European-Germanic Origin Lager 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.

European-Germanic Origin Lager Styles

  1. German-Style Pilsener
  2. German Style Pilsner
German-Style Pilsener
  • Color: Straw to pale
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: A malty sweet aroma and flavor should be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is moderate and pronounced, derived from late hopping (not dry hopping) with noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Very low levels of DMS aroma and flavor, usually below most people’s thresholds, may be detectable by trained or sensitive palates. Other fermentation or hop-derived sulfur aromas and flavors may be perceived at low levels. Fruity-estery aromas and flavors should not be perceived. These are well attenuated beers.
  • Body: Medium-light
  • Additional notes: The head should be dense, pure white and persistent.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.044-1.055
    (11-13.6 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.006-1.012
    (1.5-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.6%-4.2%
    (4.6%-5.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    25-40
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    3-4
    (6-8 EBC)
  1. Bohemian-Style Pilsener
  2. Bohemian-Style Pilsener
Bohemian-Style Pilsener
  • Color: Straw to gold
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: A slightly sweet and toasted, biscuity, bready malt aroma and flavor is evident.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Very low levels of diacetyl and DMS character, if perceived, are characteristic of this style and may accent malt character. Low levels of fermented malt-derived sulfur compounds may be evident.
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: The head should be dense.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.044-1.056
    (11-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.014-1.018
    (3.6-4.5 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.2%-4.0%
    (4.1%-5.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    30-45
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    3-6
    (6-12 EBC)
  1. Munich-Style Helles
  2. Munich Style Helles
Munich-Style Helles
  • Color: Pale to golden
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt aroma and flavor are pronounced. Low levels of yeast-produced sulfur aromas and flavors may be present. Malt character is sometimes bready and suggestive of lightly toasted malted barley. There should be no caramel character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma is not perceived to low. Hop flavor is very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low, derived from European noble-type hops.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aromas and flavors should not be perceived. Diacetyl should not be perceived. DMS should not be perceived. A very low level of fermentation-derived sulfur attributes may be evident in balance with other characters.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.044-1.050
    (11-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.012
    (2.1-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.8%-4.4%
    (4.8%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    18-25
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-5.5
    (8-11 EBC)
  1. Dortmunder/European-Style Export
  2. Dortmunder/European-Style Export
Dortmunder/European-Style Export
  • Color: Straw to deep golden
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet malt character should be low and should not be caramelly
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery flavors and aromas should not be perceived. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.048-1.056
    (11.9-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.010-1.014
    (2.6-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.0%-4.8%
    (5.1%-6.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    23-29
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    3-6
    (6-12 EBC)
  1. Vienna-Style Lager
  2. Vienna-Style Lager
Vienna-Style Lager
  • Color: Copper to reddish-brown
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Characterized by malty aroma and light malt sweetness, which should have a lightly toasted malt character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low, clean and crisp.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: DMS, diacetyl, and fruity esters should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.046-1.056
    (11.4-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.012-1.018
    (3.1-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.8%-4.3%
    (4.8%-5.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    22-28
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    10-18
    (20-36 EBC)
  1. German-Style Maerzen
  2. American-Style Maerzen/Oktoberfest
German-Style Maerzen
  • Color: Pale to reddish-brown
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Bready or biscuity malt aroma and flavor should be present. Sweet maltiness is medium-low to medium and leads to a muted clean hop bitterness. Malt flavors should be of light toast rather than strong caramel. Low level caramel character is acceptable.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is low and of noble character
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery and diacetyl aromas and flavors should not be perceived
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.050-1.060
    (12.4-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.012-1.020
    (3.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.0%-4.7%
    (5.1%-6.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    18-25
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-15
    (8-30 EBC)
  1. German-Style Oktoberfest/Wiesn
  2. German-Style Oktoberfest/Wiesn
German-Style Oktoberfest/Wiesn
  • Color: Straw to golden
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet maltiness is low to medium-low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low and in balance with the low sweet maltiness
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery and diacetyl aromas and flavors should not be perceived
  • Body: Medium
  • Additional notes: Today’s Oktoberfest beers are similar to Dortmunder/European-Style Export beers
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.048-1.056
    (11.9-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.010-1.014
    (2.6-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.0%-4.8%
    (5.1%-6.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    23-29
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    3-5
    (6-10 EBC)
  1. Munich-Style Dunkel
  2. Munich-Style Dunkel
Munich-Style Dunkel
  • Color: Light brown to brown
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt character is low to medium, with chocolate, roast, bread or biscuit aromas and flavors contributed by the use of dark Munich malt.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery and diacetyl aromas and flavors should not be perceived
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Additional notes: Dunkels do not offer an overly sweet impression, but rather a balance between malt and dark malt sweetness and hop character
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.048-1.056
    (11.9-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.014-1.018
    (3.6-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.8%-4.2%
    (4.8%-5.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    16-25
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    15-17
    (30-34 EBC)
  1. European-Style Dark Lager
  2. European-Style Dark Lager
European-Style Dark Lager
  • Color: Light brown to dark brown
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt character is low to medium, with chocolate, roast, and malt aromas and flavors evident.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery and diacetyl aromas and flavors should not be perceived.
