Written by adam on Jun 22, 2006
Beer Terminology, part 2: The Specialties
It is now time to turn our attention to the specialty groups of the world of beer. The following is a list that I have compiled and researched based on their prominence in U.S. beer culture. I know that there are a lot of things left out, such as I.P.A.'s. If you want to suggest some to list, then feel free to shout out in the comments.
Black, dense, and roasty flavored, these are the badasses of the beers. Even thought their alcohol isn't dramatically higher than that of other beers (6-7%), the thick, dark consistency has a mental aspect on its viewers. Drink me and get drunk. This is for serious beer drinkers. Stouts get their dark color from the dark-roasted malt. They are fermented by top-fermenting yeasts, which make them ales. Examples: Guiness, Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout.
Kissing cousin to the stout, porters are slightly lighter in color and texture. They are more dark amber colored than dark black like stouts. The flavor is roasty with a hint of chocolate and caramel due to the roasting process. Examples: Anchor Steam Porter.
This is a tough one to really point out. Most beers that are pilseners will be labeled as such on the bottle. But if you did a blind taste test between a German Lager and a Czech Pilsener, you might not be able to tell the difference. A pilsener is a Czech beer that is basically a light beer fermented at lower temperatures. Pilseners tend to be very hoppy. Examples: Labatt Blue, Lowenbrau, Grolsch.
A German term for "strong beer." Sometimes the name of such a beer will have the suffix "ator." Funny thing about the term Bock is the way it is used in Texas. The Texas Acoholic Beverage Commission is very strict about alcohol in this great state, and they sometimes go to lengths regarding the alcoholic strength. In Texas, an ale above a certain percentage of alcohol cannot be labeled an ale, but must be labeled a "Bock." When Celis brewery was located in Austin, it had to label their Pale Ale as a Pale Bock for this reason. Examples: Shiner bock, Spaten Optimator, Sierra Nevada Pale Bock.
Malt Beer - Also called malt liquor, these are just beers with higher concentrations of alcohol. Basically, you can get drunker on the same amout of liquid. When I was in college, someone told be of this great beer called Natural Light. They bought be a six-pack, and I drank it all. I have never been more sick in my entire life. Even the thought of drinking "Natty" turns my stomach to this day. It has such a sour bite to the flavor, I can't even smell it. Exmples: Natural Light, Colt 45, Schlitz