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Aroma: Honey aroma should dominate, and is often moderately to strongly sweet and usually expresses the aroma of flower nectar. If a variety of honey is declared, the aroma might have a subtle to very noticeable varietal character reflective of the honey (different varieties have different intensities and characters). Standard description applies for remainder of characteristics.

Appearance: Standard description applies.

Flavor: Moderate to significant honey character, and may feature moderate to prominent varietal character if a varietal honey is declared (different varieties have different intensities). Moderate to high residual sweetness with a sweet and full (but not cloying) finish. Sulfury, harsh or yeasty fermentation characteristics are undesirable. Standard description applies for remainder of characteristics.

Mouthfeel: Standard description applies, although the body is generally medium-full to full. Note that stronger meads will have a fuller body. Many seem like a dessert wine. Sensations of body should not be accompanied by cloying, raw residual sweetness.

Overall Impression: Similar in balance, body, finish and flavor intensity to a well-made dessert wine (such as Sauternes), with a pleasant mixture of honey character, residual sweetness, soft fruity esters, and clean alcohol. Complexity, harmony, and balance of sensory elements are most desirable, with no inconsistencies in color, aroma, flavor or aftertaste. The proper balance of sweetness, acidity, alcohol and honey character is the essential final measure of any mead.

Comments: See standard description for entrance requirements. Entrants MUST specify carbonation level and strength. Sweetness is assumed to be SWEET in this category. Entrants MAY specify honey varieties.

Ingredients: Standard description applies. Traditional Meads feature the character of a blended honey or a blend of honeys. Varietal meads feature the distinctive character of certain honeys. “Show meads” feature no additives, but this distinction is usually not obvious to judges.

Aroma: Depending on the sweetness and strength, a subtle to distinctly identifiable honey and fruit character (dry and/or hydromel versions will tend to have lower aromatics than sweet and/or sack versions). The fruit character should display distinctive aromatics associated with the particular fruit(s); however, note that some fruit (e.g., raspberries, cherries) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., blueberries, strawberries)—allow for a range of fruit character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The fruit character should be pleasant and supportive, not artificial and inappropriately overpowering (considering the character of the fruit). In a blended fruit melomel, not all fruit may be individually identifiable or of equal intensity. The honey aroma should be noticeable, and can have a light to significant sweetness that may express the aroma of flower nectar. If a variety of honey is declared, the aroma might have a subtle to very noticeable varietal character reflective of the honey (different varieties have different intensities and characters). The bouquet should show a pleasant fermentation character, with clean and fresh aromatics being preferred. Stronger and/or sweeter versions will have higher alcohol and sweetness in the nose. Some tartness may be present if naturally occurring in the particular fruit(s), but should not be inappropriately intense. Standard description applies for remainder of characteristics.

Appearance: Standard description applies, except with regard to color. Color may take on a very wide range of colors, depending on the variety of fruit and/or honey used. For lighter-colored melomels with fruits that exhibit distinctive colors, the color should be noticeable. Note that the color of fruit in mead is often lighter than the flesh of the fruit itself and may take on slightly different shades. Meads made with lighter color fruits can also take on color from varietal honeys. In meads that produce a head, the head can take on some of the fruit color as well.

Flavor: The fruit and honey flavor intensity may vary from subtle to high; the residual sweetness may vary from none to high; and the finish may range from dry to sweet, depending on what sweetness level has been declared (dry to sweet) and strength level has been declared (hydromel to sack). Natural acidity and tannin in some fruit and fruit skin may give some tartness and astringency to balance the sweetness, honey flavor and alcohol. A melomel may have a subtle to strong honey character, and may feature noticeable to prominent varietal character if a varietal honey is declared (different varieties have different intensities). The distinctive flavor character associated with the particular fruit(s) should be noticeable, and may range in intensity from subtle to aggressive. The balance of fruit with the underlying mead is vital, and the fruit character should not be artificial and/or inappropriately overpowering. In a blended fruit melomel, not all fruit may be individually identifiable or of equal intensity. Standard description applies for remainder of characteristics.

Mouthfeel: Standard description applies. Most will be wine-like. Some natural acidity and/or astringency are sometimes present (from certain fruit and/or fruit skin) and helps balance the overall impression. Fruit tannin can add body as well as some astringency. High levels of astringency are undesirable. The acidity and astringency levels should be somewhat reflective of the fruit used.

Overall Impression: In well-made examples of the style, the fruit is both distinctive and well-incorporated into the honey-sweet-acid-tannin-alcohol balance of the mead. Different types of fruit can result in widely different characteristics; allow for a variation in the final product.

Ingredients: Standard description applies. A melomel is a standard mead made with the addition of other fruit or fruit juices. There should be an appealing blend of the fruit and honey character but not necessarily an even balance. A melomel can be made with a blend of fruits; however, a melomel that is spiced or that contains other ingredients should be entered as an Open Category Mead. Melomels made with either apples or grapes should be entered as Cysers and Pyments, respectively.

A Metheglin is a spiced mead.

Aroma: Depending on the sweetness and strength, a subtle to distinctly identifiable honey and herb/spice character (dry and/or hydromel versions will tend to have lower aromatics than sweet and/or sack versions). The herb/spice character should display distinctive aromatics associated with the particular herbs/spices; however, note that some herbs/spices (e.g., ginger, cinnamon) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., chamomile, lavender)—allow for a range of herb/spice character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The herb/spice character should be pleasant and supportive, not artificial and inappropriately overpowering (considering the character of the herb/spice). In a blended herb/spice metheglin, not all herbs/spices may be individually identifiable or of equal intensity. The honey aroma should be noticeable, and can have a light to significant sweetness that may express the aroma of flower nectar. If a variety of honey is declared, the aroma might have a subtle to very noticeable varietal character reflective of the honey (different varieties have different intensities and characters). The bouquet should show a pleasant fermentation character, with clean and fresh aromatics being preferred. Stronger and/or sweeter versions will have higher alcohol and sweetness in the nose. Some herbs and spices may produce spicy or peppery phenolics. Standard description applies for remainder of characteristics.

Appearance: Standard description applies, except perhaps to note that the color usually won’t be affected by spices and herbs (although flowers, petals and peppers may provide subtle colors; tea blends may provide significant colors).

Flavor: The herb/spice flavor intensity may vary from subtle to high; the honey flavor intensity may vary from subtle to high; the residual sweetness may vary from none to high; and the finish may range from dry to sweet, depending on what sweetness level has been declared (dry to sweet) and strength level has been declared (hydromel to sack). The distinctive flavor character associated with the particular herbs/spices may range in intensity from subtle to aggressive (although some herbs/spices may not be individually recognizable, and can just serve to add a background complexity). Certain herbs and spices might add bitter, astringent, phenolic or spicy (hot) flavors; if present, these qualities should be related to the declared ingredients (otherwise, they are faults), and they should balance and blend with the honey, sweetness and alcohol. Metheglins containing more than one herb/spice should have a good balance among the different herbs/spices, though some herbs/spices will tend to dominate the flavor profile. A metheglin may have a subtle to strong honey character, and may feature noticeable to prominent varietal character if a varietal honey is declared (different varieties have different intensities). Standard description applies for remainder of characteristics.

Mouthfeel: Standard description applies. Some herbs or spices may contain tannins that add a bit of body and some astringency, but this character should not be excessive.

Overall Impression: In well-made examples of the style, the herbs/spices are both distinctive and well-incorporated into the honey-sweet-acid-tannin-alcohol balance of the mead. Different types of herbs/spices can result in widely different characteristics; allow for a variation in the final product.

Comments: Often, a blend of spices may give a character greater than the sum of its parts. The better examples of this style use spices/herbs subtly and when more than one are used, they are carefully selected so that they blend harmoniously.

Ingredients: Standard description applies. A metheglin is a standard mead made with the addition of spices or herbs. Meads made with flowers (such as rose petal mead, or rhodomel), chocolate, coffee, nuts or chile peppers (capsimel/capsicumel) may also be entered in this category, as can meads made with a blend of spices. If spices are used in conjunction with other ingredients such as fruit, cider, or other fermentables, then the mead should be entered as an Open Category Mead.

Select a news topic from the list below, then select a news article to read.

The latest news from the Joomla! Team

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A section dedicated to chronicalling selected interview of various beer and brewing fashion.

Exactly as the name suggests.  Interviews conducted with various homebrewers from all over.

As the name suggest, we will be trying to contact Brewmasters from around the world to get their take on the art of brewing.

Interviews dedicated to finding out what make the commercial brewing business run.

From the list below choose one of our FAQs topics, then select an FAQ to read. If you have a question which is not in this section, please contact us.

FAQ's dedicated to different rules sets for the different components.

A little section for fun.  A place to grab a beer and waste some time.

Section for site articles.

As we make our way around this world, sometimes we need to stop for refreshments. Enjoy just some brief thoughts on the breweries that we happen upon.

Breweries featured here on CellarMonk ~ Beer

Aroma/Flavor: Sweet or low-alcohol ciders may have apple aroma and flavor. Dry ciders will be more wine-like with some esters. Sugar and acidity should combine to give a refreshing character, neither cloying nor too austere. Medium to high acidity.

Appearance: Clear to brilliant, pale to medium gold in color.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Some tannin should be present for slight to moderate astringency, but little bitterness.

Overall Impression: Variable, but should be a medium, refreshing drink. Sweet ciders must not be cloying. Dry ciders must not be too austere. An ideal cider serves well as a “session” drink, and suitably accompanies a wide variety of food.

Comments: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (still, petillant, or sparkling). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (dry, medium, sweet).

Varieties: Common (Winesap, Macintosh, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Jonathan), multi-use (Northern Spy, Russets, Baldwin), crabapples, any suitable wildings.

Vital Statistics: OG: 1.045 – 1.065
FG: 1.000 – 1.020 ABV: 5 – 8%

Aroma/Flavor: No overt apple character, but various flavors and esters that suggest apples. May have “smoky (bacon)” character from a combination of apple varieties and MLF. Some “Farmyard nose” may be present but must not dominate; mousiness is a serious fault. The common slight farmyard nose of an English West Country cider is the result of lactic acid bacteria, not a Brettanomyces contamination.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy to brilliant. Medium to deep gold color.

Mouthfeel: Full. Moderate to high tannin apparent as astringency and some bitterness. Carbonation still to moderate, never high or gushing.

Overall Impression: Generally dry, full-bodied, austere.

Comments: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (still or petillant). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (dry to medium). Entrants MAY specify variety of apple for a single varietal cider; if specified, varietal character will be expected.

Varieties: Kingston Black, Stoke Red, Dabinett, Foxwhelp, Yarlington Mill, various Jerseys, etc.

Vital Statistics: OG: 1.050 – 1.075
FG: 0.995 – 1.010 ABV: 6 – 9%

Aroma/Flavor: There is a pear character, but not obviously fruity. It tends toward that of a young white wine. No bitterness.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy to clear. Generally quite pale.

Mouthfeel: Relatively full, low to moderate tannin apparent as astringency.

Overall Impression: Mild. Medium to medium-sweet. Still to lightly sparkling. Only very slight acetification is acceptable. Mousiness, ropy/oily characters are serious faults.

Comments: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (still, petillant, or sparkling). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (medium or sweet).

Varieties: Bartlett, Kiefer, Comice, etc.

Vital Statistics: OG: 1.050 – 1.060
FG: 1.000 – 1.020 ABV: 5 – 7%

Aroma/Flavor: There is a pear character, but not obviously fruity. It tends toward that of a young white wine. Some slight bitterness.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy to clear. Generally quite pale.

Mouthfeel: Relatively full, moderate to high tannin apparent as astringency.

Overall Impression: Tannic. Medium to medium-sweet. Still to lightly sparkling. Only very slight acetification is acceptable. Mousiness, ropy/oily characters are serious faults.

Comments: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (still, petillant, or sparkling). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (medium or sweet). Variety of pear(s) used must be stated.

Varieties: Butt, Gin, Huffcap, Blakeney Red, etc.

Vital Statistics: OG: 1.050 – 1.070
FG: 1.000 – 1.020 ABV: 5 – 9%

Aroma/Flavor: The cider character must always be present, and must fit with adjuncts.

Appearance: Clear to brilliant. Color should be that of a common cider unless adjuncts are expected to contribute color.

Mouthfeel: Average body, may show tannic (astringent) or heavy body as determined by adjuncts.

Comments: Entrants MUST specify all major ingredients and adjuncts. Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (still, petillant, or sparkling). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (dry or medium).

Vital Statistics: OG: 1.045 – 1.100
FG: 0.995 – 1.020 ABV: 5 – 12%

Pub is short for Public House, but is better understood as a place where you can have alcoholic drinks. The idea of a Pub originated in Rome. They served as meeting places and a place to unwind with friends. Not much has changed.

Brewpub is an abbreviated term combining the ideas of a brewery and a pub or public-house. A brewpub can be a pub or restaurant that brews beer on the premises.

A beer hall (German: Bierpalast, Bierstube) is a large pub that specializes in beer. Typically a beerhall would serve only one brewery's beers, but newer commercial halls may have multiple breweries available.
A Beer Garden can typically be found at the same location as a beer hall, but is for use when weather permits.

A restaurant who's menu specializes in foods made with beer. Also relates to a restaurant owned/operated by a brewery where their beer is prominent on the menu.

An establisment that specializes primarily in beer. Taps of different breweries available and not owned by a brewery.

A local homebrew shop containing all ingredients and equipment needed to produce home brewed beers of a wide assortment

As the name indicates. A shop that specializes in selling beer or beer related products and whose inventory is at least 50% beer. 

Companies specializing in the custom delivery of beer to work or home.

This category is dedicated to those breweries that have in house, attached or offsite taprooms.

Have a beer related joke?  See a beer picture that you think might give us a laugh.  This is the place.

We have collected jokes and humor from our users and are posting them here for your enjoyment.

Note:

To the best of our knowledge these are all from either the public domain or free to use, and a link either has been or will soon be placed on our link page whenever possible to credit the sources of the photos and tips or content.
If for some reason we have inadvertantly placed a photo or image or article that is not freely available we will be glad to remove it upon request.

 

Not Jokes, but meme's, videos, images or other miscellaneous items to entertain

A bit of beer humor to hopefully help you pass the day with a smile on your face and a beer in your heart.

Think of this as the beer drinker improvement section of CellarMonk.  We'll be hoisting up article (and eventually videos) of the little things that make beer that much better.

Articles with suggestion on how to travel for beer.

Toasts and Salutations from around the world. At your fingertips.

 beer toast

Some quick hits from the world of beer bloggers. When you have something to say, but not enough to warrant and article.

Testing the blog description

 

Just a bit of fun for the beginning of the weekend. 

International lagers are the premium mass-market lagers produced in most countries in the world. Whether developed from American or European styles, they all tend to have a fairly uniform character and are heavily marketed. Loosely derived from original Pilsner-type lagers, with colored variations having additional malt flavors while retaining a broad appeal to most palates. In many countries, the styles will be referred to by their local country names. The use of the term “international” doesn’t mean that any beers are actually labeled as such; it is more of a categorization of similar beers produced worldwide.

This is explicitly a catch-all category for any beer that does not fit into an existing style category. No beer is ever "out of style" in this category, unless it fits elsewhere.

The category is intended for any type of beer, including the following techniques or ingredients:

• Unusual techniques (e.g., steinbier, ice beers)
• Unusual fermentables (e.g., maple syrup, honey, molasses, sorghum)
• Unusual adjuncts (e.g., oats, rye, buckwheat, potatoes)
• Combinations of other style categories (e.g., India Brown Ale, fruit-and-spice beers, smoked spiced beers)
• Out-of-style variations of existing styles (e.g., low alcohol versions of other styles, extra-hoppy beers, "imperial" strength beers)
• Historical, traditional or indigenous beers (e.g., Louvain Peetermann, Sahti, vatted Porter with Brettanomyces, Colonial Spruce or Juniper beers, Kvass, Grätzer)
• American-style interpretations of European styles (e.g., hoppier, stronger, or ale versions of lagers) or other variants of traditional styles
• Clones of specific commercial beers that aren't good representations of existing styles
• Any experimental beer that a brewer creates, including any beer that simply does not evaluate well against existing style definitions

This category can also be used as an "incubator" for any minor world beer style for which there is no BJCP category. If sufficient interest exists, some of these minor styles might be promoted to full styles in the future.

OG FG IBUs SRM ABV
- - - - -
OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer.
A traditional production method that is rarely used by major breweries, and usually only with specialty products. Becoming more popular with modern American craft breweries looking for new, distinctive products. Oak cask and barrels are traditional, although other woods can be used.

The base beer style should be apparent. The wood-based character should be evident, but not so dominant as to unbalance the beer. The intensity of the wood-based flavors is based on the contact time with the wood; the age, condition, and previous usage of the barrel; and the type of wood. Any additional alcoholic products previously stored in the wood should be evident (if declared as part of the entry), but should not be so dominant as to unbalance the beer. IF THIS BEER IS BASED ON A CLASSIC STYLE (E.G., ROBUST PORTER) THEN THE SPECIFIC STYLE MUST BE SPECIFIED. CLASSIC STYLES DO NOT HAVE TO BE CITED (E.G., "PORTER" OR "BROWN ALE" IS ACCEPTABLE). THE TYPE OF WOOD MUST BE SPECIFIED IF A "VARIETAL" CHARACTER IS NOTICEABLE. (e.g., English IPA with Oak Chips, Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout, American Barleywine in an Oak Whiskey Cask). The brewer should specify any unusual ingredients in either the base style or the wood if those characteristics are noticeable. Specialty or experimental base beer styles may be specified, as long as the other specialty ingredients are identified.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
- - - - -
All stats vary with base style. OG and ABV is typically above-average. SRM is often darker than the unadulterated base style.
A historical specialty of the city of Bamberg, in the Franconian region of Bavaria in Germany. Beechwood-smoked malt is used to make a Märzen-style amber lager. The smoke character of the malt varies by maltster; some breweries produce their own smoked malt (rauchmalz).

