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Types of Craft Beer

One way of categorizing the different types of craft beer is by its fermentation: ales—top fermentation—, lagers—bottom fermentation—, and spontaneous fermentation beers—like sour/wild ales and lambics. Within each family, we can find a great variety of types and styles, depending on the source—being the most accepted classifications the BJCP and Ratebeer style guide.
Each style is defined by several parameters, like its colour—ranging from 2 (lighter) to 50 (darker) according to de standard reference method (SRM)—, its alcohol by volume (ABV), its bitterness—expressed in IBUs, International Bitterness Unit—, and the base cereal, typically malt or wheat.

By fermentation

  • 1. Lager

    • – Its name comes from German lagernmeaning to store.

    • – Its fermentation temperatura ranges from 6 to 10º Celsius.

    • – Most common lager yeast is Saccharomyces eubayanus.

    • – It has a low ABV—between 3 and 5.5%

    • – Colour ranges from Pilsner's light amber to Doppelbock's dark brown.

  • 2. Ale

    • Ale comes from Old English aulu—an unhopped beverage—, in contraposition with biere—a hopped beverage.

    • – Its fermentation temperature ranges from 15 to 25º Celsius.

    • – Its ABV ranges fromAmerican Pale Ale's 4.5% to 15% in some Stouts.

    • – They use to have fruity aromas, due to the fermentation process.

  • 3. Spontaneus fermentation

    • – Wild beers are fermented with wild yeast captured by placing the wort outdoors.

    • – Its origin is on labic beers, from the Seine valley in the outskirts of Brussels.

    • – Lambic comes from allambique—its denomination in the 18th century.

    • – They have a low ABV, always below 5%.

By style

What is a Abbey Dubbel?

  • Abbey Dubbel or just Dubbel was the name by Westmalle brewery to their first brown highly alcoholic beer. Its appearance is reddish-copper, with a sweet malty aroma, sometimes with hints of chocolate, caramel or toast, dried fruits or spices. Alcohol is present in the flavour, but never too prominent. Malt tends to predominate, and there is a slight bitterness that doesn't get to the aftertaste. Dubbel beers are not as malty as other styles as Bock, but on the other hand they have a richer malt profile than a Belgian Ale

  • Go to Abbey Dubbel

What is a Abbey Tripel?

  • Tripel is a term coined in Belgium in order to describe a strong pale ale inspired in the Tripel from Westmalle—who used the word tripel in 1956 to rename their strongest beer. It is a spicy, dry and strong Trappist ale with a rounded malt flavour. Aromas are complex with spiciness and fruity notes.

    Flavour tend to be spicy and fruity too, with malt sweetness in the background and sometimes a honey touch. Tripel use to be high in alcohol, but they don't strongly taste as alcohol which is usually well hidden. Tripels can be compared with a slightly strong version of a Belgian Golden Strong Ale.

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What is a Ale?

  • Ale is nowadays defined as any beer made with top fermenting yeast, in contrast to lager—which is defined as any beer made with bottom fermenting yeast. But its origins are somehow different, being the definition of ale by the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1773 a fermented liquor obtained from an infusion of malt and differing only from beer in having a less proportion of hops. Thus the origin of the term ale comes from Old English alu or ealu, referring to a totally unhopped beverage, in contrast to the the continental hopped bere that arrived to the UK in the 15th century.

  • Go to Ale

What is a Amber Ale?

  • Amber Ale is quite related with American Pale Ales, even though they have a different malt ballance. Its appearance is amber to coppery brown, with a moderate hoppy aroma with fruity characteristics from american hops, and also high maltiness. Flavor is moderately to highly hopped, with floral notes and a lot of malty sweetness. Finish is sweet with hints of hoppy bitterness. In comparison, they're maltier than American Pale Ales, and less hoppier and alcoholic than Red IPA's.

  • Go to Amber Ale

What is a Amber Lager?

  • Amber Lager is also known as Vienna Lager, as it is an style developed by Anton Dreher in Vienna in 1841, and after exported to Mexico. It has a rich malt complexity balanced with some hop bitterness. Nowadays it is mostly crafted by macrobreweries, used sweeteners, while some reinterpretation of the original brew are all-malt with a fuller body and more character.

  • Go to Amber Lager

What is a AIPA - American IPA?

