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Ales

Education: Ales

BRITISH ORIGIN:

Classic English-Style Pale Ale

Classic English pale ales are golden to copper colored and display earthy, herbal English-variety hop character. Note that ―earthy, herbal English-variety hop character is the perceived end, but may be a result of the skillful use of hops of other national origins. Medium to high hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma should be evident. This medium-bodied pale ale has low to medium malt flavor and aroma. Low caramel character is allowable. Fruity-ester flavors and aromas are moderate to strong. Chill haze may be in evidence only at very cold temperatures. The absence of diacetyl is desirable, though, diacetyl (butterscotch character) is acceptable and characteristic when at very low levels.
 

English-Style India Pale Ale

Most traditional interpretations of English-style India pale ales are characterized by medium-high hop bitterness with a medium to medium-high alcohol content. Hops from a variety of origins may be used to contribute to a high hopping rate. Earthy and herbal English-variety hop character is the perceived end, but may be a result of the skillful use of hops of other national origins. The use of water with high mineral content results in a crisp, dry beer, sometimes with subtle and balanced character of sulfur compounds. This pale gold to deep copper-colored ale has a medium to high, flowery hop aroma and may have a medium to strong hop flavor (in addition to the hop bitterness). English-style India pale ales possess medium maltiness and body. Fruity-ester flavors and aromas are moderate to very strong. Diacetyl can be absent or may be perceived at very low levels. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. Hops of other origins may be used for bitterness or approximating traditional English character.
 

Ordinary Bitter

Ordinary bitter is gold to copper colored with medium bitterness, light to medium body, and low to medium residual malt sweetness. Hop flavor and aroma character may be evident at the brewer’s discretion. Mild carbonation traditionally characterizes draft-cask versions, but in bottled versions, a slight increase in carbon dioxide content is acceptable. Fruity-ester character and very low diacetyl (butterscotch) character are acceptable in aroma and flavor, but should be minimized in this form of bitter. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. (English and American hop character may be specified in subcategories.)
 

Special Bitter or Best Bitter

Special bitter is more robust than ordinary bitter. It has medium body and medium residual malt sweetness. It is deep gold to copper colored. Hop bitterness should be medium and absent of harshness. Hop flavor and aroma character may be evident at the brewer’s discretion. Mild carbonation traditionally characterizes draft-cask versions, but in bottled versions, a slight increase in carbon dioxide content is acceptable. Fruity-ester character is acceptable in aroma and flavor. Diacetyl (butterscotch character) is acceptable and characteristic when at very low levels. The absence of diacetyl is also acceptable. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. (English and American hop character may be specified in subcategories.)
 

Extra Special Bitter 

Extra special bitter possesses medium to strong hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness. The residual malt and defining sweetness of this richly flavored, full-bodied bitter is more pronounced than in other styles of bitter. It is light amber to copper colored with medium to medium-high bitterness. Mild carbonation traditionally characterizes draft-cask versions, but in bottled versions, a slight increase in carbon dioxide content is acceptable. Fruity-ester character is acceptable in aroma and flavor. Diacetyl (butterscotch character) is acceptable and characteristic when at very low levels. The absence of diacetyl is also acceptable. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. English or American hops may be used. (English and American hop character may be specified in subcategories.)
 

English-Style Summer Ale

English Summer Ale is light straw to golden colored with medium-low to medium bitterness, light to medium-light body, and low to medium residual malt sweetness. Torrefied and/or malted wheat are often used in quantities of 25% or less. Malt flavor may be biscuit-like. English, American or Noble-type hop, character, flavor and aroma are evident and may or may not be assertive yet always well balanced with malt character. Mild carbonation traditionally characterizes draft-cask versions. In bottled versions, normal or lively carbon dioxide content is appropriate. The overall impression is refreshing and thirst quenching. Fruity-ester characters are acceptable at low to moderate levels. No butterscotch-like diacetyl or sweet corn-like dimethylsulfide (DMS) should be apparent in aroma or flavor. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. 
 

Scottish-Style Light Ale

Scottish light ales are light bodied. Little bitterness is perceived, and hop flavor or aroma should not be perceived. Despite its lightness, Scottish light ale will have a degree of malty, caramel-like, soft and chewy character. Yeast characters such as diacetyl (butterscotch) and sulfuriness are acceptable at very low levels. The color will range from golden amber to deep brown Bottled versions of this traditional draft beer may contain higher amounts of carbon dioxide than is typical for mildly carbonated draft versions. Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Though there is little evidence suggesting that traditionally made Scottishstyle light ales exhibited peat smoke character, the current marketplace offers many Scottish-style light ales with peat or smoke character present at low to medium levels. Thus a peaty/smoky character may be evident at low levels (ales with medium or higher smoke character would be considered a smoke flavored beer and considered in another category). Scottish-style light ales may be split into two subcategories: Traditional (no smoke character) and Peated (low level of peat smoke character).
 

