Type, OG & Alc Colour & Head Bouquet & Flavour
Dark Mild
OG 35-42
3.5 - 4.5%
Light to dark brown. A lightly hopped beer. The flavour will have a delicate blend of malt and roast grains.
Pale Lager
OG 40-50
4 - 5.5%
Light to medium golden. Good head retention. Bouquet a delicate blend of hops, malt and DMS (dimethyl sulphide). Clean, dry and refreshing. Light to medium in malt and hops.
Strong Lager
OG 50-65
5 - 7%
Golden to amber. Good head retention. Malty and grainy bouquet with slight DMS and a good hop balance. Full-bodied, malty flavour, a firm hop background, and perceptible alcohol. Some residual sweetness due to dextrins may be apparent.
Light Ale
OG 30-35
3 - 3.5%
Straw to amber. Light head. Lightly hopped. Clean, dry and refreshing. No flavour components prominent.
OG 40-50
4 - 5%
Golden to deep copper. Good head. The aroma of hops in the bouquet should lead to those of malt and grain. Full-bodied, malty and grainy flavour with a hoppy bitter farewell. Perhaps a little residual sweetness from residual dextrins.
English India Pale Ale
OG 50-60
5 - 6.5%
Rich golden to deep copper. Good head. The bouquet should be hoppy and grainy. The flavour should be full-bodied, malty and grainy with a prominent hop and a clean bitter farewell. There should be some residual sweetness to balance the hop.
London Brown Ale
OG 35-40
3.5 - 4%
Light to dark brown. Good close-knit head. The bouquet is malty backed by caramel. The beer should be sweet on the palate, giving a smooth blend of malt and caramel with low hop flavour.
Newcastle Brown Ale
OG 45-50
4.5 - 5%
Light reddish brown. Good head. Bouquet a blend of caramel and hop. A full-bodied flavour of caramelised malt with medium bitterness and noticeable sweetness.
Belgian Dubbel Ale
OG 70-80
7 - 8%
Dark amber-brown, good rocky white head This is a dark strong ale exhibiting a blend of rich, toasted, caramel with a fruity essence and with a white rocky head. It should be well attenuated without any cloying sweetness.
Dark amber-brown in colour with usually good clarity. Head retention may be adversely affected by alcohol content in stronger versions but even so, an excellent bead is desirable.
Flavour should be a complex blend of fruity esters, some spiciness and overall soft malt character but no roasted malt aroma with some mellow warming alcohol present. Hop bitterness should be smooth and complementary – not dominant.
Ingredients are typically Pilsner malt with a range of other malts which could include Munich, crystal, cara, roast barley, chocolate and Special “B” and some type of fermentable sugar to assist with attenuation and a dryish finish. Lager hops and/or Styrian Goldings are typical. A suitable Belgian yeast should be used to ensure appropriate character with fermentation temperature slightly raised.
Medium to full body. Warming mouth feel from alcohol. A dark, rich, malty, moderately strong ale.
A good commercial example would be Chimay Red, La Trappe Dubbel or Grimbergen Dubbel, available in some supermarkets or specialist beer shops.
Dry Stout
OG 45-50
4.5 - 5%
Almost black. Well-retained, fine-textured head. Bouquet and flavour of roasted grains. Full and dry with a long hard bitter finish.
Sweet Stout
OG 40-55
4 - 5.5%
Dark brown to almost black. Well-retained, fine-textured head. Dark malts dominate the bouquet and flavour, bitterness is slight. "Milk" stouts, sweetened with lactose, have high residual sweetness.
Oatmeal Stout
OG 45-55
4 - 5.5%
Very dark. A very dark full bodied, roasty, malty ale with oatmeal flavour. Roasted grain aromas often with coffee like character carry through to the flavour. Low hop aroma. It should have some sweetness but is not as sweet as sweet stouts. An oily mouth feel from oatmeal is acceptable. The oats used may or may not be malted. A commercial example would be Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout.
OG 60-70
5.5 - 7%
Dark brown to almost black. Predominance of brown and chocolate malts on the bouquet and in the flavour; the flavour should be full with some residual sweetness to balance the hop and roast grains.
Belgian Golden Strong Ale
OG 70-90
7 - 9%
Yellow to medium golden. Good white head and excellent bead. A blend of moderate fruity/spicy/hoppy character; well attenuated without any cloying sweetness. The flavour is a complex blend of fruity esters, some spiciness, soft malt character, some mellow warming alcohol. The hop bitterness should be smooth and complementary, but not dominant.