  • American IPA is the American reinterpretation of English IPA using American ingredients. It is strongly hoppy and bitter, with a balance towards hops and a clear fermentation profile. Color goes from gold to reddish-amber. Aroma is floral, hoppy, bringing the characteristic properties of American hops like Mosaic, Citrus or Cascade.

  • Go to AIPA

What is a APA - American Pale Ale?

  • American Pale Ale (APA) is a refreshing and hoppy, ale, with enough supporting malts to guarantee drinkability. ABV ranges between 4.5 and 6,2 ABV, and bitterness goes from 30 to 50 IBUs. Hops can range from traditional to modern American hops. Appearance is pale to light amber, and flavours and aromas are hoppy with floral and fruity notes. It is lighter and cleaner than English Pale Ales, and more accesible that modern day American IPA's.

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What is a American Strong Ale?

  • American Strong Ale is a catch all style that includes all American Variation as English Ales as well as other reinterpretations with high content of both malts and hops, like some Imperial IPA's, some Amber Ales, or many East Coast IPA's. They are not as strong as American Barleywine, and more malty than a Imperial IPA.

  • Go to American Strong Ale

What is a Baltic Porter?

  • Baltic Porter mixes the malt flavors of English Porters with the restrained roast of German style smoked beer, and adds a higher ABV. It usually has complex aroma and flavour profiles with caramel, chocolate and/or fruits, with no sourness at all. Taste has a roasted touch and a clean lager character, but is much less roasted than an Imperial Stout.

  • Go to Baltic Porter

What is a Barley Wine?

  • Barley Wine is an American reinterpretation of classic English Barley Wine. Color ranges from light amber to medium copper, and aromas are quite hoppy, with floral notes of American hops. Taste is ballance between malt sweetness and hop bitterness, but the ballance is always towards bitter, with a strong alcoholic character. It is less hoppy and sweeter than an Imperial IPA.

  • Go to Barley Wine

What is a Belgian Ale?

  • A Belgian Ale is a moderately malty, fruity and easy-drinking, amber-colored ale that is less aggressive in flavor profile than many other Belgian beers. They are quite balanced and smooth, and they have the lowest alcoholic character in the Belgian traditional styles. Fairly similar to pale ales from England, and with less yeast character than many other Belgian beers.

  • Go to Belgian Ale

What is a Belgian Strong Ale?

  • Belgian Strong Ale is a style that comprises from pale to bitter beers, with stronger yeast character than malt flavours, and higher alcohol than standard Belgian Ales. Colors tend to be light, and flavours smooth with some fruity and spicy notes.

  • Go to Belgian Strong Ale

What is a Berliner Weisse?

  • Berliner Weisse is a low alcohol German wheat beer. Very pale in color, with a clean sourness—produced by the fermentation with lactobacillus—and a very high carbonation level, aromas are very sour and sometimes fruity. Flavour is sour, funk and quite strong sometimes, with a dry finish and no hop flavours at all. It is generally not as acidic and has a lower ABV than a Lambic.

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What is a Bière de Garde?

  • Bière de Garde is a traditional style from Northen France. Its name means beer that has to be lagered, and it was the beer produced during winters in order to avoid problems with yeast and then consumed in summers—like the Belgian Saison. There are three substyles: ambrée (amber), brune (brown) and blond (blonde) and also the Bière de Mars, a beer that is supposed to be brewed in March and not to be aged. The differences with the Saison style is that Bière de Garde is more based in malts and it does not have a spicy or bitter character.

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What is a Black IPA?

  • Black IPA is a variation of the American IPA style. It has the characteristics of an American IPA, but its darker in color. Darker malts are generally supportive and allow this style to be quite drinkable. It gives the overall impression of an American IPA plus some restrained roast, but with less body and roasty flavour than a Stout or a Porter.

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What is a Blond Ale?

  • Blond Ale is a slightly stronger version of a golden ale, with some yeast complexity. Its Belgian version is related with Dubbel or Tripel, while the British version is more hoppy and refreshing, almost as an American Pale Ale, while the American and Canadian versions are less hopped.

  • Go to Blond Ale

What is a Brown Ale?

  • English Brown Ales are itself a very varied category, ranging from lighter and hoppy to darker and more caramel and roasted beers. Their American counterparts tend to be more hoppy. Malts used are caramel and chocolate, and hops varieties are mostly English. It is a more malty style than British Bitters, and less roast than English Porters, and with less sweetness than London Brown Ales.

  • Go to Brown Ale

What is a Brut IPA?