The intensity of smoke character can vary widely; not all examples are highly smoked. Allow for variation in the style when judging. Other examples of smoked beers are available in Germany, such as the Bocks, Hefe-Weizen, Dunkel, Schwarz, and Helles-like beers, including examples such as Spezial Lager. Brewers entering these styles should use Other Smoked Beer as the entry category.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.050 - 1.056 1.012 - 1.016 20 - 30 14 - 22+ 4.8 - 6%
Throughout history, beer of a somewhat higher alcohol content and richness has been enjoyed during the winter holidays, when old friends get together to enjoy the season. Many breweries produce unique seasonal offerings that may be darker, stronger, spiced, or otherwise more characterful than their normal beers. Spiced versions are an American or Belgian tradition, since English or German breweries traditionally do not use spices in their beer.

Overall balance is the key to presenting a well-made Christmas beer. The special ingredients should complement the base beer and not overwhelm it. The brewer should recognize that some combinations of base beer styles and special ingredients work well together while others do not make for harmonious combinations. THE ENTRANT MAY DECLARE AN UNDERLYING BEER STYLE AS WELL AS THE SPECIAL INGREDIENTS USED. THE BASE STYLE, SPICES OR OTHER INGREDIENTS NEED NOT BE IDENTIFIED. THE BEER MUST INCLUDE SPICES AND MAY INCLUDE OTHER FERMENTABLES (SUGARS, HONEY, MAPLE SYRUP, MOLASSES, TREACLE, ETC.) OR FRUIT. If the base beer is a classic style, the original style should come through in aroma and flavor. Whenever spices, herbs or additional fermentables are declared, each should be noticeable and distinctive in its own way (although not necessarily individually identifiable; balanced with the other ingredients is still critical). English-style Winter Warmers (some of which may be labeled Christmas Ales) are generally not spiced, and should be entered as Old Ales. Clones of specific Belgian-style Christmas ales should be entered as Belgian Specialty Beers.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
- - - - -
OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer. ABV is generally above 6%, and most examples are somewhat dark in color.
Originally developed at the Trappist monastery at Westmalle.

High in alcohol but does not taste strongly of alcohol. The best examples are sneaky, not obvious. High carbonation helps to bring out the many flavors and to increase the perception of a dry finish.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.075 - 1.085 1.010 - 1.016 25 - 38 4.5 - 6 7.5 - 9%
Old-fashioned Bavarian wheat beer was often dark. In the 1950s and 1960s, wheat beers did not have a youthful image, since most older people drank them for their health-giving qualities. Today, the lighter hefe-weizen is more common.

The presence of Munich and/or Vienna-type barley malts gives this style a deep, rich barley malt character not found in a hefe-weizen. Bottles with yeast are traditionally swirled or gently rolled prior to serving.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.044 - 1.056 1.010 - 1.014 10 - 18 14 - 23 4.3 - 5.6%
A traditional wheat-based ale originating in Southern Germany that is a specialty for summer consumption, but generally produced year-round.

Comments: These are refreshing, fast-maturing beers that are lightly hopped and show a unique banana-and-clove yeast character. These beers often don't age well and are best enjoyed while young and fresh. The version "mit hefe" is served with yeast sediment stirred in; the krystal version is filtered for excellent clarity. Bottles with yeast are traditionally swirled or gently rolled prior to serving. The character of a krystal weizen is generally fruitier and less phenolic than that of the hefe-weizen.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.044 - 1.052 1.010 - 1.014 8 - 15 2 - 8 4.3 - 5.6%
Originating in England, porter evolved from a blend of beers or gyles known as "Entire." A precursor to stout. Said to have been favored by porters and other physical laborers.

Differs from a robust porter in that it usually has softer, sweeter and more caramelly flavors, lower gravities, and usually less alcohol. More substance and roast than a brown ale. Higher in gravity than a dark mild. Some versions are fermented with lager yeast. Balance tends toward malt more than hops. Usually has an "English" character. Historical versions with Brettanomyces, sourness, or smokiness should be entered in the specialty category.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.040 - 1.052 1.008 - 1.014 18 - 35 20 - 30 4 - 5.4%
Sometimes brewed as a lager (if so, generally will not exhibit a diacetyl character). When served too cold, the roasted character and bitterness may seem more elevated.

Ingredients: May contain some adjuncts (corn, rice, or sugar), although excessive adjunct use will harm the character of the beer. Generally has a bit of roasted barley to provide reddish color and dry roasted finish. UK/Irish malts, hops, yeast.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.044 - 1.060 1.010 - 1.014 17 - 28 9 - 18 4.0 - 6.0%
Very refreshing and thirst quenching.

Strong flavors are a fault. An international style including the standard mass-market lager from most countries.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.040 - 1.050 1.004 - 1.010 8 - 15 2 - 4 4.2 - 5.1%

Aroma: Little to no malt aroma, although it can be grainy, sweet or corn-like if present. Hop aroma may range from none to a light, spicy or floral hop presence. Low levels of yeast character (green apples, DMS, or fruitiness) are optional but acceptable. No diacetyl.

 

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

 

Flavor: Crisp and dry flavor with some low levels of grainy or corn-like sweetness. Hop flavor ranges from none to low levels. Hop bitterness at low level. Balance may vary from slightly malty to slightly bitter, but is relatively close to even. High levels of carbonation may provide a slight acidity or dry "sting." No diacetyl. No fruitiness.

 

Mouthfeel: Very light body from use of a high percentage of adjuncts such as rice or corn. Very highly carbonated with slight carbonic bite on the tongue. May seem watery.

 

Overall Impression: Very refreshing and thirst quenching.

 
 

Ingredients: Two- or six-row barley with high percentage (up to 40%) of rice or corn as adjuncts.

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.030 - 1.040 0.998 - 1.008 8 - 12 2 - 3 3.2 - 4.2%




Aroma: Little to no malt aroma, although it can be grainy, sweet or corn-like if present. Hop aroma may range from none to a light, spicy or floral hop presence. Low levels of yeast character (green apples, DMS, or fruitiness) are optional but acceptable. No diacetyl.

 

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

 

Flavor: Crisp and dry flavor with some low levels of grainy or corn-like sweetness. Hop flavor ranges from none to low levels. Hop bitterness at low to medium-low level. Balance may vary from slightly malty to slightly bitter, but is relatively close to even. High levels of carbonation may provide a slight acidity or dry "sting." No diacetyl. No fruitiness.

 

Mouthfeel: Light body from use of a high percentage of adjuncts such as rice or corn. Very highly carbonated with slight carbonic bite on the tongue.

 

Overall Impression: Very refreshing and thirst quenching.

 
 

Ingredients: Two- or six-row barley with high percentage (up to 40%) of rice or corn as adjuncts.

 

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.040 - 1.050 1.004 - 1.010 8 - 15 2 - 4 4.2 - 5.1%





Aroma: Faint malt notes. A sweet, corn-like aroma and low levels of DMS are commonly found. Hop aroma low to none. Any variety of hops may be used, but neither hops nor malt dominate. Faint esters may be present in some examples, but are not required. No diacetyl.

 

Appearance: Pale straw to moderate gold color, although usually on the pale side. Low to medium head with medium to high carbonation. Head retention may be no better than fair due to adjunct use. Brilliant, sparkling clarity.

 

Flavor: Low to medium-low hop bitterness. Low to moderate maltiness and sweetness, varying with gravity and attenuation. Usually well attenuated. Neither malt nor hops prevail in the taste. A low to moderate corny flavor from corn adjuncts is commonly found, as is some DMS. Finish can vary from somewhat dry to faintly sweet from the corn, malt, and sugar. Faint fruity esters are optional. No diacetyl.

 

Mouthfeel: Generally light and crisp, although body can reach medium. Smooth mouthfeel with medium to high attenuation; higher attenuation levels can lend a “thirst quenching” finish. High carbonation. Higher gravity examples may exhibit a slight alcohol warmth.

 

Overall Impression: A clean, well-attenuated, flavorful American lawnmower beer.

 
 

History: An ale version of the American lager style. Produced by ale brewers to compete with lager brewers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States. Originally known as sparkling or present use ales, lager strains were (and sometimes still are) used by some brewers, but were not historically mixed with ale strains. Many examples are kräusened to achieve carbonation. Cold conditioning isn’t traditional, although modern brewers sometimes use it.

 

Ingredients: American ingredients most commonly used. A grain bill of six-row malt, or a combination of six-row and North American two-row, is common. Adjuncts can include up to 20% flaked maize in the mash, and up to 20% glucose or other sugars in the boil. Soft water preferred. Any variety of hops can be used for bittering and finishing.

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.042 - 1.055 1.006 - 1.012 15 - 20+ 2.5 - 5 4.2 - 5.6%






Aroma: Low to moderate grainy, bready, or doughy wheatcharacter. A light to moderate malty sweetness is acceptable. Esters can be moderate to none, although should reflect relatively neutral yeast strains; banana is inappropriate. Hoparoma may be low to moderate, and can have a citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity character. No clove phenols.

Appearance: Usually pale yellow to gold. Clarity may range from brilliant to hazy with yeast approximating the German weissbier style of beer. Big, long-lasting white head.

Flavor: Light to moderately-strong bready, doughy, or grainy wheat flavor, which can linger into the finish. May have a moderate malty sweetness or finish quite dry. Low to moderate hop bitterness, which sometimes lasts into the finish. Balance is usually even, but may be slightly bitter. Low to moderate hop
flavor (citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity). Esters can be moderate to none, but should not include banana. No clove phenols. May have a slightly crisp finish.

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

Overall Impression: Refreshing wheat beers that can display more hop character and less yeast character than their German cousins. A clean fermentation character allows bready, doughy, or grainy wheat flavors to be complemented by hop flavor and bitterness rather than yeast qualities.

 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.040 - 1.055 1.008 - 1.013 15 - 30 3 - 6 4 - 5.5%




Czech lagers are generally divided by gravity class (draft, lager, special) and color (pale, amber, dark). The Czech names for these categories are světlé (pale), polotmavé (amber), and tmavé (dark). The gravity classes are výčepní (draft, 7–10 °P), ležák (lager, 11–12 °P), and speciální (special, 13 °P+). Pivo is of course the Czech word for beer. The division into gravity classes is similar to the German groupings of schankbier, vollbier, and starkbier, although at different gravity ranges. Czech beers within the classes are often simply referenced by their gravity. There are often variations within the gravity-color groupings, particularly within the speciální class. The style guidelines combine some of these classes, while other beers in the Czech market are not described (such as the strong Czech Porter). This is not to imply that the categories below are the full coverage of Czech beers, simply a way of grouping some of the more commonly found types for judging purposes. Czech lagers in general are differentiated from German and other Western lagers in that German lagers are almost always fully attenuated, while Czech lagers can have a slight amount of unfermented extract remaining in the finished beer. This helps provide a slightly higher finishing gravity (and thus slightly lower apparent attenuation), slightly fuller body and mouthfeel, and a richer, slightly more complex flavor profile in equivalent color and strength beers. German lagers tend to have a cleaner fermentation profile, while Czech lagers are often fermented cooler (7–10 °C) and for a longer time, and can have a light, barely noticeable (near threshold) amount of diacetyl that often is perceived more as a rounded body than overtly in aroma and flavor [significant buttery diacetyl is a flaw]. Czech lager yeast strains are not always as clean and attenuative as German strains, which helps achieve the higher finishing gravity (along with the mashing methods and cooler fermentation). Czech lagers are traditionally made with decoction mashes (often double decoction), even with modern malts, while most modern German lagers are made with infusion or step infusion mashes. These differences characterize the richness, mouthfeel, and flavor profile that distinguishes Czech lagers.
Aroma: Light to moderate bready-rich malt combined with light to moderate spicy or herbal hop bouquet; the balance between the malt and hops may vary. Faint hint of caramel is acceptable. Light (but never intrusive) diacetyl and light, fruity hop-derived esters are acceptable, but need not be present. No sulfur.

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

Flavor: Medium-low to medium bready-rich malt flavor with a rounded, hoppy finish. Low to medium-high spicy or herbal hop flavor. Bitterness is prominent but never harsh. Flavorful and refreshing. Diacetyl or fruity esters are acceptable at low levels, but need not be present and should never be overbearing.

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

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

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.028 – 1.044 1.008 – 1.014 20 – 35 3 – 6 3.0 – 4.1%
This style category contains malty, pale, Pilsner malt-driven German lagers of vollbier to starkbier strength. While malty, they are still well-attenuated, clean lagers, as are most German beers.

Aroma: Pleasantly grainy-sweet, clean Pils malt aroma dominates. Low to moderately-low spicy noble hop aroma, and a low background note of DMS (from Pils malt). No esters or diacetyl.

 

Appearance: Medium yellow to pale gold, clear, with a creamy white head.

 

Flavor: Slightly sweet, malty profile. Grain and Pils malt flavors dominate, with a low to medium-low hop bitterness that supports the malty palate. Low to moderately-low spicy noble hop flavor. Finish and aftertaste remain malty. Clean, no fruity esters, no diacetyl.

 

Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation, smooth maltiness with no trace of astringency.

 

Overall Impression: Malty but fully attenuated Pils malt showcase.

 

Comments: Unlike Pilsner but like its cousin, Munich Dunkel, Helles is a malt-accentuated beer that is not overly sweet, but rather focuses on malt flavor with underlying hop bitterness in a supporting role.

 

History: Created in Munich in 1895 at the Spaten brewery by Gabriel Sedlmayr to compete with Pilsner-style beers.

 

Ingredients: Moderate carbonate water, Pilsner malt, German noble hop varieties.

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.045 - 1.051 1.008 - 1.012 16 - 22 3 - 5 4.7 - 5.4%




Aroma: Moderate malty richness, with an emphasis on toastydoughy aromatics and an impression of sweetness. Low to medium-low floral, herbal, or spicy hops. The malt should not have a deeply toasted, caramel, or biscuity quality. Clean lager fermentation character.

Appearance: Deep yellow to deep gold color; should not have amber hues. Bright clarity. Persistent white to off-white foam stand. Most commercial examples are medium gold in color.

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

Mouthfeel: Medium body, with a smooth, somewhat creamy texture. Medium carbonation. Alcohol strength barely noticeable as warming, if at all.

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

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.054 – 1.057 1.010 – 1.012 18 – 25 4 – 7 5.8 – 6.3%

Aroma: Moderate to strong malt aroma, often with a lightly toasted quality and low melanoidins. Moderately low to no noble hop aroma, often with a spicy quality. Clean. No diacetyl. Fruity esters should be low to none. Some alcohol may be noticeable. May have a light DMS aroma from Pils malt.

 

Appearance: Deep gold to light amber in color. Lagering should provide good clarity. Large, creamy, persistent, white head.

 

Flavor: The rich flavor of continental European pale malts dominates (Pils malt flavor with some toasty notes and/or melanoidins). Little to no caramelization. May have a light DMS flavor from Pils malt. Moderate to no noble hop flavor. May have a low spicy or peppery quality from hops and/or alcohol. Moderate hop bitterness (more so in the balance than in other bocks). Clean, with no fruity esters or diacetyl. Well-attenuated, not cloying, with a moderately dry finish that may taste of both malt and hops.

 

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

 

Overall Impression: A relatively pale, strong, malty lager beer. Designed to walk a fine line between blandness and too much color. Hop character is generally more apparent than in other bocks.

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.064 - 1.072 1.011 - 1.018 23 - 35+ 6 - 11 6.3 - 7.4%





This category describes German-origin beers that are pale and have an even to bitter balance with a mild to moderately strong hoppy character featuring classic German hops. They are generally bottom-fermented or are lagered to provide a smooth profile, and are well-attenuated as are most German beers.
Aroma: Low to very low malt aroma, with a grainy-sweet character. A pleasant, subtle fruit aroma from fermentation (apple, cherry or pear) is acceptable, but not always present. A low floral, spicy or herbal hop aroma is optional but not out of style. Some yeast strains may give a slight winy or sulfury character (this characteristic is also optional, but not a fault). Overall, the intensity of aromatics is fairly subtle but generally balanced, clean, and fresh.
 
Appearance: Very pale gold to light gold. Authentic versions are filtered to a brilliant clarity. Has a delicate white head that may not persist.
 
Flavor: Soft, rounded palate comprising of a delicate flavor balance between soft yet attenuated malt, an almost imperceptible fruity sweetness from fermentation, and a medium-low to medium bitterness with a delicate dryness and slight pucker in the finish (but no harsh aftertaste). The noble hop flavor is variable, and can range from low to moderately high; most are medium-low to medium. One or two examples (Dom being the most prominent) are noticeably malty-sweet up front. Some versions can have a slightly minerally or sulfury water or yeast character that accentuates the dryness and flavor balance. Some versions may have a slight wheat taste, although this is quite rare. Otherwise very clean with no diacetyl or fusels.
 
Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp. Medium-light body, although a few versions may be medium. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Generally well-attenuated.
 
