TYPES OF BEER

The following beer types and style definitions were compiled with a strong influence from the official Homebrewers Association beer judging and certification program. It reflects their most recent publication (circa 2008) of the worlds many beer types and styles. That being said, the brewing community is ever evolving – if you happen to spot a specific style or category that is missing – Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

~Cheers!

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AMERICAN ALE


American Amber & Red Ale

Originating from the west coast, This popular style of beer was inspired by the classic American Pale Ale.  True to its pale ale roots, the Amber & Red ales are in large part – defined by the generous addition of american style hops to help balance this traditionally malt forward beer. Expect a crisp & balanced beer, with an emphasis on it’s malty caramel flavors and american citrusy hops.

Details
Color
Amber – Copper/Brown
IBUs
25-40+
ABV
4.5% – 6%

American Brown Ale

The American Brown Ale was originally created back in the 1980’s, when homebrewers and craft breweries attempted to duplicate the original English Brown Ales. The result was an ‘americanized’ version of the beer – boasting a more hoppy, carbonated and alcoholic version of it’s English predecessor. The american brown ale is typically comprised of rich, Caramel or choclatey malts that are balanced with a healthy dose of American Hops.

Details
Color
Copper – Dark Brown
IBUs
20-40+
ABV
4.3% – 6.2%

American Pale Ale

Perhaps one of the most iconic American Beer Styles on this list, the American Pale Ale played a key role in kick-starting Americas love affair with hops & (more importantly) craft beer!Sierra Nevada & Anchor Brewing Co. were one of the first breweries to put their unique spin on the English Pale Ale classic. While the American Pale Ale retains it’s golden to deep amber appearance and medium malt profile from it’s English counterpart, generous hop additions from the American Variety of Hops gave the beer it’s distinguished citrus, pine & floral aroma and deliciously hoppy flavor profile.

Details
Color
Pale Golden – Dark Amber
IBUs
30-45+
ABV
4.5% – 6%

 

BELGIAN & FRENCH ALE


Witbier

Meaning “White Beer” In English – This popular Belgian style beer is brewed with a combination of malted barley and unmalted wheat, which lends itself to the typically pale/cloudy  “white” beer namesake. Always spiced, expect to find orange peel, coriander and many other combinations of spices and herbs as the backdrop to these light bodied and dangerously drinkable beers.

Details
Color
Light Gold – Pale Gold
IBUs
10-20
ABV
4.5% – 5.5%

Belgian Pale Ale

The Belgian Pale Ale is typically clear to cloudy, and light amber to copper in appearance, with a strong emphasis on it’s fruity/spicy aroma and Belgian yeast background . Originally brewed during the WWII era to compete with ever popular pilsner style of beers – These beers set themselves apart form the typical Pale Ale style of beers by using slightly aged hops for a less bitter, more fruity and all together artfully balanced brew.

Details
Color
Amber / Copper
IBUs
20-30
ABV
4.5% – 6%

Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Meaning “Season” in French, These beers were usually brewed during the winter months to be enjoyed during the summer time. These beautifully colored beers range from a warm golden color to dark orange and amber, distinguished by their fruity, spicy and citrusy aromas and flavors – these light malt brews generally yield only a mild hoppy bitterness and are often finish dry, crisp and refreshing.

Details
Color
Pale Orange / Golden / Amber
IBUs
25-45
ABV
5% – 8.5%

Biere de Garde

Meaning “Beer that has been guarded” – This variation of the Saison Ale was traditionally brewed during the winter months, to be enjoyed once again in the summer . Generally Blonde to Dark Amber – This maltier and more robust version of the Saison style of beer boasts a medium body, toasted malt aroma, Fruity undertones and a more earthy flavor. (Originally derived from the naturally occurring yeast that was present in French farmhouses)

Details
Color
Blond / Amber / Brown
IBUs
20-30
ABV
6% – 8%

 

BELGIAN STRONG ALE


Belgian Blonde Ale

A lighter version of the Belgian Strong Ale style that was designed to appeal to the typical European Pilsner drinker. Light to dark gold in color, this lighter variant of the Strong ale still retains the unique characteristics that make a good Belgian Ale. The spicy, fruity & earthy aromas and hops are well balanced against a medium bodied, bold and refreshing Belgian Style Ale.

Details
Color
Light Gold – Dark Gold
IBUs
20-30
ABV
6% – 7.5%

Belgian Dubbel

Dark amber to brown in color, the Belgian Style Dubbel is typically rich, complex and beautifully balanced. Toasty malt flavors coincide with a unique mixture of pronounced fruity flavors such as plum, cherry and raisin. Usually including very subtle hop additions, spices, fruity esters & more to create this complex and deceptively high ABV brew!

