All beers are essentially ales or lagers. Ales are brewed using top fermenting yeasts at temperatures normally in the 60-75F range. These yeasts normally produce additional fruity type flavors and the higher temperatures result in fast (one week) fermentations. Most ales can be subclassified into one of the many ale categories on Beerpal.com. However, hard to place or classify ales can be found in the generic "ale" category.
Sometimes referred to as Germany's brown ale, altbiers are fermented beers native to the North German area of Dusseldorf, brewed under cooler temperatures than most other ales. They are crisp and clean (more similar to lagers), and typically take on an orange-copper color appearance with a thick head. The beer's backbone is normally moderately malty with an assertive bitter hop profile and a dry finish.
A "catch-all" category of ales that has a broad spectrum of attributes, amber or red ales encompass those hard to classify beers with more color than an American pale ale but less than a brown ale (the amber to copper range). Because of their diversity, amber ales can have low to high malty character (although most are moderate to high with caramel representing the most common component of both aroma and flavor) and a hop level (citrus aromas and flavors common) that is anywhere from supporting and balanced to aggressive. The mouthfeel of an amber ale is heavier than an American pale ale and the roasted character nearly absent relative to an Irish red ale.
AlesAmerican Black Ale
The recently developed American Black Ale (ABA) is the product of American craft brewers’ love affair with hops, and their constant desire to innovate and push the envelope. Believed to have originated at the Vermont Pub and Brewery in 1994, the style has surged in popularity since 2007, especially in the Pacific Northwest region, prompting many to refer to it as a Cascadian Dark Ale. The ABA, often called a Black IPA, is similar to its predecessor, the India Pale Ale, but has had its malt bill modified to include a small percentage of highly kilned or roasted malts, giving the beer a dark brown or black appearance. The aromas are typically grassy, spicy, floral, citrussy and/or piny, thanks to aggressive quantities of hops being added at the end of the boil and as dry-hops. Despite its dark color, the malt flavors are typically in the background as they are dominated by ample bitterness and hop flavor. Flavors are resinous and citrussy, and in some versions the dark malts can lend light caramel, chocolate, coffee, or ashy flavors to the beer. The alcohol content for ABAs is typically in the 5.5%-8% by volume range.
Like the English barleywines, American barleywines are among the highest strength beers available (at least 8% alcohol by volume, normally more than 10%, and sometimes much higher), which is where their name is derived (like wine made from barley instead of grapes). They are typically amber to light brown in color with varying head sizes, sometimes cloudiness, and very thick bodies. Within the spectrum of beer styles, American barleywines are stronger (alcohol and malt) than strong ales. The same is generally true relative to imperial IPAs, although the latter are typically more strongly hopped. American barleywines are distinguished from their English siblings in that they are generally hoppier in aroma, flavor, and bitterness and feature American hops.
Like the American barleywines, English barleywines are among the highest strength beers available (at least 8% alcohol by volume, normally more than 10%, and sometimes much higher), which is where their name is derived (like wine made from barley instead of grapes). They are typically orange-amber to deep brown in color with varying head sizes, sometimes cloudiness, and very thick bodies. Within the spectrum of beer styles, English barleywines are stronger (alcohol and malt) than English strong ales, ESB's, and brown ales. The same is generally true relative to old ales, although the latter can still be quite strong. English barleywines are distinguished from their American siblings in that they are generally less hoppy in aroma, flavor, and bitterness and feature English hops.
A hybrid style between basic wheat beers and barleywines, the wheatwine (sometimes referred to as an Imperial/Double Wheat) is a relatively "new" creation with a growing number of brewers making attempts at the style. They can range from deep golden or straw to orange-brown in color and be anywhere from clear to cloudy in appearance. As their name (barleywine) implies, they are often quite strong in aroma and flavor in both alcohol and malt content. The malt base is not only rich, but includes a signifcant amount (but no more than 50%) of wheat in the profile. American wheatwines are typically balanced out with a significant amount of hops (much like an American wheat beer, tipping toward a hoppy vs. malty emphasis), although as more brewers create new examples of this style, the boundaries may become broader. For now, most wheatwines on beerpal are imperal American wheat beers, while most of the higher alcohol content (but less than 8% ABV) German wheat beers are still classified as hefeweizens.
AlesBelgian Ales AlesBelgian AlesAbbey Dubbel
Originating from Belgian monastic brewing traditions of the Middle Ages, abbey dubbel ales are now produced by many secular commercial breweries in addition to some of the "authentic" Trappist (real Belgian monasteries) brewers. The dubbel is a double fermented ale that is dark amber to brown in color with a long lasting dense head. Dubbels often have low bitterness and reveal rich malt flavors of dark fruits, dry fruits, chocolate, nuts, and caramel. Yeast aromas and flavors are common along with the imprints of their fruity ester (banana perhaps most common) and spicey byproducts of fermentation. Like other Belgian-styled ales, candi sugar is normally used to produce a dubbel. Abbey dubbels overlap some examples of both dark Belgian ales and strong ales in maltiness, complexity, and alcohol strength, normally nestled right in between the two.
AlesBelgian AlesAbbey Quadrupel
Sometimes referred to as "Abt," the abbey quadrupel style is a product of Belgian monastic brewing. Like other abbey ales, these beers are now produced by many secular commercial breweries in addition to some of the "authentic" Trappist (real Belgian monasteries) brewers. These beers are quadruple fermented ales that offer the richest, strongest, and most complex flavors to be found among the Belgian abbey ales. These beers are dark red-brown to brown in color, can display relatively nice heads (despite the high alcohol level), and feature full and sometimes creamy mouthfeels. The flavors are highly imbalanced towards malty flavors (fruits such as plums, raisins, figs, even peaches are common, as well as chocolate and caramel), often contain yeasty tones (including the phenolic/spicey byproducts of fermentation), and feature no hoppy character. The alcohol levels of these special beers are typically in the 10% and higher range.
