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Anglo-American Beer Styles Guide

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Altbier: Examples:
Altbier (often abbreviated to Alt) is a dark, top-fermented type of beer from Düsseldorf and the Niederrhein region in Germany. The name Altbier, which literally means old beer, refers to the old brewing style (top-fermenting yeast and dark malt). Up to the 1950s, Alt was also called Düssel (from Düsseldorf), but since the term is not a Protected Designation of Origin, Altbier may also be produced outside of the Düsseldorf region. Traditionally, Altbiers are conditioned for a longer than normal periods of time. Alt beers are dark, copper colored, brewed from dark malts and well-hopped.
  • Uerige Alt
  • Alaskan Amber
  • Widmer Winternacht
  • Grolsch Amber Ale
  • Diebels
  • Gatz Altbier
  • Hannen Alt

  • Amber Ale: Examples:
    Amber to coppery-brown in color and usually clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy. Medium to high hop and malt flavors. The malts may be sweet, often with a caramel flavor. Malts and hops are usually well balanced. Amber ales are somewhat similar to American pale ales with more body, more caramel richness, and a balance more towards malt than hops (although hop rates can be significant). This style of beer, sometimes called "Red Ales" was created on the west coast of the United States and is now commonly found across the country. The ABV is usually between 4.5-6% and IBUs range between 25-40.
  • St. Rogue Red Ale
  • Samuel Adams Boston Ale
  • Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale
  • Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale
  • Speakeasy Prohibition Ale
  • New Belgium Fat Tire
  • North Coast Ruedrichs Red Seal Ale
  • Mendocino Red Tail Ale

  • American Pale Ale: Examples:
    Pale golden to deep amber in color and usually clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy. APAs tend to have a moderate to high hop flavor, often showing a citrusy American hop character. Low to medium-high clean malt character (not sweet) which may be bready, toasty, biscuity. The balance is typically towards the late hops and bitterness, but the malt presence can be substantial. Moderate to high hop bitterness with a medium to dry finish. Carbonation is usually on the higher end. American pale ales are a derivative of English pale ales, however, they use local ingredients (such as American hops) which makes the difference in flavor. The ABV usually falls between 4.5-6% and the IBUs are typically around 30-45+.
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Stone Pale Ale
  • Full Sail Pale Ale
  • Pyramid Pale Ale
  • Deschutes Mirror Pond
  • Anchor Liberty Ale
  • St. Ambroise Pale Ale

  • American Strong Ale: Examples:
    American microbrewers continue to create increasingly stronger beers. The American Strong Ale category is a classification for stronger American beers that don't fit into the Barleywine or Old Ale categories. These beers tend to be medium to dark in color and likely have a heavy malt and hops presence. Alcohol warming will tend to be common as well. Most beers in this category will have an ABV over 7%.
  • Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball Ale
  • Main Street Single Malt Ale
  • Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale
  • Oggis Hop Whompus
  • Stone Double Bastard Ale
  • Siletz Mojo Ale
  • Pyramid Snow Cap Ale

  • Barley Wine: Examples:
    Barley Wines can be broken down into American and English varieties. Here at BeerTutor, we feel they are similar enough that they can be grouped together. Their color may range from light amber to dark brown. Barley Wines have strong and complex malt flavors ranging from bready and biscuity through nutty, deep toast, dark caramel, toffee, and/or molasses. Moderate to high malty sweetness and often complex alcohol flavors should be evident. Moderate to fairly high fruitiness, often with a dried-fruit character. Hop bitterness may range from just enough for balance to a firm presence, although American varieties are typically heavily loaded with hops (American hops) which is the main difference between the 2 varieties. Barley Wines are often associated with holidays and special occasions and are good for ageing like wine. ABV tends to be 8% or higher and IBUs are usually between 35-70.
  • Thomas Hardy's Ale
  • Hair of the Dog Fred
  • Anchor Old Foghorn Ale
  • Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
  • Dicks Barley Wine
  • Rogue Old Crustacean
  • Three Floyds Behemoth
  • Young's Old Nick
  • Whitbread Gold Label
  • Lakefront Beer Line

