Belgian and French Origin Ale Styles

Each style description is purposefully written independently of any reference to another beer style. Furthermore, as much as possible, beer character is not described in terms of ingredients or process. These guidelines attempt to emphasize final evaluation of the product and try not to judge or regulate the formulation or manner in which it was brewed, except in special circumstances that clearly define a style.
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Belgian and French Origin Ale Styles

  1. Belgian-Style Blonde Ale
  2. Belgian-Style Blonde Ale
Belgian-Style Blonde Ale
  • Color: Pale to light amber
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt aroma and flavor is low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not perceived to low. Noble-type hops are commonly used.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aromas balanced with light malty and spicy aromas may be present. Low yeast-derived phenolic spiciness may be perceived. Diacetyl and acidic character should not be perceived.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: Theses beers should display a balance of light sweetness, spiciness and low to medium fruity-estery flavors.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.054-1.068
    (13.3-16.6 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.014
    (2.1-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.0%-6.2%
    (6.3%-7.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    15-30
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-7
    (8-14 EBC)
  1. Belgian-Style Pale Ale
  2. Belgian-Style Pale Ale
Belgian-Style Pale Ale
  • Color: Gold to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt aroma should be low. Caramel or toasted malt flavor is acceptable.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is low but noticeable. Noble-type hops are commonly used.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aromas and flavors are evident. Low levels of yeast-derived phenolic spicy flavors and aromas may be perceived. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.044-1.054
    (11-13.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.014
    (2.1-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.2%-5.0%
    (4.1%-6.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    20-30
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    6-12
    (12-24 EBC)
  1. Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale
  2. Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale
Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale
  • Color: Pale to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt character is low to medium. A complex fruitiness is often present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium-high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aromas should be evident. Low levels of yeast-derived phenolic spicy flavors and aromas may also be perceived. Diacetyl, if present, should be at very low levels.
  • Body: Very low to medium
  • Additional notes: These beers are often brewed with light-colored Belgian candy sugar. Herbs and spices are sometimes used to delicately flavor these strong ales. These beers can be malty in overall impression or dry and highly attenuated. They can have a deceptively high alcohol character and a relatively light body for beers of high alcoholic strength. Some versions may be equally high in alcohol with a more medium in body.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.064-1.096
    (15.7-22.9 °Plato)
    Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.024
    (2-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.6%-8.8%
    (7.1%-11.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    20-50
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    3.5-10
    (7-20 EBC)
  1. Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale
  2. Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale
Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale
  • Color: Medium amber to very dark
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high malt aroma and complex fruity aromas are distinctive. Medium to high malt intensity can be rich, creamy and sweet. Fruity complexity along with soft roasted malt flavor adds distinct character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Very little or no diacetyl character should be perceived. Low levels of phenolic spiciness may be perceived.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: These beers are often (though not always) brewed with dark Belgian candy sugar. Herbs and spices are sometimes used to delicately flavor these strong ales. These beers can be well attenuated with a deceptive alcoholic strength.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.064-1.096
    (15.7-22.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.012-1.024
    (3.1-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.6%-8.8%
    (7.1%-11.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    20-50
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    9-35
    (18-70 EBC)
  1. Belgian-Style Dubbel
  2. Belgian-Style Dubbel
Belgian-Style Dubbel
  • Color: Brown to very dark
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Slight yeast haze may be evident in bottle conditioned versions.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Cocoa, dark or dried fruit and/or caramel aroma attributes should be present along with malty sweetness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low, if present.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aromas and flavors (especially banana) are appropriate at low levels. Diacetyl character should not be perceived.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: Head should be dense and mousse-like
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.060-1.075
    (14.7-18.2 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.012-1.016
    (3.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.0%-6.0%
    (6.3%-7.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    20-35
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    16-36
    (32-72 EBC)
  1. Belgian-Style Tripel
  2. Belgian-Style Tripel
Belgian-Style Tripel
  • Color: Pale to light amber
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Traditional Tripels are bottle conditioned and may exhibit slight yeast haze. However, yeast should not be intentionally roused.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low sweetness from very pale malts should be present. There should be no roasted or dark malt character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low, if present
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: A complex, sometimes mildly spicy, aroma and flavor characterize this style. Clove-like phenolic aroma and flavor may be very low. Fruity-estery aromas and flavors, including banana, are also common, but not required. Traditional Tripels are often well attenuated. Alcohol strength and flavor should be perceived.
