2019 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines

Organizations or individuals that wish to use the Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines as a resource or as the basis for products may do so as follows:

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Individuals may use by inserting the following verbiage in all print, web, app or other instances that reference the beer style guidelines, with the correct year inserted for 20xx:

  • Unchanged: “20xx Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines used with permission of Brewers Association”
  • With any changes: “Based on Brewers Association 20xx Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.”

When Guidelines Content is Provided for a Cost

Permission to use the Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines is usually not granted when the end use is for a cost (that is, not provided free). Those wishing to use the Guidelines for a cost must contact the Brewers Association via email to arrange for explicit permission to use the guidelines in all print, web, app or other instances that are delivered for a fee or cost.

The Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines are compiled for the Brewers Association (BA) by Charlie Papazian, copyright 1993 through and including 2018, with Style Guideline Committee assistance and review by Paul Gatza, Chuck Skypeck, Chris Swersey and suggestions from Great American Beer Festival® and World Beer Cup℠ judges.

Since 1979, the Brewers Association has provided beer style descriptions as a reference for brewers and beer competition organizers. Much of the early work was based on the assistance and contributions of beer journalist Michael Jackson. The task of creating a realistic set of guidelines is always complex.The beer style guidelines developed by the BA use sources from the commercial brewing industry, beer analyses, and consultations with beer industry experts and knowledgeable beer enthusiasts as resources for information.

The Brewers Association’s beer style guidelines reflect, as much as possible, historical significance, authenticity or a high profile in the current commercial beer market. Often, the historical significance is not clear, or a new beer in a current market may be only a passing fad, and thus, quickly forgotten. For these reasons, the addition of a style or the modification of an existing one is not taken lightly and is the product of research, consultation and consideration of market actualities, and may take place over a period of time.

Another factor considered is that current commercial examples do not always fit well into the historical record, and instead represent a modern version of the style. Our decision to include a particular historical beer style takes into consideration the style’s brewing traditions and the need to preserve those traditions in today’s market. The more a beer style has withstood the test of time, marketplace, and consumer acceptance, the more likely it is to be included in the BA’s style guidelines.

The availability of commercial examples plays a large role in whether or not a beer style “makes the list.” It is important to consider that not every historical or commercial beer style can be included, nor is every commercial beer representative of the historical tradition (i.e., a brewery labeling a brand as a particular style does not always indicate a fair representation of that style).

Please note that almost all of the classic and traditional beer style guidelines have been cross-referenced with data from commercially available beers representative of the style. The data referenced for this purpose has been Professor Anton Piendl’s comprehensive work published in the German Brauindustrie magazine through the years 1982 to 1994, from the series “Biere Aus Aller Welt.”

Each style description is purposefully written independently of any reference to another beer style. Furthermore, as much as possible, beer character is not described in terms of ingredients or process. These guidelines attempt to emphasize final evaluation of the product and try not to judge or regulate the formulation or manner in which it was brewed, except in special circumstances that clearly define a style.

Ale Styles

Lager Styles

Hybrid/Mixed Lagers or Ale


Ale Styles

British Origin Ale Styles

  • Ordinary Bitter
  • Color: Gold to copper-colored
  • Clarity: Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium residual malt sweetness should be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium-low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Mild carbonation traditionally characterizes draft-cask versions, but in bottled versions, a slight increase in carbon dioxide content is acceptable. Fruity esters are acceptable. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at low levels.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may choose to create subcategories which reflect English and American hop character.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.033-1.038 (8.3-9.5 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.012 (1.5-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.4%-3.3% (3.0%-4.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5-12(10-24 EBC)
  • Special Bitter or Best Bitter
  • Color: Deep gold to deep copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium residual malt sweetness should be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium at the brewer's discretion
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium and not harsh
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low carbonation traditionally characterizes draft-cask versions, but in bottled versions, a slight increase in carbon dioxide content is acceptable. Fruity esters are acceptable. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at low levels.
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may choose to create subcategories which reflect English and American hop character.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.038-1.045 (9.5-11.2 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.012 (1.5-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.3%-3.8% (4.2%-4.8%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 28-40
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6-14(12-28 EBC)
  • Extra Special Bitter
  • Color: Amber to deep copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium to medium-high
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to medium-high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low carbonation traditionally characterizes draft-cask versions, but in bottled versions, a slight increase in carbon dioxide content is acceptable. The overall impression is refreshing and thirst quenching. Fruity esters are acceptable. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at low levels.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: Entries in this subcategory exhibit hop aroma and flavor attributes typical of traditional English hop varieties.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may choose to create subcategories which reflect English and American hop character.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.046-1.060 (11.4-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.016 (2.6-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.6% (4.8%-5.8%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 30-45
  • Color SRM (EBC) 8-17(16-34 EBC)
  • Scottish-Style Light Ale
  • Color: Golden to light brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malty, caramel aroma may be present. A low to medium-low, soft and chewy caramel malt flavor should be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Should not be present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Yeast attributes such as diacetyl and sulfur are acceptable at very low levels. Bottled versions may contain higher amounts of carbon dioxide than is typical for lightly carbonated draft versions. Fruity esters, if present, are low.
  • Body: Low
  • Additional notes: These beers differ significantly from Scotch Ale, especially regarding original gravity, alcohol content and malt attributes. While there are conflicting theories as to whether traditional Scottish Light Ale exhibited peat smoke character, the current marketplace offers many examples with peat smoke character present at low to medium-low levels. Peat smoke attributes may be absent or present at low to medium-low levels. Versions exhibiting higher levels of smoke character are categorized as Smoke Beer.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on presence or absence of peat smoke-derived attributes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.035 (7.6-8.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.010 (1.5-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.2%-2.8% (2.8%-3.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 9-20
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6-15(12-30 EBC)
  • Scottish-Style Heavy Ale
  • Color: Amber to dark brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malty, caramel aroma is present. The style exhibits a medium degree of sweet malt and caramel. The overall impression is smooth and balanced.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Should not be present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Perceptible but low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Yeast attributes such as diacetyl and sulfur are acceptable at very low levels. Bottled versions may contain higher amounts of carbon dioxide than is typical for lightly carbonated draft versions. Fruity esters, if present, are low.
  • Body: Medium with a soft chewy character
  • Additional notes: These beers differ significantly from Scotch Ale, especially regarding original gravity, alcohol content and malt attributes. While there are conflicting theories as to whether traditional Scottish Heavy Ale exhibited peat smoke character, the current marketplace offers many examples with peat smoke character present at low to medium-low levels. Peat smoke attributes may be absent or present at low to medium-low levels. Versions exhibiting higher levels of smoke character are categorized as Smoke Beer.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on presence or absence of peat smoke-derived attributes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.035-1.040 (8.8-10 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.014 (2.6-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.8%-3.2% (3.5%-4.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 12-20
  • Color SRM (EBC) 8-30(16-60 EBC)
  • Scottish-Style Export Ale
  • Color: Medium amber to dark chestnut brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet malt and caramel aromas and flavors define the character of a Scottish Export
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Should not be present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters, if present, are low. Yeast attributes such as diacetyl and sulfur are acceptable at very low levels. Bottled versions may contain higher amounts of carbon dioxide than is typical for lightly carbonated draft versions.
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: These beers differ significantly from Scotch Ale, especially regarding original gravity, alcohol content and malt attributes. While there are conflicting theories as to whether traditional Scottish Export Ale exhibited peat smoke character, the current marketplace offers many examples with peat smoke character present at low to medium-low levels. Peat smoke attributes may be absent or present at low to medium-low levels. Versions exhibiting higher levels of smoke character are categorized as Smoke Beer.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on presence or absence of peat smoke-derived attributes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.050 (10-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.018 (2.6-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.2% (4.1%-5.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 15-25
  • Color SRM (EBC) 9-19(18-38 EBC)
  • English-Style Summer Ale
  • Color: Straw to Amber
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Residual malt sweetness is low to medium. Torrified or malted wheat is often used in quantities of 25 percent or less. Malt attributes such as biscuity or low levels of caramel are present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: English, American or noble-type hop aroma should be low to medium. English, American or noble-type hop flavor should not be assertive and should be well balanced with malt character.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Mild carbonation traditionally characterizes draft-cask versions, but in bottled versions, a slight increase in carbon dioxide content is acceptable. Fruity esters are low to medium. Diacetyl and DMS should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Additional notes: The overall impression is refreshing and thirst quenching
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.036-1.050 (9-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.012 (1.5-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.9%-4.0% (3.7%-5.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-8(6-16 EBC)
  • Classic English-Style Pale Ale
  • Color: Gold to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium malt aroma and flavor is present. Low caramel character is allowable.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium-high, expressed as floral, herbal, earthy, stone fruit or other attributes. While English hop character should be present, this can result from the skillful use of hops of other origin.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are medium to medium-high. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.056 (10-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-4.2% (4.4%-5.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-40
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5-12(10-24 EBC)
  • English-Style India Pale Ale
  • Color: Gold to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium malt flavor should be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high, expressed as floral, herbal, earthy, stone fruit or other attributes from high hopping rates. While English hop character should be present, this can result from the skillful use of hops of other origin.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are medium to high. Traditional interpretations are characterized by medium to medium-high alcohol content. The use of water with high mineral content results in a crisp, dry beer with a subtle and balanced character of sulfur compounds. Diacetyl can be absent or may be present at very low levels.
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: Non-English hops may be used for bitterness or for approximating traditional English hop character. The use of water with high mineral content may result in a crisp, dry beer rather than a malt-accentuated version.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.046-1.064 (11.4-15.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.018 (3.1-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.6%-5.6% (4.5%-7.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 35-63
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6-14(12-28 EBC)
  • Strong Ale
  • Color: Amber to dark brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high malt and caramel sweetness. Very low levels of roast malt may be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Present but minimal, and balanced with malt flavors.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Rich, often sweet and complex fruity ester attributes can contribute to the profile of Strong Ales. Alcohol types can be varied and complex. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may choose to split this category into subcategories which reflect strong and very strong versions.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.060-1.125 (14.7-29 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.014-1.040 (3.6-10 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.5%-8.9% (7.0%-11.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 30-65
  • Color SRM (EBC) 8-21(16-42 EBC)
  • Old Ale
  • Color: Copper-red to very dark
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Fruity esters can enhance and complement the malt aroma and flavor profile. Old Ales have malt and sometimes caramel sweetness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Present but minimal
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters can contribute to the character of these beers. Alcohol types can be varied and complex. A distinctive quality of Old Ales is that they undergo an aging process, often for years. Aging can occur on their yeast either in bulk storage or through conditioning in the bottle. This contributes to a rich, wine-like and often sweet oxidized character. Complex estery attributes may also emerge. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: Low level attributes typical of wood aging such as vanilla are acceptable. Brettanomyces and acidity reflect historical character. Low level such as horsey, goaty, leathery, phenolic character and acidity may also be present and balanced with other flavors. Residual flavors that come from liquids previously aged in a barrel, such as bourbon or sherry, should not be present.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may choose to split this category into subcategories which reflect strong and very strong versions, or historic and modern versions.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.058-1.088 (14.3-21.1 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.014-1.030 (3.6-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-7.2% (6.3%-9.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 30-65
  • Color SRM (EBC) 12-30(24-60 EBC)
  • English-Style Pale Mild Ale
  • Color: Light amber to medium amber
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt flavor and aroma dominate the flavor profile
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor range from very low to low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels. Fruity esters are very low to medium-low.
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.036 (7.6-9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.008 (1-2.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.7%-3.4% (3.4%-4.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-20
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6-9(12-18 EBC)
  • English-Style Dark Mild Ale
  • Color: Reddish-brown to very dark
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt attributes such as caramel, licorice, roast or others may be present in aroma and flavor.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: very low to low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels. Fruity esters are very low to medium-low.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.036 (7.6-9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.008 (1-2.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.7%-3.4% (3.4%-4.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-24
  • Color SRM (EBC) 17-34(34-68 EBC)
  • English-Style Brown Ale
  • Color: Copper to dark brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Roast malt may contribute to a biscuit or toasted aroma profile. Roast malt may contribute to the flavor profile. Malt profile can range from dry to sweet.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium-low level fruity esters are appropriate. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.050 (10-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.014 (2.1-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.3%-4.7% (4.2%-6.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 12-25
  • Color SRM (EBC) 12-24(24-48 EBC)
  • Brown Porter
  • Color: Dark brown to very dark. May have red tint.
  • Clarity: Beer color may be too dark to perceive clarity. When clarity is perceivable, chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium malt sweetness. Caramel and chocolate attributes are acceptable. Strong roast barley or strong burnt or black malt character should not be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are acceptable. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at low levels.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.050 (10-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.014 (1.5-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-4.7% (4.4%-6.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 20-35(40-70 EBC)
  • Robust Porter
  • Color: Very dark brown to black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium to medium-high. Malty sweetness, roast malt, cocoa and caramel should be in harmony with bitterness from dark malts.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters should be present and balanced with all other characters. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.045-1.060 (11.2-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-5.2% (5.1%-6.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 25-40
  • Color SRM (EBC) 30+(60+ EBC)
  • Sweet Stout or Cream Stout
  • Color: Black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium to medium-high. Malt sweetness, chocolate and caramel should contribute to the aroma and should dominate the flavor profile. Roast flavor may be present. Low to medium-low roasted malt-derived bitterness should be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Should not be present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low and serves to balance and suppress some of the sweetness without contributing apparent flavor and aroma
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters, if present, are low. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Full-bodied. Body can be increased with the addition of milk sugar (lactose).
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.045-1.056 (11.2-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.020 (3.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.5%-5.0% (3.2%-6.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 15-25
  • Color SRM (EBC) 40+(80+ EBC)
  • Oatmeal Stout
  • Color: Dark brown to black
  • Clarity: Beer color may be too dark to perceive. When clarity is perceivable, chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Coffee, caramel, roasted malt or chocolate aromas should be prominent. Roasted malt character of caramel or chocolate should be smooth without bitterness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Optional, but if present should not upset the overall balance.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Oatmeal is used in the grist, resulting in a pleasant, full flavor without being grainy. Fruity esters are not present to very low. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Body: Full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.038-1.056 (9.5-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.020 (2.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.0%-4.8% (3.8%-6.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-40
  • Color SRM (EBC) 20+(40+ EBC)
  • Scotch Ale or Wee Heavy
  • Color: Light reddish-brown to very dark
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Scotch Ales are aggressively malty with a rich and dominant sweet malt aroma and flavor. A caramel character is often part of the profile. Dark roasted malt flavors may be present at low levels.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Not present to very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters, if present, are generally at low levels. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at low levels.
  • Body: Full
  • Additional notes: Pleasant, low level oxidation is acceptable in Scotch Ales. Examples exhibiting more prevalent oxidation are categorized as Aged Beer. While there are conflicting theories as to whether traditional Scotch Ales exhibited peat smoke character, the current marketplace offers many examples with peat smoke character present at low to medium levels. Peat smoke attributes may be absent or present at low to medium levels. Versions exhibiting higher levels of smoke character are categorized as Smoke Beer.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on presence or absence of peat smoke-derived attributes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.072-1.085 (17.5-20.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.016-1.028 (4.1-7.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.2%-6.7% (6.6%-8.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 25-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 15-30(30-60 EBC)
  • British-Style Imperial Stout
  • Color: Ranging from dark copper typical of some historic examples, to very dark more typical of contemporary examples
  • Clarity: Opaque in darker versions. When clarity is perceivable, chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Extremely rich malty flavor, often expressed as toffee or caramel, and may be accompanied by very low roasted malt astringency.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium, with floral, citrus or herbal qualities.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium, and should not overwhelm the overall balance. The bitterness may be higher in darker versions while maintaining balance with sweet malt.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: High alcohol content is evident. Fruity esters if present are medium to high. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Full
  • Additional notes: This style was also originally called “Russian Imperial Stout.”
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.080-1.100 (19.3-23.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.020-1.030 (5.1-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.5%-9.5% (7.0%-12.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 45-65
  • Color SRM (EBC) 20-35+(40-70+ EBC)
  • British-Style Barley Wine Ale
  • Color: Tawny copper to deep red/copper-garnet
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Residual malty sweetness is high
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor are very low to medium. English type hops are often used but are not required for this style.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Complexity of alcohols and fruity ester attributes are often high and balanced with the high alcohol content. Low levels of diacetyl are acceptable. Caramel and some oxidized character (vinous aromas and/or flavors) may be considered positive attributes.
  • Body: Full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.085-1.120 (20.4-28 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.024-1.028 (6.1-7.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 6.7%-9.6% (8.5%-12.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 40-65
  • Color SRM (EBC) 11-36(22-72 EBC)

