Beer

Beer Styles

Beerpubs beer styles 

 

A beer style is simply a name to describe a certain kind of beer.

 

 

Beer styles are also useful for providing an indication of the origin of the beer.

 

The BEERPUBS team have described each style in simple language to help you understand the differences. We hope you will experiment and discover some new styles that suit your own personal taste!

 

If you like the description of a particular style, remember to browse the beers available locally to see where you can drink that style.

 

 

 

BEERPUBS FACT

There are not too many laws governing definitions, so most beer styles are really just labels that have been widely accepted over many centuries of brewing.

 

 

BEERPUBS Beer Styles Guide:



A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   O   P   Q   R   S   T   V   W  


A




Abbey

Style of  Belgian ale that is brewed in an abbey or monastery. Not to be confused with Trappist ales that have a narrower definition.



Altbier

ABV 4.5-6%



American Adjunct Lager

The most popular beer in America, mainly because they are easy to mass produce. They are also heavily marketed by the largest brewers such as Budweiser, Miller and Coors. Adjuncts such as rice and cereals are added to increase the alcohol content but without contributing much to flavour. The result is light, pale often bland lagers with very little body and minimal hop presence.

ABV 3.5-6%



American Amber/Red Ale

Medium-bodied, amber to red ales with a crisp finish. They can range from being quite bland to having a reasonable malt and hop balance. The amber-red colour can be obtained from large amounts of crystal or Munich malts, or small amounts of chocolate malt. American amber ales tend to have more dark malt character in comparison to American Pale ales.

ABV 4.5-5.5%



American Amber/Red Lager

Amber-red lagers with a bit more character (and colour) than Amercian Adjunct Lager. A subtle malt profile is present although hop bitterness remains low.

ABV 3.8-6%



American Barley Wine

Barley Wine is not wine but a strong, rich, top-fermenting ale. At high strengths ale develops a wine like character, hence the name. The style is always heavy, full-bodied with a significant fruity-malt profile which is balanced out by the hop bitterness. The colour is normally dark bronze or brown. Like old ales they are often in optimal drinking condition after a length maturation period.

ABV 8-15%



American Black IPA

Originally a British style, the Anchor Brewing Company introduced the style to the United States in 1976.



American Blonde Ale

Light, crisp, refreshing ales with a mild hoppiness and body. American Blonde Ales tend to be stronger but lack the very high hop rate of British interpretations.



American Brown Ale

Medium-bodied, brown beers with a hint of dry roast flavour. American Brown Ales tend to be stronger than English equivalents and are also more hoppy.

ABV 4.5-6.5%



American Dark Lager

Dark-coloured lager with little malt or hop profile. The dark colour is usually due to caramel or black patent malt. Despite the colour, these beers have more in common with lighter lagers than the European dark lagers.



American Double/Imperial IPA

Imperial IPA or Double IPA is an extremely hoppy, strong and sometimes sweet version of the traditional India Pale Ale. The flavour is rich and intense, and can be distinguished from Barley Wine by a stronger hop presence.

ABV 7.5-10%



American Double/Imperial Pilsner

Strong, malty lagers that are quite similar in flavour to Pilsners. Bitterness can be high but this is normally balanced by sweet and malt flavours.

ABV 5%+



American Double/Imperial Stout

The American Double (or Imperial) Stout is a variant of Russian Imperial Stout. It has a strong roast flavour, body and a malt character. They are usually dark in colour. A hop bitterness is balanced by the sweetness and roasted malt.

ABV 7.5-12%



American IPA (India Pale Ale)

An American interpretation of India Pale Ale. The style could be described as an extra hoppy American Pale Ale.



American Light Lager

A low alcohol/carbohydrate version of American Pale Lager (or American Adjunct Lager). The style was invented by large American brewing companies in relatively recent times. Characterised by low flavour and little character.



American Malt Liquor

Very strong, pale lager with a controversial history due to its high alcohol content. In America it has become somewhat infamous due to over-sized containers, low prices and inner-city advertising.



American Pale Ale

Dry tasting, light, hoppy beers that range in colour from gold to bronze. American hops (such as Cascade and Mt. Hood) are usually used to provide a high hop bitterness and a fresh, floral aroma. The bitterness is usually balanced by a malty profile. British Pale Ales are likely to be similar but not as strong or hoppy as the American style. The style has become extremely popular over the past 25 years in the US, due to micro-breweries.

ABV 3-5%



American Pale Lager

Crisp, dry beers with little flavour and only minimal traces of hop or malt being evident. The body is sometimes thin and watery. Colour ranges from almost clear to dark bronze and carbonation is high and often forced. Can be distinguished from American Adjunct Lager by the lack of rice or cereals used in the brew.



American Pale/Dark Wheat Ale

Thirst quenching, crisp wheat beer with a fair amount of character due to the lager yeast used in the brewing process. The styles is mainly brewed in the US (and sometimes Britain). The dark wheat varieties are made with darker, highly-kilned malts, including both wheat and barley.