Overall Impression: A clean, crisp, delicately balanced beer usually with very subtle fruit flavors and aromas. Subdued maltiness throughout leads to a pleasantly refreshing tang in the finish. To the untrained taster easily mistaken for a light lager, a somewhat subtle Pilsner, or perhaps a blonde ale.
 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.044 - 1.050 1.007 - 1.011 20 - 30 3.5 - 5 4.4 - 5.2%



Aroma: Medium-low to low grainy-sweet-rich malt character (often with a light honey and slightly toasted cracker quality) and distinctive flowery, spicy, or herbal hops. Clean fermentation profile. May optionally have a very light sulfury note that comes from water as much as yeast. The hops are moderately-low to moderately-high, but should not totally dominate the malt presence. One-dimensional examples are inferior to the more complex qualities when all ingredients are sensed. May have a very low background note of DMS.

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

Flavor: Medium to high hop bitterness dominates the palate and lingers into the aftertaste. Moderate to moderately-low grainy-sweet malt character supports the hop bitterness. Low to high floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor. Clean fermentation profile. Dry to medium-dry, crisp, well-attenuated finish with a bitter aftertaste and light malt flavor. Examples made with water with higher sulfate levels often will have a low sulfury flavor that accentuates the dryness and lengthens the finish; this is acceptable but not mandatory. Some versions have a soft finish with more of a malt flavor, but still with noticeable hop bitterness and flavor, with the balance still towards bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium to high carbonation

Overall Impression: A light-bodied, highly-attenuated, gold-colored, bottom-fermented bitter German beer showing excellent head retention and an elegant, floral hop aroma. Crisp, clean, and refreshing, a German Pils showcases the finest quality German malt and hops. 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.044 - 1.050 1.008 - 1.013 25 - 45 2 - 5 4.4 - 5.2%



This category groups amber-colored, German-origin, bottom-fermented lagerbiers that have a malty balance and are vollbier to starkbier in strength.
Aroma: Moderate intensity aroma of German malt, typically rich, bready, somewhat toasty, with light bread crust notes. Clean lager fermentation character. No hop aroma. Caramel, dry-biscuity, or roasted malt aromas inappropriate. Very light alcohol might be detected, but should never be sharp. Clean, elegant malt richness should be the primary aroma.

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

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

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

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

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.054 – 1.060 1.010 – 1.014 18 – 24 8 – 17 5.8 – 6.3%





This category groups amber-colored, evenly balanced to bitter balanced beers of German or Austrian origin

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

Appearance: Light reddish amber to copper color. Bright clarity. Large, off-white, persistent head.
Flavor: Soft, elegant malt complexity is in the forefront, with a firm enough hop bitterness to provide a balanced finish. Some toasted character from the use of Vienna malt. No roasted or caramel flavor. Fairly dry finish, with both malt and hop bitterness present in the aftertaste. Noble hop flavor may be low to none.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, with a gentle creaminess. Moderate carbonation. Smooth. Moderately crisp finish. May have a bit of alcohol warming.
Overall Impression: A moderate-strength amber lager with a soft, smooth maltiness and moderate bitterness, yet finishing relatively dry. The malt flavor is clean, bready-rich, and somewhat toasty, with an elegant impression derived from quality base malts and process, not specialty malts and adjuncts.
  
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.048 - 1.055 1.010 - 1.014 18 - 30 9 - 15 4.7 – 5.5%





Aroma: Clean yet robust and complex aroma of grainy-rich malt and spicy hops with restrained (low to medium-low) fruity esters. The malt character reflects German base malt varieties, with rich baked bread and nutty-toasty bread crust notes. The hop aroma may vary from moderate to low, and can have a peppery, spicy, floral, herbal or perfumy character associated with Saazer-type hops.

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

Flavor: Assertive hop bitterness well balanced by a sturdy yet clean and crisp malt character. The malt presence is moderated by medium-high to high attenuation, but considerable rich, complex, and somewhat grainy malt flavors can remain. Some fruity esters (especially cherry-like) may survive the lagering period. A long-lasting, medium-dry to dry, bittersweet or nutty finish reflects both the hop bitterness and malt complexity. Spicy, peppery or floral hop flavor can be moderate to low. No roasted malt flavors or harshness. The apparent bitterness level is sometimes masked by the malt character; the bitterness can seem as low as moderate if the finish is not very dry. Light sulfury or minerally character optional.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Smooth. Medium to mediumhigh carbonation, although can be lower when served from the cask. Astringency low to none. Despite being very full of flavor, is light-bodied enough to be consumed as a gravity-fed session beer in its home brewpubs in Düsseldorf.

Overall Impression: A well-balanced, well-attenuated, bitter yet malty, clean, and smooth, amber- to copper-colored German beer. The bitterness is balanced by the malt richness, but the malt intensity and character can range from moderate to high (the bitterness increases with the malt richness). 
 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.044 – 1.052 1.008 – 1.014 25 – 50 11 – 17 4.3 – 5.5%



Aroma: Reflects base style. Typically has additional yeast character, with byproducts not frequently found in well-lagered German beers (such as diacetyl, sulfur, and acetaldehyde).

Appearance: Reflects base style. Typically can be somewhat hazy or cloudy, and likely a little darker in appearance than the base style.

Flavor: Reflects base style. Typically has additional yeast character, with some byproducts not frequently found in welllagered German beers (such as diacetyl, sulfur, and acetaldehyde), although not at objectionable levels.

Mouthfeel: Reflects base style. Has a bit more body and creamy texture due to yeast in suspension, and may have a slight slickness if diacetyl is present. May have a lower carbonation than the base style.
This category contains German vollbier lagers darker than amber-brown color.

Aroma: Rich, elegant, deep malt sweetness, typically like bread crusts (often toasted bread crusts). Hints of chocolate, nuts, caramel, and/or toffee are also acceptable, with fresh traditional versions often showing higher levels of chocolate. Clean fermentation profile. A slight spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma is acceptable.

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

Flavor: Dominated by the soft, rich, and complex flavor of darker Munich malts, usually with overtones reminiscent of toasted bread crusts, but without a burnt-harsh-grainy toastiness. The palate can be moderately malty, although it should not be overwhelming or cloyingly sweet. Mild caramel, toast or nuttiness may be present. Very fresh examples often have a pleasant malty-chocolate character that isn’t roasty or sweet. Burnt or bitter flavors from roasted malts are inappropriate, as are pronounced caramel flavors from crystal malt. Hop bitterness is moderately low but perceptible, with the balance tipped firmly towards maltiness. Hop flavor is low to none; if noted, should reflect floral, spicy, or herbal Germantype varieties. Aftertaste remains malty, although the hop bitterness may become more apparent in the medium-dry finish. Clean fermentation profile and lager character.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body, providing a soft and dextrinous mouthfeel without being heavy or cloying. Moderate carbonation. 

 

Overall Impression: Characterized by depth and complexity of Munich malt and the accompanying melanoidins. Rich Munich flavors, but not as intense as a bock or as roasted as a schwarzbier.

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.048 - 1.056 1.010 - 1.016 18 - 28 14 - 28 4.5 - 5.6%





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

Appearance: Medium to very dark brown in color, often with deep ruby to garnet highlights, yet almost never truly black. Very clear. Large, persistent, tan-colored head.
Flavor: Light to moderate malt flavor, which can have a clean, neutral character to a rich, sweet, Munich-like intensity. Light to moderate roasted malt flavors can give a bitter-chocolate palate that lasts into the finish, but which are never burnt. Medium-low to medium bitterness, which can last into the finish. Light to moderate noble hop flavor. Clean lager character with no fruity esters or diacetyl. Aftertaste tends to dry out slowly and linger, featuring hop bitterness with a complementary but subtle roastiness in the background. Some residual sweetness is acceptable but not required.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Moderate to moderately high carbonation. Smooth. No harshness or astringency, despite the use of dark, roasted malts.
Overall Impression: A dark German lager that balances roasted yet smooth malt flavors with moderate hop bitterness.
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.046 - 1.052 1.010 - 1.016 22 - 32 17 - 30+ 4.4 - 5.4%




This category contains more strongly flavored and higher alcohol lagers from Germany and the Baltic region. Most are dark, but some pale versions are known.

Aroma: Very strong maltiness. Darker versions will have significant melanoidins and often some toasty aromas. A light caramel flavor from a long boil is acceptable. Lighter versions will have a strong malt presence with some melanoidins and toasty notes. Virtually no hop aroma, although a light noble hop aroma is acceptable in pale versions. No diacetyl. A moderately low fruity aspect to the aroma often described as prune, plum or grape may be present (but is optional) in dark versions due to reactions between malt, the boil, and aging. A very slight chocolate-like aroma may be present in darker versions, but no roasted or burned aromatics should ever be present. Moderate alcohol aroma may be present.

Appearance: Deep gold to dark brown in color. Darker versions often have ruby highlights. Lagering should provide good clarity. Large, creamy, persistent head (color varies with base style: white for pale versions, off-white for dark varieties). Stronger versions might have impaired head retention, and can display noticeable legs.

Flavor: Very rich and malty. Darker versions will have significant melanoidins and often some toasty flavors. Lighter versions will a strong malt flavor with some melanoidins and toasty notes. A very slight chocolate flavor is optional in darker versions, but should never be perceived as roasty or burnt. Clean lager flavor with no diacetyl. Some fruitiness (prune, plum or grape) is optional in darker versions. Invariably there will be an impression of alcoholic strength, but this should be smooth and warming rather than harsh or burning. Presence of higher alcohols (fusels) should be very low to none. Little to no hop flavor (more is acceptable in pale versions). Hop bitterness varies from moderate to moderately low but always allows malt to dominate the flavor. Most versions are fairly sweet, but should have an impression of attenuation. The sweetness comes from low hopping, not from incomplete fermentation. Paler versions generally have a drier finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body. Moderate to moderately-low carbonation. Very smooth without harshness or astringency.

Overall Impression: A very strong and rich lager. A bigger version of either a traditional bock or a helles bock.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.046 - 1.052 1.016 - 1.024+ 16 - 26+ 6 - 25 7 - 10+%




Aroma: Dominated by a balance of rich, intense malt and a definite alcohol presence. No hop aroma. No diacetyl. May have significant fruity esters, particularly those reminiscent of plum, prune or grape. Alcohol aromas should not be harsh or solventy.

Appearance: Deep copper to dark brown in color, often with attractive ruby highlights. Lagering should provide good clarity. Head retention may be impaired by higher-than-average alcohol content and low carbonation. Off-white to deep ivory colored head. Pronounced legs are often evident.

Flavor: Rich, sweet malt balanced by a significant alcohol presence. The malt can have melanoidins, toasty qualities, some caramel, and occasionally a slight chocolate flavor. No hop flavor. Hop bitterness just offsets the malt sweetness enough to avoid a cloying character. No diacetyl. May have significant fruity esters, particularly those reminiscent of plum, prune or grape. The alcohol should be smooth, not harsh or hot, and should help the hop bitterness balance the strong malt presence. The finish should be of malt and alcohol, and can have a certain dryness from the alcohol. It should not by sticky, syrupy or cloyingly sweet. Clean, lager character.

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

Overall Impression: An extremely strong, full and malty dark lager.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.078 - 1.120+ 1.020 - 1.035+ 25 - 35+ 18 - 30+ 9 - 14+%




Aroma: Rich malty sweetness often containing caramel, toffee, nutty to deep toast, and/or licorice notes. Complex alcohol and ester profile of moderate strength, and reminiscent of plums, prunes, raisins, cherries or currants, occasionally with a vinous Port-like quality. Some darker malt character that is deep chocolate, coffee or molasses but never burnt. No hops. No sourness. Very smooth.

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

Flavor: As with aroma, has a rich malty sweetness with a complex blend of deep malt, dried fruit esters, and alcohol. Has a prominent yet smooth schwarzbier-like roasted flavor that stops short of burnt. Mouth-filling and very smooth. Clean lager character; no diacetyl. Starts sweet but darker malt flavors quickly dominates and persists through finish. Just a touch dry with a hint of roast coffee or licorice in the finish. Malt can have a caramel, toffee, nutty, molasses and/or licorice complexity. Light hints of black currant and dark fruits. Medium-low to medium bitterness from malt and hops, just to provide balance. Hop flavor from slightly spicy hops (Lublin or Saaz types) ranges from none to medium-low.

Mouthfeel: Generally quite full-bodied and smooth, with a well-aged alcohol warmth (although the rarer lower gravity Carnegie-style versions will have a medium body and less warmth). Medium to medium-high carbonation, making it seem even more mouth-filling. Not heavy on the tongue due to carbonation level. Most versions are in the 7-8.5% ABV range.

Overall Impression: A Baltic Porter often has the malt flavors reminiscent of an English brown porter and the restrained roast of a schwarzbier, but with a higher OG and alcohol content than either. Very complex, with multi-layered flavors.


OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.060 - 1.090 1.016 - 1.024 20 - 40 17 - 30 5.5 - 9.5%
This category contains vollbier- and starkbier-strength German wheat beers without sourness, in light and dark colors.

Aroma: Moderate to strong phenols (usually clove) and fruity esters (usually banana). The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester components can vary but the best examples are reasonably balanced and fairly prominent. Noble hop character ranges from low to none. A light to moderate wheat aroma (which might be perceived as bready or grainy) may be present but other malt characteristics should not. No diacetyl or DMS. Optional, but acceptable, aromatics can include a light, citrusy tartness, a light to moderate vanilla character, and/or a low bubblegum aroma. None of these optional characteristics should be high or dominant, but often can add to the complexity and balance.

Appearance: Pale straw to very dark gold in color. A very thick, moussy, long-lasting white head is characteristic. The high protein content of wheat impairs clarity in an unfiltered beer, although the level of haze is somewhat variable. A beer “mit hefe” is also cloudy from suspended yeast sediment (which should be roused before drinking). The filtered Krystal version has no yeast and is brilliantly clear.

Flavor: Low to moderately strong banana and clove flavor. The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester components can vary but the best examples are reasonably balanced and fairly prominent. Optionally, a very light to moderate vanilla character and/or low bubblegum notes can accentuate the banana flavor, sweetness and roundness; neither should be dominant if present. The soft, somewhat bready or grainy flavor of wheat is complementary, as is a slightly sweet Pils malt character. Hop flavor is very low to none, and hop bitterness is very low to moderately low. A tart, citrusy character from yeast and high carbonation is often present. Well rounded, flavorful palate with a relatively dry finish. No diacetyl or DMS.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body; never heavy. Suspended yeast may increase the perception of body. The texture of wheat imparts the sensation of a fluffy, creamy fullness that may progress to a light, spritzy finish aided by high carbonation. Always effervescent.

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

 


OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.044 - 1.052 1.010 - 1.014 8 - 15 2 - 8 4.3 - 5.6%

Aroma: Moderate to strong phenols (usually clove) and fruity esters (usually banana). The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester components can vary but the best examples are reasonably balanced and fairly prominent. Optionally, a low to moderate vanilla character and/or low bubblegum notes may be present, but should not dominate. Noble hop character ranges from low to none. A light to moderate wheat aroma (which might be perceived as bready or grainy) may be present and is often accompanied by a caramel, bread crust, or richer malt aroma (e.g., from Vienna and/or Munich malt). Any malt character is supportive and does not overpower the yeast character. No diacetyl or DMS. A light tartness is optional but acceptable.

Appearance: Light copper to mahogany brown in color. A very thick, moussy, long-lasting off-white head is characteristic. The high protein content of wheat impairs clarity in this traditionally unfiltered style, although the level of haze is somewhat variable. The suspended yeast sediment (which should be roused before drinking) also contributes to the cloudiness.

Flavor: Low to moderately strong banana and clove flavor. The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester components can vary but the best examples are reasonably balanced and fairly prominent. Optionally, a very light to moderate vanilla character and/or low bubblegum notes can accentuate the banana flavor, sweetness and roundness; neither should be dominant if present. The soft, somewhat bready or grainy flavor of wheat is complementary, as is a richer caramel and/or melanoidin character from Munich and/or Vienna malt. The malty richness can be low to medium-high, but shouldn’t overpower the yeast character. A roasted malt character is inappropriate. Hop flavor is very low to none, and hop bitterness is very low to low. A tart, citrusy character from yeast and high carbonation is sometimes present, but typically muted. Well rounded, flavorful, often somewhat sweet palate with a relatively dry finish. No diacetyl or DMS.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium-full body. The texture of wheat as well as yeast in suspension imparts the sensation of a fluffy, creamy fullness that may progress to a lighter finish, aided by moderate to high carbonation. The presence of Munich and/or Vienna malts also provide an additional sense of richness and fullness. Effervescent.

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


OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.044 - 1.056 1.010 - 1.014 10 - 18 14 - 23 4.3 - 5.6%

Aroma: Medium-high to high malty-rich character with a significant bready-grainy wheat component. Paler versions will have a bready-toasty malty richness, while darker versions will have a deeper, richer malt presence with significant Maillard products. The malt component is similar to a helles bock for pale versions (grainy-sweet-rich, lightly toasted) or a dunkles bock for dark versions (bready-malty-rich, highly toasted, optional caramel). The yeast contributes a typical weizen character of banana and spice (clove, vanilla), which can be medium-low to medium-high. Darker versions can have some dark fruit aroma (plums, prunes, grapes, raisins), particularly as they age. A low to moderate alcohol aroma is acceptable, but shouldn’t be hot or solventy. No hop aroma. The malt, yeast, and alcohol intertwine to produce a complex, inviting, prominent bouquet.

