1. LOW ALCOHOL (<4% ABV) Styleguides

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1.1 Light Australian Lager
Aroma: Little to no malt aroma, although it can be slightly sweet if present. Little to no hop aroma. No fruitiness or diacetyl.
Appearance: Very clear. Light straw to pale yellow colour. High carbonation causing a medium white frothy head that seldom persists.
Flavour: Crisp and clean, dry flavour with some low levels of sweetness and some lingering hop bitterness at finish. Hop flavour ranges from none to low levels. Balance initially towards sweetness but with finish tending to dry/bitter. High levels of carbonation may provide a slight acidity or dryness. No diacetyl or fruitiness.
Mouthfeel: Very light to thin body, often from use of a high percentage of adjuncts. May seem watery. Very highly carbonated with slight carbonic bite on the tongue.
Overall Impression: Light-coloured, clean tasting beer. Low flavour levels make off-flavours obvious.
Vital Statistics:
OG FG IBUs Colour ABV
1028-1035 1004-1008 10-15 2-4 SRM 2.8-3.5%
Commercial Examples: Cascade Premium Light

1.2 Leichtes Weizen (Light Weizen)
Aroma: Low to medium phenols (usually clove) and fruity esters (usually banana). The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester components can vary but the best examples are reasonably balanced. Noble hop character ranges from low to none. A light wheat aroma (which might be perceived as bready or grainy) may be present but other malt characteristics should not. No diacetyl or DMS. Optional aromatics can include a light, citrusy tartness, a light vanilla character, and/or a low bubblegum aroma. None of these optional characteristics should be dominant, but often can add to the complexity and balance.
Appearance: Pale straw to pale amber in colour. A thick, moussy, long-lasting white head is characteristic. The high protein content of wheat impairs clarity in an unfiltered beer, although the level of haze is somewhat variable. A beer “mit hefe” is also cloudy from suspended yeast sediment (which should be roused before drinking). The filtered Krystal version has no yeast and is brilliantly clear.
Flavour: Low to medium banana and clove flavour. The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester components can vary but the best examples are reasonably balanced. Optionally, a light vanilla character and/or low bubblegum notes can accentuate the banana flavour, sweetness and roundness; neither should be dominant if present. The soft, somewhat bready or grainy flavour of wheat is complementary, as is a slightly sweet Pils malt character. Hop flavour is very low to none, and hop bitterness is very low to moderately low. A tart, citrusy character from yeast and high carbonation is often present. Well rounded, flavourful palate with a relatively dry finish. No diacetyl or DMS.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium-light body. Suspended yeast may increase the perception of body, however this should never reach medium. The texture of wheat imparts the sensation of a fluffy, creamy softness that may progress to a light, spritzy finish aided by high carbonation. Always effervescent.
Overall Impression: A light, easy drinking, very refreshing, pale wheat-based ale. Diminished mouthfeel relative to Hefeweizen, and noticeably lighter in body. The phenolic and estery aromas and flavours typical of Hefeweizen are more subdued, and the overall flavour profile is less complex due to decreased alcohol content. Best examples will display a light, well-balanced weizen character.
History: Modern low-alcohol version of traditional Hefeweizen, developed in response to growing demand for “light” beers during late 20th century. Produced by all major Munich breweries, as well as regional breweries throughout southern Germany.
Comments: Leichtes Weizen is a true low-alcohol style, with leading brands all in the 2.9-3.3% ABV range. As such these are “light” beers and the style should be judged accordingly. Full-flavoured examples should be considered out of style.
Ingredients: By German law, at least 50% of the grist must be malted wheat, although some versions use up to 70%; the remainder is Pilsner malt. A traditional decoction mash gives the appropriate body without cloying sweetness. Weizen ale yeasts produce the typical spicy and fruity character, although extreme fermentation temperatures can affect the balance and produce off-flavours. A small amount of noble hops are used only for bitterness.
Vital Statistics
OG FG IBUs SRM ABV
1025-1035 1005-1008 6-12 2-8 2.5–3.5%
Commercial Examples: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Leicht, Schneider Weisse Leicht, Paulaner Hefeweissbier Leicht, Erdinger Weissbier Leicht, Hacker-Pschorr Leichte Weisse, Munchner Kindl Weissbier Leicht, Wolferstetter Leichtes Weizen.

