All Origin Hybrid/Mixed Lagers or Ale

2021 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines
Session Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.034-1.040 (8.5-10 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.010 (1-2.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.8%-4.0% (3.5%-5.0%)
Bitterness (IBU) 10-35
Color SRM (EBC) 2+(4+ EBC)

Session Beer

Color: The color should mimic the classic style upon which the beer is based
Clarity: Appearance may vary from brilliant to hazy to cloudy and should mimic the classic style upon which the beer is based
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt attributes should mimic the classic style upon which the beer is based, but at lower overall intensity due to lower original gravity.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop attributes should mimic the classic style upon which the beer is based, but at lower overall intensity in order to maintain the balance typical of that style.
Perceived Bitterness: Should mimic the classic style upon which the beer is based, but at lower overall intensity in order to maintain the balance typical of that style.
Fermentation Characteristics: Varies with underlying style
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: This category includes beers of any style that 1) are at or below 5.0% abv (4.0% abw), and 2) have an original gravity and alcohol content below the range of the classic style as defined in these guidelines. These beers exhibit lower original gravity and alcohol content than the classic style. Drinkability is key to a successful session beer. Beers at or below 5.0% abv (4% abw) that adhere to the specifications of a classic style are not categorized as Session Beers. For example, low gravity beers such as Belgian-Style Table Beers or English-Style Mild Ales should be categorized within their appropriate categories. Drinkability is key to a successful session beer.

American-Style Cream Ale

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.052 (11-12.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.010 (1-2.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.4%-4.5% (4.3%-5.7%)
Bitterness (IBU) 10-22
Color SRM (EBC) 2-5 (4-10 EBC)

American-Style Cream Ale

Color: Straw to gold
Clarity: Chill haze should be very low or not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: The dominant flavor is of pale malt sweetness at medium-low to medium levels. Caramel malt attributes should be absent. Attributes typical of corn or other adjuncts may be present at low levels.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is very low to low or may be absent
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
Fermentation Characteristics: Low level fruity esters may be present. Sulfur and DMS are usually absent but may be present at extremely low levels. Diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Low
Additional notes: These crisp and refreshing beers are fermented warm with ale or lager yeast and lagered cold

California Common Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.045-1.056 (11.2-13.8 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.018 (2.6-4.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.6%-4.5% (4.6%-5.7%)
Bitterness (IBU) 35-45
Color SRM (EBC) 8-15 (16-30 EBC)

California Common Beer

Color: Light amber to medium amber
Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium level toasted and/or caramel malt attributes are present.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low
Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low to medium-low. Diacetyl should be absent.
Body: Medium
Additional notes: California Common beers are brewed with lager yeasts but fermented at warm temperatures like ales

Kentucky Common Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.055 (10-13.6 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.018 (2.6-4.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.4% (4.0%-5.5%)
Bitterness (IBU) 15-30
Color SRM (EBC) 11-20 (22-40 EBC)

Kentucky Common Beer

Color: Medium to deep amber
Clarity: Chill haze or yeast haze is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium. Sweet malt is the dominant flavor attribute. Notes of corn, caramel, toffee and/or bread may be present.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium. May exhibit floral or spicy attributes typical of early 20th century North American hop varieties.
Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium-low fruity esters may be present. Very low levels of DMS, if present, are acceptable. Diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Medium-low to medium with a dry finish enhanced by high carbonation
Additional notes: This American-born regional style proliferated around Louisville, Kentucky, from the Civil War era until Prohibition. Corn grits or flakes were commonly used at a rate or 25-35% of the total grist. Minerally attributes resulted from the use of hard brewing water. These beers were consumed very young, going from brewhouse to consumer in as little as one week. Early 20th century brewing literature mentions a slight tartness developing during fermentation as a characteristic attribute of this style. If tartness is present in modern versions, it should be at very low levels.