Scottish-Style Heavy Ale

Scottish heavy ale is moderate in strength and dominated by a smooth, sweet maltiness balanced with low, but perceptible, hop bitterness. Hop flavor or aroma should not be perceived. Scottish heavy ale will have a medium degree of malty, caramel-like, soft and chewy character in flavor and mouthfeel. It has medium body, and fruity esters are very low, if evident. Yeast characters such as diacetyl (butterscotch) and sulfuriness are acceptable at very low levels. The color will range from golden amber to deep brown. Bottled versions of this traditional draft beer may contain higher amounts of carbon dioxide than is typical for mildly carbonated draft versions. Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Though there is little evidence suggesting that traditionally made Scottish-style heavy ales exhibited peat smoke character, the current marketplace offers many Scottish-style heavy ales with peat or smoke character present at low to medium levels. Thus a peaty/smoky character may be evident at low levels (ales with medium or higher smoke character would be considered a smoke flavored beer and considered in another category). Scottish-style heavy ales may be split into two subcategories: Traditional (no smoke character) and Peated (low level of peat smoke character).
 

Scottish-Style Export Ale

The overriding character of Scottish export ale is sweet, caramel-like, and malty. Its bitterness is perceived as low to medium. Hop flavor or aroma should not be perceived. It has medium body. Fruity-ester character may be apparent. Yeast characters such as diacetyl (butterscotch) and sulfuriness are acceptable at very low levels. The color will range from golden amber to deep brown. Bottled versions of this traditional draft beer may contain higher amounts of carbon dioxide than is typical for mildly carbonated draft versions. Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Though there is little evidence suggesting that traditionally made Scottish-style export ales exhibited peat smoke character, the current marketplace offers many Scottish-style export ales with peat or smoke character present at low to medium levels. Thus a peaty/smoky character may be evident at low levels (ales with medium or higher smoke character would be considered a smoke flavored beer and considered in another category). Scottish-style export ales may be split into two subcategories: Traditional (no smoke character) and Peated (low level of peat smoke character).
 

English-Style Pale Mild Ale

English pale mild ales range from golden to amber in color. Malt flavor dominates the flavor profile with little hop bitterness or flavor. Hop aroma can be light. Very low diacetyl flavors may be appropriate in this low-alcohol beer. Fruity-ester level is very low. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
 

English-Style Dark Mild Ale

English dark mild ales range from deep copper to dark brown (often with a red tint) in color. Malt flavor and caramel are part of the flavor and aroma profile while, licorice and roast malt tones may sometimes contribute to the flavor and aroma profile. Body should be low-medium to medium. These beers have very little hop flavor or aroma. Very low diacetyl flavors may be appropriate in this low-alcohol beer. Fruity-ester level is very low.
 

English-Style Brown Ale

English brown ales range from deep copper to brown in color. They have a medium body and a dry to sweet maltiness with very little hop flavor or aroma. Roast malt tones may sometimes contribute to the flavor and aroma profile. Low to medium-low levels of fruity-ester flavors are appropriate. Diacetyl should be very low, if evident. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
 

Old Ale

Dark amber to brown in color, old ales are medium to full bodied with a malty sweetness. Hop aroma should be minimal and flavor can vary from none to medium in character intensity. Fruity-ester flavors and aromas can contribute to the character of this ale. Bitterness should be minimal but evident and balanced with malt and/or caramel-like sweetness. Alcohol types can be varied and complex. A distinctive quality of these ales is that they undergo an aging process (often for years) on their yeast either in bulk storage or through conditioning in the bottle, which contributes to a rich, wine-like and often sweet oxidation character. Complex estery characters may also emerge. Some very low diacetyl character may be evident and acceptable. Wood aged characters such asvanillin and other woody characters are acceptable. Horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic character evolved from Brettanomyces organisms and acidity may be present but should be at low levels and balanced with other flavors Residual flavors that come from liquids previously aged in a barrel such as bourbon or sherry should not be present. Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. (This style may often be split into two categories, strong and very strong. Brettanomyces organisms and acidic characters reflect historical character. Competition organizers may choose to distinguish these types of old ale from modern versions.)
 

Strong Ale

Light amber to mid-range brown in color, strong ales are medium to full bodied with a malty sweetness and may have low levels of roast malt character. Hop aroma should be minimal and flavor can vary from none to medium in character intensity. Fruity-ester flavors and aromas can contribute to the character of this ale. Bitterness should be minimal but evident and balanced with malt and/or caramel-like sweetness. Alcohol types can be varied and complex. A rich, often sweet and complex estery character may be evident. Very low levels of diacetyl are acceptable. Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. (This style may often be split into two categories, strong and very strong.)
 

Scotch Ale

Scotch ales are overwhelmingly malty and full-bodied. Perception of hop bitterness is very low. Hop flavor and aroma are very low or nonexistent. Color ranges from deep copper to brown. The clean alcohol flavor balances the rich and dominant sweet maltiness in flavor and aroma. A caramel character is often a part of the profile. Dark roasted malt flavors and aroma may be evident at low levels. If present, fruity esters are generally at low aromatic and flavor levels. Low diacetyl levels are acceptable. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. Though there is little evidence suggesting that traditionally made strong Scotch ales exhibited peat smoke character, the current marketplace offers many Scotch Ales with peat or smoke character present at low to medium levels. Thus a peaty/smoky character may be evident at low levels (ales with medium or higher smoke character would be considered a smoke flavored beer and considered in another category). Scotch Ales may be split into two subcategories: Traditional (no smoke character) and Peated (low level of peat smoke character).
 