AlesBelgian AlesAbbey Tripel
Abbey tripels are triple fermented Belgian ales that are brewed by secular brewers all over the world in addition to some of the "authentic" Trappist (real Belgian monasteries) brewers. A style first concocted by the monks at Westmalle, tripels are golden to slight amber in color and normally display generous and showy heads and great lacing. Their aroma and flavor profiles are rich, strong, and complex, displaying yeasty, spicey (clove and/or peppery), fruity (e.g. oranges and bananas) and sometimes floral attributes. The addition of candi sugar and high carbonation keeps their bodies lighter than one might anticipate and the best examples hide the high alcohol presence quite well. While tripels can feature a sweetness, they - unlike the other abbey ales - are often hopped enough to add a somewhat balancing bitterness to the flavor.
AlesBelgian AlesBelgian Ale
The Belgian ale category captures the regular, every day, yet distinctive ales characteristic of Belgium. These ales are the most "drinkable" of the Belgian styles (analogous to the range of ales between pale, amber, and brown of England or the U.S.) and are characterized by good balance and a relatively low alcohol content of less than 6%. The pale varieties often feature fruity, spicey, yeasty, and light malt aromas and flavors with light to medium bodies and a noticeable to prominently hopped finish. The dark varieties generally reveal more malty character, some darker fruits, along with a lower hop presence. Belgian ales can range in color from pale golden to a rich amber for the pale versions, and from amber to brown-red for the dark versions. These beers can pour with huge heads, generally lace the glass well, and leave behind yeast sedimentation in the bottles from which they are poured.
AlesBelgian AlesBelgian Strong Ale
Like regular Belgian ales, the Belgian strong ales also can range in color from pale to dark varieties. Regardless of the color, however, the Belgian strong ales are significantly stronger in alcohol content (7% and higher) and more complex than their weaker counterparts, although the good examples are not harsh. Flavors for the pale colored varieites include earthy, yeasty, fruity, peppery, sweet, and spicey attributes, while the dark colored varieties include caramel, bready, dark fruits (figs, prunes, raisins, plums), sweet, and spicey character. Belgian strong ales are also normally fermented with an addition of candi sugar. The resulting mouthfeel is typically moderate, often deceivingly lighter than their malt and alcohol content would suggest, due to the added candi sugar and high carbonation levels. The pale and golden varieties of Belgian strong ales normally differ from abbey tripels (which could be considered a subcategory of golden Belgian strong ales) in their lower bittering levels than the tripels, while the dark strong ales differ from dubbels in their malt and alcohol levels, but often overlap with the Abbey Quadrupels on both malt and alcohol levels (Abbey Quadrupels could be considered a subcategory of dark Belgian strong ales).
The original session beer. Historically, this style originated around the start of the 20th century in England. This genre of ales is divided into substyles differentiated on alcoholic strength and hop bitterness: ordinary bitter; special/extra bitter and extra special bitter (ESB). Ordinary bitters are the weaker examples of this style. Most examples of this style will be copper in color with a mild caramel-malt aroma. Some examples will also have hop and fruit notes in the aroma. The flavor will typically be bitter with caramel, noticeable fruity esters and earthy or floral hops. A very drinkable ale.
AlesBittersExtra Special Bitter
The original session beer. Historically, this style originated around the start of the 20th century in England. This genre of ales is divided into substyles differentiated on alcoholic strength and hop bitterness: ordinary bitter; special/extra bitter and extra special bitter (ESB). ESB's are the stronger examples of this style. Most examples of this style will be copper in color with a mild caramel-malt aroma. Some examples will also have hop and fruit notes in the aroma. The flavor will typically be bitter with caramel, noticeable fruity esters and earthy or floral hops. A very drinkable ale.
Often referred to as blonde or golden ales, this style is obviously named after their appearance. Their aromas and flavors can range from light to medium intensity, typically featuring a maltiness moreso than a hoppiness. Light fruity flavors can be apparent, as well as medium hopping levels (although these are not hopped to levels of an American pale ale). Sometimes blonde ales incorporate up to 25% wheat in their malt base as well as sugar adjuncts. Yet, the finish should be fairly crisp and dry (sometimes from a cold conditioning). Despite their malty and sometimes sweet flavors, blonde ales should not be cloying and are generally highly drinkable, comparable to their German Kolsch counterparts.
Light to dark brown in color with tan heads, brown ales were originally derived in England as adapatations of the mild ale. These original English brown ales were maltier and sweeter than mild ales. Flavors often included caramel, nutty, toasty, toffee, and light roasted aromas and flavors (sometimes dark fruits in the Southern English versions). Hop presence within this style remained relatively low until the develoment of the American brown ale, which featured not only American malts and hops, but interpretations that were more highly hopped and which sometimes included more roasted and chocolate (even coffee) aromas and flavors. Brown ales feature higher alcohol levels than mild ales, but they generally fall short of the porter or stout in their degree of roastedness and body.
Cream Ales were developed in response to the American Lager. They are brewed at warm fermentation temperatures with ale or lager yeasts and are either cold conditioned afterwards or blended with a lager. The flavor is light, crisp, and refreshing with hops playing a very minor role in the aroma and flavor. Corn and rice adjuncts are common in this style and are frequently detected in the moderately sweet aroma and flavor. The color is typically pale or light golden with ample carbonation.