American-Style Wheat Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.036-1.056 (9-13.8 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.016 (1-4.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.8%-4.4% (3.5%-5.6%)
Bitterness (IBU) 10-35
Color SRM (EBC) 2-10 (4-20 EBC)

American-Style Wheat Beer

Color: Straw to dark brown
Clarity: Clear to cloudy
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low level pale malt attributes are present in paler versions. Medium-low to medium-high malt attributes such as cocoa, chocolate, caramel, toffee or biscuit may be present in darker versions. Roast malt astringency is acceptable in darker versions when balanced with malt sweetness.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-high
Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity esters are present. Diacetyl and phenolic, clove-like attributes should not be present. Low to medium yeast character is present in versions served with yeast, in harmony with malt and hop attributes and not sharp.
Body: Very low to medium
Additional notes: These beers can be fermented with either ale or lager yeast. The grist should include at least 30 percent malted wheat. Versions served with yeast may exhibit somewhat higher perceived bitterness and fuller mouthfeel.

Kellerbier or Zwickelbier

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

Kellerbier or Zwickelbier

Color: Varies depending on the underlying European origin lager or ale style
Clarity: Typically slightly hazy to moderately cloudy, but may become clear through settling. A small amount of yeast haze is acceptable and traditional.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on the underlying style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on underlying style. Low level attributes typical of late or dry hopping may be present in some versions.
Perceived Bitterness: Varies depending on underlying style
Fermentation Characteristics: Low levels of sulfur and acetaldehyde or other volatiles normally scrubbed during fermentation, if present, can enhance the flavor of these beers. Low fruity esters may be present and may vary slightly from the underlying style due to age and the presence of yeast. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at low levels in keller versions of beer styles which can contain diacetyl when fully aged, such as Bohemian-Style Lager.
Body: Varies depending on underlying style
Additional notes: Kellerbier or Zwickelbiers are unfiltered versions of lager or ale styles of European origin. These can include traditional Helles, Dunkel, Dortmunder, Vienna, Rotbier, Bohemian, Koelsch, Alt, as well as less common traditional or contemporary European-origin lager and ale styles. Kellerbiers have carbonation ranging from low to normal and may exhibit poor head retention. These beers are typically unfiltered, but they may be filtered and then redosed with yeast. Whether filtered or unfiltered these beers are packaged and served with very low to moderate amounts of yeast.

American-Style Fruit Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
Bitterness (IBU) 5-70
Color SRM (EBC) 5-50 (10-100 EBC)

American-Style Fruit Beer

Color: Can range from pale to very dark depending on the underlying style and is often influenced by the color of added fruit
Clarity: Clear or hazy is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Not present to medium-low
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to medium-low
Perceived Bitterness: In balance with fruit character and usually at very low to medium levels
Fermentation Characteristics: American-Style Fruit Beers are fermented with traditional German, British or American ale or lager yeast. Beers fermented with Belgian-style, German-style Hefeweizen or other South German wheat beer or Berliner-style Weisse yeasts should be categorized elsewhere. Fruit beers exhibiting sourness should be categorized elsewhere. Attributes typical of wild fermentation should not be present.
Body: Varies with style
Additional notes: Fruit aromas, ranging from subtle to intense, should be present and should not be overpowered by hop aromas. Fruit or fruit extracts, used as an adjunct in either the mash, kettle, primary or secondary fermentation, provide harmonious fruit character ranging from subtle to intense.

Fruit Wheat Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
Bitterness (IBU) 10-35
Color SRM (EBC) 2-10 (4-20 EBC), or color of fruit

Fruit Wheat Beer

Color: Generally straw to light amber, and often influenced by the color of added fruit.
Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable. These beers may be served with or without yeast. When served with yeast, appearance is hazy to very cloudy.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium
Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
Fermentation Characteristics: These beers can be fermented with either ale or lager yeast depending on the underlying wheat beer style. Low fruity esters are typical. Diacetyl should not be present. In versions served with yeast, yeasty aroma and flavor should be low to medium.
Body: Low to medium
Additional notes: The grist should include at least 30 percent malted wheat. Fruit or fruit extracts contribute aroma and flavor expressing true fruit complexity. Versions served with yeast should demonstrate a full yeasty mouthfeel. Fruited examples of wheat beer styles that are not commonly brewed with fruit and do not exhibit attributes of wood aging should be categorized as Fruit Wheat Beers.