1.3 Scottish Light Ale
Aroma: Low to medium malty sweetness, sometimes accentuated by low to moderate kettle caramelization. Some examples have a low hop aroma, low diacetyl, and/or a low to moderate peaty aroma (all are optional). The peaty aroma is sometimes perceived as earthy, smoky or very lightly roasted.
Appearance: Deep amber to dark copper. Usually very clear due to long, cool fermentations. Low to moderate, creamy off-white to light tan-coloured head.
Flavour: Malt is the primary flavour, but isn’t overly strong. The initial malty sweetness is usually accentuated by a low to moderate kettle caramelization, and is sometimes accompanied by a low diacetyl component. No fruity esters. Hop bitterness is low to moderate, but the balance will always be towards the malt (although not always by much). Hop flavour is low to none. A low to moderate peaty character is optional, and may be perceived as earthy or smoky. Generally has a grainy, dry finish due to small amounts of unmalted roasted barley.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium-light body. Low to moderate carbonation. Sometimes a bit creamy, but often quite dry due to use of roasted barley.
Overall Impression: Cleanly malty with a drying finish, and on occasion a faint bit of peaty earthiness (smoke). Slightly less intense malt flavours than standard strength Scottish Ales, and slightly less hop bitterness to balance. Most beers finish fairly dry considering their relatively sweet palate, and as such have a different balance than strong Scotch ales.
History: Traditional Scottish session beers reflecting the indigenous ingredients (water, malt), with less hops than their English counterparts (due to the need to import them). Long, cool fermentations are traditionally used in Scottish brewing. Occasionally branded 60/- and 70/- reflecting the traditional shilling scale (barrel price) used throughout the UK, although at substantially lower than 19th century gravities. 60/- and 70/- strength ales were generally draught only products. The corresponding terms "Light" and "Heavy" are still used by Scottish drinkers.
Comments: The malt-hop balance is slightly to moderately tilted towards the malt side. Any caramelization comes from kettle caramelization and not caramel malt (and is sometimes confused with diacetyl). Although unusual, any smoked character is yeast- or water-derived and not from the use of peat-smoked malts. Use of peat-smoked malt to replicate the peaty character should be restrained; overly smoky beers should be entered in the Specialty Beer category rather than here.
Ingredients: Scottish or English pale base malt. Small amounts of roasted barley add colour and flavour, and lend a dry, slightly roasty finish. English hops. Clean, relatively un-attenuative ale yeast. Some commercial brewers add small amounts of crystal, amber, or wheat malts, and adjuncts such as sugar. The optional peaty, earthy and/or smoky character comes from the traditional yeast and from the local malt and water rather than using smoked malts.
Vital Statistics:
OG FG IBUs SRM ABV
1030-1039 1008-1012 10-25 9-17 2.8-3.9%
Commercial Examples: McEwan’s 60/- (3.2% ABV), McEwan’s 70/- (3.6% ABV), Orkney Raven Ale (3.8% ABV), Broughton Greenmantle Ale (3.9% ABV), Belhaven Scottish Ale (3.9% ABV), Tennents Special (3.5% ABV)