American Porter

Similar to typical British Porter but with a little more malt, hops and alcohol. The softer water also results in less taste of minerals.

ABV 4.5-7%



American Sour/Wild Ale

American Sour/Wild ale covers a range of ales brewed in the US where wild yeast is introduced to the ale. The yeast may have been obtained from sour-mash techniques. The flavours can be strange and sometimes reminiscent of the fruity Flemish sours ales.



American Stout

Similar to typical British Stout but hoppier and stronger. There is normally a dry finish from the hops and roasted malts.

ABV 5-7.5%



American Strong Ale

Rich, potent beers with high quantities of hops and malt. There is a comparison with English Strong Ales but American versions are likely to be more hoppy.

ABV 8%+



Australian Lager

Crisp, dry mainstream lagers with little flavour from the large Australian brewers. There is usually minimal trace of malt or hop and the body is usually thin and watery. Colour ranges from almost very light to dark bronze and carbonation is high and often forced. Light beers are low-alcohol versions of these lagers.



Autumn Bock

Autumn Bock is a style of beer continuing the oldest tradition of brewing bock as a top-fermented beer. Currently in Germany, where Bock originates, the beer is brewed exclusively using bottom-fermentation. Autumn Bock is mainly brewed in the Netherlands. Beer is characterized by a high content of the extract and has a moderate carbonation. The color fluctuates between various shades of amber.



B




Baltic/Imperial Porter

Traditionally strong, sweet and bottom-fermented beers. They are usually classified as lager by definition, but there are some top-fermented examples. Baltic and Imperial Porters are related to Imperial Stouts, but don't have quite as much of a powerful roast. This style has remained relatively popular in Poland. ABV 7-9.5%.



Belgian Ale

Medium-strength typical Belgian ales. Generally more aromatic and spicy with a stronger yeast and malt character than English ales. Colours tend to range from golden to brown, with occasional darker examples. As with any general category, there can be a range of hop and malt levels. Most Belgian beers require a long maturation period, sometimes in wooden vats where blending of old and new beers sometimes occurs.

ABV 5-7%



Belgian IPA

A relatively modern style between an English IPA and a Belgian Ale.



Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Strong, medium or full bodied Belgian Ale that is dark brown in colour. They are usually rich in flavour with low hop aroma.

ABV 6%+



Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Strong, medium or full bodied Belgian ales that are pale in colour. They are usually rich in flavour with low hop aroma.

ABV 6%+



Berliner Weissbier (Wheat)

A low-strength, refreshing wheat beer style that originated in Berlin. It is mildly hoppy, light-bodied with a complex, sharp, tart character. The cold maturation produces a smooth beer with a flowery taste and hints of fruitiness. Colour ranges from very pale to orange. The tart flavour is derived from lactic acid which also helps head retention. Wheat content is about 30%.

ABV 3-3.5%



Bière de Champagne/Bière Brut

Champagne style ales are à la méthode originale, a technique associated with champagne production. The secondary fermentation stage occurs during several months storage (termed sûr lie). The result is a beer with smaller, softer bubbles as in champagne but with the flavour and characteristics of beer.



Bière de Garde

An intense, rich tasting beer brewed in France, near the Belgian border. Usually medium-bodied and malty, with hops providing balance. The yeast provides a slightly sour taste, and the flavour can have hints of caramel or toffee. Colour varies from golden to brown. Head retention is usually good.

ABV 6.5-9%



Black & Tan

Black and Tan is a term for a drink made from blending pale ale with a dark beer such as stout. This style originated in British pubs with drinkers ordering a mix of dark stout and draught bitter. A number of American breweries today make pre-blended Black and Tan.



Bock

Strong, smooth, rounded, dark beer with a slightly sweet taste. There is little hop flavour or aroma and colour ranges from amber to dark brown.

ABV 6.2-7.5

See also Doppelbock, Dunkler Bock and Weizenbock.



C




California Common/Steam Beer

A beer style dating from 18th century California. It developed as a style when brewers (without refrigerators) experimented by brewing beers using lager yeasts at warm temperatures. The results are a hybrid as they provide the clean, rounded character of lager, but with a richer dose of fruitiness found in ales.



Chile Beer

Pale lagers brewed with Chile pepper.



Chocolate Beer

Chocolate Beer can be somewhat confusing. For our definition here, it refers to beer 'made' with chocolate or cocoa powder. Low-fat cocoa powder is often preferred by brewers as the butter fat in real chocolate can cause problems with the beer. On the other hand, some beers (usually Stout and Porter) can 'taste' of chocolate, but are not brewed using any chocolate at all. In such cases the chocolate 'flavour' and aroma is derived from dark roasted barley. To complicate matters further, there is also a form of barley called Chocolate Malt, but the name only describes the dark chocolate colour of the malt, and does not provide any chocolate flavour.