Ingredients are typically Pilsner malt with some type of fermentable sugar to assist with attenuation and a dryish finish. Lager hops and/or Styrian Goldings are typical. A suitable Belgian yeast should be used to ensure appropriate character with fermentation temperature slightly raised.
A good commercial example would be Duvel, often available in some supermarkets.
Barley Wine
OG 90+
9% or greater
Golden to brown. Light head. Bouquet should be rich, fruity, hoppy, alcoholic and vinous. The flavour should be full and malty with a smooth and mature blend of sweetness, hop and alcohol.
Wheat Beer
OG 45-55
4.5 - 5.5%
Pale straw to dark gold. Thick well-retained head. It is typically brewed using up to 50% wheat malt and is often cloudy. It should be highly carbonated. Yeast derived flavours, from using the correct type of yeast, are needed and can be fruity and spicy, with phenolic clove and banana like flavours amongst others. Belgian styles often use unmalted wheat, producing a bready/grainy flavour, and may be flavoured with coriander and orange peel. Hop bitterness, flavour and aroma should be low, with a soft finish on the palate. Commercial examples include Hoegaarden, Schneider-weisse, Erdinger and Franziskaner.
American IPA
OG 60-70
6 - 7%
Medium gold to light reddish-amber. Head retention - medium-sized, white to off-white with good persistence. The balance of this beer is hop forward, with a clean fermentation profile, dryish finish, with supporting malt allowing the hop character to shine through.
Aroma: Can range from prominent to intense hop aroma featuring characteristics of American or New World hops. A low to medium low clean, grainy-malty aroma may be found in the background.
Flavour: Hop flavour is medium to very high and should reflect an American or New World hop character. Malt flavour should be low to medium low.
Dry to medium-dry finish; residual sweetness should be low to none. The bitterness and hop flavour may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh.
American Pale Ale
OG 45-60
4.5 - 6%
Pale to light gold. Large white to off white head, fast running bead. This is a pale refreshing beer with a moderate to strong aroma from American or new world hops.
The taste should be clean with a light to moderate mouth feel and a dry finish. Hop flavour and bitterness can linger on the aftertaste but should not be harsh or astringent. Late and/or dry hopping will all add to the hop flavour.
Speciality malts (crystal, amber etc) may be used but should support rather than distract from the clean malt / hop taste.
A commercial example would be Sierra Nevada Pale Ale which is available in many supermarkets.
OG 50-65
5 - 7%
Distinctive pale orange but may be golden or amber. Fruity aroma, reminiscent of citrus with low to moderate hop, and possibly hints of spice. A refreshing, fruity/spicy ale, highly carbonated, with a dry finish, quenching acidity and moderate hop bitterness.
Russian Imperial Stout
OG 85+
Very dark reddish-brown to jet black. Well-formed deep tan to dark brown head. To be presented in 275-330ml bottles. Rich, complex aroma & flavour, with variable amounts of roasted grains, maltiness, fruity esters, hops, and alcohol which follow into flavour. Some chocolate, coffee and dried fruit character may be present in moderation. Hop bitterness should balance the complex malt flavours but shouldn't dominate. Aged versions may have a vinous or port-like quality, but shouldn’t be sour.
Black IPA
OG 50-70
5 - 7%
Very dark brown to black. Colour of head should be tan. Sometimes called Cascadian Dark Ale to avoid the contradiction in the name. The colour derives from using around 5% Carafa special III with other caramalts which give the required colour without the harshness/astringency often associated with other highly roasted grains. It has a moderate to high hop aroma from Northwest American hop varieties. Malt aroma may be present but is relatively light.
In the mouth a medium bodied beer, the hop aromas follow through on to the flavour which can be citrusy, piney or resinous, dark malt flavours are medium to low and should not clash with the hops. The finish should be dry. The bitterness may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh.
A good example is Conqueror from Windsor and Eton. It is currently only available from specialist beer shops.
Irish Red Ale
OG 40-50
4 - 5%
Medium amber to medium reddish-copper colour, with low off-white to tan coloured head. Low to moderate malt aroma with light caramel and low hop. Grainy palate with light biscuit notes and a light taste of roast grain. Moderate hop bitterness. A less-bitter and hoppy Irish equivalent to an English Bitter, with a dryish finish due to roast grain.

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Last updated: 14/08/19
Copyright: 2006 NGWBJ