less caramel, less
late hops, and showcasing the signature yeast strain and hop
variety. More bitter than IBUs might suggest due to high
attenuation, low final gravity, and somewhat coarse hops.

Commercial Examples: Coopers Sparkling Ale

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 35
SRM4 – 7
Oiginal Gravity1.038 – 1.050
Final Gravity1.004 – 1.006
ABV4.5% – 6%
12C - English IPA

Overall Impression: A bitter, moderately-strong, very wellattenuated
pale British ale with a dry finish and a hoppy aroma
and flavor. Classic British ingredients provide the most
authentic flavor profile.

Aroma: A moderate to moderately-high hop aroma, typically
floral, spicy-peppery, or citrus-orange in nature. A slight dryhop
aroma is acceptable, but not required. Medium-low to
medium bready or biscuity malt, optionally with a moderatelylow
caramel-like or toasty malt presence. Low to moderate
fruitiness is acceptable. Optional light sulfury note.

Appearance: Color ranges from golden to deep amber, but
most are fairly pale. Should be clear, although unfiltered dryhopped
versions may be a bit hazy. Moderate-sized, persistent
head stand with off-white color.

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to high, with a moderate to
assertive hop bitterness. The hop flavor should be similar to the
aroma (floral, spicy-peppery, or citrus-orange). Malt flavor
should be medium-low to medium, and be somewhat bready,
optionally with light to medium-light biscuit, toast, toffee, or
caramel aspects. Medium-low to medium fruitiness. Finish is
medium-dry to very dry, and the bitterness may linger into the
aftertaste but should not be harsh. The balance is toward the
hops, but the malt should still be noticeable in support. If high
sulfate water is used, a distinctively minerally, dry finish, some
sulfur flavor, and a lingering bitterness are usually present.
Some clean alcohol flavor can be noted in stronger versions.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-light to medium body without
hop-derived astringency. Medium to medium-high carbonation
can give an overall dry sensation despite a supportive malt
presence. A low, smooth alcohol warming can be sensed in
stronger versions.

Comments: The attributes of IPA that were important to its
arrival in good condition in India were that it was very wellattenuated,
and heavily hopped. Simply because this is how
IPA was shipped, doesn’t mean that other beers such as Porter
weren’t also sent to India, that IPA was invented to be sent to
India, that IPA was more heavily hopped than other keeping
beers, or that the alcohol level was unusual for the time.
Many modern examples labeled IPA are quite weak in strength.
According to CAMRA, “so-called IPAs with strengths of around
3.5% are not true to style.” English beer historian Martyn
Cornell has commented that beers like this are “not really
distinguishable from an ordinary bitter.” So we choose to agree
with these sources for our guidelines rather than what some
modern British breweries are calling an IPA; just be aware of
these two main types of IPAs in the British market today.
The beers were shipped in well-used oak casks, so the style
shouldn’t have an oak or Brett character.

History: Originally a pale stock ale from London that was first
shipped to India in the late 1700s. George Hodgson of the Bow
Brewery did not create the style, but was the first well known
brewer to dominate the market. After a trade dispute, the East
India Company had Samuel Allsopp recreate (and reformulate)
the beer in 1823 using Burton’s sulfate-rich water. The name
India Pale Ale wasn’t used until around 1830.
Strength and popularity declined over time, and the style
virtually disappeared in the second half of the 20th century.
While the stronger Burton-type IPA remained, the name was
also applied to hoppy, lower-gravity, often bottled products (a
trend that continues in some modern British examples). The
style underwent a craft beer rediscovery in the 1980s, and is
what is described in these guidelines.
Modern examples are inspired by classic versions, but
shouldn’t be assumed to have an unbroken lineage with the
exact same profile. White Shield is probably the example with
the longest lineage, tracing to the strong Burton IPAs of old
and first brewed in 1829.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale ale malt. English hops,
particularly as finishing hops. Attenuative British ale yeast.
Refined sugar may be used in some versions. Optional sulfate
character from Burton-type water.

Style Comparison: Generally will have more late hops and
less fruitiness and caramel than British pale ales and Bitters.
Has less hop intensity and a more pronounced malt flavor than
typical American IPAs.

Commercial Examples: Berkshire Lost Sailor IPA, Fuller’s
Bengal Lancer, Marston’s Old Empire IPA, Meantime London
IPA, Thornbridge Jaipur, Worthington White Shield

Vital StatGuideline
IBU40 – 60
SRM6 – 14
Oiginal Gravity1.050 – 1.070
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.015
ABV5% – 7.5%

13. Brown British Beer

13A - Dark Mild

Overall Impression: A dark, low-gravity, malt-focused
British session ale readily suited to drinking in quantity.
Refreshing, yet flavorful for its strength, with a wide range of
dark malt or dark sugar expression.

Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, and may have some
fruitiness. The malt expression can take on a wide range of
character, which can include caramel, toffee, grainy, toasted,
nutty, chocolate, or lightly roasted. Low earthy or floral hop
aroma optional. Very low diacetyl optional.

Appearance: Copper to dark brown or mahogany color.
Generally clear, although is traditionally unfiltered. Low to
moderate off-white to tan head; retention may be poor.

Flavor: Generally a malty beer, although may have a very wide
range of malt- and yeast-based flavors (e.g., malty, sweet,
caramel, toffee, toast, nutty, chocolate, coffee, roast, fruit,
licorice, plum, raisin) over a bready, biscuity, or toasty base.
Can finish sweet to dry. Versions with darker malts may have a
dry, roasted finish. Low to moderate bitterness, enough to
provide some balance but not enough to overpower the malt in
the balance. Moderate fruity esters optional. Low hop flavor
optional. Low diacetyl optional.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Generally low to mediumlow
carbonation. Roast-based versions may have a light
astringency. Sweeter versions may seem to have a rather full
mouthfeel for the gravity. Should not be flat, watery, or thin.

Comments: Most are low-gravity session beers around 3.2%,
although some versions may be made in the stronger (4%+)
range for export, festivals, seasonal or special occasions.
Generally served on cask; session-strength bottled versions
don’t often travel well. A wide range of interpretations are
possible. Pale (medium amber to light brown) versions exist,
but these are even more rare than dark milds; these guidelines
only describe the modern dark version.

History: Historically, ‘mild’ was simply an unaged beer, and
could be used as an adjective to distinguish between aged or
more highly hopped keeping beers. Modern milds trace their
roots to the weaker X-type ales of the 1800s, which started to
get darker in the 1880s, but only after WWI did they become
dark brown. In current usage, the term implies a lowerstrength
beer with less hop bitterness than bitters. The
guidelines describe the modern British version. The term ‘mild’
is currently somewhat out of favor with consumers, and many
breweries no longer use it. Increasingly rare. There is no
historic connection or relationship between Mild and Porter.

Style Comparison: Some versions may seem like lowergravity
modern English Porters. Much less sweet than London
Brown Ale.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale British base malts (often
fairly dextrinous), crystal malt, dark malts or dark sugar
adjuncts, may also include adjuncts such as flaked maize, and
may be colored with brewer’s caramel. Characterful British ale
yeast. Any type of hops, since their character is muted and
rarely is noticeable.

Commercial Examples: Brain’s Dark, Greene King XX Mild,
Hobson’s Champion Mild, Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde,
Moorhouse Black Cat, Theakston Traditional Mild

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU10 – 25
SRM14 – 25
Oiginal Gravity1.030 – 1.038
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.013
ABV3% – 3.8%
13B - British Brown Ale

Overall Impression: A malty, caramelly, brown British ale
without the roasted flavors of a Porter. Balanced and flavorful,
but usually a little stronger than most average UK beers.

Aroma: Light, sweet malt aroma with toffee, nutty, or light
chocolate notes, and a light to heavy caramel quality. A light
but appealing floral or earthy hop aroma may also be noticed. A
light fruity aroma may be evident, but should not dominate.

Appearance: Dark amber to dark reddish-brown color. Clear.
Low to moderate off-white to light tan head.

Flavor: Gentle to moderate malt sweetness, with a light to
heavy caramel character, and a medium to dry finish. Malt may
also have a nutty, toasted, biscuity, toffee, or light chocolate
character. Medium to medium-low bitterness. Malt-hop
balance ranges from even to malt-focused. Low floral or earthy
hop flavor optional. Low to moderate fruity esters optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Medium to
medium-high carbonation.

Comments: A wide-ranging category with different
interpretations possible, ranging from lighter-colored to hoppy
to deeper, darker, and caramel-focused; however, none of the
versions have strongly roasted flavors. A stronger Double
Brown Ale was more popular in the past, but is very hard to
find now. While London Brown Ales are marketed using the
name Brown Ale, we list those as a different judging style due
to the significant difference in balance (especially sweetness)
and alcohol strength; that doesn’t mean that they aren’t in the
same family, though.

History: Brown ale has a long history in Great Britain,
although different products used that name at various times.
Modern brown ale is a 20th century creation; it is not the same
as historical products with the same name. A wide range of
gravities were brewed, but modern brown ales are generally of
the stronger (by current UK standards) interpretation. This
style is based on the modern stronger British brown ales, not
historical versions or the sweeter London Brown Ale described
in the Historical Beer category. Predominantly but not
exclusively a bottled product currently.

Characteristic Ingredients: British mild ale or pale ale malt
base with caramel malts. May also have small amounts darker
malts (e.g., chocolate) to provide color and the nutty character.
English hop varieties are most authentic.

Style Comparison: More malty balance than British Bitters,
with more malt flavors from darker grains. Stronger than a Dark Mild. Less roast than an English Porter. Stronger and
much less sweet than London Brown Ale.

Commercial Examples: AleSmith Nut Brown Ale, Cigar City
Maduro Brown Ale, Maxim Double Maxim, Newcastle Brown
Ale, Riggwelter Yorkshire Ale, Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 30
SRM12 – 22
Oiginal Gravity1.040 – 1.052
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.013
ABV4.2% – 5.9%
13C - English Porter

Overall Impression: A moderate-strength dark brown
English ale with a restrained roasty, bitter character. May have
a range of roasted flavors, generally without burnt qualities,
and often has a malty chocolate and caramel profile.

Aroma: Moderate to moderately low bready, biscuity, and
toasty malt aroma with mild roastiness, often like chocolate.
Additional malt complexity may be present as caramel, nuts,
toffee sweetness. May have up to a moderate level of floral or
earthy hops. Moderate fruity esters optional, but desirable.
Low diacetyl optional.

Appearance: Brown to dark brown in color, often with ruby
highlights. Good clarity, although may be opaque. Moderate
off-white to light tan head with good to fair retention.

Flavor: Moderate bready, biscuity, and toasty malt flavor with
a mild to moderate chocolate roastiness, and often a significant
caramel, nutty, or toffee character, possibly with lower levels of
darker flavors like coffee or licorice. Should not be burnt or
harshly roasted, although small amounts may contribute a
bitter chocolate complexity. Up to moderate earthy or floral
hop flavor optional. Low to moderate fruity esters. Mediumlow
to medium bitterness varies the balance from slightly malty
to slightly bitter, with a fairly dry to slightly sweet finish.
Moderately-low diacetyl optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Moderately-low
to moderately-high carbonation. Light to moderate creamy
texture.

Comments: This style description describes the modern
version of English Porter, not every possible variation over
time in every region where it existed. Historical re-creations
should be entered in the 27 Historical Beer category, with an
appropriate description describing the profile of the beer.
Modern craft examples in the UK are bigger and hoppier.

History: Originating in London in the early 1700s, porter
evolved as a more heavily hopped and aged (keeping) version
of the Brown Beer popular at the time. It evolved many times
based on various technological and ingredient developments
(such as the invention of black malt in 1817, and large-scale
industrial brewing), as well as consumer preferences, wars, and
tax policy. It became a highly-popular, widely-exported style in
the early 1800s before declining by the 1870s as it changed to a
lower gravity, unaged beer. As gravities continued to decline in
all UK beers in the first half of the 1900s, styles stopped being
made (including porter, gone by the 1950s). The craft beer era
led to its re-introduction in 1978.
The name is said to have been derived from its popularity with
the London working class performing various load-carrying
tasks of the day. Parent of various regional interpretations over
time, and a predecessor to all stouts (which were originally
called “stout porters”). There is no historic connection or
relationship between Mild and Porter.

Characteristic Ingredients: Grists vary, but something
producing a dark color is always involved. Chocolate or other
roasted malts, caramel malt, brewing sugars, and the like are
common. London-type porters often use brown malt as a
characteristic flavor.

Style Comparison: Differs from American Porter in that it
usually has softer, sweeter, and more caramelly flavors, lower
gravities, and usually less alcohol; American Porter also usually
has more hop character. More substance and roast than a
British Brown Ale. Higher in gravity than a Dark Mild.

Commercial Examples: Bateman’s Salem Porter, Burton
Bridge Burton Porter, Fuller’s London Porter, Nethergate Old
Growler Porter, RCH Old Slug Porter, Samuel Smith Taddy
Porter

Vital StatGuideline
IBU18 – 35
SRM20 – 30
Oiginal Gravity1.040 – 1.052
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.014
ABV4% – 5.4%

14. Scottish Ale

14A - Scottish Light

Overall Impression: A low-alcohol, malty beer with light
caramel, toast, toffee, and fruit flavors. A slight roast dryness
offsets the residual sweetness in the finish, with the bitterness
perceived only to keep the beer from being cloying.

Aroma: Low to medium maltiness with caramel and toffee

notes, and light toasty and sugary qualities that might be
reminiscent of toasted breadcrumbs, ladyfingers, English
biscuits, graham crackers, or butterscotch. Light pome
fruitiness and light English hop aroma (earthy, floral, orangecitrus,
spicy, etc.) allowable.

Appearance: Deep copper to dark brown. Clear. Low to
moderate, creamy off-white.