British-Style Imperial Stout

Dark copper to very dark brown, British-style imperial stouts typically have high alcohol content. The extremely rich malty flavor (often characterized as toffee-like or caramel-like) and aroma are balanced with medium hopping and high fruity-ester characteristics. Bitterness should be moderate and balanced with sweet malt character. The bitterness may be higher in the darker versions. Roasted malt astringency is very low or absent. Bitterness should not overwhelm the overall character. Hop aroma can be subtle to moderately hop-floral, -citrus or -herbal. Diacetyl (butterscotch) levels should be absent. 
 

Brown Porter

Brown porters are mid to dark brown (may have red tint) in color. No roast barley or strong burnt/black malt character should be perceived. Low to medium malt sweetness, caramel and chocolate is acceptable along with medium hop bitterness. This is a lightto medium-bodied beer. Fruity esters are acceptable. Hop flavor and aroma may vary from being negligible to medium in character.
 

Robust Porter

Robust porters are black in color and have a roast malt flavor, often reminiscent of cocoa, but no roast barley flavor. These porters have a sharp bitterness of black malt without a highly burnt/charcoal flavor. Caramel and other malt sweetness should be present and in harmony with other distinguishing porter characters. Robust porters range from medium to full in body and have a malty sweetness. Hop bitterness is medium to high, with hop aroma and flavor ranging from negligible to medium. Diacetyl is acceptable at very low levels. Fruity esters should be evident, balanced with roast malt and hop bitterness.
 

Sweet Stout

Sweet stouts, also referred to as cream stouts, have less roasted bitter flavor and a full-bodied mouthfeel. The style can be given more body with milk sugar (lactose) before bottling. Malt sweetness, chocolate, and caramel flavor should dominate the flavorprofile and contribute to the aroma. Hops should balance and suppress some of the sweetness without contributing apparent flavor or aroma. The overall impression should be sweet and full-bodied.
 

Oatmeal Stout

Oatmeal stouts include oatmeal in their grist, resulting in a pleasant, full flavor and a smooth profile that is rich without being grainy. A roasted malt character which is caramel-like and chocolate-like should be evident — smooth and not bitter. Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas (chocolate and nut-like) are prominent. Color is dark brown to black. Bitterness is moderate, not high. Hop flavor and aroma are optional but should not overpower the overall balance if present. This is a medium- to full-Page 10 of 34bodied beer, with minimal fruity esters. Diacetyl should be absent or at extremely low levels. Original gravity range and alcohol levels are indicative of English tradition of oatmeal stout.
 
 

IRISH ORIGIN:

Irish-Style Red Ale

Irish-style red ales range from light red-amber-copper to light brown in color. These ales have a medium hop bitterness and flavor. They often don’t have hop aroma. Irish-style red ales have low to medium candy-like caramel sweetness and a medium body. The style may have low levels of fruity-ester flavor and aroma. Diacetyl should be absent or at very low levels. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. Slight yeast haze is acceptable for bottle-conditioned products.
 

Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout

Dry stouts have an initial malt and light caramel flavor profile with a distinctive dry-roasted bitterness in the finish. Dry stouts achieve a dry-roasted character through the use of roasted barley. The emphasis of coffee-like roasted barley and a moderate degree of roasted malt aromas define much of the character. Some slight acidity may be perceived but is not necessary. European hop aroma and flavor should be low or not perceived. Dry stouts have medium-light to medium body. Fruity esters are minimal and overshadowed by malt, high hop bitterness, and roasted barley character. Diacetyl (butterscotch) should be very low or not perceived. Head retention and rich character should be part of its visual character.
 

Foreign (Export)-Style Stout

As with classic dry stouts, foreign-style stouts have an initial malt sweetness and caramel flavor with a distinctive dry-roasted bitterness in the finish. Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas are prominent. Some slight acidity is permissible and a medium- to full-bodied mouthfeel is appropriate. Bitterness may be high but the perception is often compromised by malt sweetness. Hop aroma and flavor should not be perceived. The perception of fruity esters is low. Diacetyl (butterscotch) should be negligible or not perceived. Head retention is excellent.
 
 

NORTH AMERICAN ORIGIN:

American-Style Pale Ale

American pale ales range from deep golden to copper in color. The style is characterized by fruity, floral and citrus-like American-variety hop character producing medium to medium-high hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Note that the ―traditional style of this beer has its origins with certain floral, fruity and citrus-like American hop varietals. One or more of these hop characters is the perceived end, but may be a result of the skillful use of hops of other national origins. American pale ales have medium body and low to medium maltiness. Low caramel character is allowable. Fruity-ester flavor and aroma should be moderate to strong. Diacetyl should be absent or present at very low levels. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
 

Fresh Hop Ale

Ales which are hopped exclusively with fresh and undried (―wet) hops. This ale should have characters similar to the style to which it is brewed with the added nuances of green, almost chlorophyll-like character with fresh, new beers. These beers may be aged and enjoyed after the initial ―fresh-hop character diminishes. Unique character from ―aged fresh hop beers may emerge, but they have yet to be identified and discussed. Brewers may provide information indicating style of beer.
 