 

Appearance: Pale and dark versions exist, with pale versions being light gold to light amber, and dark versions being dark amber to dark ruby-brown in color. A very thick, moussy, longlasting white to off-white (pale versions) or light tan (dark versions) head is characteristic. The high protein content of wheat impairs clarity in this traditionally unfiltered style, although the level of haze is somewhat variable. Suspended yeast sediment can contribute to the cloudiness

 

Flavor: Similar to the aroma, a medium-high to high maltyrich flavor together with a significant bready-grainy wheat flavor. Paler versions will have a bready, toasty, grainy-sweet malt richness, while darker versions will have deeper, breadyrich or toasted malt flavors with significant Maillard products, optional caramel. Low to moderate banana and spice (clove, vanilla) yeast character. Darker versions can have some dark fruit flavor (plums, prunes, grapes, raisins), particularly as they age. A light chocolate character (but not roast) is optional in darker versions. No hop flavor. A low hop bitterness can give a slightly sweet palate impression, but the beer typically finishes dry (sometimes enhanced by a light alcohol character). The interplay between the malt, yeast, and alcohol adds complexity and interest, which is often enhanced with age.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body. A fluffy or creamy texture is typical, as is the mild warming sensation of substantial alcohol content. Moderate to high carbonation.

 

Overall Impression: A strong, malty, fruity, wheat-based ale combining the best malt and yeast flavors of a weissbier (pale or dark) with the malty-rich flavor, strength, and body of a Dunkles Bock or Doppelbock

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.064 – 1.090 1.015 – 1.022 15 - 30 6 - 25 6.5 – 9.0%




The family of British bitters grew out of English pale ales as a draught product in the late 1800s. The use of crystal malts in bitters became more widespread after WWI. Traditionally served very fresh under no pressure (gravity or hand pump only) at cellar temperatures (i.e., “real ale”). Most bottled or kegged versions of UK-produced bitters are often higher-alcohol and more highly carbonated versions of cask products produced for export, and have a different character and balance than their draught counterparts in Britain (often being sweeter and less hoppy than the cask versions). These guidelines reflect the “real ale” version of the style, not the export formulations of commercial products. Several regional variations of bitter exist, ranging from darker, sweeter versions served with nearly no head to brighter, hoppier, paler versions with large foam stands, and everything in between. Judges should not over-emphasize the caramel component of these styles. Exported bitters can be oxidized, which increases caramellike flavors (as well as more negative flavors). Do not assume that oxidation-derived flavors are traditional or required for the style.

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

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

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

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

 

Overall Impression: Low gravity, low alcohol levels and low carbonation make this an easy-drinking beer. Some examples can be more malt balanced, but this should not override the overall bitter impression. Drinkability is a critical component of the style; emphasis is still on the bittering hop addition as opposed to the aggressive middle and late hopping seen in American ales.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.032 - 1.040 1.007 - 1.011 25 - 35 4 - 14 3.2 - 3.8%




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

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

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

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

 

Overall Impression: A flavorful, yet refreshing, session beer. Some examples can be more malt balanced, but this should not override the overall bitter impression. Drinkability is a critical component of the style; emphasis is still on the bittering hop addition as opposed to the aggressive middle and late hopping seen in American ales.

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.040 - 1.048 1.008 - 1.012 25 - 40 8 - 16 3.8 - 4.6%




Aroma: Hop aroma moderately-high to moderately-low, and can use any variety of hops although UK hops are most traditional. Medium to medium-high malt aroma, often with a low to moderately strong caramel component (although this character will be more subtle in paler versions). Medium-low to medium-high fruity esters. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed. May have light, secondary notes of sulfur and/or alcohol in some examples (optional).

 

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

 

Flavor: Medium-high to medium bitterness with supporting malt flavors evident. Normally has a moderately low to somewhat strong caramelly malt sweetness. Hop flavor moderate to moderately high (any variety, although earthy, resiny, and/or floral UK hops are most traditional). Hop bitterness and flavor should be noticeable, but should not totally dominate malt flavors. May have low levels of secondary malt flavors (e.g., nutty, biscuity) adding complexity. Moderately-low to high fruity esters. Optionally may have low amounts of alcohol, and up to a moderate minerally/sulfury flavor. Medium-dry to dry finish (particularly if sulfate water is used). Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

 

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

 

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

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.048 - 1.060+ 1.010 - 1.016 30 - 50+ 8 - 18 4.6 - 6.2%




This category contains pale, moderately-strong, hop-forward, bitter ales from countries within the former British Empire.
Aroma: Hop aroma is moderately low to moderately high, and can use any variety of hops – floral, herbal, or earthy English hops and citrusy American hops are most common. Frequently a single hop varietal will be showcased. Little to no malt aroma; no caramel. Medium-low to low fruity aroma from the hops rather than esters. Little to no diacetyl.

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

Flavor: Medium to medium-high bitterness. Hop flavor is moderate to moderately high of any hop variety, although citrus flavors are increasingly common. Medium-low to low malt character, generally bready with perhaps a little biscuity flavor. Caramel flavors are typically absent. Little to no diacetyl. Hop bitterness and flavor should be pronounced. Moderately-low to low esters. Medium-dry to dry finish. Bitterness increases with alcohol level, but is always balanced.

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

Overall Impression: A hop-forward, average-strength to moderately-strong pale bitter. Drinkability and a refreshing quality are critical components of the style.


OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.038 – 1.053 1.006 – 1.012 20 – 45 2 – 6 3.8 – 5.0%

Aroma: A moderate to moderately high hop aroma of floral, earthy or fruity nature is typical, although the intensity of hop character is usually lower than American versions. A slightly grassy dry-hop aroma is acceptable, but not required. A moderate caramel-like or toasty malt presence is common. Low to moderate fruitiness, either from esters or hops, can be present. Some versions may have a sulfury note, although this character is not mandatory.

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

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to high, with a moderate to assertive hop bitterness. The hop flavor should be similar to the aroma (floral, earthy, fruity, and/or slightly grassy). Malt flavor should be medium-low to medium-high, but should be noticeable, pleasant, and support the hop aspect. The malt should show an English character and be somewhat bready, biscuit-like, toasty, toffee-like and/or caramelly. Despite the substantial hop character typical of these beers, sufficient malt flavor, body and complexity to support the hops will provide the best balance. Very low levels of diacetyl are acceptable, and fruitiness from the fermentation or hops adds to the overall complexity. Finish is medium to dry, and bitterness may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. If high sulfate water is used, a distinctively minerally, dry finish, some sulfur flavor, and a lingering bitterness are usually present. Some clean alcohol flavor can be noted in stronger versions. Oak is inappropriate in this style.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-light to medium-bodied mouthfeel without hop-derived astringency, although moderate to medium-high carbonation can combine to render an overall dry sensation in the presence of malt sweetness. Some smooth alcohol warming can and should be sensed in stronger (but not all) versions.

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

 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.050 - 1.075 1.010 - 1.018 40 - 60 6 - 14 5 - 7.5%
While Dark Mild, Brown Ale, and English Porter may have long and storied histories, these guidelines describe the modern versions. They are grouped together for judging purposes only since they often have similar flavors and balance, not because of any implied common ancestry. The similar characteristics are low to moderate strength, dark color, generally malty balance, and British ancestry. These styles have no historic relationship to each other; especially, none of these styles evolved into any of the others, or was ever a component of another. The category name was never used historically to describe this grouping of beers; it is our name for the judging category. “Brown Beer” was a distinct and important historical product, and is not related to this category name.

Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, and may have some fruitiness. The malt expression can take on a wide range of character, which can include caramel, toffee, grainy, toasted, nutty, chocolate, or lightly roasted. Little to no hop aroma, earthy or floral if present. Very low to no diacetyl.

Appearance: Copper to dark brown or mahogany color. A few paler examples (medium amber to light brown) exist. Generally clear, although is traditionally unfiltered. Low to moderate offwhite to tan head; retention may be poor.

Flavor: Generally a malty beer, although may have a very wide range of malt- and yeast-based flavors (e.g., malty, sweet, caramel, toffee, toast, nutty, chocolate, coffee, roast, fruit, licorice, plum, raisin). Can finish sweet to dry. Versions with darker malts may have a dry, roasted finish. Low to moderate bitterness, enough to provide some balance but not enough to overpower the malt. Fruity esters moderate to none. Diacetyl and hop flavor low to none.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Generally low to mediumlow carbonation. Roast-based versions may have a light astringency. Sweeter versions may seem to have a rather full mouthfeel for the gravity.

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

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.030 - 1.038 1.008 - 1.013 10 - 25 12 - 25 3.0 – 3.8%
Aroma: Light, sweet malt aroma with toffee, nutty, or light chocolate notes, and a light to heavy caramel quality. A light but appealing floral or earthy hop aroma may also be noticed. A light fruity aroma may be evident, but should not dominate.

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

Flavor: Gentle to moderate malt sweetness, with a light to heavy caramel character and a medium to dry finish. Malt may also have a nutty, toasted, biscuity, toffee, or light chocolate character. Medium to medium-low bitterness. Malt-hop balance ranges from even to malt-focused; hop flavor low to none (floral or earthy qualities). Low to moderate fruity esters can be present.

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

Overall Impression: A malty, brown caramel-centric British ale without the roasted flavors of a Porter. 

 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.040 – 1.052 1.008 – 1.013 20 – 30 12 – 22 4.2 – 5.4%

Aroma: Moderate to moderately low bready, biscuity, and toasty malt aroma with mild roastiness, and may have a chocolate quality. May also show some non-roasted malt character in support (caramelly, nutty, toffee-like and/or sweet). May have up to a moderate level of floral or earthy hops. Fruity esters moderate to none. Diacetyl low to none.

Appearance: Light brown to dark brown in color, often with ruby highlights when held up to light. Good clarity, although may approach being opaque. Moderate off-white to light tan head with good to fair retention.

Flavor: Moderate bready, biscuity, and toasty malt flavor includes a mild to moderate roastiness (frequently with a chocolate character) and often a significant caramel, nutty, and/or toffee character. May have other secondary flavors such as coffee, licorice, biscuits or toast in support. Should not have a significant burnt or harsh roasted flavor, although small amounts may contribute a bitter chocolate complexity. Earthy or floral hop flavor moderate to none. Medium-low to medium hop bitterness will vary the balance from slightly malty to slightly bitter. Usually fairly well-attenuated, although can be somewhat sweet. Diacetyl moderately-low to none. Moderate to low fruity esters.

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

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

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.040 - 1.052

1.008 - 1.014

18 - 35 20 - 30 4 - 5.4%
The original meaning of ‘schilling’ (/-) ales have been described incorrectly for years. A single style of beer was never designated as a 60/-, 70/- or 80/-. The schillings only referring to the cost of the barrel of beer. Meaning there were 54/- Stouts and 86/- IPAs and so on. The Scottish Ales in question were termed Light, Heavy and Export which cover the spectrum of costs from around 60/- to 90/- and simply dark, malt-focused ales. The larger 120/- ales fall outside of this purview as well as the strongest Scotch ales (aka Wee Heavy).The Scottish Light, Heavy and Export guidelines read nearly the same for each style of beers. As the gravity increases, so does the character of the beers in question. Historically, the three types of beer were parti-gyled to different strengths, and represented an adaptation of English pale ales but with reduced strengths and hopping rates, and darker colors (often from added caramel). More modern versions (post-WWII, at least), tended to use more complex grists.

Aroma: Low to medium maltiness, often with flavors of toasted breadcrumbs, lady fingers, and English biscuits. Low to medium caramel and low butterscotch is allowable. Light pome fruitiness in best examples. May have low traditional English hop aroma (earthy, floral, orange-citrus, spicy, etc.). Peat smoke is inappropriate.

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

Flavor: Entirely malt-focused, with flavors ranging from pale, bready malt with caramel overtones to rich-toasty malt with roasted accents (but never roasty) or a combination thereof. Fruity esters are not required but add depth yet are never high. Hop bitterness to balance the malt. No to low hop flavor is also allowed and should of traditional English character (earthy, floral, orange-citrus, spicy, etc.). Finish ranges from rich and malty to dry and grainy. A subtle butterscotch character is acceptable; however, burnt sugars are not. The malt-hop balance tilts toward malt. Peat smoke is inappropriate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low to medium body. Low to moderate carbonation. Can be relatively rich and creamy to dry and grainy.

Overall Impression: A malt-focused, generally caramelly beer with perhaps a few esters and occasionally a butterscotch aftertaste. Hops only to balance and support the malt. The malt character can range from dry and grainy to rich, toasty, and caramelly, but is never roasty and especially never has a peat smoke character. Traditionally the darkest of the Scottish ales, sometimes nearly black but lacking any burnt, overtly roasted character. 

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.030 - 1.035 1.010 - 1.013 10 - 20 17 - 22 2.5 - 3.2%
The traditional beers of Ireland contained in this category are amber to dark, top-fermented beers of moderate to slightly strong strength, and are often widely misunderstood due to differences in export versions, or overly focusing on the specific attributes of beer produced by high-volume, well-known breweries. Each of the styles in this grouping has a wider range than is commonly believed.

Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, either neutral-grainy or with a lightly caramelly-toasty-toffee character. May have a very light buttery character (although this is not required). Hop aroma is low earthy or floral to none (usually not present). Quite clean.

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

Flavor: Moderate to very little caramel malt flavor and sweetness, rarely with a light buttered toast or toffee-like quality. The palate often is fairly neutral and grainy, or can take on a lightly toasty or biscuity note as it finishes with a light taste of roasted grain, which lends a characteristic dryness to the finish. A light earthy or floral hop flavor is optional. Medium to medium-low hop bitterness. Medium-dry to dry finish. Clean and smooth. Little to no esters. The balance tends to be slightly towards the malt, although light use of roasted grains may increase the perception of bitterness slightly.

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

Overall Impression: An easy-drinking pint. Malt-focused with an initial sweetness and a roasted dryness in the finish.

 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.036 – 1.046 1.010 – 1.014 18 - 28 9 - 14 3.8 – 5.0%
Aroma: Moderate coffee-like aroma typically dominates; may have slight dark chocolate, cocoa and/or roasted grain secondary notes. Esters medium-low to none. Hop aroma low to none, may be lightly earthy or floral, but is typically absent.

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

Flavor: Moderate roasted grain or malt flavor with a medium to high hop bitterness. The finish can be dry and coffee-like to moderately balanced with a touch of caramel or malty sweetness. Typically has coffee-like flavors, but also may have a bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate character in the palate, lasting into the finish. Balancing factors may include some creaminess, medium-low to no fruitiness, and medium to no hop flavor (often earthy). The level of bitterness is somewhat variable, as is the roasted character and the dryness of the finish; allow for interpretation by brewers.

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

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

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.036 – 1.044 1.007 – 1.011 25 – 45 25 – 40 4.0 – 4.5%

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

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

Flavor: Moderate to moderately high dark-roasted grain or malt flavor with a medium to medium-high hop bitterness. The finish can be dry and coffee-like to moderately balanced with up to moderate caramel or malty sweetness. Typically has roasted coffee-like flavors, but also often has a dark chocolate character in the palate, lasting into the finish. Background mocha, biscuit, or vanilla flavors are often present and add complexity. Medium-low to no fruitiness. Medium to no hop flavor (often earthy or spicy). The level of bitterness is  somewhat variable, as is the roasted character and the dryness of the finish; allow for interpretation by brewers.

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

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

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.052 – 1.062 1.010 – 1.014 35 – 50 25 – 40 5.5 – 6.5%




This category contains average to strong, bitter to sweet, modern British and Irish stouts that originated in England even if some are now more widely associated with Ireland. In this case, “British” means the broader British Isles not Great Britain.

Aroma: Mild roasted grain aroma, sometimes with coffee and/or chocolate notes. An impression of cream-like sweetness often exists. Fruitiness can be low to moderately high. Diacetyl low to none. Hop aroma low to none.

 

Appearance: Very dark brown to black in color. Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear). Creamy tan to brown head.

 

Flavor: Dark roasted grains and malts dominate the flavor as in dry stout, and provide coffee and/or chocolate flavors. Hop bitterness is moderate (lower than in dry stout). Medium to high sweetness (often from the addition of lactose) provides a counterpoint to the roasted character and hop bitterness, and lasts into the finish. Low to moderate fruity esters. Diacetyl low to none. The balance between dark grains/malts and sweetness can vary, from quite sweet to moderately dry and somewhat roasty.

 

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

 

Overall Impression: A very dark, sweet, full-bodied, slightly roasty ale. Often tastes like sweetened espresso.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.044 – 1.060 1.012 – 1.024 20 - 40 30 - 40+ 4.0 – 6.0%


Aroma: Mild roasted grain aromas, often with a coffee-like character. A light sweetness can imply a coffee-and-cream impression. Fruitiness should be low to medium. Diacetyl medium-low to none. Hop aroma low to none (UK varieties most common). A light oatmeal aroma is optional.

 

Appearance: Medium brown to black in color. Thick, creamy, persistent tan- to brown-colored head. Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear).

 

Flavor: Similar to the aroma, with a mild roasted coffee to coffee-and-cream flavor, and low to moderately-high fruitiness. Oats and dark roasted grains provide some flavor complexity; the oats can add a nutty, grainy or earthy flavor. Dark grains can combine with malt sweetness to give the impression of BJCP Beer Style Guidelines – 2015 Edition 29 milk chocolate or coffee with cream. Medium hop bitterness with the balance toward malt. Medium-sweet to medium-dry finish. Diacetyl medium-low to none. Hop flavor medium-low to none, typically earthy or floral.

 

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body, smooth, silky, sometimes an almost oily slickness from the oatmeal. Creamy. Medium to medium-high carbonation.

 

Overall Impression: A very dark, full-bodied, roasty, malty ale with a complementary oatmeal flavor. The sweetness, balance, and oatmeal impression can vary considerably

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.045 – 1.065 1.010 - 1.018 25 - 40 22 - 40 4.2 - 5.9%




This category contains the stronger, non-roasty beers of the British Isles.