Belgian-Style Fruit Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
Bitterness (IBU) 5-70
Color SRM (EBC) 5-50 (10-100 EBC)

Belgian-Style Fruit Beer

Color: Can range from pale to dark depending on underlying Belgian style, and is often influenced by the color of added fruit
Clarity: Clear to hazy beer is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Can vary from not perceived to medium-high
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to high
Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying Belgian style
Fermentation Characteristics: Acidic bacterial fermentation attributes may be absent or may be present; if present, such attributes contribute to acidity and enhance fruity balance.
Body: Varies with style
Additional notes: Fruit aromas, ranging from subtle to intense, should be present and should not be overpowered by hop aromas. Belgian-Style Fruit Beers are fermented with traditional Belgian yeast, (Wit, Abbey, Farmhouse, etc.).

Field Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-10.5% (2.5%-13.3%)
Bitterness (IBU) 5-70
Color SRM (EBC) 5-50 (10-100 EBC)

Field Beer

Color: Can range from pale to very dark depending on the underlying style and is often influenced by the color of added fruit
Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium-high
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium-high
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-high. Vegetable character should not be muted by hop character.
Fermentation Characteristics: Varies with underlying style
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: Vegetable aromas, ranging from subtle to intense, should be present, and should not be overpowered by hop aromas. Field Beers are any beers incorporating vegetables as flavor or carbohydrate adjuncts in either the mash, kettle, primary or secondary fermentation. The vegetable character should be in harmony with other attributes and can range from subtle to intense. Within the framework of these guidelines, coconut is defined as a vegetable, and beers containing coconut should be entered as Field Beers. All beers containing chili peppers should be categorized as Chili Beers. Beers containing nuts should be categorized as Field Beers.

Pumpkin Spice Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
Bitterness (IBU) 5-35
Color SRM (EBC) 5-50 (10-100 EBC)

Pumpkin Spice Beer

Color: Can vary from pale to very dark depending on the underlying style
Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Can vary from low to medium-high depending on the underlying style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: None to medium and should not overpower spice, pumpkin or squash, if present, or overall balance of aromas and flavors.
Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low
Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying beer style
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: These are any beers using pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) or winter squash as an adjunct in either the mash, kettle, primary or secondary fermentation. Pumpkin or squash may not be present or may range from subtle to intense. They are spiced with other ingredients whose character should be present and in balance. While cinnamon, allspice, clove and nutmeg are common spices added to American-type pumpkin beers, other spices may be used. For example, a brewer could replicate a Wit-Pumpkin spiced beer by using orange peel and coriander.

Pumpkin/Squash Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
Bitterness (IBU) 5-35
Color SRM (EBC) 5-50 (10-100 EBC)

Pumpkin/Squash Beer

Color: Can range from pale to very dark depending on the underlying style
Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Can vary from low to medium-high depending on the underlying style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: None to medium
Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-low
Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying beer style
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: Pumpkin/Squash beers are any beers incorporating pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) or winter squash as an adjunct in either the mash, kettle, primary or secondary fermentation. Pumpkin or squash aromas and flavors, ranging from subtle to intense, should be present. These beers are not spiced, but may have flavors associated with other beer styles such as smoked beer, fruit beer, sour beer, etc. Spice aromas and flavors should be absent. Versions exhibiting spice aromas and/or flavors should be categorized as Pumpkin Spice Beers or as other spice beer or possibly as experimental beer styles.

Chocolate or Cocoa Beer

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

Chocolate or Cocoa Beer

Color: Can range from pale to very dark depending on the underlying style
Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium-high malt sweetness balanced with cocoa flavors and aromas
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma is not present to very low. Hop flavor may be lower than is designated for underlying style allowing chocolate to contribute to the flavor profile without becoming excessively bitter.
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-low
Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying beer style. Attributes derived from chocolate or cocoa should be apparent in all such beers, ranging from subtle to intense, and in harmony with the overall flavor profile of the beer.
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: Chocolate Beers are beers of any classic style which incorporate dark chocolate or cocoa in any form. Beers made with white chocolate do not typify this category; however, beers which clearly exhibit attributes typical of white chocolate could be categorized as chocolate beer.