Pale American-Belgo-Style Ale

These beers must portray the unique characters imparted by yeasts typically used in fruity and big Belgian-Style ales – These beers are not traditional Belgian styles which are already defined. They are unique beers unto themselves. Notes of banana, berry, apple, sometimes coriander spice-like and/or smoky-phenolic characters should be portrayed with balance of hops and malt character when fermented with such yeast. Hop aroma, flavor and bitterness not usually found in the base style, can be medium to very high and must show the characters of American hop varieties. Color falls in the blonde to amber range. Esters should be at medium to high levels. Diacetyl should not be evident. Chill haze may be evident. Sulfur-like yeast character should be absent. Beers should be presented without yeast if bottled fermented. A statement by the brewer that could include information such as style being elaborated upon, and other information about the entry with regard to flavor, aroma or appearance, is essential for fair assessment in competitions. Beers with Brettanomyces may be subcategorized under this category.
 

Dark American-Belgo-Style Ale

These beers must portray the unique characters imparted by yeasts typically used in fruity and big Belgian-Style ales – These beers are not traditional Belgian styles which are already defined. They are unique beers unto themselves. Notes of banana, berry, apple, sometimes coriander spice-like and/or smoky-phenolic characters should be portrayed with balance of hops and malt character when fermented with such yeast. Hop aroma, flavor and bitterness not usually found in the base style, can be medium to very high and must show the characters of American hop varieties. Dark color falls in the deep amber/brown to black range. Roasted malts or barley may have a range of character from subtle to robust, and should be reflected in the overall character and balance of the beer. Esters should be at medium to high levels. Diacetyl should not be evident. Chill haze may be evident. Sulfurlike yeast character should be absent. Beers should be presented without yeast if bottled fermented. A statement by the brewer that could include information such as style being elaborated upon, and other information about the entry with regard to flavor, aroma or appearance, is essential for fair assessment in competitions. Beers with Brettanomyces may be subcategorized under this category.
 

American-Style Strong Pale Ale

American strong pale ales range from deep golden to copper in color. The style is characterized by floral and citrus-like American-variety hops used to produce high hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Note that ―floral and citrus-like American-variety hop character is the perceived end, but may be a result of the skillful use of hops of other national origins. American strong pale ales have medium body and low to medium maltiness. Low caramel character is allowable. Fruity-ester flavor and aroma should be moderate to strong. Diacetyl should be absent or present at very low levels. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
 

American-Style India Pale Ale

American-style India pale ales are perceived to have medium-high to intense hop bitterness, flavor and aroma with medium-high alcohol content. The style is further characterized by fruity, floral and citrus-like American-variety hop character. Note that fruity, floral and citrus-like American-variety hop character is the perceived end, but may be a result of the skillful use of hops of other national origins. The use of water with high mineral content results in a crisp, dry beer. This pale gold to deep copper-colored ale has a full, flowery hop aroma and may have a strong hop flavor (in addition to the perception of hop bitterness). India pale ales possess medium maltiness which contributes to a medium body. Fruity-ester flavors and aromas are moderate to very strong. Diacetyl can be absent or may be perceived at very low levels. Chill and/or hop haze is allowable at cold temperatures. (English and citrus-like American hops are considered enough of a distinction justifying separate American-style IPA and English-style IPA categories or subcategories. Hops of other origins may be used for bitterness or approximating traditional American or English character. See English-style India Pale Ale.
 

Imperial or Double India Pale Ale

Imperial or Double India Pale Ales have intense hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. Alcohol content is medium-high to high and notably evident. They range from deep golden to medium copper in color. The style may use any variety of hops. Though the hop character is intense it’s balanced with complex alcohol flavors, moderate to high fruity esters and medium to high malt character. Hop character should be fresh and lively and should not be harsh in quality. The use of large amounts of hops may cause a degree of appropriate hop haze. Imperial or Double India Pale Ales have medium-high to full body. Diacetyl should not be perceived. The intention of this style of beer is to exhibit the fresh and bright character of hops. Oxidative character and aged character should not be present.
 

American-Style Amber/Red Ale

American amber/red ales range from light copper to light brown in color. They are characterized by American-variety hops used to produce the perception of medium hop bitterness, flavor, and medium aroma. Amber ales have medium-high to high maltiness with medium to low caramel character. They should have medium to medium-high body. The style may have low levels of fruityester flavor and aroma. Diacetyl can be either absent or barely perceived at very low levels. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. Slight yeast haze is acceptable for bottle-conditioned products.
 

Imperial or Double Red Ale

Imperial or Double Red Ales have intense hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. Alcohol content is also very high and of notable character. They range from deep amber to dark copper in color and may exhibit a small amount of chill haze at cold temperatures. The style may use any variety of hops. Though the hop character is intense it’s balanced with complex alcohol flavors, moderate to high fruity esters and medium to high caramel malt character. Imperial or Double Red Ales have a full body. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
 

Golden or Blonde Ale

Golden or Blonde ales are straw to golden blonde in color. They have a crisp, dry palate, light to medium body, and light malt sweetness. Low to medium hop aroma may be present but does not dominate. Bitterness is low to medium. Fruity esters may be perceived but do not predominate. Diacetyl should not be perceived. Chill haze should be absent.
 