AlesEnglish Strong Ale
A general class of English beers that are light to brown in color with moderate to full bodies. English strong ales are generally malty with minimal to low hop presence. As with most English ales, strong ales often feature fruity ester and caramel flavors, even buttery or butterscotch elements. Old Ales and English Barleywines are two types of English Strong Ales.
A style that is broad and diverse and which captures any beer (except for Fruit Lambics) with fruit added in the recipe or base style. The fruit flavors can be obtained via addition of real fruits, extracts, or syrups and artificial flavorings at multiple points in the brewing process. Fruit beers can theoretically be built off of just about any ale or lager style, although ales are most common (especially wheats, porters, and stouts). The fruit beer classification does not include beers with natural fruit flavors derived from yeasts, malts, or hops.
AlesIPAs AlesIPAsImperial IPA
Imperial IPAs, or often double IPAs (dIPAs), are exactly what their name implies, extra strength imperial pale ales. Imperial IPAs are uniquely American creations, originating in the late 1990's and exploding into the heart of the hop hungry American craft brewing scene in the early 2000's. Like IPAs, they range in color from gold/amber to reddish copper. They feature aromas and flavors comparable to IPAs, but with more hop intensity, a richer malt base, a heavier mouthfeel, and a higher but not overly noticeable alcohol presence. Although their typical alcohol content of 7.5-10% overlaps that of barleywines, dIPAs are usually hoppier than barleywines, which tend to be hop-malt balanced or more malty than hoppy.
Originally brewed in the 18th century to survive seabound exportation from Imperial England to British troops in colonial India, imperial pale ales (or IPAs) exploited the preservative qualities of hops by using more of them. Although the first versions were considered highly hopped at the time, today's IPAs now include significantly bolder and even more bitter American versions of this English original. The IPA is a medium-bodied, maltier, and hoppier version of the pale ale with flavors and aromas typical of English malt and hop varieties (caramel, toffee, biscuity, toasty, light fruitiness, floral, earthy), as well as of American malt and hop varieties (citrus, caramel, piney, resinous, and some fruitiness). IPAs can range in color from pale amber to reddish copper and typically have good head retention, leaving behind great lacing in the glass. The alcohol content of IPAs is normally between 5 and 7.5%.
Irish Red Ales originated in Ireland and are known for their drinkability. They are generally clean and malty with an initial sweetness and a roasted dryness in the finish. Some examples may have a light buttery character and a low hop profile. Typically this ale is amber to deep reddish copper in color and clear. Most examples are 4% to 6% alcohol by volume (abv).
Kölsch is an appellation protected by the Kölsch Konvention, and its use is restricted to the 20 or so breweries in and around Cologne (Köln), Germany. This ale is a clean, crisp, perfectly balanced beer, usually with very subtle fruit (apple, cherry or pear) flavors and aromas. Although an ale, it is fermented at cooler temperatures and typically lagered for at least a month. Very pale gold to light gold in color and filtered to a brilliant clarity.
Mild Ales are lightly to moderately flavored and bodied English session drinking ales that are "mild" in their hop bitterness and flavor, generally low in alcohol content (<4% ABV), and of light to medium body. They can come in pale or dark (amber red to dark brown) varieties and both tend to emphasize a malty character with either a sweet or dry finish. The pale versions can be lightly fruity with a light sulfury or buttery aftertaste, and they generally do not travel well. The dark versions often take on deeper flavors just short of an English porter (grainy, caramel, toffee, toasty, roasty, nutty, chocolate, dark fruity, molasses, or licorice) and do not make for much better travel. Several examples have adjunct sugars incorporated in their recipes, and stronger version mild ales are sometimes produced for special occasions.
As their name implies, old ales are typically stocked or stored for long periods of time before consumption, the latter which traditionally involved blending the old ale with another "fresh" beer like a mild ale or bitter. Old ales could be viewed as strong mild ales that fall out somewhere in between strong bitters or brown porters and English barleywines. They are normally dark amber to deep brown in color with a head that may or may not impress (due to the age and relatively low carbonation). The style builds on several remaining unfermented sugars to offer chewy malty flavors (caramel, toffee, vinous, nuts, molasses, even light chocolate or roasted flavors and fruitiness), a firm and warming alcohol presence, and relatively low hop levels (especially after aging). Additionally, these beers can often take on oak, oxidized, and sour or lactic flavors after aging.
AlesPale Ales AlesPale AlesAmerican Pale Ale
America’s spin on an English pale ale, the American pale ale is similar to its English counterpart, but differs due to a brewer’s use of American hops, malt, yeast, and water. The American pale ale will generally be cleaner and have less of a caramel malt profile, less body, and often more finishing hops. Overall, the American pale ale is refreshing and hoppy with an adequate malt base which balances the beer.
AlesPale AlesEnglish Pale Ale
English pale ales are quite similar to English Extra Special Bitters (ESBs). Most examples of this style will be gold to copper in color with a mild, caramel-malt aroma. Hop and fruit notes are often noted in the aroma. The flavor will typically be bitter with caramel, noticeable fruity esters, and earthy or floral hops.
AlesPorters AlesPortersBaltic Porter
Baltic porters are a dark red-brown to dark brown-black style of beer that originated in the countries surrounding the Baltic as a virtual hybrid of Russian imperial stouts and basic English porters. Most (but not all) baltic porters are lagers and take on smooth lager-like qualities. They are typically rich in malt content, featuring in their flavors, light roasted notes, caramel, toffee, complex blends of dark fruits (plums, raisins, prunes, grapes, and cherries), molasses, chocolate, and / or coffee. Baltic porters are never burnt like an imperial stout or heavily roasted or strongly hopped like an imperial porter (hops are a minor component of the aroma and flavor of a Baltic porter, playing only a complementary - if any at all - role to the rich maltiness). Baltic porters are full-bodied in mouthfeel, smooth, and can vary in carbonation levels from medium to high.