  • Brut IPA is a brand new style pioneered in 2018 by Kim Sturdavant from San Francisco Social Kitchen and Brewery. It departs from a double or triple IPA with the extra addition of amyloglucosidase, an enzyme that helps to tamp down the residual sugars from fermentation. The result is a very soft, dry aromatic and not very bitter IPA. Its color is very pale and could have some hazyness, and some of its base profile ingredients are wheat, rice and corn.

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What is a Cider?

  • Cider is fermented from apple juice. There are different traditional styles of cider, being English more fruity, the French more sweet and effervescent and the Spanish variants—with wild fermentation and no carbonation in bottle but often manually served from a height to the glass in order to get air bubbles.

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What is a Doppelbock?

  • Doppelbock is a German style from Munich. The name means double bock. It has a very strong maltiness, and no hop aroma or flavor and some fruit character. They have a very full body and a high alcoholic flavour.

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What is a Dunkel?

  • Dunkel means dark in German, and is the typical lager from Munich (Germany). It is a spring-autum wheat beer with deep malt sweetness and a complex Munich malt base, with some slight hop biterness. In comparison, it is not as intense as a Weizen Bock.

  • Go to Dunkel

What is a ESB - Extra Strong Bitter?

  • ESB is the acronym of Extra Strong Bitter or Extra Special Bitter—ESB is a registered trademark in UK by Fuller's Brewery. Although in the UK, it describes a very unique kind of beer, in the US, it describes a more generic malty, bitter, reddish British ale.

    Flavour ranges from balanced to bitter, but always pretty drinkable. Hop aroma is moderately high to moderately low, and flavour is based in its bready, biscuity malt profile. Can be compared with an American Pale Ale, but with more malt flavour and different hop character.

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What is a Foreign Extra Stout?

  • Foreign Extra Stout is a Extra Stout with higher ABV. Color is very deep brown to black, with high roasted aromas and hints of coffee and chocolate also with some fruitiness. Taste is roasted with coffee or chocolate and roasted character, with medium to high bitterness. It is a more alcoholic version of an Irish Extra Stout, but not as alcoholic or intense as an Imperial Stout.

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What is a Fruit Beer?

  • Fruit beer is a broad category, that holds any ale or lager made in combination with one of many fruits—being spices, herbs or vegetables not considered as fruits for this style. Appearance should reflect the fruit at some instance, and flavour should be associated with that fruit.

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What is a Fruity Lambic?

  • Fruity Lambic is a variety of Lambic often produced like Gueuze Lambic—by mixin one, two and three year old Lambics in the same bottle. Fruit is added halfway the aging process, so the yeast and the bacteria can ferment all the sugars from the fruit. Most traditional styles of fruit lambic are kriek (with cherries), framboise (with raspberries) and druivenlambik (with muscat grapes). The flavour of the fruit should be evident, coming in hand with a sour flavour. When young, the beer preserves its fruity taste, but when aged the lambic character becames more dominant.

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What is a Gose?

  • Gose is a wheat beer brewed with lactic fermentation, and flavoured with coriander and salt. It includes at least 50% of malted wheat and it has a hazy appearance with a medium yellow color. Aroma is slightly fruity with presence of coriander. Flavor is sour with lemon character, fruity notes and noticiable salty taste. Carbonation is high and acidity is not as intense as Berliner Weisse or Lambic.

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What is a Gueuze Lambic?

  • Gueuze Lambic is a variety of Lambic, traditionally produced by mixing blends of one, two and three year old lambics in the same bottle. While the young Lambic contributes with the sugar for the fermentation, the old Lambic gives the sour and wild character of aged Lambic.

    Another difference with normal Lambics is that Gueuze is served carbonated. Finally, the mixture of blends give them a more complex character, being the oude and ville gueuzes considered as the more traditional examples.

  • Go to Gueuze Lambic

What is a IIPA - Imperial IPA?

  • Imperial IPA or Double IPA is a strongly hopped strong pale ale. Its appearance is golden to light orange-copper, with almost no hazyness. Aromas are predominantly hoppy, with notes of American hops—pine, citrus, tropical fruits, etc.—, and additional dry hopping may give some herbal character. Flavour is highly bitter, very hoppy, with floral hints from the American hop varieties. Finish is dry to medium-dry and medium to high carbonation. It's bitter and hoppier than a English IPA or an American IPA, and less malty and less alcoholic than an American Barleywine.

  • Go to IIPA

What is a Imperial Pils/Strong Pale Lager?

