Home Brew Bloggers on March 27, 2020 0 Comments There are so many different styles of craft beer that it can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the craft beer scene. But it’s this freedom and creativity that gives the craft beer culture its vibrancy. There are many ways to go about classifying craft beer styles, such as color, taste, ingredients, and origin. For the sake of simplicity and for those who are new to craft beer, in this article we’ll provide a quick guide to the most popular styles you’ll see at your local craft brewery. The first thing to note is that there are three basic types of beers based on the fermentation process: bottom fermentation beers (lagers), top fermentation beers (ales), and spontaneous or wild fermentation beers. Lagers Lagers are bottom fermentation beers using a fermentation process that takes place at a low temperature where the yeast collects at the bottom of the tank. Lagers have a light, clear appearance and lower alcohol content. The sweet, smooth, crisp flavor from the higher sugar content, slower fermentation, and cold treatment are most strongly affected by the yeast and brewing practices. Ales Ales are top fermentation beers using a fermentation process that takes place at a high temperature where the yeast develops at the top of the tank. Ales tend to be darker and have a cloudier appearance. They have a higher alcohol content and a stronger, fruitier, more robust flavor with strong bitter tones due to the higher amount of hops, and more thorough fermentation. Wild/Sour Beers Wild or sour beers use a spontaneous fermentation process that happens when the brewer leaves the inoculation (the moment when yeast and bacteria come in contact with the liquid) up to whatever organisms happen to be in the air or on the fruit when they are fermenting. Almost anything is possible with a wild or sour beer, but they are generally very tart and have the addition of fruits like cherry, raspberry or peach. Although there are many differences between Ales and Lagers these are categorized into style families of beer. The most common are listed alphabetically and briefly described below. Barleywine — This is a strong, intense beer with a flavor profile often described as lively, fruity, sometimes sweet or bittersweet, with a high alcohol content. Belgian Style — Belgian beers have a flavor profile that is usually fruity, spicy and sweet, with low bitterness and a higher alcohol content. Bocks — Bocks are browner in color with a malty sweetness and often a toasted, nutty flavor. Brown Ales — Brown ales are true to their name being darker than their pale ale cousin. Their flavor profile is often described as toasty, nutty, chocolatey, and toffee flavored. Hybrids — Hybrid beers are half lagers, half ales, and a unique style family of beer because the only limitation is creativity. Because of this, just about anything can happen with their flavor profile. India Pale Ales (IPA) — IPAs can be bitter and often contain higher alcohol levels. Their flavor profile is largely from hops, herbal, citrus or fruity flavors. Pale Ales — Pale Ales are easy to drink and have a lower alcohol content than IPAs. Their flavor profile is hoppy, malty, and medium-bodied. title=”Quick Guide Craft Beer – pin” Pilsners — Pilsners originate from the Czech Republic or Germany. Czech pilsners are darker and have a higher bitter flavor, while German pilsners are pale gold and crisp. Porters — Porters are similar to stouts because of their common ingredients and dark color, but porters tend to taste less like coffee and more like chocolate. Scottish-Style Ales — These ales are dark brown in color, full-bodied and have a flavor profile of malt and sweet caramel. Specialty Beers — This is basically a catch-all category for any beer that doesn’t fit anywhere else. Typically, the ingredients in specialty beers are distinctive and evident. Stouts — Stouts are darker in color than porters and their flavor profile is usually sweet, full-bodied and slightly roasty with suggestions of coffee and cream. They are generally lower in bitterness. Strong Ales — Strong ales are the higher alcohol version of pale ales. They have a deep amber color and generally have a sweet, malty flavor profile with a hint of fruitiness. Wheat Beers — Wheat is the malt ingredient in this beer and gives it the light color and lighter alcohol level ideal for combining it with tangy flavors. Each style family of beer has sub-categories that contain all your many different beer styles. The possibilities are endless, which means you’ll never run out of craft beers to explore as you discover your favorite flavor profiles.