German Origin Ale Styles

2021 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines
German-Style Koelsch

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.042-1.048 (10.5-11.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.010 (1.5-2.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.2% (4.8%-5.3%)
Bitterness (IBU) 22-30
Color SRM (EBC) 3-6 (6-12 EBC)

German-Style Koelsch

Color: Straw to gold
Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt character is very low to low with soft sweetness. Caramel character should not be present.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low, and if present, should express noble hop character.
Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are absent to low, expressed as pear, apple or wine-like attributes when present. Diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Low to medium-low. Dry and crisp.
Additional notes: Traditional examples often display persistent head retention. Small amounts of wheat can be used in brewing beers of this style. Koelsch-style beers are fermented at warmer temperatures than is typical for lagers, but at lower temperatures than most English and Belgian-style ales. They are aged cold. Ale yeast is used for fermentation. Lager yeast is sometimes used for bottle conditioning or final cold conditioning.

German-Style Altbier

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.052 (11-12.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.014 (2.1-3.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.6%-4.4% (4.6%-5.6%)
Bitterness (IBU) 25-52
Color SRM (EBC) 11-19 (22-38 EBC)

German-Style Altbier

Color: Copper to dark brown
Clarity: Clear to slightly hazy. Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: A variety of malts contributes to medium-low to medium malt aroma and flavor. Toast aroma typical of Munich malts should be present. Slight nuttiness is acceptable. Roast malt character should be present at low levels and well-integrated with the overall malt profile. Smoke character should not be present.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium with hop flavor more perceptible than aroma, with attributes typical of traditional German noble hops.
Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high, producing a clean dry finish. Forty-plus IBU is typical for Altbiers originating in Dusseldorf.
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are absent to low, with attributes expressed subtly as citrus, pear, dark cherry or plum. A slight sulphur aroma is acceptable. Diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Medium-low to medium.
Additional notes: The Altbier style is originally from the Dusseldorf area. The overall impression is clean, crisp and flavorful with a dry finish.

Berliner-Style Weisse

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.028-1.044 (7.1-11 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.006 (1-1.5 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.2%-4.0% (2.8%-5.0%)
Bitterness (IBU) 3-6
Color SRM (EBC) 2-4 (4-8 EBC)

Berliner-Style Weisse

Color: Straw to pale. These are the lightest of all the German wheat beers.
Clarity: May appear hazy or cloudy from yeast or chill haze
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness is absent
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
Perceived Bitterness: Not present to very low
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low to medium. Diacetyl should not be present. Brettanomyces character may be absent or present at low to medium levels, and if present may be expressed as horsey, goaty, leathery, phenolic, fruity and/or acidic aromas and flavors. The unique combination of yeast and lactic acid bacteria fermentation yields a beer that is acidic and highly attenuated.
Body: Very low
Additional notes: Carbonation is high. Traditionally, some Berliners were brewed or served with fruit, spices or syrups. Some more contemporary versions have been brewed with other ingredients such as darker malts. Any such versions will take on corresponding hues, and may exhibit flavor and aroma attributes typical of such ingredients.

Leipzig-Style Gose

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.036-1.056 (9-13.8 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.012 (2.1-3.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-4.3% (4.4%-5.4%)
Bitterness (IBU) 5-15
Color SRM (EBC) 2-7(4-14 EBC)

Leipzig-Style Gose

Color: Straw to light amber
Clarity: Clear to hazy. Haze may or may not be from yeast.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness and attributes are not present to very low
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
Perceived Bitterness: Not present to low
Fermentation Characteristics: Medium to high lactic acid character should be present and expressed as a sharp, refreshing sourness. These beers are not excessively aged.
Body: Low to medium-low
Additional notes: These beers typically contain malted barley and unmalted wheat, with some versions also containing oats. Salt (table salt) and coriander may be present in low amounts or may be absent. All Gose brands brewed with fruit(s), spices (other than salt or coriander), darker malts or other ingredients are categorized as Contemporary-Style Gose. Carbonation is high to very high. Effervescent.