  • Bitter: Examples:
    Bitters are an English style of beer that are designed for drinkability (session beer). They are a clear light yellow to light copper in color. As the name would suggest, they have medium to high bitterness, but tend to be low in hop flavor. They also have low to medium maltiness, sometimes with a little bit of caramel flavor. Bitters tend to have low carbonation with a dry finish. Bitters tend to have low gravity and are low in alcohol ranging between 3% and 5%. IBUs are around 25-35.
  • Fuller's Chiswick Bitter
  • Young's Bitter
  • Brakspear Bitter
  • Adnams Bitter
  • Bottoms Up Buckin Bitter
  • Deschutes Twilight Ale
  • Boddingtons
  • Freeminer Waterloo

  • Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale: Examples:
    The Black IPA style, or Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA) as it is also known, is a relatively new version of an IPA, with a characteristically dark or black appearance, due to the use of roasted malts (often Carafa malts). Common hops used are Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe and Amarillo which provide the typical hop aroma of the IPA style. The alcohol content tends to be slightly higher than a standard IPA with the low end starting at about 6.5%. The style's creation is often attributed to the late Greg Noonan, founder of Burlington's Vermont Pub and Brewery. In recent years, the style has become popular in the Pacific Northwest causing local brewers to push for the name Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA) for the style. At this time, the name seems to be gaining traction.
  • Deschutes Hop in the Dark
  • Widmer Brothers W10 Black IPA
  • Laughing Dog Dogzilla Black IPA
  • Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale
  • Full Sail Bump in the Night
  • Southern Tier Iniquity

  • Blonde Ale / Golden Ale: Examples:
    Also known as a Golden Ale, these beers are often referred to as a starter ale for those new to craft brewing because it is the closest style to a lager in the ale family. They are light yellow to deep gold in color and are clear. Overall flavor is subdued (by comparison to other ales) and usually has a mild malt sweetness. Malts can also provide a mild biscuity or toasty flavor. Low to medium hop flavor and bitterness. Overall this is a lawnmower beer that is most commonly found in American brewpubs, although English Summer Ales and other beers also fit in this category. ABV is typically between 4-6% and IBUs between 15-25.
  • Hair of the Dog Ruth
  • Widmer Brothers Blonde Ale
  • Rogue Oregon Golden Ale
  • Wychwood Fiddlers Elbow
  • Labatt 50
  • St Peters Organic Ale

  • Brown Ale: Examples:
    The brown ale style is from England and these beers tend to be dark amber to dark brown in color. They tend to have a moderate to high malt character with flavors that can include caramel, chocolate, toffee, nuts, and biscuit. Malts tend to have moderate sweetness. Hop flavor can be very low to moderate and bitterness may be present. The finish may be dry. American versions tend to be hoppier than English counterparts. English versions are divided into Northern and Southern varieties, although the southern type is pretty uncommon. ABV varies between 3-6% and IBUs between 20-40.
  • Newcastle Brown Ale
  • Big Sky Moose Drool
  • Brooklyn Brown Ale
  • Bell's Best Brown
  • Redhook Nut Brown Ale

  • Cream Ale: Examples:
    Cream Ales are about the closest ale style to a lager and are sometimes made with lager strains. They tend to be clear pale straw colored and have medium to high carbonation. Flavor is a balance of low levels of malt and hops and may have a low to medium corn (adjunct) taste. Finish can be dry or sweet from the corn and added sugars. Alcohol tends to be between 4.2-5.6% and bitterness is usually below 25 IBUs.
  • Genesee Cream Ale
  • Little Kings Cream Ale
  • Stone Cat Ale
  • Hales Cream Ale
  • Sleeman Cream Ale
  • Rogue Honey Cream Ale
  • Buller Cream Ale
  • Clancys Creamy Ale