Cider

Not a beer, but an alcoholic drink made from fermented apples. Just like beer, cider comes in a number of varieties. English cider is typically quite dry and has low-carbonation. French cider tends to be sweeter with higher levels of carbonation. Again as with beer, some ciders are cask-conditioned (usually in England).



Cream Ale

Mild, pale, light-bodied ales with a discreet bitterness. They are brewed using warm fermentation (top or bottom) but with cold lagering. An alternative approach is to blending top and bottom-fermented beers. Adjuncts such as corn and rice may sometimes be used. They are well carbonated.

ABV 4.5-7%



Czech Pilsner

Pilsner (also known as Pilsener or Pils) was first brewed in Bohemia, in the modern day Czech Republic. Czech Pilsners are noted for their gold colour, malty flavour, medium to full-body and flowery hop aroma. It is commonly accepted that Pilsners should have at least 28 units of bitterness (IBU). Purists would also argue that genuine Czech Pilsner should only be brewed with barley grown in Bohemia or Moravia and with Saaz hops from the Zatec region (also Bohemia). Pilsner is popular beer style across the world.

ABV 4-5%



D




Doppelbock

Extra strong, smooth, full-bodied dark beer with a slightly sweet taste. As with standard Bock, there is little hop flavour or aroma and colour ranges from amber to dark brown.



Dortmunder/Export Lager

Strong, crisp, dry lager with a malty profile and full body. The style originates from Dortmund in Germany. Dortmunders are darker in colour and usually have more character than a standard Pale Lager or Pilsner.



Dubbel

Dark, malty, strong ales brewed in the Trappist tradition, but produced (predominantly now) by secular brewers. Colour tends to be dark brown with a cloudy appearance and there is a mix of flavours involving malt, fruitiness and yeast. They are typically bottle-conditioned.

ABV 6.5-8%

See also Trappist.



Dunkelweizen

Dark amber wheat beer with a sharp, spicy character. Brewed with darker malts, they have a complex character with toasty and chocolate flavours also present. They can sometimes taste of banana, toffee and cloves.

ABV 4.5-6.2%



Dunkler Bock

A dark, rounded, malty variation of the Bock style. Typically medium or full bodied with a deeper, darker brown colour than standard Bocks. There is some hop flavour to balance the malt sweetness but little aroma.



E




Eisbock

A dark, potent, strong version of Doppelbock. Eisbock are produced as a result of freezing Doppelbock and then removing the ice to increase the alcohol. The colour varies from dark amber to almost black.



English Barley Wine

Barley Wine is not wine but a strong, rich, top-fermenting ale. At high strengths ale develops a wine like character, hence the name. The style is always heavy, full-bodied with a significant fruity-malt profile which is balanced out by the hop bitterness. The colour is normally dark bronze or brown. Like old ales they are often in optimal drinking condition after a length maturation period.

ABV 8-15%



English Bitter

Probably the most common ale style. A rich malty flavour is nicely balanced by competing hops. The name is derived from the bitterness provided by the hops, and is most commonly served on draught in British pubs. Bitter is a wide category and consists of sub-styles including Ordinary, Best and Extra Special Bitter (ESB). Colour can range from light gold to dark brown. Generally dry, moderately hoppy with low carbonation.

ABV 3.5-4.8%



English Brown Ale

Medium to full-bodied, strong-flavoured, sweet, malty ales. This old style dates all the way back to the 12th century. It remained a popular (if not the dominant) style until the early 19th century when the revolution in pale ales began. Traditionally, Brown Ale was the product of smoked malt which provided a rich flavour. The Brown Ale style that we recognise today originated in Newcastle, England and is still smooth, sweet and malty but not quite as smoky as the originals. Colour ranges from red to dark brown.

ABV 4.5%+



English Dark Mild Ale

Lightly hopped, malty ales with a medium to dark brown colour. Traditional dark mild is dark in colour, moderately sweet with a rounded malty character. Caramel and roasted malts provide a colour that ranges from deep copper to almost black. Milds were traditionally drunk in large quantities in English industrial areas. In more recent times, the style was almost lost completely before making something of a comeback.

ABV 2.5-3.5%



English IPA (India Pale Ale)

Golden to copper coloured ale with average maltiness and moderate body. India Pale Ale was first brewed in the 1800's as a very bitter, strong beer that could be preserved for exporting on long journeys to all corners of the British Empire, including India. Traditional brews would be 5.5 to 7.5% ABV but today's examples are usually under this. The style is stronger and more hoppy than standard Pale Ale, with moderate to strong aroma.

ABV 4-7%



English Old Ale

Strong, sweet, hoppy beers with a full-body and nutty flavour. The original Old Ales (as the name suggests) should be stored before drinking. Some breweries recommend storage for as long as 20 years before the beer reaches its optimal condition. In modern times, however, 'Old' is frequently added to many beer names, and may not necessarily be a correct indication of belonging to this particular beer style.

