North American 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.

North American Origin Ale Styles

  1. Golden or Blonde Ale
  2. Golden or Blonde Ale
Golden or Blonde Ale
  • Color: Straw to light amber
  • Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Light malt sweetness should be present in flavor
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor should be low to medium-low, present but not dominant.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters may be perceived at low levels. Diacetyl and DMS should not be perceived.
  • Body: Low to medium with a crisp finish
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.045-1.054
    (11.2-13.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.016
    (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.2%-4.0%
    (4.1%-5.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    15-25
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    3-7
    (6-14 EBC)
  1. American-Style Amber/Red Ale
  2. American-Style Amber/Red Ale
American-Style Amber/Red Ale
  • Color: Copper to reddish-brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to high maltiness with low to medium caramel character
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: American-variety hop character may range from low to medium-low in aroma and flavor
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aroma and flavor are low, if present. Diacetyl can be absent or perceived at very low levels.
  • Body: Medium to medium-high
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.048-1.058
    (11.9-14.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.010-1.018
    (2.5-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.5%-4.8%
    (4.4%-6.1%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    25-45
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    11-18
    (22-36 EBC)
  1. American-Style Pale Ale
  2. American-Style Pale Ale
American-Style Pale Ale
  • Color: Deep golden to copper or light brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low caramel malt aroma is allowable. Low to medium maltiness may include low caramel malt character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is high, exhibiting floral, fruity (berry, tropical, stone fruit and other), sulfur/diesel-like, onion-garlic-catty, citrusy, piney or resinous character that was originally associated with American-variety hops. Hops with these attributes now also originate from countries other than the USA.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be low to high. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.044-1.050
    (11-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.014
    (2.1-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.5%-4.3%
    (4.4%-5.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    30-50
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    6-14
    (12-28 EBC)
  1. Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale
  2. Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale
Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale
  • Color: Straw to deep gold
  • Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to low-medium malt aroma and flavor may be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium. Perceived impression of bitterness is soft and well-integrated into overall balance, and may differ significantly from measured or calculated IBU levels.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be present, but are usually overwhelmed by hop fruitiness. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium-high. Perceived silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
  • Additional notes: Grist may include a small amount of oat, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. Descriptors such as “juicy” are often used to describe the taste and aroma hop-derived attributes present in these beers.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.044-1.050
    (11-12.4 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.014
    (2.1-3.6 °Plato)
    Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.5%-4.3%
    (4.4%-5.4%)
    Bitterness (IBU)
    30-50; may differ from perceived bitterness
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-7
    (8-14 EBC)
  1. American-Style Strong Pale Ale
  2. American-Style Strong Pale Ale
American-Style Strong Pale Ale
  • Color: Deep golden to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low caramel malt aroma is allowable. Low level maltiness may include low caramel malt character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is high, exhibiting floral, fruity (berry, tropical, stone fruit and other), sulfur/diesel-like, onion-garlic-catty, citrusy, piney or resinous character that was originally associated with American-variety hops. Hops with these attributes now also originate from countries other than the USA.
  • Perceived Bitterness: High
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be low to high. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.050-1.065
    (12.4-15.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.016
    (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.4%-5.6%
    (5.6%-7.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    40-50
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    6-14
    (12-28 EBC)
  1. Session India Pale Ale
  2. Session India Pale Ale
Session India Pale Ale
  • Color: Gold to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: A low to medium maltiness should be present in aroma and flavor.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor are medium to high and can display qualities from a wide variety of hops from all over the world. Overall hop character is assertive.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aroma and flavor is low to medium. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Additional notes: Beers exceeding 5.0% abv are not considered Session India Pale Ales. Beers under 5.0% abv (4.0% abw) which meet the criteria for another classic or traditional style category are not considered Session India Pale Ales.
