List of Beer styles
Abt, or Quadrupel, is the name given to extremely strong Trappist and abbey ales. The name Abt was pioneered to describe Westvleteren and St. Bernardus’ strongest brews. Quadrupel was pioneered by La Trappe. Abts are darker than Quads with more rich, deep fruity notes. Both are very strong and malty with very little in the way of hops. ABV is usually 10% or higher.
Examples: Trappist Rochefort 10, St. Bernardus Abt 12, La Trappe Quadrupel, Deep Ellum Four Swords
Few styles of beer can be traced back thousands of years, however Altbier is one of them. “Alt” is German for “old” and reflects how long these have been around. Düsseldorf is traditionally the home of Altbier but they are also distributed throughout Germany. Few German-brewed Alts make it to America but there are a few craft brewers making them here. Alts are generally well hopped and malty and range from copper to dark-brown in color.
Examples: (512) Alt, Rahr Gravel Road, Alaskan Amber, Hops & Grains Alt-eration Ale, Cedar Creek Scruffy’s Smoked Alt
These are a broad selection of brews with some being very malt forward and other being hoppier. These brews are typically amber to deep red in color (as the name implies).
Examples: New Belgium Fat Tire, Independent Ale Works Amber 3.0, 903 Roo’s Red, Cobra Anti-Venom
American Strong Ale
Not as much of a style as a catch all category for the many strong, stylistically vague brews coming from many American craft brewers. They can be super strong variants of IPAs or Red Ales but always tend to be intense and potent with tons of malts and hops. Many examples of this style are aged in used bourbon, whiskey, or wine barrels. ABV is usually 7% or higher.
Examples: Stone Arrogant Bastard, Samuel Adams Utopias, Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, Peticolas Velvet Hammer
Barley Wines are strong, top-fermenting ales – in fact, they are one of the strongest of all styles. Like Pale Ales, they can be of American or English origin and are usually very complex. Colors range from amber to deep brown with intense notes of fruit and hops. American versions of the style tend to be much more hoppy and bitter with English versions being more rounded and balanced. Barley Wines cellar very well and can be aged for years with flavors changing drastically over time.
Examples: Real Ale Sisyphus, Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #10, Deep Ellum Numb Comfort, Martin House Sugar & Spice
This is a catch all category for Belgian Ales under 7% ABV that rarely fit neatly into any given style. They can be golden to deep amber to quite dark in color. Hop and malt character can vary with an even wider range of flavors.
Examples: Orval, Green Flash Rayon Vert, Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Hop, Deep Ellum Wealth & Taste
Belgian Strong Ale
Belgian Strong Ales can range from light to dark in color and have very high ABVs, as the name would suggest. These are usually very complex brews with lots of flavor and aroma.
Examples: Chimay Blue, Dogfish Head Rason D’Etre, Duvel, Jester King El Cedro, Four Corners Celebracion
These Belgian style ales are very pale and cloudy in appearance with crisp wheat character and refreshing citrus notes from orange peel and coriander. Other herbs & spices are sometimes used such as grains of paradise.
Examples: (512) Wit, Avery White Rascal, Adelbert’s Naked Nun, Community Witbier
A Very wheaty[wheat-heavy?] and sour style of beer from Berlin; Berliner Weisse are usually low in alcohol and have a pale straw color. These brews can be refreshing, tart, sour, and acidic. [Berliner Weiße, in deutche]
Examples: Dogfish Head Festina Pêche, Jester King Bonnie the Rare, Austin Beerworks Einhorn
Bière de Garde
The name of this style means “beer for keeping” and is best when aged. Colors range from golden to deep copper. Bière de Garde’s are characterized by a toasted malt aroma, slight malt sweetness, and medium hop bitterness. Earthy, cellar-like aromas and flavors may also be present with ABV ranging from 6-8%.
Examples: Ommegang Biere D’Hougoumont, Southern Star Le Mort Vivant, Lakewood La Dame Du Lac
Black IPAs are a fairly new style that has become quite popular with American craft brewers. They usually have high amounts of hops, relatively high ABV, and toasty dark malts. Some have the roasted qualities of a porter or stout. Black IPAs may also be called India Dark Ale, India Black Ale, Cascadian Dark Ale, or India Brown Ale.