Flavor: Medium toasty-bready malt with caramel and toffee
overtones, finishing with a slightly roasty dryness. A wide
range of caramelized sugar and toasted bread type of flavors
are possible, using similar descriptors as the aroma. Clean
maltiness and fermentation profile. Light esters and hop flavor
allowable (similar descriptors as aroma). Sufficient bitterness
to not be cloying, but with a malty balance and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low to medium body. Low to moderate
carbonation. Maybe be moderately creamy.

Comments: See category introduction for detailed comments.
May not seem as bitter as specifications indicate due to higher
finishing gravity and residual sweetness. Typically a draught
product, but somewhat rare. Do not mis-perceive the light
roasty dryness as smoke; smoke is not present in these beers.

History: See category introduction. The Shilling ale names
were used for mild (unaged) beer before World War I, but the
styles took modern form only after World War II.

Characteristic Ingredients: At its simplest, pale ale malt,
but can also use colored malt, sugars, corn, wheat, crystal
malts, colorants, and a variety of other grains. Clean yeast. Soft
water. No peat-smoked malt.

Style Comparison: See category introduction. Similar to
other Scottish Ales but lower in alcohol, and darker in color.
Similar in strength to the low end of Dark Mild, but with a
different flavor profile and balance.

Commercial Examples: Belhaven Best, McEwan’s 60/-

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU10 – 20
SRM17 – 25
Oiginal Gravity1.030 – 1.035
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.013
ABV2.5% – 3.3%
14B - Scottish Heavy

Overall Impression: A lower-alcohol, malty beer with light
caramel, toast, toffee, and fruity flavors. A slight roast dryness
offsets the residual sweetness in the finish, with the bitterness
perceived only to keep the beer from being cloying.

Aroma: Medium-low to medium maltiness with caramel and
toffee notes, and light toasty and sugary qualities that might be
reminiscent of toasted breadcrumbs, ladyfingers, English
biscuits, graham crackers, or butterscotch. Light pome
fruitiness and light English hop aroma (earthy, floral, orangecitrus,
spicy, etc.) allowable.

Appearance: Pale copper to brown. Clear. Low to moderate,
creamy off-white.

Flavor: Medium toasty-bready malt with caramel and toffee
overtones, finishing with a slightly roasty dryness. A wide
range of caramelized sugar and toasted bread type of flavors
are possible, using similar descriptors as the aroma. Clean
maltiness and fermentation profile. Light esters and hop flavor
allowable (similar descriptors as aroma). Sufficient bitterness
to not be cloying, but with a malty balance and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low to medium body. Low to moderate
carbonation. Maybe be moderately creamy.

Comments: See category introduction for detailed comments.
May not seem as bitter as specifications indicate due to higher
finishing gravity and residual sweetness. Do not mis-perceive
the light roasty dryness as smoke; smoke is not present in these
beers.

History: See category introduction. The Shilling ale names
were used for mild (unaged) beer before World War I, but the
styles took modern form only after World War II.

Characteristic Ingredients: At its simplest, pale ale malt
and colored malt, but can also use sugars, corn, wheat, crystal
malts, colorants, and a variety of other grains. Clean yeast. Soft
water. No peat-smoked malt.

Style Comparison: See category introduction. Similar to
other Scottish Ales in flavor profile, lighter in color and
stronger than a Scottish Light. Similar in strength to Ordinary
Bitter, but with a different flavor profile and balance.

Commercial Examples: McEwan’s 70/-, Orkney Raven Ale

Vital StatGuideline
IBU10 – 20
SRM12 – 20
Oiginal Gravity1.035 – 1.040
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.015
ABV3.3% – 3.9%
14C - Scottish Export

Overall Impression: A moderate-strength, malty beer with
light caramel, toast, toffee, and fruit flavors. A slight roast
dryness offsets the residual sweetness in the finish, with the
bitterness perceived only to keep the beer from being cloying.

Aroma: Medium maltiness with caramel and toffee notes, and
light toasty and sugary qualities that might be reminiscent of
toasted breadcrumbs, ladyfingers, English biscuits, graham
crackers, or butterscotch. Light pome fruitiness and light
English hop aroma (earthy, floral, orange-citrus, spicy, etc.)
allowable.

Appearance: Pale copper to brown. Clear. Low to moderate,
creamy off-white.

Flavor: Medium toasty-bready malt with caramel and toffee
overtones, finishing with a slightly roasty dryness. A wide
range of caramelized sugar and toasted bread type of flavors
are possible, using similar descriptors as the aroma. Clean
maltiness and fermentation profile. Light esters and hop flavor
allowable (similar descriptors as aroma). Sufficient bitterness
to not be cloying, but with a malty balance and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Medium-low to medium
carbonation. Maybe be moderately creamy.

Comments: See category introduction for detailed comments.
May not seem as bitter as specifications indicate due to higher
finishing gravity and residual sweetness. Do not mis-perceive
the light roasty dryness as smoke; smoke is not present in these
beers. Americanized versions are often greater in strength
(similar to American treatment of Irish Red Ales).

History: See category introduction. The Shilling ale names
were used for mild (unaged) beer before World War I, but the
styles took modern form only after World War II.

Characteristic Ingredients: At its simplest, pale ale malt
and colored malt, but can also use sugars, corn, wheat, crystal
malts, colorants, and a variety of other grains. Clean yeast. Soft
water. No peat-smoked malt.

Style Comparison: See category introduction. Stronger than
other Scottish Ales, but with a similar flavor profile. Similar in
strength to Best Bitter and Strong Bitter, but with a different
flavor profile and balance.

Commercial Examples: Belhaven Scottish Ale, Broughton
Wee Jock 80 Shilling, Caledonian Edinburgh Castle, McEwan’s
80/-, McEwan’s Export, Traquair Bear Ale

Vital StatGuideline
IBU15 – 30
SRM12 – 20
Oiginal Gravity1.040 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.016
ABV3.9% – 6%

15. Irish Beer

15A - Irish Red Ale

Overall Impression: An easy-drinking pint, often with
subtle flavors. Slightly malty in the balance sometimes with an
initial soft toffee or caramel sweetness, a slightly grainybiscuity
palate, and a touch of roasted dryness in the finish.
Some versions can emphasize the caramel and sweetness more,
while others will favor the grainy palate and roasted dryness.

Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, either neutral-grainy or
with a lightly caramel, toast, or toffee character. Very light
buttery character optional. Low earthy or floral hop aroma
optional. Quite clean.

Appearance: Medium amber to medium reddish-copper
color. Clear. Low off-white to tan colored head, average
persistence.

Flavor: Moderate to very little caramel malt flavor and
sweetness, rarely with a light buttered toast or toffee-like
quality. The palate often is fairly neutral and grainy, or can take
on a lightly toasty or biscuity note as it finishes with a light
taste of roasted grain, which lends a characteristic dryness to
the finish. A light earthy or floral hop flavor is optional.
Medium to medium-low bitterness. Medium-dry to dry finish.
Clean and smooth. Low esters optional. The balance tends to be
slightly towards the malt, although light use of roasted grains
may increase the perception of bitterness slightly.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, although
examples containing low levels of diacetyl may have a slightly
slick mouthfeel (not required). Moderate carbonation. Smooth.

Comments: The style is fairly broad to allow for examples
beyond the traditional ones from Ireland. Irish examples tend
to be lower alcohol, grainier, and drier in the finish, while non-
Irish versions are often higher in alcohol, sweeter, perhaps
more caramelly and estery, and are often seasonal offerings.

History: While Ireland has a long ale brewing heritage, the
modern Irish Red Ale style is essentially an adaptation or
interpretation of the popular English Bitter style with less
hopping and a bit of roast to add color and dryness, although
some suggest a longer history. Rediscovered as a craft beer
style in Ireland, today it is an essential part of most brewery
lineups, along with a pale ale and a stout.

Characteristic Ingredients: Generally has a bit of roasted
barley or black malt to provide reddish color and dry roasted
finish. Pale base malt. Caramel malts were historically
imported and more expensive, so not all brewers would use
them.

Style Comparison: A less-bitter and hoppy Irish equivalent
to an English Bitter, with a dryish finish due to roasted barley.
More attenuated with less caramel flavor and body than
equivalent-strength Scottish Ales.

Commercial Examples: Franciscan Well Rebel Red,
Kilkenny Irish Beer, Murphy’s Irish Red, O’Hara’s Irish Red
Ale, Porterhouse Nitro Red Ale, Smithwick’s Irish Ale

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU18 – 28
SRM9 – 14
Oiginal Gravity1.036 – 1.046
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.014
ABV3.8% – 5%
15B - Irish Stout

Overall Impression: A black beer with a pronounced
roasted flavor, often similar to coffee. The balance can range
from fairly even to quite bitter, with the more balanced
versions having a little malty sweetness and the bitter versions
being quite dry. Draught versions typically are creamy from a
nitro pour, but bottled versions will not have this dispensederived
character. The roasted flavor can range from dry and
coffee-like to somewhat chocolaty.

Aroma: Moderate coffee-like aroma typically dominates; may
have slight dark chocolate, cocoa, or roasted grain secondary
notes. Medium-low esters optional. Low earthy or floral hop
aroma optional.

Appearance: Jet black to deep brown with garnet highlights
in color. According to Guinness, “Guinness beer may appear
black, but it is actually a very dark shade of ruby.” Opaque. A
thick, creamy, long-lasting, tan- to brown-colored head is
characteristic when served on nitro, but don’t expect a tight,
creamy head on a bottled beer.

Flavor: Moderate roasted grain or malt flavor with a medium
to high bitterness. The finish can be dry and coffee-like to
moderately balanced with a touch of caramel or malty
sweetness. Typically has coffee-like flavors, but also may have a
bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate character in the palate,
lasting into the finish. Balancing factors may include some
creaminess, medium-low fruitiness, or medium earthy hop
flavor. The level of bitterness is somewhat variable, as is the
roasted character and the dryness of the finish; allow for
interpretation by brewers.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium-full body, with a
somewhat creamy character – especially when served by nitro
pour. Low to moderate carbonation. For the high hop
bitterness and significant proportion of dark grains present,
this beer is remarkably smooth. May have a light astringency
from the roasted grains, although harshness is undesirable.

Comments: Traditionally a draught product. Modern
examples are almost always associated with a nitro pour. Do
not expect bottled beers to have the full, creamy texture or very
long-lasting head associated with mixed-gas dispense. Regional
differences exist in Ireland, similar to variability in English
Bitters. Dublin-type stouts use roasted barley, are more bitter,
and are drier. Cork-type stouts are sweeter, less bitter, and
have flavors from chocolate and specialty malts.

History: The style evolved from London porters, but reflecting
a fuller, creamier, more “stout” body and strength. Guinness
began brewing only porter in 1799, and a “stouter kind of
porter” around 1810. Irish stout diverged from London single
stout (or simply porter) in the late 1800s, with an emphasis on
darker malts and roast barley. Guinness began using flaked
barley after WWII, and Guinness Draught was launched as a
brand in 1959. Draught (“widget”) cans and bottles were
developed in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Characteristic Ingredients: Dark roasted malts or grains,
enough to make the beer black in color. Pale malt. May use
unmalted grains for body.

Style Comparison: Lower strength than an Irish Extra Stout.
Darker in color (black) than an English Porter (brown).

Commercial Examples: Beamish Irish Stout, Belhaven
Black Stout, Guinness Draught, Murphy’s Irish Stout, O’Hara’s
Irish Stout, Porterhouse Irish Stout

Vital StatGuideline
IBU25 – 45
SRM25 – 40
Oiginal Gravity1.036 – 1.044
Final Gravity1.007 – 1.011
ABV4% – 4.5%
15C - Irish Extra Stout

Overall Impression: A fuller-bodied black beer with a
pronounced roasted flavor, often similar to coffee and dark
chocolate with some malty complexity. The balance can range
from moderately bittersweet to bitter, with the more balanced
versions having up to moderate malty richness and the bitter
versions being quite dry.

Aroma: Moderate to moderately high coffee-like aroma, often
with slight dark chocolate, cocoa, biscuit, vanilla, or roasted
grain secondary notes. Medium-low esters optional. Hop
aroma low to none, may be lightly earthy or spicy, but is
typically absent. Malt and roast dominate the aroma.

Appearance: Jet black. Opaque. A thick, creamy, persistent
tan head is characteristic.

Flavor: Moderate to moderately high dark-roasted grain or
malt flavor with a medium to medium-high bitterness. The
finish can be dry and coffee-like to moderately balanced with
up to moderate caramel or malty sweetness. Typically has
roasted coffee-like flavors, but also often has a dark chocolate
character in the palate, lasting into the finish. Background
mocha or biscuit flavors are often present and add complexity.
Medium-low fruitiness optional. Medium earthy or spicy hop
flavor optional. The level of bitterness is somewhat variable, as
is the roasted character and the dryness of the finish; allow for
interpretation by brewers.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body, with a somewhat
creamy character. Moderate carbonation. Very smooth. May
have a light astringency from the roasted grains, although
harshness is undesirable. A slightly warming character may be
detected.

Comments: Traditionally a stronger, bottled product with a
range of equally valid possible interpretations, varying most
frequently in roast flavor and sweetness. Most traditional Irish
commercial examples are in the 5.6 to 6.0% ABV range.

History: Same roots as Irish Stout, but as a stronger product.
Guinness Extra Stout (Extra Superior Porter, later Double
Stout) was first brewed in 1821, and was primarily a bottled
product.

Characteristic Ingredients: Similar to Irish Stout. May
have additional dark crystal malts or dark sugars.

Style Comparison: Midway between an Irish Stout and a
Foreign Extra Stout in strength and flavor intensity, although
with a similar balance. More body, richness, and often malt
complexity than an Irish Stout. Black in color, not brown like
an English Porter.