American-Style Brown Ale

American brown ales range from deep copper to brown in color. Roasted malt caramel-like and chocolate-like characters should be of medium intensity in both flavor and aroma. American brown ales have evident low to medium hop flavor and aroma, medium to high hop bitterness, and a medium body. Estery and fruity-ester characters should be subdued. Diacetyl should not be perceived. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
 

Smoke Porter

Smoke porters are chestnut brown to black in color. They can exhibit a mild to assertive smoke character in balance with other beer characters. Black malt character can be perceived in some porters, while others may be absent of strong roast character. Roast barley character should be absent. Medium to full malt sweetness, caramel and chocolate are acceptable along with medium to medium-high hop bitterness. These beers are usually medium to full bodied. Fruity esters are acceptable. Hop flavor and aroma may vary from being negligible to medium in character.
 

American-Style Brett Ale 

American Brett ales can be very light to black or take on the color of added fruits or other ingredients. Wood- and barrel- aged sour ales are classified elsewhere. Light to moderate and/or fruity and contributed by the Brettanomyces yeast. The evolution of natural acidity develops balanced complexity. Horsey, goaty, leathery, phenolic and light to moderate and/or fruity acidic character evolved from Brettanomyces organisms may be evident, yet in balance with other character. Acidity may also be contributed to by bacteria, but may or may not dominate.  Residual flavors that come from liquids previously aged in a barrel such as bourbon or sherry should not be present. Wood vessels may be used during the fermentation and aging process, but wood-derived flavors such as vanillin must not be present. In darker versions, roasted malt, caramel-like and chocolate-like characters should be subtle in both flavor and aroma. American Brett ales may have evident full range of hop aroma and hop bitterness with a full range of body. Estery and fruity-ester characters are evident, sometimes moderate and sometimes intense, yet balanced. Diacetyl and sweet cornlike dimethylsulfide (DMS) should not be perceived. Chill haze, bacteria and yeast-induced haze are allowable at low to medium levels at any temperature. Fruited American-Style Brett Ales will exhibit fruit flavors in harmonious balance with other characters.
 

American-Style Sour Ale 

American sour ales can be very light to black or take on the color of added fruits or other ingredients. There is no Brettanomycescharacter in this style of beer. Wood- and barrel-aged sour ales are classified elsewhere. If acidity is present it is usually in the form of lactic, acetic and other organic acids naturally developed with acidified malt in the mash or in fermentation by the use of various microorganisms including certain bacteria and yeasts. Acidic character can be a complex balance of several types of acid and characteristics of age. The evolution of natural acidity develops balanced complexity. Residual flavors that come from liquids previously aged in a barrel such as bourbon or sherry should not be present. Wood vessels may be used during the fermentation and aging process, but wood-derived flavors such as vanillin must not be present. In darker versions, roasted malt, caramel-like and chocolate-like characters should be subtle in both flavor and aroma. American sour may have evident full range of hop aroma and hop bitterness with a full range of body. Estery and fruity-ester characters are evident, sometimes moderate and sometimes intense, yet balanced. Diacetyl and sweet corn-like dimethylsulfide (DMS) should not be perceived. Chill haze, bacteria and yeast-induced haze are allowable at low to medium levels at any temperature. Fruited American-Style Sour Ales will exhibit fruit flavors in harmonious balance with other characters. 
 

American-Style Black Ale

American-style Black Ale is perceived to have medium high to high hop bitterness, flavor and aroma with medium-high alcohol content, balanced with a medium body. Fruity, floral and herbal character from hops of all origins may contribute character. The style is further characterized by a moderate degree of caramel malt character and dark roasted malt flavor and aroma. High astringency and high degree of burnt roast malt character should be absent.
 

American-Style Stout

Initial low to medium malt sweetness with a degree of caramel, chocolate and/or roasted coffee flavor with a distinctive dryroasted bitterness in the finish. Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas are prominent. Some slight roasted malt acidity is permissible and a medium- to full-bodied mouthfeel is appropriate. Hop bitterness may be moderate to high. Hop aroma and flavor is moderate to high, often with American citrus-type and/or resiny hop character. The perception of fruity esters is low. Roasted malt/barley astringency may be low but not excessive. Diacetyl (butterscotch) should be negligible or not perceived. Head retention is excellent.
 

American-Style Imperial Stout

Black in color. American-style imperial stouts typically have a high alcohol content. Generally characterized as very robust. The extremely rich malty flavor and aroma are balanced with assertive hopping and fruity-ester characteristics. Bitterness should be moderately high to very high and balanced with full sweet malt character . Roasted malt astringency and bitterness can be moderately perceived but should not overwhelm the overall character. Hop aroma is usually moderately-high to overwhelmingly hop-floral, -citrus or -herbal. Diacetyl (butterscotch) levels should be absent. 
 

American-Style Imperial Porter

Imperial porters are very dark brown to black in color. No roast barley or strong burnt/astringent black malt character should be perceived. Medium malt, caramel and cocoa-like sweetness should be in harmony with medium-low to medium hop bitterness. This is a full bodied beer. Ale-like fruity esters should be evident but not overpowering and compliment malt derived sweetness and hop character. Hop flavor and aroma may vary from being low to medium-high. Diacetyl (butterscotch) levels should be absent.
 
 

GERMAN ORIGIN:

German-Style Kölsch/Köln-Style Kölsch

Kölsch is warm fermented and aged at cold temperatures (German ale or alt-style beer). Kölsch is characterized by a golden to straw color and a slightly dry, subtly sweet softness on the palate, yet crisp. Good, dense head retention is desirable. A light fruitiness may be apparent, but is not necessary for this style. Caramel character should not be evident. The body is light to medium-light. This beer has low hop flavor and aroma with medium bitterness. Wheat can be used in brewing this beer. Ale yeast is used for fermentation, though lager yeast is sometimes used in the bottle or final cold conditioning process. Fruity esters should be minimally perceived, if at all. Chill haze should be absent.
 