1.4 Southern English Brown [BJCP] Aroma: Malty-sweet, often with a rich, caramel or toffee-like character. Moderately fruity, often with notes of dark fruits such as plums and/or raisins. Very low to no hop aroma. No diacetyl.
Appearance: Light to dark brown, and can be almost black. Nearly opaque, although should be relatively clear if visible. Low to moderate off-white to tan head.
Flavour: Deep, caramel- or toffee-like malty sweetness on the palate and lasting into the finish. Hints of biscuit and coffee are common. May have a moderate dark fruit complexity. Low hop bitterness. Hop flavour is low to non-existent. Little or no perceivable roasty or bitter black malt flavour. Moderately sweet finish with a smooth, malty aftertaste. Low to no diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, but the residual sweetness may give a heavier impression. Low to moderately low carbonation. Quite creamy and smooth in texture, particularly for its gravity.
Overall Impression: A luscious, malt-oriented brown ale, with a caramel, dark fruit complexity of malt flavour. May seem somewhat like a smaller version of a sweet stout or a sweet version of a dark mild.
History: English brown ales are generally split into sub-styles along geographic lines. Southern English (or “London-style”) brown ales are darker, sweeter, and lower gravity than their Northern cousins. Developed as a bottled product in the early 20th century out of a reaction against vinous vatted porter and often unpalatable mild. Well suited to London’s water supply.
Comments: Increasingly rare; Mann’s has over 90% market share in Britain. Some consider it a bottled version of dark mild, but this style is sweeter than virtually all modern examples of mild.
Ingredients: English pale ale malt as a base with a healthy proportion of darker caramel malts and often some roasted (black) and wheat malt. Moderate to high carbonate water would appropriately balance the dark malt acidity. English hop varieties are most authentic, though with low flavour and bitterness almost any type could be used.
Vital Statistics:
OG FG IBUs SRM ABV
1033-1042 1011-1014 12-20 19-35 2.8-4.1%
Commercial Examples: Mann's Brown Ale, Tolly Cobbold Cobnut Nut Brown Ale
1.4 Southern English Brown [BJCP]

Aroma: Malty-sweet, often with a rich, caramel or toffee-like character. Moderately fruity, often with notes of dark fruits such as plums and/or raisins. Very low to no hop aroma. No diacetyl.
Appearance: Light to dark brown, and can be almost black. Nearly opaque, although should be relatively clear if visible. Low to moderate off-white to tan head.
Flavour: Deep, caramel- or toffee-like malty sweetness on the palate and lasting into the finish. Hints of biscuit and coffee are common. May have a moderate dark fruit complexity. Low hop bitterness. Hop flavour is low to non-existent. Little or no perceivable roasty or bitter black malt flavour. Moderately sweet finish with a smooth, malty aftertaste. Low to no diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, but the residual sweetness may give a heavier impression. Low to moderately low carbonation. Quite creamy and smooth in texture, particularly for its gravity.
Overall Impression: A luscious, malt-oriented brown ale, with a caramel, dark fruit complexity of malt flavour. May seem somewhat like a smaller version of a sweet stout or a sweet version of a dark mild.
History: English brown ales are generally split into sub-styles along geographic lines. Southern English (or “London-style”) brown ales are darker, sweeter, and lower gravity than their Northern cousins. Developed as a bottled product in the early 20th century out of a reaction against vinous vatted porter and often unpalatable mild. Well suited to London’s water supply.
Comments: Increasingly rare; Mann’s has over 90% market share in Britain. Some consider it a bottled version of dark mild, but this style is sweeter than virtually all modern examples of mild.
Ingredients: English pale ale malt as a base with a healthy proportion of darker caramel malts and often some roasted (black) and wheat malt. Moderate to high carbonate water would appropriately balance the dark malt acidity. English hop varieties are most authentic, though with low flavour and bitterness almost any type could be used.
Vital Statistics:
OG FG IBUs SRM ABV
1033-1042 1011-1014 12-20 19-35 2.8-4.1%
Commercial Examples: Mann's Brown Ale, Tolly Cobbold Cobnut Nut Brown Ale

