ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Beer - Categories & Substyles

Updated on October 28, 2009

Substyles are related to the parent style but differ enough to warrant their own categories. For example, American and English pale ales share many of the same characteristics, but differ mainly in the origins of the ingredients used to brew them. American pale ales are characterized by their use of American hop varieties such as Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook and also American yeast strains, instead of the traditional English hops and yeast strains. For a second example, consider the porter style. Stout evolved from porter to become a new style which now has its own substyles including Irish dry stout, sweet stout, oatmeal stout, foreign extra stout, and imperial stout. Substyles under the porter category include brown and robust porters. Robust porter differs from brown porter primarily because of its higher alcohol content, slightly stronger flavor, and higher degree of roast malt character in the aroma. The lines between substyles and styles are not always clear. Thus, it is difficult to classify some beers. Some beers may not actually fit in any particular style while others can fall under more than one style.

The nice thing about styles is they offer guidance for brewers and those wishing to learn more about beer. However, style guidelines should not be viewed as rigid and absolute. A brewer should feel free to stray beyond the style guidelines and to experiment with ingredients, procedures, and techniques. After all, how do you think we got all these different styles? If it wasn't for those brave brewers who dared to be different and venture beyond style guidelines, we would still only have one style, beer. Style guidelines provide a foundation upon which brewers can build.

When brewing for yourself, your friends, and your family, there is no reason to conform to specific guidelines unless you want to. If you want to make a highly hopped, 8% alcohol, raspberry ale using peat smoked malt, go for it. If you are happy with your results, who cares what ingredients and procedures you used. After all, the only thing that matters is that you like it. If however, you intend to enter a particular beer in a competition, it is important to follow style guidelines. Here, categorization allows judges to look for certain characteristics when evaluating a beer. Otherwise, it would be hard to rate a beer. Without style guidelines, the only way to choose between your smoked raspberry ale and the other guy's dunkelweizen is by preference. Thus, judges use style guidelines to help them rate and score entries in a competition.

Another time when it might be best to follow the guidelines for a particular style is when brewing a beer to take to your homebrew club meeting. Often club meetings focus on a particular style. An understanding of beer styles and the similarities and differences between them is important to brewers learning about recipe formulation and beer evaluation. When sharing your beer with fellow members, one of the first things they will ask is in what style is it made. In clubs, style is used as a tool to describe different beers and the ingredients, equipment, and processes used to arrive at them.

Thus, although it is not always necessary to brew to style, you may wish to increase your knowledge of beer and brewing by learning about beer styles. However, learning about different beer styles is somewhat confounded by the fact that there is no single authority on the subject. Style definitions are often rather loose and styles are categorized differently by different entities. In America, the Beer Judge Certification Program Guide to Beer Styles is widely accepted and is now used by the AHA for their National Home Brewers Competition. Another excellent reference is The Essentials of Beer Style: A Catalog of Classic Beer Styles for Brewers and Beer Enthusiasts by Fred Eckhardt.

Continued In: Beer - Top 8 Keys to Improving Quality - 1 & 2

Back to Start



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)