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Additional notes: These beers offer a fine balance of sweet maltiness and hop bitterness
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.048-1.056
    (11.9-13.8 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.014-1.018
    (3.6-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.8%-4.2%
    (4.8%-5.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    20-35
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    15-24
    (30-48 EBC)
  1. German-Style Schwarzbier
  2. German-Style Schwarzbier
German-Style Schwarzbier
  • Color: Very dark brown to black, with a pale-colored head.
  • Clarity: Beer color may be too dark to perceive. When clarity is perceivable, chill haze should not be present.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium malt aroma displays a mild roasted malt character. Malt sweetness is low to medium, and displays a mild roasted malt character without bitterness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery and diacetyl aromas and flavors should not be perceived
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.044-1.052
    (11-12.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.010-1.016
    (2.6-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.0%-3.9%
    (3.8%-4.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    22-30
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    25-40
    (50-80 EBC)
  1. German-Style Leichtbier
  2. German-Style Leichtbier
German-Style Leichtbier
  • Color: Straw to pale
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery and diacetyl aromas and flavors should not be perceived. Very low levels of sulfur-related compounds are acceptable.
  • Body: Very low
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.026-1.034
    (6.6-8.5 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.006-1.010
    (1.5-2.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    2.0%-2.9%
    (2.5%-3.7%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    16-24
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    2-4
    (4-8 EBC)
  1. Bamberg-Style Helles Rauchbier
  2. Bamberg-Style Helles Rauchbier
Bamberg-Style Helles Rauchbier
  • Color: Light pale to golden
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt character is prominent with malt aromas suggesting lightly toasted sweet malted barley. Smoke beechwood character ranges from very low to medium. Smoky aroma should be not harshly phenolic. Sulfur may be present at low levels. There should be no caramel character. Smoke flavor may create a perception of mild sweetness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery and diacetyl aromas and flavors should not be perceived
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.044-1.050
    (11-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.012
    (2.1-3.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.8%-4.4%
    (4.8%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    18-25
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-5.5
    (8-11 EBC)
  1. Bamberg-Style Maerzen Rauchbier
  2. Bamberg-Style Maerzen Rauchbier
Bamberg-Style Maerzen Rauchbier
  • Color: Pale to light brown
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet toasted malt aroma should be present. Medium-low to medium toasted malt sweetness should be present. Aroma and flavor of smoked beechwood ranges from very low to medium. Smoke flavors should be smooth, without harshness. Aroma should strike a balance between malt, hop and smoke.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery and diacetyl aroma and flavor should not be perceived
  • Body: Full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.050-1.060
    (12.4-14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.012-1.020
    (3.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.0%-4.7%
    (5.1%-6.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    18-25
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-15
    (8-30 EBC)
  1. Bamberg-Style Bock Rauchbier
  2. Bamberg-Style Bock Rauchbier
Bamberg-Style Bock Rauchbier
  • Color: Dark brown to very dark
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium to medium-high malt aroma and flavor should be present with very low to medium-high beechwood smoke aromas and flavors. Smoke flavors should be smooth, without harshness. Smoke flavor may create a perception of mild sweetness.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium, increasing proportionately with starting gravity.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aromas and flavors, if present, should be minimal. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.066-1.074
    (16.1-18 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.018-1.024
    (4.6-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.0%-6.0%
    (6.3%-7.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    20-30
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    20-30
    (40-60 EBC)
  1. German-Style Heller Bock/Maibock
  2. German-Style Heller Bock/Maibock
German-Style Heller Bock/Maibock
  • Color: Pale to light amber. The German word “helle” means light-colored, thus Heller Bock is a pale beer.