Aroma: Malty-sweet with fruity esters, often with a complex blend of dried-fruit, vinous, caramelly, molasses, nutty, toffee, treacle, and/or other specialty malt aromas. Some alcohol and oxidative notes are acceptable, akin to those found in Sherry or Port. Hop aromas not usually present due to extended aging.

 

Appearance: Light amber to very dark reddish-brown color (most are fairly dark). Age and oxidation may darken the beer further. May be almost opaque (if not, should be clear). Moderate to low cream- to light tan-colored head; may be adversely affected by alcohol and age.

 

Flavor: Medium to high malt character with a luscious malt complexity, often with nutty, caramelly and/or molasses-like flavors. Light chocolate or roasted malt flavors are optional, but should never be prominent. Balance is often malty-sweet, but may be well hopped (the impression of bitterness often depends on amount of aging). Moderate to high fruity esters are common, and may take on a dried-fruit or vinous character. The finish may vary from dry to somewhat sweet. Extended aging may contribute oxidative flavors similar to a fine old Sherry, Port or Madeira. Alcoholic strength should be evident, though not overwhelming. Diacetyl low to none. Some wood-aged or blended versions may have a lactic or Brettanomyces character; but this is optional and should not be too strong (enter as a specialty beer if it is).

 

Mouthfeel: Medium to full, chewy body, although older examples may be lower in body due to continued attenuation during conditioning. Alcohol warmth is often evident and always welcome. Low to moderate carbonation, depending on age and conditioning.

 

Overall Impression: An ale of significant alcoholic strength, bigger than strong bitters and brown porters, though usually not as strong or rich as barleywine. Usually tilted toward a sweeter, maltier balance. “It should be a warming beer of the type that is best drunk in half pints by a warm fire on a cold winter’s night” – Michael Jackson.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.055 – 1.088 1.015 – 1.022 30 - 60 10 - 22 5.5 – 9.0%




Aroma: Deeply malty, with a strong caramel component. Lightly smoky secondary aromas may also be present, adding complexity; peat smoke is inappropriate. Diacetyl should be low to none. Low to moderate esters and alcohol are often present in stronger versions. Hops are very low to none, and can be slightly earthy or floral. 

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

Flavor: Richly malty with significant caramel (particularly in stronger versions). Hints of roasted malt may be present (sometimes perceived as a faint smoke character), as may some nutty character, all of which may last into the finish. Peat smoke is inappropriate. Hop flavors and bitterness are low to medium-low, so the malt presence should dominate the balance. Diacetyl should be low to none. Low to moderate esters and alcohol are usually present. Esters may suggest plums, raisins or dried fruit. The palate is usually full and sweet, but the finish may be sweet to medium-dry, sometimes with a light roasty-grainy note. 

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full-bodied, with some versions (but not all) having a thick, chewy viscosity. A smooth, alcoholic warmth is usually present and is quite welcome since it balances the malty sweetness. Moderate carbonation.

Overall Impression: Rich, malty, dextrinous, and usually caramel-sweet, these beers can give an impression that is suggestive of a dessert. Complex secondary malt and alcohol flavors prevent a one-dimensional quality. Strength and maltiness can vary, but should not be cloying or syrupy. 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.070 – 1.130 1.018 – 1.040 17 – 35 14 – 25 6.5 – 10.0%
This category contains modern American ales of average strength and light color that are moderately malty to moderately bitter.

Aroma: Light to moderate sweet malty aroma. Low to moderate fruitiness is optional, but acceptable. May have a low to medium hop aroma, and can reflect almost any hop variety. No diacetyl.

 

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

 

Flavor: Initial soft malty sweetness, but optionally some light character malt flavor (e.g., bread, toast, biscuit, wheat) can also be present. Caramel flavors typically absent. Low to medium esters optional, but are commonly found in many examples. Light to moderate hop flavor (any variety), but shouldn’t be overly aggressive. Low to medium bitterness, but the balance is normally towards the malt. Finishes medium-dry to somewhat sweet. No diacetyl.

 

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Medium to high carbonation. Smooth without harsh bitterness or astringency.

 

Overall Impression: Easy-drinking, approachable, malt-oriented American craft beer.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.038 - 1.054 1.008 - 1.013 15 - 28 3 - 6 3.8 - 5.5%




Aroma: Moderate to strong hop aroma from American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of possible characteristics, including citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon. None of these specific characteristics are required, but hops should be apparent. Low to moderate maltiness supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuit, caramelly). Fruity esters vary from moderate to none. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.

Appearance: Pale golden to light amber. Moderately large white to off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy.

Flavor: Moderate to high hop flavor, typically showing an American or New World hop character (citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc.). Low to moderate clean grainy-malt character supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity). The balance is typically towards the late hops and bitterness, but the malt presence should be supportive, not distracting. Caramel flavors are often absent or fairly restrained (but are acceptable as long as they don’t clash with the hops). Fruity yeast esters can be moderate to none, although many hop varieties are quite fruity. Moderate to high hop bitterness with a medium to dry finish. Hop flavor and bitterness often lingers into the finish, but the aftertaste should generally be clean and not harsh. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.

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

Overall Impression: A pale, refreshing and hoppy ale, yet with sufficient supporting malt to make the beer balanced and drinkable. The clean hop presence can reflect classic or modern American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of characteristics. An average-strength hop-forward pale American craft beer, generally balanced to be more accessible than modern American IPAs. 

 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.045 - 1.060
1.010 - 1.015
30 - 50
5 - 10
4.5 – 6.2%
This category contains modern American amber and brown warm-fermented beers of standard strength that can be balanced to bitter.

Aroma: Low to moderate hop aroma from dry hopping or late kettle additions of American hop varieties. A citrusy hop character is common, but not required. Moderately low to moderately high maltiness balances and sometimes masks the hop presentation, and usually shows a moderate caramel character. Esters vary from moderate to none. No diacetyl.

Appearance: Amber to coppery brown in color. Moderately large off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy.
Flavor: Moderate to high hop flavor from American hop varieties, which often but not always has a citrusy quality. Malt flavors are moderate to strong, and usually show an initial malty sweetness followed by a moderate caramel flavor (and sometimes other character malts in lesser amounts). Malt and hop bitterness are usually balanced and mutually supportive. Fruity esters can be moderate to none. Caramel sweetness and hop flavor/bitterness can linger somewhat into the medium to full finish. No diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body. Carbonation moderate to high. Overall smooth finish without astringency often associated with high hopping rates. Stronger versions may have a slight alcohol warmth.
Overall Impression:An amber, hoppy, moderate-strength American craft beer with a caramel malty flavor. The balance can vary quite a bit, with some versions being fairly malty and others being aggressively hoppy. Hoppy and bitter versions should not have clashing flavors with the caramel malt profile.
 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.045 - 1.060 1.010 - 1.015 25 - 40 10 - 17 4.5 - 6.2%

Aroma: Typically showcases the signature Northern Brewer hops (with woody, rustic or minty qualities) in moderate to high strength. Light fruitiness acceptable. Low to moderate caramel and/or toasty malt aromatics support the hops. No diacetyl.

 

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

 

Flavor: Moderately malty with a pronounced hop bitterness. The malt character is usually toasty (not roasted) and caramelly. Low to moderately high hop flavor, usually showing Northern Brewer qualities (woody, rustic, minty). Finish fairly dry and crisp, with a lingering hop bitterness and a firm, grainy malt flavor. Light fruity esters are acceptable, but otherwise clean. No diacetyl.

 

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

 

Overall Impression: A lightly fruity beer with firm, grainy maltiness, interesting toasty and caramel flavors, and showcasing the signature Northern Brewer varietal hop character.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.048 - 1.054 1.011 - 1.014 30 - 45 11 - 14 4.5 - 5.5%




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

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

Flavor: : Medium to moderately-high malty-sweet or maltyrich flavor with chocolate, caramel, nutty, and/or toasty malt complexity, with medium to medium-high bitterness. The medium to medium-dry finish provides an aftertaste having both malt and hops. Hop flavor can be light to moderate, and may optionally have a citrusy, fruity, or tropical character, although any hop flavor that complements the malt is acceptable. Very low to moderate fruity esters.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body. More bitter versions may have a dry, resiny impression. Moderate to moderately high carbonation. Stronger versions may have some alcohol warmth in the finish.

Overall Impression: A malty but hoppy beer frequently with chocolate and caramel flavors. The hop flavor and aroma complements and enhances the malt rather than clashing with it.

 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.045 - 1.060 1.010 - 1.016 20 - 40+ 18 - 35 4.3 - 6.2%
These beers all evolved from their English namesakes to be wholly transformed by American craft brewers. Generally, these styles are bigger, stronger, more roast-forward, and more hop-centric than their Anglo cousins. These styles are grouped together due to a similar shared history and flavor profile.

Aroma: Medium-light to medium-strong dark malt aroma, often with a lightly burnt character. Optionally may also show some additional malt character in support (grainy, bready, toffee-like, caramelly, chocolate, coffee, rich, and/or sweet). Hop aroma low to high, often with a resiny, earthy, or floral character. May be dry-hopped. Fruity esters are moderate to none. 

Appearance: Medium brown to very dark brown, often with ruby- or garnet-like highlights. Can approach black in color. Clarity may be difficult to discern in such a dark beer, but when not opaque will be clear (particularly when held up to the light). Full, tan-colored head with moderately good head retention. 

Flavor: Moderately strong malt flavor usually features a lightly burnt malt character (and sometimes chocolate and/or coffee flavors) with a bit of grainy, dark malt dryness in the finish. Overall flavor may finish from dry to medium-sweet. May have a sharp character from dark roasted grains, but should not be overly acrid, burnt or harsh. Medium to high bitterness, which can be accentuated by the dark malt. Hop flavor can vary from low to high with a resiny, earthy, or floral character, and balances the dark malt flavors. The dark malt and hops should not clash. Dry-hopped versions may have a resiny flavor. Fruity esters moderate to none. 

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

Overall Impression: A substantial, malty dark beer with a complex and flavorful dark malt character. 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.050 – 1.070
1.012 – 1.018 25 – 50 22 – 40 4.8 – 6.5%



Aroma: Moderate to strong aroma of roasted malts, often having a roasted coffee or dark chocolate quality. Burnt or charcoal aromas are low to none. Medium to very low hop aroma, often with a citrusy or resiny American hop character. Esters are optional, but can be present up to medium intensity. Light alcohol-derived aromatics are also optional. No diacetyl.

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

Flavor: Moderate to very high roasted malt flavors, often tasting of coffee, roasted coffee beans, dark or bittersweet chocolate. May have a slightly burnt coffee ground flavor, but this character should not be prominent if present. Low to medium malt sweetness, often with rich chocolate or caramel flavors. Medium to high bitterness. Hop flavor can be low to high, and generally reflects citrusy or resiny American varieties. Light esters may be present but are not required. Medium to dry finish, occasionally with a light burnt quality. Alcohol flavors can be present up to medium levels, but smooth. No diacetyl.

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

Overall Impression: A hoppy, bitter, strongly roasted Foreign-style Stout (of the export variety)

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.050 - 1.075 1.010 - 1.022 35 - 75 30 - 40+ 5 - 7%




Aroma: Rich and complex, with variable amounts of roasted grains, maltiness, fruity esters, hops, and alcohol. The roasted malt character can take on coffee, dark chocolate, or slightly burnt tones and can be light to moderately strong. The malt aroma can be subtle to rich and barleywine-like. May optionally show a slight specialty malt character (e.g., caramel), but this should only add complexity and not dominate. Fruity esters may be low to moderately strong, and may take on a complex, dark fruit (e.g., plums, prunes, raisins) character. Hop aroma can be very low to quite aggressive, and may contain any hop variety. An alcohol character may be present, but shouldn’t be sharp, hot, or solventy. Aged versions may have a slight vinous or port-like quality, but shouldn’t be sour. The balance can vary with any of the aroma elements taking center stage. Not all possible aromas described need be present; many interpretations are possible. Aging affects the intensity, balance and smoothness of aromatics.

Appearance: Color may range from very dark reddish-brown to jet black. Opaque. Deep tan to dark brown head. Generally has a well-formed head, although head retention may be low to moderate. High alcohol and viscosity may be visible in “legs” when beer is swirled in a glass.

Flavor: Rich, deep, complex and frequently quite intense, with variable amounts of roasted malt/grains, maltiness, fruity esters, hop bitterness and flavor, and alcohol. Medium to aggressively high bitterness. Medium-low to high hop flavor (any variety). Moderate to aggressively high roasted malt/grain flavors can suggest bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, cocoa, and/or strong coffee. A slightly burnt grain, burnt currant or tarry character may be evident. Fruity esters may be low to intense, and can take on a dark fruit character (raisins, plums, or prunes). Malt backbone can be balanced and supportive to rich and barleywine-like, and may optionally show some supporting caramel, bready or toasty flavors. The palate and finish can vary from relatively dry to moderately sweet, usually with some lingering roastiness, hop bitterness and warming character. The balance and intensity of flavors can be affected by aging, with some flavors becoming more subdued over time and some aged, vinous or port-like qualities developing. 

Mouthfeel: Full to very full-bodied and chewy, with a velvety, luscious texture (although the body may decline with long conditioning). Gentle smooth warmth from alcohol should be present and noticeable, but not a primary characteristic; in well-conditioned versions, the alcohol can be deceptive. Should not be syrupy or under-attenuated. Carbonation may be low to moderate, depending on age and conditioning.

Overall Impression: An intensely-flavored, big, dark ale with a wide range of flavor balances and regional interpretations. Roasty-burnt malt with deep dark or dried fruit flavors, and a warming, bittersweet finish. Despite the intense flavors, the components need to meld together to create a complex, harmonious beer, not a hot mess. 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.075 – 1.115 1.018 – 1.030 50 - 90 30 - 40 8 - 12%




The IPA category is for modern American IPAs and their derivatives. This does not imply that English IPAs aren’t proper IPAs or that there isn’t a relationship between them. This is simply a method of grouping similar styles for competition purposes. English IPAs are grouped with other English-derived beers, and the stronger Double IPA is grouped with stronger American beers. The term “IPA” is intentionally not spelled out as “India Pale Ale” since none of these beers historically went to India, and many aren’t pale. However, the term IPA has come to be a balance-defined style in modern craft beer.

Aroma: A prominent to intense hop aroma featuring one or more characteristics of American or New World hops, such as citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc. Many versions are dry hopped and can have an additional fresh hop aroma; this is desirable but not required. Grassiness should be minimal, if present. A low to medium-low clean, grainy-malty aroma may be found in the background. Fruitiness from yeast may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is also acceptable. A restrained alcohol note may be present, but this character should be minimal at best. Any American or New World hop character is acceptable; new hop varieties continue to be released and should not constrain this style.

Appearance: Color ranges from medium gold to medium reddish copper; some versions can have an orange-ish tint. Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy. Good head stand with white to off-white color should persist.

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to very high, and should reflect an American or New World hop character, such as citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc. Medium-high to very high hop bitterness. Malt flavor should be low to medium-low, and is generally clean and grainy-malty although some light caramel or toasty flavors are acceptable. Low yeast-derived fruitiness is acceptable but not required. Dry to medium-dry finish; residual sweetness should be low to none. The bitterness and hop flavor may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. A very light, clean alcohol flavor may be noted in stronger versions. May be slightly sulfury, but most examples do not exhibit this character.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, with a smooth texture. Medium to medium-high carbonation. No harsh hopderived astringency. Very light, smooth alcohol warming not a fault if it does not intrude into overall balance.

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

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.056 - 1.075 1.008 – 1.014 40 - 70 6 - 14 5.5 - 7.5%




Specialty IPA isn’t a distinct style, but is more appropriately thought of as a competition entry category. Beers entered as this style are not experimental beers; they are a collection of currently produced types of beer that may or may not have any market longevity. This category also allows for expansion, so potential future IPA variants (St. Patrick’s Day Green IPA, Romulan Blue IPA, Zima Clear IPA, etc.) have a place to be entered without redoing the style guidelines. The only common element is that they have the balance and overall impression of an IPA (typically, an American IPA) but with some minor tweak.

The term ‘IPA’ is used as a singular descriptor of a type of hoppy, bitter beer. It is not meant to be spelled out as ‘India Pale Ale’ when used in the context of a Specialty IPA. None of these beers ever historically went to India, and many aren’t pale. But the craft beer market knows what to expect in balance when a beer is described as an ‘IPA’ – so the modifiers used to differentiate them are based on that concept alone.

Aroma: Detectable hop aroma is required; characterization of hops is dependent on the specific type of Specialty IPA. Other aromatics may be present; hop aroma is typically the strongest element.

Appearance: Color depends on specific type of Specialty IPA. Most should be clear, although certain styles with high amounts of starchy adjuncts, or unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy. Darker types can be opaque making clarity irrelevant. Good, persistent head stand with color dependent on the specific type of Specialty IPA.

Flavor: Hop flavor is typically medium-low to high, with qualities dependent on typical varieties used in the specific Specialty IPA. Hop bitterness is typically medium-high to very high, with qualities dependent on typical varieties used in the specific Specialty IPA. Malt flavor generally low to medium, with qualities dependent on typical varieties used in the specific Specialty IPA. Commonly will have a medium-dry to dry finish. Some clean alcohol flavor can be noted in stronger versions. Various types of Specialty IPAs can show additional malt and yeast characteristics, depending on the type. Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-light to medium-bodied mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Some smooth alcohol warming can be sensed in stronger versions. 

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-light to medium-bodied mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Some smooth alcohol warming can be sensed in stronger versions.

