Beer Types and Styles
Beer refers to an alcoholic beverage that is made from fermenting a mixture of water, malted cereal grain and hops using fermented yeast. Although barley is the grain mostly used to make beer, other grains such as; rye, corn, wheat and even rice can be used by brewers. The alcohol content in beer varies depending on the type or style of beer and generally range from 2% to 15 %.
Types of Beer
There are only two main types of beer; lagers and ales. The other types of beer are hybrid variations of either lagers or ales or in-betweens. These may include; stouts, pilsners, malts and ports.
Lagers are beers that are brewed at very low or near freezing temperatures with bottom fermenting yeast. Unlike ales, lagers have sharp, crispy tastes with smooth cool finishes. This is mostly as a result of the cold fermentation temperatures and being aged for longer.
Lagers are the most popular beers in the world and while some can be pale to black in color, most are pale to medium, highly fizzy and can have an average to high hop aromas.
These are beers which are brewed at cellar temperatures with top fermenting yeast. They are full-bodied, dark in color and have hints of fruity or spicy flavors and nice hoppy tastes. Ales also come in many varieties and may range from rich gold to reddish amber in color depending on the ingredients or the production style.
Porters and Stouts
Porters and stouts are almost similar types of beer. Both are top fermented using roasted malt and appear to be almost black in color. However, while porters have nearly fruity flavors, stouts are bitter tasting with creamy heads. Stouts also have a dark slightly harsh coffee like character and are largely barley-flavored.
Malts are generally sweeter in taste and often dark in color. They contain hints of chocolate, nuts and caramel
Apart from type, beer can also be described by style depending on factors like color, strength, aroma, production process and ingredients used among other things. Below are some of the most common beer styles.
Amber beers refer to full-bodied lagers or ales with malt aromas and hints of caramel. Amber beers range from amber to black in color .Common examples of amber beers include; American Amber Ales and American Amber Lagers.
Brown beers can range from dark amber to brown in color and have hints of chocolate and caramel aromas. They can also be characterized by slight citrus or strong malty odors depending on where it was brewed. A common example is the American Brown Ale.
Blond ales are generally pale in color and are characterized by strong, crisp and dry tastes with an almost average bitterness. Blond ales are largely flavored by hops and contain little sweetness from malt. A common example is the Belgian-Style Blonde Ale.