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Light toasty and/or bready aroma and flavor is often evident. Roast or heavy toast/caramel malt aromas and flavors should not be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aromas and flavors, if present, should be low. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.066-1.074
    (16.1-18 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.012-1.020
    (3.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.0%-6.4%
    (6.3%-8.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    20-38
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-9
    (8-18 EBC)
  1. Traditional German-Style Bock
  2. Traditional German-Style Bock
Traditional German-Style Bock
  • Color: Dark brown to very dark
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Traditional Bocks are made with all malt, and have high malt character with aromas of toasted or nutty malt, but not caramel. Traditional bocks display high malt sweetness. The malt flavor profile should display a balance of sweetness and toasted or nutty malt, but not caramel.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium, increasing proportionately with starting gravity.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aromas and flavors if present, should be minimal. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.066-1.074
    (16.1-18 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.018-1.024
    (4.6-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.0%-6.0%
    (6.3%-7.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    20-30
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    20-30
    (40-60 EBC)
  1. German-Style Doppelbock
  2. German-Style Doppelbock
German-Style Doppelbock
  • Color: Copper to dark brown
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Pronounced aromas and flavors of toasted malted barley. Some caramel and toffee character can contribute to complexity in a secondary role. Malty sweetness is pronounced but should not be cloying. There should be no astringency from roasted malts.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma is absent. Hop flavor is low.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Alcoholic strength is high. Fruity-estery flavors and aromas are commonly perceived at low to moderate levels. Diacetyl should be absent.
  • Body: Full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.074-1.080
    (18-19.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.014-1.020
    (3.6-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.2%-6.2%
    (6.6%-7.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    17-27
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    12-30
    (24-60 EBC)
  1. German-Style Eisbock
  2. German-Style Eisbock
German-Style Eisbock
  • Color: Light brown to black
  • Clarity: Appearance should be bright; chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet malt character is very high
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is absent
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Alcohol may be perceived in aroma. Fruity-estery aromas and flavors may be evident, but not overpowering. Diacetyl should be absent. Alcoholic strength is very high.
  • Body: Very full
  • Additional notes: This is a stronger version of Doppelbock. Traditionally, these beers were created by freezing a Doppelbock and removing the ice, thus concentrating the alcohol.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.074-1.116
    (18-27.2 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    N/A
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    6.8%-11.3%
    (8.6%-14.3%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    26-33
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    15-50
    (30-100 EBC)
  1. Kellerbier or Zwickelbier Lager
  2. Kellerbier or Zwickelbier Lager
Kellerbier or Zwickelbier Lager
  • Color: Varies depending on the underlying German lager style
  • Clarity: Can be slightly hazy to moderately cloudy. A small amount of yeast haze is acceptable and traditional. These beers must be unfiltered, but may become clear with age. May exhibit poor head retention.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on the underlying German lager style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on underlying style. Dry hopped beers are acceptable.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies depending on underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium levels of sulfur should be apparent. Low levels of acetaldehyde or other volatiles normally scrubbed during fermentation may or may not be apparent in flavor and aroma. Subtle or low fruity-estery aromas and flavors may be apparent. Diacetyl should be absent. Kellerbier Lagers have low to medium carbonation.
  • Body: Varies depending on underlying style
  • Additional notes: Kellerbier Lagers are unfiltered lagered versions of German lager beer styles such as Munich-Style Helles, Dunkel, Dortmunder/Export, Bohemian Pilsener and German Pilsener. Sulfur and acetaldehyde should enhance the flavor of these beers. These unfiltered beers are packaged and served with low to moderate amounts of yeast. Contemporary versions may be filtered and dosed with yeast during packaging.
    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 should include the underlying Germanic lager beer style upon which the entry is based.
  • 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
Unchanged: “2018 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines used with permission of Brewers Association”