Irish Origin Ale Styles

  • Irish-Style Red Ale
  • Color: Copper-red to reddish-brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze or yeast haze may be present at low levels
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium candy-like caramel malt sweetness should be present in flavor. A toasted malt character should be present and there may be a slight roast barley or roast malt presence.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low level fruity esters are acceptable. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.048 (10-11.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.014 (2.6-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-3.8% (4.0%-4.8%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-28
  • Color SRM (EBC) 11-18(22-36 EBC)
  • Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout
  • Color: Black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: The prominence of coffee-like roasted barley and a moderate degree of roasted malt aroma and flavor defines much of the character. The hallmark dry-roasted attributes typical of Dry Stout result from the use of roasted barley. Initial malt and light caramel flavors give way to a distinctive dry-roasted bitterness in the finish.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: European hop character may range from not present to low in aroma and flavor
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low relative to malt and roasted barley as well as hop bitterness. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels. Slight acidity may be present but is not required.
  • Body: Medium-light to medium
  • Additional notes: Head retention should be persistent
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.038-1.048 (9.5-11.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.012 (2.1-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.2% (4.1%-5.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 30-40
  • Color SRM (EBC) 40+(80+ EBC)
  • Export-Style Stout
  • Color: Black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas are prominent. Initial malt and light caramel flavors give way to a distinctive dry-roasted bitterness in the finish.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Should not be present
  • Perceived Bitterness: May be analytically high, but the perception is lessened by malt sweetness.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels. Slight acidity is acceptable.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: Head retention should be persistent
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.052-1.072 (12.9-17.5 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.020 (2.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.5%-6.4% (5.6%-8.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 30-60
  • Color SRM (EBC) 40+(80+ EBC)

North American Origin Ale Styles

  • Golden or Blonde Ale
  • Color: Straw to gold
  • Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low malt sweetness and toast, cereal-like or other pale malt attributes should be present in flavor and aroma at low to medium-low levels.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor should be medium-low to medium, with attributes typical of hops of any origin present but not dominant.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters may be present at low to medium-low levels. Diacetyl and DMS should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium with a crisp finish
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.045-1.054 (11.2-13.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.0% (4.1%-5.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 15-25
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-7(6-14 EBC)
  • American-Style Amber/Red Ale
  • Color: Copper to reddish-brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to high maltiness with low to medium caramel character
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: American-variety hop character may range from low to medium-low in aroma and flavor
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters, if present, are low. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Body: Medium to medium-high
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.048-1.058 (11.9-14.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.018 (2.5-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-4.8% (4.4%-6.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 25-45
  • Color SRM (EBC) 11-18(22-36 EBC)
  • American-Style Pale Ale
  • Color: Straw to light amber
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low caramel malt aroma is allowable. Low to medium maltiness may include low caramel malt character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is high, exhibiting floral, fruity (berry, tropical, stone fruit and other), sulfur/diesel-like, onion-garlic-catty, citrusy, piney or resinous character that was originally associated with American-variety hops. Hops with these attributes now also originate from countries other than the U.S.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters may be low to high. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.050 (11-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.014 (2.1-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-4.3% (4.4%-5.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 30-50
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-7(8-14 EBC)
  • Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale
  • Color: Straw to deep gold
  • Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low malt aroma and flavor may be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium. The impression of bitterness is soft and well-integrated into overall balance, and may differ significantly from measured or calculated IBU levels.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Medium-low to medium-high fruity esters are present, and can contribute to the perception of sweetness and be complementary to the hop profile. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium-high. Perceived silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
  • Additional notes: Grist may include oats, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. The term "juicy" is frequently used to describe taste and aroma attributes often present in these beers which result from late, often very large, additions of hops. A juicy character is not required, however. Other hop-derived attributes such as citrus, pine, spice, floral or others may be present with or without the presence of juicy attributes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.050 (11-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.014 (2.1-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-4.3% (4.4%-5.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-50; may differ significantly from perceived bitterness
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-9(8-18 EBC)
  • American-Style Strong Pale Ale
  • Color: Pale to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low caramel malt aroma is allowable. Low level maltiness may include low caramel malt character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is high, exhibiting floral, fruity (berry, tropical, stone fruit and other), sulfur/diesel-like, onion-garlic-catty, citrusy, piney or resinous character that was originally associated with American-variety hops. Hops with these attributes now also originate from countries other than the USA.
  • Perceived Bitterness: High
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters may be low to high. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.050-1.065 (12.4-15.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.4%-5.6% (5.6%-7.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 40-50
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-14(8-28 EBC)
  • Juicy or Hazy Strong Pale Ale
  • Color: Straw to deep gold
  • Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low malt aroma and flavor may be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium. The impression of bitterness is soft and well-integrated into overall balance and may differ significantly from measured or calculated IBU levels.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Medium-low to medium-high fruity esters may be present, and can contribute to the perception of sweetness and be complementary to the hop profile. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium-high. A silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
  • Additional notes: Grist may include oats, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. The term "juicy" is frequently used to describe taste and aroma attributes often present in these beers which result from late, often very large, additions of hops. A juicy character is not required, however. Other hop-derived attributes such as citrus, pine, spice, floral or others may be present with or without the presence of juicy attributes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.050-1.065 (12.4-15.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.4%-5.6% (5.6%-7.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 40-50; may differ significantly from perceived bitterness
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-9(8-18 EBC)
  • Session India Pale Ale
  • Color: Straw to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: A low to medium maltiness should be present in aroma and flavor.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor are medium to high and can display qualities from a wide variety of hops from all over the world. Overall hop character is assertive.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low to medium. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: Beers exceeding 5.0% abv are not considered Session India Pale Ales. Beers under 5.0% abv (4.0% abw) which meet the criteria for another classic or traditional style category are not considered Session India Pale Ales.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.038-1.052 (9.5-12.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.014 (2-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.0%-4.0% (3.7%-5.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 40-55
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-12(6-24 EBC)
  • American-Style India Pale Ale
  • Color: Gold to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium intensity malt attributes are present in aroma and flavor
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is high, exhibiting floral, fruity (berry, tropical, stone fruit and other), sulfur/diesel-like, onion-garlic-catty, citrusy, piney or resinous character that was originally associated with American-variety hops. Hops with these attributes now also originate from countries other than the USA.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-high to very high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low to high. Diacetyl and DMS should not be present.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium
  • Additional notes: The use of water with high mineral content may result in a crisp, dry beer rather than a malt-accentuated version. Sugar adjuncts may be used to enhance body and balance. Hops of varied origins may be used for bitterness or for approximating traditional American character.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.060-1.070 (14.7-17.1 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.016 (2.5-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-6.0% (6.3%-7.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 50-70
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6-12(12-24 EBC)
  • Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale
  • Color: Straw to deep gold
  • Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low malt aroma and flavor may be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium. The impression of bitterness is soft and well-integrated into overall balance and may differ significantly from measured or calculated IBU levels.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Medium to medium-high fruity esters are present, and can contribute to the perception of sweetness and be complementary to the hop profile. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium-high. A silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
  • Additional notes: Grist may include oats, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. The term "juicy" is frequently used to describe taste and aroma attributes often present in these beers which result from late, often very large, additions of hops. A juicy character is not required, however. Other hop-derived attributes such as citrus, pine, spice, floral or others may be present with or without the presence of juicy attributes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.060-1.070 (14.7-17.1 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.020 (2.0-5.0 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-6.0% (6.3%-7.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 30-60; may differ significantly from perceived bitterness
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-9(8-18 EBC)
  • American-Belgo-Style Ale
  • Color: Gold to black
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Typically low. Perception of specialty or roasted malts or barley can be very low to robust in darker versions.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to very high, exhibiting American-type hop aromas not usually found in traditional Belgian styles.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to very high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are medium to high. Belgian yeast attributes such as banana, berry, apple, coriander, spice and/or smoky-phenolic should be in balance with malt and hops. Diacetyl, sulfur and attributes typical of Brettanomyces should not be present.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium
  • Additional notes: American-Belgo-Style Ales are either 1) non-Belgian beer types portraying the unique characters imparted by yeasts typically used in big, fruity Belgian-style ales, or 2) defined Belgian-style beers displaying the hallmark attributes typical of American variety hops. These beers are unique unto themselves.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes. Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on color, hop varieties, or underlying beer styles.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style(Varies with style EBC)
  • American-Style Brown Ale
  • Color: Deep copper to very dark brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium levels of roasted malt, caramel and chocolate aromas and flavors should be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium-high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium-low fruity esters may be present. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.060 (10-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.018 (2.6-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.3%-5.0% (4.2%-6.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 30-45
  • Color SRM (EBC) 15-26(30-52 EBC)
  • American-Style Black Ale
  • Color: Very dark to black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low caramel malt and dark roasted malt aromas and flavors are present. Astringency and burnt character of roast malt should be absent.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is medium-high to high, with fruity, citrusy, piney, floral, herbal or other aromas derived from hops of all origins.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-high to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low to medium. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.056-1.075 (13.8-18.2 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.018 (3.1-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-6.0% (6.3%-7.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 40-70
  • Color SRM (EBC) 35+(70+ EBC)
  • American-Style Stout
  • Color: Black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas are prominent. Low to medium malt sweetness with low to medium caramel, chocolate, and/or roasted coffee flavor should be present, with a distinct dry-roasted bitterness in the finish. Astringency from roasted malt and roasted barley is low. Slight roasted malt acidity is acceptable.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high, often with citrusy and/or resiny hop qualities typical of many American hop varieties.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: Head retention should be persistent
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.050-1.075 (12.4-18.2 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.022 (2.6-5.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.5%-6.4% (5.7%-8.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 35-60
  • Color SRM (EBC) 40+(80+ EBC)
  • American-Style Imperial Porter
  • Color: Black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: No roast barley or strong burnt/black malt character should be present. Medium malt, caramel and cocoa sweetness should be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are present but not overpowering and should complement hop character and malt-derived sweetness. Diacetyl should not be present absent.
  • Body: Full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.080-1.100 (19.3-23.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.020-1.030 (5.1-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.5%-9.5% (7.0%-12.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 35-50
  • Color SRM (EBC) 40+(80+ EBC)
  • American-Style Imperial Stout
  • Color: Black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Extremely rich malty aroma is typical. Extremely rich malty flavor with full sweet malt character is typical. Roasted malt astringency and bitterness can be moderate but should not dominate the overall character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to high with floral, citrus and/or herbal character.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-high to very high and balanced with rich malt character.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are high. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.080-1.100 (19.3-23.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.020-1.030 (5.1-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.5%-9.5% (7.0%-12.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 50-80
  • Color SRM (EBC) 40+(80+ EBC)
  • Double Hoppy Red Ale
  • Color: Deep amber to dark copper/reddish-brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium to medium-high caramel malt character should be present in flavor and aroma. Low to medium biscuit or toasted malt character may also be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma is high, derived from any variety of hops. Hop flavor is high and balanced with other beer attributes.
  • Perceived Bitterness: High to very high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Alcohol content is medium to high. Complex alcohol flavors may be present. Fruity esters are medium. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.058-1.080 (14.3-19.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.015-1.024 (3.9-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.9%-6.3% (6.1%-7.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 45-80
  • Color SRM (EBC) 10-17(20-34 EBC)
  • Imperial Red Ale
  • Color: Deep amber to dark copper/reddish-brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high caramel malt character is present in aroma and flavor
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: High hop aroma and flavor, derived from any variety of hops. Hop flavor is prominent, and balanced with other beer attributes.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Very high alcohol is a hallmark of this style. Complex alcohol flavors may be present. Fruity esters are medium. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.080-1.100 (19.3-23.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.020-1.028 (5.1-7.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 6.3%-8.4% (8.0%-10.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 55-85
  • Color SRM (EBC) 10-17(20-34 EBC)
  • American-Style Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
  • Color: Straw to medium amber
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Haze created by dry hopping is allowable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium pale malt character is typical. Low pale caramel malt character may be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is very high. Hop character should be fresh and evident, derived from any variety of hops. Hop flavor should not be harsh.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very high but not harsh
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Alcohol content is medium-high to high and evident. Fruity esters are medium to high. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: This style of beer should exhibit the fresh character of hops. Oxidized or aged character should not be present.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.070-1.100 (17.1-23.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.020 (3.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 6.0%-8.4% (7.6%-10.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 65-100
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2-9(4-18 EBC)
  • Juicy or Hazy Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
  • Color: Straw to deep gold
  • Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to high malt aroma and flavor may be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: High to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium. The impression of bitterness is soft and well-integrated into overall balance, and may differ significantly from measured or calculated IBU levels.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Medium-high to high fruity esters are present, and can contribute to the perception of sweetness and be complementary to the hop profile. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium to high. A silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
  • Additional notes: Grist may include oats, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. The term "juicy" is frequently used to describe taste and aroma hop-derived attributes often present in these beers which result from late, often very large, additions of hops. A juicy character is not required, however. Other hop-derived attributes such as citrus, pine, spice, floral or others may be present with or without the presence of juicy attributes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.070-1.100 (17.1-23.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.024 (3.1-6.0 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 6.0%-8.4% (7.6%-10.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 65-100; may differ significantly from perceived bitterness
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-9(8-18 EBC)
  • American-Style Barley Wine Ale
  • Color: Amber to deep red/copper-garnet
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Caramel and/or toffee malt aromas are often present. High residual malty sweetness, often with caramel and/or toffee flavors, should be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to very high. American hop varieties are often used, but are not required for this style.
  • Perceived Bitterness: High
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Complex alcohols are evident. Fruity esters are often high. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Body: Full
  • Additional notes: Vinous, sherry-like or port-like attributes arising from oxidation may be considered positive when in harmony with overall flavor profile.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.090-1.120 (21.6-28 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.024-1.028 (6.1-7.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 6.7%-9.6% (8.5%-12.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 60-100
  • Color SRM (EBC) 11-18(22-36 EBC)
  • American-Style Wheat Wine Ale
  • Color: Gold to black
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Bread, wheat, honey and/or caramel malt aromas and flavors are often present. High residual malt sweetness should be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are often high and balanced by a complexity of alcohols and high alcohol content. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels. Phenolic yeast character, sulfur, and/or DMS should not be present. Oxidized, stale and aged attributes are not typical of this style.
  • Body: Full
  • Additional notes: This style is brewed with at least 50% wheat malt.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.088-1.120 (21.1-28 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.024-1.032 (6.1-8 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 6.7%-9.6% (8.5%-12.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 45-85
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5+(10+ EBC)
  • Smoke Porter
  • Color: Dark brown to black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Smoked porters will exhibit mild to assertive smoke malt aroma and flavor in balance with other aroma attributes. Black malt character can be present in some porters, while others may be absent of strong roast character. Roast barley character is absent to low depending on underlying porter style being smoked. Medium to high malt sweetness, and caramel and chocolate flavors, are acceptable.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: None to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity esters are acceptable
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information should include the traditional style of porter as well as the wood type used as a smoke source (e.g. “alder smoked brown porter”).
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.050-1.065 (12.4-15.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.018 (2.6-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-7.0% (5.1%-8.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-40
  • Color SRM (EBC) 20+(40+ EBC)
  • American-Style Sour Ale
  • Color: Pale to black
  • Clarity: Chill haze, bacteria and yeast-induced haze is acceptable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low. In darker versions, roasted malt, caramel and chocolate aromas and flavors should be present at low levels.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Moderate to intense, yet balanced, fruity esters are present. Diacetyl, DMS and Brettanomyces should not be present. The evolution of natural acidity develops a balanced complexity. The acidity present is usually in the form of lactic, acetic and other organic acids naturally developed with acidified malt in the mash or in kettle or post wort fermentation and is produced by various microorganisms including certain bacteria and yeasts. Acidic character can be a complex balance of several types of acid and attributes of age. There should be no residual flavors from liquids previously aged in a barrel such as bourbon or sherry. Wood vessels may be used during the fermentation and aging process, but wood-derived flavors such as vanillin should not be present.
  • Body: Low to high
  • Additional notes: Beers exhibiting wood-derived characters or characters of liquids previously aged in wood are categorized as Wood-Aged Sour Beer.
    Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on color, hop varieties, microflora, spices or other ingredients, etc. When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) May vary widely
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) May vary widely
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) May vary widely
  • Bitterness (IBU) May vary widely
  • Color SRM (EBC) May vary widely(May vary widely EBC)
  • American-Style Fruited Sour Ale
  • Color: Can range from pale to black depending on underlying beer style and is often influenced by the color of added fruit
  • Clarity: Chill haze, bacteria and yeast-induced haze is acceptable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low. In darker versions, roasted malt, caramel and/or chocolate aromas and flavors should be present at low levels.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to High
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to high and in balance with fruit character
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Moderate to intense, yet balanced, fruity esters are present. Diacetyl, DMS and Brettanomyces should not be present. The evolution of natural acidity develops a balanced complexity. The acidity present is usually in the form of lactic, acetic and other organic acids naturally developed with acidified malt in the mash or in kettle or post wort fermentation and is produced by various microorganisms including certain bacteria and yeasts. Acidic character can be a complex balance of several types of acid and attributes of age. There should be no residual flavors from liquids previously aged in a barrel such as bourbon or sherry. Wood vessels may be used during the fermentation and aging process, but wood-derived flavors such as vanillin should not be present.
  • Body: Low to High
  • Additional notes: Fruit aromas, ranging from subtle to intense, should be present. Fruit or fruit extracts, used as an adjunct in either the mash, kettle, primary or secondary fermentation, provide harmonious fruit character ranging from subtle to intense. Beers exhibiting wood-derived attributes or evidence of liquids previously aged in wood are categorized as Fruited Wood-Aged Sour Beer.
    Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on color, hop varieties, microflora, spices or other ingredients, etc. When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) May vary widely
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) May vary widely
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) May vary widely
  • Bitterness (IBU) May vary widely
  • Color SRM (EBC) May vary widely(May vary widely EBC)

