table: beer characteristics

Beer typesCharacteristics
Pale Lagers and PilsnersPale lager and pilsners are golden-colored beers that are lighter in flavor and lower in alcohol content. This style of beer became popular in what is now modern Czech Republic and Germany.
Dark LagersDark lager is malty and smooth, with toasted caramel flavors. These beers tend to have mid-range alcohol content and lower bitterness profiles.
German BocksBocks are heavy on malty flavor, making them sweet and nutty. Bocks have lower alcohol levels, while doppelbocks, weizenbocks, and maibocks move up the alcohol scale.
Brown AlesBrown ales feature malty overtones and tend to have toasty, caramel flavors. They typically feature mid-range alcohol content and hop bitterness.
Pale AlesPale ales are generally hoppy but lower in alcohol content than IPAs. They are typically light, drinkable beers.
American Amber AleAmerican amber ale is a malty, medium-bodied beer with a caramel flavor and amber color.
ABV: 4.4-6.1%
IBU: 25-45
American Pale AleAmerican pale ale is a medium-bodied beer with a noticable hop flavor and a light copper color.
ABV: 4.4-5.4%
IBU: 30-50
Blonde AleBlonde ales balance the flavors of malt and hops nicely, and they often have a fruity aroma.
ABV: 4.1-5.1%
IBU: 15-25
English BitterEnglish bitters are named for the bitter flavor that the hops present. They have fruity flavors and lower alcohol content.
ABV: 3.0-4.2%
IBU: 20-35
English Pale AleAlso known as "extra special bitters," English pale ales have a strong hop flavor that is balanced by sweet malt.
ABV: 4.5-5.5%
IBU: 20-40
India Pale AlesIPAs (short for India pale ales) boast strong hop bitterness with piney and floral flavors. These beers also have high alcohol content.
American IPAAmerican IPAs have more hops, big herbal or citrus flavors, and high bitterness compared to pale ale.
ABV: 6.3-7.5%
IBU: 50-70
Imperial or Double IPAImperial or Double IPAs are American IPAs, but with a stronger flavor, hop bitterness, and a higher alcohol content.
ABV: 7.0-14.0%
IBU: 65-100
English IPAEnglish IPAs are similar to the American style, but with a weaker hop flavor and lower alcohol content.
ABV: 5.0-7.0%
IBU: 35-63
PortersPorters are all dark in color, and they feature flavors reminiscent of chocolate, coffee, and caramel. They tend to be more chocolatey than brown ales, and less coffee-like than stouts.
American Imperial PorterAmerican imperial porters are dark in color, but lacking in burnt malt taste. They also boast a malty sweetness that goes well with chocolate and coffee.
ABV: 7.0-12.0%
IBU: 35-50
English Brown PorterEnglish brown porter is a dark beer that's similar to the American style, but usually with a lower alcohol content and less malt sweetness.
ABV: 4.5-6.0%
IBU: 20-30
Robust PorterRobust porters are stronger and more bitter than a brown porter with a rich dark color and a subtle caramel flavor.
ABV: 5.1-6.6%
IBU: 25-40
StoutsStouts are dark beers that are similar to porters, but with stronger roasted flavors. This style also features mid to high alcohol levels.
American StoutAmerican stouts are dark beers that feature malt flavors working to create strong chocolate and coffee notes, but without overpowering hop bitterness.
ABV: 5.7-8.9%
IBU: 35-60
American Imperial StoutAmerican imperial stouts are strong dark beers with a malty flavor and a deep black color.
ABV: 7.0-12.0%
IBU: 50-80
Oatmeal StoutAs their name suggests, oatmeal stouts feature oatmeal in their malt blend. This adds smoothness and sweetness to the beer.
ABV: 3.8-6.0%
IBU: 20-40
Milk StoutLactose sugar adds a sweet caramel or chocolate flavor to milk stouts.
ABV: 4.0-7.0%
IBU: 15-25
Irish Dry StoutIrish dry stouts are dark beers; black in color with a bitterness that comes from roasted barley.
ABV: 3.8-5.0%
IBU: 30-40
Belgian StylesBelgian beers are known for their spiced, sweet, and fruity flavors and high alcohol content. Despite their high alcohol content, belgians are usually low in bitterness.
Belgian Pale AleBelgian pale ale contains a toasted malt flavor that is subtle enough to not overpower the taste of the hops.
ABV: 4.0-6.0%
IBU: 20-30
Belgian DubbelBelgian dubbels feature rich and malty flavor with a spicy, fruity note.
ABV: 6.3-7.6%
IBU: 20-35
Belgian TripelBelgian trippels are lighter-bodied beers with a slight hoppy bitterness and a high alcohol content.
ABV: 7.1-10.1%
IBU: 20-45
Belgian QuadrupelBelgian quadrupels are dark brown, full-bodied beers that exhibit flavors like brown sugar and fruit. They also have a very high alcohol content.
