Dark Beer

American Brown Ale

Malt aroma features chocolate and caramel malts, rather than fermentation character. Hop aroma and bitterness medium to strong, with some versions accenting citrusy American hops. 4.5%-6% ABV.

Barley Wine

Suggestive blast of vinous fruit on aroma and palate with biscuity malt and spicy hops throughout. Bittersweet in finish but with good bitter hop balance; fatness of mouth feel from alcoholic strength, plus spirituous fieriness/booziness in young examples. Generally 6-12% ABV.

Belgian Style Dubbel

Rich sweet maltiness on the nose suggestive of chocolate, toasted brioche or caramel; the nose can also feature dried fruit such as raisins as well as a hint of pepperiness from the hop; sometimes banana-like esters are also present. Rich on the palate with chocolate, toastiness or caramel, along with dried fruit — bitterness is medium and no spices. Medium to high carbonation. Generally 6-7.5% ABV.

Belgian Style Strong

Expect dark chocolate, coffee, raisins, peppery hop and warming alcohol notes on the nose; palate also features chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, expressions of malt complexity and a long characterful finish. Covers beers that come under the Trappist and Abbey appellations, as well as Quadrupels. Generally 8.5-12% ABV.

Black IPA

Colour ranging from dark chestnut to moonless night black. Manages to combine the rich tropical fruit/ripe peach skin/grapefruit notes of an American IPA with a hint of dark malts, though roastiness should be light. Palate is light and shade with big hop character (grapefruit/lychee/orange perhaps) contrasted with a tarry (but not roast) dark maltiness. Big lasting finish. Generally 4.7-7.5% ABV, though there are imperial versions. Also called India Dark Ale, Cascadian Dark and Hoppy Black Beer/Ale.

English Brown Ale

Warm fermented, malty aroma and palate, often with chocolate, caramel, nutty, coffee or liquorice notes. Light hops throughout but not dominating. Bittersweet finish with biscuity, malt and chocolate/coffee notes. Generally 3-5.5% ABV.

Mild

Dark in colour though there is also a British tradition of light-coloured milds as well. Aroma is delicate and malt-accented with elements of caramel, grain, chocolate, mocha or light roastiness. Low bitterness on the palate with the emphasis on malt character, which can suggest chocolate, weak coffee, dark fruits or caramel, while the finish can be dry or sweet. Generally 3.2-4.5% ABV, though there are stronger versions going up to 6%.

Oud Bruin

Blend of old aged beer and young. Red-brown in colour with sweet-sour aromas on the nose, sometimes reminiscent of vinegar. The palate is fruity, quenching, gently tart, with hints of dark malts, vanilla, caramel sweetness and sometimes sour cherry. Generally 4.8-6% ABV, though some can be stronger.

Strong

Vinous fruit and roasted grain on the nose with peppery hop resins. Fruit and grain dominate the palate but bitter hops balance fruit and malt in the finish. The ABV ranges can vary.

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Flavoured Beer

Chocolate & Coffee

Any cold or warm fermented beer made with the addition of chocolate or coffee. Aroma and palate determined by the ingredient used. The ABV ranges can vary. NB does not include coffee and chocolate stouts and porters.

Fruit & Vegetable

Any beer made with addition of fruits or vegetables — aromas and palate determined by type of fruit/vegetable added. NB: not made by spontaneous fermentation.

Herb & Spice

Any cold or warm fermented beer made with addition of ingredients such as heather or ginger; can also include herbs and vegetables — aromas and palate determined by type of adjunct used. The ABV ranges can vary.

Honey & Maple

Any cold or warm fermented beer made with addition of honey or maple — aromas and palate determined by type of honey used. The ABV ranges can vary.

Smoke

Any cold or warm fermented beer. Rauchbier is associated with the Bamberg region of Germany, using malt kilned over beech wood fires, though many other breweries throughout the world have attempted this style; other variations on smoke flavoured beer can include the use of peat smoked barley. This means that the aroma and palate can range from intense chariness to delicate peat smokiness. ABVs can vary.

Spirit

Beers made with an addition of spirits, integrating the spirit taste into the beer.

Wood Aged

Beer that has been aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or has been in contact with wood. Aromas and palate determined by type of wood, such as new oak, used sherry, Bourbon, Scotch, port, wine etc. The ABV ranges can vary.

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Lager

Vienna

Rich malt aroma with a slightly toasted element; more malt on the palate balanced by light fruit and aromatic hops. Bittersweet finish with malt to the fore but with a hop bitterness in the finish, though not overwhelming. Generally 4.8-6% ABV.

