Brewing Process: Learn from the experts. Visit How Stuff Works for a illustrative presentation on the brewing process.
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Below is a short list of beer styles available worldwide. For a broader overview and more extensive list go the Beer Hunter or to the Beer Advocate.
What's an Ale?: This category of beer uses yeast that ferments at the "top" of the fermentation vessel, and typically at higher temperatures than lager yeast (60°-75°F), which, as a result, makes for a quicker fermentation period (7-8 days, or even less). Ale yeast are known to produce by-products called esters, which are "flowery" and "fruity" aromas ranging, but not limited to apple, pear, pineapple, grass, hay, plum, and prune.
What's a lager?: The word lager comes from the German word lagern which means, "to store". A perfect description as lagers are brewed with bottom fermenting yeast that work slowly at around 34 degrees F, and are often further stored (up to 2 weeks or more) at cool temperature to mature. Lager yeast produce fewer by-product characters than ale yeast, which allows for other flavors to pull through, such as hops. Lagers have a soft clean taste. In general lagers are limited in diversity of style, and offered more as refreshers compared to ales.
Barley Wine: A very strong (alcohol) ale, usually between 8 and 12 percent by volume.
Bitter: A British-style ale with a high hop content, causing bitterness.
Bock: A strong, dark, German lager.
Brown Ale: A mild, brown beer, associated with the UK.
Czech Pilsner: Sometimes known as the Bohemian Pilsner, is light straw to golden color and crystal clear. Hops are very prevalent usually with a spicy bitterness and or a spicy floral flavor and aroma, notably one of the defining characteristics of the Saaz hop.
Doppelbock: "Double Bock". An extra-strong version of Bock.
Dortmunder / Export Lager: Made popular in the 19th century in ortmunder, Germany, these pale golden lagers exhibit a classic clean character with notes of biscuity malts. Bitterness is akin to a German Pilsner with an aromatic aroma. Mouthfeel is firm and even, with an overall dry tone.
Imperial Stout: A very strong stout, typically 7-10%, originally brewed in the UK between 1780-1918 as an export to St. Petersburg. Often referred to as Russian Imperial Stout.
India Pale Ale (IPA): A strong, bitter beer, originating from the UK, for export to British soldiers in India. Made strong to survive the long boat trip.
Marzenbier: A medium-strong malty beer usually associated with Oktoberfest and the Fall.
Marzen translates as March in French, which is the month this style of beer is made.
Pale Ale: A fruity, milder version of an IPA.
Pilsner: The most imitated beer-style in the world originating from the name of a town in Czech Republic. Clear, carbonated and hoppy. Budweiser is a very compromising imitation.
Porter: English style first brewed in 1730. Usually very bitter and very dark.
Scottish Ale: Variation of an English pale ale, sweeter, less hoppy, darker malt and usually stronger.
Stout: Very dark and heavy, often sweetened. See Oatmeal, Imperial, Dry, Sweet, and Milk.
Trappist Ale: Strong, fruity ales made by Trappist monks in Belgium. Bottled with active yeast like champagne. Among the most complex, unique and probably the best beers in the world.
Wheat Beer (Weisse):20-60% wheat, cloudy, refreshing, clove-like bouquet. Often garnished with a lemon.