Coffee Beer

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

Coffee Beer

Color: Pale to black depending on the underlying style
Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium malt sweetness provides balance with coffee flavor and aroma
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to high depending on the underlying style
Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying style
Body: Reflective of the underlying beer style
Additional notes: Coffee beers incorporate coffee in any form. Coffee character should be apparent as the defining attribute of this category, ranging from subtle to intense, and should be in harmony with other attributes of the underlying beer. Other flavors arising from the use of flavored coffee may also be present.

Chili Pepper Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-10.5% (2.5%-13.3%)
Bitterness (IBU) 5-70
Color SRM (EBC) 5-50 (10-100 EBC)

Chili Pepper Beer

Color: Can range from pale to very dark depending on the underlying style
Clarity: Clear or hazy is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Can vary from very low to medium-high depending on the underlying style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to very high
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-high
Fermentation Characteristics: Chili pepper aroma and flavor attributes should be harmonious with the underlying beer style. Chili pepper character may be expressed as vegetal, spicy and/or hot on the palate.
Body: Representative of underlying style
Additional notes: Chili Beers are any beers using chili peppers for flavor, aroma and/or heat. Chili character can range from subtle to intense. Chili pepper aroma may or may not be present. Within the framework of these guidelines, all beers containing chili peppers should be categorized as Chili Beers. Beers made with chili peppers which represent more than one style, such as chili beers with chocolate, should be nonetheless be categorized as Chili Beers rather than as Experimental Beers.

Herb and Spice Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
Bitterness (IBU) 5-40
Color SRM (EBC) 5-50 (10-100 EBC)

Herb and Spice Beer

Color: Varies depending on underlying style
Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on intention of brewer
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not essential but may be present and may be more assertive than herb-spice character
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-low. Reduced hop bitterness tends to accentuate herb/spice character.
Fermentation Characteristics: Aromas and flavors of individual spices may not always be identifiable
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: Herb and Spice beers are any beers using herbs or spices derived from leaves, roots, seeds, fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc. Herb and/or spice character can range from subtle to intense. Classifying these beers can be complex. Beers which exhibit herbal and/or spicy character are considered Herb and Spice Beers. Beers brewed with chili peppers are categorized as Chili Pepper Beers. Beers brewed with pumpkin in which herb and spice character dominates should be categorized as Pumpkin Spice Beers.

Specialty Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.140+ (7.6-32.1+ °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030+ (1.5-7.6+ °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-20+% (2.5%-25+%)
Bitterness (IBU) 1-100
Color SRM (EBC) 1-100 (2-200 EBC)

Specialty Beer

Color: Very light to black depending on the underlying style
Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on intention of brewer
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to very high
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to very high
Fermentation Characteristics: Specialty Beers are brewed with atypical fermentable sugars, grains and/or starches which contribute to alcohol content. The hallmark of Specialty Beers are the distinctive attributes of these special ingredients, which should be present in the aroma, flavor and overall balance of the beer. Examples could include maple syrup, agave, potatoes, wild rice or any other sources of carbohydrate not commonly used in modern beer styles. Beers containing wheat are categorized in one of several wheat beer styles. The use of rice or corn would not normally be considered unusual since these adjuncts are commonly used in beer production. However, beers made with rice or corn varieties which imbue highly distinctive flavor attributes might be categorized as Specialty Beers.
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: Classifying these beers can be complex. Beers made with unusual fermentables, which also contain spices, fruits, or other ingredients and which therefore represent a combination of two or more hybrid beer styles are categorized as Experimental Beers.