  • English Pale Ale: Examples:
    In England, Bitters and ESBs are considered "Pale Ales", however, outside England we use this term to describe beers that emulate these English styles. These beers can be golden to amber in color. They are similar in many ways to American Pale Ales, however, the English variety tend to have a more defined malt presence while APAs tend to be hoppier. The other main difference is that English Pale Ales almost always use English ingredients. Alcohol usually ranges between 4-6%.
  • Bass Ale
  • Nils Oscar Farm Ale
  • Whitbread Pale Ale
  • Southwark Pale Ale
  • Full Sail Rip Curl
  • Lawrence Victor Ale

  • English Strong Ale: Examples:
    English Strong Ales are fairly "big" beers that can be described as lying between an English Pale Ale and a Barley Wine. In some ways they are similar to American Strong Ales, however, they use English ingredients and tend to have a noticeable fruit presence. The taste is usually complex, but defined by a sweet malt flavor. Hop flavor and bitterness can be mild to very high and an alcohol flavor and warming is usually present. These beers are usually amber to deep copper in color. ABV typically ranges between 6-8.5%.
  • Deschutes Jubelale
  • Samuel Smiths Winter Welcome Ale
  • Bridgeport Ebenezer Ale
  • Nimbus Old Monkeyshine
  • Youngs Special London Ale

  • Extra Special Bitter: Examples:
    Extra Special Bitters are also known as Extra Strong Bitter or Premium Bitter and are usually referred to as ESBs. They are usually golden to deep copper in color and have low to moderate carbonation. Flavor is balanced toward hop flavor and bitterness, although malts should be present and can include carmel sweetness, nutty, or biscuity tastes. Flavor may include medium to high fruit esters. Optionally, may have low amounts of alcohol and up to a moderate minerally/sulfury flavor. Medium-dry to dry finish (particularly if sulfate water is used). Alcohol ranges between 4-6.5% AND bitterness is 30-50+ IBUs.
  • Fullers ESB
  • Redhook ESB
  • Alaskan ESB
  • Whitbread Pale Ale
  • Marston's Pedigree
  • Black Sheep Ale
  • Vintage Henley
  • Mordue Workie Ticket
  • Greene King Abbot Ale

  • Imperial/Double IPA: Examples:
    Referred to as an Imperial IPA or Double IPA, some say that this newer style was invented by Rogue with the release of their I2PA. In any event, this style is basically a regular IPA on crack. Slightly darker than regular IPAs, Double IPAs are usually amber to reddish copper in color. The dominant flavor comes from hops and LOTS of them which also provide high levels of bitterness. Double IPAs contain a lot of malts to balance the hops, however, the balance is definitely toward the hops. They have higher alcohol content that usually ranges from 7-12%. The alcohol flavor is usually well hidden by the strong hop flavor. IBUs range from 60 to well over 100.
  • Victory V12
  • Dicks Bottleworks IPA
  • Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
  • Lagunitas Maximus
  • Speakeasy Double Daddy IPA
  • Moylans Moylander Double IPA

  • India Pale Ale (IPA): Examples:
    The creation of India Pale Ale (IPA) during the 1790s was the result of tremendous efforts by British brewers to overcome a difficult problem. During the 1700s beer did not keep well on long ocean voyages, especially into hot climates. These hot environments resulted in the arrival of flat, sour beer. The high hopping and alcohol of IPAs solved this problem. American versions of this style tend to be bolder, stronger, and hoppier. Color is from golden amber to light copper, usually with an orange tint. Malts are used to balance the hops and may have a mild sweet flavor in American varieties. In English versions, malts may have a biscuity or toasty flavor. ABV ranges from 5-7.6% and IBUs from 40-60+.
  • Freeminer Trafalgar IPA
  • Bridgeport IPA
  • Deschutes Quail Springs IPA
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
  • Victory HopDevil IPA
  • Goose Island India Pale Ale
  • Lagunitas India Pale Ale
  • Bieropholie Golding Indian Ale
  • Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