German Origin Ale Styles

  • German-Style Koelsch
  • Color: Straw to gold
  • Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt character is very low to low with soft sweetness. Caramel character should not be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low, and if present, should express noble hop character.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are absent to low, expressed as pear, apple or wine-like attributes when present. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium-low. Dry and crisp.
  • Additional notes: Traditional examples often display persistent head retention. Small amounts of wheat can be used in brewing beers of this style. Koelsch-style beers are fermented at warmer temperatures than is typical for lagers, but at lower temperatures than most English and Belgian-style ales. They are aged cold. Ale yeast is used for fermentation. Lager yeast is sometimes used for bottle conditioning or final cold conditioning.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.042-1.048 (10.5-11.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.010 (1.5-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.2% (4.8%-5.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 22-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-6(6-12 EBC)
  • German-Style Altbier
  • Color: Copper to dark brown
  • Clarity: Clear to slightly hazy. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: A variety of malts contributes to medium-low to medium malt aroma and flavor. Toast aroma typical of Munich malts should be present. Slight nuttiness is acceptable. Roast malt character should be present at low levels and well-integrated with the overall malt profile. Smoke character should not be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium with hop flavor more perceptible than aroma, with attributes typical of traditional German noble hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high, producing a clean dry finish. Forty-plus IBU is typical for Altbiers originating in Dusseldorf.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are absent to low, with attributes expressed subtly as citrus, pear, dark cherry or plum. A slight sulphur aroma is acceptable. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium.
  • Additional notes: The Altbier style is originally from the Dusseldorf area. The overall impression is clean, crisp and flavorful with a dry finish.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.052 (11-12.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.014 (2.1-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.6%-4.4% (4.6%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 25-52
  • Color SRM (EBC) 11-19(22-38 EBC)
  • Berliner-Style Weisse
  • Color: Straw to pale. These are the lightest of all the German wheat beers.
  • Clarity: May appear hazy or cloudy from yeast or chill haze
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness is absent
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Not present to very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low to medium. Diacetyl should not be present. Brettanomyces character may be absent or present at low to medium levels, and if present may be expressed as horsey, goaty, leathery, phenolic, fruity and/or acidic aromas and flavors. The unique combination of yeast and lactic acid bacteria fermentation yields a beer that is acidic and highly attenuated.
  • Body: Very low
  • Additional notes: Carbonation is high. Traditionally, some Berliners were brewed or served with fruit, spices or syrups. Some more contemporary versions have been brewed with other ingredients such as darker malts. Any such versions will take on corresponding hues, and may exhibit flavor and aroma attributes typical of such ingredients.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on the addition of fruit, spice or specialty malt, or other ingredients or processes. Fruited or flavored entries would be accompanied by a very brief description of the fruit/flavor used by the brewer.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.028-1.044 (7.1-11 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.006 (1-1.5 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.2%-4.0% (2.8%-5.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 3-6
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2-4(4-8 EBC)
  • Leipzig-Style Gose
  • Color: Straw to light amber
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy. Haze may or may not be from yeast.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness and attributes are not present to very low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Not present to low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Medium to high lactic acid character should be present and expressed as a sharp, refreshing sourness. These beers are not excessively aged.
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Additional notes: These beers typically contain malted barley and unmalted wheat, with some versions also containing oats. Salt (table salt) and coriander may be present in low amounts, or may be absent.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include whether coriander, salt and/or Brettanomyces is used and/or other information about the brewing process.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.036-1.056 (9-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.012 (2.1-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-4.3% (4.4%-5.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 5-15
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2-7(4-14 EBC)
  • Contemporary-Style Gose
  • Color: Usually straw to medium amber, and can take on the color of added fruits or other ingredients such as darker malts.
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy. Haze may or may not result from yeast
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt aroma and flavor is not present to very low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Not present to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Horsey, leathery or earthy aromas contributed by Brettanomyces yeasts may be present but at low levels as these beers do not undergo prolonged aging. Contemporary Gose may be fermented with pure beer yeast strains, or with yeast mixed with bacteria. Alternatively, they may be spontaneously fermented. Low to medium lactic acid character is present in all examples expressed as a sharp, refreshing sourness.
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Additional notes: These beers may be brewed with malted barley, wheat and oats and unmalted barley, wheat, and oats; contemporary examples may also contain other grains. As in traditional examples, low level salt (table salt) and coriander additions may or may not be present in Contemporary Gose. Attributes from the use of a wide variety of herbs, spices, flowers, fruits or other ingredients not found in traditional Leipzig-Style Gose may also be present and in harmony with overall flavor profile.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include any herbs, spices, fruit or other added ingredients, and/or information about the brewing process.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.036-1.056 (9-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.012 (2.1-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-4.3% (4.4%-5.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 5-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-9(6-18 EBC)
  • South German-Style Hefeweizen
  • Color: Straw to amber
  • Clarity: If served with yeast, appearance may be very cloudy.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium-low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Med-low to med-high fruity and phenolic attributes are hallmarks of this style. Phenolic attributes such as clove, nutmeg, smoke and vanilla are present. Banana ester aroma and flavor should be present at low to medium-high levels. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent malted wheat. Hefeweizens are very highly carbonated. These beers are typically (though not always) roused during pouring, and when yeast is present, they will have a yeasty flavor and a characteristically fuller mouthfeel.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.047-1.056 (11.7-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.9%-4.4% (4.9%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-9(6-18 EBC)
  • South German-Style Kristal Weizen
  • Color: Straw to amber
  • Clarity: Clear with no chill haze present. Because the beer is filtered, no yeast should be present.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness is very low to medium-low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: The aroma and flavor are very similar to Hefeweizen with the caveat that fruity and phenolic characters are not combined with the yeasty flavor and fuller-bodied mouthfeel of yeast. The phenolic characteristics are often described as clove-like or nutmeg-like and can be smoky or even vanilla-like. A Banana-like ester aroma and flavor is often present. Diacetyl should not be present. Kristal Weizens are well attenuated and very highly carbonated.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent malted wheat. They have no yeast flavor and they exhibit a cleaner, drier mouthfeel than counterparts served with yeast.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.047-1.056 (11.7-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.9%-4.4% (4.9%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-9(6-18 EBC)
  • German-Style Leichtes Weizen
  • Color: Straw to copper-amber
  • Clarity: If served with yeast, appearance may be very cloudy.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium-low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: The phenolic and estery aromas typical of Weissbiers should be present but less pronounced in this style. The overall flavor profile is less complex than Hefeweizen due to a lower alcohol content and there is less yeasty flavor. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Low with a lighter mouthfeel than Hefeweizen. The German word “leicht” means light, and as such these beers are light versions of Hefeweizen.
  • Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent wheat malt. They are often roused during pouring, and when yeast is present, they will have a yeasty flavor and a fuller mouthfeel.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.028-1.044 (7.1-11 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.008 (1-2.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-2.8% (2.5%-3.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3.5-15(7-30 EBC)
  • South German-Style Bernsteinfarbenes Weizen
  • Color: Amber to light brown. The German word Bernsteinfarben means amber-colored.
  • Clarity: If served with yeast, appearance may be very cloudy.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Distinct sweet maltiness and caramel or bread-like character arises from the use of medium-colored malts.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: The phenolic and estery aromas and flavors typical of Weissbiers are present but less pronounced in Bernsteinfarbenes Weissbiers. These beers should be well attenuated and very highly carbonated. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent wheat malt. They are often roused during pouring, and when yeast is present, they will have a yeasty flavor and a fuller mouthfeel.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.048-1.056 (11.9-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.3% (4.8%-5.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
  • Color SRM (EBC) 9-13(18-26 EBC)
  • South German-Style Dunkel Weizen
  • Color: Copper-brown to very dark
  • Clarity: If served with yeast, appearance may be very cloudy
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Distinct sweet maltiness and a chocolate-like character from roasted malt characterize this beer style. Dark barley malts are frequently used along with dark Cara or color malts.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: The phenolic and estery aromas and flavors typical of Weissbiers are present but less pronounced in Dunkel Weissbiers. Dunkel Weissbiers should be well attenuated and very highly carbonated. Diacetyl should not be present
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent wheat malt. They are often roused during pouring, and when yeast is present, they will have a yeasty flavor and a characteristically fuller mouthfeel.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.048-1.056 (11.9-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.3% (4.8%-5.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
  • Color SRM (EBC) 10-25(20-50 EBC)
  • South German-Style Weizenbock
  • Color: Gold to very dark
  • Clarity: If served with yeast, appearance may be very cloudy.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium malty sweetness should be present. If dark, a mild roast malt character should emerge in the flavor and, to a lesser degree, in the aroma.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Balanced, clove-like phenolic and fruity ester banana notes produce a well-rounded flavor and aroma. Diacetyl should not be present. Carbonation should be high.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent wheat malt. They are often roused during pouring, and when yeast is present, they will have a yeasty flavor and a fuller mouthfeel.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.066-1.080 (16.1-19.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.016-1.028 (4.1-7.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.5%-7.5% (7.0%-9.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 15-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4.5-30(9-60 EBC)
  • German-Style Rye Ale
  • Color: Pale to very dark, with darker versions ranging from dark amber to dark brown.
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable in versions packaged and served without yeast. In versions served with yeast, appearance may range from hazy to very cloudy.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: In darker versions, malt aromas and flavors can optionally include low roasted malt characters expressed as cocoa/chocolate or caramel, and/or aromatic toffee, caramel, or biscuit attributes. Malt sweetness can vary from low to medium. Low level roast malt astringency is acceptable when balanced with low to medium malt sweetness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium banana–like and/or other fruity ester aromas and flavors are typical. Clove-like and/or other phenolic aromas and flavors should also be present. No yeast aroma should be present in versions without yeast. Versions packaged and served without yeast will not have yeast flavor or full mouthfeel typical of beers with yeast. Versions with yeast will have low to medium yeast aroma and flavor and a full mouthfeel, but the yeast character should not overpower the balance of rye and barley malts, esters and phenolics.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: Grist should include at least 30 percent rye malt. Versions with yeast are often roused during pouring. When yeast is present, the beer should have a yeasty flavor and a fuller mouthfeel.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.047-1.056 (11.7-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.9%-4.4% (4.9%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-25(8-50 EBC)
  • Bamberg-Style Weiss Rauchbier
  • Color: Pale to chestnut brown
  • Clarity: If served with yeast, appearance may be very cloudy.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: In darker versions, a detectable degree of roast malt may be present without being aggressive. Smoky malt aroma and flavor, ranging from low to high, should be present. Smoke character should be smooth, not harshly phenolic, suggesting a mild sweetness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: The aroma and flavor of a Weiss Rauchbier with yeast should be fruity and phenolic. The phenolic characteristics are often described as clove, nutmeg, vanilla and smoke. Banana esters are often present at low to medium-high levels. No diacetyl should be perceived. Weissbiers are well attenuated and very highly carbonated.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent wheat malt. They are often roused during pouring, and when yeast is present, they will have a yeasty flavor and a fuller mouthfeel.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.047-1.056 (11.7-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.9%-4.4% (4.9%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-18(8-36 EBC)