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: Head should be dense and mousse-like. Brewing sugar may be used to lighten the body. Hop/malt character should be balanced. The overall beer flavor may finish sweet, though any sweet finish should be light. Oxidized character, if evident in aged Tripels, should be mild and pleasant.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.070-1.092
    (17.1-22 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.018
    (2.1-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.6%-8.0%
    (7.1%-10.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 20-45
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-7
    (8-14 EBC)
  1. Belgian-Style Quadrupel
  2. Belgian-Style Quadrupel
Belgian-Style Quadrupel
  • Color: Amber to dark brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Caramel, dark sugar and malty sweet flavors and aromas can be intense, but not cloying, and should complement fruitiness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not perceived to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Perception of alcohol can be strong. Complex fruity flavors, such as raisins, dates, figs, grapes and/or plums are often present and may be accompanied by wine-like attributes at low levels. Clove-like phenolic flavor and aroma should not be evident. Diacetyl and DMS should not be perceived.
  • Body: Full with creamy mouthfeel
  • Additional notes: Head should be dense and mousse-like. Quadrupels are well attenuated and are characterized by an intense alcohol presence balanced by other flavors, aromas and bitterness. They are well balanced with savoring/sipping-type drinkability. Oxidized character, if present in aged Quads, should be mild and pleasant.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.084-1.120
    (20.2-28 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.014-1.020
    (3.6-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    7.2%-11.2%
    (9.1%-14.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    25-50
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    8-25
    (16-50 EBC)
  1. Belgian-Style Witbier
  2. Belgian-Style Witbier
Belgian-Style Witbier
  • Color: Straw to pale
  • Clarity: Unfiltered starch and yeast haze should be visible. Wits are traditionally bottle conditioned and served cloudy.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not perceived
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low, from noble-type hops.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aromas and flavors should be present. Diacetyl should not be perceived. Mild phenolic spiciness and yeast flavors may be evident. Mild acidity is appropriate.
  • Body: Low to medium, with a degree of creaminess from wheat starch.
  • Additional notes: Wits are brewed with malted barley, unmalted wheat and sometimes oats. They are spiced with coriander and orange peel. Coriander and light orange peel aroma may be perceived, sometimes as an unidentified spiciness.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.044-1.050
    (11-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.006-1.010
    (1.5-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.8%-4.4%
    (4.8%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    10-17
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    2-4
    (4-8 EBC)
  1. Classic French & Belgian-Style Saison
  2. Classic French & Belgian-Style Saison
Classic French & Belgian-Style Saison
  • Color: Gold to light amber
  • Clarity: Chill haze or slight yeast haze is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low, but providing foundation for the overall balance.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium and characterized by European-type hops: floral, herbal and/or woody traits are common.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium, but not assertive.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aromas and flavors are medium to high. Diacetyl should not be perceived. Very low levels of Brettanomyces yeast-derived flavors that are slightly acidic, fruity, horsey, goaty and/or leather-like, may be evident but are not required. Fruitiness and spicy black pepper derived from Belgian yeast is common. These beers are well attenuated and often bottle conditioned contributing some yeast character and high carbonation.