Imperial porters are a new and emerging American beer style, and are - as their name suggests - porters of higher malt, alcohol, and sometimes hop strength. They add to their base style qualities thicker mouthfeels, increased warmth from the alcohol content, and richer flavor. Many imperial porters are significantly hopped and can have alcohol levels of 10% ABV or even higher. They are distinguished from baltic porters in that they are always ales (although some Baltic porters are ales), and are more intense in their roasted and bitter flavors.
The porter style is broad and covers a range of beers light brown to very dark brown/black in color. It originated in England as working class beer (appreciated, of course, literally by porters) and is believed to be the precursor to stouts. Porters range in malt, alcohol, and hop strength from mild to moderately strong. The earlier English versions were mild and highly drinkable, while the later "robust" versions can feature strong bodies, alcohol levels, and hop content. Generally, porters tend to be less burnt or roasted in flavor than porters, although the distinction between porters and stouts can be gray. Higher alcohol strength porters (7% ABV and higher) are specifically classified as Imperial Porters.
As their name suggests, rye beers are brewed with at least 20% rye malt and varying degrees of bitterness, although moderate to high hopping levels tend to draw out the unique tart rye flavors in an American rye ale. Their appearance can range from straw and amber to darker amber and brown colors when roasted malts are used. While rye is the most assertive malt that can be used in brewing, rye ales can still be comparable to an American wheat beer. A specific German substyle of rye beers is the roggenbier, which originated in Regensburg, Bavaria. The roggenbier is normally brewed with less hops, is unfiltered, and utilizes yeasts that produce phenolic (clove-like) and fruity ester (bananas and citrus) character (much like a hefeweizen or dunkelweizen).
Saisons originated in Belgium as a summer seasonal beer, intending to be both refreshing and firm in flavor and body. The saison typically has a fruity (citrus is common) aroma that can be accompanied by a combination of spicey, hoppy, herbal, earthy, yeasty, even musty aspects. The flavor is moderately malty with an assertive hoppy balance and sometimes has peppery and spicey notes. Frequently, acidic and sour (Lactobacillus) aspects finish out the flavor profile of a saison, which can finish with a dry and highly carbonated finish. The appearance of a saison ranges from yellow-orange to deep amber and distinctively pours with a very generous and fluffy pillowy head that leaves behind some of the best Belgian lacing known to beer. Alcohol strengths are most often in the 5 - 8.5% ABV range, but some examples are stronger. Normally, the alcohol in a saison fills out the flavor profile but is not warming or hot.
Scottish Ales originated in Scotland and are generally clean and malty with perhaps a faint touch of smoke and few fruity esters. Most examples have a low hop profile due to the historical fact that hops are not grown in Scotland and expensive imported hops were, therefore, used sparingly. Some examples also have a peaty character which is typically perceived as earthy, smoky or very lightly roasted. Typically this ale is clear, deep amber or dark copper in appearance, although the stronger versions can be dark brown in color. Scottish Ales are divided into sub-styles differentiated on alcoholic strength ranging from a low of 2.5% alcohol by volume (abv) to around 10% alcohol by volume (abv).
Not to be confused with their smoked German style counterparts - the rauchbiers - or the Scottish ales, smoked ales are a class of ales (of theoretically any other substyle) that is smoked to achieve smoky aromas and flavors. Porters are the most common base style and various sources (e.g. peat, oak, maple, alder, mesquite, beechwood, and fruit woods) can be used to obtain the smoky properties of a smoked ale (the malt ingredients are smoked prior to brewing). Regardless of the base style, the smoking should seek to enhance and not overpower the base beer. Generally, the smoked flavors are less prominent in smoked ales than those found in rauchbiers.
The spiced ale category on Beerpal captures any ale (or lager) containing spices, herbs, flowers, or vegetables that does not better fit another existing style that is traditionally made with spices (ie. a Belgian Wit brewed with coriander is properly classified under Witbier). The additives can include any spice, herb, flower, or vegetable and is only limited by the imagination of the brewer. Beers brewed only with fermentable additives/adjuncts (like honey or molasses but no spices, herbs, flowers, or vegetables) are normally not categorized as spiced ales. The ideal examples from this style typically do not include extreme or overpowering quantities of the spices, herbs, or vegetables, but rather complementary and supporting levels that add creativity or help to enhance the base beer style. Pumpkin, Winter specialty, Gruit, Heather, Spruce, and Chli are some examples of spiced ale substyles that have gained notoriety within craft brewing.
AlesStouts AlesStoutsDry Stout
Dry stouts (often referred to as Irish Stouts) are mahoganey brown to black in appearance and normally feature a genereous tan to brown head with excellent retention. The aromas and flavors normally consist of roasted barley, coffee, caramel, chocolate, and sometimes astringent and / or acidic qualities. As their name suggests, the finish is typified by a bitter dryness that complements the underlying creaminess of the body. The bitterness, dryness, and acidity should never dominate to the point of removing the smooth quality of these beers.
Chocolate stouts include any type of stout that has had chocolate flavor added to the beer in the form of cocoa powder, chocolate syrups, or solid chocolate. Flavors are similar to other stouts, but are typically sweeter and have a pronounced chocolate character. This category does not include stouts that have acquired chocolate flavor from the use of chocolate malts. Alcohol by volume typically ranges from 5% to 9%.
AlesStoutsFlavored StoutsCoffee Stout
Coffee stouts include any type of stout that has had coffee flavor added to the beer in the form of coffee beans added to the mash or brewed coffee added at any point in the process. Coffee flavors and aromas are typically central to this style of the beer, with a typical roasty stout backbone. This category does not include stouts that have acquired coffee flavor from malts. Alcohol by volume typically ranges from 5% to 10%.