Examples: (512) Black IPA, Stone Sublimely Self Righteous, Deep Ellum Festivus
The history of Bocks dates back to medieval German monasteries who would brew strong beer to sustain themselves during fasts. Sometimes referred to as Dunkler Bocks, they are bottom fermenting lagers that are stronger and are very malt forward. ABV typically ranges from 5.5 – 7.5%.
Examples: Anchor Bock, Breckenridge Pandoras Bock, Revolver Bock
Brown ales can be of American or English decent, with each using regional ingredients. Colors range from reddish-brown to dark brown and ABV is lower than that in porters. Hop and malt flavors can vary as can ABV.
Examples: Rogue Hazelnut Brown, FireWheel Special #1, Rabbit Hole Rapture, Martin House Septemberfest, Peticolas Alfred Brown
California Commons, or Steam Beers, are a 100% unique American style lager brewed with a special strain of lager yeast and fermented at a warmer temperature. The brewing method dates back to the late 1800s in California when refrigeration was a luxury. California Commons are usually light amber in color. They usually have a rounded lager character with a dose of the fruitiness found in ales.
Examples: Anchor Steam, Noble Rey Steampunk, Armadillo Ale Works Courthouse Common
Cream Ales are mild, light bodied ales sometimes made using a warm fermentation and cold lagering or by blending top and bottom fermented beers. They have low to medium bitterness and low hop flavor & aroma. Often times, adjuncts like corn or rice are used to lighten the body.
Examples: New Glarus Spotted Cow, Sixpoint Sweet Action, Cedar Creek Lawn Ranger, 903 Chosen One
Doppel means double in German making these brews typically stronger than traditional German Bocks. They are darker and fuller bodied as well. Flavors can include chocolate and roasted malt and ABV typically ranges from 6.5-9%.
Examples: Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, Spaten Optimator, Paulaner Salvator, Rahr The Regulator
Abbey Dubbels are dark and malty strong ales brewed in the Trappist tradition. They usually range between 6.5 and 8% ABV, have a cloudy dark brown color, and are bottle-conditioned.
Examples: Maredsous 8, Chimay Rouge, Ommegang Abbey Ale, New Belgium Abbey, Cedar Creek The Belgian Dubbel
These are darker versions of Hefeweizen with complex malts and low bitterness. Dunkels tend to be nutty, toasted, and chocolaty in aroma and flavor while most Dunkelweizen’s are brown in color with clove and banana characters.
Examples: Hacker-Pschorr Dunkle Weisse, New Belgium Dunkelweiss, Franconia Dunkel
A stronger version of the Doppelbock, these are typically brewed by freezing a batch of brew and removing the resulting ice to drastically increase the alcohol content. They range from deep red to near black and have an ABV between 9-15%.
Examples: Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock, Kulmbacher Eisbock, Redhook Eisbock 28, Franconia Texas Ice Bock
English Strong Ale
These brews are malty with complex fruity esters. Oxidative notes usually found in a port or sherry may be present as well as hop aromas. ABV is usually high as well as malty sweetness. English Strong Ales are sometimes called Winter Warmers and are released as seasonal beers.
Examples: Avery Old Jubilation, Fullers Vintage, Rahr Bourbon Barrel Winter Warmer, Peticolas Wintervention
This group encompasses any ale or lager made with fruit. Body, color, hop and malt character will all vary depending on the fruit used. The fruit may be real or extracts, syrups, or processed may be used.
Examples: New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red, Dogfish Head Fort, FireWheel StrIPA, Deep Ellum Cherry Chocolate DBS
Golden or Blond ales are usually light starter ales with more hops and body than most macrobrews. British versions tend to be hoppier with more overall flavor. These are usually low alcohol, session beers.
Examples: Real Ale Fireman’s #4, FireWheel Photon, Deep Ellum Dallas Blonde, Four Corners Local Buzz
Hefes originated in southern Germany and are usually made with 50% or more wheat. The yeast used provides flavors of banana and clove with some spiciness or bubblegum and apple notes. “Hefe” mean “with yeast” hence the unfiltered, cloudy appearance.
Examples: Live Oak HefeWeizen, Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier, Franconia Wheat, Rahr Summertime Wheat
Dortmunder, Helles, or Maibocks (depending on the region they are brewed) are slightly strong, malty pale lagers. They are lighter in color and have more hop character than traditional Bocks. Maibocks are usually released in spring.