Bock

Even though most Bocks are dark chestnut brown, some can be pale, hence Hellerbock. On both nose and palate they are bready and malty with a vinous fruitiness and a gentle but sustained noble hop bitterness. Hints of figs, dates and coffee appear in darker versions. Generally 6-8% ABV.

Czech-style Pale

Ranges from pale to yellow gold in colour; toasted grain and floral, herbal, grassy hop aromas. Ripe, juicy malt and tangy hops with light citrus fruit in the mouth. Long, lingering finish, balanced between malt dryness and tart hop bitterness. Medium body. 4-5.5% ABV.

Dark

Malt-accented with dark grain, chocolate and coffee notes. Hops are light but give good solid underpinning to the malt. Generally 4.4-6% ABV.

Dortmunder

Cold fermented, rich and mellow toasted malt on aroma and palate, with spicy hops and some light citrus fruit in the mouth and the palate. Generally 5-6.5% ABV.

German-style Pale

Ranges from pale to yellow gold in colour; on the nose aromas can be a sweet mild graininess/breadiness or a delicate citrus fruit (lemon). On the palate, there’s a crispness in the mouth feel, with notes of mellow toasted grain and juicy citrus followed by a dry finish that also has a polite well-mannered bitterness. Very refreshing. 4-6% ABV.

Helles/Münchner

Light to heavy gold in colour with malt sweetness and a light dusting of floral and spicy hops on aroma and palate. Clean tasting with a long gentle finish of malt and light hop bitterness. Generally 4.8-5.4% ABV.

No alcohol

Lagers that either have no alcohol or are less than 0.1% ABV. Colours can vary.

Low Carb/Low Alcohol 0.1 – 2%

Lagers that have been specifically brewed to have low carbohydrate content and or a low ABV between 0.1 and 2%.

Seasonal

This includes Oktoberfestbier, Marzen and Maibock. Amber to red in colour; aromas are biscuity malt with a balance of floral hop. Spicy hops build in the mouth with juicy malt. Hop bitterness and juicy malt combine in finish. Generally 5-6% ABV.

Strong

This includes Doppelbock. Heady alcoholic nose with a grainy maltiness; medium bodied, spirituous, some grainy malt and delicate hop, can have a medium sweetness and a medium carbonation. Generally 7.5-12% ABV.

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Pale Beer

Altbier

Rich malt aroma and palate balanced by light fruit and aromatic hops. Bittersweet finish with malt to the fore but with good lingering hop notes. Generally 4.8-6% ABV.

Amber

Reddish-brown in colour. Gentle malt character on the palate with caramel-influenced earthiness, toffee and milky coffee hints and a restrained roastiness; hop character can range from delicate fruitiness (think the ghost of orange jelly) to American style assertiveness; some spicy notes can be detected. Medium body. 4-7% ABV.

Belgian Style Ale

Amber in colour, though can veer towards golden shades; nose can feature mild notes of caramel, gently toasted Demerara and delicate fruitiness (possibly orange). Palate can feature caramel, some roasted malt, fruit (orange or even banana), a very slight undercurrent of yeast spiciness, while finish is crisp, dry and restrained in its bitterness. Light to medium body. 4-7% ABV.

Belgian Style Blonde

Honeyed sweetish nose with citrus notes and a hint of candy sugar sweetness, sometimes banana esters make an appearance; palate is a balance of moderate-to-high carbonation, creamy maltiness, light honey, some hop spiciness, citrus, a prickling bitterness and dry finish. Generally 6-7.5% ABV.

Belgian Style Tripel

Complex honeyed nose with delicate orange notes (though also some banana-like esters), a restrained sweetness and even a hint of pineapple and ripe peach skin; can also have a perfumed hoppiness. The mouth feel on the palate is full with rich citrusy and tropical fruit notes, a creamy maltiness and a bittersweet and often warming finish. Moderate to high carbonation. Generally 7.5-9.5% ABV.

Belgian Style Strong

Ripe banana and pear notes on the nose with spicy hoppiness and a wanton booziness; rich fruity palate with orchard fruits to the fore, grainy, cereal notes mid palate, warming alcohol, spicy hop and a fruity, dry finish. Colour ranges from blonde to dark amber. Medium to high carbonation. Generally 7-11% ABV.