Belgian and French Origin Ale Styles

  • Belgian-Style Blonde Ale
  • Color: Pale to light amber
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt aroma and flavor is low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to low. Noble-type hops are commonly used.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity esters are balanced with low level malt attributes. Low level yeast-derived phenolic spiciness may be present. Diacetyl and acidic character should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.054-1.068 (13.3-16.6 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.014 (2.1-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-6.2% (6.3%-7.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 15-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-7(8-14 EBC)
  • Belgian-Style Pale Ale
  • Color: Gold to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt aroma should be low. Caramel or toasted malt flavor is acceptable.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low but noticeable. Noble-type hops are commonly used.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity esters are present. Yeast-derived phenolic spicy flavors and aromas should be present at low to medium-low levels. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.054 (11-13.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.014 (2.1-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-5.0% (4.1%-6.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6-12(12-24 EBC)
  • Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale
  • Color: Pale to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt character is low to medium. A complex fruitiness is often present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium-high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aromas should be present. Yeast-derived phenolic spicy flavors and aromas should be present at low to medium-low levels. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Body: Very low to medium
  • Additional notes: These beers are often brewed with light-colored Belgian candy sugar. Herbs and spices are sometimes used to delicately flavor these strong ales. These beers can be malty in overall impression or dry and highly attenuated. They can have a deceptively high alcohol character and a relatively light body for beers of high alcoholic strength. Some versions may be equally high in alcohol with a more medium in body.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.064-1.096 (15.7-22.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.024 (2-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.6%-8.8% (7.1%-11.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-50
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3.5-10(7-20 EBC)
  • Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale
  • Color: Medium amber to very dark
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high malt aroma and complex fruity aromas are distinctive. Medium to high malt intensity can be rich, creamy and sweet. Fruity complexity along with soft roasted malt flavor adds distinct character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Yeast-derived phenolic spicy flavors and aromas should be present at low to medium-low levels. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: These beers are often (though not always) brewed with dark Belgian candy sugar. Herbs and spices are sometimes used to delicately flavor these strong ales. These beers are typically well attenuated with a deceptive alcoholic strength.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.064-1.096 (15.7-22.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.024 (3.1-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.6%-8.8% (7.1%-11.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-50
  • Color SRM (EBC) 9-35(18-70 EBC)
  • Belgian-Style Dubbel
  • Color: Brown to very dark
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Slight yeast haze may be present in bottle conditioned versions.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Cocoa, dark or dried fruit and/or caramel aroma attributes should be present along with malty sweetness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low, if present.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters (especially banana) are absent or present at low levels. Clove-like phenolic flavor and aroma may be present at low to medium-low levels. Diacetyl character should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: Head should be dense and mousse-like
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.060-1.075 (14.7-18.2 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.016 (3.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-6.0% (6.3%-7.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 16-36(32-72 EBC)
  • Belgian-Style Tripel
  • Color: Pale to light amber
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Traditional Tripels are bottle conditioned and may exhibit slight yeast haze. However, yeast should not be intentionally roused.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low sweetness from very pale malts should be present. There should be no roasted or dark malt character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low, if present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: A complex, sometimes mildly spicy, aroma and flavor characterize this style. Clove-like phenolic aroma and flavor may be very low. Fruity esters, including banana, are also common, but not required. Traditional Tripels are often well attenuated. Alcohol strength and flavor should be present.
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: Head should be dense and mousse-like. Brewing sugar may be used to lighten the body. Hop/malt character should be balanced. The overall beer flavor may finish sweet, though any sweet finish should be light. Oxidized character, if evident in aged Tripels, should be mild and pleasant.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.070-1.092 (17.1-22 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.018 (2.1-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.6%-8.0% (7.1%-10.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-45
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-7(8-14 EBC)
  • Belgian-Style Quadrupel
  • Color: Amber to dark brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Caramel, dark sugar and malty sweet flavors and aromas can be intense, but not cloying, and should complement fruitiness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Perception of alcohol can be strong. Complex fruity flavors, such as raisins, dates, figs, grapes and/or plums are often present and may be accompanied by wine-like attributes at low levels. Clove-like phenolic flavor and aroma may be present at low to medium-low levels. Diacetyl and DMS should not be present.
  • Body: Full with creamy mouthfeel
  • Additional notes: Head should be dense and mousse-like. Quadrupels are well attenuated and are characterized by an intense alcohol presence balanced by other flavors, aromas and bitterness. They are well balanced with savoring/sipping-type drinkability. Oxidized character, if present in aged Quads, should be mild and pleasant.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.084-1.120 (20.2-28 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.014-1.020 (3.6-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 7.2%-11.2% (9.1%-14.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 25-50
  • Color SRM (EBC) 16-36(32-72 EBC)
  • Belgian-Style Witbier
  • Color: Straw to pale
  • Clarity: Unfiltered starch and yeast haze should be visible. Wits are traditionally bottle conditioned and served cloudy.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma is not present to low. Hop flavor is not present.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low, from noble-type hops.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity esters are present. Mild phenolic spiciness and yeast flavors may be present. Mild acidity is appropriate. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium, with a degree of creaminess from wheat starch.
  • Additional notes: Wits are brewed with malted barley, unmalted wheat and sometimes oats. They are spiced with coriander and orange peel. Coriander and light orange peel aroma may be present, sometimes as an unidentified spiciness.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.050 (11-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.008 (1.5-2.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.4% (4.8%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-17
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2-4(4-8 EBC)
  • Classic French & Belgian-Style Saison
  • Color: Gold to light amber
  • Clarity: Chill haze or slight yeast haze is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low, but providing foundation for the overall balance.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium and characterized by European-type hops: floral, herbal and/or woody traits are common.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium, but not assertive.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are medium to high. Low to medium-low level phenolics may be present, expressed as spice-like or other attributes. Phenolics should not be harsh or dominant and should be in harmony with ester profile and hops. Fruity and spicy black pepper attributes derived from Belgian yeast are common. Diacetyl should not be present. Very low levels of Brettanomyces yeast-derived flavors that are slightly acidic, fruity, horsey, goaty and/or leather-like, may be present but are not required. These beers are well attenuated and often bottle conditioned contributing some yeast character and high carbonation.
  • Body: Very low to low
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.060 (10-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.008 (1.0-2.0 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-5.4% (4.4%-6.8%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-38
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-7(8-14 EBC)
  • Specialty Saison
  • Color: Pale to dark brown; may take on hue of fruit(s), darker malts or other ingredients
  • Clarity: Chill haze or slight yeast haze is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Typically low to medium-low, but may vary in beers made with specialty malts.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are medium to high. Diacetyl should not be present. Complex alcohols, herbs, spices, low Brettanomyces attributes including slightly acidic, fruity, horsey, goaty and leather-like, as well as clovey and smoky phenolics may be present. Herb and/or spice flavors, including notes of black pepper, may be present. A low level of sour acidic flavor is acceptable when in balance with other components. These beers are often bottle conditioned and display some yeast character and high carbonation.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: Contemporary Specialty Saison represent a very wide family of specialty beers. Entries brewed with dark malts, fruit(s), spice(s) or other special ingredients may deviate substantially from traditional appearance and flavor and from parameters shown in this guideline. Ingredients including spices, herbs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, fermentable sugars and carbohydrates, special yeasts of all types, wood aging, etc. may contribute unique attributes to these beers. Earthy and/or cellar-like aromas are acceptable. Color, body, malt character, esters, alcohol level and hop character should harmonize with attributes from special ingredients.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients such as malts and grains, hop varieties, microflora, fruit, spices, or other ingredients, etc. or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.080 (10-19.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.014 (2.0-3.5 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-6.6% (4.4%-8.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-40
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-20(8-40 EBC)
  • French-Style Bière de Garde
  • Color: Light amber to chestnut brown/red
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable. These beers are often bottle conditioned so slight yeast haze is acceptable.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: These beers are characterized by a toasted malt aroma along with a slight malt sweetness and/or toasted malt flavor.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium from noble-type hops
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity ester aromas are medium to high. Whereas fruity ester flavors are low to medium. Diacetyl should not be present. Bière de Garde may have Brettanomyces yeast-derived flavors that are slightly acidic, fruity, horsey, goaty and/or leather-like. Alcohol may be evident in higher strength beers.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: Earthy and/or cellar-like aromas are acceptable.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.060-1.080 (14.7-19.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.024 (3.1-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-6.3% (4.4%-8.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 7-16(14-32 EBC)
  • Belgian-Style Flanders Oud Bruin or Oud Red Ale
  • Color: Copper to very dark. SRM/EBC color values can be misleading because the red spectrum of color is not accurately assessed by these measurement systems.
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Some versions may be more highly carbonated. Bottle conditioned versions may appear cloudy when served.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Roasted malt aromas and flavors including cocoa are acceptable at low levels. A very low level of malt sweetness may be present and balanced by acidity from Lactobacillus.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-low, though acidity and wood aging (if used) may mask higher bitterness levels.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Brettanomyces-produced aromas and flavors should be absent or very low. Fruity esters expressed as cherry or green apple attributes are apparent. Overall flavor is characterized by low to high lactic sourness. Some versions may express very low to low acetic sourness and aroma.
  • Body: Low to medium-low with a refreshing mouthfeel
  • Additional notes: Oaky or woody flavors may be pleasantly integrated. Flavors of wine or distilled spirits associated with used barrels should not be present. Bottle conditioned versions are often a blend of old and young beer to create the brewer’s intended flavor balance.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.056 (11-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-5.2% (4.8%-6.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 5-18
  • Color SRM (EBC) 12-25(24-50 EBC)
  • Belgian-Style Lambic
  • Color: Gold to medium amber
  • Clarity: Cloudiness is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet malt character should not be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low, and can include cheesy or floral lavender character. Hop character is achieved by using stale and aged hops at low rates.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic aromas and flavors derived from Brettanomyces yeast are often present at moderate levels. High to very high fruity esters are present. Traditionally, Lambics are unblended and spontaneously fermented. They express high to very high levels of fruity esters as well as bacteria and yeast-derived sourness. Some versions are fermented with the addition of cultured yeast and bacteria. Carbonation can range from very low to high. Vanillin and other wood-derived flavors should not be present.
  • Body: Very low with dry mouthfeel
  • Additional notes: Lambics originating in the Brussels area of Belgium are often simply called Lambic. Versions of this beer style made outside of the Brussels area cannot be called true Lambics. These versions are said to be "Belgian-Style Lambic" and may be made to resemble many of the beers of true origin. Historically, traditional Lambic is dry and completely attenuated, exhibiting no residual sweetness either from malt, sugar or other sweeteners. Sweet versions may be created through addition of sugars or other sweeteners. Traditionally, Lambics are brewed with unmalted wheat and malted barley.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.047-1.056 (11.7-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.000-1.010 (0-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-6.5% (5.0%-8.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 9-23
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6-13(12-26 EBC)
  • Traditional Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambic
  • Color: Gold to medium amber
  • Clarity: Cloudiness is acceptable, as Gueuze is traditionally bottle conditioned.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet malt character is not present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low and can include cheesy, floral or lavender-like attributes.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: These unflavored blended and secondary fermented Lambic beers may be very dry or mildly sweet and are characterized by intense fruity ester, sour, and acidic attributes. Diacetyl should not be present. Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic aromas and flavors derived from Brettanomyces yeast are often present at moderate levels. Old Lambic is blended with newly fermenting young Lambic to create this special style of Lambic. Vanillin and other wood-derived flavors should not be present. Carbonation can be none (flat) to medium.
  • Body: Very low with dry mouthfeel
  • Additional notes: Gueuze Lambics, whose origin is the Brussels area of Belgium, are often simply called Gueuze Lambic. Versions of this beer style made outside of the Brussels area are said to be "Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambics." The Belgian-style versions are made to resemble many of the beers of true origin. Historically, traditional Gueuze Lambics are dry and completely attenuated, exhibiting no residual sweetness either from malt, sugar or other sweeteners. Traditionally, Gueuze is brewed with unmalted wheat, malted barley, and stale, aged hops.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.056 (11-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.000-1.010 (0-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-7.0% (5.0%-8.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 11-23
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6-13(12-26 EBC)
  • Contemporary Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambic
  • Color: Gold to very dark
  • Clarity: Cloudiness is acceptable, as Gueuze is nearly always bottle conditioned.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet malt character is not present. Some versions may exhibit attributes typical of specialty malts.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to low and can include a cheesy, floral or lavender-like attributes.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: These unflavored blended and secondary fermented Lambic beers may be very dry or mildly sweet and are characterized by intense fruity ester, sour, and acidic attributes. Diacetyl should not be present. Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic aromas and flavors derived from Brettanomyces yeast are often present at moderate levels. Old Lambic is blended with newly fermenting young Lambic to create this special style of Lambic. Vanillin and other wood-derived flavors should not be present. Carbonation can be none (flat) to medium.
  • Body: Very low with dry mouthfeel
  • Additional notes: Gueuze Lambics, whose origin is the Brussels area of Belgium, are often simply called Gueuze Lambic. Versions of this beer style made outside of the Brussels area are said to be "Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambics." The Belgian-style versions are made to resemble many of the beers of true origin. While Traditional Gueuze Lambics are dry, Contemporary Gueuze Lambics may have a degree of sweetness contributed by sugars or other sweeteners. Traditionally, Gueuze is brewed with unmalted wheat, malted barley, and stale, aged hops. Whereas Contemporary Gueuze Lambics may incorporate specialty malts that influence the hue, flavor and aroma of the finished beer.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying lambic beer upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as non-traditional malts, sweeteners used, other ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.056 (11-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.000-1.010 (0-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-7.0% (5.0%-8.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 11-23
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6-40(12-80 EBC)
  • Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic
  • Color: Often influenced by the color of added fruit
  • Clarity: Cloudiness is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness should be absent, but sweetness of fruit may be low to high.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is not present. Cheesy hop character should not be present.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic aromas and flavors derived from Brettanomyces yeast are often present at moderate levels. Fermented sourness is an important part of the flavor profile, though sweetness may compromise the intensity. Fruit sourness may also be an important part of the profile. These flavored Lambic beers may be very dry or mildly sweet. Vanillin and other woody flavors should not be present.
  • Body: Dry to full
  • Additional notes: These beers, also known by the names Framboise, Kriek, Peche, Cassis, etc., are characterized by fruit aromas and flavors. Fruit Lambics, whose origin is the Brussels area of Belgium, are often simply called Fruit Lambic. Versions of this beer style made outside of the Brussels area are said to be "Belgian-Style Fruit Lambics." The Belgian-style versions are made to resemble many of the beers of true origin. Historically, traditional Lambics are dry and completely attenuated, exhibiting no residual sweetness either from malt, sugar, fruit or other sweeteners. Some versions often have a degree of sweetness contributed by fruit sugars, other sugars or other sweeteners. See also Belgian-Style Lambic for additional background information. Such beers exhibiting wood-derived attributes should be categorized in other Wood-Aged categories.
    Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on color, fruit, or other ingredients. When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying lambic beer upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as fruit ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.072 (10-17.5 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-7.0% (5.0%-8.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 15-21
  • Color SRM (EBC) Color takes on hue of fruit(Color takes on hue of fruit EBC)
  • Other Belgian-Style Ale
  • Color: May vary widely
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt perception may vary widely
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: May vary widely
  • Perceived Bitterness: May vary widely
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Phenolic spiciness may be absent or may be present at low levels. Fruity-ester complexity may range from low to medium, in harmony with malt and other attributes. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Varies with style
  • Additional notes: Beers in this category recognize the uniqueness and traditions of Belgian brewing, but do not adhere to other Belgian-style categories defined in these guidelines. Balance is a key component when assessing these beers. Wood- and barrel-aged versions which exhibit attributes of wood aging should be categorized as wood- and barrel-aged beers. Fruited versions should be categorized as Belgian-style fruit beers.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include an underlying Belgian beer style not otherwise defined in these guidelines or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style(Varies with style EBC)
  • Belgian-Style Table Beer
  • Color: Gold to black. Caramel color is sometimes added to adjust color.
  • Clarity: Beer color may be too dark to perceive. When clarity is perceivable, chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Mild malt character may be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Diacetyl should not be present. Traditional versions do not use artificial sweeteners nor are they excessively sweet. More modern versions can incorporate sweeteners such as sugar and saccharine added post fermentation for additional sweetness and to increase smoothness.
  • Body: Low
  • Additional notes: These beers may contain malted barley, wheat, and rye as well as unmalted wheat, rye, oats and corn. Though not common, flavorings such as coriander or orange and lemon peel are sometimes added, but are barely perceptible. The mouthfeel is light to moderate, and sometimes boosted with unfermented sugars/malt sugars. Low carbonation and aftertaste are typical.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.038 (2.1-9.5 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.034 (1-8.5 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 0.4%-2.8% (0.5%-3.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 5-15
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5-50(10-100 EBC)