Details
Color
Dark Amber – Copper
IBUs
15-25
ABV
6% – 7.5%

Belgian Tripel

Traditionally Bright gold in color, the name-sake “Tripel” is actually derived from the brewing process in which it was created, where up to x3 times the malt was used in the recipe. Keeping with the tradition of beautifully complex and balanced beers – the tripel is no exception. It’s complex mix of spices, fruit and mild hop additions combine to make a dangerously drinkable & high ABV beer.

Details
Color
Dark Gold
IBUs
25-38+
ABV
7.5% – 9+%

Belgian Golden Strong Ale

These typically golden Ales are characterized by a light to medium body, moderate hop additions, soft malt profile, and a complex mixture of fruit, spices and even floral aromas. The Belgian Strong Ale was developed after the WWII era in an attempt to appeal to the growing Pilsner market. Highly complex with a deceptively high alcohol content – expect a very effervescent and expertly balanced beer with subtle notes of oranges, apples & even pears to help round out the light, but bold flavor of the Belgian Golden Strong Ale!

Details
Color
Gold
IBUs
25-35
ABV
7.5% – 10%

Belgian Dark Strong Ale

A rich, warm and complex beer, it’s high carbonation and use of Belgian style candies serve to  help balance this high ABV beer. Usually  Rich Amber or Dark copper in color – It’s strong malty profile is artfully balanced against a backdrop of cherries, plums, figs or raisins. Highly aromatic with a bold flavor profile, expect a strong foamy head on the beer.

Details
Color
Dark Amber – Copper – Brown
IBUs
15-25+
ABV
8% – 12+%

 

ENGLISH BROWN ALE


Mild Brown Ale

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Details
Color
Copper – Dark Brown
IBUs
10-25
ABV
2.8% – 4.5%

Southern English Brown Ale

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Details
Color
Light – Dark Brown
IBUs
12-20
ABV
2.8% – 4.2%

Nothern English Brown Ale

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Details
Color
Dark Amber – Mahogany
IBUs
20-30
ABV
4.2% – 5.4%

 

ENGLISH PALE ALE


Standard Ordinary Bitter

The English Pale Ale Style originated in the town of Burton-Upon-Trent, England in the 1800’s. Ever since brewers have tried to duplicate the unique beers flavors and aroma that can be attributed in large part to the towns unique water supply, which contained high amounts of sulfate. Currently the beer can be characterized by a golden to reddish amber color and a mix of strong grain malts and a earthy hop aroma. Despite Bitter being in the name, These beers are typically very balanced and approachable ales.

True to the nature of the English Pale Ale style, the standard bitter will have a mild malty aroma balanced by mild fruit or earthy hop notes. The Standard Bitter has the lowest alcohol content & gravity of the 3 sub-styles, resulting in a lighter – more drinkable beer.

Details
Color
Light Yellow – Light Copper
IBUs
25-35
ABV
3.2 – 3.8%

Special / Best Bitter

The Best, or Special style Bitter is often regarded as the breweries premium style bitter. Containing a moderate malty flavor, that is again off-set by a mild mixture of fruity or earthy hop aromas. Often containing a noticeable caramel quality to the brew, this balanced and flavorful style makes a great session beer.

Details
Color
Medium Gold – Medium Copper
IBUs
25-40
ABV
3.8% – 4.6%

Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

The Extra Special Bitter (or ESB) style is recognized for its higher gravity, balanced character and low carbonation that is consistent through-out this style. ESB’s typically are found towards the darker end of the color spectrum, containing pronounced malts and often a complex variety of fruit, earthy hops and caramel notes.

Details
Color
Golden / Dark Copper
IBUs
30-50+
ABV
4.6% – 6.2%

 

INDIA PALE ALE


English IPA

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Details
Color
Golden Amber – Light Copper (accompanied by orange tint)
IBUs
40-60
ABV
5% – 7.5%

American IPA

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Details
Color
Gold – Dark Amber (often accompanied by orange tint)
IBUs
40-60+
ABV
5.5% – 7.5%

Imperial IPA

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Details
Color
Golden Amber – Dark Copper (often accompanied by orange tint)
IBUs
60-100+
ABV
7.5% – 10%

Specialty IPA

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• Black IPA
• Brown IPA
• Red IPA
• White IPA
• Belgian IPA
• Rye IPA

