Specialty Beer Style
- Color: Very light to black depending on the underlying style
- Clarity: Clear to hazy is acceptable
- Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies depending on intention of brewer
- Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Very low to very high
- Perceived Bitterness: Very low to very high
- Fermentation Characteristics: Specialty Beers are brewed with atypical fermentable sugars, grains and/or starches which contribute to alcohol content. The distinctive attributes of these special ingredients should be present in the aroma, ﬂavor and overall balance of the beer. Examples could include maple syrup, agave, potatoes, wild rice or any other sources of carbohydrate not commonly used in modern beer styles. Beers containing wheat are categorized in one of several wheat beer styles. The use of rice or corn would not normally be considered unusual since these adjuncts are commonly used in beer production. However, beers made with rice or corn varieties which imbue highly distinctive flavor attributes might be categorized as Specialty Beers.
- Body: Varies with underlying style
- Additional notes: Classifying these beers can be complex. Within the framework of these guidelines, nuts generally impart much more ﬂavor than fermentables, and beers containing nuts are categorized as Field Beers. Likewise, within the framework of these guidelines, coconut is deﬁned as a vegetable and beers containing coconut are categorized as Field Beers. Beers brewed with honey are categorized as Specialty Honey Beers. Beers brewed with roots, seeds, ﬂowers etc. which exhibit herbal and/or spicy characters are categorized as Herb and Spice Beers. While beers brewed with fruits or vegetables may derive fermentable carbohydrate from those sources, they are most appropriately categorized within various Fruit Beer or Field Beer categories. Spiced or fruited versions of beers made with unusual fermentables are categorized as Experimental Beers as they represent a combination of multiple categories.
When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as type or form of unusual carbohydrate source used or other factors which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
Specialty Beer Vital Statistics
- Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.140+ (7.6-32.1+ °Plato)
- Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.030+ (1.5-7.6+ °Plato)
- Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.0%-20+% (2.5%-25+%)
- Bitterness (IBU) 1-100
- Color SRM (EBC) 1-100(2-200 EBC)
2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines used with permission of Brewers Association.
Credit: 2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines – Hybrid/Mixed Lagers or Ale – Specialty Beer