Other Origin Ale Styles

  • Grodziskie
  • Color: Straw to golden
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Oak-smoked wheat malt comprises the entire grain bill. Assertive smoked wheat malt aromas and flavors are medium to medium-high with aroma dominated by oak smoke.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Aroma and flavor of noble hops ranges from not present to low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low. Diacetyl and DMS should not be present. An overall crisp flavor is achieved by managing fermentation temperatures. Sourness should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Additional notes: Grodziskie (sometimes referred to as Graetzer in German) is an ale style of Polish origin. Historic versions were often bottle conditioned and highly carbonated.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.028-1.036 (7.1-9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.010 (1.5-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.1%-2.9% (2.7%-3.7%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 15-25
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-6(6-12 EBC)
  • Adambier
  • Color: Light brown to very dark
  • Clarity: Beer color may be too dark to perceive clarity. When clarity is perceivable, chill haze is absent.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Toast and caramel malt aroma and flavor may be present. Astringency from highly roasted malt should not be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is low. Traditional and non-hybrid varieties of European hops are traditionally used.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: A cool ale fermentation is typically used. Extensive aging and acidification of this beer can mask malt and hop character to varying degrees. Aging in barrels may contribute some level of Brettanomyces and lactic character.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: The style originated in Dortmund and is a strong, dark, hoppy ale which may or may not be sour. It may also be extensively aged in wooden barrels. Traditional versions may have a low or medium-low degree of smokiness. Adambier may or may not use wheat in its formulation. Smoke character may be absent in contemporary versions. Fruited versions of this style which exhibit attributes of wood-aging should be categorized as fruited Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beers. Fruited versions of this style which do not exhibit attributes of wood-aging should be categorized as Fruit Wheat Beers.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.070-1.090 (17.1-21.6 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.020 (2.6-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 7.1%-8.7% (9.0%-11.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 30-50
  • Color SRM (EBC) 15-35(30-70 EBC)
  • Dutch-Style Kuit, Kuyt or Koyt
  • Color: Gold to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze and other haze is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: The aroma is grainy or grainy-bready. The distinctive character of this beer is derived from the use of at least 45 percent oat malt, at least 20 percent wheat malt with pale malt making up the remainder of the grain bill.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low from noble hops or other traditional European varieties
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Esters may be present at low levels. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels. Acidity and sweet corn-like DMS should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: This style of beer was popular in the Netherlands from 1400-1550
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.050-1.080 (12.4-19.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.015 (1.5-3.7 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-6.3% (4.7%-7.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 25-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5-12.5(10-25 EBC)
  • Classic Australian-Style Pale Ale
  • Color: Straw to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze and/or a hazy appearance caused by yeast is acceptable at low levels
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low malt sweetness and other malt attributes are present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Perceivable fruity esters should be present, and are a defining character of this beer style, balanced by low to medium hop aroma. Overall flavor impression is mild. Clean yeasty, bready character may be present. Yeast in suspension if present may impact overall perception of bitterness. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels. DMS should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium with a dry finish
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.052 (10-13 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.010 (1-2.5 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.7% (4.0%-6.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 15-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-10(6-20 EBC)
  • Australian-Style Pale Ale
  • Color: Straw to medium amber
  • Clarity: Yeast, chill and/or hop haze may be present in this style at low levels but are not essential
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium-high, exhibiting attributes typical of modern Australian hop varieties such as tropical fruit, mango, passionfruit, and/or stone-fruit
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Very low to low fruity esters are acceptable but not essential.
  • Body: Low to medium-low with a dry finish
  • Additional notes: Overall impression is a well-integrated easy drinking, refreshing pale ale style with distinctive fruity Australian hop aromas and flavours. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels. DMS should not be present.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.052 (10-13 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.010 (1.5-2.5 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.7% (4%-6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 15-40
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-9(6-18 EBC)
  • International-Style Pale Ale
  • Color: Gold to light brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium malt flavor and aroma should be present. Low caramel malt aroma and flavor may be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma is low to high. Hop flavor is very low to high. Hop character can vary widely depending on variety and origin of hops used, and should reflect attributes typical of non-U.S. and non-British variety hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low to high. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels. DMS should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.060 (10-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.014 (1.5-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-5.2% (4.4%-6.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-42
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5-14(10-28 EBC)
  • Finnish-Style Sahti
  • Color: Pale to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze, yeast haze and general turbidity is acceptable.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt aroma is medium-low to medium. Malt flavor is medium to high with malt sweetness present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: These beers can vary significantly in character. Fruity ester and yeasty aromas are medium to high. Diacetyl should not be present. Bread/bakers’ yeast is traditionally used for fermentation and may produce flavors and aromas of complex alcohols, clove-like phenolics and banana fruitiness.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: Juniper aroma and flavor should be present due to the use of juniper boughs/branches and berries in the brewing process
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.060-1.090 (14.7-21.6 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.016-1.040 (4-10 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.6%-6.8% (7.0%-8.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 3-16
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-12(8-24 EBC)
  • Swedish-Style Gotlandsdricke
  • Color: Pale to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze or yeast haze is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt aroma and flavor is medium-low to medium. Birchwood smoke character, derived from the malting process, should be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Bread/bakers’ yeast is traditionally used for fermentation and contributes to unique character of these beers. Fruity ester and yeasty aromas are medium to high. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: Juniper aroma and flavor should be present due to the use of juniper boughs/branches and berries in the brewing process. These beers are characterized by juniper and birchwood smoked malt.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.050 (10-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.014 (2.5-3.5 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.4%-5.2% (5.5%-6.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 15-25
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-12(8-24 EBC)
  • Breslau-Style Schoeps
  • Color: Straw to black
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hue may be too dark to perceive clarity in some versions.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness is medium to medium-high with a pronounced malt character. A high proportion of pale or dark wheat malt (as much as 80 percent) is used to brew these beers as well as Pilsener and other pale, toasted or dark specialty malts. Paler versions may have bready, aromatic biscuit malt attributes. Darker versions may exhibit roast malt bitterness at low levels, and toasted or nutty malt attributes. Caramel-like malt attributes are not present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters may be present as these beers are fermented with ale yeast as opposed to wheat beer yeast. Diacetyl and phenolic aromas and flavors should not be present.
  • Body: Full
  • Additional notes: Traditional German wheat beer yeast is not used in this style of beer.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may choose to create subcategories which reflect pale and dark versions.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.067-1.072 (16.5-17.5 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.016-1.024 (4.5-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.8%-5.6% (6.0%-7.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2-40+(4-80+ EBC)