 

PORTER


Brown Porter

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Details
Color
Light Brown – Dark Brown
IBUs
18-35
ABV
4% – 5.4%

English Porter

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Details
Color
Brown – Very Dark Brown
IBUs
25-50+
ABV
4.8% – 6%

Baltic Porter

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Details
Color
Reddish Copper – Dark Brown
IBUs
20-40
ABV
5.5% – 9.5%

 

SCOTTISH AND IRISH ALE


Scottish Light 60

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Details
Color
Dark Amber – Dark Copper
IBUs
10-20
ABV
2.5% – 3.2%

Scottish Heavy 70

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Details
Color
Dark Amber – Dark Copper
IBUs
10-25
ABV
3.2% – 3.9%

Scottish Export 80

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Details
Color
Dark Amber – Dark Copper
IBUs
15-30
ABV
3.9% – 5%

Irish Red Ale

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Details
Color
Amber – Dark Copper (often with a reddish hue)
IBUs
17-28
ABV
4% – 6%

Scotch Strong Ale

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Details
Color
Light Copper – Dark Brown (often with a reddish hue)
IBUs
14-35
ABV
6.5% – 10%

 

STOUT


Dry Stout

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Details
Color
Dark Brown – Black
IBUs
30-45
ABV
4% – 5%

Sweet Stout

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Details
Color
Dark Brown – Black
IBUs
25-40
ABV
4% – 6%

Oatmeal Stout

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Details
Color
Brown – Black
IBUs
25-40
ABV
4.2% – 5.9%

Foreign Extra Stout

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Details
Color
Dark Brown – Black
IBUs
30-70
ABV
5.5% – 8%

American Stout

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Details
Color
Black
IBUs
35-75
ABV
5% – 7%

Russian Imperial Stout

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Details
Color
Dark Brown – Black (occasional reddish hue)
IBUs
50-90+
ABV
8% – 12+%

 

STRONG ALE


Old Ale

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Details
Color
Light Amber – Dark Brown (with a reddish hue)
IBUs
30-60+
ABV
6% – 9+%

English Barley Wine

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Details
Color
Gold / Dark Amber / Dark Brown
IBUs
35-70
ABV
8% – 12+%

American Barley Wine

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Details
Color
Light Amber – Copper
IBUs
50-120+
ABV
8% – 12+%

 

SOUR ALE


Berliner Weisse

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Details
Color
Light Gold
IBUs
3-8
ABV
2.8% – 3.6%

Flanders Red Ale

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Details
Color
Dark Red / Dark Maroon
IBUs
15-25
ABV
5% – 5.5%

Lambic

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Details
Color
Pale Yellow – Dark Gold
IBUs
ABV
5% – 6.5%

Gueuze

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Details
Color
Gold
IBUs
ABV
5% – 8%

Fruit Lambic

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Details
Color
*Varies Based on Ingredients*
IBUs
ABV
5% – 7%

 

 

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LIGHT LAGER


Lite American Lager

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Details
Color
Pale Straw – Gold
IBUs
8-12
ABV
3.2% – 4.2%

Standard American Lager

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Details
Color
Pale Straw – Gold
IBUs
8-15
ABV
4.2% – 5.1%

Premium American Lager

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Details
Color
Pale Straw – Gold
IBUs
15-25
ABV
4.7% – 6%

Munich Helles

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Details
Color
Yellow – Light Gold
IBUs
16-22
ABV
4.7% – 5.4%

Dortmunder Export

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Details
Color
Light Gold – Dark Gold
IBUs
23-30
ABV
4.8% – 6%

 

PILSNER


German Pilsner (Pils)

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Details
Color
Straw – Light Gold
IBUs
25-45
ABV
4.4% – 5.2%

Bohemian Pilsner

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Details
Color
Light Gold – Dark Gold
IBUs
35-45
ABV
4.2% – 5.4%

Classic American Pilsner

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Details
Color
Yellow – Dark Gold
IBUs
25-40
ABV
4.5% – 6%

 

EUROPEAN AMBER LAGER


Vienna Lager

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Details
Color
Light Amber – Copper (with a reddish hue)
IBUs
18-30
ABV
4.5% – 5.7%

Oktoberfest / Märzen

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Details
Color
Dark Gold – Dark Orange/Red
IBUs
20-28
ABV
4.8% – 5.7%

 

DARK LAGER


Dark American Lager

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Details
Color
Dark Amber – Dark Brown
IBUs
18-20
ABV
4.2% – 6%