ABV 5-12%



English Pale Ale

Pale, clear, hoppy ale with a malty profile and complex flavours. Pale Ale was first brewed in the 1700's, but only became a common beer style at the time of the industrial revolution. This was because pale malt had to dried over expensive coal or coke. Conversely, brown malt was less expensive to process (as it could be smoked over wood) and so Brown Ale became the principal beer style. But with industrialisation and lower coal prices, pale malt became significantly cheaper leading to the 'Pale Ale Revolution'. Burton-upon-Trent in England made this style of beer famous and used a complex 'union' brewing system. The union system allowed beer to foam outside the fermentation tank (where the yeast would settle), before adding the liquid back into the brew. Few breweries employ the Burton Union system today. Despite the name, Pale Ale comes in a wide range of colours, including light copper, golden, amber and light brown. Traditional hops used include Fuggles, Goldings and Northern Brewer.

ABV 3.5-5%



English Pale Mild Ale

Lightly hopped, malty ales that are similar to English Dark Mild Ale but lighter in colour. These beers are pale in colour, moderately sweet with a rounded malty character.

ABV 2.5-3.5%



English Porter

Top-fermented, medium-bodied, dry and well-hopped dark beer with a pronounced bitterness. They are robust beers and can sometimes be sweet. Porter was the most dominant style in Britain particularly during the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th century. Today, the style is making a comeback after falling out of fashion and almost being lost. Back or chocolate malt gives Porter its dark brown, almost black colour. They are heavily malted and contain rich, roasted, malty flavours. They are similar but lighter in flavour than Stout.

ABV 4.5-6%



English Stout

A dark, malty, sometimes sweet beer with a pronounced bitterness and strong flavour. Whether sweet or dry, stout is brewed with lots of roasted barley and coffee flavours. The dark (almost black) colour comes from the roasted, caramel and even chocolate malts. English Stouts differ to Irish Stouts in that they tend to be sweeter in taste and also possess different hop and roast rates.



English Strong Ale

A beer of significant strength with a malty, sweet taste and fruit flavours derived from a warm fermentation process. They are usually amber to deep-red in colour with a medium to full body. The alcohol should contribute some warmth (they are sometimes regarded as winter warmers) with some breweries producing them on a seasonal basis.

ABV 6.5-10%



English Summer Ale

Golden-coloured, light, refreshing ales of moderate strength. The style emerged as a seasonal summer brew but is now produced all year round by some brewers. With a light colour (like lager) and being very hoppy, they may have been invented to tempt lager drinkers to move to ale in the summer season.



European Dark Lager

Medium strength bottom-fermenting dark-lager that is generally smooth, malty and well-balanced. In former times, when most drinking vessels were made of metal or pottery, the colour of beer wasnt significant and Dark Lager was very popular. However, Dark Lager started to decline in popularity after the Pale Beer revolution and the emergence of the Pilsner style.

ABV 4-7%



European Fruit & Flavoured

Fruit-flavoured ale or lager. Fruits have been added to beer for centuries and the beer body, colour, hop character and strength will all vary depending on the type of fruit used. Traditionally, fruit beers have been associated with Belgian Lambic styles. In recent times a number of Polish Breweries have expanded their beer range (reflecting a growing interest in these beer styles) by experimenting with new and exotic flavours including plum, cherry, blueberry, raspberry and many more.

ABV % varies



European Honey Beer

Beer with a honey flavour and aroma. Honey is a popular addition for many brewers as it provides varied flavours and aromas that add complexity and character. Honey contains a range of sugars and also living organisms such as yeast, enzymes, and bacteria. Honey can be added directly to the beer where it can take as long as 8 weeks to fully ferment. The percentage of honey added to the brew is only about 2-10% of ingredients. A variety of honey can be used depending on the desired flavour and results.

ABV % varies



European Pale Full Lager

Full-strength, bottom-fermenting pale lager. These beers are typically crisp and dry with a low level of hop or malt flavour. The body can be thin and colour normally ranges from very pale to dark bronze and carbonation is high and often forced. Many of the most common, mass-produced lager brands fall into this category. Better examples of this style are often brewed according to traditional brewing methods (not in modernised mass-production breweries).

ABV 4-5%



European Pale Light Lager

Low-strength, bottom-fermenting pale lager. These beers are usually crisp and dry, with only minimal traces of hop or malt flavour. The body is sometimes thin. The colour ranges from very pale to dark bronze. Carbonation is high and often forced.

ABV 3-4.2%



European Pale Strong Lager

Strong, bottom-fermenting pale lagers. These crisp, dry beers are likely to offer some trace of hop and malt flavour. Colour ranges from very pale to dark bronze. Carbonation is high and often forced. Better examples tend to be from smaller and regional brewers, where they are still brewed according to traditional brewing methods (not in modernised mass production breweries) and, once again, unpasteurised and unfiltered variants are likely to have more residual character preserved.