  • Imperial Pils or Strong Pale Lager is a broad category for strong lagers common from Eastern Europe, with a maltier profile and more alcohol than a normal lager.

  • Go to Imperial Pils/Strong Pale Lager

What is a Imperial Porter?

  • Imperial Porter or American Porter is a more aggresive version of pre-prohibition Porters or English Porters. It has a dark brown appearance and strong dark malt aromas, with some burnt character and malt additions—chocolate, coffee, etc.— and some hop, even dry hopped. Flavor is malty, with some roasted character, and medium to high bitterness and finish is from dry to sweet. It is more bitter and alcoholic than English Porters, and less strong than American Stouts.

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What is a Imperial Stout?

  • Imperial Stout is a dark beer, ranging from dark brown to pitch black, and a well-formed head. Aroma and flavour tend to be rich and complex, with presence of roasty malts or dried fruits and touches of coffee, caramel or chocolate. Hop flavour can be from medium to high. Imperial stout is a good choice for barrel-aging, making the aromas and flavours more balanced and smooth.

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What is a India Style Lager?

  • India Style Lager is a mixture style, it is basically an IPA brewed with bottom fermentation. Color can be pale to dark, with hoppy aromas and ABV can range from very low up until 10%.

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What is a IPA - India Pale Ale?

  • – Modern IPA's are decidedly hoppy and bitter, with strong hoppy and floral aromas, specially from American hops such as Citrus and Mosaic.
    – Some versions are dry-hopped to get an even more intense aroma.
    – Its color ranges from medium-gold to amber and even to dark brown and black in the case of Black IPA's.
    – The body is medium-light and the ABV is not very high, in the range of 5 to 7,5% ABV.
    – The English styles have a more sweet character derived of the malts used (giving them a caramel, bread, and toast touch).

  • Go to IPA

What is a Lager?

  • Lager is a type of beer conditioned at low temperatures. Most lagers use a strain of yeast called Saccharomyces Pastorianus, a bottom fermenting yeast that works at colder temperatures—in contrast with to ale top-fermentation that works at warmer conditions.

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What is a Lambic?

  • Straight lambic are unblended—in contrast with Gueuze or Fruity Lambics, and are more variable in character. They are usually served as an in-house drink, with little or no carbonation. Younger versions are less complex, as Lambic character is not fully developed before a year. Young examples have a lactic-sour flavour, while more mature ones tend to be more ballanced. There is no hop character at all. Aroma is also sour and sometimes fruity, and finish is always dry.

  • Go to Lambic

What is a Landbier?

  • Landbier—a term that also includes some variants like Zwickel and Kellerbier—is a dark country lager originary from Franconia, in Germany. It is an unfiltered lager with a malty pressence—not as intense as in a bock—and moderate hoppy bitterness.

  • Go to Landbier

What is a NEIPA - New England IPA?

  • NEIPA or New England India Pale Ale is one of the more recent styles in the craft beer world. Its characterized by its hazy, turbid, even opaque appearance. Hop flavour is very high, and aromas are fruity and tropical. It has a smooth and juicy character. Compared to an American IPA, a NEIPA is more fruity, less bitter and much hazier.

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What is a Old Ale?

  • Old ale is an ale with more ABV than standard beers, but not as alcoholic as Barleywine. Its appearance ranges from light amber to very dark brown, and aromas are malty with combination of dried fruits, caramel, toffee and other malty aromas. Taste is also very malty, and sometimes also hopped, with a dry to sweet finish. It is usually an aged beer, and it generally has more barrel qualities, in contrast with Barleywine.

  • Go to Old Ale

What is a Pale Lager?

  • Pale lager is a soft lager with not a remarkable hop or malt presence. Typically is a style used by macrobreweries, developed as a premium version of the standard American Lager and often confused with the more malty and aromatic Pilsener

  • Go to Pale Lager

What is a Pilsener?

  • Pilsener is a quite broad category, they are hoppy and pale lagers with some malt character and aromatic hops. Taste is bitter and have some sweetness from the supporting malt. Finish can be sweet or hoppy.

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What is a Porter?

  • Porter is a moderate-strength brown beer with a restrained roasty character and some bitterness. May have roasted flavour—but not burnt—, and often has a chocolate, caramel and malty character. Color is brown to dark brown, and aroma is moderately low bready, biscuity malty.

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What is a Premium Lager?