Specialty Honey Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.110 (7.6-25.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-9.5% (2.5%-12.0%)
Bitterness (IBU) 1-100
Color SRM (EBC) 1-100 (2-200 EBC)

Specialty Honey Beer

Color: Very light to black depending on underlying style
Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on intention of brewer
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to very high
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to very high
Fermentation Characteristics: Honey Beers may be brewed to a traditional style or may be experimental. Honey Beers incorporate honey as a fermentable sugar in addition to malted barley. Honey character should be present in aroma and flavor but should not be overpowering.
Body: Varies with underlying style

Rye Beer

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

Rye Beer

Color: A wide range of color is acceptable. Lighter versions are straw to copper, while darker versions are dark amber to dark brown.
Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable in versions packaged and served without yeast. In versions served with yeast, appearance may range from hazy to very cloudy.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: In darker versions, malt aromas and flavors can optionally include low roasted malt character expressed as cocoa/chocolate or caramel. Aromatic toffee, caramel, or biscuit character may also be present. Low level roastiness, graininess, or tannin astringency is acceptable when balanced with low to medium malt sweetness.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-high
Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium
Fermentation Characteristics: Low levels of spicy and fruity ester aromas are typical. Yeast-derived aroma and flavor attributes such as clove-like or other phenolics may be present when consistent with underlying beer style. These beers can be fermented with either ale or lager yeast. Diacetyl should not be present. Low to medium yeast aroma may be present in versions packaged with yeast.
Body: Low to medium. Rye can impart textural qualities ranging from dry and crisp to smooth and velvety.
Additional notes: The grist should include sufficient rye so that rye character is evident in the beer. Rye character is often described as spicy and/or black pepper-like and/or earthy. Beers brewed with rye that do not exhibit rye character should be categorized in other beer styles. Versions served with yeast should possess a full yeasty mouthfeel.

Brett Beer

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

Brett Beer

Color: Any color is acceptable. Beer color may be influenced by the color of added fruits or other ingredients.
Clarity: Chill haze and/or haze from yeast is allowable at low to medium levels at any temperature
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: In darker versions, roasted malt, caramel and chocolate aromas and flavors are present at low levels.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to high
Perceived Bitterness: Low to high
Fermentation Characteristics: Medium to high fruity esters are present. Acidity resulting from Brettanomyces fermentation results in a complex flavor profile. Brettanomyces character, at low to high levels, should be present and expressed as horsey, goaty, leathery, phenolic, fruity and/or acidic aromas and flavors. Brettanomyces character may or may not be dominant. Acidity from Brettanomyces should be low to medium-low. Cultured yeast strains may be used in the fermentation. Beers fermented with Brettanomyces that do not exhibit attributes typical of Brettanomyces fermentation are categorized elsewhere. Beers in this style should not incorporate bacteria or exhibit a bacteria-derived flavor profile. Diacetyl and DMS should not be present.
Body: Low to high
Additional notes: Fruited versions will exhibit fruit flavors in balance with other elements. Wood vessels may be used for fermentation and aging, but wood- derived flavors and aromas such as vanillin should not be present. Residual flavors and aromas originating from liquids previously aged in a barrel (bourbon, sherry, etc.) should not be present.

Mixed-Culture Brett Beer

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

Mixed-Culture Brett Beer

Color: Any color is acceptable. Beer color may be influenced by the color of added fruits or other ingredients.
Clarity: Chill haze, bacteria and yeast-induced haze is allowable at low to medium levels at any temperature.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: In darker versions, roasted malt, caramel and chocolate aromas and flavors are present at low levels.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to high
Perceived Bitterness: Low to high
Fermentation Characteristics: Medium to high fruity esters are present. Acidity resulting from fermentation with Brettanomyces and/or bacteria results in a complex flavor profile. Brettanomyces character should be present and expressed as horsey, goaty, leathery, phenolic, fruity and/or acidic aromas and flavors. Cultured yeast may be used in the fermentation. Bacteria should be incorporated and in evidence. Bacteria will contribute acidity which may or may not dominate the flavor profile. Diacetyl and DMS should not be present.
Body: Low to high
Additional notes: Fruited versions will exhibit fruit flavors in balance with other elements. Wood vessels may be used for fermentation and aging, but wood-derived aromas and flavors such as vanillin should not be present. Versions exhibiting attributes derived from wood or liquids previously aged in wood are categorized in Wood-Aged Beer categories. Sour wood- and barrel-aged versions are categorized in Wood-Aged Sour Beer categories.