Munich Dunkel

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Details
Color
Dark Copper – Dark Brown
IBUs
18-28
ABV
4.5% – 5.6%

Schwarzbier (black beer)

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Details
Color
Brown – Dark Brown
IBUs
22-32
ABV
4.4% – 5.4%

 

BOCK


Maibock / Helles Bock

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Details
Color
Dark Gold – Light Amber
IBUs
22-35+
ABV
6.3% – 7.4%

Traditional Bock

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Details
Color
Light Copper – Brown
IBUs
20-27
ABV
6.3% – 7.2%

Doppelbock

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Details
Color
Dark Gold – Dark Brown
IBUs
16-26+
ABV
7% – 10+%

Eisbock

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Details
Color
Dark Copper – Dark Brown
IBUs
25-35+
ABV
9% – 14+%

 

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LIGHT HYBRID BEER


Cream Ale

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Details
Color
Pale Straw – Gold
IBUs
15-20+
ABV
4.2% – 5.6%

Blonde Ale

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Details
Color
Light Yellow – Dark Gold
IBUs
15-28
ABV
3.8% – 5.5%

Kölsch

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Details
Color
Pale Gold – Light Gold
IBUs
20-30
ABV
4.4% – 5.2%

American Wheat or Rye

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Details
Color
Pale Yellow – Gold
IBUs
15-30
ABV
4% – 5.5%

 

AMBER HYBRID BEER


Northern German Altbier

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Details
Color
Light Copper – Light Brown
IBUs
25-40
ABV
4.5% – 5.2%

California Common Beer

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Details
Color
Amber – Light Copper
IBUs
30-45
ABV
4.5% – 5.5%

Dusseldorf Altbier

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Details
Color
Orange/Bronze – Dark Copper
IBUs
35-50
ABV
4.5% – 5.2%

 

GERMAN WHEAT AND RYE BEER


Weizen / Weiss bier

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Details
Color
Pale Straw – Dark Gold (occasionally Dark Amber)
IBUs
8-15
ABV
4.3% – 5.6%

Dunkelweizen

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Details
Color
Light Copper – Dark Brown
IBUs
10-18
ABV
4.3% – 5.6%

Weizenbock

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Details
Color
Dark Amber – Reddish/Brown
IBUs
15-30
ABV
6.5% – 8+%

Roggenbier (Rye beer)

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Details
Color
Light Copper/Orange – Dark Copper/Brown
IBUs
10-20
ABV
4.5% – 6%

 

FRUIT BEER


 

 

SPICE / HERB / SPECIALTY BEER


Spice / Herb / Vegetable beer

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Details
Color
*Varies Based on Ingredients*
IBUs
ABV

Christmas / Winter / Specialty Spiced Beer

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Details
Color
*Varies Based on Ingredients*
IBUs
ABV

 

 

SMOKE FLAVORED and WOOD AGED BEER


Classic Rauchbier

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Details
Color
Dark Amber – Light Copper
IBUs
20-30
ABV
4.8% – 6%

Wood Aged Beer

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Details
Color
Dark Amber – Copper
IBUs
ABV

 

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TRADITIONAL MEAD


Dry Mead

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Semi-sweet Mead

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Sweet Mead

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MELOMEL (FRUIT MEAD)


Cyser (apple Melomel)

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Pyment (grape Melomel)

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Berry Mead

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Stone Fruit Mead

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OTHER MEAD


Metheglin (spiced Mead)

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Braggot (barley Mead)

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STANDARD CIDER and PERRY


New World Cider

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Details
Color
Pale Gold – Gold
IBUs
ABV
5% – 8%

English Cider

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Details
Color
Gold – Dark Gold
IBUs
ABV
6% – 9%

French Cider

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Details
Color
Gold – Dark Gold
IBUs
ABV
3% – 6%

New World Perry

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Details
Color
Pale Gold
IBUs
ABV
5% – 9%

Traditional Perry

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Details
Color
Pale Gold
IBUs
ABV
5% – 9%

 

SPECIALTY CIDER and PERRY


New England Cider

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Details
Color
Pale Yellow – Gold
IBUs
ABV
7% – 13%

Fruit Cider

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Details
Color
*Varies Based on Ingredients*
IBUs
ABV
4.5% – 6%

Apple Wine

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Details
Color
Light Gold – Gold
IBUs
ABV
4.5% – 6%

>> Also See:  Beer & Brewing Terminology


**Source: www.bjcp.org/

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