ABV 6-9%



European Pilsner

Pale, hoppy lagers that are one of the world's most popular beer styles. The first beer in this style was brewed in Pilsen, Bohemia, in the Czech Republic. The traditional Pilsner brewing centres are in the Czech Republic and Germany but the style is now imitated by brewers right across Europe and beyond. Pilsners that do not meet the definition of a German or Czech Pilsner will be in this style category.

ABV 4-5%



European Wheat Beer

Wheat Beers are made with malted barley (just like other beers) but also have a proportion of malted wheat added. A beer made solely with malted wheat (without the barley) would not work as the wheat grain would not be able to convert the starches to sugar. Wheat beers tend to be cloudy and light orange in colour. Flavours of plum, apple banana and a vanilla after taste is sometimes evident. Wheat beers are generally good thirst-quenchers.

ABV % varies



Extra Special/Strong Bitter (ESB)

Strong ales that are similar to Bitters but labelled as Premium or Special Bitters. Served in the traditional way from the cask, but also popular in bottle form.

ABV 4.5-6%



Extra Stout

Similar in taste, but a stronger, richer, more intense version of a Irish Dry Stout.

ABV 5.5-7.0%



F




Faro

A lambic blend, sweetened with additional sugar. Bottled versions are filtered and/or pasteurised to remove yeast residue and stop the additonal sugar from fermenting. The result is a refreshing, slightly sweet beer that is well-carbonated. Some examples also contain other spices such as orange peel for flavouring.



Flanders Oud Bruin

A strong, usually bottle-conditioned, beer from the Flemish region of Belgium. The name means 'old brown' in Dutch and refers to the lengthy maturation period (sometimes in oak) which can take a full year. The secondary fermentation and bottle-conditioning allows an almost sour flavour to develop.



Flanders Red Ale

An almost wine-like beer from the Flemish region of Belgium. The style undergoes a long maturation to allow sour flavours to develop, similar to Flanders Oud Bruin. There are rich flavours of fruit and spices but low hop bitterness. Red malt provides the colour.



Foreign Export Stout

A strong, extra hopped Stout brewed with preservatives to withstand long journeys or export (hence the name). They are normally sweeter than a standard Stout and less robust than an Imperial Stout. The style has remained popular in many of original destination countries (Jamaica, Sri Lanka, etc.) and local versions are now produced in many these countries.

ABV 6-8%



G




German Pilsner

Pale, hoppy lagers from Germany that are related to the original Czech Pilsners. Within Germany, Pilsners can be classified into northern and southern varieties, but both types are normally hoppier and lighter than the Czech versions, with less body and a dry finish.



Gose

A crisp, dry traditional wheat beer that is made with higher than normal proportions of malted wheat. It has a cloudy light orange appearance. Flavoured ingredients and syrups are sometimes added for balance. The style originates from the Leipzig region of Germany.



Gueze

A dry, malty beer with complex flavours. Gueze is the result of blending young and old lambics to create a more refined beer. As with most lambics, the flavours are unpredictable, but hop bitterness and aroma tends to be low. Wild yeasts are used to provide a characteristic sour taste. Gueuze varieties that are filtered, bottled and pasteurised will be less complex.



H




Hefeweizen

Wheat beer with a higher than usual wheat profile. It has a cloudy appearance and colours can range from very pale to dark brown. The beer has a low hop profile and flavours of banana, cloves and vanilla can be evident. There are a number of variations of this style but the original was developed in Bavaria, Germany.



I




Ice Cider/Perry

Ice cider or perry is traditional variation of these alcoholic drinks. It is made by using apples that are picked when they are frozen. This concentrates the apple juice which is then fermented as normal.



Irish Dry Stout

Dry, rich, black beer with a good hop bitterness. These lower-strength Stouts are a favourite in Ireland where they dominate the beer market. Roasted barley and generous use of hops provides a dry, smooth, balanced beer. There is a moderate roast flavour but little hoppiness.

ABV 3.8-5.2%



Irish Red Ale

Red-coloured, smooth, malty ales that provide an Irish alternative to the famous Stout. Generally well-rounded and smooth with a gentle fruitiness and a subtle hop character.

ABV 5%+



J




Japanese Rice Lager (Sake)

An almost transparent, beer made from fermented rice. Other ingredients include malt, yeast and water. It is not carbonated and has a flavour closer to wine than beer. It has been brewed in Japan for over 1000 years.

ABV 14-17%



K




Kellerbier/Zwickelbier/Landbier

3 related styles of pale, hoppy, lager that originated in Franconia, Germany. These naturally carbonated beers are crisp, dry and refreshing. A fair amount of residual flavour is preserved in both taste and aroma. Kellerbier and Zwickelbier are generally unfiltered whereas Landbier is sometimes filtered. Kellerbier tends to be the most hoppy whereas Landbier has more of a malty profile. Colours range from very pale to reddish-amber. Zoigl is a similar German style.