Commercial Examples: Guinness Extra Stout, O’Hara’s
Leann Folláin, Porterhouse XXXX, Sheaf Stout

Vital StatGuideline
IBU35 – 50
SRM30 – 40
Oiginal Gravity1.052 – 1.062
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.014
ABV5% – 6.5%

16. Dark British Beer

16A - Sweet Stout

Overall Impression: A very dark, sweet, full-bodied, slightly
roasty stout that can suggest coffee-and-cream, or sweetened
espresso.

Aroma: Mild roasted grain aroma, sometimes with coffee or
chocolate notes. An impression of cream-like sweetness often
exists. Fruitiness can be low to moderately high. Low diacetyl
optional. Low floral or earthy hop aroma optional.

Appearance: Very dark brown to black in color. Clear, if not
opaque. Creamy tan to brown head.

Flavor: Dark, roasted, coffee or chocolate flavors dominate
the palate. Low to moderate fruity esters. Moderate bitterness.
Medium to high sweetness provides a counterpoint to the
roasted character and bitterness, lasting into the finish. The
balance between dark grains or malts and sweetness can vary,
from quite sweet to moderately dry and somewhat roasty. Low
diacetyl optional. Low floral or earthy hop flavor optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full-bodied and creamy. Low to
moderate carbonation. High residual sweetness from
unfermented sugars enhances the full-tasting mouthfeel.

Comments: Gravities are low in Britain (sometimes lower
than the statistics below), higher in exported and US products.
Variations exist, with the level of residual sweetness, the
intensity of the roast character, and the balance between the
two being the variables most subject to interpretation.

History: An English style of stout developed in the early
1900s. Historically known as “Milk” or “Cream” stouts, legally
this designation is no longer permitted in England but may be
acceptable elsewhere. The “milk” name is derived from the use
of the milk sugar lactose as a sweetener. Originally marketed as
a tonic for invalids and nursing mothers.

Characteristic Ingredients: Base of pale malt with dark
malts or grains. May use grain or sugar adjuncts. Lactose is
frequently added to provide additional residual sweetness.

Style Comparison: Much sweeter and less bitter-tasting than
other stouts, except the stronger Tropical Stout. The roast
character is mild, not burnt like other stouts. Can be similar in
balance to Oatmeal Stout, albeit with more sweetness.

Commercial Examples: Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout,
Firestone Nitro Merlin Milk Stout, Left Hand Milk Stout,
Lancaster Milk Stout, Mackeson’s XXX Stout, Marston’s Pearl
Jet Stout

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU20 – 40
SRM30 – 40
Oiginal Gravity1.044 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.012 – 1.024
ABV4% – 6%
16B - Oatmeal Stout

Overall Impression: A dark, roasty, full-bodied stout with
enough sweetness to support the oat backbone. The sweetness,
balance, and oatmeal impression can vary considerably.

Aroma: Mild grainy, roasty, coffee-like character with a light
malty sweetness that can give a coffee-and-cream impression.
Low to medium-high fruitiness. Medium-low earthy or floral hop aroma optional. A light grainy-nutty oatmeal aroma is
optional. Medium-low diacetyl optional but typically absent.

Appearance: Brown to black in color. Thick, creamy,
persistent tan- to brown-colored head. Clear, if not opaque.

Flavor: Similar to the aroma, with a mild roasted coffee, milk
chocolate, or coffee-and-cream flavor, and low to moderatelyhigh
fruitiness. Oats can add a toasty-nutty, grainy, or earthy
flavor. Medium bitterness. Medium-sweet to medium-dry
finish, which affects the perception of balance. Malty, roasty,
nutty aftertaste. Medium-low earthy or floral hop flavor
optional. Medium-low diacetyl optional but typically absent.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body, with a smooth, silky,
velvety, sometimes an almost oily slickness from the oatmeal.
Creamy. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Stronger
versions may be lightly warming.

Comments: When judging, allow for differences in balance
and interpretation. American versions tend to be more hoppy,
less sweet, and less fruity than English examples. Bitterness,
sweetness, and oatmeal impression varies. Light use of oatmeal
may give a certain silkiness of body and richness of flavor,
while heavy use of oatmeal can be fairly intense in flavor with
an almost oily mouthfeel and dryish finish.

History: A variant of nourishing or invalid stouts around 1900
using oatmeal in the grist, similar to but independent of the
development of sweet stout using lactose. An original Scottish
version used a significant amount of oat malt. Later went
through a shady phase where some English brewers would
throw a handful of oats into their parti-gyled stouts in order to
legally produce a ‘healthy’ Oatmeal Stout for marketing
purposes. Most popular in England between the World Wars,
was revived in the craft beer era for export, which helped lead
to its adoption as a popular modern American craft beer style
that uses a noticeable (not symbolic) quantity of oats.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale, caramel, and dark
roasted malts (often chocolate) and grains. Oatmeal or malted
oats (5-20% or more). Hops primarily for bittering. Can use
brewing sugars or syrups. English ale yeast.

Style Comparison: Most are like a cross between an Irish
Extra Stout and a Sweet Stout with oatmeal added. Several
variations exist, with the sweeter versions more like a Sweet
Stout with oatmeal instead of lactose, and the drier versions
more like a more nutty, flavorful Irish Extra Stout. Both tend to
emphasize the body and mouthfeel.

Commercial Examples: Anderson Valley Barney Flats
Oatmeal Stout, Broughton Stout Jock, St-Ambroise Oatmeal
Stout, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Summit Oatmeal Stout,
Young’s London Stout

Vital StatGuideline
IBU25 – 40
SRM22 – 40
Oiginal Gravity1.045 – 1.065
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.018
ABV4.2% – 5.9%
16C - Tropical Stout

Overall Impression: A very dark, sweet, fruity, moderately
strong stout with smooth, roasty flavors, yet no burnt
harshness.

Aroma: Moderate to high intensity sweetness is prominent.
Moderate to high coffee or chocolate roasty aroma, but not
burnt. Medium to high fruitiness. May have a molasses,
licorice, burnt sugar, dried fruit, or vinous aromatics. Stronger
versions can have a subtle, clean aroma of alcohol. Low hop
aroma optional. Low diacetyl optional.

Appearance: Very deep brown to black in color. Clarity
usually obscured by deep color. Clear, if not opaque. Large tan
to brown head with good retention.

Flavor: Quite sweet with a smooth dark grain flavors, and
restrained, medium-low to medium bitterness. Smooth, roasty
flavor, often like coffee or chocolate, although moderated in the
balance by the sweet finish. No burnt malt flavor or harsh bite
in the finish. Moderate to high fruity esters. Can have a sweet,
dark rum, molasses, or burnt sugar-like quality. Low hop flavor
optional. Medium-low diacetyl optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body, often with a smooth,
creamy character. May have a warming but not hot alcohol
presence. Moderate to moderately-high carbonation.

Comments: Surprisingly refreshing in a hot climate.
Sweetness levels can vary significantly. Tropical implies that
the beer originated in and is popular in the tropics, not that it
has characteristics of tropical fruit from hops or fruit.

History: A local adaptation of Foreign Extra Stouts brewed
with indigenous ingredients and methods in the Caribbean and
other tropical markets. Bitterness lower than export-type
stouts since these beers do not have to be shipped abroad, and
to suit local palate preferences.

Characteristic Ingredients: Similar to a Sweet Stout, but
higher gravity. Pale and dark roasted malts and grains. Hops
mostly for bitterness. May use adjuncts and sugar to boost
gravity. Typically made with warm-fermented lager yeast.

Style Comparison: Tastes like a scaled-up Sweet Stout with
higher fruitiness. Similar to some Imperial Stouts without the
high bitterness, strong or burnt roastiness, and late hops, and
with lower alcohol. Much sweeter and less hoppy than
American Stouts. Much sweeter and less bitter than the
similar-gravity Foreign Extra Stouts.

Commercial Examples: ABC Extra Stout, Bahamian Strong
Back Stout, Dragon Stout, Jamaica Stout, Lion Stout, Royal
Extra Stout

Vital StatGuideline
IBU30 – 50
SRM30 – 40
Oiginal Gravity1.056 – 1.075
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.018
ABV5.5% – 8%
16D - Foreign Extra Stout

Overall Impression: A very dark, rich, moderately strong,
fairly dry stout with prominent roast flavors.

Aroma: Moderate to high roast, like coffee, dark chocolate, or
lightly burnt grain. Low to medium fruitiness. May have a
sweet aroma, or molasses, licorice, dried fruit, or vinous
aromatics. Stronger versions can have a subtle, clean aroma of
alcohol. Low earthy, herbal, or floral hop aroma optional. Low
diacetyl optional.

Appearance: Very deep brown to black in color. Clarity
usually obscured by deep color. Clear, if not opaque. Large tan
to brown head with good retention.

Flavor: Moderate to high roast, like coffee, dark chocolate, or
lightly burnt grain, although without a sharp bite. Low to
medium esters. Medium to high bitterness. Moderately dry
finish. Moderate earthy, herbal, or floral hop flavor optional.
Medium-low diacetyl optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body, often with a smooth,
sometimes creamy character. May have a warming but not hot
alcohol presence. Moderate to moderately-high carbonation.

Comments: Also known as Foreign Stout, Export Stout, and
Foreign Export Stout. Historic versions (before WWI, at least)
had the same OG as domestic Extra Stouts, but depending on
the brewery could have had a higher ABV because it had a long
secondary with Brett chewing away at it. The difference
between domestic and foreign versions were the hopping and
length of maturation.

History: Stronger stouts brewed for the export market today,
but with a history stretching back to the 18th and 19th centuries
when they were more heavily-hopped versions of stronger
export stouts. Vatted originally, but Guinness stopped this
practice in the 1950s. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (originally,
West India Porter, later Foreign Extra Double Stout) was first
brewed in 1801 according to Guinness with “extra hops to give
it a distinctive taste and a longer shelf life in hot weather.”

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale and dark roasted malts
and grains, historically also could have used brown and amber
malts. Hops mostly for bitterness, typically English varieties.
May use adjuncts and sugar to boost gravity.

Style Comparison: Similar in balance to an Irish Extra
Stout, but with more alcohol. Not as big or intense as an
Imperial Stout. Lacking the strong bitterness and high late
hops of American Stout. Similar gravity as Tropical Stout, but
with a drier finish and higher bitterness.

Commercial Examples: Coopers Best Extra Stout, Guinness
Foreign Extra Stout, The Kernel Export Stout London 1890, La
Cumbre Malpais Stout, Pelican Tsunami Export Stout,
Ridgeway Foreign Export Stout

Vital StatGuideline
IBU50 – 70
SRM30 – 40
Oiginal Gravity1.056 – 1.075
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.018
ABV6.3% – 8%

17. Strong British Ale

17A - British Strong Ale

Overall Impression: An ale of respectable alcoholic
strength, traditionally bottled-conditioned and cellared. Can
have a wide range of interpretations, but most will have varying
degrees of malty richness, late hops and bitterness, fruity
esters, and alcohol warmth. The malt and adjunct flavors and
intensity can vary widely, but any combination should result in
an agreeable palate experience.

Aroma: Malty-sweet with fruity esters, often with a complex
blend of dried-fruit, caramel, nuts, toffee, or other specialty
malt aromas. Some alcohol notes are acceptable, but shouldn’t
be hot or solventy. Hop aromas can vary widely, but typically
have earthy, resiny, fruity, or floral notes. The balance can vary
widely, but most examples will have a blend of malt, fruit,
hops, and alcohol in varying intensities.

Appearance: Amber to dark reddish-brown color; many are
fairly dark. Generally clear, although darker versions may be
almost opaque. Moderate to low cream- to light tan-colored
head with average retention.

Flavor: Medium to high malt character often rich with nutty,
toffee, or caramel flavors. Light chocolate notes are sometimes
found in darker beers. May have interesting flavor complexity
from brewing sugars. Balance is often malty, but may be well
hopped, which affects the impression of maltiness. Moderate
fruity esters are common, often with a dark fruit or dried fruit
character. The finish may vary from medium dry to somewhat
sweet. Alcoholic strength should be evident, not overwhelming.
Low diacetyl optional, but generally not desirable.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full, chewy body. Alcohol warmth is
often evident and always welcome. Low to moderate
carbonation. Smooth texture.

Comments: An entry category more than a style; the strength
and character of examples can vary widely. Fits in the style
space between normal gravity beers and Barley Wines. Can
include pale malty-hoppy beers, English winter warmers,
strong dark milds, smaller Burton ales, and other unique beers
in the general gravity range that don’t fit other categories.
Judges should allow for a significant range in character, as long
as the beer is within the alcohol strength range and has an
interesting ‘British’ character, it likely fits the style.

History: A collection of unrelated minor styles, each of which
has its own heritage. Do not use this category grouping to infer
a historical relationship between examples – none is intended.
This is a modern British specialty judging category where the
‘special’ attribute is alcohol level.

Characteristic Ingredients: Grists vary, often based on pale
malt with caramel and specialty malts. Some darker examples
suggest a light use of dark malts (e.g., chocolate, black malt).
Sugary and starchy adjuncts (e.g., maize, flaked barley, wheat)
are common. Finishing hops are traditionally English.

Style Comparison: Significant overlap in gravity with Old
Ale, but not having an aged character. A wide range of
interpretations is possible. Should not be as rich or strong as an
English Barley Wine. Stronger than the stronger everyday
Strong Bitter, British Brown Ale, and English Porter. More
specialty malt or sugar character than American Strong Ale.

Commercial Examples: Fuller’s 1845, Harvey’s Elizabethan
Ale, J.W. Lees Moonraker, McEwan’s Champion, Samuel
Smith’s Winter Welcome, Shepherd Neame 1698

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU30 – 60
SRM8 – 22
Oiginal Gravity1.055 – 1.080
Final Gravity1.015 – 1.022
ABV5.5% – 8%
17B - Old Ale

Overall Impression: A stronger-than-average English ale,
though usually not as strong or rich as an English Barley Wine,
but usually malty. Warming. Shows positive maturation effects
of a well-kept, aged beer.
Aroma: Malty-sweet with fruity esters, often with a complex
blend of dried fruit, vinous, caramel, molasses, toffee, light
treacle, or other specialty malt aromas. Some alcohol and nutty
oxidative notes are acceptable, akin to those found in Sherry,
Port, or Madeira. Hop aroma not usually present.

