Category 47: American Light Lager
These beers are extremely light colored, light in body, and high in carbonation. Calorie level should not exceed 125 per 12 ounce serving. Corn, rice, or other grain or sugar adjuncts are often used. Flavor is mild, and hop bitterness and aroma is negligible to very low. Light fruity esters are acceptable. Chill haze and diacetyl should be absent.
ABV: 3.50% – 4.40%
Color SRM: 1.5-4
Category 48: American Lager/Pilsner
Light in body and color, American lagers are very clean and crisp and aggressively carbonated. Flavor components should be subtle and complex, with no one ingredient dominating the others. Malt sweetness is light to mild. Corn, rice, or other grain or sugar adjuncts are often used. Hop bitterness, flavor and aroma are negligible to very light. Light fruity esters are acceptable. Chill haze and diacetyl should be absent.
ABV: 4.10% – 5.10%
Color SRM: 2-4
Category 49: American Premium Lager
This style has low malt (and adjunct) sweetness, is medium bodied, and should contain no or a low percentage (less than 25%) of adjuncts. Color may be light straw to golden. Alcohol content and bitterness may also be greater. Hop aroma and flavor is low or negligible. Light fruity esters are acceptable. Chill haze and diacetyl should be absent.
ABV: 4.10% – 5.10%
Color SRM: 2-6
Category 50: American Amber Lager
A. Subcategory: American-Style Amber Lager
American-style amber lagers are light amber to amber or copper colored. They are medium bodied. There is a noticeable degree of caramel-type malt character in flavor and often in aroma. This is a broad category in which the hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma may be accentuated or may only be present at relatively low levels, yet noticeable. Fruity esters, diacetyl, and chill haze should be absent.
ABV: 4.80% – 5.40%
Color SRM: 6–14
B. Subcategory: California Common Beer
California Common Beer is light amber to amber in color and is medium bodied. There is a noticeable degree of caramel-type malt character in flavor and often in aroma. Hop bitterness impression is medium to medium high and is balanced with a low to medium-low degree of fruity esters and malt character and give an impression of balance and drinkability. Hop flavor and aroma is low to medium-low. California Common Beer is a style of beer brewed with lager yeasts but at ale fermentation temperatures. Diacetyl and chill haze should be absent.
ABV: 4.60% – 5.70%
Color SRM: 8-15
Category 51: Bohemian Pilsener
Bohemian pilseners are medium bodied, and they can be as dark as a light amber color. This style balances moderate bitterness and noble-type hop aroma and flavor with a malty, slightly sweet, medium body. Extremely low levels of diacetyl and low levels of sweet corn-like dimethylsulfide (DMS) character, if perceived, are characteristic of this style and both may accent malt aroma. A toasted-, biscuit-like, bready malt character along with low levels of sulfur compounds may be evident. There should be no chill haze. Its head should be dense and rich.
Color SRM: 3-7
Category 52: German Lager/Pilsener
A classic German Pilsener is very light straw or golden in color and well hopped. Hop bitterness is high. Noble-type hop aroma and flavor are moderate and quite obvious. It is a well-attenuated, medium-light bodied beer, but a malty residual sweetness can be perceived in aroma and flavor. Very low levels of sweet corn-like dimethylsulfide (DMS) character are below most beer drinker’s taste threshold. Other fermentation or hop related sulfur compounds, when perceived at low levels, may be characteristic of this style. Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be perceived. There should be no chill haze. Its head should be dense and rich.
Color SRM: 3-4
Category 53: International Style Pilsner
International-Style Pilseners are straw to pale. Chill haze should not be perceived. These beers are often brewed with rice, corn, wheat, or other grain or sugar adjuncts making up part of the mash. Residual malt aroma is very low and does not predominate but may be perceived. Very low levels of DMS aroma are acceptable. Fruity-ester and diacetyl aromas should not be perceived. Hop aroma is low. Residual malt sweetness is very low and does not predominate but may be perceived. Hop flavor is low. Hop bitterness is low to medium. Very low levels of DMS flavor if perceived are acceptable. Fruity-ester and diacetyl flavors should not be perceived. Body is light to medium.
ABV: 4.60% – 5.30%
IBU: 17 – 30
Color SRM: 3 – 4
Category 54: American Imperial Pilsner
Imperial pilseners are full bodied, and they can be as dark as a light amber color. This style balances moderate bitterness and noble-type hop aroma and flavor with a malty, slightly sweet, medium body. Extremely low levels of diacetyl and low levels of sweet corn-like dimethylsulfide (DMS) character, if perceived, are characteristic of this style and both may accent malt aroma. A toasted-, biscuit-like, bready malt character along with low levels of sulfur compounds may be evident. There should be no chill haze. Its head should be dense and rich.
Color SRM: 10-35
Category 55: Münchner Helles
This beer should be perceived as having low bitterness. It is a medium-bodied, malt-emphasized beer; with malt character often balanced with low levels of yeast produced sulfur compounds (character). Certain renditions of this beer style approach a perceivable level of hop flavor (note: hop flavor does not imply hop bitterness) and character but it is essentially balanced with malt character to retain its style identity. Malt character is sometimes bread-like yet always reminiscent of freshly and very lightly toasted malted barley. There should not be any caramel character. Color is light straw to golden. Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be perceived. There should be no chill haze.
ABV: 4.80% – 5.60%
Color SRM: 4-5.5
Category 56: Münchner Dunkel/Dark Larger
Subcategory: Münchner Dunkel
These light brown to dark brown beers have a pronounced malty aroma and flavor that dominates over the clean, crisp, moderate hop bitterness. This beer does not offer an overly sweet impression, but rather a mild balance between malt sweetness, hop bitterness and light to moderate mouthfeel. A classic Münchner Dunkel should have a chocolate-like, roast malt, bread-like or biscuit-like aroma that comes from the use of Munich dark malt. Chocolate or roast malts can be used, but the percentage used should be minimal. Noble-type hop flavor and aroma should be low but perceptible. Diacetyl, ale-like fruity esters and chill haze should not be perceived.