Kölsch

A blond, top-fermented beer that is native to Köln (Cologne), in Germany. It is currently produced by about 10 breweries around the city. Containing up to 20% wheat, this is a dry, light-bodied and hoppy beer. Bitterness is average, but there is a fairly prominent hop flavour. Lagering results in a smooth, gentle character with a delicate fruitiness.

ABV 4.5-5.5%



Koźlak (Bock)

These lagers that are traditionally smooth, dark coloured with a slightly sweet taste. Koźlak is popular in Poland but the style originates from Germany.

ABV 6-10%



Kristalweizen

A tart, light-bodied wheat beer with hints of banana, cloves and spices. Kristalweizens are lightly hopped, but are often filtered and pasteurised to produce a clearer, cleaner version of the more traditional Weizenbier style. Carbonation is high and colour varies from quite pale to dark orange. Frequently served with a lemon in the glass.

ABV 4.5-5.8%



Kvass

A low-alcohol, fermented beer brewed with rye bread. The beer colour is derived from the colour of the bread used in the brew. Kvass comes in many variations and is often flavoured with fruits or herbs creating a varied flavours, tastes and aromas. It is often fairly sweet. Kvass is popular today in many parts of Europe, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states.

ABV 0.5-2%



L




Lambic

Unpredictable, dry, sharp tasting beers produced around the Senne Valley, within 10km of Brussels. The precise flavours of each brew vary due to the use of wild yeasts. Another unusual aspect is that the hops are aged (about 3 years) to reduce their flavour, but not their preservative qualities, which is their primary purpose in lambic beers. The brewing process is fairly typical until it comes to fermentation. In the fermentation the wort is run into large, shallow, open vessels. The windows are left open to allow the wild yeast to blow in or to circulate from inside the brewery buildings. The wild yeast then does its work and once complete the beer is transferred into wooden barrels. The beer is then left to mature for several more years. Lambics also contain about 30% unmalted wheat.

See also Lambic Fruit.



Lambic Fruit

Fruit lambics are traditionally only produced around the Senne Valley within 10 km of Brussels. Fresh fruit (traditionally cherry and raspberry) are added during fermentation or maturation so that it reacts with the yeast. Whilst cherry and raspberry are the most traditional flavours, other fruits such as peaches, blackcurrants and grapes are also used.

See also: Lambic



Low Alcohol

Very low or non-alcoholic beers brewed in any style.

ABV <1%



M




Maibock/Helles Bock

2 related pale variations of the Bock style from from Germany. Usually malty with a little more hop character than a standard Bock. Colour ranges from blond to light brown.



Märzen/Oktoberfest

Amber-coloured, malty lager with light to medium-body. Oktoberfest is the German beer festival dating from 1810. Oktoberfest is also the name of the style that has featured at the festival ever since it was first served in 1818. The original festival beers were called Märzen ('March') after the month in which they were brewed, and this name is still preferred by some brewers today. Beers were brewed in March to allow them to ferment slowly before the festivals started in early autumn. The original beers were dark in colour but in 1872 an amber-red Vienna Lager became the most popular beer and explains why Oktoberfest beers are amber coloured today.

See also: Vienna Lager



Mead/Braggot

A strong tasting, honey wine that is frequently brewed with other additional ingredients for flavour, usually fruit or grain. Mead produced with added grain is known as Braggot.



Milk/Sweet Stout

A smoother, sweeter version of a typical Stout. Sweet Stouts have less roasted flavour and lower hop levels contributes less bitterness. They are brewed with lactose (which does not ferment) so there is more residual sweetness left in the beer. Colour can ranges from dark amber to black.

ABV 2.5-4%



Munich Dunkel Lager

Medium-bodied, malty dark lagers. There is a moderate bitterness to balance the sweet, nutty chocolate flavours that prevail in taste and aroma.



Munich Helles Lager

Golden light-bodied, hoppy lager from the Munich region in Germany. Similar to the Dortmunder style but with less body. Smooth, hoppy without much bitterness.



O




Oatmeal Stout

Oatmeal stouts are another version of Sweet Stout. Oatmeal is added to increase body and sweetness. This smooth beer has a slightly nutty taste and can have hints of coffee, chocolate and other roast flavours. Oatmeal Stouts are stronger and more bitter than Milk Stouts. They are sometimes brewed with lactose (like Milk Stouts) for extra sweetness.

ABV 4-7%



P




Perry

Not a beer, but an alcoholic drink made from fermented pears.



Piwo Grodziskie

Traditional, top-fermenting smoked wheat beer, with a light hop bitterness This original style was originally brewed in Grodzisk, near Poznan. It was developed from a style called Grätzer (German for Grodzisk) and was very popular in northern Germany. Between 1929-1993, the beer was legally protected as a regional product. The style managed to survive the large-scale shift towards bottom-fermenting brewing. The last remaining brewery that was still producing Grodziskie during the 1990s was closed by Lech due to economic reasons. The style has recently been revived thanks to some smaller Polish breweries.