Ginjo Beer or Sake-Yeast Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.090 (10-21.6 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.020 (2.1-5 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.4%-8.2% (4.3%-10.2%)
Bitterness (IBU) 12-35
Color SRM (EBC) 4-20 (8-40 EBC)

Ginjo Beer or Sake-Yeast Beer

Color: Pale to dark brown
Clarity: Slight chill haze is acceptable
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium and in harmony with sake-like character
Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium and in harmony with sake-like character
Fermentation Characteristics: These beers are brewed with sake yeast or sake (koji) enzymes. The unique byproducts of sake yeast and/or koji enzymes should be distinctive and in harmony with other elements. Sake character may best be described as having mild fruitiness and mild earthiness, with mushroom and/or an umami protein-like character. A high amount of alcohol may be evident.
Body: Varies depending on original gravity. Mouthfeel also varies.
Additional notes: High carbonation should be present.

Fresh Hop Beer

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

Fresh Hop Beer

Color: Varies with underlying style
Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Fresh hop aroma and flavor is prominent exhibiting green grass-like, fresh mown hay/grass or other fresh hop attributes.
Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters may present at levels consistent with the underlying beer style being made with fresh hops
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: These ales or lagers are brewed with freshly harvested hops. Such hops might be undried fresh or frozen cones or ground material, or, freshly kilned dried cones or pellets. These beers are typically consumed while fresh to highlight bright fresh hop attributes. Aging these beers will typically modify and reduce fresh-hop characters resulting in unique flavor outcomes.

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer

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

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer

Color: Varies with underlying style and can be influenced by the color of added fruit(s) if any
Clarity: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying style of beer being aged
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: These are any traditional or experimental style of lager, ale or hybrid beer aged in either a wooden barrel or in contact with wood. These beers are aged with the intention of developing unique attributes imparted by the wood and/or liquids that had previously been stored in contact with the wood. Wood aging does not necessarily impart wood flavors, but does result in distinctive sensory outcomes. Used sherry, rum, whiskey, tequila, port, wine and other barrels are often used, imparting complexity and uniqueness to a beer. A balance of flavor, aroma and mouthfeel results from the marriage of new beer with attributes imparted by the wood or barrel. Wood-Aged Beers may or may not have Brettanomyces character.

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer

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

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer

Color: Varies with underlying style
Clarity: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying style of sour beer being aged
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: These are any traditional or experimental style of lager, ale or hybrid beer aged in either a wooden barrel or in contact with wood, and exhibiting acidity derived from exposure to bacteria. These beers are aged in the presence of microflora (either present in the wood or introduced at some time in the brewing process) with the intention of introducing sourness to the beer. These beers are aged with the intention of developing unique attributes imparted by the wood and/or by liquids that had previously been stored in contact with the wood. Wood aging does not necessarily impart wood flavors but does result in distinctive sensory outcomes.

Aged Beer

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

Aged Beer

Color: Varies with underlying style
Clarity: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
Fermentation Characteristics: Aged Beers are any beers aged for over one year. A brewer may brew any type of beer of any strength and enhance its character with various aging conditions for an extended time. In general, beers with high hopping rates, roast malt, high alcohol content, and/or complex herbal, smoke or fruit character are the best candidates for aging. Aged Beers may be aged in bottles, cans, kegs or other non-wooden vessels. Aged character may be expressed in mouthfeel, aroma and flavor. Often, aged character is the result of oxidative reactions that either bring individual flavor components into harmony or are unique flavors unto themselves. Sherry-like and fruity flavors often develop during aging, and hop character often changes. No matter what the effect, the overall character should be balanced and without aggressive flavors. The level of change created by aging will vary with the duration of aging and the underlying beer style. Mildly-flavored beers are more likely to develop aggressive and unpleasant oxidation. Positive transformations are more likely to occur in beers with higher levels of hops, malt and/or alcohol.
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: Within the framework of these guidelines, various Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beers which then undergo aging of one or more years in glass or stainless, and, which clearly exhibit sensory outcomes of that additional aging, may be categorized as Aged Beers. However, Brett Beers, Sour Beers or any other beers exhibiting attributes of aging in the presence of any microflora must be categorized elsewhere. Beers which have undergone aging but which nonetheless do not display characteristics of aging are categorized within their base styles.

