German brewers on the western fringe of Gemrany that eschewed the use of lager yeast. Alt means old (old style of making beer using ale yeast) and is associated with the cities of Dusseldorf, Munster and Hanover. Alt beers in general use a warm fermentation with a cold storage. In short, it is an ale that is lagered (stored) and they have the smoothness of a classic lager with the flavors of an ale. Alt beers are light to medium bodies, are less fruity, less yeasty, and have a lower acidity than traditional English ale.
Products: Samuel Adams Boston Ale
From the city of Cologne (just south of Dusseldorf), these beers have the color of a pilsner with some of the fruity character of an ale (they are made with pilsner malts but fermented with ale yeasts). Crips and light with a medium hoppyness that is accented on the finish as dry and herbal.
Products: Samuel Adams
German Malted Wheat Ales
From southern Germany – medium body and pale to golden in color. Some cloudiness form up to 60% wheat (protein haze). It is also bottle conditioned (2ndary fermentation) and so will have some yeast in the liquid as well that will contribute to cloudiness. It is lightly hopped. This yeast strain produces a clove like nose with some slight banana).
Products: Pyramid Hefeweizen, Victory Sunrise Weiss, Paulaner Weissbier, Penn Weizen
American style wheat beers do not have the clove, banana flavors. They have a full body and crispness from the wheat but use a regular ale yeast, not the German Hefe-weizen yeast.
Products: Samuel Adams Hefeqeizen, Samuel Adams Summer Ale
It is a dark version of Hefe-weizen. The emphasis is on dark malts.
Products: Dunkelweizen, Warsteiner Dunkel
Weizenbock – “veye-tssen-bock” (Do NOT pronounce it “wisen-bock”)
Weizenbock is the strong version of an unfiltered Weissbier or Hefeweizen. It is usually made with 60-70% wheat malt. (German law requires that Weizenbier, regardless of strength, be made from at least 50% wheat). They are pale to amber, and sometimes use slightly caramelized barley malts that give the beer a full-bodied mouthfeel and a rich and satisfying malty finish. While regular Bockbiers are lagers, Weizenbocks are all ales. They still have the banana and clove flavors (esters) from the yeast typically used in these malted wheat ales.
Belgian Unmalted Wheat Ales
Will produce a protein haze from the wheat.
Wit or White
Medium body made with up to 50% un-malted wheat. It is stronger and maltier than the German Weiss beers but not as acidic. Cloudy, tangy and sharp with hints of orange and honey, it is often spied with Curacao orange peel and coriander (a holdover from the gruit days) and can sometimes incorporate oats.
Products: Samuel Adams White Ale, Hoegaarden Witbier, Blue Moon, Samuel Adams Imperial White
Only made in the Senne region of Belgium (south of Brussels) using unique straings of wild yeast in open air fermenters. Up to 40% un-malted wheat is used exhibiting a strong cleanly sour acidic character with low carbonation. Often aged in oak barrels. They can be golden/yellow to pinkish or amber in color. Some blend in fruit. Gueuze indicates a blend of old and young beers.
Products: Samuel Adams Cranbury Lambic
Use a greater number of yeast strains than the original ale varieties found in the U.K. – this makes for a wider range of flavors. Belgium was not a country until 1831 and so has not had the political / tax restraints that influenced style development in other countries.
Single, Dubbel, Trippel - Ales originally from the monasteries of Belgium. Currently, very few working monasteries brew beer within the order, but many have licensed the production of beers bearing their name to large commercial brewers. They vary widely in character but most are quite strong at 6 to 10% ABV. The single is generally darker with less alcohol, while the later can often be lighter or blond in color and have a syrupy, alcoholic mouthfeel.
Belgian-Style Blonde Ale
Not a classic style, but is born of commercially minded brewers making ale of lighter color and more moderate body and alcoholic strength. Fruity Belgian yeast character (phenolic, perfumy, honey like) and mild hopping (orange/lemon like).
Products: Leffe Blond, Affligem Blonde
Belgian Style Amber Ale
Also no classic –being made for a commercial market. Amber-hued, fruity and moderately strong (6% ABV) with yeasty character. Difference between Blonde and amber is arguable.
Belgian-Style Golden Ale
Developed after WWII – Pale to golden in color with a light body but a deceptive alcohol punch (as much as 9% ABV). Heavily hopped that gives a floral nose and a tangy, fruity finish. They typically undergo three fermentations – the last in the bottle producing a huge white head and high effervescence.
Belgian-Style Red Ale
Known as “soured beers” because they are aged for years in large wooden tuns that allow bacterial action to impart a sharp sour character. Low hopping but sometimes cherries are macerated in the younger beer.
There are only seven abbeys in the world making Trappist ales and all of them are in active monasterties, and only these may use the appellation “Trappist.” Six are Belgium and one is in Holland. These ales are bottle conditioned and the yeast strains produce esters that are fruity, spicy and slightly sour notes. They are strong, complex and fully flavored. Trappist designates an everyday ale for the monks, dubble is double strong and triple is triple the strength (for holidays and religious celebrations). These ales are dark amber to brown.
As close to a homebrew as you can get in a commercial product. This is a classic farmhouse beer brewed for summer farm labor consuption in Belium and Northen France. They are made with pale malts and are well dosed in English and Belgium hops. Bottle conditioning makes it well carbonated. They typically have a tart, citric note, show a hoppy character and are golden orange.
Products:Samuel Adams Rustic Saison, Ovila Saison
Biere De Garde (“beer which has been kept”)
Also Flemish and northern France – another farmhouse ale. Brewed in February and March to be consumed in the summer months. Has a malt sweetness and brewed strong (often over %6). Very little hop aroma. Often has a musty, woodsy or cellar like character. It is bottle conditioned and can range in color from golden blonde to reddish-bronze.