AlesStoutsFlavored StoutsFruit Stout
Fruit stouts include any type of stout that has had fruit flavoring added by way of real fruit, preserves, syrups, or extracts. Fruit flavors can be mild to strong, and can be derived from any fruit, most commonly cherries, blueberries, and raspberries. The fruit stout classification does not include stouts with fruit flavors derived from yeasts, malts, or hops. Alcohol by volume typically ranges from 5% to 9%.
AlesStoutsForeign / Extra Stout
Foreign stouts were originally brewed as export prodcuts for tropical islands. They are usually based on a dry stout or sweet stout foundation with an extra level of maltiness and higher alcohol levels. They fall short of an imperial stout in both alcohol level and hopping (both less with hops playing a minor role at most). Beyond the basic caramel and roasted malt flavors, the intepretations can vary a bit. Frequently, extra stouts start malty and finish with a dry bitterness, although either sweetness or bitterness can overall characterize these beers. These beers have medium to full-bodied mouthfeels (sometimes with some acidity) and are dark brown to black in appearance.
As with most "imperial" beers, the imperial stout is "boss" of the stout world, emphasizing more maltiness, more alcohol, and often more hops than its non-imperial peers. The style originated in England as an export product to the Baltic States, where the Russian Imperial Court purportedly enjoyed these products. This style has intense flavors including those typical of any stout (but magnified and more complex), as well as dark fruitiness (prunes, plums, and raisins). Some of the more popular imperial stouts of today include a hoppy balance in the finish.
Stout and oysters first shared the table in the mid to late 1800s when both the beer and the food were cheap, plentiful, and popular in English pubs. The term “oyster stout” was probably first used by a pub to note how well the roasted flavors of stouts complimented the subtle flavors of the oysters. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, brewers attempted to add nutrition to their stouts by adding ingredients to create milk stouts, oatmeal stouts, and eventually, oyster stouts. Oyster stouts are brewed in much the same manner as other English stouts, with the addition of raw oysters added at various points in the brewing process, but most commonly during the boil. This unusual addition boosts the body of the beer thanks to the protein of the oyster. Oyster stouts are typically very roasty, slightly smoky and bitter, and finish dry. Although lighter versions of the style can acquire slight mineral qualities in the aroma and flavor, most oyster stouts gain very little from the oyster addition. Today, few oyster stouts are still in production, and many that claim to be oyster stouts do not actually use oysters in their production, but more and more brewpubs and small craft breweries are making attempts at the obscure style. Alcohol by volume typically ranges from 3.5% to 5.5%.
On Beerpal, stouts that do not fit any of the subcategories (especially "American" varieties that are highly hopped but not strong enough in alcohol content to be imperial stouts) are classified under the catch-all "stout" style and vary significantly in roast and hop character.
Oats first found their way into stouts in the United Kingdom in the late 1800s, when brewers attempted to add nutritional value to sweet stouts. Despite its initial popularity, interest in the style slowly faded and eventually it disappeared from the beer landscape. In 1980 the Samuel Smith Old Brewery revived the style, and still brews what is considered to be a classic example of Oatmeal Stout. Related to the Milk Stout, Oatmeal Stouts have a smooth and viscous medium to full body, due to high lipid content of the oats, but lack the lactose sweetness characteristic of Milk Stouts. Flavors imparted by the oats are typically muted, but when used as a higher percentage of the grist, they can come across as nutty or grainy in the finished beer. The alcohol percentage in this style typically ranges from 4% to 6% by volume.
The strong ale category includes ales of essentially any style with higher alcohol levels (generally at least 7%) than what is common for that style. The amount of alcohol can be quite high in a strong ale (over 20% in some cases). The category is essentially a catch-all category and incorporates multiple base styles into the group, except for those styles that explicitly have their own strong (often "imperial" or "double") category. The target of strong ales should not be overpowering and harsh flavors, but instead an enhanced overall quality from the additional alcohol.
AlesWheat Beers AlesWheat BeersAmerican Wheat
An Ameican twist to the German Wheat beers, this style can be produced as an ale or lager and covers a range of colors, normally golden to amber, but sometimes darker like the German Dunkelweizens. Unlike a German Hefeweizen, the American Wheat is often (but not always) filtered and lacks the ester (normally banana) and phenolic (normally clove) aromas and flavors obtained with German yeast strains. The malt component normally (but not always) consists of 50% or more wheat and the hopping can be light to heavy, more often falling in the moderate to heavy range. The flavors of American wheats are diverse with various combinations of graininess, malt sweetness, hop bitterness, and citrusy character, and acidic and / or dry mouthfeels are often achieved.
The Berliner Weisse is a sharply sour German ale based on pilsner and wheat malts, although the wheat content is normally well below 50% (~30%). The Berliner Weisse is typically clear to hazy golden in color with a strong initial head that fades rapidly. The body is light, the carbonation high, and the alcohol content low (normally 3.5% or lower), and these beers are generally regarded as refreshing with a firm wheat backbone in the flavor. The sharp acidic and sour character is a result of the combined yeast and lactic bacteria fermentation process. These beers are often served with a shot of fruit sugar syrups (raspberry or woodruff) mixed in to ease the sourness. Berliner Weisse beers are somewhat "rare" and hard to come by in most parts of the world, being brewed by only two German brewers today.