Experimental Beer

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

Experimental Beer

Color: May vary widely with ingredients used
Clarity: Varies with ingredients used and brewing process
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: May vary widely with ingredients used and brewing process
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: May vary widely with ingredients used and brewing process
Perceived Bitterness: May vary widely with ingredients used and brewing process
Fermentation Characteristics: Will vary widely depending on the nature of the techniques and/or ingredients used to create the beer
Body: May vary widely with ingredients used and brewing process
Additional notes: Experimental beers are beers that 1. employ unique and unusual techniques and/or ingredients; or 2. beers that do not meet the criteria of individual existing categories, representing a combination of two or more hybrid, specialty or classic categories (with the exception of beers brewed with chili peppers). Experimental beers are primarily grain-based with a minimum of 51% of fermentable carbohydrates derived from malted grains. Beers produced using non-experimental techniques and/or ingredients are considered experimental beers if their properties overlap two or more existing categories and exhibit the distinctive characteristics of each of those categories. Uniqueness is the primary consideration when evaluating this category. Within the framework of these guidelines, field, fruit, chocolate, coffee, spice, specialty, wood-aged or other beers that fit within another individual category should not be categorized as experimental beers.

Experimental India Pale Ale

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.060-1.100 (14.7-23.7 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 0.994-1.020 (-1.6-5.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-8.4% (6.3%-10.6%)
Bitterness (IBU) 30-100
Color SRM (EBC) 3-40 (6-80 EBC)

Aged Beer

Color: Straw to very dark, varying widely with ingredients used
Clarity: May range from clear to very high degree of cloudiness. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds can contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium-low malt aroma and flavor may be present, and may exhibit attributes typical of various adjuncts and specialty malts
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin
Perceived Bitterness: Low to very high
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low to high and may contribute to an overall highly fruity impression regardless of the presence or absence of fruit(s) used and can contribute to the perception of sweetness and be complementary to the hop profile. Yeast choices can vary widely as can sensory outcomes; very low to low phenolic or other attributes typical of wine, champagne or Brettanomyces yeast strains may be present but are not required. Carbonation can range from average to high, with higher levels often associated with a crisp mouthfeel. Diacetyl and DMS should not be present.
Body: Very low to medium, depending on grist and yeast choice, enzymatic treatment, finishing adjunct(s) and other fermentation parameters. Mouthfeel can vary widely from light to full and from dry to silky.
Additional notes: Beers in this category recognize the cutting edge of American IPA brewing. Experimental India Pale Ales are either 1) any of White, Red, Brown, Brut or many other IPA or Imperial IPA types or combinations thereof currently in production, and fruited or spiced versions of these, or 2) fruited, spiced, wood- and barrel-aged or other elaborated versions of classic American and Juicy Hazy IPA, and Imperial IPA categories.

Historical Beer

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

Historical Beer

Color: Varies with underlying style
Clarity: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
Fermentation Characteristics: Varies with underlying style
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: Beers in this category include established historical beers and/or brewing traditions from any era or part of the world that don’t fit within another beer style defined within these guidelines. Some Historical beers that could fit categories such as Experimental, Herb & Spice, Field Beer, etc. may be categorized as historical beers. This category pays tribute to beers that incorporate unique brewing ingredients and/or techniques that were used in the past. Within the framework of these guidelines, examples of Historical Beers include South American Chicha, Nepalese Chong/Chang, African sorghum-based beers and many others.