ABV: 4.80% – 5.30%
Color SRM: 15-20
Subcategory: Dark Lager
This beer’s malt aroma and flavor are low but notable. Its color ranges from a very deep copper to a deep, dark brown. Its body is light. Non-malt adjuncts are often used, and hop rates are low. Hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma are low. Carbonation is high. Fruity esters, diacetyl, and chill haze should not be perceived.
ABV: 4.80% – 5.30%
Color SRM: 14-25
Category 57: Märzen/Oktoberfest/Vienna Lager
Märzens are characterized by a medium body and broad range of color. They can range from golden to reddish orange. Sweet maltiness should dominate slightly over a clean, hop bitterness. Malt character should be light-toasted rather than strongly caramel (though a low level of light caramel character is acceptable). Bread or biscuit-like malt character is acceptable in aroma and flavor. Hop aroma and flavor should be low but notable. Ale-like fruity esters should not be perceived. Diacetyl and chill haze should not be perceived.
Color SRM: 4-15
Subcategory: Vienna-Style Lager
Vienna-Style Lagers are copper to reddish brown. Chill haze should not be perceived. Viennas are characterized by malty aroma, which should have a notable degree of toasted and/or slightly roasted malt character. Hop aroma is very low to low, deriving from noble-type hops. They are also characterized by slight malt sweetness, which should have notable toasted and/or slightly roasted malt character. Hop flavor is very low to low, deriving from noble-type hops. Hop bitterness is low to medium-low, clean and crisp. DMS, diacetyl, and ale-like fruity esters should not be perceived. Body is medium.
ABV: 4.80% – 5.40%
Bitterness (IBU): 22 – 28
Color SRM: 12 – 26
Category 58: Schwarzbier
These very dark brown to black beers have a mild roasted malt character without the associated bitterness. This is not a full-bodied beer, but rather a moderate body gently enhances malt flavor and aroma with low to moderate levels of sweetness. Hop bitterness is low to medium in character. Noble-type hop flavor and aroma should be low but perceptible. There should be no fruity esters. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
ABV: 3.80% – 4.90%
Color SRM: 25-30
Category 59: Bock
Subcategory: German Bock
Traditional bocks are made with all malt and are strong, malty, medium- to full-bodied, bottom-fermented beers with moderate hop bitterness that should increase proportionately with the starting gravity. Hop flavor should be low and hop aroma should be very low. Bocks can range in color from deep copper to dark brown. Fruity esters should be minimal.
ABV: 6.30% – 7.60%
Color SRM: 20-30
Subcategory: German Heller Bock/Maibock
The German word helle means light colored, and as such, a heller Bock is light straw to deep golden in color. Maibocks are also light-colored bocks. The malty character should come through in the aroma and flavor. Body is medium to full. Hop bitterness should be low, while noble-type hop aroma and flavor may be at low to medium levels. Bitterness increases with gravity. Fruity esters may be perceived at low levels. Diacetyl levels should be very low. Chill haze should not be perceived.
Color SRM: 4-10
Category 60: Strong Bock
Subcategory: German Strong Doppelbock
Malty sweetness is dominant but should not be cloying. Malt character is more reminiscent of fresh and lightly toasted Munich-style malt; more so than caramel or toffee malt character. Some elements of caramel and toffee can be evident and contribute to complexity, but the predominant malt character is an expression of toasted barley malt. Doppelbocks are full bodied and deep amber to dark brown in color. Astringency from roast malts is absent. Alcoholic strength is high, and hop rates increase with gravity. Hop bitterness and flavor should be low and hop aroma absent. Fruity esters are commonly perceived but at low to moderate levels.
ABV: 6.60% – 7.90%
Color SRM: 12-30
Subcategory: German Strong Eisbock
A stronger version of Doppelbock. Malt character can be very sweet. The body is very full and deep copper to almost black in color. Alcoholic strength is very high. Hop bitterness is subdued. Hop flavor and aroma are absent. Fruity esters may be evident but not overpowering. Typically these beers are brewed by freezing a Doppelbock and removing resulting ice to increase alcohol content.
ABV: 8.60% – 14.30%
Color SRM: 18-50
Category 61: Baltic-Style Porter
A true smooth cold-fermented and cold lagered beer, brewed with lager yeast. Black to very deep ruby/garnet in color. Overall, Baltic Porters have a very smooth lagered character with distinctive caramelized sugars, licorice and chocolate-like character of roasted malts and dark sugars. Roasted dark malts should not contribute bitterness, or astringent roast character. A low degree of smokiness from malt may be evident. Debitterized roast malts are best used for this style. Because of its alcoholic strength, aroma may include gentle (low) lager fruitiness (berries, grapes, plums, not banana; ale-like fruitiness from warm temperature fermentation is not appropriate), complex alcohols, cocoa-like, roast malt (and sometimes coffee-like roast barley, yet not bitter). Hop aroma is very low, though a hint of floral or sweet hop aroma can complement aromatics and flavor without dominance. Baltic Porters are not hop bitter dominated and expressed as low to medium-low. Baltic porters range from having medium to full body complemented with a medium-low to medium level of malty sweetness. No butterscotch-like diacetyl or sweet corn-like dimethylsulfide should be apparent in aroma or flavor.
Alcohol by Volume: 7.60% – 9.10%)
Color SRM: 40+