It's high time that we update Beer Styles!

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by Todd, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,370) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    All for adding more styles. I'd also like to see place names removed from more styles. Especially, please don't add "american" to the front of new styles like pastry stout. If, in some dystopian future, some other country starts making lots of ridiculously sweet stouts that are also somehow totally distinct from.the.versions brewed now we can separate "american" and "other country" sub styles out then.
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  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,538) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Sorry for the delay but one more Belgian brewed Saison that is imported to the US: St. Feuillien Saison.

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  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,538) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    @bubseymour posted:

    "Don't recommend:
    American Pilsner - It's either "to style" as a German/Czech Pilsner or an American Lager or IPL."

    I 'vote' for this. A Pale Lager that features hops like Citra, Mosaic, etc. should not be categorized as a Pilsner. Those beers should be categorized as American Pale Lager or IPL depending on their ABV level.

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  4. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,370) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Also should add, because it reinforces my problems with adding nation names, "american kettle sour" and "american kettle sour with fruit" seems redundant. Isn't the "american" part of a kettle sour the addition of lots of fruit? Are there examples of kettle sours that are just malt, yeast, hops (I remember that lagunitas had one, aunt someone?)?

    Is there a known style that represents a plain kettle soured beer? I am only aware of gose - I believe it is traditionally flavored with lime, coriander, and sea salt but is generally accepted as soured and flavored

    And berlinerweisse - kettle soured wheat beer, traditionally with flavored syrup added.

    The only thing I'm aware of that couldn't be more or less comfortably shoehorned into one of those is the smoothie level beers. So is that the "american kettle sour with fruit"? And is the " american kettle sour " more hypothetical? Is it where sour ipas go? Is it a catchall where you put things that follow the spirit but not the ingredients of a gose?

    That corner of the kingdom of beer is definitely due for a good reorganizing as it seems to have hosted a whole ton of innovation lately, but there should be some effort to avoid making the whole thing more confusing.

    I use "styles" as an efficient shorthand for flavors/feels that I am looking for. I appreciate the effort the staff puts in to maintain this database that helps me narrow in on beers that I might enjoy and as long as the styles are added thoughtfully and revisited/refined regularly then I'm all for it
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  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,538) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The "someone" here is Sally: the beer was called Aunt Sally. I personally enjoyed drinking that beer. Unfortunately it was discontinued a number of years ago. Maybe if it was fruited it would have sold better?
    As do I. In this context having more style names vs. less is beneficial since it 'fine tunes' my expectations of what the beer is and aids in my decision whether to purchase a given beer brand (or not).

  6. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,534) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I would push to remove Bohemian/Czech Pilsner and call them Czech Pale Lagers.

    And I'd be all for labeling specific Czech beer styles, rather than just "Czech Pale Lager" or "Czech Dark Lager".

    This would be like lumping German Pilsner, Helles, and Maibock all into one catch-all "German Pale Lager" category. And I think there's enough breweries making different Czech styles and naming them appropriately to warrant this. See locally Schilling and Notch in NH/MA respectively.

    For example:

    Světlé Výčepní Pivo (Light tap) - pale and low strength
    Světlý Ležák (Light lager) - pale and medium strength
    Tmavý ležák (Dark lager) - dark and medium strength
    Polotmavý ležák (Half dark) - amber and medium strength

    And so on and so forth as colors and strengths vary in the Czech Republic.

    For what it's worth, what most consider "Czech/Bohemian" Pilsner would fall into the Světlý Ležák category.

    Here's a great article on BA from Ron Pattison explaining these styles:

    As an aside, I would prefer all "Americanized" Pilsners be put simply into the American Pale Lager category, rather than "American Pilsner". If they're trying to brew a proper German Pils or Czech Pale Lager, label it appropriately.

    If it used new age hops that aren't traditional, call it an "American Pale Lager". And if it's stronger and hoppier, than it can go into the IPL category.

    And what about a "Kölsch" category and a "Kölsch-style Ale" category to distinguish between beers brewed in Cologne and those not? Just a thought, but otherwise I'm fairly indifferent about it.

    So if Notch brews a "Czech Pale Lager" should it be called an "American Pilsner"?