ABV 3-5%



Polish Amber Lager

Malty lager with a light to medium-body. Piwo Bursztynowe is a Polish interpretation of the amber-coloured Märzen, Oktoberfest & Vienna Lager styles. The original styles are famous due to the Oktoberfest in Germany. Versions of this style produced in Poland today are descendants from the traditional festival beers, and have retained the amber colour.

ABV 6-7%



Polish Dark Lager

Medium strength bottom-fermenting dark-lager. They are generally smooth, malty and well-balanced beers. Polish brewers tend to make some of the strongest versions of this style.

ABV 5.5-7%



Polish Fruit & Flavoured Beer

Fruit-flavoured ale or lager. Fruits have been added to beer for centuries and the beer body, colour, hop character and strength will all vary depending on the type of fruit used. In recent times a number of Polish Breweries have expanded their beer range (reflecting a growing interest in these beer styles) by experimenting with new and exotic flavours including peach, plum, cherry, blueberry, raspberry and many more.

ABV % varies



Polish Honey Beer

Beer with a honey flavour and aroma. Traditional honey beer is produced by adding honey directly to the beer while it is fermenting. Only a small amount of honey (approximately 2-10% of ingredients) is required, as too much honey will increase the fermentation time and result in beer with a mead-like character. Honey beer has recently grown in popularity in Poland.

ABV % varies



Polish Pale Full Lager

Full-strength, smooth, bottom-fermenting pale lager. Typically crisp and dry, but with a low level of hop presence and little malt flavour. These beers are light-bodied and colour normally ranges from very pale to dark bronze. Carbonation is high and often forced. Many of the most common, mass-produced lager brands fall into this category. Better examples of this style are often brewed according to traditional brewing methods (not in modernised mass-production breweries). Unpasteurised and unfiltered variants are more likely to have some residual character.

ABV 4-6%



Polish Pale Light Lager

Low-strength, smooth, clean, light-bodied pale lager. These beers are crisp and dry, but have minimal hop presence and low malt flavour. The colour ranges from very pale to dark bronze. Carbonation is high and often forced.

ABV 3-4%



Polish Pale Strong Lager

Strong, bottom-fermenting pale lagers. These crisp, dry beers are likely to offer some trace of hop and malt flavour. These strong beers are sometimes sweeter than their Jasne Pelne counterparts. Colour ranges from very pale to dark bronze. Carbonation is high and often forced. Better examples tend to be from smaller and regional brewers, where they are still brewed according to traditional brewing methods (not in modernised mass production breweries) and, once again, unpasteurised and unfiltered variants are likely to have more residual character preserved.


ABV 6-9%



Polish Wheat Beer

Wheat Beers are made with malted barley (just like other beers) but also have a proportion of malted wheat added. A beer made solely with malted wheat (without the barley) would not work as the wheat grain would not be able to convert the starches to sugar. Wheat beers tend to be cloudy and light orange in colour. Flavours of plum, apple banana and a vanilla after taste is sometimes evident. Wheat beers are generally good thirst-quenchers. There are a growing number of Polish Breweries that now produce a wheat beer.

ABV % varies



Premium Lager

Distinctly malty and hoppy lagers that fall somewhere between mainstream Pale Full Lager and Pilsner. Colour can vary from quite pale to deep bronze. Conditioning will typically take between 4-6 weeks. Usually stronger in alcohol but with a softer carbonation that mainstream Pale Lager.

ABV 4.5-5.5%



Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin flavoured beer that is traditionally brewed in the American autumn.



Q




Quadrupel/Abt

Quadrupel (Quad) and Abt are distinct styles with the Abbey or Trappist family of beers styles. Quadrupel beers are pale, delicate beers with a hint of peach. Abts are darker, richer with deep fruity flavours and more yeastiness. Hoppiness is low in both. The Quadrupel style was developed by La Trappe, whereas the name Abt was originally a description of Westvleteren, the beer that would later become St. Bernardus. Both styles are bottle-conditioned.

ABV 10%+

See also: Trappist



R




Rauchbier

Distinctive, smoke-flavoured lager that originated near Bamberg, Germany. The characteristic light-smoked flavour is derived from malt that has been smoked over beech wood. The result is a smooth, malty beer with hints of fruit.



Roggenbier

Beer made with rye malt. This is an unusual beer style because it can be both lager or ale. The rye accounts for about 25% of the malt. The result is a sharp, slightly fruity, tart beer with a dry finish. Filtered and unfiltered versions are available.

ABV 5-6%



Russian Imperial Stout

A strong, hoppy, bitter Stout. Originally made for export (to the Baltic) they are usually very dark with an almost tar-like consistency. Dark roasted malts provide for a rich flavour with occasional hints of dark fruit or milk sourness. Some brewers recommend storing for 2 years or more to enable the beer to develop and mature.

ABV 7-11.5%



Rye Beer

Rye can be difficult to use in brewing, so most brewers only include a small amount. Rye contributes a spicy flavour and also increases head formation.