  • Irish Ale: Examples:
    Legend has it that the earliest Irish ales were most likely brewed in monasteries and were red in color. Today, Irish Red Ales are amber to dark reddish copper and usually have a deep red tint to them. They exhibit a toasted malt flavor with a medium sweet caramel flavor. These maltcentric beers are low to medium in hop flavor and bitterness due to poor hop growing conditions and expensive English tarrifs. Like Irish Stouts, they have a dry finish from roasted grains. Designed to be an everyday beer, Irish Red Ales typically have an ABV between 4-6.5% and IBUs from 17-28.
  • Moling's Irish Red Ale
  • Murphy's Irish Red
  • Smithwick's Irish Ale
  • Kilkenny Ale
  • Beamish Red Ale
  • Caffrey's Irish Ale
  • Kylian
  • Harpoon Hibernian Ale

  • Kolsch: Examples:
    This style hales from Cologne (Koln), Germany and is also the word for a dialect of German spoken there. In 1986 the Kolsch Konvention was signed into law by 24 brewers and the German government in order to protect the name "Kolsch" and only allow beer brewed in Cologne to use this label. The document was developed by The Cologne Brewing Organizaton (Kölner Brauerei Verband). Kolsch beers are often mistaken for a Blonde Ale, Pale Lager, or Pilsner due to their appearance and flavor. They are pale to light gold in color with medium carbonation. Malt flavor is typically low and medium hop bitterness. Some subtle fruity flavors may be present and the finish is typically dry which can make the beer seem more bitter. Alcohol usually ranges from 4-6% and IBUs from 20-30.
  • Sion Kolsch
  • Peters Kolsch
  • Dom Kolsch
  • Alameda Siskiyou Golden Ale
  • Alaskan Summer Ale
  • Goose Island Summertime
  • Harpoon Summer Beer
  • De Drie Ringen Blond

  • Mild Ale: Examples:
    Mild Ales are an English style of beer that is likely a predecessor of the Porter style. Due to population growth, and thus demand for beer in the 18th century, some English brewers began selling beer before it was ready. This young beer was called "Mild". Mild Ales are copper to dark brown although paler versions do exist. This maltcentric style can offer a wide range of malt and yeast flavors including sweet caramel, toffee, toast, nuts, chocolate, coffee, roast, fruit, licorice, molasses, plum, or raisin. Hop flavor and bitterness is low and they can have a dry or sweet finish. Carbonation is on the low side and so is the alcohol which ranges from 3-5% and IBUs from 10-25.
  • Moorhouse Black Cat
  • Highgate Mild
  • Brain's Dark
  • Bank's Mild
  • Gale's Festival Mild
  • Woodforde's Norfolk Nog
  • Coopers Mild Ale

  • Old Ale: Examples:
    In the past, Old Ales were referred to as "Stock Ales" in England which refers to the fact that they were stored for long periods of time. Later they would either be blended with a mild or bitter, or served at full strength. In modern days, they are often released as winter seasonals. Old ales tend to be reddish-brown to dark brown with moderate to low carbonation and head. The taste is usually centered around the complex malt flavor which can include notes of caramel, nuts, and/or molasses. Chocolate or a roasted flavor may also be present, but should be subdued. Malts are usually on the sweet side and the taste may also have fruit flavors. Extended aging may result in flavors like a Port or Sherry. Alcohol warming is likely with AVB ranges between 6-10% although lighter versions are out there. Hop flavors and bitterness are on the low side with IBUs ranging from 10 to 25.
  • Young's Winter Warmer
  • Harvey's Elizabethan Ale
  • Harviestoun Old Engine Oil
  • Marston Owd Roger
  • J.W. Lees Moonraker
  • Gale's Prize Old Ale
  • Alaskan Winter Ale
  • Theakston Old Peculier
  • Full Sail Wassail Winter Ale
  • Great Divide Hibernation Ale

