Ales

Ale is a type of beer brewed using a warm fermentation method, resulting in a sweet, full-bodied, and fruity taste. Historically, the term referred to a drink brewed without hops. As with most beers, ale typically has a bittering agent to balance the malt and function as a preservative. Ale is a general category of beer, you will find sub-categories like brown ales or pale ales. This is the oldest style of beer, which dates back to antiquity.

American Amber Ale

A contemporary craft beer style originating in the 1980s as a delightful variation of the pale ale, as classified by the BJCP. These ales exhibit hues ranging from gold to copper to reddish brown. They typically boast an alcohol by volume (ABV) content falling within the range of 4.4% to 6.1% and exhibit bitterness levels, measured on the IBU scale, spanning from 18 to 45.

American Brown Ale

Renowned for its deep hue, is a malt-centric and adaptable beer style. It delights the palate with roasted caramel, chocolate, and toffee notes, offering a minimal hop bitterness.

Brown Ale

A beer variety characterized by its dark amber or brown appearance. Initially coined by London brewers during the late 17th century, it referred to a lightly hopped ale crafted exclusively from brown malt. In contemporary times, brown ales are crafted in England, Belgium, and the United States.

Cream Ale

An American beer style known for its light color and pronounced dryness. Originating in the mid-1800s, this beer variety was initially developed at multiple breweries across the United States. However, it remained a regionally specific type with diverse styles until the early 20th century.

Irish Red Ale

Is also referred to as Red Ale or Irish Ale, is a variety of pale ale distinguished by its reddish hue, achieved through the use of moderate amounts of kilned malts and roasted barley during the brewing process. Typically, its alcohol content falls within the range of 3.8% to 4.8% by volume, although certain craft variations can reach as high as 6%.

Pale Ale

2 beer in glasses pale and medium colorPale Ale is a beer style characterized by its golden to amber color, brewed using pale malt. The term first emerged in England around 1703 when it was used for beers made from malts dried using high-carbon coke, resulting in a lighter hue compared to other popular beers of that era.

American Pale Ale

A beer style developed in the United States around 1980. It typically displays a color range from deep gold to light brown or copper. American Pale Ales are notable for their generous use of American hops, often featuring Cascade hops prominently. They typically have an alcohol by volume (ABV) content between 4.4% and 5.4% and a bitterness measured on the International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale ranging from 30 to 50.

Blonde Ale

A refreshing summer beer known for its fruity aroma and relatively lower alcohol content compared to other ales. It typically has an ABV of 4.1% to 5.1% and an IBU range of 15 to 25.

English Pale Ale

Characterized by its golden to brown color, featuring a robust hop flavor balanced with malty sweetness. The ABV typically falls between 4.5% and 5.5%, while the IBU ranges from 20 to 40.

Bière de Garde

A robust pale ale, also known as a “keeping beer,” that has its origins in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France. Historically, these beers were crafted within the confines of farmhouses during the winter and spring seasons. This practice served the purpose of circumventing potential issues with yeast fermentation that could arise during the warmer summer months, ensuring the beer’s stability and quality.

Bitter

A traditional English style of pale ale, exhibiting a range of colors from golden to deep amber. This beer style typically boasts an alcohol by volume (ABV) content that falls within the range of 3% to 5.5%.

India Pale Ale (IPA)

A hop-forward beer style within the pale ale category. This style, known as India Pale Ale, gained popularity in England by 1815, particularly for export to India and other regions. IPAs can have a wide range of alcohol content, spanning from 5.1% to 10.6% ABV, and often exhibit higher bitterness levels, ranging from 50 to 70 IBU.

IPA

American IPA (A-IPA)

A beer style that distinguishes itself from the traditional India Pale Ale by its unique interpretation, featuring the distinct aroma of American hops. While the term IPA originally referred to beers made in the old tradition using British ingredients, American IPA has taken the style in a new and innovative direction.

Beer Glass being filled from tapKey characteristics of American IPA include:

  • ABV (Alcohol by Volume): Typically falls within the range of 6.3% to 7.5%.
  • IBU (International Bitterness Units): Known for its pronounced bitterness, with an IBU range of 50 to 70.

American IPA highlights the vibrant and aromatic qualities of American hop varieties, which contribute to its distinctive and often bold flavors and aromas. This style has gained popularity among craft beer enthusiasts for its innovative use of hops, creating a wide range of flavors and profiles that set it apart from its British IPA counterparts.

The English-style IPA

Steeped in tradition and featuring extra hops, is a robust variation of the classic pale ale. This beer style is known for its pronounced English hop characteristics, which impart earthy and floral notes, along with a higher alcohol content. ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 5.0% – 7.0% IBU (International Bitterness Units): 35 – 63.

Imperial IPA

Also known as Double IPA, represents a subcategory of IPAs renowned for their elevated alcohol content and pronounced hoppy flavor and aroma. ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 7.0% – 14.0% IBU (International Bitterness Units): 65 – 100

Porters

Porter is a historically significant beer style that originated in London, England, during the early 18th century. It gained popularity, especially among porters, hence its name, and was characterized by its dark appearance due to the use of brown malt and a well-hopped profile. Today, there are various substyles of porter, each with its own unique characteristics:

American Porter

American Imperial Porter offers a medium hop bitterness, while the English style combines this bitterness with roasted malt flavors. These porters typically have an ABV ranging from 4.4% to 6% and an IBU of 20-30.

Baltic Porter

Combines malt flavors reminiscent of English porter with the restrained roast of a schwarzbier. It boasts a higher original gravity (OG) and alcohol content, resulting in a complex beer with multi-layered malt and dark fruit flavors.

