Types Of Beers

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I love my beer. Which is what led me to home brew.
But there is so many types of Beers as in name wise.
I usually drink VB and i thought as far as beers go there are light beers, Bitter beers, Lager beers, etc now ive learnt more i am so wrong.
What defines what the beer is called?
What the hell have i brewed then if i were to catagorise it into a catagory?
Ale= Light Ale
Lager= Darker Ale
Is this correct .
do a quick web search for BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) and most of todays styles are explained.

Now as to ales and lagers

Ales are fermented at warm (17-21C) temps with a top fermenting yeast (big krausen develops) Ale (and bread) yeasts are strains of Sacharomyces cereviscea(sp?)

Lagers are fermented cold (8-10c is ideal) with a lager or bottom fermenting yeast (much smaller krausen) I forget just what lager yeast is called ATM, but it is a different genus and species to the ale yeast

Ales are best fermented open, just a teatowel over the fermenter, though few do this :)

Jovial Monk
first welcome to homebrewing.

categorizing beers (especially homebrews) can be pretty confusing as there are so many different styles, some of which are difficult to differentiate, and many which can be easily put into more than one category. as j_m said the two basic types are ale and lager (mainly by the yeast used). and from there, the styles are ever expanding. ill pm you a link where you can do lots more research. or, just head to your nearest (or best stocked) bottleshop and do some serious home work!!
Aint it great to see another one find another layer to the beauty of brewing.
It sure is, Linz, and seeing its about styles, I can't help but stick my head in the thread :p

I keep a copy of the BJCP styles doco in my work bag and read it when I'm thinking about beer on the train. I have absorbed a lot about the styles. However, they're only of use for competitions. If you have 200+ beers and need to rank them against each other, the only fair way is to make the entrants brew to a style then judge the styles against each other.

When you get right down to it, there are only 2 types of beer, as JM has pointed out above. It's either a Lager or it's an ale and in some cases, a blend (ie when 2 or more beers are fermented with different yeasts then combined).

I presently have a beer on that doesn't fit ANYWHERE in the BJCP style guides. It's a reddish-brown colour and is hopped with German noble hops for bittering and flavour fermented with an ale yeast. Tastes OK but has a very high FG and doesn't fit into ANY BJCP category. Not to say it's not a nice beer, it just wouldn't score well because it's what I like, not what matches an existing style.... Anyway, NBB, read the style guidelines http://bjcp.org/style-index.html and open your eyes and tastebuds to a good 23 main styles of beer, plus sub-types. (I think most Aussie beers like VB, Hahn, New, Carlton Draught, etc fit into category 1.)
interesting points pomo
i would hate to be a beer judge going by styles etc and would also be not very keen at this stage to enter into any comps unless i was mad keen on a certain style.
my location among other things makes it hard for me to enter into comps.
anyway i like brewing many different styles and im quite sure at times they may not hit certain catagories but that is the least of my probs.
im a homebrewer who stuffs up on occasion but the beer tastes bloody damn good to me and by experimenting im coming up with beer that tastes good to me that i cant buy in the shops.
long live the experiments and the great tasting beer that results.
mmm well it works for me anyway.
sorry about the ramble
Most brewers I think start with trying to copy a beer they like then gradually tune the recipe more and more to their taste. The non-styled beer I mentioned would come closest to 19A Belgian and French Pale Ale. This style dictates "low to none" for hop aroma but I like a hop aroma more than a malt one, so I put in tons of aroma hops then dry hopped going into secondary. The style also dictates spicy aromas (presumably from a Belgian yeast) but I used a clean fermenting ale yeast (Safale).... so colour and gravity are probably right but the wrong hoppiness... anyway, I don't compete yet either, but plan to once I get a few AG's under my belt. While I'm perfecting my technique, I'd rather have experiments that I like to drink. Once I get the technique down pat (ie hitting target OG in mashes, etc) I'll move on to brewing strictly to style and enter anything I think might score well.
mmm still not sure about comps.when i move away from up here and head west i will see how it goes but from what i can gather most of the major comps in oz are located in the eastern states so once again i will have the freight problems.
more headaches than i can bear.
move east big d
Big D

a good comp (like Bathurst) will give you objective feedback on your beers, guiding you to better brewing techniques.

I would urge everyone to enter their beers into good competitions, even into the US NHC comp: you are likely to have one of the two judges be a pro-brewer--good feedback

Todays beer styles don't always bear much relationship to the historical antecedents, a problem for me as I prefer to look back a hundred or two hundred years for inspiration :) E.g. Milds tend to be low alcohol these days but my Milds can be 9%. Another e.g. real India Pale Ales were overhopped then aged and contained neither crystal or grits (adjuncts) I have such a Pale Ale maturing but have doubts it will be properly appreciated in a competition. However, the BJCP style guidelines will give some guidance

Jovial Monk

Jovial Monk
Jovial Monk,

can you please explain your comment regarding the ales and the tea towel? What are the benefits?

- Snow

Also take a look at the PEriodic Beer Table frozen at the top of the Forum, it goes into a bit more details
beer judges.
hmmm what a job.
these guys don't spit it out like the wine critics either.
imagine having 10 wheat beers lined up all of equal quality and picking the best.
then going on and doing the same thing with the next style.

iam gunna hit the comp scene next year. every bugger is on my case about putting my beers in.
The main reason i'll do it is to prove i didn't drain satans veins to make that i.p.a and that it is actually a beer style. my mates think i just lost the plot and ask have you got a draught. hahaha yeah i have a rain water tank why do you ask.
brewing friends can't get enough of it though.

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