  • Premium Lager is a middle category between Pale Lager and Pilsner. Appearance is gold to deep gold, with malty and spicy aromas. Taste is malty, with some moderate bitterness, and finish is long and ballanced.

  • Go to Premium Lager

What is a Quadrupel?

  • Quadrupels or Belgian Dark Strong Ales are very complex Belgian ales, sometimes connected with an Abbey or a Trappist monastery. Its appearance range from deep amber to reddish brown. Aromas are rich, with spiciness and malt presence, and hints of fruits. Flavors are as complex as aromas, with malt presence, fruits and some alcohol, and a dry finish. It is more malty than a Dubbel and not as bitter as a Tripel.

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What is a Saison?

  • Saison style can have different appearances—pale or dark—and strenght—table, standard or super—, but generally it is a refreshing and low ABV beer with a high carbonation. It can have complex aromas, with fruits or spices, and the flavor also have that attributes, with a almost non-noticiable alcohol and always a dry finish.

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What is a Scotch Ale?

  • Scotch Ale is a very sweet and malty style, with a copper to dark appearance. Malt is prominent in the beer, giving aromas a strong malty character, with caramel and sometimes smoked hints. Flavors tend to have a lot of caramel and some smoked roastness, with a sweet to dry finish. It shares some similarities with English Barleywine.

  • Go to Scotch Ale

What is a Session IPA?

  • Session IPA has a broad definition, being its main characteristics being low in ABV—less than 4.5%—but at the same time having a hop dominant taste and flavor. Compared to an American Pale Ale it has a more hoppy character, but less alcohol.

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What is a Smoked?

  • Any style of beer can be smoked by adding a smoked character to its base style. In order to achieve that, malts are smoked with different kinds of wood, and usually that kind of wood has some association with one of the main ingredients of the beer.

  • Go to Smoked

What is a Sour Red/Brown?

  • Sour Red / Brown is a cathegory that covers two styles that share a continuity and are originary from Flanders. Their defining character is the fruity character, pressence of malts, and a very wine-like character. The Flanders Red Ale style is closely related with the products of Rodenbach brewery.

  • Go to Sour Red/Brown

What is a Sour/wild ale?

  • A sour ale, also known as wild ale is a category that englobes all type of ales that are brewed with other bacterias than traditional brewing yeasts—Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus or Acetobacter to name the most common. The composition of this microflora varies a lot even between short geographical distances—probably due to the evolutionary pressure of human brewing activity—making each local variation unique.

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What is a Specialty Grain?

  • This style comprises all beers that are brewed with non-standard grains—like rye, oats or rice. It is considered a specialty beer and their qualities—like color, aroma or style, depends on the base style.

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What is a Stout?

  • Stout is a black beer with a pronounced roasted flavour, often similar to coffee. Flavour ranges from malty sweetness to quite bitter. Colour is dark brown to black, with a long last thick creamy head. Aroma has touches of coffee, and often chocolate and dried fruits.

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What is a Sweet Stout?

  • Sweet stout is an style originally developed in England, first known as milk or cream stouts—althought that name was later forbidden in the UK. It is a beer characterized by the use of lactose in order to make it sweeter and smoother than the typical stout or Imperial Stout. Sweetness is ballanced by the roastiness of malts and bitterness of hops. Another variation of sweet stout uses oatmeal as sweetener, resulting in a fuller beer.

  • Go to Sweet Stout

What is a Weissbier?

  • Weissbier is a German style of wheat beer with high carbonation and a very distinctive yeasty character, with hints of banana, clove or vanilla. They are not very hopped, and they are supposed to be consumed fresh as they don't tend to age well.

  • Go to Weissbier

What is a Weizen Bock?

  • Weizenbock is a strong and dark German wheat-based style. Appearance can also sometimes be more pale depending of the style variation, and it's a rather malty style in its taste and aroma, and no hop character at all.

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What is a Wheat Ale?

  • Wheat ales are not as yeasty and more hoppy than classic German wheat beers, and difference themselves by using a cleaner yeast and an extra amount of hops. They are pale in appearance, and quite malty with some ballanced hop bitterness. Depending on the variation they can be fairly drinkables or more ballanced towards hop or wheat.

  • Go to Wheat Ale

What is a Witbier?

  • Witbier is a refreshing wheat ale with a low ABV. It usually has a pale hazy appearance due to the yeast. Aroma and taste are moderately malty, with many spices an herbal hints and a low bitterness.

  • Go to Witbier