Appearance: Deep amber to very dark reddish-brown color,
but most are fairly dark. Age and oxidation may darken the
beer further. Clear, but can be almost opaque. Moderate to low
cream- to light tan-colored head; retention average to poor.

Flavor: Medium to high malt character with a luscious malt
complexity, often with nut, caramel, or molasses-like flavors.
Light chocolate or roasted malt flavors are optional, but should
never be prominent. Balance is often malty-sweet, but may be
well hopped; the impression of bitterness often depends on
amount of aging. Moderate to high fruity esters are common,
and may take on a dried-fruit or vinous character. The finish
may vary from dry to somewhat sweet. Extended aging may
contribute oxidative flavors similar to a fine old Sherry, Port, or
Madeira. Alcoholic strength should be evident, though not
overwhelming. Low diacetyl optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full, chewy body, although older
examples may be lower in body due to continued attenuation
during conditioning. Alcohol warmth is often evident and
always welcome. Low to moderate carbonation, depending on
age and conditioning. Light acidity may be present, as well as
some tannin if wood-aged; both are optional.

Comments: Strength and character vary widely. The
predominant defining quality for this style is the impression of
age, which can manifest itself in different ways (complexity,
oxidation, leather, vinous qualities, etc.). Many of these
qualities are otherwise faults, but if the resulting character of
the beer is pleasantly drinkable and complex, then those
characteristics are acceptable. In no way should those
allowable characteristics be interpreted as making an
undrinkably off-flavored beer as somehow in style. Old Peculier
is a well-known but fairly unique beer that is quite different
than other Old Ales.

History: Historically, an aged ale used as stock ales for
blending or enjoyed at full strength (stale or stock refers to
beers that were aged or stored for a significant period of time).
There are at least two definite types in Britain today, weaker,
unaged draught ones that are similar to milds of around 4.5%,
and stronger aged ones that are often 6-8% or more.

Characteristic Ingredients: Composition varies, although
generally similar to British Strong Ales. The age character is
the biggest driver of the final style profile, which is more
handling than brewing.

Style Comparison: Roughly overlapping the British Strong
Ale and the lower end of the English Barley Wine styles, but
always having an aged quality. The distinction between an Old
Ale and a Barley Wine is somewhat arbitrary above 7% ABV,
and generally means having a more significant aged quality.

Commercial Examples: Avery Old Jubilation, Berlina Old
Ale, Greene King Strong Suffolk Ale, Marston Owd Roger,
Theakston Old Peculier

Vital StatGuideline
IBU30 – 60
SRM10 – 22
Oiginal Gravity1.055 – 1.088
Final Gravity1.015 – 1.022
ABV5.5% – 9%
17C - Wee Heavy

Overall Impression: Rich, sweet malt depth with caramel,
toffee, and fruity flavors. Full-bodied and chewy, with warming
alcohol. Restrained bitterness, but not cloying or syrupy.

Aroma: Strong bready-toasty malt, with a high caramel and
toffee aspect. A wide range of supportive caramelized sugar and
toasty bread type aromas are possible (toasted breadcrumbs,
ladyfingers, English biscuits, graham crackers, nougat,
butterscotch, etc.). Faint hint of roast is sometimes noted. Low
to moderate dark or dried fruit esters and alcohol. Very low
earthy, floral, orange-citrus, or spicy hops optional.

Appearance: Light copper to dark brown color, often with
deep ruby highlights. Clear. Usually has a large tan head, which
may not persist. Legs may be evident in stronger versions.

Flavor: Rich, bready-toasty malt that is often full and sweet
on the palate with caramel and toffee flavors, but balanced by
alcohol and a hint of grainy roast in the finish. The malt often
has caramelized sugar and toasty flavors of the same type as
described in the aroma. Medium to low alcohol and esters
(plums, raisins, dried fruit, etc.). Bitterness low in the balance,
giving a sweet to medium-dry finish. Medium-low hop flavor
optional, with similar descriptors as the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full-bodied, sometimes with a
thick, chewy, sometimes creamy, viscosity. A smooth alcohol
warmth is usually present and is desirable since it balances the
malty sweetness. Moderate carbonation.

Comments: A range of strengths is allowable; not all versions
are very strong. Also known as “Strong Scotch Ale,” the term
“wee heavy” means “small strong” and traces to the beer that
made the term famous, Fowler’s Wee Heavy, a 12 Guinea Ale.

History: Descended from Edinburgh Ales, a stronger malty
beer brewed in a range of strengths, similar to Burton Ale
(although at half the hopping rate). Modern versions have two
main variants, a more modest 5% ABV beer and the more
widely known 8-9% ABV beer. As gravities decreased over
times, some of the variations ceased to be produced.

Characteristic Ingredients: Scottish pale ale malt, a wide
range of other ingredients are possible, including adjuncts.
Some may use crystal malt or darker grains for color. No peatsmoked
malt.

Style Comparison: Somewhat similar to an English Barley
Wine, but often darker and more caramelly.

Commercial Examples: Belhaven Wee Heavy, Broughton
Old Jock, McEwan’s Scotch Ale, Orkney Skull Splitter, Traquair
House Ale, The Duck-Rabbit Wee Heavy Scotch-Style Ale

Vital StatGuideline
IBU17 – 35
SRM14 – 25
Oiginal Gravity1.070 – 1.130
Final Gravity1.018 – 1.040
ABV6.5% – 10%
17D - English Barleywine

Overall Impression: A strong and richly malty ale with a
pleasant fruity or hoppy depth. A wintertime sipper with a full,
chewy body and warming alcohol.

Aroma: Very rich, strongly malty, often with a caramel-like
aroma in darker versions or a light toffee character in paler
versions. May have a rich character including bready, toasty, or
toffee notes. May have moderate to strong fruitiness, often with
a dark- or dried-fruit character, particularly in dark versions.
The hop aroma may range from mild to assertive, and is
typically floral, earthy, tea-like, or marmalade-like. Alcohol
may be low to moderate, but are soft and rounded. Aromatic
intensity subsides with age, and can develop a quality like
sherry, wine, or port.

Appearance: Color ranging from golden amber to dark
brown, often with ruby highlights and significant depth of
color. Should not be black or opaque. Low to moderate offwhite
head. May have low head retention. Brilliant clarity,
particularly when aged, although younger versions can have a
little haze. High alcohol and viscosity may be visible as legs.

Flavor: Medium to high rich, malty sweetness, often complex
and multi-layered, with bread, biscuit, and caramel malt
flavors (more toffee-like in paler versions) and having a
medium to high fruitiness (often with dark or dried fruit
aspects). When aged, these fruity components come out more,
and darker versions will have a higher level than paler ones.
The hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness can vary wildly. Light to
strong hops, with an English character (floral, earthy, tea, or
marmalade-like) are common. Bitterness can be light to fairly
strong, fading with time, so the balance can be malty to
somewhat bitter. Stronger versions will have a little alcohol
character. The finish and aftertaste can be moderately dry to
moderately sweet, often depending on age.
Some oxidative or vinous flavors may be present, and often
complex alcohol flavors should be evident. Pale versions
typically seem more bitter, better attenuated, and more hopforward
than darker versions.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and chewy, with a velvety, luscious
texture, declining with age. A smooth warmth from aged
alcohol should be present, but shouldn’t burn. Carbonation
may be low to moderate, depending on age and conditioning.

Comments: The richest and strongest of modern English
Ales. Their character can change significantly over time; both
young and old versions should be appreciated for what they
are. The malt profile can vary widely; not all examples will have
all possible flavors or aromas. Paler varieties won’t have the
caramel and richer malt flavors, nor will they typically have the
darker dried fruits – don’t expect flavors and aromatics that
are impossible from a beer of that color. Typically written as
“Barley Wine” in the UK, and “Barleywine” in the US.

History: A modern descendent of the strongest Burton Ales.
Bass No. 1 was first called a barley wine in 1872. Traditionally a
darker beer until Tennant (now Whitbread) first produced
Gold Label, a gold-colored version in 1951. The original style that inspired derivative variations in Belgium, the United
States, and elsewhere in the world.

Characteristic Ingredients: British pale ale and crystal
malts. Limited use of dark malts. Often uses brewing sugars.
English hops. British yeast.

Style Comparison: Less hoppy and bitter, maltier and
fruitier than American Barleywine. Can overlap Old Ale on the
lower end of the range, but without heavier signs of age. Not as
caramelly and often not as sweet as a Wee Heavy.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU35 – 70
SRM8 – 22
Oiginal Gravity1.080 – 1.120
Final Gravity1.018 – 1.030
ABV8% – 12%

18. Pale American Ale

18A - Blonde Ale

Overall Impression: Easy-drinking, approachable, maltoriented
American craft beer, often with interesting fruit, hop,
or character malt notes. Well-balanced and clean, is a
refreshing pint without aggressive flavors.

Aroma: Light to moderate malty aroma, generally neutral or
grainy, possibly with a light bread or caramel note. Low to
moderate fruitiness is optional, but acceptable. May have a low
to medium hop aroma, and can reflect almost any hop variety
although citrusy, floral, fruity, and spicy notes are common.
Clean fermentation profile.

Appearance: Light yellow to deep gold in color. Clear to
brilliant. Low to medium white head with fair to good
retention.

Flavor: Initial soft maltiness, but can also have light character
malt flavor (e.g., bread, toast, biscuit, wheat). Caramel flavors
usually absent; if present, they are typically low-color caramel
or honey notes. Low to medium fruity esters optional, but are
welcome. Light to moderate hop flavor (any variety), but
shouldn’t be overly aggressive. Medium-low to medium
bitterness, but the balance is normally towards the malt or
even between malt and hops. Finishes medium-dry to slightly
malty; an impression of sweetness is often an expression of
lower bitterness than actual residual sweetness. Clean
fermentation profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Medium to high
carbonation. Smooth without being heavy.

Comments: Oxidized versions can develop caramel or honey
notes, which should not be mistaken for similar malt-derived
flavors. Sometimes known as Golden Ale or simply a Gold.

History: An American craft beer style produced as a fasterproduced
alternative to standard American lagers. First
believed to be produced in 1987 at Catamount. Often
positioned as an entry-level house ale.

Characteristic Ingredients: Generally all-malt, but can
include wheat malt or sugar adjuncts. Any hop variety can be
used. Clean American, lightly fruity English, or Kölsch yeast.
May also be made with lager yeast, or cold-conditioned.

Style Comparison: Typically has more flavor than American
Lager and Cream Ale. Less bitterness than an American Pale
Ale. Perhaps similar to some maltier examples of Kölsch.

Commercial Examples: Firestone Walker 805, Kona Big
Wave Golden Ale, Real Ale Firemans #4 Blonde Ale, Russian
River Aud Blonde, Victory Summer Love, Widmer Citra
Summer Blonde Brew

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU15 – 28
SRM3 – 6
Oiginal Gravity1.038 – 1.054
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.013
ABV3.8% – 5.5%
18B - American Pale Ale

Overall Impression: An average-strength, hop-forward, pale
American craft beer with sufficient supporting malt to make
the beer balanced and drinkable. The clean hop presence can
reflect classic or modern American or New World hop varieties
with a wide range of characteristics.

Aroma: Moderate to moderately-high hop aroma from
American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of
possible characteristics, including citrus, floral, pine, resin,
spice, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon. None of these
specific characteristics are required, but a hoppy aroma should
be apparent. Low to moderate neutral to grainy maltiness
supports the hop presentation, and can show low amounts of
specialty malt character (e.g., bread, toast, biscuit, caramel).
Fruity esters optional, up to moderate in strength. Fresh dryhop
aroma optional.

Appearance: Pale golden to amber. Moderately large white to
off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear.

Flavor: Hop and malt character similar to aroma (same
intensities and descriptors apply). Caramel flavors are often
absent or fairly restrained, but are acceptable as long as they
don’t clash with the hops. Moderate to high bitterness. Clean
fermentation profile. Fruity yeast esters can be moderate to
none, although many hop varieties are quite fruity. Medium to
dry finish. The balance is typically towards the late hops and
bitterness; the malt presence should be supportive, not
distracting. Hop flavor and bitterness often linger into the
finish, but the aftertaste should generally be clean and not
harsh. Fresh dry-hop flavor optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Moderate to high
carbonation. Overall smooth finish without astringency or
harshness.

Comments: Modern American versions are often just lower
gravity IPAs. Traditionally was a style that allowed for
experimentation with hop varieties and usage methods, which
can now often be found as international adaptations in
countries with an emerging craft beer market. Judges should
allow for characteristics of modern American or New World
hops as they are developed and released.

History: A modern American craft beer era adaptation of
English pale ale, reflecting indigenous ingredients. Sierra
Nevada Pale Ale was first made in 1980 and helped popularize
the style. Prior to the explosion in popularity of IPAs, this style
was the most well-known and popular of American craft beers.

Characteristic Ingredients: Neutral pale malt. American or
New World hops. Neutral to lightly fruity American or English
ale yeast. Small amounts of various specialty malts.

Style Comparison: Typically lighter in color, cleaner in
fermentation profile, and having fewer caramel flavors than
English counterparts. There can be some overlap in color
between American Pale Ale and American Amber Ale. The
American Pale Ale will generally be cleaner, have a less
caramelly malt profile, less body, and often more finishing
hops. Less bitterness in the balance and alcohol strength than
an American IPA. Maltier, more balanced and drinkable, and
less intensely hop-focused and bitter than session-strength
American IPAs (aka Session IPAs). More bitter and hoppy than
a Blonde Ale.