Berliner-Style Weisse (Wheat)

This is very pale in color and the lightest of all the German wheat beers. The unique combination of yeast and lactic acid bacteria fermentation yields a beer that is acidic, highly attenuated, and very light bodied. The carbonation of a Berliner Weisse is high, and hop rates are very low. Clarity may be hazy or cloudy from yeast or chill haze. Hop character should not be perceived. Fruity esters will be evident. No diacetyl should be perceived.
 

South German-Style Hefeweizen/Hefeweissbier

The aroma and flavor of a Weissbier with yeast is decidedly fruity and phenolic. The phenolic characteristics are often described as clove- or nutmeg-like and can be smoky or even vanilla-like. Banana-like esters should be present at low to medium-high levels. These beers are made with at least 50 percent malted wheat, and hop rates are quite low. Hop flavor and aroma are absent or present at very low levels. Weissbier is well attenuated and very highly carbonated and a medium to full bodied beer. The color is very pale to pale amber. Because yeast is present, the beer will have yeast flavor and a characteristically fuller mouthfeel and may beappropriately very cloudy. No diacetyl should be perceived. 
 

South German-Style Kristal Weizen/Kristal Weissbier

The aroma and flavor of a Weissbier without yeast is very similar to Weissbier with yeast (Hefeweizen/Hefeweissbier) with the caveat that fruity and phenolic characters are not combined with the yeasty flavor and fuller-bodied mouthfeel of yeast. The phenolic characteristics are often described as clove- or nutmeg-like and can be smoky or even vanilla-like. Banana-like esters are often present. These beers are made with at least 50 percent malted wheat, and hop rates are quite low. Hop flavor and aroma are absent. Weissbier is well attenuated and very highly carbonated, yet its relatively high starting gravity and alcohol content make it a medium- to full-bodied beer. The color is very pale to deep golden. Because the beer has been filtered, yeast is not present. The beer will have no flavor of yeast and a cleaner, drier mouthfeel. The beer should be clear with no chill haze present. No diacetyl should be perceived.
 

South German-Style Weizenbock/Weissbock

This style can be either pale or dark (golden to dark brown in color) and has a high starting gravity and alcohol content. The malty sweetness of a Weizenbock is balanced with a clove-like phenolic and fruity-estery banana element to produce a wellrounded aroma and flavor. As is true with all German wheat beers, hop bitterness is low and carbonation is high. Hop flavor and aroma are absent. It has a medium to full body. If dark, a mild roast malt character should emerge in flavor and to a lesser degree in the aroma. If this is served with yeast the beer may be appropriately very cloudy. No diacetyl should be perceived.
 

Kellerbier (Cellar beer) or Zwickelbier – Ale

These beers are unfiltered German-style Altbier and Kölsch. They are packaged and/or served intentionally with low to moderate amounts of yeast. Products may be filtered and again dosed with yeast in the package, manifesting themselves as bottle conditioned beers or unfiltered beer with yeast present. These beers may or may not portray a yeasty mouthfeel depending on the amount of yeast contained in the package and dispensed during pouring. They will most likely not be clear, and may appear slightly hazy to moderately cloudy. Yeast flavor and aroma should be low to medium but not overpowering the balance and character of malt and 
hops. Low to moderately low levels of yeast-generated sulfur containing compounds should be apparent in aroma and flavor, and low levels of acetaldehyde or other volatiles normally removed during fermentation may or may not be apparent. The sulfur and acetaldehyde characters should contribute positively to the beer drinking experience. Head retention may not be optimal. The brewer must indicate the classic style on which the entry is based to allow for accurate judging. Beer entries not accompanied by this information will be at a disadvantage during evaluation. 

 

BELGIAN AND FRENCH ORIGIN:

Belgian-Style Flanders Oud Bruin or Oud Red Ales

This light- to medium-bodied deep copper to brown ale is characterized by a slight to strong lactic sourness, and with ―Reds sometimes a balanced degree of acetic acid. Brettanomyces produced flavors and aromas are not part of character. A fruity-estery character which is often cherry-like is apparent with no hop flavor or aroma. Flanders brown ales have low to medium bitterness and a cocoa-like character from roast malt. Roasted malt character in aroma and flavor is acceptable at low levels. A very low degree of malt sweetness may be present and in balance with the acidity produced by lactobacillus activity. Oak-like or woody characters may be pleasantly integrated into overall palate. Chill haze is acceptable at low serving temperatures. Some versions may be more highly carbonated and, when bottle conditioned, may appear cloudy (yeast) when served. These final beers are often blended old with new before packaging in order to create the brewer’s intended balance of characters.
 

Belgian-Style Dubbel

This medium-bodied, red to dark brown colored ale has a malty sweetness and chocolate-like caramel aroma. A light hop flavor and/or aroma is acceptable. Dubbels are also characterized by low-medium to medium bitterness. No diacetyl is acceptable. Yeastgenerated fruity esters (especially banana) are appropriate at low levels. Head retention is dense and mousse-like. Chill haze is acceptable at low serving temperatures. Often bottle conditioned a slight yeast haze and flavor may be evident.
 