Contemporary-Style Gose

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.036-1.056 (9-13.8 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.012 (2.1-3.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-4.3% (4.4%-5.4%)
Bitterness (IBU) 5-30
Color SRM (EBC) 3-9 (6-18 EBC)

Contemporary-Style Gose

Color: Usually straw to medium amber and can take on the color of added fruits or other ingredients such as darker malts.
Clarity: Clear to hazy. Haze may or may not result from yeast
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt aroma and flavor is not present to very low
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low
Perceived Bitterness: Not present to medium
Fermentation Characteristics: Horsey, leathery or earthy aromas contributed by Brettanomyces yeasts may be present but at low levels as these beers do not undergo prolonged aging. Contemporary Gose may be fermented with pure beer yeast strains, or with yeast mixed with bacteria. Alternatively, they may be spontaneously fermented. Low to medium lactic acid character is present in all examples expressed as a sharp, refreshing sourness.
Body: Low to medium-low
Additional notes: These beers may be brewed with malted barley, wheat and oats and unmalted barley, wheat, and oats; contemporary examples may also contain other grains. As in traditional examples, low level salt (table salt) and coriander additions may or may not be present in Contemporary Gose. Attributes from the use of a wide variety of herbs, spices, flowers, fruits or other ingredients not found in traditional Leipzig-Style Gose may also be present and in harmony with overall flavor profile.

South German-Style Hefeweizen

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.047-1.056 (11.7-13.8 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.9%-4.4% (4.9%-5.6%)
Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
Color SRM (EBC) 3-9 (6-18 EBC)

South German-Style Hefeweizen

Color: Straw to deep light amber
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 medium-low malt aroma and flavor may be present
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, exhibiting a very wide range of attributes, especially fruity, tropical and juicy.
Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium. The impression of bitterness is soft and well-integrated into overall balance and may differ significantly from measured or calculated IBU levels.
Fermentation Characteristics: Medium-low to medium-high fruity esters may be present and can contribute to the perception of sweetness and be complementary to the hop profile. Diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Medium-low to medium-high. A silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
Additional notes: Grist may include oats, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. The term “juicy” is frequently used to describe taste and aroma attributes often present in these beers which result from late, often very large, additions of hops. A juicy character is not required, however. Other hop-derived attributes such as citrus, pine, spice, floral or others may be present with or without the presence of juicy attributes.

South German-Style Kristal Weizen

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.047-1.056 (11.7-13.8 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.9%-4.4% (4.9%-5.6%)
Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
Color SRM (EBC) 3-9 (6-18 EBC)

South German-Style Kristal Weizen

Color: Straw to amber
Clarity: Clear with no chill haze present. Because the beer is filtered, no yeast should be present.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness is very low to medium-low
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
Perceived Bitterness: Very low
Fermentation Characteristics: The aroma and flavor are very similar to Hefeweizen with the caveat that fruity and phenolic characters are not combined with the yeasty flavor and fuller-bodied mouthfeel of yeast. The phenolic characteristics are often described as clove-like or nutmeg-like and can be smoky or even vanilla-like. A Banana-like ester aroma and flavor is often present. Diacetyl should not be present. Kristal Weizens are well attenuated and very highly carbonated.
Body: Medium to full
Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent malted wheat. They have no yeast flavor and they exhibit a cleaner, drier mouthfeel than counterparts served with yeast.

German-Style Leichtes Weizen

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.028-1.044 (7.1-11 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.008 (1-2.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-2.8% (2.5%-3.5%)
Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
Color SRM (EBC) 3.5-15 (7-30 EBC)

German-Style Leichtes Weizen

Color: Straw to copper-amber
Clarity: If served with yeast, appearance may be very cloudy.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium-low
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
Perceived Bitterness: Very low
Fermentation Characteristics: The phenolic and estery aromas typical of Weissbiers should be present but less pronounced in this style. The overall flavor profile is less complex than Hefeweizen due to a lower alcohol content and there is less yeasty flavor. Diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Low with a lighter mouthfeel than Hefeweizen. The German word “leicht” means light, and as such these beers are light versions of Hefeweizen.
Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent wheat malt. They are often roused during pouring, and when yeast is present, they will have a yeasty flavor and a fuller mouthfeel.

South German-Style Bernsteinfarbenes Weizen

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.048-1.056 (11.9-13.8 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.3% (4.8%-5.4%)
Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
Color SRM (EBC) 9-13 (18-26 EBC)

South German-Style Bernsteinfarbenes Weizen

Color: Amber to light brown. The German word Bernsteinfarben means amber colored.
Clarity: If served with yeast, appearance may be very cloudy.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Distinct sweet maltiness and caramel or bread-like character arises from the use of medium-colored malts.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
Perceived Bitterness: Low
Fermentation Characteristics: The phenolic and estery aromas and flavors typical of Weissbiers are present but less pronounced in Bernsteinfarbenes Weissbiers. These beers should be well attenuated and very highly carbonated. Diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Medium to full
Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent wheat malt. They are often roused during pouring, and when yeast is present, they will have a yeasty flavor and a fuller mouthfeel.