Lager Styles

European Origin Lager Styles

  • German-Style Pilsener
  • Color: Straw to pale
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: A malty sweet aroma and flavor should be present at low levels.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is moderate and pronounced, derived from late hopping (not dry hopping) with noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-ester and DMS should not be present. These are well attenuated beers.
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Additional notes: The head should be dense, pure white and persistent.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.052 (11-12.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.012 (1.5-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.6%-4.2% (4.6%-5.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 25-50
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-4(6-8 EBC)
  • Bohemian-Style Pilsener
  • Color: Straw to gold
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: A slightly sweet and toasted, biscuity, bready malt aroma and flavor is present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium, derived from late kettle hopping with noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Very low levels of diacetyl, if present, are characteristic of this style and may accent malt character. Low levels of sulfur compounds may be present. DMS should not be present.
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: The head should be dense.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.056 (11-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.014-1.018 (3.6-4.5 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.0% (4.1%-5.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 30-45
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-6(6-12 EBC)
  • Munich-Style Helles
  • Color: Pale to golden
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt aroma and flavor are pronounced. Low levels of yeast-produced sulfur aromas and flavors may be present. Malt character is sometimes bready and suggestive of lightly toasted malted barley. There should be no caramel character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma is not present to low. Hop flavor is very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low, derived from European noble-type hops.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters, DMS and diacetyl should not be present. A very low level of sulfur attributes may be present in balance with other attributes.
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: Many beer brands known as Austrian-Style Maerzen are nearly indistinguishable from Munich-Style Helles and are appropriately categorized here.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.050 (11-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.012 (2.1-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.4% (4.8%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 18-25
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-5.5(8-11 EBC)
  • Dortmunder/European-Style Export
  • Color: Straw to deep golden
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet malt character should be low and should not be caramelly
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: Traditionally, German-style Export beers were brewed to higher gravity/higher alcohol than domestic beers to promote longer shelf-life in export markets.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.048-1.057 (11.9-14.0 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.014 (2.6-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-4.8% (5.1%-6.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 23-29
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-6(6-12 EBC)
  • Vienna-Style Lager
  • Color: Copper to reddish-brown
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Characterized by malty aroma and light malt sweetness, which should have a lightly toasted malt character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low, clean and crisp.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: DMS, diacetyl, and fruity esters should not be present.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.046-1.056 (11.4-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.018 (3.1-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.3% (4.8%-5.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 22-28
  • Color SRM (EBC) 10-18(20-36 EBC)
  • Franconian-Style Rotbier
  • Color: Amber to dark red
  • Clarity: Clear to slightly hazy for unfiltered versions. Chill haze should not be present.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Light toasted malt aroma and malt sweetness is typical. Light caramel or biscuit character may be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low, with attributes typical of noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low, producing a clean finish.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: DMS, diacetyl, fruity esters and phenolic attributes should not be present.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.046-1.056 (11.4-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.010 (2.1-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.4% (4.8%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-28
  • Color SRM (EBC) 13-23(26-46 EBC)
  • German-Style Maerzen
  • Color: Pale to reddish-brown
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Bready or biscuity malt aroma and flavor should be present. Sweet maltiness is medium-low to medium and leads to a muted clean hop bitterness. Malt flavors should be of light toast rather than strong caramel. Low level caramel character is acceptable.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is low with attributes typical of noble hop varieties
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.050-1.060 (12.4-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.020 (3.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-4.7% (5.1%-6.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 18-25
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-15(8-30 EBC)
  • German-Style Oktoberfest/Wiesn
  • Color: Straw to golden
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Clean, sweet, bready malt profile is low to medium-low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low and in balance with low sweet maltiness
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: Traditional Oktoberfest beers were brewed to original gravity at or above 13 ºPlato. Today, some examples are brewed to a lower original gravity.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.048-1.056 (11.9-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.014 (2.6-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-4.8% (5.1%-6.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 23-29
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-5(6-10 EBC)
  • Munich-Style Dunkel
  • Color: Light brown to brown
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt character is low to medium, with chocolate, roast, bread or biscuit aromas and flavors contributed by using dark Munich malt or other specialty malts.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low, with attributes typical of noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Additional notes: Dunkels do not offer an overly sweet impression, but rather a balance between malt and dark malt sweetness and hop character.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.048-1.056 (11.9-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.014-1.018 (3.6-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.2% (4.8%-5.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 16-25
  • Color SRM (EBC) 15-17(30-34 EBC)
  • European-Style Dark Lager
  • Color: Light brown to dark brown
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt character is low to medium, with chocolate, roast, and malt aromas and flavors present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low, with attributes typical of noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Additional notes: These beers offer a fine balance of sweet maltiness and hop bitterness.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.048-1.056 (11.9-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.014-1.018 (3.6-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.2% (4.8%-5.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 15-24(30-48 EBC)
  • German-Style Schwarzbier
  • Color: Very dark brown to black, with a pale-colored head.
  • Clarity: Beer color may be too dark to perceive. When clarity is perceivable, chill haze should not be present.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium malt aroma displays a mild roasted malt character. Malt sweetness is low to medium, and displays a mild roasted malt character without bitterness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.052 (11-12.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.016 (2.6-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.0%-3.9% (3.8%-4.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 22-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 25-40(50-80 EBC)
  • German-Style Leichtbier
  • Color: Straw to pale
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present. Very low levels of sulfur-related compounds are acceptable.
  • Body: Very low
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.026-1.034 (6.6-8.5 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.010 (1.5-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-2.9% (2.5%-3.7%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 16-24
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2-4(4-8 EBC)
  • Bamberg-Style Helles Rauchbier
  • Color: Light pale to golden
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt character is prominent with malt aromas suggesting lightly toasted sweet malted barley. Smoke beechwood character ranges from very low to medium. Smoky aroma should be not harshly phenolic. Sulfur may be present at low levels. There should be no caramel character. Smoke flavor may create a perception of mild sweetness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present. Very low levels of sulfur-related compounds are acceptable.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.050 (11-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.012 (2.1-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.4% (4.8%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 18-25
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-5.5(8-11 EBC)
  • Bamberg-Style Maerzen Rauchbier
  • Color: Pale to light brown
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet toasted malt aroma should be present. Medium-low to medium toasted malt sweetness should be present. Aroma and flavor of smoked beechwood ranges from very low to medium. Smoke flavors should be smooth, without harshness. Aroma should strike a balance between malt, hop and smoke.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present
  • Body: Full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.050-1.060 (12.4-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.020 (3.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-4.7% (5.1%-6.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 18-25
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-15(8-30 EBC)
  • Bamberg-Style Bock Rauchbier
  • Color: Dark brown to very dark
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium to medium-high malt aroma and flavor should be present with very low to medium-high beechwood smoke aromas and flavors. Smoke flavors should be smooth, without harshness. Smoke flavor may create a perception of mild sweetness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium, increasing proportionately with starting gravity.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are usually absent, but if present should be very low. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.066-1.074 (16.1-18 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.018-1.024 (4.6-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-6.0% (6.3%-7.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 20-30(40-60 EBC)
  • German-Style Heller Bock/Maibock
  • Color: Pale to light amber. The German word “helle” means light-colored, thus Heller Bock is a pale beer.
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Light toasty and/or bready aroma and flavor is often present. Roast or heavy toast/caramel malt aromas and flavors should not be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters, if present, should be low. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.066-1.074 (16.1-18 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.020 (3.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-6.4% (6.3%-8.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-38
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-9(8-18 EBC)
  • Traditional German-Style Bock
  • Color: Dark brown to very dark
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Traditional Bocks are made with all malt and have high malt character with aromas of toasted or nutty malt, but not caramel. Traditional bocks display high malt sweetness. The malt flavor profile should display a balance of sweetness and toasted or nutty malt, but not caramel.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium, increasing proportionately with starting gravity.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters if present should be minimal. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.066-1.074 (16.1-18 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.018-1.024 (4.6-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-6.0% (6.3%-7.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 20-30(40-60 EBC)
  • German-Style Doppelbock
  • Color: Copper to dark brown
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Pronounced aromas and flavors of toasted malted barley. Some caramel and toffee character can contribute to complexity in a secondary role. Malty sweetness is pronounced but should not be cloying. There should be no astringency from roasted malts.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma is absent. Hop flavor is low.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Alcoholic strength is high. Fruity esters are commonly perceived at low to moderate levels. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.074-1.080 (18-19.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.014-1.020 (3.6-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.2%-6.2% (6.6%-7.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 17-27
  • Color SRM (EBC) 12-30(24-60 EBC)
  • German-Style Eisbock
  • Color: Light brown to black
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet malt character is very high
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is absent
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Alcohol may be present in aroma. Fruity esters may be evident, but not overpowering. Diacetyl should not be present. Alcoholic strength is very high.
  • Body: Very full
  • Additional notes: This is a stronger version of Doppelbock. Traditionally, these beers were created by freezing a Doppelbock and removing the ice, thus concentrating the alcohol.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.074-1.116 (18-27.2 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) N/A
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 6.8%-11.3% (8.6%-14.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 26-33
  • Color SRM (EBC) 15-50(30-100 EBC)

North American Origin Lager Styles

  • American-Style Lager
  • Color: Straw to gold
  • Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness is very low to low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Not present to very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are usually absent, but may be present at very low levels. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Low
  • Additional notes: Corn, rice, or other grain or sugar adjuncts are often used. American Lagers are very clean and crisp, and aggressively carbonated.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.048 (10-11.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.012 (1.5-3.0 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.0% (4.1%-5.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 5-15
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2-4(4-8 EBC)
  • American-Style Light Lager
  • Color: Very light to pale
  • Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Absent to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Absent to very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are usually absent, but may be present at very low levels. Diacetyl should not be present. Corn, rice, or other grain or sugar adjuncts are often used. These beers are characterized by an extremely high degree of attenuation. Final gravity is often less than 1.000 (0 ºPlato).
  • Body: Low with dry mouthfeel
  • Additional notes: These beers are high in carbonation. Flavor attributes typical of beer are usually very low when present. Calories should not exceed 125 per 12-ounce serving. Low carb beers should have a maximum carbohydrate level of 3.0 gm per 12 oz. (356 ml).
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.024-1.040 (6.1-10 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 0.992-1.008 (minus 2.1-2.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.8%-3.5% (3.5%-4.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 4-10
  • Color SRM (EBC) 1.5-4(3-8 EBC)
  • American-Style Amber Light Lager
  • Color: Pale to medium amber. The word “Light” refers to light body and reduced calories rather than color.
  • Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness is very low but present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Absent to low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low fruity esters are acceptable. Diacetyl should not be present. Corn, rice, or other grain or sugar adjuncts may be used but all-malt formulations are also made.
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Additional notes: Calories should not exceed 125 per 12-ounce serving. These beers are high in carbonation.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.024-1.040 (6.1-10 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.002-1.008 (0.5-2.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.8%-3.5% (3.5%-4.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 8-15
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-12(8-24 EBC)
  • American-Style Pilsener
  • Color: Straw to gold
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is medium to high, exhibiting attributes typical of noble-type hops
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: DMS, fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium
  • Additional notes: Up to 25% corn and/or rice in the grist should be used. Beers in this category hew to American-style lagers typical of the pre-Prohibition era.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.045-1.060 (11.2-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.018 (3.1-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.9%-4.7% (4.9%-6.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 25-40
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-6(6-12 EBC)
  • Contemporary American-Style Pilsener
  • Color: Straw to gold
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high. While traditional versions exhibit attributes typical of noble-type hops, contemporary versions will exhibit attributes typical of a wide range of American hop varieties.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: DMS, fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium
  • Additional notes: Up to 25% corn and/or rice in the grist should be used. Beers in this category diverge from American-style lagers typical of the pre-Prohibition era by virtue of a wide range of hop aroma and flavor attributes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.045-1.053 (11.2-13.0 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.018 (2.5-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.9%-4.7% (4.9%-6.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 25-40
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-6(6-12 EBC)
  • American-Style India Pale Lager
  • Color: Straw to gold
  • Clarity: Hop haze is allowable. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium, exhibiting bready, cracker-like or other attributes typical of pale malts
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high with attributes typical of hops of any origin
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high, but not harsh
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters, DMS and diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium
  • Additional notes: This style of beer should exhibit the fresh character of hops.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.050-1.065 (12.4-15.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.4%-5.6% (5.6%-7.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 30-70
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-6(6-12 EBC)
  • American-Style Malt Liquor
  • Color: Straw to gold
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Some malt sweetness is present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and complex alcohol aromas and flavors are acceptable at low levels. Alcohol should not be solvent-like. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Additional notes: Beers of this style are varied in character. Some malt liquors are only slightly stronger than American lagers, while others approach bock strength.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.050-1.060 (12.4-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.010 (1-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-6.0% (6.3%-7.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 12-23
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2-6(4-12 EBC)
  • American-Style Amber Lager
  • Color: Gold to copper
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low caramel or toasted malt aromas and flavors should be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium-high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.042-1.056 (10.5-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.018 (2.6-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.3% (4.8%-5.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 18-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6-14(12-28 EBC)
  • American-Style Maerzen/Oktoberfest
  • Color: Pale to reddish brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt aroma and flavor should express a light toasted character. Bready or biscuity malt aroma and flavor is acceptable. A low level of caramel character is acceptable. Sweet maltiness should be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium exhibiting herbal, grass-like, spicy, floral or citrus attributes
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: The American version of this classic German beer is distinguished by a more pronounced hop character.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.050-1.060 (12.4-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.020 (3.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-4.7% (5.1%-6.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-15(8-30 EBC)
  • American-Style Dark Lager
  • Color: Light brown to very dark
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low malt aroma and flavor may include low levels of caramel
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low and dissipates quickly.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Carbonation is high. Fruity esters, DMS and diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: low
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.050 (10-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.012 (2.1-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.4% (4.1%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 14-24
  • Color SRM (EBC) 14-25(28-50 EBC)

Other Origin Lager Styles

  • Baltic-Style Porter
  • Color: Black
  • Clarity: Opaque. When clarity is perceivable, chill haze should not be present.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness is medium-low to medium-high. Distinctive malt aromas and flavors of caramelized sugars, dark sugars and licorice are present. Roast malt attributes may be present at low levels, but any bitterness or astringency should be in harmony with other flavor aspects.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low. Floral hop aroma can complement aromatics.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Due to its alcoholic strength, there may be very low to low levels of complex alcohol aromas and flavors and/or higher levels of fruitiness suggestive of berries, grapes and plums, but not banana. Fruity esters, DMS and diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: Baltic Porter is brewed with lager yeast and fermented and lagered cold producing a smooth beer. A low level of oxidation, if harmonious with other flavor components, is acceptable.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.072-1.092 (17.5-22 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.016-1.022 (4.1-5.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 6.0%-7.4% (7.6%-9.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 35-40
  • Color SRM (EBC) 20+(40+ EBC)
  • Australasian, Latin American or Tropical-Style Light Lager
  • Color: Straw to gold
  • Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness is absent
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Sugar adjuncts are often used to lighten the body and flavor, sometimes contributing to very low to low fruity esters such as apple or pear. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Low
  • Additional notes: Sugar, corn, rice, and other cereal grains or carbohydrates sources are used as adjuncts.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.038-1.046 (9.5-11.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.010 (1.5-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.0% (4.1%-5.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 9-18
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2-5(4-10 EBC)
  • International-Style Pilsener
  • Color: Straw to pale
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Residual malt aroma and flavor may be present at low levels
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Very low levels of DMS aroma and flavor are acceptable. Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: These beers are often brewed with rice, corn, wheat, or other grains. Sugar adjuncts may also be used.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.050 (11-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.010 (2.1-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.6%-4.2% (4.6%-5.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 17-30
  • Color SRM (EBC) 3-4(6-8 EBC)