    Beers exceeding 5.0% abv are not considered Session India Pale Ales. Beers under 5.0% abv (4.0% abw) which meet the criteria for another classic or traditional style category are not considered Session India Pale Ales.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
     1.038-1.052
    (9.5-12.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.014
    (2-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.0%-4.0%
    (3.7%-5.0%)
    Bitterness (IBU)
    40-55
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-12
    (8-24 EBC)
  1. American-Style India Pale Ale
  2. American-Style India Pale Ale
American-Style India Pale Ale
  • Color: Gold to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low-medium to medium maltiness is present in aroma and flavor
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is high, exhibiting floral, fruity (berry, tropical, stone fruit and other), sulfur/diesel-like, onion-garlic-catty, citrusy, piney or resinous character that was originally associated with American-variety hops. Hops with these attributes now also originate from countries other than the USA.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-high to very high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be low to high. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium
  • Additional notes: The use of water with high mineral content may result in a crisp, dry beer rather than a malt-accentuated version. Sugar adjuncts may be used to enhance body and balance. Hops of varied origins may be used for bitterness or for approximating traditional American character.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.060-1.070
    (14.7-17.1 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.010-1.016
    (2.5-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.0%-6.0%
    (6.3%-7.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    50-70
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    6-12
    (12-24 EBC)
  1. Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale
  2. Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale
Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale
  • Color: Straw to deep gold
  • Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to low-medium malt aroma and flavor may be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be present, but are usually overwhelmed by hop fruitiness. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium-high. Perceived silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
  • Additional notes: Grist may include a small amount of oat, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. Descriptors such as “juicy” are often used to describe the taste and aroma hop-derived attributes present in these beers.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.060-1.070
    (14.7-17.1 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.008-1.016
    (2.0-4.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.0%-6.0%
    (6.3%-7.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    50-70; may differ from perceived bitterness
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-7
    (8-14 EBC)
  1. Pale American-Belgo-Style Ale
  2. Pale American-Belgo-Style Ale
Pale American-Belgo-Style Ale
  • Color: Gold to light brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to very high, exhibiting American-type hop aromas not usually found in traditional Belgian styles.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to very high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aroma is low to moderate. Fruity-estery flavor should be medium to high. Belgian yeast attributes such as banana, berry, apple, coriander, spice and/or smoky-phenolic should be in balance with malt and hops. Diacetyl, sulfur and Brettanomyces should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium
  • Additional notes: Pale American-Belgo-Style Ales are either 1) non-Belgian beer types portraying the unique characters imparted by yeasts typically used in big, fruity Belgian-style ales, or 2) defined Belgian-style beers displaying a unique character of American hops. These beers are unique unto themselves.
    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 or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes. Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on color, hop varieties, microflora, fruit, spices or other ingredients, wood aging, etc.
  • 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)
    5-15
    (10-30 EBC)
  1. Dark American-Belgo-Style Ale
  2. Dark American-Belgo-Style Ale
Dark American-Belgo-Style Ale
  • Color: Brown to black
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Perception of roasted malts or barley can be very low to robust
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is medium to very high, exhibiting American-type hop aromas not usually found in traditional Belgian styles.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to very high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aroma and flavors are medium to high. Attributes typical of fermentation with Belgian yeast such as banana, coriander, spice and/or smoky-phenolic should be in balance with malt and hops. Diacetyl, sulfur and Brettanomyces should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium
  • Additional notes: Dark American-Belgo-Style Ales are either 1) non-Belgian darker beer types portraying the unique attributes imparted by yeasts typically used in big fruity Belgian-style ales, or 2) defined darker Belgian-style beers displaying a unique character of American hops. These beers are unique unto themselves.
    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 or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes. Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on color, hop varieties, microflora, fruit, spices or other ingredients, wood aging, etc.
  • 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)
    16+
    (32+ EBC)
  1. American-Style Brown Ale
  2. American-Style Brown Ale
American-Style Brown Ale
  • Color: Deep copper to very dark brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Roasted malt, caramel and chocolate aromas and flavors should be medium.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to med-low. Fruity-estery aromas and flavors may be present. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium

Original Gravity (°Plato)
1.040-1.060
(10-14.7 °Plato)

Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
1.010-1.018
(2.6-4.6 °Plato)

Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
3.3%-5.0%
(4.2%-6.3%)
Bitterness (IBU)
25-45

Color SRM (EBC)
15-26
(30-52 EBC)

  1. American-Style Black Ale
  2. American-Style Black Ale
American-Style Black Ale
  • Color: Very dark to black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to low-medium caramel malt and dark roasted malt aromas may be evident. Low to low-medium caramel malt and dark roasted malt flavors are evident. Astringency and burnt character of roast malt should be absent.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is medium-high to high, with fruity, citrusy, piney, floral, herbal or other aromas derived from hops of all origins.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-high to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aromas and flavors should be low to medium. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.056-1.075
    (13.8-18.2 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.012-1.018
    (3.1-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.0%-6.0%
    (6.3%-7.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    50-70
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    35+
    (70+ EBC)
  1. American-Style Stout
  2. American-Style Stout
American-Style Stout
  • Color: Black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas are prominent. Low to medium malt sweetness with low to medium caramel, chocolate, and/or roasted coffee flavor should be present, with a distinct dry-roasted bitterness in the finish. Astringency from roasted malt and roasted barley is low. Slight roasted malt acidity is acceptable.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high, often with citrusy and/or resiny hop qualities typical of many American hop varieties.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aroma and flavor is low. Diacetyl should be negligible or not perceived.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: Head retention should be persistent
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.050-1.075
    (12.4-18.2 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.010-1.022
    (2.6-5.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.5%-6.4%
    (5.7%-8.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    35-60
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    40+
    (80+ EBC)
  1. American-Style Imperial Porter
  2. American-Style Imperial Porter
American-Style Imperial Porter
  • Color: Black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: No roast barley or strong burnt/black malt character should be perceived. Medium malt, caramel and cocoa sweetness should be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery flavors and aromas should be evident but not overpowering and should complement hop character and malt-derived sweetness. Diacetyl should be absent.
  • Body: Full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.080-1.100
    (19.3-23.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.020-1.030
    (5.1-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.5%-9.5%
    (7.0%-12.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    35-50
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    40+
    (80+ EBC)
  1. American-Style Imperial Stout
  2. American-Style Imperial Stout
American-Style Imperial Stout
  • Color: Black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Extremely rich malty aroma is typical. Extremely rich malty flavor with full sweet malt character is typical. Roasted malt astringency and bitterness can be moderate but should not dominate the overall character.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to high with floral, citrus and/or herbal character.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-high to very high and balanced with rich malt character.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aromas and flavors are high. Diacetyl should be absent.
  • Body: Full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.080-1.100
    (19.3-23.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.020-1.030
    (5.1-7.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    5.5%-9.5%
    (7.0%-12.0%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    50-80
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    40+
    (80+ EBC)
  1. Double Hoppy Red Ale
  2. Double Hoppy Red Ale
Double Hoppy Red Ale
  • Color: Deep amber to dark copper/reddish-brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium to medium-high caramel malt character should be present in flavor and aroma. Low to medium biscuit or toasted malt character may also be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma is high, derived from any variety of hops. Hop flavor is high and balanced with other beer attributes.
  • Perceived Bitterness: High to very high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Alcohol content is medium to high. Complex alcohol flavors may be evident. Fruity-estery aromas and flavors are medium. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.058-1.080
    (14.3-19.3 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.015-1.024
    (3.9-6.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.9%-6.3%
    (6.1%-7.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    45-80
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    10-17
    (20-34 EBC)
  1. Imperial Red Ale
  2. Imperial Red Ale
Imperial Red Ale
  • Color: Deep amber to dark copper/reddish-brown
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high caramel malt character is present in aroma and flavor
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: High hop aroma and flavor, derived from any variety of hops. Hop flavor is prominent, and balanced with other beer attributes.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Very high alcohol is a hallmark of this style. Complex alcohol flavors may be evident. Fruity-estery aromas and flavors are medium. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Full
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.080-1.100
    (19.3-23.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.020-1.028
    (5.1-7.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    6.3%-8.4%
    (8.0%-10.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    55-85
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    10-17
    (20-34 EBC)
  1. American-Style Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
  2. American-Style Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
American-Style Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
  • Color: Gold to copper
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Haze created by dry hopping is allowable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to high
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is very high. Hop character should be fresh and evident, derived from any variety of hops. Hop flavor should not be harsh.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Very high but not harsh
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Alcohol content is medium-high to high and evident. Fruity-estery aroma and flavor is medium to high. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: This style of beer should exhibit the fresh character of hops. Oxidized or aged character should not be present.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.070-1.100
