Beer Style Question

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I am fairly new to making beer and I have a question about beer styles.
What makes the different styles what they are? For example if you do a
search for Belgium Trippel to will find hundreds of recipes with a large
variance in ingredients. What is it that makes it a Trippel? I find this for
every style I have come across. Is there a site out there that will clarify
this. I have the Brewers Association document on Beer Styles but it is
pretty vague in this respect. I find this with all of the sites and
documents I have come across. someone enlighten me or please point me in the
right direction.



--
"The speed of light is faster than the speed of sound. This explains why
some people appear to be bright until they open their mouth."



Re: Beer Style Question



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Beer styles are defined at
http://www.bjcp.org/styles04
The Belgian Tripel is defined at
http://www.bjcp.org/styles04/Category18.html#style18C
If I were going through the efforts to make a Belgian
Tripel, I would go further and make a Belgian Dark Strong
Ale - specifically a Chimay Grande Reserve clone.
http://www.bjcp.org/styles04/Category18.html#style18E
Dick

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Only for the purposes of American brewing companies. The Belgians would be
highly unlikely to agree with that definition.

-Steve



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I've heard the same thing.  The Belgians are blessed with such good yeast
that they don't subscribe to any one description for a particular beer
style.  They just make whatever tastes good (which is darn near everything).

--
Dave
"Fill your cup with whatever bitter brew you're drinking." -- Brad Paisley



Re: Beer Style Question


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The only people who really pay attention to the BJCP styles are homebrewers
(even then, not all of them).  Most commercial brewers, American or not, tend
to pretty much ignore the style definitions and call their beer whatever they
want to.


John.

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   I'd disagree with that.  Brewers in general label their
beers in a way that will not confuse their customers.  And
while they may not be as limited as judges in a homebrew
competition, the main way they do that is to use stylistic
designations.  For instance, what style if Rogue's Shakespear
Stout?  Bigfoot Barleywine-style Ale?  New Begium Trippel?
   Now, I'm sure you can come up with a lot of examples of
beer that doesn't have a stylistic designation, but that
doesn't mean brewers go at it completely at random.
--
Joel Plutchak

"Things just fall apart." - Now They'll Sleep (Belly)

Re: Beer Style Question


Joel wrote:
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What style is Michelob's "Amber Bock"?

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Re: Beer Style Question


The Artist Formerly Known as Kap'n Salty wrote:
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I believe in France they call that a "Mauvais?"


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I am fairly certain that in France they call it "Eaux grasses".

Dick



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   "Now, I'm sure you can come up with a lot of examples of
beer that doesn't have a stylistic designation, but that
doesn't mean brewers go at it completely at random."
--
Joel Plutchak

"Things just fall apart." - Now They'll Sleep (Belly)

Re: Beer Style Question


Joel wrote:
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But Michelob's Amber Bock *does* have a stylistic designation.

Actually, I agree with you for the most part (I was just making a
funny), but I think the accuracy of the designation largely depends on
how the brewery perceives it's intended audience.

Rouge probably assumes some reasonable level of sophistication on the
part of its drinkers; Michelob... not so much. I think in the latter
cases, style designations (or the lack thereof) stem more from marketing
considerations than anything else.

--
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Re: Beer Style Question



The Artist Formerly Known as Kap'n Salty wrote:

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What's more, if the inappropriately named beer becomes popular, it
starts to seriously alter the market's perception of what that style
really is. Case in point: Keith's India Pale Ale from Nova Scotia.
Bland, watered-down yellow stuff that never came within 100 feet of a
hop. It's actually pretty close to tasting like BudMillerCoors. Ask
John Q. Canadian what an IPA tastes like and I guarantee they'll
describe that. What's worse, if you serve a real IPA, they'll think
*you're* the one who's nuts.


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In the former as well.

To paraphrase a well-known marketing axiom:

Nobody has gone broke underestimating the sophistication of
beer-drinkers...

I would imagine the sophisitcation that Rouge is assuming is on the
part of beer judges in commercial compititions than that of its
drinkers.  The mere fact that their marketing uses "if we won medals,
you'll like our beer" strategy in their advertising indicates that they
aren't all that impressed with the sophisitcation of their drinkers.
All they expect from they expect from their drinkers is their money.

ab


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Eeeh... most small breweries tend to get those straight. Here in the
nordic countries, and to an even larger extent in the baltic region
and eastern europe, the beer style on the bottle has nothing to do
with the content. Here are some examples that are fairly well-used:

Porter:
- Can mean anything from a 4,5% dark lager to a 8% imperial stout
Irish ale:
- Look above
Pilsner:
- Usually just any pale lager
Pale ale:
- I've seen many bitters use this name
Doppelbock:
- Usually used for any lager, dark or light, featuring more than 6%.
Except in Germany of course
Red/amber ale/lager:
- Tend to be just darker lagers
British ale:
- Eeh...don't even get me started

This is a wide generalisation. But try countries like Poland,
Germany, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Denmark, Russia and other beer
countries and you will see that more often than not, my
generalisations are better than those used by "beer freaks", at least
when it comes to larger breweries.

M



Re: Beer Style Question



Get the book "Designing Great Beers" by Ray Daniels. It's a good place
to
start.