Hybrid/Mixed Lagers or Ale

All Origin Hybrid/Mixed Lagers or Ale

  • Session Beer
  • Color: The color should mimic the classic style upon which the beer is based
  • Clarity: Appearance may vary from brilliant to hazy to cloudy and should mimic the classic style upon which the beer is based
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt attributes should mimic the classic style upon which the beer is based, but at lower overall intensity due to lower original gravity.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop attributes should mimic the classic style upon which the beer is based, but at lower overall intensity in order to maintain the balance typical of that style.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Should mimic the classic style upon which the beer is based, but at lower overall intensity in order to maintain the balance typical of that style.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Varies with underlying style
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: This category includes any style of beer made lower in strength than described in the classic style guidelines. These beers exhibit lower original gravity and alcohol content than the classic style. Drinkability is key to a successful session beer. Beers exceeding 5.0% abv (4% abw) are not categorized as Session Beers. Beers at or below 5.0% abv (4% abw) which nonetheless hew to another classic or traditional category should not be categorized as Session Beers. For example, beers such as Belgian-Style Table Beers or American-Style Pale Ales with abv below 5.0% should be categorized within their appropriate categories.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, organizers may wish to further subcategorize this category. Competition organizers may request that brewers provide actual percent alcohol by volume (abv) for their entries in this category.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.034-1.040 (8.5-10 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.010 (1-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.8%-4.0% (3.5%-5.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2+(4+ EBC)
  • American-Style Cream Ale
  • Color: Straw to gold
  • Clarity: Chill haze should be very low or not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: The dominant flavor is of pale malt sweetness at medium-low to medium levels. Caramel malt attributes should be absent. Attributes typical of corn or other adjuncts may be present at low levels.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is very low to low or may be absent
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low level fruity esters may be present. Sulfur and DMS are usually absent but may be present at extremely low levels. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Low
  • Additional notes: These crisp and refreshing beers are fermented warm with ale or lager yeast and lagered cold
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.052 (11-12.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.010 (1-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.4%-4.5% (4.3%-5.7%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-22
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2-5(4-10 EBC)
  • California Common Beer
  • Color: Light amber to medium amber
  • Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium level toasted and/or caramel malt attributes are present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low to medium-low. Diacetyl should be absent.
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: California Common beers are brewed with lager yeasts but fermented at warm temperatures like ales
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.045-1.056 (11.2-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.018 (2.6-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.6%-4.5% (4.6%-5.7%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 35-45
  • Color SRM (EBC) 8-15(16-30 EBC)
  • American-Style Wheat Beer
  • Color: Straw to dark brown
  • Clarity: Clear to cloudy
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low level pale malt attributes are present in paler versions. Medium-low to medium-high malt attributes such as cocoa, chocolate, caramel, toffee or biscuit may be present in darker versions. Roast malt astringency is acceptable in darker versions when balanced with malt sweetness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium. Versions served with yeast may exhibit somewhat higher perceived bitterness.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity esters are present. Diacetyl and phenolic, clove-like attributes should not be present. Low to medium yeast character is present in versions served with yeast, in harmony with malt and hop attributes and not sharp.
  • Body: Very low to medium. Versions served with yeast may exhibit a full mouthfeel.
  • Additional notes: These beers can be fermented with either ale or lager yeast. The grist should include at least 30 percent malted wheat.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, organizers may wish to further subcategorize this category based on the presence or absence of yeast, use of darker malts, etc.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.036-1.056 (9-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.016 (1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.8%-4.4% (3.5%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2-10(4-20 EBC)
  • Kellerbier or Zwickelbier
  • Color: Varies depending on the underlying European origin lager or ale style
  • Clarity: Can be slightly hazy to moderately cloudy. A small amount of yeast haze is acceptable and traditional. These beers must be unfiltered but may become clear with age. May exhibit poor head retention.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on the underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on underlying style. Low level attributes typical of late or dry hopping may be present in some versions.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies depending on underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low levels of sulfur and acetaldehyde or other volatiles normally scrubbed during fermentation, if present, can enhance the flavor of these beers. Low fruity esters may be present and may vary slightly from the underlying style due to age and the presence of yeast. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at low levels in keller versions of beer styles which can contain diacetyl when fully aged, such as Bohemian-Style Lager.
  • Body: Varies depending on underlying style
  • Additional notes: Kellerbier or Zwickelbiers are unfiltered versions of lager or ale styles of European origin. These can include traditional Helles, Dunkel, Dortmunder, Vienna, Bohemian, Kolsch, Alt, as well as less common traditional or contemporary European-origin lager and ale styles. Kellerbiers have carbonation ranging from low to normal. These unfiltered beers are packaged and served with very low to moderate amounts of yeast. Contemporary versions may be filtered and dosed with yeast during packaging.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information should include the underlying European-origin lager or ale style upon which the entry is based. Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on ale or lager yeast type or hue.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • American-Style Fruit Beer
  • Color: Can range from pale to very dark depending on the underlying style, and is often influenced by the color of added fruit.
  • Clarity: Clear or hazy is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Not present to medium-low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to medium-low
  • Perceived Bitterness: In balance with fruit character and usually at very low to medium levels
  • Fermentation Characteristics: American-Style Fruit Beers are fermented with traditional German, British or American ale or lager yeast. Beers fermented with Belgian-style, German-style Hefeweizen or other South German wheat beer or Berliner-style Weisse yeasts should be categorized elsewhere. Fruit beers exhibiting acidic sourness from cultured or wild bacterial fermentation should be categorized elsewhere. Acidic bacterial fermentation, if present, contributes to acidity and enhances fruity balance. Attributes typical of wild fermentation should not be present.
  • Body: Varies with style
  • Additional notes: Fruit aromas, ranging from subtle to intense, should be present and should not be overpowered by hop aromas. Fruit or fruit extracts, used as an adjunct in either the mash, kettle, primary or secondary fermentation, provide harmonious fruit character ranging from subtle to intense. Within the framework of these guidelines, fruit beers fermented with Belgian yeast (Wit, Abbey, Farmhouse, Saison and/or Brettanomyces) should be categorized as Belgian-Style Fruit Beers, or possibly as fruited Brett Beers. Some beers may fit into this category if they contain fruity adjuncts but no actual fruit. As an example, a juniper berry-flavored beer with notable juniper berry fruity flavor and/or aroma could be categorized as a Fruit Beer, whereas a beer in which the juniper berry character is more herbal or spicy should be categorized as an Herb and Spice Beer. Fruit Beers brewed with wheat should be categorized as Fruit Wheat Beers. Fruit Beers brewed with unusual fermentable(s), but no wheat, should be categorized as Fruit Beers. Within the framework of these guidelines, coconut is defined as a vegetable, and beers containing coconut should be categorized as Field Beers.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as fruit(s) used or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 5-70
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5-50(10-100 EBC)
  • Fruit Wheat Beer
  • Color: Generally straw to light amber, and often influenced by the color of added fruit.
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable. These beers may be served with or without yeast. When served with yeast, appearance is hazy to very cloudy.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: These beers can be fermented with either ale or lager yeast depending on the underlying wheat beer style. Low fruity esters are typical. Diacetyl should not be present. In versions served with yeast, yeasty aroma and flavor should be low to medium.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: The grist should include at least 30 percent malted wheat. Fruit or fruit extracts contribute aroma and flavor expressing true fruit complexity. Versions served with yeast should demonstrate a full yeasty mouthfeel. Fruited examples of wheat beer styles that are not commonly brewed with fruit and do not exhibit attributes of wood aging should be categorized as Fruit Wheat Beers. These could include fruited versions of various wheat beer styles of European origin such as Weizens, Adambier or Grodziskie. Fruited wheat beers that exhibit sourness fall within various fruited sour beer categories. Such beers could deviate from parameters shown for those styles but should be suggestive of the underlying classic beer style with fruit added. Fruited versions of Berliner Weisse or Contemporary Gose fall within those categories as they are commonly brewed with fruit. Within the framework of these guidelines, coconut is defined as a vegetable, and beers containing coconut should be entered as Field Beers.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as fruit(s) used or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 2-10, or color of fruit(4-20, or color of fruit EBC)
  • Belgian-Style Fruit Beer
  • Color: Can range from pale to dark depending on underlying Belgian style, and is often influenced by the color of added fruit
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy beer is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Can vary from not perceived to medium-high
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying Belgian style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Acidic bacterial fermentation attributes may be absent or may be present; if present, such attributes contribute to acidity and enhance fruity balance.
  • Body: Varies with style
  • Additional notes: Fruit aromas, ranging from subtle to intense, should be present and should not be overpowered by hop aromas. Belgian-Style Fruit Beers are fermented with traditional Belgian yeast, (Wit, Abbey, Farmhouse, etc.). Within the framework of these guidelines, coconut is defined as a vegetable, and beers containing coconut should be categorized as Field Beers. Fruit or fruit extracts, used as adjuncts in either the mash, kettle, primary or secondary fermentation, provide harmonious fruit character ranging from subtle to intense. Classifying these beers can be complex. Wood vessels may be used for fermentation and aging, but wood-derived aromas and flavors such as vanillin should not be present. Versions exhibiting attributes derived from wood or liquids previously aged in wood should be categorized in other Wood-Aged Beer categories. Fruited Belgian-style beers which exhibit Brettanomyces may be categorized in this style, when no other category exists for such beers. However, a fruited Saison exhibiting Brett character should be categorized as a Specialty Saison. A fruited version of a Brett Beer is categorized as Fruited Brett Beer when such a Brett-containing beer is not based on an existing underlying Belgian beer style. A Lambic-Style fruit beer should be categorized as a Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic. Fruited Belgian-Style beers brewed with additional adjuncts could fall in this category or perhaps as Experimental Beers. Fruit beers fermented with German, British or American ale or lager yeast should be categorized as American-Style Fruit Beers or as Fruit Wheat Beers.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as fruit(s) used or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 5-70
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5-50(10-100 EBC)
  • Field Beer
  • Color: Can range from pale to very dark depending on the underlying style, and may be influenced by the color of added ingredients.
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium-high
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium-high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-high. Vegetable character should not be muted by hop character.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Varies with underlying style
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: Vegetable aromas, ranging from subtle to intense, should be present, and should not be overpowered by hop aromas. Field Beers are any beers incorporating vegetables as flavor or carbohydrate adjuncts in either the mash, kettle, primary or secondary fermentation. The vegetable character should be in harmony with other attributes and can range from subtle to intense. Within the framework of these guidelines, coconut is defined as a vegetable, and beers containing coconut should be entered as Field Beers. All beers containing chili peppers should be categorized as Chili Beers. Beers containing nuts should be categorized as Field Beers.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as vegetable(s) used or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-10.5% (2.5%-13.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 5-70
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5-50(10-100 EBC)
  • Pumpkin Spice Beer
  • Color: Can vary from pale to very dark depending on the underlying style
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Can vary from low to medium-high depending on the underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: None to medium and should not overpower spice, pumpkin or squash, if present, or overall balance of aromas and flavors.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying beer style
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: These are any beers using pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) or winter squash as an adjunct in either the mash, kettle, primary or secondary fermentation. Pumpkin or squash may not be present or may range from subtle to intense. They are spiced with other ingredients whose character should be present and in balance. While cinnamon, allspice, clove and nutmeg are common spices added to American-type pumpkin beers, other spices may be used. For example, a brewer could replicate a Wit-Pumpkin spiced beer by using orange peel and coriander.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as spice(s) used, pumpkin or squash used if any and related processing, or other factors which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 5-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5-50(10-100 EBC)
  • Pumpkin/Squash Beer
  • Color: Can range from pale to very dark depending on the underlying style
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Can vary from low to medium-high depending on the underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: None to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying beer style
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: Pumpkin/Squash beers are any beers incorporating pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) or winter squash as an adjunct in either the mash, kettle, primary or secondary fermentation. Pumpkin or squash aromas and flavors, ranging from subtle to intense, should be present. These beers are not spiced, but may have flavors associated with other beer styles such as smoked beer, fruit beer, sour beer, etc. Spice aromas and flavors should be absent. Versions exhibiting spice aromas and/or flavors should be categorized as Pumpkin Spice Beers or as other spice beer or possibly as experimental beer styles.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as pumpkin or squash used and related processing, or other factors which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 5-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5-50(10-100 EBC)
  • Chocolate or Cocoa Beer
  • Color: Can range from pale to very dark depending on the underlying style
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium-high malt sweetness balanced with cocoa flavors and aromas
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma is not present to very low. Hop flavor may be lower than is designated for underlying style allowing chocolate to contribute to the flavor profile without becoming excessively bitter.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying beer style. Attributes derived from chocolate or cocoa should be apparent in all such beers, ranging from subtle to intense, and in harmony with the overall flavor profile of the beer.
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: Chocolate Beers are any beers incorporating dark chocolate or cocoa in any form. Beers made with white chocolate do not typify this category; however, beers which exhibit attributes typical of white chocolate could be categorized as chocolate beer.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as type or form of chocolate used or other factors which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Coffee Beer
  • Color: Pale to black depending on the underlying style
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium malt sweetness provides balance with coffee flavor and aroma
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to high depending on the underlying style
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying style
  • Body: Reflective of the underlying beer style
  • Additional notes: Coffee beers incorporate coffee in any form. Coffee character should be apparent as the defining attribute of this category, ranging from subtle to intense, and should be in harmony with other attributes of the underlying beer. Other flavors arising from the use of flavored coffee may also be present.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may create categories which reflect groups of coffee beers based on underlying beer style or other factors. Brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as type or form of coffee used or other factors which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Chili Pepper Beer
  • Color: Can range from pale to very dark depending on the underlying style
  • Clarity: Clear or hazy is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Can vary from very low to medium-high depending on the underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to very high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Chili pepper aroma and flavor attributes should be harmonious with the underlying beer style. Chili pepper character may be expressed as vegetal, spicy and/or hot on the palate.
  • Body: Representative of underlying style
  • Additional notes: Chili Beers are any beers using chili peppers for flavor, aroma and/or heat. Chili character can range from subtle to intense. Chili pepper aroma may or may not be present. Within the framework of these guidelines, all beers containing chili peppers should be categorized as Chili Beers. Beers made with chili peppers which represent more than one style, such as chili beers with chocolate, should be categorized as Chili Beers.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as chili(s) used or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-10.5% (2.5%-13.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 5-70
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5-50(10-100 EBC)
  • Herb and Spice Beer
  • Color: Varies depending on underlying style
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on intention of brewer
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not essential, but may be present and may be more assertive than herb-spice character.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-low. Reduced hop bitterness tends to accentuate herb/spice character.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Aromas and flavors of individual spices may not always be identifiable
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: Herb and Spice beers are any beers using herbs or spices derived from roots, seeds, fruits, vegetable, flowers, etc. Herb and/or spice character can range from subtle to intense. Classifying these beers can be complex. Beers which exhibit herbal and/or spicy character are considered Herb and Spice Beers. Beers brewed with chili peppers are categorized as Chili Pepper Beers. Beers brewed with pumpkin in which herb and spice character dominates should be categorized as Pumpkin Spice Beers.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as type or form of herb(s) or spice(s) used or other factors which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 5-40
  • Color SRM (EBC) 5-50(10-100 EBC)
  • Specialty Beer
  • Color: Very light to black depending on the underlying style
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on intention of brewer
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to very high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to very high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Specialty Beers are brewed with atypical fermentable sugars, grains and/or starches which contribute to alcohol content. The distinctive attributes of these special ingredients should be present in the aroma, flavor and overall balance of the beer. Examples could include maple syrup, agave, potatoes, wild rice or any other sources of carbohydrate not commonly used in modern beer styles. Beers containing wheat are categorized in one of several wheat beer styles. The use of rice or corn would not normally be considered unusual since these adjuncts are commonly used in beer production. However, beers made with rice or corn varieties which imbue highly distinctive flavor attributes might be categorized as Specialty Beers.