Examples: Rogue Dead Guy, Boulevard Boss Tom’s Golden Bock, Franconia Maibock, Rahr Bucking Bock
Imperial Stout/Russian Imperial Stout
Imperial Stouts (or Russian Imperial Stouts) are inspired by brews made in England during the 18th century for export to Catherine II’s court in Russia. They are extremely dark/black in color with intense malty and roasted flavors as well as accents of dark fruit. Imperial Stouts cellar very well and can be aged for years with flavors changing drastically over time. They can also be barrel aged or have additions of chilies, honey, cinnamon, chocolate, etc.
Examples: Deschutes The Abyss, Oskar Blues Ten FIDY, Real Ale XV, Rahr Snowmageddon, Peticolas Black Curtains
Imperial or Double IPAs are stronger, intensely hoppy versions of traditional India Pale Ales. Bitterness units (or IBUs) can exceed 100 and ABV can be in the upwards of 10%+. These brews are generally more balanced than regular IPAs due to the increased amount of malts used.
Examples: Deep Ellum Dreamcrusher, Revolver Mullet Cutter, Peticolas Sit Down Or I’ll Sit You Down
India Pale Ale (IPA)
IPAs were originally brewed in England with massive hop additions to preserve the beer for transit to India but have become insanely popular with American craft brewers and fans alike. Golden to copper color with moderate to strong hop aromas – English IPAs tend to be more malt forward while some of their American cousins are “hop bombs”.
Examples: Ballast Point Sculpin, Deep Ellum IPA, Community Mosaic, Four Corners El Chingon, Lakewood Hop Trapp
Irish ales are red in color with notes of caramel, malt, earth, and little top moderate hops. ABV is typically low making these great session brews.
Examples: Boulevard Irish Ale, Harpoon Celtic Ale, Shannon Irish Red
Kolch’s are golden, top fermented brews native to Köln, Germany with moderate bitterness and fairly high hop flavor.
Examples: Peticolas Golden Opportunity, Franconia Kolsch, Rabbit Hole Mike Modano’s 561
There are a wide range of sub-styles under the Lambic name including Faro, Fruit, Gueuze, and Unblended. Faro lambics have sugar added and are usually sweet. Fruit lambics come in many flavors such as cherry (kriek), raspberry (framboise), currant, and more. Gueuzes are a blend of young and old lambic causing sour, funky flavors. Unblended lambics are the purest form and are typically only found in the brewers’ home region. Most traditional examples of these styles are brewed in Belgium but some American craft brewers make them as well.
Examples: Cantillon Zwanze, 3 Fonteinen Framboos, NXNW Barton Kriek , Jester King Atrial Rubicite
Oktoberfest is a German festival dating back to 1810 – Oktoberfestbiers have been served there since 1818 and are supplied by 6 breweries: Spaten, Lowenbrau, Augustiner, Hofbrau, Paulaner, and Hacker-Pschorr. Traditionally, these brews are brewed in March and allowed to ferment in the summer months.
Examples: Ayinger Oktober Fest- Märzen, Saint Arnold Oktoberfest, Real Ale Oktoberfest, Franconia Oktoberfest
Pale Ales are generally light in color, ranging from golden to light copper. There are both American and English versions with both using hops and malts indicative to the region. Pale Ales have a good balance of malt and hops and bitterness can range from lightly floral to pungent.
Examples: Oskar Blues Dales, Community Pale Ale, Peticolas Royal Scandal, Martin House Gateway XPA
Pilseners are generally pale, hoppy lagers. German Pils were first brewed in Bohemia and use Noble hops – Czech Pils were the original and make use of Saaz hops. Some American craft brewers have ventured out to Imperial Pilsners which have a more pronounced malt backbone and intense bitterness and higher ABV.
Examples: Firestone Walker Pivo Pils, Real Ale Hans Pils, Rahr Pecker Wrecker, Deep Ellum Rye Pils, Real Ale Zomer Pils
Porter/Baltic Porter/Imperial Porter
Porters are typically brewed with black or chocolate malts and use copious amounts of malt and hops. Baltic Porters are generally sweet and strong but lack the roast found in Imperial Stouts. Imperial/Strong Porters fall in between traditional Porters, Baltic Porters, and Imperial Stouts.