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BierNewbie
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Re: Beer Style Question


Trippels are pretty easy. Use a good Belgian yeast strain and all pale
malts. Tripples are named (though there is some debate) because they
are generally triple the strength of a more normal beer.

Use all 2 row, or pale malt extract. Shoot for about 1.080-90, but dont
do that will all malt. Shoot for about 1.050 with malt and add corn
sugar to the boil to boost the gravity. Use promash to do the
calculations...or email me with your desired batch size and I'll do it
for you. The corn sugar will make a drier beer.

Use plenty of oxygen before you pitch the yeast for a vigorous ferment
and allow it to ferment warm...around 80 or so. This will highlight the
phenolics and esthers of the belgian yeast strain. I prefer Wyeast
3944.


Walter Venables wrote:
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The character of the resulting beer. And, no joke, whatever the brewer calls
it, within reason. It's like asking what makes French bread what it is?

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You've chosen a particularly problematic example. There is no definition of
tripel, and historically there was no choesive style. The name was a simple
indicator of strength, reflecting the older brewing technique of pulling
multiple worts from the same mash. If, for example, three worts would be
pulled, the first (and therefore strongest) would be called tripel.

In modern times, it tends to follow the example set by Westmalle and their
tripel. But historically (and IIRC there are some extant modern Belgian
examples) a tripel didn't have to be light-colored, relatively dry and
having a light character for its alcohol content due to the use of a
significant portion of sugar in the boil.

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That's because outside of competitions, some homebrewers, and some
excessively anal beer geeks, nobody is terribly concerned with nailing down
styles with absolute precision. Take porter and stout: in general, the only
things the names will tell you is to expect a dark beer with varying degrees
of roast character, and that within the same brewery the stout is likely to
be the stronger of the two. But beyond that, whatever the brewer decides to
call it is what it is.

That's not to say that the broad styles don't have meaning: an IPA that
tasted like a doppelbock would be a crap IPA. But trying to make a firm
distinction between an IPA and a pale ale is like trying to decide how many
angels can dance on the head of a pin.

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Here's the best enlightenment I can give you: brew beer you like to drink
and that tastes good to you. That's far more important, and rewarding, than
trying to shoehorn it into what are in many cases totally arbitrary style
definitions.

-Steve



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Hey, a few of us resemble that remark.  Well, I don't know about
"excessively", but a little anal perhaps.  And for good reason, I think.

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I agree with you on the porter vs. stout thing.  However, I can call a
feather "macaroni" and it still doesn't make it macaroni to anyone but
myself.

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Ha!  You must be talking about McEwan's IPA.  Nothing like an IPA, nothing
like it at all, English or otherwise.  Very little hops to speak of.  But
still a splendid beer.

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I tend to agree with you, that if it tastes good to you, then it is good,
for you.  However, I do think there is a good reason for specific style
guidelines.  The main reason for categorization of beers is so you can tell
an outsider with confidence, before they try it, "This is an English IPA,"
where if they're knowledgeable at all about beer, they're expecting a
certain thing... an elevated degree of floral English hops balanced by
caramel malt or whatever.  If you instead handed them an American IPA, with
a blast of grapefruity, resiny hop flavor and aroma, that just ain't right.
There is a huge difference between the two, and lumping it all together and
just calling it "IPA", or even "good beer", is not fair to the beer
enthusiast.  We need these definitions so we have a general sense of what
we're getting.  And Lord knows, when you're spending, for example, $8,
whether it be for a 6-pack or even a single bottle of beer (and occasionally
even more than that), it sure would be nice to have a general idea in
advance of whether you'd like it or not.

And, if you're a homebrewer craving a little bit of objective feedback and
perhaps the occasional ribbon, I think you deserve to know if your beer is
good or bad.  We can all make decent beer that makes ourselves happy.  But
it is another thing to make a brew that someone else agrees is really good.
It just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  We all need a little bit
of recognition from time to time.  Some of us get that feeling in other
ways, outside of brewing.  Likewise, for some of us, brewing is a
significant part of our lives and it's nice to get some recognition that
we're not wasting our time giving beer away to friends, who perhaps secretly
think it tastes like crap.  I would like to know if my beer tastes terrible,
and how to improve it for next time.  Beer styles provide a basis of
comparison for brewers and judges alike.  It's an unavoidable means of
comparison for people craving just the slightest bit of recognition.  Myself
included.  That's my thought on it.

--
Dave
"Fill your cup with whatever bitter brew you're drinking." -- Brad Paisley



Re: Beer Style Question


So basically what I am getting is that there isn't a site out there that
will shed light on this subject and all beer is the same??

It would be like if you took any style of pasta add some meat and cheese you
could call it lasagna.. Personally I don't think so. There must be some
sense to this somewhere. I guess I will just have to keep looking. Thanks to
all that have responded.


--
"The speed of light is faster than the speed of sound. This explains why
some people appear to be bright until they open their mouth."



Re: Beer Style Question


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As others have stated, the BJCP is a good guideline. For ales and a
limited number of lagers Daniel's book (Designing Great Beers) is good
too - the second half is all about designing according to style
guidelines.

(Sorry - been away for a while)

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John Bleichert          syborg@earthlink.net
The heat from below can burn your eyes out!!

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