Commercial Examples: Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale,
Half Acre Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, Great Lakes Burning River, La
Cumbre Acclimated APA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone Pale
Ale 2.0

Vital StatGuideline
IBU30 – 50
SRM5 – 10
Oiginal Gravity1.045 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.015
ABV4.5% – 6.2%

19. Amber and Brown American Beer

19A - American Amber Ale

Overall Impression: An amber, hoppy, moderate-strength
American craft beer with a malty caramel flavor. The balance
can vary quite a bit, with some versions being fairly malty and
others being aggressively hoppy. Hoppy and bitter versions
should not have clashing flavors with the caramel malt profile.

Aroma: Low to moderate hop aroma reflective of American or
New World hop varieties (citrus, floral, pine, resin, spice,
tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon). A citrusy hop
character is common, but not required. Moderately-low to
moderately-high maltiness, usually with a moderate caramel
character, that can either support, balance, or sometimes mask
the hop presentation. Esters vary from moderate to none.

Appearance: Deep amber to coppery-brown in color,
sometimes with a reddish hue. Moderately large off-white head
with good retention. Generally quite clear.

Flavor: Moderate to high hop flavor with similar
characteristics as the aroma. Malt flavors are moderate to
strong, and usually show an initial malty sweetness followed by
a moderate caramel flavor and sometimes toasty or biscuity
malt flavors in lesser amounts. Dark or roasted malt flavors
absent. Moderate to moderately-high bitterness. Balance can
vary from somewhat malty to somewhat bitter. Fruity esters
can be moderate to none. Caramel sweetness, hop flavor, and
bitterness can linger somewhat into the medium to full yet dry
finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body. Medium to high
carbonation. Overall smooth finish without astringency.
Stronger versions may have a slight alcohol warmth.

Comments: Can overlap in color with darker American pale
ales, but with a different malt flavor and balance. A range of
balance exists in this style, from balanced and malty to more
aggressively hopped.

History: A modern American craft beer style developed as a
variation from American Pale Ales. Mendocino Red Tail Ale
was first made in 1983, and was known regionally as a Red Ale.
This served as the progenitor of Double Reds (American Strong
Ale), Red IPAs, and other hoppy, caramelly beers.

Characteristic Ingredients: Neutral pale ale malt. Medium
to dark crystal malts. American or New World hops, often with
citrusy flavors, are common but others may also be used.
Neutral to lightly estery yeast.

Style Comparison: Darker, more caramelly, more body, and
generally less bitter in the balance than American Pale Ales.
Less alcohol, bitterness, and hop character than Red IPAs. Less
strength, malt, and hop character than American Strong Ales.
Less chocolate and dark caramel than an American Brown Ale.

Commercial Examples: Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale,
Bell’s Amber Ale, Full Sail Amber, North Coast Red Seal Ale,
Saint Arnold Amber Ale, Tröegs Hopback Amber Ale

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU25 – 40
SRM10 – 17
Oiginal Gravity1.045 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.015
ABV4.5% – 6.2%
19B - California Common

Overall Impression: A toasty and caramelly, fairly bitter,
standard-strength beer with an interesting fruitiness and
rustic, woody hop character. Smooth and well carbonated.

Aroma: Moderate to high herbal, resinous, floral, or minty
hops. Light fruitiness acceptable. Low to moderate caramel or
toasty malt supports the hops.

Appearance: Medium amber to light copper color. Generally
clear. Moderate off-white head with good retention.

Flavor: Moderately malty with a pronounced hop bitterness.
The malt character usually has toast (not roast) and caramel
flavors. Low to moderately high hop flavor, usually showing
rustic, traditional American hop qualities (often herbal,
resinous, floral, minty). Finish fairly dry and crisp, with a
lingering hop bitterness and a firm, grainy malt flavor. Light
fruity esters are acceptable, but otherwise clean.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium to medium-high
carbonation.

Comments: This style is narrowly defined around the
prototypical Anchor Steam example, although allowing other
typical ingredients of the era. Northern Brewer hops are not a
strict requirement for the style. Modern American and New
World-type hops (especially citrusy ones) are inappropriate.

History: American West Coast original, brewed originally as
Steam Beer during the Gold Rush era. Large shallow open
fermenters (coolships) were used to compensate for the lack of
refrigeration and to take advantage of the cool temperatures in the San Francisco Bay area. Modern versions are based on
Anchor Brewing re-launching the style in the 1970s.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale ale malt, non-citrusy hops
(often Northern Brewer), small amounts of toasted malt or
crystal malts. Lager yeast; however, some strains (often with
the mention of “California” in the name) work better than
others at the warmer fermentation temperatures (55 to 60 °F)
typically used. Note that some German yeast strains produce
inappropriate sulfury character.

Style Comparison: Superficially similar to an American
Amber Ale, but with specific choices for malt and hopping –
the hop flavor and aroma is traditional (not modern) American
hops, malt flavors are toastier, the hopping is always assertive,
and a warm-fermented lager yeast is used. Less attenuated, less
carbonated and less fruity than Australian Sparkling ale.

Commercial Examples: Anchor Steam, Steamworks Steam
Engine Lager

Vital StatGuideline
IBU30 – 45
SRM9 – 14
Oiginal Gravity1.048 – 1.054
Final Gravity1.011 – 1.014
ABV4.5% – 5.5%
19C - American Brown Ale

Overall Impression: A malty but hoppy standard-strength
American ale frequently with chocolate and caramel flavors.
The hop flavor and aroma complement and enhance the malt
rather than clashing with it.

Aroma: Moderate malty-sweet to malty-rich aroma with
chocolate, caramel, nutty, or toasty qualities. Hop aroma is
typically low to moderate, of almost any type that complements
the malt. Some interpretations of the style may optionally
feature a stronger hop aroma, an American or New World hop
character (citrusy, fruity, tropical, etc.), or a dry-hopped
aroma. Fruity esters are moderate to very low. The dark malt
character is more robust than other brown ales, yet stops short
of being overly Porter-like.

Appearance: Light to very dark brown color. Clear. Low to
moderate off-white to light tan head.

Flavor: Medium to moderately-high malty-sweet or maltyrich
flavor with chocolate, caramel, nutty, or toasty malt
complexity, with medium to medium-high bitterness. Medium
to medium-dry finish with an aftertaste of both malt and hops.
Light to moderate hop flavor, sometimes citrusy, fruity, or
tropical, although any hop flavor that complements the malt is
acceptable. Very low to moderate fruity esters. The malt and
hops are generally equal in intensity, but the balance can vary
in either direction. Should not have a roasted character
suggestive of a Porter or Stout.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body. More bitter
versions may have a dry, resiny impression. Moderate to
moderately-high carbonation. Stronger versions may be lightly
warming.

Comments: Most commercial American Browns are not as
aggressive as the original homebrewed versions, and some
modern craft-brewed examples. This style reflects the current
commercial offerings typically marketed as American Brown
Ales rather than the hoppier, stronger homebrew versions from
the early days of homebrewing. These IPA-strength brown ales
should be entered as 21B Specialty IPA: Brown IPA.

History: An American style from the early modern craft beer
era. Derived from English Brown Ales, but with more hops.
Pete’s Wicked Ale (1986) defined the style, which was first
judged at the Great American Beer Festival in 1992.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale malt, plus crystal and
darker malts (typically chocolate). American hops are typical,
but continental or New World hops can also be used.

Style Comparison: More chocolate and caramel flavors than
American Pale or Amber Ales, typically with less prominent
bitterness in the balance. Less bitterness, alcohol, and hop
character than Brown IPAs. More bitter and generally hoppier
than English Brown Ales, with a richer malt presence, usually
higher alcohol, and American or New World hop character.

Commercial Examples: Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale, Big Sky
Moose Drool Brown Ale, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Bell’s Best
Brown, Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale, Telluride Face Down
Brown

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 30
SRM18 – 35
Oiginal Gravity1.045 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.016
ABV4.3% – 6.2%

20. American Porter and Stout

20A - American Porter

Overall Impression: A malty, bitter, and often somewhat
hoppy dark beer with a balanced, roasted, and frequently
chocolatey character.

Aroma: Medium-light to medium-strong roast aroma, often
with a chocolate, light coffee, or lightly burnt character,
sometimes with a background caramel or toffee sweetness, or a
malty richness. The resiny, earthy, or floral hop character can
vary from low to high. Moderate fruity esters optional. Should
not seem sharp, acrid, or acidic. The malt-hop balance can
vary, but it should always have a roasted malt aroma.

Appearance: Medium brown to very dark brown, often with
ruby- or garnet-like highlights. Can approach black in color.
Clear, if not opaque. Full, tan-colored head with moderately
good head retention.

Flavor: Moderately strong roasted flavor, often with a
chocolate and lightly burnt character, sometimes with a sweet
caramel or malty richness in support. Medium to high
bitterness, and a dry to medium-sweet finish. Dark malts may
sharpen this impression, but should not add an acrid, burnt, or
harsh flavor. Low to high resiny, earthy, or floral hop flavor,
which should not clash with the dark malt. Dry-hopped
versions may have a fresh hop or resiny flavor. Moderate fruity
esters optional. Should not have an acidic bite.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body. Moderately low to
moderately high carbonation. Stronger versions may have a
slight alcohol warmth. May have a slight dark malt astringency,
but this character should not be strong.

Comments: Sometimes called Robust Porter, becoming
increasingly hard to find. A rather broad style open to
interpretation by the brewer. Dark malt intensity and flavor
can vary significantly. May or may not have a strong hop
character, or significant fermentation byproducts; thus may
seem to have an “American” or “British” character.

History: A stronger, more aggressive version of earlier Pre-
Prohibition Porters or English Porters, first brewed in the
modern craft beer era (introduced in 1974). This style describes
the modern craft version; see Historical Beer: Pre-Prohibition
Porter for the older US version.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale base malt, frequently
crystal malt. Dark malts, often black malt or chocolate malt.
American hops typically used for bittering, but US or UK
finishing hops can be used. Ale yeast can either be clean US
versions or characterful English varieties.

Style Comparison: More bitter and often stronger with more
dark malt qualities and dryness than English Porters or Pre-
Prohibition Porters. Less strong and assertive than American
Stouts

Commercial Examples: Anchor Porter, Bell’s Porter,
Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
Porter, Sierra Nevada Porter, Smuttynose Robust Porter

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU25 – 50
SRM22 – 40
Oiginal Gravity1.050 – 1.070
Final Gravity1.012 – 1.018
ABV4.8% – 6.5%
20B - American Stout

Overall Impression: A fairly strong, highly roasted, bitter,
hoppy dark stout. The body and dark flavors typical of stouts
with a more aggressive American hop character and bitterness.

Aroma: Moderate to strong roast aroma, often with a roasted
coffee or dark chocolate quality. Burnt or charcoal aromas are
acceptable at low levels. Medium to very low hop aroma, often
with a citrusy or resiny character. Medium esters optional.
Light alcohol optional. Should not seem sharp, acrid, or acidic.

Appearance: Generally a jet black color, although some may
appear very dark brown. Large, persistent head of light tan to
light brown in color. Usually opaque.

Flavor: Moderate to very high roasted flavors, often tasting of
coffee, dark or bittersweet chocolate, or roasted coffee beans.
May taste of slightly burnt coffee grounds, but this character
should not be prominent. Low to medium malt sweetness,
often with rich chocolate or caramel flavors. Medium to high
bitterness. Low to high hop flavor, generally citrusy or resiny.
Medium to dry finish, occasionally with a lightly burnt quality.
Low esters optional. Light but smooth alcohol flavor optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body. Can be somewhat creamy.
Can have a bit of roast-derived astringency, but this character
should not be excessive. Medium-high to high carbonation.
Light to moderately strong alcohol warmth, but smooth and
not excessively hot.

Comments: Breweries express individuality through varying
the roasted malt profile, malt sweetness and flavor, and the
amount of finishing hops used. Generally has bolder roasted
malt flavors and hopping than other traditional stouts (except
Imperial Stouts). Becoming increasingly hard to find.

History: A modern craft beer and homebrew style that applied
a more aggressive American hopping regime to a strong
traditional English or Irish Stout. The homebrew version was
once known as West Coast Stout, a common naming scheme
for a more highly-hopped beer.

Characteristic Ingredients: Common American base malts,
yeast, and hops. Varied use of dark and roasted malts, as well
as caramel-type malts. Adjuncts or additives may be present in
low quantities to add complexity.

Style Comparison: Like a hoppy, bitter, strongly roasted
Irish Extra Stout. Much more roast and body than a Black IPA.
Bigger, stronger versions belong in the Imperial Stout style.
Stronger and more assertive, particularly in the dark malt or
grain additions and hop character, than American Porter.

Commercial Examples: Avery Out of Bounds Stout, Bell’s
Kalamazoo Stout, Deschutes Obsidian Stout, Sierra Nevada
Stout, Trillium Secret Stairs

Vital StatGuideline
IBU35 – 75
SRM30 – 40
Oiginal Gravity1.050 – 1.075
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.022
ABV5% – 7%
20C - Imperial Stout

Overall Impression: An intensely-flavored, very strong, very
dark stout with a broad range of interpretations. Roasty-burnt
malt with a depth of dark or dried fruit flavors, and a warming,
bittersweet finish. Despite the intense flavors, the components
need to meld together to create a complex, harmonious beer,
not a hot mess – sometimes only accomplished with age.

Aroma: Rich, deep, complex, and often quite intense, with a
pleasant blend of roast, fruit, hops, and alcohol. Light to
moderately strong roast can have a coffee, bittersweet or dark
chocolate, cocoa, black licorice, tar, or slightly burnt grain
quality, sometimes with a light caramel sweetness or toasty
maltiness. Low to moderately strong esters often perceived as
dark or dried fruits like plums, prunes, figs, black currants, or
raisins. Very low to fairly aggressive hops, often English or
American in character. Alcohol flavor optional, but should not
be sharp, hot, or solventy. The balance between these main
four components can vary greatly; not all need to be noticeable,
but those present should have a smooth interplay. Age can add
another dimension, including a vinous or port-like impression,
but not sourness. Age can decrease aroma intensity.