AlesWheat BeersGerman WheatsDunkel Weizen
The dark ("dunkel") counterpart to the pale German Hefeweizen beers, this ale combines 50% or more wheat malt with darker Vienna and/or Munich malts to produce a beer that is murky to cloudy (typically unfiltered) and reddish-brown in appearance with a very generous and fluffy off-white head. As with Hefeweizens, the aroma and flavor of the dunkelweizen feature balanced ester (normally banana) and phenolic (normally clove) notes over a grainy wheat base and virtually no hop presence. The darker malts of the dunkelweizen add a touch of toasted and caramel flavors to the experience, which leads to a more robust flavor profile than a standard hefeweizen.
AlesWheat BeersGerman WheatsHefeweizen
The feature summer ale of Southern Germany (Bavaria), the hefeweizen (or "weissbier") is brewed with wheat malt (at least 50%) and light Pilsner malt. The resulting product features a balanced ester (normally banana) and phenolic (normally clove) flavor that is achieved from the yeast used to brew these beers. The appearance of this unfiltered beer ("mit hefe" means "with yeast") is pale golden to amber in color with light to heavy cloudiness and a very generous, fluffy, and long lasting white head. Citrus and basic wheat grain elements (even bubblegum) often accompany the feature flavors, while hops contribute a very minor role. The Hefeweizen is the lightest of the Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen, and Weizenbock series of German Wheat beers.
AlesWheat BeersGerman WheatsKrystal Weizen
This is the filtered version of the Hefeweizen and is therefore crystal clear ("krystal klar") in appearance, displaying the clear and sparkling nature of the beer. The mouthfeel is lighter and cleaner than the hefeweizen and some of the yeast flavor components are reduced (banana and clove), revealing more of the citrus and wheaty aspects.
AlesWheat BeersGerman WheatsWeizenbock
The Weizenbock combines the character of a basic bock or doppelbock beer with that of a Dunkel Weizen. It is a dark amber to dark brown colored ale, which is hazy to cloudy in appearance and is normally accompanied by a thick and long-lasting head. The aroma and flavor feature dark fruits (plums, prunes, raisins, and/or grapes), strong phenols (clove and sometimes vanilla), and rich alcohol (although the alcohol shouldn't be sharp or hot) alongside the grainy wheat and ester (banana) character of the dunkelweizen base. As with the other German wheat beers, weizenbocks do not use hops to impart significant character to the beer's aroma of flavor. The alcohol level is significantly higher in this style, jumping from the ~5% level of a hefe or dunkelweizen to ~7-9%.
AlesWild Ales AlesWild AlesFlanders Ales AlesWild AlesFlanders AlesFlanders Oude Bruin
AlesWild AlesFlanders AlesFlanders Red
AlesWild AlesLambics AlesWild AlesLambicsFaro
A blended lambic with added sugar, faros are sweeter than the straight and gueuze versions and have less tart, sour, and wild flavor profiles. Faros are carbonated, generally more drinkable, and sometimes spiced.
AlesWild AlesLambicsFruit Lambic
A tart and sour, fruity, wheat-based Belgian farmhouse ale that is brewed through spontaneous fermentation from wild yeasts and bacteria with fruit normally added during the aging process. Typical fruits used are framboise (raspberries), kriek (cherries), peche (peach), and cassis (courant) and the beer takes on varying shades of the fruit used. In many of the classic examples, the fruit plays a secondary role in the flavor to the traditional tart, sour, and wild lambic flavors, although there are examples of highly fruited and sweet versions (Lindeman’s and Belle Vue) available.
A tart and sour, golden, wheat-based Belgian farmhouse ale that is traditionally obtained by blending one, two, and three year old straight lambics. Because of the aging and blending, gueuze lambics are often more balanced and complex in aroma and flavor than straight lambics. Unlike their unblended counterpart, gueuze lambics are carbonated.
AlesWild AlesLambicsUnblended Lambic
A tart and sour, golden, wheat-based Belgian farmhouse ale that is traditionally brewed through spontaneous fermentation from wild yeasts and bacteria. Straight lambics are tart and acidic in character with full attenuation and no carbonation. Hop levels are quite low and aging tends to soften the sharp tart character of “young” lambics.
AlesWild AlesWild Ale
A style revived by Peter Celis at Hoegaarden, Belgian White Ales (Witbiers) are Belgium's twist on Wheat Beer, normally brewed with about 50% wheat malt. These beers are typically cloudy (unfiltered), feature a yellow-white to golden color with significant carbonation, and pour with a dense, fluffy, and well-sustaining head. Their flavors are crisp, moderately sweet, and sometimes tart with spices (coriander and curacao probably most common) and citrus fruits (orange peels, lemon zestiness) most commonly featured over the subdued wheat base. Hops play almost no role in this style's aroma or flavor.
Cider Ciders are produced from fermenting apple juice. They are not beers, as they lack a grain malt (like barley, wheat, or rye), but many beer enthusiasts happen to enjoy them anyway. While ciders are derived from fruit, they should not be overwhelmingly fruity (just as a wine is not overly fruity, despite being derived from grapes). The flavors of these fermented beverages range from dry to sweet and often take on acidic qualities. Various adjuncts can be added to achieve higher alcohol levels and additional fruits are sometimes used to supplement the flavor profile. Perries are a similar class of fermented fruit beverages, but they are made from pears instead of apples. Lagers All beers are essentially lagers or ales. The term lager comes from the German word, "lagern," which means to store away (cellar). Lagers are brewed using bottom fermenting yeasts at cool temperatures near 50-55F. The lager yeasts produce less byproducts than ale yeasts and normally result in a more simple and crisp flavor. The lower temperatures require longer fermentation periods and these beers are then stored away for weeks (at about 35F) before maturing. Most lagers can be subclassified into one of the many lager categories on Beerpal.com. However, hard to place or classify lagers can be found in the generic "lager" category. LagersBiere de Garde
A Northern French artisanal farmhouse ale, the biere de garde style covers a range of subvarieties, including blond, amber, and brown. Examples across each subvariety all emphasize the malty (most commonly earthy, toasty, toffee, and caramel) character of the beer and frequently have a musty cellared attribute (the name, biere de garde, can be literally translated as "beer of keeping," and refers to the months long cold conditioning - lagering - of these beers after fermentation). The darker versions have more complex flavors and the hops are normally more subdued, while the lighter versions allow the hops to come through stronger (but still secondary to the rich maltiness). The mouthfeel of a biere de garde is typically moderate to heavy and the alcohol levels can be in the higher 8% ABV range. The biere de garde style can be brewed with lager or ale yeasts, but under cooler ale fermentation temperatures.