Wild Beer

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.060-1.100 (14.7-23.7 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 0.994-1.020 (-1.6-5.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-8.4% (6.3%-10.6%)
Bitterness (IBU) 30-100
Color SRM (EBC) 3-40 (6-80 EBC)

Wild Beer

Color: Any color is acceptable. Versions made with fruits or other flavorings may take on corresponding hues.
Clarity: Clear or hazy due to yeast, chill haze or hop haze.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Generally, these beers are highly attenuated resulting in very low to low malt character. Maltier versions should display good overall balance with other flavor components.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to high
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
Fermentation Characteristics: Aromas may vary significantly due to fermentation attributes contributed by various known and unknown microorganisms. The overall balance should be complex and balanced. Wild beers are spontaneously fermented with microorganisms that the brewer has introduced from the ambient air/environment near the brewery in which the beer is brewed. Wild Beers may not be fermented with any cultured strains of yeast or bacteria. Wild Beers may or may not be perceived as acidic. They may include a highly-variable spectrum of flavors and aromas derived from the wild microorganisms with which they are fermented. The overall balance of flavors, aromas, appearance and body are important factors in assessing these beers.
Body: Very low to medium
Additional notes: Spontaneously fermented beers with fruit, spice or other ingredients should be categorized as Wild Beers. Within the framework of these guidelines, beers which hew to classic or traditional categories such as Belgian-Style Lambic, Gueuze, Fruit Lambic, etc. should be categorized as such, rather than as Wild Beers.

Smoke Beer

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

Smoke Beer

Color: Any beer of any style incorporating smoke, and therefore may range from very light to black
Clarity: Varies with underlying beer style
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying beer style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying beer style
Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying beer style
Fermentation Characteristics: For Smoke Beers based on lager styles, any phenolic notes (if present) should be derived from smoke; in such lagers yeast-derived phenolics should not be present.
Body: Varies with underlying beer style
Additional notes: Any style of beer can be smoked. The goal is to reach a balance between the style’s character and the smoky properties. Any smoke beer that does not fit other smoke beer categories are appropriately categorized here.

Other Strong Ale or Lager

Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 6.4%+ (8%+)
Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style

Strong Ale or Lager

Color: Varies with underlying style
Clarity: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
Fermentation Characteristics: Within the framework of these guidelines, beers of any style intentionally brewed to a higher alcohol content than defined within that style’s guidelines are categorized as Other Strong Beer. These beers should achieve a balance between the style’s characteristics and the additional alcohol, and are not wood- or barrel-aged. All Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beers that meet the criteria for alcohol content shown below are categorized as any of several Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beers.
Body: Varies with underlying style

Gluten-Free Beer

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

Gluten-Free Beer

Color: Varies with underlying style
Clarity: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style. Grains and fermentables which differ from those typically used to produce a given beer style can and will produce flavor and aroma outcomes that differ from traditional versions. Such differences are to be expected and are acceptable.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
Fermentation Characteristics: Although brewers may design and identify these beers according to defined style guidelines, these beers should be evaluated on their own merits without strict adherence to defined style parameters.
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: This category includes lagers, ales or other beers made from fermentable sugars, grains and converted carbohydrates and must also include some portion of cereal. All ingredients must be free of gluten.

Non-Alcohol Malt Beverage

Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 6.4%+ (8%+)
Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style

Non-Alcohol Malt Beverage

Color: Varies with underlying style
Clarity: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
Fermentation Characteristics: Non-alcohol (N/A) malt beverages can emulate the character of any beer style defined within these guidelines but without alcohol (less than 0.5 percent abv). Due to their nature, non-alcohol malt beverages will have a profile lacking the complexity and balance of flavors that beers containing alcohol will display. N/A beers should be assessed with this is mind, and should not be given negative evaluations for reasons related to the absence of alcohol.
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: For purposes of competition, brewers will be asked to verify that the alcohol content of entries in this category are <0.5% abv.

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