  • Body: Very low to low
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.040-1.060
    (10-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.006-1.010
    (1.5-2.5 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.5%-5.4%
    (4.4%-6.8%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    20-38
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-7
    (8-14 EBC)
  1. Specialty Saison
  2. Specialty Saison
Specialty Saison
  • Color: Pale to dark brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze or slight yeast haze is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Typically low to medium-low, but may vary in beers made with specialty malts.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aromas are medium to high. Diacetyl character should not be perceived. Complex alcohols, herbs, spices, low Brettanomyces attributes including slightly acidic, fruity, horsey, goaty and leather-like, as well as clovey and smoky phenolics may be present. Herb and/or spice flavors, including notes of black pepper, may be evident. Fruitiness from fermentation is generally perceptible. A low level of sour acidic flavor is acceptable when in balance with other components. These beers are often bottle conditioned and display some yeast character and high carbonation.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: Contemporary Specialty Saison represent a very wide family of specialty beers. Ingredients including spices, herbs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, fermentable sugars and carbohydrates, special yeasts of all types, wood aging, etc. may contribute unique attributes to these beers. Earthy and/or cellar-like aromas are acceptable. Color, body, malt character, esters, alcohol level and hop character should harmonize with attributes from special ingredients.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients such as malts and grains, hop varieties, microflora, fruit, spices, or other ingredients, etc. or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.040-1.080
    (10-19.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.014
    (2.0-3.5 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.5%-6.6%
    (4.4%-8.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    20-40
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-20
    (8-40 EBC)
  1. French-Style Bière de Garde
  2. French-Style Bière de Garde
French-Style Bière de Garde
  • Color: Light amber to chestnut brown/red
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable. These beers are often bottle conditioned so slight yeast haze is acceptable.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: These beers are characterized by a toasted malt aroma along with a slight malt sweetness and/or toasted malt flavor.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium from noble-type hops
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aromas are medium to high. Fruity-estery flavors can be light to medium. Diacetyl should not be perceived. Bière de Garde may have Brettanomyces yeast-derived flavors that are slightly acidic, fruity, horsey, goaty and/or leather-like. Alcohol may be evident in higher strength beers.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: Earthy and/or cellar-like aromas are acceptable.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.060-1.080
    (14.7-19.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.012-1.024
    (3.1-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.5%-6.3%
    (4.4%-8.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    20-30
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    7-16
    (14-32 EBC)
  1. Belgian-Style Flanders Oud Bruin or Oud Red Ale
  2. Belgian-Style Flanders Oud Bruin or Oud Red Ale
Belgian-Style Flanders Oud Bruin or Oud Red Ale
  • Color: Copper to very dark. SRM/EBC color values can be misleading because the red spectrum of color is not accurately assessed by these measurement systems.
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Some versions may be more highly carbonated. Bottle conditioned versions may appear cloudy when served.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Roasted malt aromas and flavors including cocoa are acceptable at low levels. A very low level of malt sweetness may be present and balanced by acidity from Lactobacillus.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not perceived
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-low, though acidity and wood aging (if used) may mask higher bitterness levels.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Brettanomyces-produced aromas and flavors should be absent or very low. Fruity-estery, cherry or green apple aroma and flavor is apparent. Overall flavor is characterized by low to high lactic sourness. Some versions may express very low to low acetic sourness and aroma.
  • Body: Low to medium-low with a refreshing mouthfeel
  • Additional notes: Oaky or woody flavors may be pleasantly integrated. Flavors of wine or distilled spirits associated with used barrels should not be evident. Bottle conditioned versions are often a blend of old and young beer to create the brewer’s intended flavor balance.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.044-1.056
    (11-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.016
    (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.8%-5.2%
    (4.8%-6.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    5-18
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    12-25
    (24-50 EBC)
  1. Belgian-Style Lambic
  2. Belgian-Style Lambic
Belgian-Style Lambic
  • Color: Gold to medium amber
  • Clarity: Cloudiness is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet malt character should not be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not perceived to very low, and can include cheesy or floral lavender character. Hop character is achieved by using stale and aged hops at low rates.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic aromas and flavors derived from Brettanomycesyeast are often present at moderate levels. High to very high fruity-estery aromas are present. Traditionally, Lambics are unblended and spontaneously fermented. They express high to very high levels of fruity esters as well as bacteria and yeast-derived sourness. Some versions are fermented with the addition of cultured yeast and bacteria. Carbonation can range from very low to high. Vanillin and other wood-derived flavors should not be evident.
  • Body: Very low with dry mouthfeel
  • Additional notes: Lambics originating in the Brussels area of Belgium are often simply called Lambic. Versions of this beer style made outside of the Brussels area cannot be called true Lambics. These versions are said to be “Belgian-Style Lambic” and may be made to resemble many of the beers of true origin. Historically, traditional Lambic is dry and completely attenuated, exhibiting no residual sweetness either from malt, sugar or other sweeteners. Sweet versions may be created through addition of sugars or other sweeteners. Traditionally, Lambics are brewed with unmalted wheat and malted barley.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.047-1.056
    (11.7-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.000-1.010
    (0-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.0%-6.5%
    (5.0%-8.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    9-23
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    6-13
    (12-26 EBC)
  1. Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambic
  2. Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambic
Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambic
  • Color: Gold to medium amber
  • Clarity: Cloudiness is acceptable, as Gueuze is nearly always bottle conditioned.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet malt character is not perceived
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not perceived to very low, and can include a cheesy or floral or lavender-like attributes.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Gueuze is characterized by intense fruity-estery, sour, and acidic aromas and flavors. Diacetyl character should be absent. Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic aromas and flavors derived from Brettanomycesyeast are often present at moderate levels. Old Lambic is blended with newly fermenting young Lambic to create this special style of Lambic. 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 flavors. Vanillin and other wood-derived flavors should not be evident. Carbonation can be none (flat) to medium.