Overall Impression: Recognizable as an IPA by balance – a hop-forward, bitter, dryish beer – with something else present to distinguish it from the standard categories. Should have good drinkability, regardless of the form. Excessive harshness and heaviness are typically faults, as are strong flavor clashes between the hops and the other specialty ingredients.

Strength classifications: Session – ABV: 3.0 – 5.0% Standard – ABV: 5.0 – 7.5% Double – ABV: 7.5 – 10.0%



Aroma: A moderate to high hop aroma, often with a stone fruit, tropical, citrusy, resinous, piney, berry, or melon character. If dry hopped, can have an additional floral, herbal, or grassy aroma, although this is not required. Very low to moderate dark malt aroma, which can optionally include light chocolate, coffee, or toast notes. Some clean or lightly caramelly malty sweetness may be found in the background. Fruitiness, either from esters or from hops, may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is also acceptable.

Appearance: Color ranges from dark brown to black. Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy; if opaque, should not be murky. Good head stand with light tan to tan color should persist.

Flavor: Medium-low to high hop flavor with tropical, stone fruit, melon, citrusy, berry, piney or resinous aspects. Mediumhigh to very high hop bitterness, although dark malts may contribute to the perceived bitterness. The base malt flavor is generally clean and of low to medium intensity, and can optionally have low caramel or toffee flavors. Dark malt flavors are low to medium-low; restrained chocolate or coffee flavors may be present, but the roasted notes should not be intense, ashy, or burnt, and should not clash with the hops. Low to moderate fruitiness (from yeast or hops) is acceptable but not required. Dry to slightly off-dry finish. The finish may include a light roast character that contributes to perceived dryness, although this is not required. The bitterness may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. Some clean alcohol flavor can be noted in stronger versions.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-light to medium-bodied mouthfeel without significant hop- or (especially) roasted maltderived astringency. Dry-hopped versions may be a bit resiny. Medium carbonation. A bit of creaminess may be present but is not required. Some smooth alcohol warming can and should be sensed in stronger (but not all) versions.

Overall Impression:
 A beer with the dryness, hop-forward balance, and flavor characteristics of an American IPA, only darker in color – but without strongly roasted or burnt flavors. The flavor of darker malts is gentle and supportive, not a major flavor component. Drinkability is a key characteristic.



OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.050 – 1.085 1.010 – 1.018 50 – 90 25 – 40 5.5 – 9%
Aroma: A moderate to moderately-strong fresh hop aroma featuring one or more characteristics of American or New World hops, such as tropical fruit, stone fruit, citrus, floral, spicy, berry, melon, pine, resinous, etc. Many versions are dry hopped and can have an additional fresh hop aroma; this is desirable but not required. Grassiness should be minimal, if present. A medium-low to medium malty-sweet aroma mixes in well with the hop selection, and often features chocolate, nuts, dark caramel, toffee, toasted bread, and/or dark fruit character. Fruitiness from yeast may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is also acceptable. A restrained alcohol note may be present, but this character should be minimal at best. Any American or New World hop character is acceptable; new hop varieties continue to be released and should not constrain this style.

Appearance: Color ranges from reddish-brown to dark brown but not black. Frequently opaque, but should be clear if visible. Unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy. Medium-sized, cream-colored to tan head with good persistence.

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to high, and should reflect an American or New World hop character, such as citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, Medium-high to high hop bitterness. Malt flavor should be medium-low to medium, and is generally clean but malty-sweet up front with milk chocolate, cocoa, toffee, nutty, biscuity, dark caramel, toasted bread and/or dark fruit malt flavors. The character malt choices and the hop selections should complement and enhance each other, not clash. The level of malt flavor should nearly balance the hop bitterness and flavor presentation. Low yeast-derived fruitiness is acceptable but not required. Dry to medium finish; residual sweetness should be medium-low to none. The bitterness and hop flavor may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. A very light, clean alcohol flavor may be noted in stronger versions. No roasted, burnt, or harsh-bitter malt character.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, with a smooth texture. Medium to medium-high carbonation. No harsh hopderived astringency. Very light, smooth alcohol warming not a fault if it does not intrude into overall balance.

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

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.056 – 1.070 1.008 – 1.016 40 – 70 11 – 19 5.5 – 7.5%
Aroma: A prominent to intense hop aroma featuring one or more characteristics of American or New World hops, such as citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc. Many versions are dry hopped and can have an additional fresh hop aroma; this is desirable but not required. Grassiness should be minimal, if present. It may have low peppery rye malt aroma. A low to medium-low clean grainy-malty aroma may be found in the background. Fruitiness from yeast may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is also acceptable. A restrained alcohol note may be present, but this character should be minimal at best. Any American or New World hop character is acceptable; new hop varieties continue to be released and should not constrain this style.

Appearance: Color ranges from medium gold to light reddish-amber. Should be clear, although unfiltered dryhopped versions may be a bit hazy. Medium-sized, white to offwhite head with good persistence.

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to very high, and should reflect an American or New World hop character, such as citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc. Medium-high to very high hop bitterness. Malt flavor should be low to medium-low, and is generally clean and grainy-malty although some light caramel or toasty flavors are acceptable. A light grainy spiciness from rye malt should be present. Low yeast-derived fruitiness is acceptable but not required. Rye malt contributes to a dry finish; residual sweetness should be low to none. The bitterness, hop flavor and dryness may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. A very light, clean alcohol flavor may be noted in stronger versions.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, with a smooth texture. Medium to medium-high carbonation. No harsh hopderived astringency. Very light, smooth alcohol warming not a fault if it does not intrude into overall balance.

Overall Impression: A decidedly hoppy and bitter, moderately strong American pale ale, showcasing modern American and New World hop varieties and rye malt. The balance is hop-forward, with a clean fermentation profile, dry finish, and clean, supporting malt allowing a creative range of hop character to shine through. 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.056 – 1.075 1.008 – 1.014 50 – 75  6 – 14  5.5 – 8.0%





This category includes modern American strong ales with a varying balance of malt and hops. The category is defined mostly by alcohol strength and a lack of roast.

Aroma: : Hop character moderate to assertive and often showcases citrusy, fruity, or resiny New World varieties (although other varieties, such as floral, earthy or spicy English varieties or a blend of varieties, may be used). Rich maltiness, with a character that may be sweet, caramelly, bready, or fairly neutral. Low to moderately-strong fruity esters and alcohol aromatics. However, the intensity of aromatics often subsides with age. Hops tend to be nearly equal to malt in the aroma, with alcohol and esters far behind.

 

Appearance: Color may range from light amber to medium copper; may rarely be as dark as light brown. Often has ruby highlights. Moderately-low to large off-white to light tan head; may have low head retention. May be cloudy with chill haze at cooler temperatures, but generally clears to good to brilliant clarity as it warms. The color may appear to have great depth, as if viewed through a thick glass lens. High alcohol and viscosity may be visible in “legs” when beer is swirled in a glass.

 

Flavor: Strong, rich malt flavor with a noticeable hop flavor and bitterness in the balance. Moderately-low to moderatelyhigh malty sweetness on the palate, although the finish may be somewhat sweet to quite dry (depending on aging). Hop bitterness may range from moderately strong to aggressive. While strongly malty, the balance should always seem bitter. Moderate to high hop flavor (any variety, but often showing a range of New World hop characteristics). Low to moderate fruity esters. Noticeable alcohol presence, but well-integrated. Flavors will smooth out and decline over time, but any oxidized character should be muted (and generally be masked by the hop character). May have some bready or caramelly malt flavors, but these should not be high; roasted or burnt malt flavors are inappropriate.

 

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and chewy, with a velvety, luscious texture (although the body may decline with long conditioning). Alcohol warmth should be present, but not be excessively hot. Should not be syrupy and under-attenuated. Carbonation may be low to moderate, depending on age and conditioning.

 

Overall Impression: A well-hopped American interpretation of the richest and strongest of the English ales. The hop character should be evident throughout, but does not have to be unbalanced. The alcohol strength and hop bitterness often combine to leave a very long finish.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.080 - 1.120+ 1.016 - 1.030 50 - 100 10 - 19 8 - 12+%




Aroma: A prominent to intense hop aroma that can be derived from American, English and/or noble varieties (although a citrusy hop character is almost always present). Most versions are dry hopped and can have an additional resinous or grassy aroma, although this is not absolutely required. Some clean malty sweetness may be found in the background. Fruitiness, either from esters or hops, may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is typical. Some alcohol can usually be noted, but it should not have a “hot” character.

Appearance: Color ranges from golden amber to medium reddish copper; some versions can have an orange-ish tint. Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy. Good head stand with off-white color should persist.

Flavor: Hop flavor is strong and complex, and can reflect the use of American, English and/or noble hop varieties. High to absurdly high hop bitterness, although the malt backbone will generally support the strong hop character and provide the best balance. Malt flavor should be low to medium, and is generally clean and malty although some caramel or toasty flavors are acceptable at low levels. No diacetyl. Low fruitiness is acceptable but not required. A long, lingering bitterness is usually present in the aftertaste but should not be harsh. Medium-dry to dry finish. A clean, smooth alcohol flavor is usually present. Oak is inappropriate in this style. May be slightly sulfury, but most examples do not exhibit this character.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-light to medium body. No harsh hop-derived astringency, although moderate to medium-high carbonation can combine to render an overall dry sensation in the presence of malt sweetness. Smooth alcohol warming.

Overall Impression: An intensely hoppy, very strong pale ale without the big maltiness and/or deeper malt flavors of an American barleywine. Strongly hopped, but clean, lacking harshness, and a tribute to historical IPAs. Drinkability is an important characteristic; this should not be a heavy, sipping beer. It should also not have much residual sweetness or a heavy character grain profile.

 


OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.075 - 1.090+
1.012 - 1.020
60 - 100+
8 - 15
7.5 - 10+%
This category contains the traditional sour beer styles of Europe that are still produced, many (but not all) with a wheat component. Most have low bitterness, with the sourness of the beer providing the balance that hop bitterness would otherwise contribute. Some are sweetened or flavored, whether at the brewery or upon consumption.

Aroma: Complex fruitiness with complementary malt. Fruitiness is high, and reminiscent of black cherries, oranges, plums or red currants. There is often some vanilla and/or chocolate notes. Spicy phenols can be present in low amounts for complexity. The sour, acidic aroma ranges from complementary to intense. No hop aroma. Diacetyl is perceived only in very minor quantities, if at all, as a complementary aroma.

Appearance: Deep red, burgundy to reddish-brown in color. Good clarity. White to very pale tan head. Average to good head retention.

Flavor: Intense fruitiness commonly includes plum, orange, black cherry or red currant flavors. A mild vanilla and/or chocolate character is often present. Spicy phenols can be present in low amounts for complexity. Sour, acidic character ranges from complementary to intense. Malty flavors range from complementary to prominent. Generally as the sour character increases, the sweet character blends to more of a background flavor (and vice versa). No hop flavor. Restrained hop bitterness. An acidic, tannic bitterness is often present in low to moderate amounts, and adds an aged red wine-like character with a long, dry finish. Diacetyl is perceived only in very minor quantities, if at all, as a complementary flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Low to medium carbonation. Low to medium astringency, like a well-aged red wine, often with a prickly acidity. Deceivingly light and crisp on the palate although a somewhat sweet finish is not uncommon.

Overall Impression: A complex, sour, red wine-like Belgian-style ale.

History: The indigenous beer of West Flanders, typified by the products of the Rodenbach brewery, established in 1820 in West Flanders but reflective of earlier brewing traditions. The beer is aged for up to two years, often in huge oaken barrels which contain the resident bacteria necessary to sour the beer. It was once common in Belgium and England to blend old beer with young to balance the sourness and acidity found in aged beer. While blending of batches for consistency is now common among larger breweries, this type of blending is a fading art.

Ingredients: A base of Vienna and/or Munich malts, light to medium cara-malts, and a small amount of Special B are used with up to 20% maize. Low alpha acid continental hops are commonly used (avoid high alpha or distinctive American hops). Saccharomyces, Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces (and acetobacter) contribute to the fermentation and eventual flavor.

 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.046 - 1.054 1.008 - 1.016 15 - 25 10 - 16 5 - 5.5%




Aroma: A moderately sour/acidic aroma blends with aromas described as barnyard, earthy, goaty, hay, horsey, and horse blanket. While some may be more dominantly sour/acidic, balance is the key and denotes a better gueuze. Commonly fruity with aromas of citrus fruits (often grapefruit), apples or other light fruits, rhubarb, or honey. A very mild oak aroma is considered favorable. An enteric, smoky, cigar-like, or cheesy aroma is unfavorable. No hop aroma. No diacetyl.

Appearance: Golden in color. Clarity is excellent (unless the bottle was shaken). A thick rocky, mousse-like, white head seems to last forever. Always effervescent.

Flavor: A moderately sour/acidic character is classically in balance with the malt, wheat and barnyard characteristics. A low, complementary sweetness may be present but higher levels are uncharacteristic. While some may be more dominantly sour, balance is the key and denotes a better gueuze. A varied fruit flavor is common, and can have a honey-like character. A mild vanilla and/or oak flavor is occasionally noticeable. An enteric, smoky or cigar-like character is undesirable. Hop bitterness is generally absent but a very low hop bitterness may occasionally be perceived. No hop flavor. No diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-light body. In spite of the low finishing gravity, the many mouth-filling flavors prevent the beer from tasting like water. Has a low to high tart, puckering quality without being sharply astringent. Some versions have a low warming character. Highly carbonated.

Overall Impression: Complex, pleasantly sour/acidic, balanced, pale, wheat-based ale fermented by a variety of Belgian microbiota.

History: Spontaneously fermented sour ales from the area in and around Brussels (the Senne Valley) stem from a farmhouse brewing tradition several centuries old. Their numbers are constantly dwindling and some are untraditionally sweetening their products (post-fermentation) to make them more palatable to a wider audience.

Ingredients: Unmalted wheat (30-40%), Pilsner malt and aged (surannes) hops (3 years) are used. The aged hops are used more for preservative effects than bitterness, and makes actual bitterness levels difficult to estimate. Traditionally these beers are spontaneously fermented with naturally-occurring yeast and bacteria in predominately oaken barrels. Home-brewed and craft-brewed versions are more typically made with pure cultures of yeast commonly including Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces, Pediococcus and Lactobacillus in an attempt to recreate the effects of the dominant microbiota of Brussels and the surrounding countryside of the Senne River valley. Cultures taken from bottles are sometimes used but there is no simple way of knowing what organisms are still viable.


OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.040 - 1.060 1.000 - 1.006 approx 10 3 - 7 5 - 8%




Aroma: The fruit which has been added to the beer should be the dominant aroma. A low to moderately sour/acidic character blends with aromas described as barnyard, earthy, goaty, hay, horsey, and horse blanket (and thus should be recognizable as a lambic). The fruit aroma commonly blends with the other aromas. An enteric, smoky, cigar-like, or cheesy aroma is unfavorable. No hop aroma. No diacetyl.

Appearance: The variety of fruit generally determines the color though lighter-colored fruit may have little effect on the color. The color intensity may fade with age. Clarity is often good, although some fruit will not drop bright. A thick rocky, mousse-like head, sometimes a shade of fruit, is generally long-lasting. Always effervescent.

Flavor: The fruit added to the beer should be evident. A low to moderate sour and more commonly (sometimes high) acidic character is present. The classic barnyard characteristics may be low to high. When young, the beer will present its full fruity taste. As it ages, the lambic taste will become dominant at the expense of the fruit character – thus fruit lambics are not intended for long aging. A low, complementary sweetness may be present, but higher levels are uncharacteristic. A mild vanilla and/or oak flavor is occasionally noticeable. An enteric, smoky or cigar-like character is undesirable. Hop bitterness is generally absent. No hop flavor. No diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-light body. In spite of the low finishing gravity, the many mouth-filling flavors prevent the beer from tasting like water. Has a low to high tart, puckering quality without being sharply astringent. Some versions have a low warming character. Highly carbonated.

Overall Impression: Complex, fruity, pleasantly sour/acidic, balanced, pale, wheat-based ale fermented by a variety of Belgian microbiota. A lambic with fruit, not just a fruit beer.

History: Spontaneously fermented sour ales from the area in and around Brussels (the Senne Valley) stem from a farmhouse brewing tradition several centuries old. Their numbers are constantly dwindling and some are untraditionally sweetening their products (post-fermentation) with sugar or sweet fruit to make them more palatable to a wider audience. Fruit was traditionally added to lambic or gueuze, either by the blender or publican, to increase the variety of beers available in local cafes.

Ingredients: Unmalted wheat (30-40%), Pilsner malt and aged (surannes) hops (3 years) are used. The aged hops are used more for preservative effects than bitterness, and makes actual bitterness levels difficult to estimate. Traditional products use 10-30% fruit (25%, if cherry). Fruits traditionally used include tart cherries (with pits), raspberries or Muscat grapes. More recent examples include peaches, apricots or merlot grapes. Tart or acidic fruit is traditionally used as its purpose is not to sweeten the beer but to add a new dimension. Traditionally these beers are spontaneously fermented with naturally-occurring yeast and bacteria in predominately oaken barrels. Home-brewed and craft-brewed versions are more typically made with pure cultures of yeast commonly including Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces, Pediococcus and Lactobacillus in an attempt to recreate the effects of the dominant microbiota of Brussels and the surrounding countryside of the Senne River valley. Cultures taken from bottles are sometimes used but there is no simple way of knowing what organisms are still viable.


OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.040 - 1.060 1.000 - 1.010 approx 10 3 - 7 5 - 7%
IBU levels are up to approximately 10.





This category contains the maltier to balanced, more highly flavored Belgian and French ales.