Appearance: Color ranges from very dark reddish-brown to
jet black. Opaque. Deep tan to dark brown head. Generally has
a well-formed head, although head retention may be low to
moderate. High alcohol and viscosity may be visible as legs.

Flavor: Like the aroma, a complex mix of roast, fruit, hops,
and alcohol (same descriptors apply). The flavors can be quite
intense, often greater than in the aroma, but the same warning
about the balance varying greatly still applies. Medium to
aggressively high bitterness. The maltiness balances and
supports the other flavors, and may have qualities of bread,
toast, or caramel. The palate and finish can be fairly dry to
moderately sweet, an impression that often changes with age.
Should not by syrupy or cloying. Aftertaste of roast, bitterness,
and warmth. Same age effects as in the aroma apply.

Mouthfeel: Full to very full-bodied and chewy, with a velvety,
luscious texture. The body and texture may decline with age.
Gentle, smooth warmth should be present and noticeable, but
as a background character. Low to moderate carbonation.

Comments: Sometimes known as Russian Imperial Stout or
RIS. Varying interpretations exist with American versions
having greater bitterness, and more roasted character and late
hops, while English varieties often reflect a more complex
specialty malt character with a more forward ester profile. Not
all Imperial Stouts have a clearly ‘English’ or ‘American’
character; anything in between is allowable as well, which is
why it is counter-productive to define strict sub-types. Judges
must be aware of the broad range of the style, and not try to
judge all examples as clones of a specific commercial beer.

History: A style with a long, although not necessarily
continuous, heritage. Traces roots to strong English porters
brewed for export in the 1700s, and said to have been popular
with the Russian Imperial Court. After the Napoleonic wars
interrupted trade, these beers were increasingly sold in
England. The style eventually all but died out, until being
popularly embraced in the modern craft beer era in England as
a revival export and in the United States as an adaptation by
extending the style with American characteristics.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale malt with significant
roasted malts or grain. Flaked adjuncts common. American or
English ale yeast and hops are typical. Ages very well.
Increasingly used as the base beer for many specialty styles.

Style Comparison: Darker and more roasty than
Barleywines, but with similar alcohol. More complex, with a
broader range of possible flavors, than lower-gravity stouts.

Commercial Examples: American – Bell’s Expedition
Stout, Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout, North Coast Old
Rasputin Imperial Stout, Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, Sierra Nevada
Narwhal Imperial Stout; English – 2SP Brewing Co The
Russian, Courage Imperial Russian Stout, Le Coq Imperial
Extra Double Stout, Samuel Smith Imperial Stout, Thornbridge
Saint Petersburg

Vital StatGuideline
IBU50 – 90
SRM30 – 40
Oiginal Gravity1.075 – 1.115
Final Gravity1.018 – 1.030
ABV8% – 12%

21. IPA

21A - American IPA

Overall Impression: A decidedly hoppy and bitter,
moderately strong, pale American ale. The balance is hopforward,
with a clean fermentation profile, dryish finish, and
clean, supporting malt allowing a creative range of hop
character to shine through.

Aroma: A prominent to intense hop aroma often featuring
American or New World hop characteristics, such as citrus,
floral, pine, resin, spice, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or
melon. Low to medium-low clean, grainy maltiness supports
the hop presentation. Generally clean fermentation profile, but
light fruitiness acceptable. Restrained alcohol optional.

Appearance: Color ranging from medium gold to light
reddish-amber. Clear, but light haze allowable. Medium-sized,
white to off-white head with good persistence.

Flavor: Medium to very high hop flavor (same descriptors as
aroma). Low to medium-low clean and grainy maltiness,
possibly with light caramel and toast flavors. Medium-high to
very high bitterness. Dry to medium-dry finish. Hoppy, bitter
aftertaste with supportive malt. Low esters optional.
Background clean alcohol flavor optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, with a smooth
texture. Medium to medium-high carbonation. No harshness.
Very light, smooth warmth optional.

Comments: The basis for many modern variations, including
the stronger Double IPA as well as IPAs with various other
ingredients. Those other IPAs should generally be entered in
the 21B Specialty IPA style. An India Pale Lager (IPL) can be
entered as an American IPA if it has a similar character,
otherwise 34B Mixed-Style Beer. Oak is inappropriate in this
style; if noticeably oaked, enter in 33A Wood-Aged Beer. Dry,
sharply bitter, clear examples are sometimes known as West
Coast IPA, which is really just a type of American IPA.

History: The first modern American craft beer adaptation of
this traditional English style is generally believed to be Anchor
Liberty Ale, first brewed in 1975 and using whole Cascade
hops; the style has evolved beyond that original beer, which
now tastes more like an American Pale Ale in comparison.
American-made IPAs from earlier eras were not unknown
(particularly the well-regarded Ballantine’s IPA, an oak-aged
beer using an old English recipe). This style is based on the
modern craft beer examples.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale base malt. American or
English yeast with a clean or slightly fruity profile. Generally
all-malt, but sugar additions are acceptable. Restrained use of
crystal malts. Often uses American or New World hops but any
are varieties are acceptable; new hop varieties continue to be
released and may be used even if they do not have the sensory
profiles listed as examples.

Style Comparison: Stronger and more highly hopped than
American Pale Ale. Compared to English IPA, has less caramel,
bread, and toast; often more American or New World hops;
fewer yeast-derived esters; less body and often a more hoppy
balance; and is slightly stronger than most examples. Less
alcohol than a Double IPA, but with a similar balance.

Commercial Examples: Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, Cigar City
Jai Alai, Fat Heads Head Hunter IPA, Firestone Walker Union
Jack, Maine Lunch, Russian River Blind Pig IPA

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU40 – 70
SRM6 – 14
Oiginal Gravity1.056 – 1.070
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.014
ABV5.5% – 7.5%
21B - Specialty IPA

Belgian IPA

Overall Impression: A dry, hoppy IPA with fruitiness and
spiciness of Belgian yeast. Often lighter in color and more
attenuated, similar to a Belgian Tripel that has been brewed
with more hops.

Aroma: Moderate to high hop aroma, often reflecting the
character of American or New World hops (tropical, melon,
stone fruit, citrus, piney, etc.) or Continental hops (spicy,
herbal, floral, etc.), possibly with a light dry-hop note. Gentle
malt sweetness, sometimes with a sugary or honey character,
but rarely caramel. Moderate to high esters, often pears,
apples, citrus, or banana. Light spice, clove or pepper, optional.
Light alcohol aroma optional.

Appearance: Light golden to amber in color. Moderate to
large off-white head with good retention. Good to quite hazy
clarity.

Flavor: Moderate fruity and spicy flavors, same descriptors as
aroma. Moderate to high hop flavor, same descriptors as
aroma. Light, relatively neutral grainy malt flavor, optionally
with low toast, caramel, or honey. Moderate to high bitterness.
Dry to medium-dry finish that often accentuates the perception
of bitterness. Aftertaste has a lingering bitterness but is not
harsh.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Medium to high
carbonation level, which can lighten the impression of body.
Light warmth optional.

Comments: The choice of yeast strain and hop varieties is
critical since many choices will clash horribly.

History: A relatively modern style, dating from the mid-
2000s. Homebrewers and craft breweries substituted Belgian
yeast in their American IPA recipes. Belgian breweries typically
added more hops to their stronger pale beers.

Characteristic Ingredients: Belgian yeast strains used in
making Belgian Tripels and Golden Strong Ales. American
examples tend to use American or New World hops while
Belgian versions tend to use European hops and only pale malt.
Sugar adjuncts common.

Style Comparison: A cross between an American IPA or
Double IPA with a Belgian Golden Strong Ale or Belgian Tripel.
This style is may be spicier, stronger, drier, and fruitier than an
American IPA.

Commercial Examples: Brewery Vivant Triomphe, Green
Flash Le Freak, Houblon Chouffe, Urthel Hop It

IBU50 – 100
SRM5 – 8
Oiginal Gravity1.058 – 1.080
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.016
ABV6.2% – 9.5%

Black IPA

Overall Impression: A beer with the dryness, hop-forward
balance, and flavor characteristics of an American IPA, but
darker in color. Darker malts add a gentle and supportive
flavor, not a strongly roasted or burnt character.

Aroma: Moderate to high hop aroma, often with a stone fruit,
tropical, citrusy, resinous, pine, berry, or melon character. Very
low to moderate malt, possibly with light chocolate, coffee, or
toast notes, as well as a background caramel sweetness. Clean
fermentation profile, but light esters acceptable.

Appearance: Dark brown to black color. Clear, if not opaque.
Light haze allowable, but should not be murky. Light tan to tan
head, moderate size, persistent.

Flavor: Medium-low to high hop flavor, same descriptors as
aroma. Low to medium malt flavor, with restrained chocolate
or coffee notes, but not burnt or ashy. The roasted notes should
not clash with the hops. Light caramel or toffee optional.
Medium-high to very high bitterness. Dry to slightly off-dry
finish, with a bitter but not harsh aftertaste, often with a light
roast flavor that can contribute to the dry impression. Low to
moderate esters optional. Background alcohol flavor optional.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. Medium-light to medium body. Medium
carbonation. Light creaminess optional. Light warmth
optional.

Comments: Most examples are standard strength. Strong
examples can sometimes seem like big, hoppy porters if made
too extreme, which hurts their drinkability.

History: An American IPA variant first commercially
produced by Greg Noonan as Blackwatch IPA around 1990.
Popularized in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California
of the US starting in the early-mid 2000s, and was a popular
fad in the early 2010s before fading into obscurity in the US.

Characteristic Ingredients: Debittered roast malts. Any
American or New World hop character is acceptable; new hop
varieties continue to be released and should not constrain this
style to the example hop characteristics listed.

Style Comparison: Balance and overall impression of an
American or Double IPA with restrained roast similar to the
type found in Schwarzbier. Not as rich and roasty as American
Stout and Porter, and with less body and increased smoothness
and drinkability.

Commercial Examples: 21st Amendment Back in Black,
Duck-Rabbit Hoppy Bunny ABA, Stone Sublimely Self-
Righteous Black IPA

IBU50 – 90
SRM25 – 40
Oiginal Gravity1.050 – 1.085
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.018
ABV5.5% – 9%

Brown IPA

Overall Impression: Hoppy, bitter, and moderately strong
like an American IPA, but with dark caramel, chocolate, toffee,
or dark fruit character as in an American Brown Ale. Retaining
the dryish finish and lean body that makes IPAs so drinkable, a
Brown IPA is a little more flavorful and malty than an
American IPA without being sweet or heavy.

Aroma: Moderate to moderately-high hop aroma, often with a
stone fruit, tropical fruit, citrus, resin, pine, berry, or melon
character. Medium-low to medium malty-sweet aroma mixes
in well with the hop selection, and often features milk
chocolate, cocoa, toffee, nuts, biscuits, dark caramel, toasted
bread, or dark fruit character. Clean fermentation profile. Light
esters optional. Light alcohol aroma optional.

Appearance: Color ranging from reddish-brown to dark
brown but not black. Clear, if not opaque. Light haze optional.
Medium-sized, cream-colored to tan head with good
persistence.

Flavor: Medium to high hop flavor, same descriptors as
aroma. Medium-low to medium clean, supportive malty flavor
with same descriptors as aroma. The malt and hop choices
should not produce flavor clashes. Medium-high to high
bitterness, no harshness. Dry to medium finish, with a bitter,
hoppy, and malty aftertaste. Low esters optional. Very low
alcohol flavor optional. No highly roasted or burnt malt flavors.
The malt should nearly balance the hop bitterness and flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, with a smooth
texture. Medium to medium-high carbonation. No harshness.
Light warmth optional.

Comments: Separated from American Brown Ale to better
differentiate stronger, highly hopped examples from more
balanced, standard-strength beers.

History: See American Brown Ale.
Characteristic Ingredients: Similar to an American IPA,
but with medium or dark crystal malts, lightly roasted
chocolate-type malts, or other intermediate color character
malts. May use sugar adjuncts, including brown sugar. Any
American or New World hop character is acceptable, but the
hops and character malts should not clash.

Style Comparison: A stronger and more bitter version of an
American Brown Ale, with the dry balance of an American IPA.
Has less of a roasted flavor than Black IPA, but more chocolate
flavors than a Red IPA.

Commercial Examples: Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale,
Harpoon Brown IPA, Russian River Janet’s Brown Ale

IBU40 – 70
SRM18 – 35
Oiginal Gravity1.056 – 1.070
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.016
ABV5.5% – 7.5%

Red IPA

Overall Impression: Hoppy, bitter, and moderately strong
like an American IPA, but with some caramel, toffee, or fruit
character as in an American Amber Ale. Retaining the dryish
finish and lean body that makes IPAs so drinkable, a Red IPA is
a little more flavorful and malty than an American IPA without
being sweet or heavy.

Aroma: Moderate to strong hop aroma, often with a stone
fruit, tropical fruit, citrus, resin, pine, berry, or melon
character. Medium-low to medium malty-sweet aroma mixes
in well with the hop selection, and often features medium to
dark caramel, toffee, toasted bread, or dark fruit character.
Clean fermentation profile. Light esters optional. Light alcohol
aroma optional.

Appearance: Color ranging from light reddish-amber to dark
reddish-copper. Clear. Light haze optional. Medium-sized, offwhite
to cream-colored head with good persistence.

Flavor: Medium to very high hop flavor, same descriptors as
aroma. Medium-low to medium clean, supportive malty flavor
with same descriptors as aroma. The malt and hop choices
should not produce flavor clashes. Medium-high to very high
bitterness, no harshness. Dry to medium finish, with a bitter,
hoppy, and malty aftertaste. Low esters optional. Very low
alcohol flavor optional. The malt should not overshadow the
hop flavor and bitterness in the balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, with a smooth
texture. Medium to medium-high carbonation. No harshness.
Light warmth optional.