S




Sahti

A traditional top-fermenting beer style from Finland made with baking yeast (or brewers yeast) and various grains, including; rye, barley, wheat, and oats. Hops are sometimes used, and the beer has a cloudy appearance and banana-like flavour.

ABV 7-8%



Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Saison beers, as per the name, were originally brewed in the summer season as a refreshing, thirst-quenching ale. They are usually orange in colour, light to medium-bodied and heavily hopped. There is very high carbonation and this creates a large foamy head. The beers are crisp and spicy with a crystal malt flavour and fruity aroma. The addition of several herbs and spices, such as orange peel or licorice, results in complex fruity or citrus flavours.

ABV 5.5-7.5%



Schwarzbier

Medium-strength, bottom-fermenting dark lager from Germany. Schwarzbier is a smooth, well-rounded beer with balanced flavours. Bitterness is low which provides for a smooth, malty, slightly-sweet profile. Colour is dark brown to black.

ABV 4-6%



Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

Strong, full-bodied, malty pale ale brewed initially in Edinburgh, Scotland. The style dates from as far back as the 19th century. These beers are strong in alcohol, flavour and aroma and hops are typically used generously to balance out the rich malty flavours. They are normally made with both roasted and pale barley malt. Scottish versions tend to have a lower alcohol content compared to American variants. Wee Heavy is sometimes referred to as 90/- and could be regarded as a strong sub-category of Scottish Ale. ABV 5.8-8%.



Scotch Light Ale

Light-bodied, lower strength ales with a soft malty character. Scotch Light Ale can be regarded as a sub-category of Scottish Ale, and is sometimes known as 60/-. Bitterness is low with little hop flavor and aroma. Colour varies from amber to deep brown.

ABV 2.5-3.5%



Scottish Ale

Dark, full-bodied, malty ales that originated in Scotland. They have a sweet profile with a hint of smokiness from the use of peated malt. The designations of 'shillings', which are typical with this style (e.g. 60/-, 70/- ,80/- and 90/-), have enjoyed a comeback in recent years. The labels were first used to price beer (per hogshead) in shillings during the late 1800s according to the strength of the beer. Although full of character they are not quite as rich or potent as Scotch Ale.

ABV 3-5.5%



Scottish Gruit/Ancient Herbed Ale

An ancient ale style that dates right back to the Middle Ages. Across Europe, Gruit (herbs) were used to flavour beer before the brewing qualities of hops were realised, around the 15th century. Many different herbs were traditionally used, but some of the most common were yarrow, sweet gale (bog myrtle), juniper, wild rosemary and woodruff. The beer could be made with either with a single herb or as a concoction of herbs mixed together. Other herbs, spices, and berries may also be added with the result being a complex taste and aroma that could be similar to herbal tea or Vermouth. The Scottish variants were fairly typical but also included heather, seaweed and pine in their ingredients.



T




Trappist

Fairly strong, bottle-conditioned beers brewed in Trappist monasteries. Trappist monks and nuns reside in over 150 monasteries across the world, and of these, about 16 monasteries are involved in producing a wide variety of goods under the Trappist label. 8 monasteries currently brew beer: 6 in Belgium (Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle and Westvleteren); and 1 in Holland (La Trappe). All Trappist beers have a yeast sediment which provides a sour taste. Candi sugar is sometimes used for flavour, character and alcohol. Trappist beers have a system of sub-styles: Singles are very malty and usually only available at the monasteries; Dubbels are stronger, hoppy, and full-bodied; Tripels are medium bronze with a dry citric flavour.



Tripel

Tripels are pale, strong, malty, hoppy ales in the abbey style. The hop bitterness is strong and yeast flavour is quite pronounced due to lack of rich dark malts.

See also: Trappist



V




Vienna Lager

Amber-red, malty lager with a light to medium-body that originates from Vienna. In 1872 they first appeared at the Oktoberfest in Germany and became instantly popular. They are quite spicy, slight sweet but well balanced, and reddish or deep amber in colour. Beers described as M?rzen or Oktoberfest are likely to belong to the Vienna Lager style.



W




Weizenbock

Stronger than normal, full-bodied, dark wheat beers with a malty profile.

ABV 6.2-7.5%

See also: Bock, Doppelbock and Dunkler Bock



Winter Warmer

Strong, dark, full-bodied malty beers that are rich in flavour. As the name suggests they are traditionally a seasonal winter brew that provides 'warmth' through the alcohol. Colour can ranges from amber-brown to almost black. They are generally slightly sweet, rounded beers with low bitterness.

ABV 5-8%



Witbier

A refreshing, crisp, pale beer made with unmalted wheat, oats and pale malted barley. The unmalted wheat adds to the body and spices such as Curacao, orange peel or coriander add flavour. Head retention is aided by the spices and is usually dense. The yeast is responisble for a sour flavouring and hazy appearance. Body is light to medium. Sometimes oats are added for smoothness. Usually bottle-conditioned.

ABV 4-5%



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