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Beer Styles

Beers are mainly categorised into 2 separate styles. Ale or Lager, although many styles may combine both techniques.

The main difference comes in the fermentation process. Lagers are brewed at cooler temperatures with bottom fermenting yeast (with a cold storage time to follow), whilst Ales are brewed at warmer temperatures with top fermenting yeast.

There are a number of organisations and writers that attempt to categorise the many styles of beer available to us today, and although they have quite an American slant, We find the list of styles of beer developed by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) to be one of the most comprehensive.

You can find out more about the BJCP or get various downloadable formats of their style guidelines at Listed below are the 23 main style ‘families’, click on each, to find a breakdown of the specific related styles.

LIGHT LAGER Lite American Lager - Standard American Lager - Premium American Lager - Munich Helles - Dortmunder Export
PILSNER German Pilsner (Pils) - Bohemian Pilsener - Classic American Pilsner
EUROPEAN AMBER LAGER Vienna Lager - Oktoberfest/Märzen
DARK LAGER Dark American Lager - Munich Dunkel - Schwarzbier (Black Beer)
BOCK Maibock/Helles Bock - Traditional Bock - Doppelbock - Eisbock
LIGHT HYBRID BEER Cream Ale - Blonde Ale - Kölsch - American Wheat or Rye Beer
AMBER HYBRID BEER Northern German Altbier - California Common Beer - Düsseldorf Altbier
ENGLISH PALE ALE Standard/Ordinary Bitter - Special/Best/Premium Bitter Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)
SCOTTISH AND IRISH ALE Scottish Light 60/- - Scottish Heavy 70/- - Scottish Export 80/- - Irish Red Ale - Strong Scotch Ale
AMERICAN ALE American Pale Ale - American Amber Ale - American Brown Ale
ENGLISH BROWN ALE Mild - Southern English Brown - Northern English Brown Ale
PORTER Brown Porter - Robust Porter - Baltic Porter
STOUT Dry Stout - Sweet Stout - Oatmeal Stout - Foreign Extra Stout - American Stout - Russian Imperial Stout
INDIA PALE ALE (IPA) English IPA - American IPA - Imperial IPA


Weizen/Weissbier - Dunkelweizen - Weizenbock - Roggenbier
BELGIAN AND FRENCH ALE Witbier - Belgian Pale Ale - Saison - Bière de Garde Belgian Specialty Ale
SOUR ALE Berliner Weisse - Flanders Red Ale - Flanders Brown Ale/Oud Bruin - Straight (Unblended) Lambic - Gueuze - Fruit Lambic
BELGIAN STRONG ALE Belgian Blond Ale - Belgian Dubbel - Belgian Tripel - Belgian Golden Strong Ale - Belgian Dark Strong Ale
STRONG ALE Old Ale - English Barleywine - American Barleywine
SPICE/HERB/VEGETABLE BEER Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer Christmas/Winter Specialty Spiced Beer
SMOKE-FLAVOURED AND WOOD-AGED BEER Classic Rauchbier - Other Smoked Beer - Wood-Aged Beer
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