    The whole post you were talking about Golden Ales in the traditional sense, but then you mentioned one with Citra. That would veer from the "Golden Ale" category wouldn't it?
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  7. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,031) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Obviously not, nor did I suggest that.
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  8. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (3,564) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    I like where you are going and agree - we've had about 5 or 6 local breweries here in Chicagoland brewing Czech dark lagers over the last year or so. So, I think its definitely one of the more needed styles. That being said, I worry that people would not understand Světlý Ležák or Tmavý ležák as opposed to Czech Pale Lager and Czech Dark Lager. That being said, I do like your idea to scrub Bohemian pilsner and roll it under the Czech Pale Lager category.

    interesting - Im coming around to this view. I liked what you and @JackHorzempa pointed out.
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  9. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Meyvn (1,008) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I don't see how a Stout with added coffee is not flavored. A standard Imperial stout should be brewed with Grains, Water. Yeast and Hops. The grains don't have to be malted barley.
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  10. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,370) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    That's the one Jack! I, too, miss that beer. Is that the archetypal "american kettle sour"? Are there other non flavored us brewed kettle sours?
  11. HopBelT

    HopBelT Poo-Bah (1,634) Mar 18, 2014 Belgium
    Society Trader

    What about Norwegian (or Scandinavian) Kveik...?
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  12. bsp77

    bsp77 Poo-Bah (2,318) Apr 27, 2008 Minnesota

    I didn't say it isn't flavored. But my point is that Bourbon County Coffee Stout is nowhere near the same style as something that tastes like Tiramisu.
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  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,538) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Keep in mind that beers have been categorized as being "Bohemian" for well over a hundred years. Just one example below:


    Lots of worldwide historical momentum here.

    Oh, one more example is the 'reconstruction' Stroh's beer:


    Na Zdravi!
  14. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (3,564) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    I get that the term "bohemian pilsner" is common in the US, but it seems to me that when I buy Czech imports, they call what we call a "bohemian pilsner" a "pale lager" (well technically a Světlý Ležák - but we know the translation there).
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  15. StJamesGate

    StJamesGate Poo-Bah (4,650) Oct 8, 2007 New York

    Nope, because they're not a "traditional" style - they're only around since the late 80s/early 90s, and have had US/New World hops almost from the start.

    The current CAMRA Champion Golden Beer of Britain is Oakham Citra.
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  16. officerbill

    officerbill Zealot (506) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    Their list looks pretty inclusive, just need to add Lager-Czech Dark, Pilsner-American, and a subcategory of flavored kolsch
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  17. ichorNet

    ichorNet Meyvn (1,375) Mar 16, 2010 Massachusetts

    What would be an example of "Stout - Other"? :thinking_face:
  18. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (2,871) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

    As plenty of others have already said as well, I completely agree that the country prefixes are redundant and should be removed except for those styles that split into two more or less unique styles, like German/Bohemian Pilsner and English/American Barleywine, for example. Although it probably could be argued that splitting these into two separate styles isn't strictly necessary either.

    As I have already noted before, it irks me greatly when Gose/Berliner Weisse get lumped in with Kettle Sours. Yes, they are kettle-soured beers, but also unique, historical styles that go back centuries while modern (fruited) Kettle Sours are a relatively recent thing.

    Strictly speaking, as soon as you add fruit to it, it's not a Gose/Berliner Weisse anymore, it's a Fruited Kettle Sour. However, as so many brewers insist on labeling these beers Fruited Gose/Berliner Weisse nowadays, I believe that these styles need to be added and *kept separate* from traditional Gose/Berliner Weisse.

    By the way, the current style description for Berliner Weisse on BA is *wrong*, adding flavored syrup is not traditional at all and a rather recent thing that bar/pub owners came up with to overlay the style's sourness with sweetness and make it more palpable to younger drinkers. It really goes against the style's very essence.

    I think it is important to preserve traditional Gose and Berliner Weisse as unique, historical styles, Gose being brewed with salt, coriander and yeast strains that can impart estery flavor compounds and Berliner Weisse being brewed with brettanomyces yeast strains, lest they become swallowed up by these modern interpretations and fade into obscurity.
  19. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (2,871) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

    Kveik is a yeast strain, not a beer style.
  20. officerbill

    officerbill Zealot (506) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    I'm impressed:+1:
    A long, coherent, well-written, and persuasive post at 3 o'clock in the morning
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  21. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,179) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    I have issues. :neutral_face: :wink:
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  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,538) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yes, Americans (and American breweries) have been using the term "Bohemian" for well over a hundred years. Perhaps there is the same duration of history in using this term in other countries as well.
    I am pretty confident that you have purchased Pilsner Urquell in the past. That beer is not labeled a "pale lager":