ABV: 7.2-11.2%
IBU: 25-50
Belgian Strong Dark AleBelgian strong dark ale features a very high alcohol content with complex fruity flavors.
ABV: 7.0-15.0%
IBU: 20-50
Belgian SaisonSaisons (also known as farmhouse ales) have earthy notes and a medium hop flavor.
ABV: 4.4-6.8%
IBU: 20-38
Wheat BeersAs you might have guessed, wheat beers use wheat as their malt. They are generally lighter in color and alcohol content. Their tangy flavors go great with fruit, and brewers often add seasonal fruits to wheat beer.
American Pale WheatAmerican pale wheat beer is pale in color, lower in alcohol content, and with a light bready flavor.
ABV: 3.5-5.6%
IBU: 10-35
Belgian WitbierWitbier gets its name from its white color, and has a light, fruity flavor to match.
ABV: 4.8-5.6%
IBU: 10-17
Berliner WeisseBerliner Weisse is tart, sour beer with a pale color. Sometimes raspberry syrup is added to dull the sour taste.
ABV: 2.8-3.4%
IBU: 3-6
DunkelweizenDunkelweizen is a darker version of a Hefeweizen. These beers have a malty flavor with hints of banana.
ABV: 4.8-5.4%
IBU: 10-15
HefeweizenHefeweizen is a light colored wheat beer with a crisp taste that can sometimes have hints of cloves or apples.
ABV: 4.9-5.6%
IBU: 10-15
Wild & Sour AlesWild or sour ales are typically very low in alcohol, and feature tart, sour flavors that come from (safe) bacteria in the brew mash.
American SourAmerican sour beer packs a wild punch from certain bacteria that are introduced during the fermentation process.
ABV: Varies
IBU: Varies
Belgian Fruit LambicBelgian fruit lambics are brewed with fruit to make an intense sweet and sour flavor.
ABV: 5.0-8.9%
IBU: 15-21
Flanders Red AleFlanders red ale evokes a malty, fruity flavor underneath a strong sour taste brought on by Lactobacillus bacteria during fermentation.
ABV: 4.8-6.6%
IBU: 5-18
Belgian GueuzeGueuzes are aged beers that give off a very strong sour flavor.
ABV: 6.2-8.1%
IBU: 9-23
Specialty BeersSpecialty beers can be any type or style. The differentiating factor is usually the addition of a specific ingredient, like honey or pumpkin, that can be added to most styles of beer.
American Black AleAmerican black ales are dark in color and feature a malty, roasted flavor with medium to high hop bitterness. This style is sometimes called a black IPA.
ABV: 6.0-7.5%
IBU: 50-75
Barrel-Aged BeerA barrel-aged beer is any type of beer that has been aged in a wooden barrel. Sometimes these barrels have been used to hold bourbon, wine, or other spirits, adding to the flavor of the beer.
ABV: Varies
IBU: Varies
Chocolate BeerChocolate or cocoa can be added to any style (lager or ale) to form a delicious chocolate beer.
ABV: 2.5-12.0%
IBU: 15-40
Coffee BeerCoffee beer is typically a porter or stout with added coffee flavor. This flavor can be achieved by steeping coffee beans in water or in the beer mixture.
ABV: 2.5-12.0%
IBU: 15-45
Fruit and Vegetable BeerAny type of beer can be infused with fruit and vegetable flavors, so flavors will vary greatly.
ABV: 2.5-12.0%
IBU: 5-50
Gluten Free BeerGluten free beer is brewed with fermentable sugars and grains that do not contain gluten. These beers vary in color, flavor, and alcohol content.
ABV: Varies
IBU: Varies
Herb and Spice BeerHerb and spice beer is any lager or ale that has added flavors from roots, herbs, or other spices. Pumpkin spice and holiday spice beers are examples of this style.
ABV: 2.5-12.0%
IBU: 5-40
Honey BeerHoney beers are ales or lagers that are brewed with honey to add sweetness and unique flavor.
ABV: 2.5-12.0%
IBU: Varies
Pumpkin BeerPumpkin beer is brewed with fresh pumpkin and common fall spices. These beers are increasingly popular, and can be made with lagers, ales, and sour beers.
ABV: 2.3-5.0%
IBU: 5-70
Rye BeerRye beer often features malty, roasted flavors, with lower hop bitterness. Rye beers can be made as ales or as lagers, and will either take on a sweet or spicy flavor.
ABV: Varies
IBU: Varies
Session BeerAny style of beer can be brewed as a session beer, as sessions are simply less strong, more drinkable beers that are perfect for summertime consumption.
ABV: 3.5-5.0%
IBU: 10-35
Smoke BeerSmoke beer is any beer that is brewed with malt that has been kilned over an open fire. The smoke adds a noticeable, but not overpowering flavor, which is inspired by traditional German rauchbier.
ABV: Varies
IBU: Varies