How do you like your beer? High ABV? Low IBU? Do you prefer an amber over an IPA? Or maybe a stout rather than a lager? Do you have any idea what any of this means? If you’re a bit lost on these terms, you’re not alone. Beer lingo can be confusing, and knowing how to describe the kind of beer that tickles your fancy is sometimes difficult. Here is some general knowledge to better prepare you next time you find yourself trying to decide which pint is right for you.
There are two main categories of beer: ales and lagers. The main distinction is in the yeast and the fermentation process. Ales are produced in higher temperatures over a shorter period of time using a top-fermenting yeast. They are typically far more complex, aromatic and flavourful than lagers. Lagers require low temperatures and a bottom-fermenting yeast that takes a longer time to ferment. They tend to be light-bodied and highly carbonated which gives them a distinctively smooth, crisp taste. Here is a bit more information on the types of beers you may or may not be familiar with.
An Amber beer gets its name from its light to dark amber or copper colour. It is an ale, typically medium-bodied and can be malty, hoppy, or balanced.
India Pale Ale (IPA)
IPA’s are medium-bodied and gold to copper in colour, defined by pronounced hops and strong citrus or floral characteristics along with a crisp mouthfeel.
Also an ale, dry stouts have a dark colour and are medium-bodied. Lightly carbonated and hopped, stouts have a bitter coffee-like finish.
If you find it easier to choose a beer by describing its characteristics rather than its name, here are a few things to know.
Alcohol by volume (ABV) refers to the amount of alcohol present in a beer by volume. So, as ABV increases, so does the amount of alcohol in your beer.
International bittering units (IBU) is a rating system that gauges how bitter the beer is on a scale from 1 to 100. The IBU rating is not always accurate because of other characteristics in the beer like malt or caramel notes masking the bitterness, but it does give you a general idea.
Malted cereal grains like barley, wheat rye and oats are used to make the yeast sugar in the alcohol. Malt gives the beer its colour and sweetness, and words like “bready” and “biscuity” are often used to describe the mouthfeel.
The spice you taste in a beer comes from the hops. Any beer that is bitter and has a citrus, floral, or earthy finish means you’re tasting hops. This ingredient is essential for giving beer its specific bitterness and aroma. With a wide variety of hops out there, brewers often mix different kinds to create new and exciting flavours.
Want to learn more about our Ridge Rock beer? Take a peek at our available beers or stop by our brewery to try a few of our craft beers!