A deep golden (Helles Bocks & Maibocks) to brown (Traditional Bocks) colored lager, which originated in the German town of Einbeck as early as the 14th century. After being resurrected in Munich three centuries later, this style errantly became known as "bock" (which also means "billy-goat" in German) instead of "beck." The bock beer is malty rich and sweet (but not overly sweet) and typically contains bready, toasted, even caramel flavors that are in some cases lightly balanced but never overcome by hops. The alcohol level is higher than the average beer but does not dominate the aroma or flavor. The body of a bock is medium to just under full-bodied. The smooth character of a lager should come through in the bock.
The doppelbock (a "double" bock) originated in Munich, Germany as a next generation bock beer. They range in color from deep golden to dark ruby or brown. Like its predecessor (the bock), doppelbocks feature the rich malty aromas and flavors of bready, toasted, and caramel notes. But, doppelbocks are typically more complex and can include dark fruits (plum, prune, raisin, grapes) and sometimes chocolate aspects, especially for the darker versions. Doppelbocks are full-bodied beers and although stronger than the basic bock, they are never overcome by the higher alcohol or by the hops. Many doppelbocks today have an "-ator" suffix attached to their name.
Eisbocks are concentrated doppelbocks, where the original doppelbock is frozen and a fraction of the ice/water is then removed to intensify the flavor and alcohol level in the beer. Their aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel are therefore comparable in kind to doppelbocks, yet significantly stronger and heavier and with deeper and darker colors. With alcohol concentrations as high as 30% ABV, eisbocks can be quite warming and represent one of the strongest styles of beer.
LagersCalifornia Common / Steam
An entirely American creation, the California Common (or "Steam Beer," which is trademarked by Anchor Brewing) originated in California in the 19th century when and where ice was not readily available. This style is therefore somewhat of a hybrid lager(-ale), which is brewed with strains of lager yeast that can effectively ferment under higher than normal (for lagers) temperatures (55-60F). At these temperatures, the lager yeasts can produce light fruity flavors that are often found in ales, while still retaining some crisp lager qualities of the beer. Additional characterstics of this style include noticeable hopping (woody and/or minty) and a basic toasted caramel malt base. The Common beers are normally clear amber to copper in color with a medium body.
LagersDark Lagers LagersDark LagersDunkel / Dark Lager
This group includes two distinguishable substyles: Amercan (and some macro European) dark lagers, as well as the Munich dunkel lager (dark lager). The former style is fairly straight forward and the less exciting of the two, encompassing copper to brown lagers with light bodies and balanced low hop and malt flavors (and often corn or rice adjuncts). The Munich dunkel lager version of these dark lagers is darker (deep copper or red-brown to dark brown) and has more prominent malt (no adjuncts, but bready, biscuit, chocolate, nutty, and sometimes light roastedness) and noble hop flavors. The hops and maltiness of a dunkel are normally well-balanced (not very sweet or too bitter) with a moderate body (ie. lighter than a bock or schwarzbier).
A dark brown to black German lager, the schwarzbier ("black beer") is suprisingly lighter bodied than its color would suggest. Schwarzbiers, while not weak in malt character, tend to emphasize a hoppy bitterness and often finish somewhat dry and with a medium mouthfeel. Roasted, overly bitter, and sweet flavors do not overrun these beers like in many stouts or porters, although they can display some chocolate, caramel, and light coffee aspects (short of anything "burnt"). Schwarzbiers can be a pretty site to look at with their dark bodies and fairly persistent tan heads.
LagersHelles / Dortmunder
These two lager styles are very similar and are often grouped as only one style. The helles ("bright") style originated in the Munich / Bavaria areas of Germany, while the Dortmunder from Dortmund in Northern Germany. Both are golden yellow pale lagers with somewhat showy white heads. They feature grainy, bready, biscuity, even cookie-like (but never caramel) malt backbones with a noticeable hops presence (Dortmunders tend to be slightly more hopped than Helles). Both styles fall short of the hop levels typical of Pilsners, but they are crisp and clean, somewhat balanced lagers with a sometimes dry finish. Both also make for good "session" beers due to their high drinkability.
Unfiltered and unpasteurized lager beers that originated in the Middle Ages in Germany, kellerbiers ("cellar beers") are incompletely lagered beers that are therefore less carbonated and slightly sweeter than their fully lagered counterparts would be. Kellerbiers can theoretically be produced using any lager-based style, although Helles might be the most common. Their appearance is typically cloudy due to the vitamin rich yeast present in the beer and hopping levels can be fairly significant. These beers are traditionally matured in deep vaults open to the atomosphere (unbunged).
All beers are essentially lagers or ales. The term lager comes from the German word, "lagern," which means to store away (cellar). Lagers are brewed using bottom fermenting yeasts at cool temperatures (50-55F) then stored ("lagered") at a temperature near 35F. The lager yeasts produce less byproducts than ale yeasts and normally result in a more simple and crisp flavor. The lower temperatures require longer fermentation periods and these beers are then lagered for weeks before maturing. Most lagers can be subclassified into one of the many lager categories on Beerpal.com. However, hard to place or classify lagers can be found in the generic "lager" category.