1.5 Mild Ale

Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, and may have some fruitiness. The malt expression can take on a wide range of character, which can include caramelly, grainy, toasted, nutty, chocolate, or lightly roasted. Little to no hop aroma. Very low to no diacetyl.
Appearance: Copper to dark brown or mahogany colour. A few paler examples (medium amber to light brown) exist. Generally clear, although is traditionally unfiltered. Low to moderate off-white to tan head. Retention may be poor due to low carbonation, adjunct use and low gravity.
Flavour: Generally a malty beer, although may have a very wide range of malt- and yeast-based flavours (e.g., malty, sweet, caramel, toffee, toast, nutty, chocolate, coffee, roast, vinous, fruit, licorice, molasses, plum, raisin). Can finish sweet or dry. Versions with darker malts may have a dry, roasted finish. Low to moderate bitterness, enough to provide some balance but not enough to overpower the malt. Fruity esters moderate to none. Diacetyl and hop flavour low to none.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Generally low to medium-low carbonation. Roast-based versions may have a light astringency. Sweeter versions may seem to have a rather full mouthfeel for the gravity.
Overall Impression: A light-flavoured, malt-accented beer that is readily suited to drinking in quantity. Refreshing, yet flavourful. Some versions may seem like lower gravity brown porters.
History: May have evolved as one of the elements of early porters. In modern terms, the name "mild" refers to the relative lack of hop bitterness (i.e. less hoppy than a pale ale, and not so strong). Originally, the “mildness” may have referred to the fact that this beer was young and did not yet have the moderate sourness that aged batches had. Somewhat rare in England, good versions may still be found in the Midlands around Birmingham.
Comments: Most are low-gravity session beers in the range 3.1–3.8% ABV, although a number of contemporary examples are in the 4–7% ABV range, and historical examples ranged up to 8% ABV. These stronger (4%+) versions should be entered in Specialty Category.
Ingredients: Pale English base malts (often fairly dextrinous), crystal and darker malts should comprise the grist. May use sugar adjuncts. English hop varieties would be most suitable, though their character is muted. Characterful English ale yeast.
Vital Statistics:
OG FG IBUs SRM ABV
1030-1039 1005-1010 10-25 12-25 3.0-3.9%
Commercial Examples: Moorhouse Black Cat, Gale’s Festival Mild, Theakston Traditional Mild, Highgate Mild, Sainsbury Mild, Brain’s Dark, Banks's Mild, Coach House Gunpowder Strong Mild, Woodforde’s Mardler’s Mild, Greene King XX Mild, Motor City Brewing Ghettoblaster

1.6 English Bitter

Aroma: The best examples have some malt aroma, often (but not always) with a caramel quality. Mild to moderate fruitiness is common. Hop aroma can range from moderate to none (UK varieties). Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.
Appearance: Light yellow to light copper. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. May have very little head due to low carbonation.
Flavour: Medium to high bitterness. Most have moderately low to moderately high fruity esters. Moderate to low hop flavour (earthy, resiny, and/or floral UK varieties). Low to medium maltiness with a dry finish. Caramel flavours are common but not required. Balance is often decidedly bitter, although the bitterness should not completely overpower the malt flavour, esters and hop flavour. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium-light body. Carbonation low, although bottled and canned examples can have moderate carbonation.
Overall Impression: Low gravity, low alcohol levels and low carbonation make this an easy-drinking beer. Some examples can be more malt balanced, but this should not override the overall bitter impression. Drinkability is a critical component of the style; emphasis is still on the bittering hop addition as opposed to the aggressive middle and late hopping seen in American ales.
History: Originally a draught ale served very fresh under no pressure (gravity or hand pump only) at cellar temperatures (i.e. “real ale”). Bitter was created as a draught alternative (i.e. running beer) to country-brewed pale ale around the start of the 20th century and became widespread once brewers understood how to “Burtonize” their water to successfully brew pale beers and to use crystal malts to add a fullness and roundness of palate.
Comments: The lightest of the bitters, known as just “bitter.” Some modern variants are brewed exclusively with pale malt and are known as golden or summer bitters. Most bottled or kegged versions of UK-produced bitters are higher-alcohol versions of their cask (draught) products produced specifically for export. This style guideline reflects the “real ale” version of the style, not the export formulations of commercial products.
Ingredients: Pale ale, amber, and/or crystal malts, may use a touch of black malt for colour adjustment. May use sugar adjuncts, corn or wheat. English hops. Characterful English yeast. Often medium sulfate water is used.
Vital Statistics:
OG FG IBUs SRM ABV
1030-1039 1006-1010 25-35 4-14 3.0-3.9%
Commercial Examples: Fuller's Chiswick Bitter, Adnams Bitter, Young’s Bitter, Greene King IPA, Oakham Jeffrey Hudson Bitter (JHB), Tetley’s Original Bitter, Brakspear Bitter, Boddington's Pub Draught
 
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