Examples: Anchor Porter, (512) Pecan Porter, Deep Ellum Double Brown Stout, Community Ascension Coffee Porter
These brews are generally more aggressive and balanced than Bitters in both ABV and hop character. Malts tend to be more pronounced with toasty and fruity notes in Extra Special/Strong Bitters.
Examples: Fuller’s ESB, Real Ale Phoenixx, Community Public Ale
Saisons and Farmhouse ales are traditionally brewed in winter to be consumed in the hot summer months. They are usually very fruity and earthy with lots of spice and dryness.
Examples: Boulevard Tank 7, Martin House River House, Four Corners Super Bee, Lakewood Till & Toil
German for “black beer”, Schwarzbiers are dark in color but are light in body with very little bitterness.
Examples: Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager, Xingu, Full Sail Session, Rahr Ugly Pug, Lakewood Goatman
Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy
Scotch, or Wee Heavy, Ales originated in Edinburgh in the 19th century and typically have an ABV of 7% or higher. They are boiled longer than normal to caramelize the wort and are deep copper to brown in color.
Examples: Oskar Blues Old Chub, Real Ale The Highlander, Rahr Iron Thistle, Community Glenstemmons
Scottish ales are typically dark, malty brews that may have some smokiness due to the use of peated malt.
Examples: Ballast Point Piper Down, Peticolas Great Scot!
Hailing from Bamberg in Fanconia, Germany, Smoked beers are made with malts that have been smoked over beechwood. Whiskey or peated malts may also be used. These may also be known as Rauchbiers.
Examples: Uncle Billy’s Thick Black Smoke, Ranger Creek Mesquite Smoked Porter, FireWheel Smoked Pivo
Sour and Wild ales are a broad spectrum of brews from fruity Flemish sours to experimental brews being made by many American craft breweries. Wild yeast or bacteria, such as Brettanomyces (Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, Brettanomyces Lambicus or Brettanomyces Anomolus), Pediococcus, or Lactobacillus are introduced either through oak barrel aging or being pitched directly into the batch. Sours from the Flanders area in Belgium are generally blends of new and old beer that have been aged in oak vats.
Examples: New Belgium La Folie, Petrus Aged Pale, Rodenbach, Jester King Boxer’s Revenge
A catch all category for any beer that has been made with a specialty grain such as rye, rice, sorghum, millet, corn, buckwheat, oats, and spelt.
Examples: Boulevard Rye on Rye, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, Martin House Day Break
These are any ale or lager made with herbs, spices, or vegetables with the addition being mostly notable in the aroma. Pumpkin beers and spiced Christmas beers that utilize nutmeg and cinnamon also fall under this category.
Examples: Dogfish Head Punkin, Saint Arnold Pumpkinator, Deep Ellum Gourdzilla, Lakewood Punkel
Stout/Sweet Stout/Foreign Export/Irish Dry Stout
Coffee and chocolate are sometimes added to Stouts to compliment the roasted malt flavors. Oats may also be used which creates an Oatmeal Stout. Sweet, or Milk, Stouts are brewed with a large amount of unfermented sugars which give more body and sweetness. Foreign Export stouts are mostly found in tropical regions of the world. Dry Irish Stouts are the most common stouts and tend to be light in body and more drinkable with Guinness being a quintessential example.
Examples: Southern Star Buried Hatchet, Revolver Mother’s Little Fracker, Lakewood The Temptress
Tripels are strong malty and yeasty beers that are usually pale and have a notable presence of hops. Bitterness from the hops may be higher than other abbey style ales causing a fairly dry finish. They tend to have assertive yeast notes and are high in ABV.
Examples: Unibroue La Fin du Monde, Real Ale Devil’s Backbone, Community Trinity Tripel
As the name implies, this style originated around Vienna, Austria. They have a malty aroma and light to medium body. Classic Mexican brewed examples of this style are Dos Equis and Negra Modelo.
Examples: Brooklyn Lager, Lakewood Lager, Community Vienna Lager
These are strong, dark wheat beers with high ester profiles and more malt and alcohol than most wheat beers.
Examples: Ayinger Weizenbock, Schneider Aventinus, Live Oak Primus, Franconia Winter Wheat, Rahr Angry Goat
A catch all style for ales brewed with wheat. Golden to light amber with light to medium body, wheat lends crispness and some acidity to the style. Some American brewers have begun making hopped up versions.
Examples: Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, Grapevine Craft Brewery Monarch , Revolver Blood & Honey