Aroma: Moderate malty sweetness (often with light notes of honey and/or vanilla) with light, grainy, spicy wheat aromatics, often with a bit of tartness. Moderate perfumy coriander, often with a complex herbal, spicy, or peppery note in the background. Moderate zesty, citrusy-orangey fruitiness. A low spicy-herbal hop aroma is optional, but should never overpower the other characteristics. Vegetal, celery-like, or ham-like aromas are inappropriate. Spices should blend in with fruity, floral and sweet aromas and should not be overly strong.

Appearance: Very pale straw to very light gold in color. The beer will be very cloudy from starch haze and/or yeast, which gives it a milky, whitish-yellow appearance. Dense, white, moussy head. Head retention should be quite good.

Flavor: Pleasant malty-sweet grain flavor (often with a honey and/or vanilla character) and a zesty, orange-citrusy fruitiness. Refreshingly crisp with a dry, often tart, finish. Can have a low bready wheat flavor. Optionally has a very light lactic-tasting sourness. Herbal-spicy flavors, which may include coriander and other spices, are common should be subtle and balanced, not overpowering. A spicy-earthy hop flavor is low to none, and if noticeable, never gets in the way of the spices. Hop bitterness is low to medium-low, and doesn’t interfere with refreshing flavors of fruit and spice, nor does it persist into the finish. Bitterness from orange pith should not be present. Vegetal, celery-like, ham-like, or soapy flavors are inappropriate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, often having a smoothness and light creaminess from unmalted wheat and the occasional oats. Despite body and creaminess, finishes dry and often a bit tart. Effervescent character from high carbonation. Refreshing, from carbonation, light acidity, and lack of bitterness in finish. No harshness or astringency from orange pith. Should not be overly dry and thin, nor should it be thick and heavy

Overall Impression: A refreshing, elegant, tasty, moderate-strength wheat-based.

 


OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.044 - 1.052 1.008 - 1.012 8 - 20 2 - 4 4.5 - 5.5%

Aroma: Moderate malt aroma, which can be a combination of toasty, biscuity, or nutty, possibly with a touch of light caramel or honey. Moderate to moderately high fruitiness with an orange- or pear-like character. Low to moderate strength hop character (spicy, herbal, or floral) optionally blended with background level peppery, spicy phenols. The hop character is lower in balance than the malt and fruitiness.

Appearance: Amber to copper in color. Clarity is very good. Creamy, rocky, white head often fades more quickly than other Belgian beers.

Flavor: Has an initial soft, smooth, moderately malty flavor with a variable profile of toasty, biscuity, nutty, light caramel and/or honey notes. Moderate to moderately high fruitiness, sometimes orange- or pear-like. Relatively light (medium-low to low) spicy, herbal, or floral hop character. The hop bitterness is medium-high to medium-low, and is optionally enhanced by low to very low amounts of peppery phenols. There is a dry to balanced finish, with hops becoming more pronounced in the aftertaste of those with a drier finish. Fairly well balanced overall, with no single component being high in intensity; malt and fruitiness are more forward initially with a supportive bitterness and drying character coming on late.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-light body. Smooth palate. Alcohol level is restrained, and any warming character should be low if present. Medium to medium-high carbonation.

Overall Impression: A moderately malty, somewhat fruity, easy-drinking, copper-colored Belgian ale that is somewhat less aggressive in flavor profile than many other Belgian beers. The malt character tends to be a bit biscuity with light toasty, honey-like, or caramelly components; the fruit character is noticeable and complementary to the malt. The bitterness level is generally moderate, but may not seem as high due to the flavorful malt profile. 

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.048 - 1.054 1.010 - 1.014 20 - 30 8 - 14 4.8 - 5.5%




Aroma: Prominent malty sweetness, often with a complex, light to moderate intensity toasty-bready-rich malt character. Low to moderate esters. Little to no hop aroma (may be a bit spicy, peppery, or herbal). Paler versions will still be malty but will lack richer, deeper aromatics and may have a bit more hops. Generally quite clean, although stronger versions may have a light, spicy alcohol note as it warms.

Appearance: Three main variations exist (blond, amber and brown), so color can range from golden-blonde to reddishbronze to chestnut brown. Clarity is brilliant to fair, although haze is not unexpected in this type of often unfiltered beer. Well-formed head, generally white to off-white (varies by beer color), average persistence.

Flavor: Medium to high malt flavor often with a toasty-rich, biscuity, toffee-like or light caramel-sweet character. Malt flavors and complexity tend to increase with beer color. Low to moderate esters and alcohol flavors. Medium-low hop bitterness provides some support, but the balance is always tilted toward the malt. Darker versions will have more of an initial malty-sweet impression than paler versions, but all should be malty in the palate and finish. The malt flavor lasts into the finish, which is medium-dry to dry, never cloying. Low to no hop flavor (spicy, peppery, or herbal), although paler versions can have slightly higher levels of herbal or spicy hop flavor (which can also come from the yeast). Smooth, welllagered character, even if made with ale yeast. Aftertaste of malt (character appropriate for the color) with some dryness and light alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-light (lean) body, often with a smooth, creamy-silky character. Moderate to high carbonation. Moderate alcohol warming, but should be very smooth and never hot.

Overall Impression: A fairly strong, malt-accentuated, lagered artisanal beer with a range of malt flavors appropriate for the color. All are malty yet dry, with clean flavors and a smooth character.

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.060 - 1.080 1.008 – 1.016 18 – 28 6 – 19 6.0 – 8.5%




Aroma: Variable. Most exhibit varying amounts of fruity esters, spicy phenols and/or yeast-borne aromatics. Aromas from actual spice additions may be present. Hop aroma may be none to high, and may include a dry-hopped character. Malt aroma may be low to high, and may include character of non-barley grains such as wheat or rye. Some may include aromas of Belgian microbiota, most commonly Brettanomyces and/or Lactobacillus. No diacetyl.

Appearance: Variable. Color varies considerably from pale gold to very dark. Clarity may be hazy to clear. Head retention is usually good. Generally moderate to high carbonation.

Flavor: Variable. A great variety of flavors are found in these beers. Maltiness may be light to quite rich. Hop flavor and bitterness may be low to high. Spicy flavors may be imparted by yeast (phenolics) and/or actual spice additions. May include characteristics of grains other than barley, such as wheat or rye. May include flavors produced by Belgian microbiota such as Brettanomyces or Lactobacillus. May include flavors from adjuncts such as caramelized sugar syrup or honey.

Mouthfeel: Variable. Some are well-attenuated, thus fairly light-bodied for their original gravity, while others are thick and rich. Most are moderately to highly carbonated. A warming sensation from alcohol may be present in stronger examples. A “mouth puckering” sensation may be present from acidity.

Overall Impression: Variable. This category encompasses a wide range of Belgian ales produced by truly artisanal brewers more concerned with creating unique products than in increasing sales.

Comments: This is a catch-all category for any Belgian-style beer not fitting any other Belgian style category. The category can be used for clones of specific beers (e.g., Orval, La Chouffe); to produce a beer fitting a broader style that doesn’t have its own category; or to create an artisanal or experimental beer of the brewer’s own choosing (e.g., strong Belgian golden ale with spices, something unique).

History: Unique beers of small, independent Belgian breweries that have come to enjoy local popularity but may be far less well-known outside of their own regions. Many have attained “cult status” in the U.S. (and other parts of the world) and now owe a significant portion of their sales to export.

Ingredients: May include herbs and/or spices. May include unusual grains and malts, though the grain character should be apparent if it is a key ingredient. May include adjuncts such as caramelized sugar syrup and honey. May include Belgian microbiota such as Brettanomyces or Lactobacillus. Unusual techniques, such as blending, may be used through primarily to arrive at a particular result. The process alone does not make a beer unique to a blind judging panel if the final product does not taste different.

 

Vital Statistics: OG: Varies
IBUs: Varies FG: Varies
SRM: Varies ABV: Varies


This category contains the pale, well-attenuated, balanced to bitter beers, often more driven by yeast character than malt flavors, with generally higher alcohol (although a range exists within styles).

Aroma: Light earthy or spicy hop nose, along with a lightly grainy-sweet malt character. Shows a subtle yeast character that may include spicy phenolics, perfumy or honey-like alcohol, or yeasty, fruity esters (commonly orange-like or lemony). Light sweetness that may have a slightly sugar-like character. Subtle yet complex.

Appearance: Light to deep gold color. Generally very clear. Large, dense, and creamy white to off-white head. Good head retention with Belgian lace.

Flavor: Smooth, light to moderate grainy-sweet malt flavor initially, but finishes medium-dry to dry with some smooth alcohol becoming evident in the aftertaste. Medium hop and alcohol bitterness to balance. Light hop flavor, can be spicy or earthy. Very soft yeast character (esters and alcohols, which are sometimes perfumy or orange/lemon-like). Light spicy phenolics optional. Some lightly caramelized sugar or honeylike sweetness on palate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-high to high carbonation, can give mouth-filling bubbly sensation. Medium body. Light to moderate alcohol warmth, but smooth. Can be somewhat creamy

Overall Impression: A moderate-strength golden ale that has a subtle fruity-spicy Belgian yeast complexity, slightly malty-sweet flavor, and dry finish.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.062 - 1.075 1.008 - 1.018 15 - 30 4 - 7 6.0 – 7.5%



Aroma: Quite aromatic, with fruity, spicy, and hoppy characteristics evident. The esters can be fairly high (moderate to high), and are often reminiscent of citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons. The hops are low to moderate and are often spicy, floral, earthy, or fruity. Stronger versions can have a soft, spicy alcohol note (low intensity). Spicy notes are typically peppery rather than clove-like, and can be up to moderatelystrong (typically yeast-derived). Subtle, complementary herb or spice additions are allowable, but should not dominate. The malt character is typically slightly grainy in character and low in intensity. Darker and stronger versions will have more noticeable malt, with darker versions taking characteristics associated with grains of that color (toasty, biscuity, caramelly, chocolate, etc.). In versions where sourness is present instead  of bitterness, some of the sour character can be detected (low to moderate).

Appearance: Pale versions are often a distinctive pale orange but may be pale golden to amber in color (gold to amber-gold is most common). Darker versions may run from copper to dark brown. Long-lasting, dense, rocky white to ivory head resulting in characteristic Belgian lace on the glass as it fades. Clarity is poor to good, though haze is not unexpected in this type of unfiltered beer. Effervescent.

Flavor: Medium-low to medium-high fruity and spicy flavors, supported by a low to medium soft malt character, often with some grainy flavors. Bitterness is typically moderate to high, although sourness can be present in place of bitterness (both should not be strong flavors at the same time). Attenuation is extremely high, which gives a characteristic dry finish essential to the style; a Saison should never finish sweet. The fruity character is frequently citrusy (orange or lemon), and the spices are typically peppery. Allow for a range of balance in the fruity-spicy characteristics; this is often driven by the yeast selection. Hop flavor is low to moderate, and generally spicy or earthy in character. The balance is towards the fruity, spicy, hoppy character, with any bitterness or sourness not overwhelming these flavors. Darker versions will have more malt character, with a range of flavors derived from darker malts (toasty, bready, biscuity, chocolate, etc.) that support the fruity-spicy character of the beer (roasted flavors are not typical). Stronger versions will have more malt flavor in general, as well as a light alcohol impression. Herbs and spices are completely optional, but if present should be used in moderation and not detract from the yeast character. The finish is very dry and the aftertaste is typically bitter and spicy. The hop bitterness can be restrained, although it can seem accentuated due to the high attenuation levels.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Alcohol sensation varies with strength, from none in table version to light in standard versions, to moderate in super versions. However, any warming character should be fairly low. Very high carbonation with an effervescent quality. There is enough prickly acidity on the tongue to balance the very dry finish. In versions with sourness, a low to moderate tart character can add a refreshing bite, but not be puckering (optional).

Overall Impression: Most commonly, a pale, refreshing, highly-attenuated, moderately-bitter, moderate-strength Belgian ale with a very dry finish. Typically highly carbonated, and using non-barley cereal grains and optional spices for complexity, as complements the expressive yeast character that is fruity, spicy, and not overly phenolic. Less common variations include both lower-alcohol and higher-alcohol products, as well as darker versions with additional malt character. 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.048 – 1.065 (standard) 1.002 – 1.008 (standard) 20 - 35 5 – 14 (pale)
15 – 22 (dark)
3.5 – 5.0% (table)
5.0 – 7.0% (standard)
7.0 – 9.5% (super)




Aroma: Complex with significant fruity esters, moderate spiciness and low to moderate alcohol and hop aromas. Esters are reminiscent of lighter fruits such as pears, oranges or apples. Moderate to moderately low spicy, peppery phenols. A low to moderate yet distinctive perfumy, floral hop character is often present. Alcohols are soft, spicy, perfumy and low-tomoderate in intensity. No hot alcohol or solventy aromas. The malt character is light and slightly grainy-sweet to nearly neutral.

Appearance: : Yellow to medium gold in color. Good clarity. Effervescent. Massive, long-lasting, rocky, often beady, white head resulting in characteristic Belgian lace on the glass as it fades.

Flavor: Marriage of fruity, spicy and alcohol flavors supported by a soft malt character. Esters are reminiscent of pears, oranges or apples. Low to moderately low phenols are peppery in character. A low to moderate spicy hop character is often present. Alcohols are soft and spicy, and are low-to-moderate in intensity. Bitterness is typically medium to high from a combination of hop bitterness and yeast-produced phenolics. Substantial carbonation and bitterness leads to a dry finish with a low to moderately bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very highly carbonated; effervescent. Light to medium body, although lighter than the substantial gravity would suggest. Smooth but noticeable alcohol warmth. No hot alcohol or solventy character.

Overall Impression: A pale, complex, effervescent, strong Belgian-style ale that is highly attenuated and features fruity and hoppy notes in preference to phenolics. 

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.070 - 1.095 1.005 - 1.016 22 - 35 3 - 6 7.5 – 10.5%




Trappist is a protected legal appellation, and cannot be used commercially except by genuine Trappist monasteries that brew their own beer. However, we can use it to describe the type or styles of beer produced by those breweries and those who make beers of a similar style. Trappist type beers are all characterized by very high attenuation, high carbonation through bottle conditioning, and interesting (and often aggressive) yeast character.

Aroma: Complex, rich-sweet malty aroma, possibly with hints of chocolate, caramel and/or toast (but never roasted or burnt aromas). Moderate fruity esters (usually including raisins and plums, sometimes also dried cherries). Esters sometimes include banana or apple. Spicy phenols and higher alcohols are common (may include light clove and spice, peppery, rose-like and/or perfumy notes). Spicy qualities can be moderate to very low. Alcohol, if present, is soft and never hot or solventy. Low to no spicy, herbal, or floral hop aroma, typically absent. The malt is most prominent in the balance with esters and a touch of alcohol in support, blending together for a harmonious presentation.

Appearance: Dark amber to copper in color, with an attractive reddish depth of color. Generally clear. Large, dense, and long-lasting creamy off-white head.  

Flavor: Similar qualities as aroma. Rich, complex medium to medium-full rich-sweet malt flavor on the palate yet finishes moderately dry. Complex malt, ester, alcohol and phenol interplay (raisiny flavors are common; dried fruit flavors are welcome; clove or pepper spiciness is optional). Balance is always toward the malt. Medium-low bitterness that doesn’t persist into the aftertaste. Low spicy, floral, or herbal hop flavor is optional and not usually present.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium-high carbonation, which can influence the perception of body. Low alcohol warmth. Smooth, never hot or solventy.

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

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.062 - 1.075 1.008 - 1.018 15 - 25 10 - 17 6 - 7.6%




Aroma: Complex bouquet with moderate to significant spiciness, moderate fruity esters and low alcohol and hop aromas. Generous spicy, peppery, sometimes clove-like phenols. Esters are often reminiscent of citrus fruits such as oranges, but may sometimes have a slight banana character. A low yet distinctive spicy, floral, sometimes perfumy hop character is usually found. Alcohols are soft, spicy and low in intensity. The malt character is light, with a soft, slightly grainy-sweet or slightly honey-like impression. The best examples have a seamless, harmonious interplay between the yeast character, hops, malt, and alcohol.

Appearance: Deep yellow to deep gold in color. Good clarity. Effervescent. Long-lasting, creamy, rocky, white head resulting in characteristic Belgian lace on the glass as it fades.

Flavor: Marriage of spicy, fruity and alcohol flavors supported by a soft, rounded grainy-sweet malt impression, occasionally with a very light honey note. Low to moderate phenols are peppery in character. Esters are reminiscent of citrus fruit such as orange or sometimes lemon, and are low to moderate. A low to moderate spicy hop character is usually found. Alcohols are soft, spicy, and low in intensity. Bitterness is typically medium to high from a combination of hop bitterness and yeastproduced phenolics. Substantial carbonation and bitterness lends a dry finish with a moderately bitter aftertaste with substantial spicy-fruity yeast character. The grainy-sweet malt flavor does not imply any residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, although lighter than the substantial gravity would suggest. Highly carbonated. The alcohol content is deceptive, and has little to no obvious warming sensation. Always effervescent.

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

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.075 - 1.085 1.008 - 1.014 20 - 40 4.5 – 7 7.5 – 9.5%




Aroma: Complex, with a rich-sweet malty presence, significant esters and alcohol, and an optional light to moderate spiciness. The malt is rich and strong, and can have a deep bready-toasty quality often with a deep caramel complexity. The fruity esters are strong to moderately low, and can contain raisin, plum, dried cherry, fig or prune notes. Spicy phenols may be present, but usually have a peppery quality not clove-like; light vanilla is possible. Alcohols are soft, spicy, perfumy and/or rose-like, and are low to moderate in intensity. Hops are not usually present (but a very low spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma is acceptable). No dark/roast malt aroma. No hot alcohols or solventy aromas.