  • Rye Beer: Examples:
    At, we use this category to encompass German Roggenbiers as well as newer English and American Rye beers. Rye beers are usually straw to dark amber in color, although darker versions do exist. These beers can contain anywhere from 10 to 50 percent rye malt. Roasted malts may be evident as a cocoa/chocolate or light caramel character and a fruity-estery aroma and flavor are typical but at low levels. Hops flavor and bitterness are typically on the low end of the spectrum (American versions tend to be higher than others). The main differences between Roggenbiers and other rye ales are as follows: Roggenbiers tend to have a higher rye content, lower hop presence, and they usually have an additional banana and clove flavors like a Dunkelweizen. Rye beers' alcohol content can range between 4.5-7.5% and IBUs from 10-30.
  • Redhook Sunrye
  • Schremser Roggenbier
  • Free State Trailrider Rye
  • OHanlons Organic Rye
  • Barrel House Rye Beer
  • Brew Kettle Chiefs Rye Ale
  • Bear Republic Black Rye
  • Montgomery Roggenbier
  • Capitol City Roggin Rye Ale

  • Scotch Ale: Examples:
    Scotch Ales are also known as "Wee Heavy" and are the strongest of the Scottish ales, comparable to a barley wine. They were classified based on the now defunct Shilling currency system and ranged from 90/- to 160/-. Scotch ales are light copper to dark brown in color and clear. They are rich, malty (with kettle carmelization due to long wort boil) and often accented with a touch of peat-smoked whiskey malt. Additional flavors may include nuts, plums, and/or raisins. Scotland's cool damp climate is good for growing barley, but hops were in short supply, and the Scottish weren't very excited about buying them from England. As a result, the hop presence is low and the balance is decidedly toward malts. Alcohol is from 6.5-10% and IBUs are 15-35.
  • Founders Dirty Bastard
  • Belhaven Wee Heavy
  • Broughton Old Jock
  • Orkney Skull Splitter
  • Traquair House Ale
  • Scotch Silly
  • McEwans Scotch Ale
  • Pittock Wee Heavy Scotch Ale
  • Weyerbacher Scotch Ale
  • Tennents Scotch Ale

  • Scottish Ale: Examples:
    Scottish ales are classified based on the now defunct Shilling currency system. They are broken down as follows:
  • 60 Shilling (60/-) = Light
  • 70 Shilling (70/-) = Heavy
  • 80 Shilling (80/-) = Export

  • The main difference between these varieties is alcohol strength and original gravity. Scottish ales are deep amber to dark copper in color and have low to medium carbonation. Like Scotch Ales, these beers endure a long boil which creates carmelization. The taste is balanced toward malts which are not overly strong and fruity esters might be present. Hop bitterness is usually low and hop flavor is low to none. Peat flavor may be present which may taste earthy or slightly smokey, but this style should not be overly smokey tasting. Finish is usually dry. ABV is 2.5-6% and IBUs are 15-30.
  • Orkney Dark Island
  • Belhaven St. Andrews Ale
  • Caledonian 80/- Export Ale
  • Three Floyds Robert the Bruce
  • Belhaven 70/-
  • Orkney Raven Ale
  • Maclay 70/-
  • Belhaven 60/-
  • McEwan's 60/-
  • Maclay 60/-

  • Traditional Ale: Examples:
    Traditional Ales are a category that we use to classify beers that are based on old/ancient beer styles that are now very uncommon or extinct. These styles include old traditions such as Sahti, Gruit, Gose, Heather Ale, Grozet, Elderberry Black Ale, Steinbeer, and others. Because of the wide range of styles encompassed here, the color, taste, flavor, and other characteristics will vary widely.
  • Dogfish Head Midas Touch
  • Four Peaks Gosebier
  • Goose Island Sahti
  • Hair of the Dog Adam
  • Heather Ales Fraoch
  • Jopen Koyt
  • Lammin Mahti

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