Comments: Separated from American Amber Ale to better
differentiate stronger, highly hopped examples from more
balanced, standard-strength beers.

History: A modern American craft beer style, based on
American IPA but with the malt flavors of an American Amber
Ale. See American Amber Ale.

Characteristic Ingredients: Similar to an American IPA,
but with medium or dark crystal malts, possibly some character
malts with a light toasty aspect. May use sugar adjuncts. Any
American or New World hop character is acceptable, but the
hops and character malts should not clash.

Style Comparison: A stronger, hoppier, more bitter version
of American Amber Ale. Not as malty and sweet as an
American Strong Ale. Drier, less alcohol, and not as malty as
American Barleywine. Less chocolate and caramel than Brown
IPA, but otherwise similar balance.

Commercial Examples: Avery Hog Heaven, Cigar City
Tocobaga Red IPA, Modern Times Blazing World, Tröegs
Nugget Nectar

IBU40 – 70
SRM11 – 17
Oiginal Gravity1.056 – 1.070
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.016
ABV5.5% – 7.5%

Rye IPA

Overall Impression: An American IPA with spicy, grainy rye
malt. The rye gives a bready and peppery flavor, a creamier
body, and a dry, grainy finish.

Aroma: Prominent to intense hop aroma, often with a stone
fruit, tropical fruit, citrus, resin, pine, berry, or melon
character. Low peppery rye malt aroma, along with a clean,
background grainy maltiness. Clean fermentation profile. Light
esters optional. Light alcohol aroma optional.

Appearance: Color ranging from medium gold to light
reddish-amber. Clear. Light haze optional. Medium-sized,
white to off-white head with good persistence.

Flavor: Medium to very high hop flavor, same descriptors as
aroma. Low to medium-low clean, supportive malt possibly
with light caramel or toast flavors. Low to moderate grainy,
peppery, spicy rye flavor that adds to the dry finish. Mediumhigh
to very high bitterness, no harshness. Dry, bitter, hoppy
aftertaste. Low esters optional. Background alcohol flavor
optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Smooth texture,
may be lightly creamy. Medium to medium-high carbonation.
No harshness. Low warmth optional.

Comments: A modern American craft beer variation of
American IPA. Rye malt character should be noticeable,
otherwise enter in 21A American IPA.

History: A modern craft era variation of American IPA,
popular among homebrewers.

Characteristic Ingredients: Like an American IPA, with a
generous portion of rye malt. Any American or New World hop
is acceptable, but the hops and malt should not clash. No
caraway. No oak.

Style Comparison: Drier, slightly spicier, and slightly
creamier than an American IPA, with more of a lingering
bitterness and spiciness in the finish. Does not have the intense
rye malt or Weizen yeast character of a Roggenbier.

Commercial Examples: Founders Red’s Rye IPA, Sierra
Nevada Ruthless Rye

IBU50 – 75
SRM6 – 14
Oiginal Gravity1.056 – 1.075
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.014
ABV5.5% – 8%

White IPA

Overall Impression: A fruity, spicy, refreshing version of an
American IPA, but with a lighter color, less body, and featuring
the distinctive yeast or spice additions typical of a Witbier.

Aroma: Moderate esters, often orange, grapefruit, apricot, or
sometimes banana. Light spices optional, usually coriander,
orange peel, pepper, or clove. Medium-low to medium hop
aroma, often stone fruit, citrus, or tropical fruit. Esters and
spices may reduce perception of hop aroma. Low neutral,
grainy, or bready malt. Light alcohol aroma optional.

Appearance: Pale to deep golden color. Typically hazy.
Moderate to large, dense white head that persists.

Flavor: Moderate to high esters, medium-low to medium-high
hop flavor, and light spices, all with the same descriptors as
aroma. Light malt flavor, perhaps a bit bready. High bitterness.
Moderately dry, refreshing finish. Background alcohol flavor
optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium to medium-high
carbonation. Light spice astringency optional. Low warmth
optional.

Comments: A craft beer interpretation of American IPA
crossed with a Witbier. Spice impression may come from
Belgian yeast, spice additions, or both.

History: American craft brewers developed the style as a late
winter or spring seasonal beer to appeal to Witbier and IPA
drinkers alike.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale and wheat malts, Belgian
Witbier yeast, citrusy American type hops. Coriander and
orange peel optional.

Style Comparison: Bitter, hoppy, and stronger like an
American IPA but fruity, spicy, and light like a Witbier.
Typically late hops are not as prominent as in American IPA.

Commercial Examples: Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’
Ale, New Belgium Accumulation

IBU40 – 70
SRM5 – 6
Oiginal Gravity1.056 – 1.065
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.016
ABV5.5% – 7%

Brut IPA

Overall Impression: A very pale, hop-forward American IPA
variant with a bone-dry finish, very high carbonation, and a
restrained bitterness level. Can be suggestive of a sparkling
white wine or Champagne. The hop character is modern, and
emphasizes flavor and aroma dimensions.

Aroma: Moderately high to intense hop aroma, very bright
and hop-forward in the balance. Modern American and New
World hop varieties provide a wide range of possible
characteristics, such as tropical, stone fruit, citrusy, or white
grape, but not grassy, vegetal, or herbal. Malt is subtle, neutral,
and in the background, but never caramelly or overly cornysweet.
A light, clean alcohol note is optional. Very clean
fermentation character; should not be yeasty.

Appearance: Very pale color, ranging from very pale straw to
very light gold. Crystal clear but a touch of haze is acceptable.
High to very high carbonation gives a massive, rocky, billowy,
white head with tight, persistent bubbles.

Flavor: High to very high hop flavor, same descriptors as
aroma. Low to very low neutral malt character, subtle in the
balance. No strong malt flavors, no caramel. Perceived
bitterness is low to very low due to the bone-dry finish and very
high carbonation. Neutral to slightly fruity fermentation
profile. No diacetyl. Dry to very dry finish with a fresh, hoppy
aftertaste, and a clean bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light to very light body with a spritzy carbonation
(high to very high), reminiscent of a sparkling white wine. No
bitter, harsh, hop-derived astringency. Alcohol warmth may be
present but should never be hot.

Comments: Original concept was a sparkling wine-like IPA,
although the hop character now varies more widely. Very low
final gravity and high carbonation makes balance critical, often
requiring a surprisingly low measured bitterness. ‘Brut’ is a
wine term indicating dryness. Used incorrectly, added enzymes
can cause diacetyl, which is always a flaw.

History: A modern craft beer style originating in 2017 at the
(now closed) Social Kitchen & Brewery in San Francisco as a
west coast reaction to the rising trend of east coast hazy and
juicy IPAs as well as thick and sweet so-called milkshake IPAs. The style is still evolving and changing (and perhaps dying, as
the beer was quite faddish in 2018-2019 in the US). Most
versions seem to be morphing into low-calorie IPAs.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pilsner or very pale base malts
with up to 40% adjuncts. No crystal malt or lactose. Enzymes,
such as amyloglucosidase. Highly aromatic, oil-heavy, modern
American or New World hops used in a variety of late-hopping
or post-boil procedures to emphasize hop aroma and flavor and
to minimize bitterness. Neutral yeast.

Style Comparison: Less malt flavor, bitterness, and color
than an American IPA, and much drier and more highly
carbonated. Dry-hopped like an American IPA. Similar aroma
and flavor as a Hazy IPA but without sweetness and with much
less haze. Very pale, highly carbonated, and dry like a Belgian
Golden Strong Ale but not as strong and without Belgian yeast
character.

Commercial Examples: Drake’s Brightside Extra Brut IPA,
Fair State Brewing Co-Op The Brut Squad, Ommegang Brut
IPA

IBU20 – 30
SRM2 – 4
Oiginal Gravity1.046 – 1.057
Final Gravity0.990 – 1.004
ABV6.0 – 7.5%

 

22. Strong American Ale

22A - Double IPA

An intensely hoppy, fairly strong, bitter pale ale without the big, rich, complex maltiness, residual sweetness, and body of an American Barleywine. Strongly hopped, but clean, dry, and lacking harshness. Despite showing its strength, drinkability is an important consideration.

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU60 – 100
SRM6 – 14
Oiginal Gravity1.065 – 1.085
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.018
ABV7.5% – 10%
22B - American Strong Ale

A grouping of beers with similar balance and profile rather than a distinct style. A category for a variety of stronger, bitter-and-malty beers that aren’t quite Barleywines.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU50 – 100
SRM7 – 18
Oiginal Gravity1.062 – 1.090
Final Gravity1.014 – 1.024
ABV6.3% – 10%
22C - American Barleywine

A very strong, malty, hoppy, bitter American ale with a rich palate, full mouthfeel, and warming aftertaste, suitable for contemplative sipping.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU50 – 100
SRM9 – 18
Oiginal Gravity1.080 – 1.120
Final Gravity1.016 – 1.030
ABV8% – 12%
22D - Wheatwine

A richly textured, high alcohol sipping beer with a significant grainy, bready flavor, and a sleek body. The emphasis is first on the bready, wheaty flavors with malt, hops, fruity yeast, and alcohol complexity.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU30 – 60
SRM6 – 14
Oiginal Gravity1.080 – 1.120
Final Gravity1.016 – 1.030
ABV8% – 12%

23. European Sour Ale

23A - Berliner Weisse

A very pale, refreshing, low-alcohol German wheat beer with a clean lactic sourness and a very high carbonation level. A light bread dough malt flavor supports the sourness, which shouldn’t seem artificial. A gentle fruitiness is found in the best examples.

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU3 – 8
SRM2 – 3
Oiginal Gravity1.028 – 1.032
Final Gravity1.003 – 1.006
ABV2.8% – 3.8%
23B - Flanders Red Ale

A sour and fruity oak-aged reddish-brown Belgian-style ale with supportive toasty malt flavors and fruit complexity. The dry, tannic finish supports the suggestion of a vintage red wine.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU10 – 25
SRM10 – 17
Oiginal Gravity1.048 – 1.057
Final Gravity1.002 – 1.012
ABV4.6% – 6.5%
23C - Oud Bruin

A malty, fruity, aged, somewhat sour Belgian-style brown ale with a caramel-chocolate malt flavor, and often substantial alcohol.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 25
SRM17 – 22
Oiginal Gravity1.040 – 1.074
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.012
ABV4% – 8%
23D - Lambic

A fairly sour, often moderately funky, wild Belgian wheat beer with sourness taking the place of hop bitterness in the balance. Traditionally served uncarbonated as a café drink.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU0 – 10
SRM3 – 6
Oiginal Gravity1.040 – 1.054
Final Gravity1.001 – 1.010
ABV5% – 6.5%
23E - Gueuze

A very refreshing, highly carbonated, pleasantly sour but balanced wild Belgian wheat beer. The wild beer character can be complex and varied, combining sour, funky, and fruity flavors.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU0 – 10
SRM5 – 6
Oiginal Gravity1.040 – 1.054
Final Gravity1.000 – 1.006
ABV5% – 8%
23F - Fruit Lambic

A complex, refreshing, pleasantly sour Belgian wheat beer blending a complementary fermented fruit character with a sour, funky Gueuze.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU0 – 10
SRM3 – 7 (varies w/ fruit)
Oiginal Gravity1.040 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.000 – 1.010
ABV5% – 7%
23G - Gose

A tart, lightly-bittered historical central European wheat beer with a distinctive but restrained salt and coriander character. Very refreshing, with a dry finish, high carbonation, and bright flavors.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU5 – 12
SRM3 – 4
Oiginal Gravity1.036 – 1.056
Final Gravity1.006 – 1.010
ABV4.2% – 4.8%

24. Belgian Ale

24A - Witbier

A pale, hazy Belgian wheat beer with spices accentuating the yeast character. A delicate, lightly spiced, moderate-strength ale that is a refreshing summer drink with its high carbonation, dry finish, and light hopping.

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU8 – 20
SRM2 – 4
Oiginal Gravity1.044 – 1.052
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.012
ABV4.5% – 5.5%
24B - Belgian Pale Ale

A top-fermented, all malt, average strength Belgian ale that is moderately bitter, not dry-hopped, and without strong flavors. The copper-colored beer lacks the aggressive yeast character or sourness of many Belgian beers, but has a well-balanced, malty, fruity, and often bready and toasty profile.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 30
SRM8 – 14
Oiginal Gravity1.048 – 1.054
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.014
ABV4.8% – 5.5%
24C - Bière de Garde

Three main variations are included in the style: the blond (blonde), the brown (brune), and the most traditional amber (ambrée).

Vital StatGuideline
IBU18 – 28
SRM6 – 19
Oiginal Gravity1.060 – 1.080
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.016
ABV6% – 8.5%

25. Strong Belgian Ale

25A - Belgian Blond Ale

A golden, moderately-strong Belgian ale with a pleasantly subtle citrusy-spicy yeast complexity, smooth malty palate, and dry, soft finish.