    It is true that the citizens of the Czech Republic view the term of "Pilsner" as being a sort of appellation and they reserve it for the brand of Pilsner Urquell. A Bohemian Pilsner brewed elsewhere will be referred to as a Světlý Ležák (Pale Lager in English). The reality is that Pale Lagers akin to Pilsner Urquell have been brewed in many places over the past 100+ years and those beers have been labeled via "Bohemian". Just like we Americans are not obligated to follow EU rules regarding labeling beers as Kolsch we have no obligation to follow Czech customs. We (and other countries?) have been calling beers as Bohemian Pilsners for a very, very long time. Lots of history and momentum here.

  23. JonnoWillsteed

    JonnoWillsteed Poo-Bah (1,820) Apr 12, 2013 England

    English Golden Ale - yep, I've requested this one before. It's a quite recent style and pretty popular. 'Asian Lager' - lol, yep I totally get that, esp having lived in Asia for years. Perhaps 'Lager, just with lot's of hoppy bitterness neutered out, huuuge carbonation, and perhaps rice used i/o barley'.

    Another question is how to handle the 4 countries that make up the United Kingdom. Many applicable styles are 'English [xyx style]', how do I add a listing for a Welsh or Scottish Porter beer, under 'English Porter'? No, that really feels wrong. Does having separate English, Welsh, Scots Porter styles add anything to BA - no, unlikely. Maybe 'English' styles could be amended to the 'British' style namesake instead, that puts England, Scotland + Wales under one style type each.

    Lastly, how do and should we handle non-Belgian Trappist beers? Tripels, Quads etc, from the likes of Spencer (US) and Tynt Meadow (UK) etc etc. I'm not sure 'forcing' these to list under a Belgian style handle is at all historically authentic. This might merit input from one of your monastic beer gurus.

    Good luck, and thanks so much chaps, this is a wonderful fascinating and endlessly informative site. Cheers, Jonno.
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  24. eppCOS

    eppCOS Meyvn (1,379) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    Love the effort to both "lump" categories and to discern between types.
    IPL long past due
    but I do sympathize with BA bosses, hosts, and reviewers about how fine to split the "national" labels for some of these.
    A Grisette is fine, not sure I'd need to know it's French, or Belgian (and I'm French! So I would care).
    I'll toss out that the "Asian Lager" category seems a little awkward, and should just be under lager. Separating it out might make sense in terms of the quality of types, I get that, but eesh...
    Otherwise, I like the trend of the thread and a lot of the logic that others have used.

    My head starts to spin a bit when I think of Imperial Stouts, vs Russian Imperial, vs "Pastry" (blech) Stouts, vs. BA Imperial Stouts, but there's probably a need to discern those from regular Adjunct Imperial Stouts for those playing with other things (cinnamon, coconut, coffee, whatever)
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  25. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,005) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    "Rice Hulls" ? Milled rice (grits or flakes) is the most commonly used rice adjunct in the US - although, by now, it's pretty much exclusive to AB's Budweiser and some other of their beers, since most of the other rice-adjunct US beers and/or their breweries are long gone or, in other cases, no longer use rice (Coors Banquet).

    Milling rice removes the husk (hull) and the bran.
    As for the question of whether US Light Beers and US Adjunct Lagers are the same "style" - I'd ask, how many AAL's routinely use amyloglucosidase or other enzymes or brewing processes to convert some of the unfermentable sugars or starches to create a beer with fewer calories per ounce (usually accompanied by a lower abv)?
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,538) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Are those beers notably different from the Porters brewed in England (i.e., English Porter)? Are they genuinely a different beer style?

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  27. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (9,009) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    I think that you are missing the point of the country portion of the style names - it is the country of origin of the style not where the beer is produced. While I agree that English might have been better served as being labelled as British, can you describe beers that fall into the Welsh Porter category and what differentiates it from an English Porter???

    In your example for the Dubbel/Tripel/Quad, all of the breweries you mention are very much producing traditional Belgian Dubble/Tripel/Quad not some split from the traditional style.
  28. marquis

    marquis Champion (801) Nov 20, 2005 England

    If ever there was a non style it is Golden Ale.
    Pale Ale or Bitter (which is nothing other than Pale Ale when sold on draught) have always ranged from very pale to copper red according to tiny recipe differences. Irish Red and Golden Ales are simply different Pale Ales, not separate styles.
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  29. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,538) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Great minds think alike (see my post above - #186).