South German-Style Dunkel Weizen

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.048-1.056 (11.9-13.8 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.3% (4.8%-5.4%)
Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
Color SRM (EBC) 10-25 (20-50 EBC)

South German-Style Dunkel Weizen

Color: Copper-brown to very dark
Clarity: If served with yeast, appearance may be very cloudy
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Distinct sweet maltiness and a chocolate-like character from roasted malt characterize this beer style. Dark barley malts are frequently used along with dark Cara or color malts.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
Perceived Bitterness: Low
Fermentation Characteristics: The phenolic and estery aromas and flavors typical of Weissbiers are present but less pronounced in Dunkel Weissbiers. Dunkel Weissbiers should be well attenuated and very highly carbonated. Diacetyl should not be present
Body: Medium to full
Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent wheat malt. They are often roused during pouring, and when yeast is present, they will have a yeasty flavor and a characteristically fuller mouthfeel.

South German-Style Weizenbock

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.066-1.080 (16.1-19.3 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.016-1.028 (4.1-7.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.5%-7.5% (7.0%-9.5%)
Bitterness (IBU) 15-35
Color SRM (EBC) 4.5-30 (9-60 EBC)

South German-Style Weizenbock

Color: Gold to very dark
Clarity: If served with yeast, appearance may be very cloudy.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium malty sweetness should be present. If dark, a mild roast malt character should emerge in the flavor and, to a lesser degree, in the aroma.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
Perceived Bitterness: Low
Fermentation Characteristics: Balanced, clove-like phenolic and fruity ester banana notes produce a well-rounded flavor and aroma. Diacetyl should not be present. Carbonation should be high.
Body: Medium to full
Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent wheat malt. They are often roused during pouring, and when yeast is present, they will have a yeasty flavor and a fuller mouthfeel.

German-Style Rye Ale

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.047-1.056 (11.7-13.8 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016 (2.1-4.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.9%-4.4% (4.9%-5.6%)
Bitterness (IBU) 10-15
Color SRM (EBC) 4-25 (8-50 EBC)

German-Style Rye Ale

Color: Pale to very dark, with darker versions ranging from 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 characters expressed as cocoa/chocolate or caramel, and/or aromatic toffee, caramel, or biscuit attributes. Malt sweetness can vary from low to medium. Low level of roast malt astringency is acceptable when balanced with low to medium malt sweetness.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium banana–like and/or other fruity ester aromas and flavors are typical. Clove-like and/or other phenolic aromas and flavors should also be present. No yeast aroma should be present in versions without yeast. Versions packaged and served without yeast will not have yeast flavor or full mouthfeel typical of beers with yeast. Versions with yeast will have low to medium yeast aroma and flavor and a full mouthfeel, but the yeast character should not overpower the balance of rye and barley malts, esters and phenolics.
Body: Low to medium
Additional notes: Grist should include at least 30 percent rye malt. Versions with yeast are often roused during pouring. When yeast is present, the beer should have a yeasty flavor and a fuller mouthfeel.

Bamberg-Style Weiss Rauchbier

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) 4-18 (8-36 EBC)

Bamberg-Style Weiss Rauchbier

Color: Pale to chestnut brown
Clarity: If served with yeast, appearance may be very cloudy.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: In darker versions, a detectable degree of roast malt may be present without being aggressive. Smoky malt aroma and flavor, ranging from low to high, should be present. Smoke character should be smooth, not harshly phenolic, suggesting a mild sweetness.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
Perceived Bitterness: Low
Fermentation Characteristics: The aroma and flavor of a Weiss Rauchbier with yeast should be fruity and phenolic. The phenolic characteristics are often described as clove, nutmeg, vanilla and smoke. Banana esters are often present at low to medium-high levels. No diacetyl should be perceived. Weissbiers are well attenuated and very highly carbonated.
Body: Medium to full
Additional notes: These beers are made with at least 50 percent wheat malt. They are often roused during pouring, and when yeast is present, they will have a yeasty flavor and a fuller mouthfeel.

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