English Porter

The English-style brown porter distinguishes itself by avoiding roasted barley or strong burnt/black malt character. It features low to medium malt sweetness, with acceptable notes of caramel and chocolate. Hop bitterness is moderate, offering a softer, sweeter, and more caramel-like profile compared to a robust porter, with lower alcohol content and body. Porters served as the precursor style to stouts.

Stouts

Stout Beer. Dark with creamy headStout is a popular and diverse style of beer known for its dark color, rich flavors, and various subtypes.

  • Appearance – Stouts are known for their deep, dark color, often ranging from dark brown to black. They typically have a dense, creamy tan or brown head.
  • Flavor – Stout’s flavor profile can include roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, caramel, and sometimes hints of dark fruits. The specific flavor characteristics can vary depending on the type of stout.
  • ABV (Alcohol by Volume) – Stouts can range in alcohol content from relatively low to quite high, with ABV values typically ranging from 3.2% to 12% or even higher for imperial stouts.
  • IBU (International Bitterness Units) – The bitterness in stouts can vary widely, with IBU values typically ranging from 15 to 80 or more. The level of bitterness often depends on the subtype of stout.
Common Subtypes of Stout:
  • Dry Stout – Dry stouts are known for their dry finish and moderate bitterness. They often have a roasted malt character with hints of coffee and chocolate. The most famous example is Guinness, an Irish dry stout.
  • Oatmeal Stout – Oatmeal stouts are known for their smooth, silky texture, which comes from the use of oats in the brewing process. They can have flavors of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate, but the oats add a unique creaminess.
  • Milk Stout (Sweet Stout) – Milk stouts are characterized by the addition of lactose (milk sugar), which adds sweetness and body to the beer. They often have flavors of chocolate, caramel, and roasted malt with a smooth and slightly sweet finish.
  • Imperial Stout – Imperial stouts are the big, bold cousins of regular stouts, known for their high alcohol content and intense flavors. They often have complex profiles with strong notes of roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, and sometimes even dark fruits. They can be aged to develop even more depth and complexity.
American Stout

This stout distinguishes itself through its striking appearance, aroma, and taste profile. Its deep, dark color results from the generous inclusion of dark malts in the grain blend. The assertive hop additions create a harmonious blend of hoppy qualities that satisfy both the beer’s aroma and flavor.

Irish Stout

Crafted using pale malt and an ample quantity of dark malts or grains like roasted barley to achieve its black hue. Unmalted grains like flaked barley are employed to enhance the beer’s body. The distinct charcoal flavor in Irish stouts is both unique and appealing.

Stout is a versatile style that has evolved over the years to include various interpretations and flavor profiles. Whether you prefer a classic dry stout, a creamy oatmeal stout, a sweet milk stout, or a bold imperial stout, there is likely a stout variation to suit your taste preferences.

Other Ale Styles

Dubbel

The term “ubbel is a naming convention used for Belgian Trappist beers. The origins of the dubbel style can be traced back to Westmalle Abbey, where a strong version of a brown beer was first brewed in 1856. By June 1861, this beer was available for sale to the public. In 1926, the recipe underwent some changes, and it was subsequently marketed as Dubbel Bruin.

Hefeweizen

A German-style wheat beer celebrated for its straw to amber hue, hazy presentation, and fruity flavor profile. It serves as an ideal choice for those seeking a mild and invigorating light beer without the bitterness. On the other hand, the Dunkleweizen, a darker variation, is a moderately deep German wheat beer distinguished by its prominent banana and clove yeast character, complemented by hints of toasted bread or caramel malt flavors. It boasts high carbonation, a refreshing quality, a creamy, velvety texture, and a light finish that encourages sipping. ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 4.9% – 5.6% IBU (International Bitterness Units): 10 – 15

Kölsch

A beer style that hails from Cologne, Germany. It exhibits a bright and clear appearance with a straw-yellow hue. Its alcohol by volume (ABV) typically falls in the range of 4.4% to 5.2%, and its International Bitterness Units (IBU) range from 20 to 30.

Quadrupel

This is a unique type of beer known for its high alcohol by volume (ABV) content, typically ranging from 9.1% to 14.2%. However, there is a lack of consensus within the brewing community regarding the specific classification and style of Quadrupel beer.

Saison

A style of pale ale known for its high carbonation, fruity and spicy notes, and frequent bottle conditioning. Historically, it was characterized by lower alcohol levels, but contemporary interpretations often feature moderate to high alcohol content. It is typically categorized as one of the farmhouse ales, among other beer varieties.

Saison are a fascinating beer style known for their versatility and ability to highlight the creativity of brewers. They offer a wide range of flavors and aromas, making them a popular choice among craft beer enthusiasts looking for something unique and refreshing.

Tripel

Tripel is a term used by brewers mainly in the Low Countries, some other European countries, and the U.S. to describe a strong pale ale, loosely in the style of Westmalle Tripel. The origin of the term is unknown, though the main theory is that it indicates strength in some way. ABV: 7.1%-10.1% IBU: 20-45.

Weizenbock

Wheat BeerThe German-style Weizenbock is essentially a wheat interpretation of a traditional German bock beer, characterized by its larger and heartier take on the dunkelweizen. Key components include the rich contribution of malt melanoidins and the distinctive weizen ale yeast. When served with yeast, it often presents a suitably cloudy appearance.

The yeast used in Weizenbock production is crucial for the beer’s distinct flavors. It ferments at warmer temperatures than lager yeast and produces the classic fruity and spicy notes, which are essential to the style.

Weizenbocks are cherished for their harmonious blend of malt richness and wheat-driven yeast character. They offer a delightful drinking experience that highlights the best of both wheat ales and bock beers, making them a favorite among beer enthusiasts who appreciate complexity and depth in their brews.

Learn more about types of beer by visiting Lagers or Both Ales and Lagers.

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