Barley Wine

Massive vinous fruit on aroma and palate with biscuity malt and spicy hops throughout. Bittersweet in finish but with good bitter hop balance. Colour ranges from dark gold to chestnut. Generally 6-12% ABV.

Bière de Garde/Saison

This includes all Saison, Bière de Garde and Farmhouse ales. Warm fermented but may use lager yeast. Saison has a flinty, spicy, peppery nose with spice, hops, herbal notes, a restrained sweetness and a dry finish; bière de garde is a very close cousin, though it classically has a deeper malt character. May be pale, copper, or russet. Generally 6.5-8.5% ABV.

Bitter up to 4%

Grainy, bittersweet nose with a dash of citrus or tropical fruit hoppiness; the palate is bittersweet, biscuity, light, citrusy leading to a dry bittersweet finish. Low carbonation.

Bitter 4 – 5%

Grainy, bittersweet nose as with the other bitters, with a slightly greater ABV, and even more pronounced tropical fruit and citrus notes; the palate is bittersweet, biscuity, full, citrusy leading to a dry bittersweet finish. Low carbonation.

Bitter over 5%

Faint estery nose, suggestive of soft fruit, banana perhaps, along with Seville orange style citrusiness plus an undercurrent of rich biscuity malt (bitters with US or Aus/NZ hops will show different aromatic and fruity characteristics); palate is thicker, fatter than before, full of continuation of fruit, has a firm malty backbone, and an assertive bittersweet finish that swells with time. Low carbonation.

Cream Ales

Light floral, spicy or herbal nose with sweet corn notes and even DMS at low levels; palate is well-attenuated and crisp with low-to-moderate malty sweetness and low hop bitterness with neither dominating, and a low-to-medium corny flavour common. Traditionally a sparkling ale version of American light lager. Generally 4.2-7.5.7% ABV.

Golden

Light maltiness features, citrus fruit, well-defined hop aroma and bitterness. Light yellow to deep gold in colour, clear to brilliant. Juicy malt on palate and the finish has continuing hop bitterness and fruit. The ABV ranges can vary.

Imperial/Double IPA

Assertive and bolshy; hint of allium savouriness on the nose along deep booming citrus notes; plenty of citrus and tropical fruit on the palate, all balanced by a firm spine of malt. Long dry finish with plenty of bitterness showing through. Generally 7-8.5% ABV though some can move above this.

IPA

Powerful hop resins and juicy citrus on the nose with light malt. Juicy malt in the mouth but main character comes from hop resins and citrus/tropical fruit. Pale or light bronze. Generally 5-7% ABV, though Session IPAs start at 4%.

Kölsch

Malt on nose (alongside a soft hint of strawberry) and palate, soft, creamy palate from soft water, with light fruit and perfumey hops. Generally 4.5-5% ABV.

Low-strength

Under 3% ABV. Moderate malt with good hop aroma and moderate bitterness on palate. Some citrus fruit.

Pale Ale

Light maltiness and delicate floral hops on the nose; medium bodied with biscuity maltiness, fruity citrus and a bitter finish; American-style pale ales have a brighter and more colourful hop character. Generally 4-5% ABV.

Seasonal

Can include summer ales, which have a golden hue and lightness in their malt and hop footprint; ruddier harvest and autumnal beers that make use of the new season’s malt and hops; also includes green hop beers.

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Sour Beer

Gose/Others

Top fermented; colour ranges from pale gold to amber-gold, is often hazy. Nose characteristics can include a tart wheatiness, grapefruit, mild lemon, herbal spiciness or fresh ozone. On the palate, it is tart and refreshing, has a sour bite that is not overwhelming, friendly rather than aggressive; the use of salt adds a fullness to the mouth feel, though any identification of saltiness is slight. The finish can be appetisingly dry, lemony and slightly herbal with a slight reverberation of sourness. Generally 4-5.5%. Others can include Berliner Weisse, Lichtenhainer and Grodziskie.

Gueuze

Blend of Lambics of several ages producing a champagne style spritziness, grapefruit tanginess and a long dry finish. Generally 5-7.5% ABV.

Fruit Lambic

Beer with Oud Bruin/lamic base flavoured with the above fruits, featuring tart, slightly acidic notes plus earthy ‘horse-blanket’ character; some will be sweeter than others. Generally 4-7% ABV.

Lambic

Tart acidic beers fermented with wild yeast, have been aged and often blended — sharp grapefruit/lemon nose with earthy ‘horse-blanket’ notes and an acidic, quenching and refreshing palate and a dry finish. Generally 5-7% ABV.