LagersMarzen / Oktoberfest
Marzens originated in Bavaria, Germany and were traditionally brewed in the Spring (March) to close out the cool weather brewing season before the coming hot summer months could spoil beer. During the summer, these beers were cellared in cold caves and later brought out with the cooler weather for Autumn festivals, including the renowned Oktoberfest in late September. Marzens are an adaptation of the Vienna style lager with higher malt depth (sometimes light sweetness), typically higher alcohol levels, and noticeable but low hop bitterness. They are golden-amber to deep copper in color and emphasize bready, biscuity, and lightly toasted malt flavors.
LagersPale Lagers LagersPale LagersLight / Lite Lager
Light versions of pale or premium lagers, the light lager style generally covers low calorie or low carbohydrate beers that typically have less than 125 calories in a 12oz serving. Adjuncts (like rice and corn) are frequently used and the aroma, flavors, and body are thin. Light lagers normally finish dry and can have lower alcohol levels.
LagersPale LagersPale Lager
Pale lagers are the most broadly consumed and widely branded style of beer in the world. The color can range from very pale colors to light copper. Adjuncts like corn and rice are frequently employed to lighten the body and cheapen the costs, although some can come adjunct free and often have more detectable malt and hop levels.
LagersPale LagersStrong Lager
Somewhat of a catch-all category for strong lagers that do not fit in any other, this style features classic American malt liquors (which are typically higher alcohol versions of American pale lagers) and European strong lagers (which are typically higher alcohol versions of Eastern European and Asian lagers). The American malt liquors are typically made with high ratios of non-malt adjuncts like rice and corn, while the European strong lagers are made from lower adunct to malt ratios (some adjunct free) and higher hop levels. Imperial Pilsners are not included in this style.
The Bohemian Pilsener is a golden, pale colored lager originating in 1842 in the Czech Republic and which was later adopted by German brewers who created ther own German Pilsener style. (Ultimately, a good majority of the world's pale lagers distantly resemble a pilsener in their base style.) The poured pilsener can be a beautiful site as they are often brilliantly clear, display significant carbonation in the glass, and crowned with fluffy white pillowy heads. They are brewed mostly with pils malts and European / German noble hop varieties, Saaz being a key component of the original Bohemian versions. The aromas and flavors display grainy and sometimes biscuit-like malts (honey and sulfur-like accents are not abnormal), yet normally feature most prominently a firm hop presence which can yield a strong bitterness and floral, spicey, or grassy qualities. The mouthfeels are typically medium to medium-high in carbonation with a crisp and even dry finish.
The imperial pilsener is a stronger version of a Pilsener, having a higher hop content (and therefore usually more bitter) and greater malt and alcohol levels, raising the complexity and depth typical of the base style. The flavors and aromas are therefore comparable to a pilsener, much like in the ale world an IPA or dIPA might compare to a Pale Ale. This Imperial Pilsener style has risen in popularity among innovative US craft brewers during the last five years and is used on beerpal to distinguish a specifc class of beers from standard pilseners or basic strong lagers.
Rauchbiers ("smoked beers") are smoked beers of just about any German style, which are derived from smoked malt. The original and prime example of the style is specifically a Marzen-based lager that is made from Beechwood-smoked malt. The style dates back to the sixteenth century and to the city of Bamberg in Franconia, Germany. The key added character to this style of beer is obviously the smoky aroma and flavor, although the level of smoking can vary from light to very strong. The overall flavor can be a somewhat balanced and complex blend of malt, hops, and smoke, with some finishing with a gentle sweetness. While the appearance can range in color (depending on the base style), rauchbiers are typically covered with a fairly rich and creamy head. Rauchbiers on average tend to be more "smoked" than beers found in the "Smoked Ale" style on Beerpal.com.
This category covers just about any style of beer that is produced in the Non-Alcoholic (NA) range of < 0.5% ABV or in the low alcohol range of 0.5 to about 3.0% ABV. The NA beers are typical in the North American market, while the latter are common in Europe, particularly for summer time and physical activities. While the reduced alcohol beers should resemble the underlying style they are "brewed" in, they will undoubtedly have less aroma, flavor, and body, due to the absence or reduced levels of alcohol. The producers of these reduced alcohol beers either 1) remove the alcohol from a fully brewed beer, or 2) control the levels of alcohol produced in the brewing process itself by inhibiting normal fermentation.
LagersVienna / Amber Lager
The Vienna lager originated in the Vienna, Austria area and is of an amber to copper or even reddish brown color. They are medium-bodied malty (toasted or light roasted features) beers with only a mild sweetness, a lightly bitterred hop balance, and a somewhat dry finish. Vienna lagers are lighter than dunkel lagers and the flavors not as rich as those of a Marzen. Amber lagers are a global extension of this style and represent similar lagers but with a more variety of interpretation, including vast degrees of malting and hopping, the addition of caramel flavors, and more overall sweetness that is sometimes derived from the inclusion of non-malt adjuncts like corn and rice.
Mead Meads are fermented products made primarily from honey, water, and yeast. Although they are not techincally "beers" (they lack malt and only Braggot meads tend to have a hopping option) they are one of the earliest forms of fermenation known to man and a significant historical predecessor to the art and science of brewing beer. The flavors range from sweet to dry and the strengths from extremely strong (~20% ABV) to low (~3.5% ABV). Secondary ingredients and chemicals such as citrus fruits, tea, oak, and tannin may be used to adjust the final product qualities. Aging is also a key factor in obtaining the desired end product.