    (17.1-23.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.012-1.020
    (3.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    6.0%-8.4%
    (7.6%-10.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    65-100
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    5-13
    (10-26 EBC)
  1. American-Style Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
  2. Juicy or Hazy Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
Juicy or Hazy Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
  • Color: Straw to deep gold
  • Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to high malt aroma and flavor may be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: High to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium. Perceived impression of bitterness is soft and well-integrated into overall balance, and may differ significantly from measured or calculated IBU levels.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be present, but are usually overwhelmed by hop character. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium to high. Perceived silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
  • Additional notes: Grist may include a small amount of oat, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. Descriptors such as “juicy” are often used to describe the taste and aroma hop-derived attributes present in these beers.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.070-1.100
    (17.1-23.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.012-1.020
    (3.1-5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    6.0%-8.4%
    (7.6%-10.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    65-100; may differ from perceived bitterness
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    4-7
    (8-14 EBC
  1. American-Style Barley Wine Ale
  2. American-Style Barley Wine Ale
American-Style Barley Wine Ale
  • Color: Amber to deep red/copper-garnet
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Caramel and/or toffee malt aromas are often present. High residual malty sweetness, often with caramel and/or toffee flavors, should be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is medium to very high. American hop varieties are often used, but are not required for this style.
  • Perceived Bitterness: High
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Complex alcohols are evident. Fruity-estery aromas and flavors are often high. Very low levels of diacetyl are acceptable.
  • Body: Full
  • Additional notes: Vinous, sherry-like or port-like attributes arising from oxidation may be considered positive when in harmony with overall flavor profile.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.090-1.120
    (21.6-28 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.024-1.028
    (6.1-7.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    6.7%-9.6%
    (8.5%-12.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    60-100
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    11-18
    (22-36 EBC)
  1. American-Style Wheat Wine Ale
  2. American-Style Wheat Wine-Ale
American-Style Wheat Wine Ale
  • Color: Gold to black
  • Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Bread, wheat, honey and/or caramel malt aromas and flavors are often present. High residual malt sweetness should be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery flavors and aromas are often high and balanced by a complexity of alcohols and high alcohol content. Very low levels of diacetyl are acceptable. Phenolic yeast character, sulfur, and/or DMS should not be present. Oxidized, stale and aged attributes are not typical of this style.
  • Body: Full
  • Additional notes: This style is brewed with at least 50% wheat malt.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.088-1.120
    (21.1-28 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.024-1.032
    (6.1-8 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    6.7%-9.6%
    (8.5%-12.2%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    45-85
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    5+
    (10+ EBC)
  1. Smoke Porter
  2. Smoked beer
Smoke Porter
  • Color: Dark brown to black
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Smoked porters will exhibit mild to assertive smoke malt aroma and flavor in balance with other aroma attributes. Black malt character can be perceived in some porters, while others may be absent of strong roast character. Roast barley character is absent to low depending on underlying porter style being smoked. Medium to high malt sweetness, and caramel and chocolate flavors, are acceptable.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: None to medium
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aromas and flavors are acceptable
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Additional notes: 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 traditional style of porter as well as the wood type used as a smoke source (e.g. “alder smoked brown porter”).
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.050-1.065
    (12.4-15.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.010-1.018
    (2.6-4.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.0%-7.0%
    (5.1%-8.9%)
  • Bitterness (IBU)
    20-40
  • Color SRM (EBC)
    20+
    (40+ EBC)
  1. American-Style Sour Ale
  2. American-Style Sour Ale
American-Style Sour Ale
  • Color: Pale to black depending on underlying beer style.
  • Clarity: Chill haze, bacteria and yeast-induced haze is acceptable at any temperature.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low. In darker versions, roasted malt, caramel and chocolate aromas and flavors should be present at low levels.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to high
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Moderate to intense, yet balanced, fruity-estery aromas and flavors are evident. Diacetyl, DMS and Brettanomyces should not be perceived in aroma or flavor. The evolution of natural acidity develops a balanced complexity. The acidity present is usually in the form of lactic, acetic and other organic acids naturally developed with acidified malt in the mash or in kettle or post wort fermentation by the use of various microorganisms including certain bacteria and yeasts. Acidic character can be a complex balance of several types of acid and attributes of age. Moderate to intense, yet balanced, fruity-estery flavors should be evident. There should be no residual flavors from liquids previously aged in a barrel such as bourbon or sherry. Wood vessels may be used during the fermentation and aging process, but wood-derived flavors such as vanillin should not be present.
  • Body: Low to high
  • Additional notes: Such beers exhibiting wood-derived characters or characters of liquids previously aged in wood are categorized as Wood-Aged Sour Beer.
    Competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on color, hop varieties, microflora, fruit, spices or other ingredients, wood aging, etc. Fruited versions will exhibit fruitiness in harmony with malt, hop, acidity and other characteristics of fermentation. Such beers may take on the color of fruits 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 beer style upon which the entry is based, 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
Unchanged: “2018 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines used with permission of Brewers Association”