Belgian-Style Tripel

Tripels are often characterized by a complex, sometimes mild spicy character. Clove-like phenolic flavor and aroma may be evident at extremely low levels. Yeast-generated fruitiness, including banana esters, are also common, but not necessary. These pale/light-colored ales may finish sweet, though any sweet finish should be light. The beer is characteristically medium and clean in body with an equalizing hop/malt balance and a perception of medium to medium high hop bitterness. Traditional Belgian Tripels are often well attenuated. Brewing sugar may be used to lighten the perception of body. Its sweetness will come from very pale malts. There should not be character from any roasted or dark malts. Low hop flavor is acceptable. Alcohol strength and flavor should be perceived as evident. Head retention is dense and mousse-like. Chill haze is acceptable at low serving temperatures. Traditional Tripels are bottle conditioned, may exhibit slight yeast haze but the yeast should not be intentionally roused. Oxidative character if evident in aged Tripels should be mild and pleasant.
 

Belgian-Style Quadrupel

Quadrupels or ―Quads are characterized by the immense presence of alcohol and balanced flavor, bitterness and aromas. Its color is deep amber to rich chestnut/garnet brown. Often characterized by a mousse-like dense, sometimes amber head will top off a properly poured and served quad. Complex fruity aroma and flavor emerge reminiscent of raisins, dates, figs, grapes, plums often accompanied with a hint of winy character. Caramel, dark sugar and malty sweet flavors and aromas can be intense, not cloying,while complementing fruitiness. Though well attenuated it usually has a full, creamy body. Hop characters do not dominate; low to low-medium bitterness is perceived. Perception of alcohol can be extreme. Clove-like phenolic flavor and aroma should not be evident. Chill haze is acceptable at low serving temperatures. Diacetyl and DMS should not be perceived. Well balanced with savoring/sipping drinkability. Oxidative character if evident in aged Quads should be mild and pleasant.
 

Belgian-Style Blonde Ale

Belgian-style blond ales are characterized by low yet evident hop bitterness, flavor, and sometimes aroma. Light to medium body and low malt aroma with a sweet, spiced and a low to medium fruity-ester character orchestrated in flavor and aroma. Sugar may be used to lighten perceived body. They are blonde to golden in color. Noble-type hops are commonly used. Low levels of phenolic spiciness from yeast byproducts may be perceived. Diacetyl should not be perceived. Acidic character should not be present. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
 

Belgian-Style Pale Ale

Belgian-style pale ales are characterized by low but noticeable hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Light to medium body and low malt aroma are typical. They are light amber to deep amber in color. Noble-type hops are commonly used. Low to medium fruity esters are evident in aroma and flavor. Low levels of phenolic spiciness from yeast byproducts may be perceived. Low caramel or toasted malt flavor is okay. Diacetyl should not be perceived. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
 

Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale

Belgian pale strong ales are pale to golden in color with relatively light body for a beer of its alcoholic strength. Often brewed with light colored Belgian "candy" sugar, these beers are well attenuated. The perception of hop bitterness is medium-low to medium -high, with hop flavor and aroma also in this range. These beers are highly attenuated and have a perceptively deceiving high alcoholic character—being light to medium bodied rather than full bodied. The intensity of malt character should be low to medium, often surviving along with a complex fruitiness. Very little or no diacetyl is perceived. Herbs and spices are sometimes used to delicately flavor these strong ales. Low levels of phenolic spiciness from yeast byproducts may also be perceived. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
 

Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale

Belgian dark strong ales are amber to dark brown in color. Often, though not always, brewed with dark Belgian "candy" sugar, these beers can be well attenuated, ranging from medium to full-bodied. The perception of hop bitterness is low to medium, with hop flavor and aroma also in this range. Fruity complexity along with the soft flavors of roasted malts add distinct character. The alcohol strength of these beers can often be deceiving to the senses. The intensity of malt character can be rich, creamy, and sweet with intensities ranging from medium to high. Very little or no diacetyl is perceived. Herbs and spices are sometimes used to delicately flavor these strong ales. Low levels of phenolic spiciness from yeast byproducts may also be perceived. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
 

Belgian-Style White (or Wit)/Belgian-Style Wheat

Belgian white ales are very pale in color and are brewed using unmalted wheat and malted barley and are spiced with coriander and orange peel. Coriander and light orange peel aroma should be perceived as such or as an unidentified spiciness. Phenolic spiciness and yeast flavors may be evident at mild levels. These beers are traditionally bottle conditioned and served cloudy. An unfiltered starch and yeast haze should be part of the appearance. The low to medium body should have some degree of creaminess from wheat starch. The style is further characterized by the use of noble-type hops to achieve low hop bitterness and little to no apparent hop flavor. This beer has no diacetyl and a low to medium fruity-ester level. Mild acidity is appropriate.
 