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU15 – 30
SRM4 – 6
Oiginal Gravity1.062 – 1.075
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.018
ABV6% – 7.5%
25B - Saison

A family of refreshing, highly attenuated, hoppy, and fairly bitter Belgian ales with a very dry finish and high carbonation. Characterized by a fruity, spicy, sometimes phenolic fermentation profile, and the use of cereal grains and sometimes spices for complexity. Several variations in strength and color exist.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 35
SRM5 – 14 (pale)
15 – 22 (dark)
Oiginal Gravity1.048 – 1.065 (standard)
Final Gravity1.002 – 1.008 (standard)
ABV3.5 – 5.0% (table)
5.0 – 7.0% (standard)
7.0 – 9.5% (super)
25C - Belgian Golden Strong Ale

A very pale, highly attenuated, strong Belgian ale that is more fruity and hoppy than spicy. Complex and delicate, the dry finish, light body, and high carbonation accentuate the yeast and hop character. Sparkling carbonation and effervescent, forming a rocky white head.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU22 – 35
SRM3 – 6
Oiginal Gravity1.070 – 1.095
Final Gravity1.005 – 1.016
ABV7.5% – 10.5%
22D - Wheatwine

A richly textured, high alcohol sipping beer with a significant grainy, bready flavor, and a sleek body. The emphasis is first on the bready, wheaty flavors with malt, hops, fruity yeast, and alcohol complexity.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU30 – 60
SRM6 – 14
Oiginal Gravity1.080 – 1.120
Final Gravity1.016 – 1.030
ABV8% – 12%

26. Monastic Ale

26A - Belgian Single

A blond, bitter, hoppy table beer that is very dry and highly carbonated. The aggressive fruity-spicy Belgian yeast character and high bitterness is forward in the balance, with a soft, supportive grainy-sweet malt palate, and a spicy-floral hop profile.

Vital StatsGuideline
IBU25 – 45
SRM3 – 5
Oiginal Gravity1.044 – 1.054
Final Gravity1.004 – 1.010
ABV4.8% – 6%
26B - Belgian Dubbel

A deep reddish-copper, moderately strong, malty, complex Belgian ale with rich malty flavors, dark or dried fruit esters, and light alcohol blended together in a malty presentation that still finishes fairly dry.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU15 – 25
SRM10 – 17
Oiginal Gravity1.062 – 1.075
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.018
ABV6% – 7.6%
26C - Belgian Tripel

A strong, pale, somewhat spicy Belgian ale with a pleasant rounded malt flavor, firm bitterness, and dry finish. Quite aromatic, with spicy, fruity, and light alcohol notes combining with the supportive clean malt character to produce a surprisingly drinkable beverage considering the high alcohol content.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 40
SRM4.5 – 7
Oiginal Gravity1.075 – 1.085
Final Gravity1.008 – 1.014
ABV7.5% – 9.5%
26D - Belgian Dark Strong Ale

A dark, complex, very strong Belgian ale with a delicious blend of malt richness, dark fruit flavors, and spicy notes. Complex, rich, smooth, and dangerous.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 35
SRM12 – 22
Oiginal Gravity1.075 – 1.110
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.024
ABV8% – 12%

27. Historical Beer

27A - Historical Beer: Kellerbier

The original Kellerbier is a Märzen-type lager from the Franconia region of Germany, but other traditional versions are based on Munich Helles and Dunkel lagers. Variations based on Pils are a more modern invention with a wider international following and higher production.

 

Vital statistics same as base style.

27A - Historical Beer: Kentucky Common

A clean, dry, refreshing, slightly malty dark beer with high carbonation. Mild-tasting, with light toast and caramel flavors, served very fresh as a sessionable saloon beer.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU15 – 30
SRM11 – 20
Oiginal Gravity1.044 – 1.055
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.018
ABV4% – 5.5%
27A - Historical Beer: Lichtenhainer

A sour, smoked, lower-gravity historical central European wheat beer. Complex yet refreshing character due to high attenuation and carbonation, along with low bitterness and moderate sourness.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU5 – 12
SRM3 – 6
Oiginal Gravity1.032 – 1.040
Final Gravity1.004 – 1.008
ABV3.5% – 4.7%
27A - Historical Beer: London Brown Ale

A luscious, sweet, malty, low-alcohol dark brown ale, with caramel and toffee malt complexity and a sweet-tasting finish.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU15 – 20
SRM22 – 35
Oiginal Gravity1.033 – 1.038
Final Gravity1.012 – 1.015
ABV2.8% – 3.6%
27A - Historical Beer: Piwo Grodziskie

A low-gravity, bitter, oak-smoked historical central European wheat beer with a clean fermentation profile and no sourness. Highly carbonated, dry, crisp, and refreshing.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 35
SRM3 – 6
Oiginal Gravity1.028 – 1.032
Final Gravity1.006 – 1.012
ABV2.5% – 3.3%
27A - Historical Beer: Pre-Prohibition Lager

A bitter and hoppy pale American adjunct lager, often with a robust, corny flavor profile, although more crisp and neutral-tasting versions exist.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU25 – 40
SRM3 – 6
Oiginal Gravity1.044 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.015
ABV4.5% – 6%
27A - Historical Beer: Pre-Prohibition Porter

A historical American adaptation of English Porter by German immigrants using American ingredients, including adjuncts.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU20 – 30
SRM20 – 30
Oiginal Gravity1.046 – 1.060
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.016
ABV4.5% – 6%
27A - Historical Beer: Roggenbier

A Dunkles Weissbier made with rye rather than wheat, but with a greater body and light finishing hops. The rye gives a bready and peppery flavor, a creamy body, and a dry, grainy finish that blends with the distinctive banana-and-clove weizen yeast character.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU10 – 20
SRM14 – 19
Oiginal Gravity1.046 – 1.056
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.014
ABV4.5% – 6%
27A - Historical Beer: Sahti

A sweet, heavy, strong traditional Finnish farmhouse beer usually with rye and juniper, and a banana-clove yeast character.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU0 – 15
SRM4 – 22
Oiginal Gravity1.076 – 1.120
Final Gravity1.016 – 1.038
ABV7% – 11%

28. American Wild Ale

28A - Brett Beer

Intended for beer with or without oak aging that has been fermented with Sacch and Brett, or with Brett only.

Variable by base style.

28B - Mixed-Fermentation Sour Beer

Intended for beer fermented with any combination of Sacch, Lacto, Pedio, and Brett (or additional yeast or bacteria), with or without oak aging (except if the beer fits instead in 28A or 28D).

Variable by base style.

28C - Wild Specialty Beer

Intended for variations of a Base Style beer from style 28A, 28B, or 28D. These variations may include the addition of one or more Specialty-Type Ingredients; aging in non-traditional wood varieties that impart a significant and identifiable wood character (e.g., Spanish Cedar, Amburana); or aging in barrels previously containing another alcohol (e.g., spirits, wine, cider).

Variable by base style.

29. Fruit Beer

29A - Fruit Beer

A pleasant integration of fruit with beer, but still recognizable as beer. The fruit character should be evident but in balance with the beer, not so forward as to suggest an artificial product.

 

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer, but the fruit will often be reflected in the color.

29B - Fruit and Spice Beer

Use the definitions of Fruit in the preamble to Category 29 and Spice in the preamble to Category 30; any combination of ingredients valid in Styles 29A and 30A are allowable in this category. For this style, the word ‘spice’ means ‘any SHV’.

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer, but the fruit will often be reflected in the color.

29C - Specialty Fruit Beer

A Specialty Fruit Beer is a Fruit Beer with some additional ingredients, such as fermentable sugars (e.g., honey, brown sugar, invert sugar), sweeteners (e.g., lactose), adjuncts, alternative grains, or other special ingredients added, or some additional process applied. A Specialty Fruit Beer can use any style within the Fruit Beer category as a base style (currently, 29A, 29B, or 29D).

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer, but the fruit will often be reflected in the color.

30. Spiced Beer

30A - Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer

Often called Spice Beer, regardless of whether spices, herbs, or vegetables are used.

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer, but the fruit will often be reflected in the color.

30B - Autumn Seasonal Beer

Autumn Seasonal Beers are beers that suggest cool weather and the autumn harvest season, and may include pumpkins, gourds, or other squashes, and associated spices.

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer, but the fruit will often be reflected in the color.

30C - Winter Seasonal Beer

Winter Seasonal Beers are beers that suggest cold weather and the Christmas holiday season, and may include holiday spices, specialty sugars, and other products that are reminiscent of the festive season.

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer, but the fruit will often be reflected in the color.

31. Alternative Fermentables Beer

31A - Alternative Grain Beer

An Alternative Grain Beer is a standard beer (Classic Style or not) with additional or non-standard brewing grains (e.g., rye, oats, buckwheat, spelt, millet, sorghum, rice) added or used exclusively. Gluten-free (GF) beers made from completely gluten-free ingredients may be entered here, while GF beers using process-based gluten removal should be entered in their respective base style categories.

Variable by base style.

31B - Alternative Sugar Beer

An Alternative Sugar Beer is a standard beer (Classic Style or not) with added sweeteners, including fermentable sugars (e.g., honey, brown sugar, invert sugar, molasses, treacle, maple syrup, sorghum), unfermentable sugars (e.g., lactose), sugar alcohols (e.g., sorbitol), and any other sweetener (natural or artificial) that affects the flavor profile. The beers may or may not have any residual sweetness; it depends on the type of sugar, but flavor contributions are expected.

Variable by base style.

32. Smoked Beer

32A - Classic Style Smoked Beer

Intended for smoked versions of Classic Style beers, except if the Classic Style beer has smoke as an inherent part of its definition (of course, that beer should be entered in its base style, such as Rauchbier).

Varies with the base beer style.

32B - Specialty Smoked Beer

A Specialty Smoked Beer is either a smoked beer based on something other than a Classic Style (a Specialty-Type style, or a broad style family such as Porter rather than a specific style), OR any type of smoked beer with additional specialty ingredients (fruits, vegetables, spices) or processes employed that transform the beer into something more unique.

Varies with the base beer style.

33. Wood Beer

33A - Wood-Aged Beer

This style is intended for beer aged in wood without added alcohol character from previous use of the barrel. Bourbon-barrel or other beers with an added alcohol character should be entered as 33B Specialty Wood-Aged Beer.

Variable by base style.

33B - Specialty Wood-Aged Beer

This style is intended for beer aged in wood with added alcohol character from previous use of the barrel. Bourbon-barrel or other similar beers should be entered here.

Variable by base style.

34. Specialty Beer

34A - Commercial Specialty Beer

This style is intended for reproductions or interpretations of specific commercial beers that don’t fit within defined styles. Beers entered here do not need to be exact copies. The beer should be judged as to how well it fits the broader style represented by the example beer, not how well it is an exact copy of a specific commercial product. If a Commercial Specialty Beer fits another defined style, do not enter it here.

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM, and ABV will vary depending on the declared beer.

34B - Mixed-Style Beer

This style is intended for beers in Existing Styles (previously-defined Classic Style beers or Specialty-Type Beers) that are either:

  • A combination of Existing Styles that are not defined previously in the guidelines, including combination of Specialty-Type Beers not otherwise allowable elsewhere.
  • A variation of an Existing Style using a non-traditional method or process (e.g., dry-hopping, ‘eis’-ing, stein bier) for that style.
  • A variation of an Existing Style using a non-traditional ingredient (e.g., yeast with a non-traditional profile, hops with a different character than described in the Base Style).
  • Out-of-spec variations of an Existing Style (e.g., ‘imperial’ versions, ‘session’ versions, overly-sweet versions, etc.).

This style is intended for beers that can’t be entered in previously-listed styles first, including (and especially) the declared Base Style of beer. However, if the unusual method, process, or ingredient results in a beer that now fits within another defined style, the beer should be entered there. Note that some styles already allow for different strengths (e.g., IPAs, Saisons), so those variations should be entered as the appropriate Base Style.

Bear in mind that a poorly-made, faulted beer should not be used to define a new style. Drinkability should always be maintained, while allowing for creative new concepts.

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM, and ABV will vary depending on the declared beer.

34C - Experimental Beer

This is explicitly a catch-all category for any beer that does not fit into an Existing Style description. No beer is ever “out of style” in this style, unless it can be entered in another beer style first. This is the last resort for any beer entered into a competition. With the broad definition for previous styles, this style should be rarely used.

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM, and ABV will vary depending on the declared beer.

35 - New England IPA

35 - New England IPA

An American IPA with intense fruit flavors and aromas, a soft body, and smooth mouthfeel, and often opaque with substantial haze. Less perceived bitterness than traditional IPAs but always massively hop forward. This emphasis on late hopping, especially dry hopping, with hops with tropical fruit qualities lends the specific ‘juicy’ character for which this style is known.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU25 – 60
SRM3 – 7
Original Gravity1.060 – 1.085
Final Gravity1.010 – 1.015
ABV6% – 9%

36 - Catharina Sour

36 - Catharina Sour

A refreshing fruited sour wheat beer with a vibrant fruit character and a clean lactic acidity. The restrained alcohol, light body, elevated carbonation, and lack of perceived bitterness allows the fresh fruit to be highlighted. The fruit is often, but not always, tropical in nature.

Vital StatGuideline
IBU2 – 8
SRM2 – 6
Oiginal Gravity1.039 – 1.048
Final Gravity1.004 – 1.012
ABV4.0% – 5.5%

37 - No to Low-Alcohol Beer

37 - No to Low-Alcohol Beer

No to Low Alcohol Beer is any beer (lager, ale or other) produced in a manner that the final product contains between 0.0% to 0.5% ABV. To allow for accurate judging the brewer should identify the classic beer style being elaborated upon. Beer entries not accompanied by this information will be at a disadvantage during judging. The goal should be to reach a balance between the style’s character and the low alcohol content. Drinkability is a character in the overall balance of these beers. Beers in this category must not exceed 0.5%ABV.

 

Vital StatGuideline
IBUVariable by base style
SRMVariable by base style
Oiginal Gravity Variable by base style
Final Gravity Variable by base style
ABV0.0% – 0.5%

38 - Low-Alcohol Beer

38 - Low-Alcohol Beer

A Low-Alcohol Beer is any beer (lager, ale or other) produced in a manner that the final product contains between 0.6% to 2.5% ABV. To allow for accurate judging the brewer should identify the classic beer style being elaborated upon. Beer entries not accompanied by this information will be at a disadvantage during judging. The goal should be to reach a balance between the style’s character and the low alcohol content. Drinkability is a character in the overall balance of these beers. Beers in this category must not exceed 2.5%ABV.

Vital StatGuideline
IBUVariable by base style
SRMVariable by base style
Oiginal Gravity Variable by base style
Final Gravity Variable by base style
ABV0.6% – 2.5%
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