Appearance: Deep amber to deep coppery-brown in color (dark in this context implies more deeply colored than golden). Huge, dense, moussy, persistent cream- to light tancolored head. Can be clear to somewhat hazy.

Flavor: Similar to aroma (same malt, ester, phenol, alcohol, and hop comments apply to flavor as well). Moderately maltyrich on the palate, which can have a sweet impression if bitterness is low. Usually moderately dry to dry finish, although may be up to moderately sweet. Medium-low to moderate bitterness; alcohol provides some of the balance to the malt. Generally malty-rich balance, but can be fairly even with bitterness. The complex and varied flavors should blend smoothly and harmoniously. The finish should not be heavy or syrupy.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation but not sharp. Smooth but noticeable alcohol warmth. Body can range from medium-light to medium-full and creamy. Most are medium-bodied.

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

 
OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.075 - 1.110 1.010 - 1.024 20 -35 12 – 22 8.0 – 12.0%

 

The Historical Beer category contains styles that either have all but died out in modern times, or that were much more popular in past times and are known only through recreations. This category can also be used for traditional or indigenous beers of cultural importance within certain countries. Placing a beer in the historical category does not imply that it is not currently being produced, just that it is a very minor style or perhaps is in the process of rediscovery by craft brewers.

Specialty-Type Beer is a broad term used to refer to the styles described in the following categories:

AMERICAN WILD ALE
Brett Beer
Mixed-Fermentation Sour Beer
Wild Specialty Beer

FRUIT BEER
Fruit Beer
Fruit and Spice Beer
Specialty Fruit Beer

SPICED BEER
Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer
Autumn Seasonal Beer
Winter Seasonal Beer

ALTERNATIVE FERMENTABLES BEER
Alternative Grain Beer
Alternative Sugar Beer

SMOKED BEER
Classic Style Smoked Beer
Specialty Smoked Beer

WOOD BEER
Wood-Aged Beer
Specialty Wood-Aged Beer

SPECIALTY BEER
Clone Beer
Mixed-Style Beer
Experimental Beer

Specialty-Type Beers involve some form of transformation of either a Classic Style or another base beer, either though adding additional ingredients, or handling the beer differently using an alternative process. The Specialty-Type Beer style descriptions cannot completely describe a style on their own, as Classic Style write-ups do. Rather, the Specialty-Type Beer style descriptions discuss how the additional ingredient or process affects the base beer style.




 

 

A Fruit Beer is a  beer made with any fruit or combination of fruit under this definition. The culinary, not botanical, definition of fruit is used here – fleshy, seed-associated structures of plants that are sweet or sour, and edible in the raw state. Examples include pome fruit (apple, pear, quince), stone fruit (cherry, plum, peach, apricot, mango, etc.), berries (any fruit with the word ‘berry’ in it), currants, citrus fruit, dried fruit (dates, prunes, raisins, etc.), tropical fruit (banana, pineapple, guava, papaya, etc.), figs, pomegranate, prickly pear, and so on.

Aroma: The distinctive aromatics associated with the particular fruit(s) should be noticeable in the aroma; however, note that some fruit (e.g., raspberries, cherries) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., blueberries, strawberries)—allow for a range of fruit character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The fruit character should be pleasant and supportive, not artificial and inappropriately overpowering (considering the character of the fruit) nor should it have defects such as oxidation. As with all specialty beers, a proper fruit beer should be a harmonious balance of the featured fruit(s) with the underlying beer style. Aroma hops, yeast by-products and malt components of the underlying beer may not be as noticeable when fruit are present. These components (especially hops) may also be intentionally subdued to allow the fruit character to come through in the final presentation. If the base beer is an ale then a non-specific fruitiness and/or other fermentation by-products such as diacetyl may be present as appropriate for warmer fermentations. If the base beer is a lager, then overall less fermentation byproducts would be appropriate. Some malt aroma may be desirable, especially in dark styles. Hop aroma may be absent or balanced with fruit, depending on the style. The fruit should add an extra complexity to the beer, but not be so prominent as to unbalance the resulting presentation. Some tartness may be present if naturally occurring in the particular fruit(s), but should not be inappropriately intense.

 

Appearance: Appearance should be appropriate to the base beer being presented and will vary depending on the base beer. For lighter-colored beers with fruits that exhibit distinctive colors, the color should be noticeable. Note that the color of fruit in beer is often lighter than the flesh of the fruit itself and may take on slightly different shades. Fruit beers may have some haze or be clear, although haze is a generally undesirable. The head may take on some of the color of the fruit.

 

Flavor: As with aroma, the distinctive flavor character associated with the particular fruit(s) should be noticeable, and may range in intensity from subtle to aggressive. The balance of fruit with the underlying beer is vital, and the fruit character should not be so artificial and/or inappropriately overpowering as to suggest a fruit juice drink. Hop bitterness, flavor, malt flavors, alcohol content, and fermentation by-products, such as esters or diacetyl, should be appropriate to the base beer and be harmonious and balanced with the distinctive fruit flavors present. Note that these components (especially hops) may be intentionally subdued to allow the fruit character to come through in the final presentation. Some tartness may be present if naturally occurring in the particular fruit(s), but should not be inappropriately intense. Remember that fruit generally add flavor not sweetness to fruit beers. The sugar found in fruit is usually fully fermented and contributes to lighter flavors and a drier finish than might be expected for the declared base style. However, residual sweetness is not necessarily a negative characteristic unless it has a raw, unfermented quality.

 

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel may vary depending on the base beer selected and as appropriate to that base beer. Body and carbonation levels should be appropriate to the base beer style being presented. Fruit generally adds fermentables that tend to thin out the beer; the resulting beer may seem lighter than expected for the declared base style.

 

Overall Impression: A harmonious marriage of fruit and beer. The key attributes of the underlying style will be different with the addition of fruit; do not expect the base beer to taste the same as the unadulterated version. Judge the beer based on the pleasantness and balance of the resulting combination.

 

 

 
Vital Statistics: OG: Varies with base style
IBUs: Varies with base style FG: Varies with base style
SRM: Varies with base style ABV: Varies with base style






We use the common or culinary definitions of spices, herbs, and vegetables, not botanical or scientific ones. In general, spices are the dried seeds, seed pods, fruit, roots, bark, etc. of plants used for flavoring food. Herbs are leafy plants or parts of plants (leaves, flowers, petals, stalks) used for flavoring foods. Vegetables are savory or less sweet edible plant products, used primarily for cooking or sometimes eating raw. Vegetables can include some botanical fruit. This category explicitly includes all culinary spices, herbs, and vegetables, as well as nuts (anything with ‘nut’ in the name, including coconut), chile peppers, coffee, chocolate, spruce tips, rose hips, hibiscus, fruit peels/zest (but not juice), rhubarb, and the like. It does not include culinary fruit or grains. Flavorful fermentable sugars and syrups (agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses, sorghum, treacle, honey, etc.) can be included only in combination with other allowable ingredients, and should not have a dominant character.

Aroma: The character of the particular spices, herbs and/or vegetables (SHV) should be noticeable in the aroma; however, note that some SHV (e.g., ginger, cinnamon) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., some vegetables)—allow for a range of SHV character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The individual character of the SHV(s) may not always be identifiable when used in combination. The SHV character should be pleasant and supportive, not artificial and overpowering. As with all specialty beers, a proper SHV beer should be a harmonious balance of the featured SHV(s) with the underlying beer style. Aroma hops, yeast by-products and malt components of the underlying beer may not be as noticeable when SHV are present. These components (especially hops) may also be intentionally subdued to allow the SHV character to come through in the final presentation. If the base beer is an ale then a non-specific fruitiness and/or other fermentation by-products such as diacetyl may be present as appropriate for warmer fermentations. If the base beer is a lager, then overall less fermentation byproducts would be appropriate. Some malt aroma is preferable, especially in dark styles. Hop aroma may be absent or balanced with SHV, depending on the style. The SHV(s) should add an extra complexity to the beer, but not be so prominent as to unbalance the resulting presentation.

 

Appearance: Appearance should be appropriate to the base beer being presented and will vary depending on the base beer. For lighter-colored beers with spices, herbs or vegetables that exhibit distinctive colors, the colors may be noticeable in the beer and possibly the head. May have some haze or be clear. Head formation may be adversely affected by some ingredients, such as chocolate.

 

Flavor: As with aroma, the distinctive flavor character associated with the particular SHV(s) should be noticeable, and may range in intensity from subtle to aggressive. The individual character of the SHV(s) may not always be identifiable when used in combination. The balance of SHV with the underlying beer is vital, and the SHV character should not be so artificial and/or overpowering as to overwhelm the beer. Hop bitterness, flavor, malt flavors, alcohol content, and fermentation by-products, such as esters or diacetyl, should be appropriate to the base beer and be harmonious and balanced with the distinctive SHV flavors present. Note that these components (especially hops) may be intentionally subdued to allow the SHV character to come through in the final presentation. Some SHV(s) are inherently bitter and may result in a beer more bitter than the declared base style.

 

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel may vary depending on the base beer selected and as appropriate to that base beer. Body and carbonation levels should be appropriate to the base beer style being presented. Some SHV(s) may add additional body and/or slickness, although fermentable additions may thin out the beer. Some SHV(s) may add a bit of astringency, although a “raw” spice character is undesirable.

 

Overall Impression: A harmonious marriage of spices, herbs and/or vegetables and beer. The key attributes of the underlying style will be different with the addition of spices, herbs and/or vegetables; do not expect the base beer to taste the same as the unadulterated version. Judge the beer based on the pleasantness and balance of the resulting combination.

 

 

Vital Statistics: OG: Varies with base style
IBUs: Varies with base style FG: Varies with base style
SRM: Varies with base style ABV: Varies with base style

Winter Seasonal Beers are beers that suggest cold weather and the Christmas holiday season, and may include holiday spices, specialty sugars, and other products that are reminiscent of mulling spices or Christmas holiday desserts.

Aroma: A wide range of aromatics is possible, although many examples are reminiscent of Christmas cookies, gingerbread, English-type Christmas pudding, spruce trees, or mulling spices. Any combination of aromatics that suggests the holiday season is welcome. The base beer style often has a malty profile that supports the balanced presentation of the aromatics from spices and possibly other special ingredients. Additional fermentables (e.g., honey, molasses, maple syrup, etc.) may lend their own unique aromatics. Hop aromatics are often absent, subdued, or slightly spicy. Some fruit character (often of dried citrus peel, or dried fruit such as raisins or plums) is optional but acceptable. Alcohol aromatics may be found in some examples, but this character should be restrained. The overall aroma should be balanced and harmonious, and is often fairly complex and inviting.

 

Appearance: Generally medium amber to very dark brown (darker versions are more common). Usually clear, although darker versions may be virtually opaque. Some chill haze is acceptable. Generally has a well-formed head that is often off-white to tan.

 

Flavor: Many interpretations are possible; allow for brewer creativity as long as the resulting product is balanced and provides some spice presentation. Spices associated with the holiday season are typical (as mentioned in the Aroma section). The spices and optional fermentables should be supportive and blend well with the base beer style. Rich, malty and/or sweet malt-based flavors are common, and may include caramel, toast, nutty, or chocolate flavors. May include some dried fruit or dried fruit peel flavors such as raisin, plum, fig, orange peel or lemon peel. May include distinctive flavors from specific fermentables (molasses, honey, brown sugar, etc.), although these elements are not required. A light spruce or other evergreen tree character is optional but found in some examples. The wide range of special ingredients should be supportive and balanced, not so prominent as to overshadow the base beer. Bitterness and hop flavor are generally restrained so as to not interfere with the spices and special ingredients. Generally finishes rather full and satisfying, and often has some alcohol flavor. Roasted malt characteristics are rare, and not usually stronger than chocolate.

 

Mouthfeel: A wide range of interpretations is possible. Body is generally medium to full, and a certain malty chewiness is often present. Moderately low to moderately high carbonation is typical. Many examples will show some well-aged, warming alcohol content, but without being overly hot. The beers do not have to be overly strong to show some warming effects.

 

Overall Impression: A stronger, darker, spiced beer that often has a rich body and warming finish suggesting a good accompaniment for the cold winter season.

Vital Statistics: OG: Varies with base style
IBUs: Varies with base style FG: Varies with base style
SRM: Varies with base style
Usually somewhat dark.
ABV: Varies with base style
Generally above 6%.
A specialty beer that has some additional ingredient (grain or sugar) that adds a distinctive character.
This category contains specialty beers that have a smoke character.
This category contains specialty beers with a wood-aged character, with or without added alcohol character

Aroma: Varies with base style. A low to moderate wood- or oak-based aroma is usually present. Fresh wood can occasionally impart raw “green” aromatics, although this character should never be too strong. Other optional aromatics include a low to moderate vanilla, caramel, toffee, toast, or cocoa character, as well as any aromatics associated with alcohol previously stored in the wood (if any). Any alcohol character should be smooth and balanced, not hot. Some background oxidation character is optional, and can take on a pleasant, sherry-like character and not be papery or cardboard-like.

 

Appearance: Varies with base style. Often darker than the unadulterated base beer style, particularly if toasted/charred oak and/or whiskey/bourbon barrels are used.

 

Flavor: Varies with base style. Wood usually contributes a woody or oaky flavor, which can occasionally take on a raw “green” flavor if new wood is used. Other flavors that may optionally be present include vanilla (from vanillin in the wood); caramel, butterscotch, toasted bread or almonds (from toasted wood); coffee, chocolate, cocoa (from charred wood or bourbon casks); and alcohol flavors from other products previously stored in the wood (if any). The wood and/or other cask-derived flavors should be balanced, supportive and noticeable, but should not overpower the base beer style. Occasionally there may be an optional lactic or acetic tartness or Brett funkiness in the beer, but this should not be higher than a background flavor (if present at all). Some background oxidation character is optional, although this should take on a pleasant, sherry-like character and not be papery or cardboard-like.

 

Mouthfeel: Varies with base style. Often fuller than the unadulterated base beer, and may exhibit additional alcohol warming if wood has previously been in contact with other alcoholic products. Higher alcohol levels should not result in “hot” beers; aged, smooth flavors are most desirable. Wood can also add tannins to the beer, depending on age of the cask. The tannins can lead to additional astringency (which should never be high), or simply a fuller mouthfeel. Tart or acidic characteristics should be low to none.

 

Overall Impression: A harmonious blend of the base beer style with characteristics from aging in contact with wood (including any alcoholic products previously in contact with the wood). The best examples will be smooth, flavorful, well-balanced and well-aged. Beers made using either limited wood aging or products that only provide a subtle background character may be entered in the base beer style categories as long as the wood character isn’t prominently featured.

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
Varies with base style Varies with base style Varies with base style Varies with base style Varies with base style





The name American Wild Ale is in common use by craft brewers and homebrewers. However, the word Wild does not imply that these beers are necessarily spontaneously-fermented; rather, it indicates that they are influenced by microbes other than traditional brewer’s yeasts. This category is intended for a wide range of beers that do not fit traditional European sour or wild styles. All of the styles in this category are essentially specialty beers where many creative interpretations are possible, and the styles are defined only by the use of specific fermentation profiles and ingredients. As specialty styles, the mandatory description provided by the entrant is of the utmost importance to the judge. Throughout this category, Brett is used as an abbreviation for Brettanomyces. This is the term most craft brewers and homebrewers will use in conversation, if not in formal communications.
Aroma: Variable by base style. Should show the fruit, sour and/or funk of a wild fermentation, as well as the characteristics of the special ingredients used. The best examples will blend the aromatics from the fermentation with the special ingredients, creating an aroma that may be difficult to attribute precisely.

Appearance: Variable by base style, generally showing a color, tint, or hue from any fruit (if used) in both the beer and the head. Clarity can be variable; some haze is not a fault. Head retention is often poor.

Flavor: Variable by base style. Should show the fruit, sour and/or funk of a wild fermentation, as well as the characteristics of the special ingredients used. Any fruit sweetness is generally gone, so only the esters typically remain from the fruit. The sour character from the fruit and wild fermentation could be prominent, but should not be overwhelming. The acidity and tannin from any fruit can both enhance the dryness of the beer, so care must be taken with the balance. The acidity should enhance the perception of the fruit flavor, not detract from it. Wood notes, if present, add flavor but should be balanced.

Mouthfeel: Variable by base style. Generally a light body, lighter than what might be expected from the base style. Generally moderate to high carbonation; carbonation should balance the base style if one is declared. The presence of tannin from some fruit or wood can provide a slight astringency, enhance the body, or make the beer seem drier than it is.

Overall Impression: A sour and/or funky version of a fruit, herb, or spice beer, or a wild beer aged in wood. If wood-aged, the wood should not be the primary or dominant character. 

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Dessert beer ice cream, stout cupcakes. Beer and its natural sweetness can be found in quite a few desserts.  Find them here.

A wine cocktail is a mixed drink similar to a true cocktail. It is made predominantly with wine, into which distilled alcohol or other drink mixer is combined.

Although this one is a little more diffcult, in this category you should be able to find wine made dips and all the tasty treats that go so great with beer.

Beer guides hitting on a specific style, region or country (i.e. Michael Jackson's "The Great Beers of

Belgium").

Beer guides that hit on multiple areas of the beer world and don't specifically address a certain

style, region or country.

When we couldn't figure out where else to put it.

Those organizations outside of the brewing industry that promote breweries, regions, demographics and more.

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