Belgian-Style Lambic

Unblended, naturally and spontaneously fermented lambic is intensely estery, sour, and sometimes, but not necessarily, acetic flavored. Low in carbon dioxide, these hazy beers are brewed with unmalted wheat and malted barley. Sweet malt characters are  not perceived. They are very low in hop bitterness. Cloudiness is acceptable. These beers are quite dry and light bodied. Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic character evolved from Brettanomyces yeast is often present at moderate levels. Versions of this beer made outside of the Brussels area of Belgium cannot be true lambics. These versions are said to be "lambicstyle" and may be made to resemble many of the beers of true origin. Vanillin and other woody flavors should not be evident. Historically, traditional lambic is dry and completely attenuated, exhibiting no residual sweetness either from malt, sugar or artificial sweeteners. Sweet versions may be created through addition of sugars or artificial sweeteners. Competition organizers may choose to subcategorize this style into A) Traditional and B) Sweet. Artificial sweeteners are sometimes used in some brands.
 

Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambic

Old lambic is blended with newly fermenting young lambic to create this special style of lambic. Gueuze is always refermented in the bottle. These unflavored blended and secondary fermented lambic beers may be very dry or mildly sweet and are characterized by intense fruity-estery, sour, and acidic aromas and flavors. These pale beers are brewed with unmalted wheat, malted barley, and stale, aged hops. Sweet malt characters are not perceived. They are very low in hop bitterness. Diacetyl should be absent. Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic character evolved from Brettanomyces yeast is often present at moderate levels. Cloudiness is acceptable. These beers are quite dry and light bodied. Vanillin and other woody flavors should not be evident. Versions of this beer made outside of the Brussels area of Belgium cannot be true lambics. These versions are said to be "lambic-style" and may be made to resemble many of the beers of true origin. Historically, traditional gueuze lambics are dry and completely attenuated, exhibiting no residual sweetness either from malt, sugar or artificial sweeteners. Some versions often have a degree of sweetness, contributed by sugars or artificial sweeteners. Competition organizers may choose to subcategorize this style into A) Traditional and B) Sweet. Artificial sweeteners are sometimes used in some brands. 
 

Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic

These beers, also known by the names framboise, kriek, peche, cassis, etc., are characterized by fruit flavors and aromas. The color reflects the choice of fruit. Sourness is an important part of the flavor profile, though sweetness may compromise the intensity. These flavored lambic beers may be very dry or mildly sweet and range from a dry to a full-bodied mouthfeel. Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic character evolved from Brettanomyces yeast is often present at moderate levels. Vanillin and other woody flavors should not be evident. Versions of this beer made outside of the Brussels area of Belgium cannot be true lambics. These versions are said to be "lambic-style" and may be made to resemble many of the beers of true origin. Historically, traditional lambics are dry and completely attenuated, exhibiting no residual sweetness either from malt, sugar, fruit or artificial sweeteners. Some versions often have a degree of sweetness, contributed by fruit sugars, other sugars or artificial sweeteners. Competition organizers may choose to subcategorize this style into A) Traditional and B) Sweet. Artificial sweeteners are sometimes used in some brands. 
 

Belgian-Style Table Beer

These ales and lagers are very low in alcohol and historically in Belgium enjoyed with meals by both adults and children. Pale to very dark brown in color. Additions of caramel coloring are sometimes employed to adjust color. They are light bodied with relatively low carbonation with limited aftertaste. The mouth feel is light to moderate, though higher than one might anticipate, usually because of unfermented sugars/malt sugars. Malted barley, wheat and rye may be used as well as unmalted wheat, rye, oats and corn. A mild malt character could be evident. Aroma/Flavor hops are most commonly used to employ a flavor balance that is only low in bitterness. Traditional versions do not use artificial sweeteners nor are they excessively sweet. More modern versions of this beer incorporate sweeteners such as sugar and saccharine added post fermentation to sweeten the palate and add to a perception of smoothness. Spices (such as orange and lemon peel, as well as coriander) may be added in barely perceptible amounts, but this is not common. Diacetyl should not be perceived. Competition directors may choose to break out subcategories of Traditional and Modern.
 

French-Style Bière de Garde

Beers in this category are golden to deep copper or light brown in color. They are light to medium in body. This style of beer is characterized by a toasted malt aroma, slight malt sweetness in flavor, and low to medium hop bitterness. Noble-type hop aromas and flavors should be low to medium. Fruity esters can be light to medium in intensity. Flavor of alcohol is evident. Earthy, cellarlike, musty aromas are okay. Diacetyl should not be perceived but chill haze is okay. Often bottle conditioned with some yeast character. French-Style Biére de Garde may have Brettanomyces characters that are slightly acidity, fruity, horsey, goaty and/or leather-like.
 

French & Belgian-Style Saison

Beers in this category are golden to deep amber in color. There may be quite a variety of characters within this style. Generally: They are light to medium in body. Malt aroma is low to medium-low. Esters dominate the aroma, while hop character, complex alcohols, herbs, spices, low Brettanomyces character and even clove and smoke-like phenolics may or may not be evident in the overall balanced beer. Malt flavor is low but provides foundation for the overall balance. Hop bitterness is moderate to moderately assertive. Herb and/or spice flavors, including black pepper-like notes, may or may not be evident. Fruitiness from fermentation is generally in character. A balanced small amount of sour or acidic flavors is acceptable when in balance with other components. Earthy, cellar-like, musty aromas are okay. Diacetyl should not be perceived. Chill or slight yeast haze is okay. Often bottle conditioned with some yeast character and high carbonation. French & Belgian-Style Saison may have Brettanomyces characters that are slightly acidity, fruity, horsey, goaty and/or leather-like.
 

 

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