  • Body: Very low with dry mouthfeel
  • Additional notes: Gueuze Lambics, whose origin is the Brussels area of Belgium, are often simply called Gueuze Lambic. Versions of this beer style made outside of the Brussels area are said to be “Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambics.” The Belgian-style versions are 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 other sweeteners. Traditionally, Gueuze is brewed with unmalted wheat, malted barley, and stale, aged hops. Some modern versions may have a degree of sweetness contributed by sugars or other sweeteners. See also Belgian-Style Lambic for additional background information.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.044-1.056
    (11-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.000-1.010
    (0-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.0%-7.0%
    (5.0%-8.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    11-23
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    6-13
    (12-26 EBC)
  1. Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic
  2. Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic
Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic
  • Color: Often influenced by the color of added fruit
  • Clarity: Cloudiness is acceptable
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness should be absent, but sweetness of fruit may be low to high.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is not perceived. Cheesy hop character should not be perceived.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Characteristic horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic aromas and flavors derived from Brettanomycesyeast are often present at moderate levels. Fermented sourness is an important part of the flavor profile, though sweetness may compromise the intensity. Fruit sourness may also be an important part of the profile. These flavored Lambic beers may be very dry or mildly sweet. Vanillin and other woody flavors should not be evident.
  • Body: Dry to full
  • Additional notes: These beers, also known by the names Framboise, Kriek, Peche, Cassis, etc., are characterized by fruit aromas and flavors. Fruit Lambics, whose origin is the Brussels area of Belgium, are often simply called Fruit Lambic. Versions of this beer style made outside of the Brussels area are said to be “Belgian-Style Fruit Lambics.” The Belgian-style versions are 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 other sweeteners. Some versions often have a degree of sweetness contributed by fruit sugars, other sugars or other sweeteners. See also Belgian-Style Lambic for additional background information. Such beers exhibiting wood-derived attributes should be categorized in other Wood-Aged categories.
    Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on color, fruit, or other ingredients. When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying lambic beer upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as fruit ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.040-1.072
    (10-17.5 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.016
    (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.0%-7.0%
    (5.0%-8.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    15-21
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    Color takes on hue of fruit
  1. Other Belgian-Style Ale
  2. Other Belgian-Style Ale
Other Belgian-Style Ale
  • Color: Varies with style
  • Clarity: Varies with style
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt perception, both in flavor and aroma, varies widely depending on style.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and hop flavor varies widely depending on style
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies depending on style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Varies with style
  • Body: Varies with style
  • Additional notes: Beers in this category recognize the uniqueness and traditions of Belgian brewing, but do not adhere to other Belgian-style categories defined in these guidelines. Balance is a key component when assessing these beers. Wood- and barrel-aged versions should be categorized as wood- and barrel-aged beers. Fruited versions should be categorized as Belgian-style fruit beers.
    When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include an underlying Belgian beer style not otherwise defined in these guidelines or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    Varies with style
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    Varies with style
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    Varies with style
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    Varies with style
  1. Belgian-Style Table Beer
  2. Belgian-Style Table Beer
Belgian-Style Table Beer
  • Color: Gold to black. Caramel color is sometimes added to adjust color.
  • Clarity: Beer color may be too dark to perceive. When clarity is perceivable, chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Mild malt character might be evident
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not perceived to very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Diacetyl character should not be perceived. Traditional versions do not use artificial sweeteners nor are they excessively sweet. More modern versions can incorporate sweeteners such as sugar and saccharine added post fermentation for additional sweetness and to increase smoothness.
  • Body: Low
  • Additional notes: These beers may contain malted barley, wheat, and rye as well as unmalted wheat, rye, oats and corn. Though not common, flavorings such as coriander or orange and lemon peel are sometimes added, but are barely perceptible. The mouthfeel is light to moderate, and sometimes boosted with unfermented sugars/malt sugars. Low carbonation and aftertaste are typical.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.038
    (2.1-9.5 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.004-1.034
    (1-8.5 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    0.4%-2.8%
    (0.5%-3.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    5-15
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    5-50
    (10-100 EBC)
Unchanged: “2018 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines used with permission of Brewers Association”