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: Classifying these beers can be complex. Within the framework of these guidelines, nuts generally impart much more flavor than fermentables, and beers containing nuts are categorized as Field Beers. Likewise, within the framework of these guidelines, coconut is defined as a vegetable and beers containing coconut are categorized as Field Beers. Beers brewed with honey are categorized as Specialty Honey Beers. Beers brewed with roots, seeds, flowers etc. which exhibit herbal and/or spicy characters are categorized as Herb and Spice Beers. While beers brewed with fruits or vegetables may derive fermentable carbohydrate from those sources, they are most appropriately categorized within various Fruit Beer or Field Beer categories. Spiced or fruited versions of beers made with unusual fermentables are categorized as Experimental Beers as they represent a combination of multiple categories.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as type or form of unusual carbohydrate source used or other factors which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.140+ (7.6-32.1+ °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030+ (1.5-7.6+ °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-20+% (2.5%-25+%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 1-100
  • Color SRM (EBC) 1-100(2-200 EBC)
  • Specialty Honey Beer
  • Color: Very light to black depending on underlying style
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on intention of brewer
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to very high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to very high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Honey Beers may be brewed to a traditional style or may be experimental. Honey Beers incorporate honey as a fermentable sugar in addition to malted barley. Honey character should be present in aroma and flavor, but should not be overpowering.
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as type and/or source of honey used or other factors which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 1-100
  • Color SRM (EBC) 1-100(2-200 EBC)
  • Rye Beer
  • Color: A wide range of color is acceptable. Lighter versions are straw to copper, while darker versions are dark amber to dark brown.
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable in versions packaged and served without yeast. In versions served with yeast, appearance may range from hazy to very cloudy.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: In darker versions, malt aromas and flavors can optionally include low roasted malt character expressed as cocoa/chocolate or caramel. Aromatic toffee, caramel, or biscuit character may also be present. Low level roastiness, graininess, or tannin astringency is acceptable when balanced with low to medium malt sweetness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low levels of spicy and fruity ester aromas are typical. Yeast-derived aroma and flavor attributes such as clove-like or other phenolics may be present when consistent with underlying beer style. These beers can be fermented with either ale or lager yeast. Diacetyl should not be present. Low to medium yeast aroma may be present in versions packaged with yeast.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: The grist should include sufficient rye so that rye character is present in the beer. Beers brewed with rye that do not exhibit rye character should be categorized in other beer styles. Rye character is often described as slightly spicy and subtly black pepper-like. Versions served with yeast should portray a full yeasty mouthfeel.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other factors which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Brett Beer
  • Color: Any color is acceptable. Beer color may be influenced by the color of added fruits or other ingredients.
  • Clarity: Chill haze and/or haze from yeast is allowable at low to medium levels at any temperature
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: In darker versions, roasted malt, caramel and chocolate aromas and flavors are present at low levels.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Medium to high fruity esters are present. Acidity resulting from Brettanomyces fermentation results in a complex flavor profile. Brettanomyces character, at low to high levels, should be present and expressed as horsey, goaty, leathery, phenolic, fruity and/or acidic aromas and flavors. Brettanomyces character may or may not be dominant. Acidity from Brettanomyces should be low to medium-low. Cultured yeast strains may be used in the fermentation. Beers fermented with Brettanomyces that do not exhibit attributes typical of Brettanomyces fermentation are categorized elsewhere. Beers in this style should not incorporate bacteria or exhibit a bacteria-derived flavor profile. Diacetyl and DMS should not be present.
  • Body: Low to high
  • Additional notes: Fruited versions will exhibit fruit flavors in balance with other elements. Wood vessels may be used for fermentation and aging, but wood- derived flavors and aromas such as vanillin should not be present. Residual flavors and aromas originating from liquids previously aged in a barrel (bourbon, sherry, etc.) should not be present. Versions exhibiting attributes derived from wood or liquids previously aged in wood are categorized in Wood-Aged Beer categories. Sour wood- and barrel-aged versions are categorized in Wood-Aged Sour Beer categories. Entries exhibiting additional sensory attributes characteristic arising from microbes other than Brett are categorized as Mixed Culture Brett Beer.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as type of Brett(s) used, fruit(s) or other ingredients used or other factors which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Mixed-Culture Brett Beer
  • Color: Any color is acceptable. Beer color may be influenced by the color of added fruits or other ingredients.
  • Clarity: Chill haze, bacteria and yeast-induced haze is allowable at low to medium levels at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: In darker versions, roasted malt, caramel and chocolate aromas and flavors are present at low levels.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Medium to high fruity esters are present. Acidity resulting from fermentation with Brettanomyces and/or bacteria results in a complex flavor profile. Brettanomyces character should be present and expressed as horsey, goaty, leathery, phenolic, fruity and/or acidic aromas and flavors. Cultured yeast may be used in the fermentation. Bacteria should be incorporated and in evidence. Bacteria will contribute acidity which may or may not dominate the flavor profile. Diacetyl and DMS should not be present.
  • Body: Low to high
  • Additional notes: Fruited versions will exhibit fruit flavors in balance with other elements. Wood vessels may be used for fermentation and aging, but wood-derived aromas and flavors such as vanillin should not be present. Versions exhibiting attributes derived from wood or liquids previously aged in wood are categorized in Wood-Aged Beer categories. Sour wood- and barrel-aged versions are categorized in Wood-Aged Sour Beer categories.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as type of Brett(s) and/or other culture(s) used, fruit(s) or other ingredients used or other factors which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Ginjo Beer or Sake-Yeast Beer
  • Color: Pale to dark brown
  • Clarity: Slight chill haze is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium and in harmony with sake-like character
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium and in harmony with sake-like character
  • Fermentation Characteristics: These beers are brewed with sake yeast or sake (koji) enzymes. The unique byproducts of sake yeast and/or koji enzymes should be distinctive and in harmony with other elements. Sake character may best be described as having mild fruitiness and mild earthiness, with mushroom and/or an umami protein-like character. A high amount of alcohol may be evident.
  • Body: Varies depending on original gravity. Mouthfeel also varies.
  • Additional notes: High carbonation should be present.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.090 (10-21.6 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.020 (2.1-5 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.4%-8.2% (4.3%-10.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 12-35
  • Color SRM (EBC) 4-20(8-40 EBC)
  • Fresh Hop Beer
  • Color: Varies with underlying style
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Fresh hop aroma and flavor is prominent exhibiting green grass-like, fresh mown hay/grass or other fresh hop attributes.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are usually present, consistent with the ale style being made with fresh hops
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: These ales are brewed with freshly harvested hops. Such hops might be undried fresh or frozen cones or ground material, or, freshly kilned dried cones or pellets. These beers are typically consumed while fresh to highlight bright fresh hop attributes. Aging these beers will typically modify and reduce fresh-hop characters resulting in unique flavor outcomes.
    Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on fresh hops in unprocessed, frozen or kilned form. When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as hop varieties used, unprocessed, frozen or kilned, processing or timing of addition(s) (kettle, whirlpool, fermenter, aging tank, etc.), other ingredients used or other factors which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer
  • Color: Varies with underlying style
  • Clarity: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying style of beer being aged
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: These are any traditional or experimental style of lager, ale or hybrid beer aged in either a wooden barrel or in contact with wood. These beers are aged with the intention of developing unique attributes imparted by the wood and/or liquids that had previously been stored in contact with the wood. Wood aging does not necessarily impart wood flavors, but does result in distinctive sensory outcomes. Used sherry, rum, whiskey, tequila, port, wine and other barrels are often used, imparting complexity and uniqueness to a beer. A balance of flavor, aroma and mouthfeel results from the marriage of new beer with attributes imparted by the wood or barrel. Wood-Aged Beers may or may not have Brettanomyces character.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as length of time aged, type of wood or barrel, age, char level or previous liquids held by the wood, ingredients or other processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes. Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on color, alcoholic strength, underlying beer style, fruit, etc.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer
  • Color: Varies with underlying style
  • Clarity: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying style of sour beer being aged
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: These are any traditional or experimental style of lager, ale or hybrid beer aged in either a wooden barrel or in contact with wood, and exhibiting acidity derived from exposure to bacteria. These beers are aged in the presence of microflora (either present in the wood or introduced at some time in the brewing process) with the intention of introducing sourness to the beer. These beers are aged with the intention of developing unique attributes imparted by the wood and/or by liquids that had previously been stored in contact with the wood. Wood aging does not necessarily impart wood flavors but does result in distinctive sensory outcomes. Used sherry, rum, whiskey, tequila, port, wine and other barrels are often used, imparting complexity and uniqueness to a beer. A balance of aroma, flavor and mouthfeel results from the marriage of new beer with attributes imparted by the wood or barrel, and with sourness and/or other attributes derived from bacteria. These beers may or may not have Brettanomyces character. For purposes of competition, entries made with fruit are categorized as Fruited Wood-Aged Sour Beer. Entries made with spices are categorized as Herb/Spice Beers. Entries made with combinations of and or fruit(s) and or spices and or other ingredients, and which therefore represent combinations of multiple hybrid beer styles, are categorized as Experimental Beer.
    Versions made with fruit(s) will exhibit attributes of wood-aging, acidity and those added fruit(s). Competition organizers may choose to create subcategories for Wood-aged sour beers made with fruit or other ingredients. When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as length of time aged, type of wood or barrel, age, char level or previous liquids held by the wood, micro flora present if known, other ingredients or other processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Aged Beer
  • Color: Varies with underlying style
  • Clarity: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Aged Beers are any beers aged for over one year. A brewer may brew any type of beer of any strength and enhance its character with various aging conditions for an extended time. In general, beers with high hopping rates, roast malt, high alcohol content, and/or complex herbal, smoke or fruit character are the best candidates for aging. Aged Beers may be aged in bottles, cans, kegs or other non-wooden vessels. Aged character may be expressed in mouthfeel, aroma and flavor. Often, aged character is the result of oxidative reactions that either bring individual flavor components into harmony or are unique flavors unto themselves. Sherry-like and fruity flavors often develop during aging, and hop character often changes. No matter what the effect, the overall character should be balanced and without aggressive flavors. The level of change created by aging will vary with the duration of aging and the underlying beer style. Mildly-flavored beers are more likely to develop aggressive and unpleasant oxidation. Positive transformations are more likely to occur in beers with higher levels of hops, malt and/or alcohol.
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: Within the framework of these guidelines, Wood-Aged Beers, Brett Beers, Sour Beers or beers exhibiting attributes of aging in the presence of any microflora must be categorized elsewhere. Beers which have undergone aging but which nevertheless do not display characteristics of aging would be more appropriately categorized within their base styles.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as length of time aged, type of vessel, duration of aging process, micro flora present if known, other ingredients or other processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Experimental Beer
  • Color: May vary widely with ingredients used
  • Clarity: Varies with ingredients used and brewing process
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: May vary widely with ingredients used and brewing process
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: May vary widely with ingredients used and brewing process
  • Perceived Bitterness: May vary widely with ingredients used and brewing process
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Will vary widely depending on the nature of the techniques and/or ingredients used to create the beer
  • Body: May vary widely with ingredients used and brewing process
  • Additional notes: Experimental beers are beers that either 1. employ unique and unusual techniques and/or ingredients; or 2. beers that don’t meet the criteria of individual existing categories, representing a combination of two or more hybrid, specialty or classic categories. Experimental beers are primarily grain-based with a minimum of 51% of fermentable carbohydrates derived from malted grains. Beers produced using non-experimental techniques and/or ingredients are considered experimental beers if their properties overlap two or more existing categories and exhibit the distinctive characteristics of each of those categories. Uniqueness is the primary consideration when evaluating this category. Within the framework of these guidelines, field, fruit, chocolate, coffee, spice, specialty, wood-aged or other beers that fit within another individual category should not be categorized as experimental beers.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include an underlying beer style(s) upon which the entry is based (if such style(s) is apparent), or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes. Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on color, hop varieties, microflora, fruit, spices or other ingredients, wood aging, etc.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies widely
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies widely
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies widely
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies widely
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies widely
  • Historical Beer
  • Color: Varies with underlying style
  • Clarity: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Varies with underlying style
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: Beers in this category include established historical beers and/or brewing traditions from any era or part of the world that don’t fit within another beer style defined within these guidelines. Some Historical beers that could fit categories such as Experimental, Herb & Spice, Field Beer, etc. may be categorized as historical beers. This category pays tribute to beers that incorporate unique brewing ingredients and/or techniques that were used in the past. Within the framework of these guidelines, examples of Historical Beers include South American Chicha, Nepalese Chong/Chang, African sorghum-based beers and many others.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style(s) upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes. Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect historic beer styles. Evaluations are based on technical skill and overall balance, and factors such as uniqueness, heritage, regional distinction as well as background information about the beer and how well it represents the spirit of the category.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Wild Beer
  • Color: Any color is acceptable. Versions made with fruits or other flavorings may take on corresponding hues.
  • Clarity: Clear or hazy due to yeast, chill haze or hop haze.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Generally, these beers are highly-attenuated resulting in very low to low malt character. Maltier versions should display good overall balance with other flavor components.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Aromas may vary significantly due to fermentation attributes contributed by various known and unknown microorganisms. The overall balance should be complex and balanced. Wild beers are spontaneously fermented with microorganisms that the brewer has introduced from the ambient air/environment near the brewery in which the beer is brewed. Wild Beers may not be fermented with any cultured strains of yeast or bacteria. Wild Beers may or may not be perceived as acidic. They may include a highly-variable spectrum of flavors and aromas derived from the wild microorganisms with which they are fermented. The overall balance of flavors, aromas, appearance and body are important factors in assessing these beers.
  • Body: Very low to medium
  • Additional notes: Spontaneously fermented beers with fruit, spice or other ingredients should be categorized as Wild Beers. Within the framework of these guidelines, beers which hew to classic or traditional categories such as Belgian-Style Lambic, Gueuze, Fruit Lambic, etc. should be categorized as such, rather than as Wild Beers.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style(s) upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes. Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on color, microflora, fruit, spices or other ingredients, wood aging, etc.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Smoke Beer
  • Color: Any beer of any style incorporating smoke, and therefore may range from very light to black
  • Clarity: Varies with underlying beer style
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying beer style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying beer style
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying beer style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: For Smoke Beers based on lager styles, any phenolic notes (if present) should be derived from smoke; in such lagers yeast-derived phenolics should not be present.
  • Body: Varies with underlying beer style
  • Additional notes: Any style of beer can be smoked. The goal is to reach a balance between the style's character and the smoky properties. Any smoke beer that does not fit other smoke beer categories are appropriately categorized here.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style(s), or other information unique to the entry such as type of wood smoke or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Other Strong Ale or Lager
  • Color: Varies with underlying style
  • Clarity: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Within the framework of these guidelines, beers of any style intentionally brewed with higher alcohol content than defined within that style’s guidelines are categorized as Other Strong Beer. These beers should achieve a balance between the style's characteristics and the additional alcohol.
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style(s) being made to higher alcoholic strength, or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes such as microflora, fruit, spices or other ingredients, wood aging, etc.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 6.4%+ (8%+)
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Gluten-Free Beer
  • Color: Varies with underlying style
  • Clarity: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Although brewers may design and identify these beers according to defined style guidelines, these beers should be evaluated on their own merits without strict adherence to defined style parameters.
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: This category includes lagers, ales or other beers made from fermentable sugars, grains and converted carbohydrates and must also include some portion of cereal. All ingredients must be free of gluten. Within the framework of these guidelines, beers brewed with barley, wheat, spelt, rye, and other gluten-containing ingredients may not be categorized as Gluten-Free. Gluten-Free Beers may contain malted grains that are gluten-free. NOTE: These guidelines do not supersede any government regulations. Wine, mead, flavored malt beverages or beverages other than "beer" as defined by the TTB (U.S. Trade and Tax Bureau) are not considered “gluten-free beer” under these guidelines. Gluten-reduced beers’ original ingredients would have gluten content that has been reduced by enzymes or other processes to reduced levels. Gluten-reduced beers should be categorized in the classic style category most appropriate for the beer, rather than as Gluten-Free Beer.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include an underlying beer style if appropriate, gluten free grains and/or other carbohydrate sources or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes such as microflora, fruit, spices or other ingredients, wood aging, etc.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
  • Non-Alcohol Malt Beverage
  • Color: Varies with underlying style
  • Clarity: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Non-alcoholic (N/A) malt beverages can emulate the character of any beer style defined within these guidelines but without alcohol (less than 0.5 percent). Due to their nature, non-alcoholic malt beverages will have a profile lacking the complexity and balance of flavors that beers containing alcohol will display. N/A beers should be assessed with this is mind, and should not be given negative evaluations for reasons related to the absence of alcohol.
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries, such as the underlying classic beer style.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) <0.5% (<0.63%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style
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