North American Origin Lager Styles

2021 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines
American-Style Lager

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.048 (10-11.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.012 (1.5-3 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.0% (4.1%-5.1%)
Bitterness (IBU) 5-15
Color SRM (EBC) 2-4 (4-8 EBC)

American-Style Lager

Color: Straw to gold
Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness is very low to low
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
Perceived Bitterness: Not present to very low
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are usually absent, but may be present at very low levels. Diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Low
Additional notes: Corn, rice, or other grain or sugar adjuncts are often used. American Lagers are very clean and crisp, and aggressively carbonated.

Contemporary American-Style Lager

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.048 (10-11.9 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.012 (1.5-3 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.0% (4.1%-5.1%)
Bitterness (IBU) 5-16
Color SRM (EBC) 2-4 (4-8 EBC)

Contemporary American-Style Lager

Color: Straw to gold
Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness and aroma are very low to low
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are usually absent but may be present at very low levels. Diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Low
Additional notes: Corn, rice, or other grain or sugar adjuncts are often used, but all-malt formulations are also made. Contemporary American Lagers typically exhibit increased hop aroma and flavor compared to traditional versions, are clean and crisp, and aggressively carbonated.

American-Style Light Lager

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.024-1.040 (6.1-10 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 0.992-1.008 (minus 2.1-2.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.8%-3.5% (3.5%-4.4%)
Bitterness (IBU) 4-10
Color SRM (EBC) 1.5-4 (3-8 EBC)

American-Style Light Lager

Color: Very light to pale
Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Absent to very low
Perceived Bitterness: Absent to very low
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are usually absent but may be present at very low levels. Diacetyl should not be present. These beers are characterized by an extremely high degree of attenuation. Final gravity is often less than 1.000 (0.0 ºPlato).
Body: Low with dry mouthfeel
Additional notes: Corn, rice or other grain or sugar adjuncts are often used. These beers are high in carbonation. Flavor attributes typical of beer are usually very low when present. Calories should not exceed 125 per 12-ounce serving. Low carb beers should have a maximum carbohydrate level of 3.0 gm per 12 oz. (355 ml).

Contemporary American-Style Light Lager

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.024-1.040 (6.1-10 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 0.992-1.008 (minus 2.1-2.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.8%-3.5% (3.5%-4.4%)
Bitterness (IBU) 4-15
Color SRM (EBC) 1.5-12 (3-24 EBC)

Contemporary American-Style Light Lager

Color: Very light to medium amber. The word “Light” refers to light body and reduced calories rather than color.
Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low but present
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are usually absent but may be present at very low levels. Diacetyl should not be present. These beers are characterized by an extremely high degree of attenuation. Final gravity is often less than 1.000 (0.0 ºPlato).
Body: Low to medium-low, often with dry mouthfeel
Additional notes: Corn, rice, or other grain or sugar adjuncts are often used but all-malt formulations are also made. These beers are high in carbonation. Hop attributes, though subtle, are more evident than in traditional American-Style Light Lager. Calories should not exceed 125 per 12-ounce serving. Low carb beers should have a maximum carbohydrate level of 3.0 gm per 12 oz. (355 ml)

American-Style Pilsener

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.045-1.060 (11.2-14.7 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.018 (3.1-4.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.9%-4.7% (4.9%-6.0%)
Bitterness (IBU) 25-40
Color SRM (EBC) 3-6 (6-12 EBC)

Dortmunder/European-Style Export

Color: Straw to gold
Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high, exhibiting attributes typical of noble-type hops
Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
Fermentation Characteristics: DMS, fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Medium-low to medium
Additional notes: Finish should exhibit low to medium-low body with a clean, crisp malt character evident at low levels. Up to 25% corn and/or rice in the grist should be used. Beers in this category hew to American-style lagers typical of the pre-Prohibition era.

Contemporary American-Style Pilsener

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.045-1.053 (11.2-13 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.018 (2.5-4.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.9%-4.7% (4.9%-6.0%)
Bitterness (IBU) 25-50
Color SRM (EBC) 3-6 (6-12 EBC)

Contemporary American-Style Pilsener

Color: Straw to gold
Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high. While traditional versions exhibit attributes typical of noble-type hops, contemporary versions will exhibit attributes typical of a wide range of hop varieties.
Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
Fermentation Characteristics: DMS, fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Medium-low to medium
Additional notes: All-malt grists are commonly used; up to 25% corn and/or rice may be incorporated in the grist. Beers in this category diverge from American-style lagers typical of the pre-Prohibition era by virtue of a wide range of hop aroma and flavor attributes.

American-Style India Pale Lager

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) 30-70
Color SRM (EBC) 3-6 (6-12 EBC)

American-Style India Pale Lager

Color: Straw to gold
Clarity: Hop haze is allowable. Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium, exhibiting bready, cracker-like or other attributes typical of pale malts
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to high with attributes typical of hops of any origin
Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high, but not harsh
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters, DMS and diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Medium-low to medium
Additional notes: This style of beer should exhibit the fresh character of hops.

American-Style Malt Liquor

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.050-1.060 (12.4-14.7 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.010 (1-2.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-6.0% (6.3%-7.6%)
Bitterness (IBU) 12-23
Color SRM (EBC) 2-6 (4-12 EBC)

American-Style Malt Liquor

Color: Straw to gold
Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Some malt sweetness is present
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present
Perceived Bitterness: Very low
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and complex alcohol aromas and flavors are acceptable at low levels. Alcohol should not be solvent-like. Diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Low to medium-low
Additional notes: Beers of this style are varied in character. Some malt liquors are only slightly stronger than American lagers, while others approach bock strength.

American-Style Amber Lager

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.042-1.056 (10.5-13.8 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010-1.018 (2.6-4.6 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8%-4.3% (4.8%-5.4%)
Bitterness (IBU) 18-30
Color SRM (EBC) 6-14 (12-28 EBC)

American-Style Amber Lager

Color: Gold to copper
Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present”
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low caramel or toasted malt aromas and flavors should be present
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium-high
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to medium-high
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present
Body: Medium

American-Style Maerzen/Oktoberfest

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.050-1.060 (12.4-14.7 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.020 (3.1-5.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 4.0%-4.7% (5.1%-6.0%)
Bitterness (IBU) 20-30
Color SRM (EBC) 4-15 (8-30 EBC)

American-Style Maerzen/Oktoberfest

Color: Pale to reddish brown
Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Sweet maltiness should be present, expressed as a light toasted character. Bready or biscuity malt aroma and flavor is acceptable. Low level caramel attributes are acceptable.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low exhibiting herbal, grass-like, spicy, floral or citrus attributes
Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present
Body: Medium
Additional notes: The American version of this classic German beer is distinguished by a more pronounced hop character.

American-Style Dark Lager

Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.040-1.050 (10-12.4 °Plato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.012 (2.1-3.1 °Plato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.4% (4.1%-5.6%)
Bitterness (IBU) 14-24
Color SRM (EBC) 14-25 (28-50 EBC)

American-Style Dark Lager

Color: Light brown to very dark
Clarity: Appearance should be clear. Chill haze should not be present
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low malt aroma and flavor may include low levels of caramel
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to low
Perceived Bitterness: Very low to low and dissipates quickly.
Fermentation Characteristics: Carbonation is high. Fruity esters, DMS and diacetyl should not be present.
Body: low

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