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  30. emalc

    emalc Devotee (475) Jan 5, 2008 Michigan

    Consider this another enthusiastic vote for Czech Dark Lager, or some version thereof (depending on how in the weeds on Czech styles you want to get).
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  31. BEERchitect

    BEERchitect Poo-Bah (11,284) Feb 9, 2005 Kentucky

    I'm thrilled for the Kettle Sour category. Everything else is just butter. Cheers guys!
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    DISKORD Devotee (450) Feb 28, 2017 South Carolina

    There's no Golden/Blonde/White stout. Just a Golden Ale with coffee and/or cacao nibs added. The most gimmicky shit ever. It makes me cringe!
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  33. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Meyvn (1,008) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    If BA’s want sub styles for flavored Stouts fine. Standard Imperial Stout should be a style unto themselves.
  34. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,972) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    Any thoughts of moving Berlinner Weisse out of the Wheat Beer group and into the Sour/Wild Ale group? I personnally think the beer style is more relatable to sour ales like Gose and wild ales (and the potential American Kettle sours style) as opposed to wheat beers like Hefes and American Wheat ales. Just IMO.

    Also does Rye beer need to be its own category? Probably 75% are really just rye based pale ales and IPAs, some are even NEIPAs with rye (Aslin Neutrio comes to mind). The high ABV ones like Boulevards Rye on Rye series as an example...those could easily move over into one of the appropriate "big beer" categories I would think as they are not in the same species of beer like say IPA like Hop Rod Rye. Just an idea for downsizing some styles if we are adding some others in to keep things managable. (and why isn't Roggenbier classified under rye beer then?)
  35. Gajo74

    Gajo74 Poo-Bah (2,489) Sep 14, 2014 New York
    Society Trader

    Yes!!! Duh on my part! The DiveBar NYC, one of my regular hang outs has this on tap all the time. Can’t believe I forgot this one.
    #195 Gajo74, Jun 22, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  36. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,454) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Is maibock interchangeable? Perhaps it falls under the title of doppelbock?
    I mean if kotbüsser garners it's own category hellesbock should have plenty of representation.
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  37. Gajo74

    Gajo74 Poo-Bah (2,489) Sep 14, 2014 New York
    Society Trader

    I wouldn’t want to open up another can of worms and make the list even more overwhelmingly long, but I recently added a beer to the BA database and it got me thinking about this. To put it in context, I recently enjoyed a beer from a local microbrewery that was described by them as a Rye Beer, but listed as an Amber Ale on Untappd. To my palate, this beer had a nice amount of rye while at the same time having typical Amber Ale qualities. By default I added it here as a Rye Beer since that's what the brewery called it. However, this opens up an issue that for me becomes especially problematic with the so called Specialty Beers. For example, I would have a difficult time rating, comparing and lumping into the same category this Amber Rye Ale I just described with say a Rye IPA. A similar difficulty might arise for the category of Pumpkin Beer. For example, again I would have a difficult time considering a Pumpkin Beer that uses Stout or Porter as the base style as the same category as a Pumpkin Beer that uses Pale or Amber Ale in the base style. Should we also be expanding these specialty styles?
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  38. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,179) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    You are thinking about things harder than it needs to be. If a beer is marketed as a pumpkin beer, you put it in the pumpkin beer box regardless of the overlap that exists if it was "also" a porter. That's why the category exists. Ditto for rye. Saying you can't rate it as easily is like saying you can't successfully rate a Framboise or Kriek because they are being lumped together in a "fruit lambic" category. This shouldn't actually make a difference. (I am not necessarily advocating for those categories. I'm just saying how I believe they should be approached.)
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  39. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,654) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    What, no one likes my "Nouveau" Pils idea? :wink:
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  40. WhatANicePub

    WhatANicePub Initiate (154) Jul 1, 2009 Scotland

    Well, Cornell recognises that pale 'n' hoppy exists, though he calls it Hoppy Light Ale in this blog post from six years after Amber, Gold and Black came out: I am not really convinced by the argument in the four pages he devotes to “Golden Ale” in the book.

    Nobody goes into a pub and asks for a Golden Ale in England.
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