Beer Style Guide

Ok, so by this point you may have noticed that there are more styles of beer than just “light” or “dark”.  There is in fact a wide array of styles with differing aromas, flavors and appearances.  Most of these styles came to be as a regional offering that was made using whatever ingredients were available to the brewer.  This includes regional malts, hops, yeast strains and even water sources.  Some beer styles require the brewer to change the ph level of the water to make it more authentic, but that’s some pretty advanced stuff.  Let’s get to the basics first.

There are 2 main types of beer, which are ales and lagers.  These 2 parent styles have many sub-styles that branch off of them.  There are some very simple differences between these 2 styles as well; fermentation level and temperature.  That’s it.  Ales generally ferment at warmer temperatures and use a top fermenting strain of yeast.  Warmer temperatures usually mean the yeast ferment quicker and produce more fruity esters.  Lagers generally ferment at cooler temperatures and use bottom fermenting yeast.  Lagers have to undergo a “lagering” period which takes several weeks and conditioning at near freezing temperatures.  More or less these are the only differences between the 2 styles.

As I mentioned before there are many sub-styles that branch off of these parent categories, and when I rate a beer of a different style I label it in the “categories” section of the blog.  Below I have included a full list of styles with links to any beers I have reviewed thus far.  Cheers!





  1. […] Beer Style Guide […]

  2. Travis,
    Just FYI Altbiers generally are considered ales and use german ale yeast. Same is true for Kolschs and to a lesser extent California Commons. They are technically hybrids as they use ale yeast strains [sometimes] at lager temperatures.

    • I’ll make the appropriate changes. Thanks.

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