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Speciality Beer

Brut/Champagne Beers

Warm fermented. Colour ranges from pale to a hefty dark brown verging on black. The nose can be fresh and sparkling, with the aromatics including a delicate burst of citrus alongside medicinal, yeasty herbal notes; the palate is brisk with a high carbonation, soft and moussec-like mouth feel and include herbal and lemony notes, while the finish has a champagne-like dryness. As well as being imbued with the spritziness of champagne, it can often remind the drinker of a dry dessert wine such as Montbazziliac. Most are strong in alcohol, up to 12%, though there are examples of much weaker ones at around 5%.

Experimental

Anything that will not fit any other style and is something completely new and special. If an experimental beer has been submitted, please tell us why it is experimental.

Gluten-free

Can be ales, lagers or wheat beers, a variety of colours and ABVs, but must have less than 20 parts per million gluten (20ppm).

Rice

Cold fermented and brewed with high proportion of rice (but not enough to be classified as Happoshu). The ABV ranges can vary.

Rye

Beer made with a high proportion (15%) of rye. Warm fermented, big dark and spicy malt aroma with dark fruit and peppery hops. Bready, biscuity, grainy palate with dark fruit and hops. The ABV ranges can vary.

Steam

A hybrid beer with elements of both lager and ale in its character, usually achieved by brewing lager yeasts at ale fermentation temperatures. Highly effervescent. The ABV ranges can vary.

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Stout & Porter

Flavoured Stout / Porter

Any stout or porter made with the addition of one of the many flavours used in brewing. The ABV ranges can vary.

Imperial Stout

A potent stout. Roasted grain to the fore, with dark, burnt fruit and powerful bitterness. A light caramel sweetness can also be evident. 6.5% ABV and upwards.

Porter

Rich dark grain, coffee and chocolate aroma and palate with solid hop bitterness. Long and quenching finish, becoming dry and hoppy but with rich dark grain character. Generally 4-6.5% ABV.

Stout

Roasted grain to the fore, with dark, burnt fruit, a crisp, crunchy dryness and hop bitterness that can be assertive in some (hints of ground espresso coffee beans can also be discerned). In some British stouts a light caramel sweetness can also be evident with hints of dark chocolate; oyster stouts can have an edge of palate acidity/brininess. Generally 4-5% ABV.

Strong Porter

Dark reddish copper to opaque dark brown with rich malty sweetness containing caramel, toffee, nutty to deep toast, and liquorice notes. Generally 5.5-9.5% ABV, though some can touch 12%.

Sweet/Milk/Oatmeal Stout

Beers made with the addition of oatmeal to the grist or residual/added sugars. Full bodied mouth feel with sweet caramel flavours, low bitterness. Generally 3.2-4.8% ABV.

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Wheat Beer

Alcohol Free

No / very low alcohol wheat beer, less than 0.5% ABV; can be Bavarian or Belgian.

Bavarian Hefeweiss

Banana custard and cloves on the nose with a champagne-like spritziness in some; palate is continuation of the bananas and cloves with a medium to high carbonation, can also have an oily texture, finishes cleanly with a sweep of bananas and cloves once more. Generally 4.8%-5.9% ABV

Bavarian Kristal

Has a cleaner nose than its Hefeweiss cousin, still the banana and cloves but much more restrained. Palate is prickly with carbonation on the tongue, restrained banana and cloves notes and a dry finish. Generally 4.8%-5.9% ABV

Belgian Style Witbier

Spicy, herby nose that is reminiscent of cloves and crushed coriander seed, though banana-like esters and rich orange notes can also be noted. On palate tends to be spicy and almost peppery, with the use of spices such as coriander seeds and curaçao, orange peel. Dry finish with lingering spice. Generally 4%-7% ABV.

Dark

Colour is dark amber to dark brown, and the body should be light to medium in character. Aromatic toffee-like, caramel, or biscuit-like characters may be part of the overall flavour and aroma profile. Generally 4.3-5.6% ABV.

Strong

Spices, raisin fruit, baked bananas and cloves; chocolate notes if dark malts used; brisk carbonation. High ABV.

Key Dates

Entry deadline
27 May 2016

Samples need to be received by
USA - 10 June, Canada - 13 June, Rest of World - 20 June

Rounds 1 & 2
June 2016

Country Winners - Round 3
July 2016

Final Judging
August 2016

Winners Announced
23 September 2016