Last updated: August 6, 2021

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There's nothing better for you than coming home after a long day at work and opening a cold beer? Or maybe you're looking for an alcoholic change from wine and other drinks? Then our beer test 2021 is just the thing for you, because here we answer everything you need to know about the perfect colour, different types and the optimal taste of your favourite drink.

We also tell you whether you are more of a top-fermented, bottom-fermented or non-alcoholic beer type and how alcohol content, bitterness and original wort are connected. But of course we also provide you with numerous tips and tricks on malt varieties and how you can influence your beer type.




Summary

  • If you want to get an overview of domestic and foreign beers and learn about the diversity of the brewing world, these sets are the right choice.
  • These sets of beers show you the subtle differences within each type of beer, as well as the larger differences between the various beers of the world.
  • Among the many types of beer, there are always surprises in terms of taste. It is worth spending more than one euro on a bottle.

The Best Beer: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying beer

You know how you want your beer to taste and smell and what colour it should be? Then the following information about different types of beer can help you make the right choice that meets all your wishes.

First, we will give you a rough overview. Basic information should serve as a point of reference and the most important differences should be made clear. Then, the most important purchase criteria are presented in the form of tables to help you choose the right products with an overview.

What types of beer are there?

The list of beer types is almost endless and varies greatly from country to country. It is estimated that there are 10000-15000 different types of beer.

Did you know that the first beer was brewed 6000 years ago?

As early as 4000 BC, the Sumerians, the inhabitants of Mesopotamia, knew four different methods of brewing beer. Fermented bread dough was used as the basis.

This variety of types can be divided into types . Here, a distinction is made primarily between ale, i.e. top-fermented, and lager, bottom-fermented beer types.

Produktbild Bier

With a package with a diverse selection, you can try out different types of beer right away. (Image source: pixabay.com / Pexels)

How can I influence my beer type?

You can determine the type of beer you want by using different ingredients. Hops, malt or malt extract as a substitute for malt and brewer's yeast are the most important.

Which ingredients you can use to create the respective beer types can be found in the tables in the buying criteria below. If you want to brew a specific beer that already exists, you should be good friends with the brewmaster, as you will need the recipe with the specific ingredients and exact cooking and storage times.

What is the importance of the water I use for my beer?

The water you use has a decisive influence on the quality and taste of your beer. Mash boiling works best in the acidic range with a pH value of the water of 5.5 - 6.5. A value of 7 would be neutral.

However, the darker the malt used, the higher the pH of the water can be, as these malts are inherently acidic. The hardness and salt content of your brewing water are also important. If you want to know more about this, you can find out more on this website.

Kühles Bier wird gezapft

You can not only buy beer in a drinks market or bar, but also brew it yourself. (Image source: pixabay.com / amiera06)

Decision: What types of beer are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between three different types of beer:

  • Top-fermented beer
  • Bottom-fermented beer
  • Non-alcoholic beer

Because of the different tastes and your own preferences, a certain type of beer is best suited for you. This results in different advantages and disadvantages for each of these types, as not everyone likes the same beer.

We would therefore like to introduce you to the different types in the following section and help you find out which beer is right for you. For this purpose, we will introduce you to the types mentioned in more detail and then clearly present exactly what their advantages and disadvantages are.

The biggest difference between the alcoholic beers is the type of brewer's yeast used in the fermentation process. Brewer's yeast is a pure cultured yeast that is needed for brewing beer.

The yeast converts the sugar in the beer wort into alcohol and carbon dioxide and is also responsible for the taste and character of the beer. Therefore, one type of brewer's yeast is only suitable for a certain number and type of beers.

What is top-fermented beer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Top-fermented yeast is a pure-breeding yeast that is bred specifically for brewing beer. After the fermentation process, the yeast floats to the surface due to the small cell surface, which is why the brewing result is also called top-fermented beer.

Advantages
  • Many aromatic substances
  • Ideal beer for winter
Disadvantages
  • Intense and heavy flavour

Because of the warm storage temperature, which is between 15 and 25 °C, top-fermented beer is also often called summer beer. Top-fermented beers are, for example, wheat beer, ale and Kölsch. These types of beer are considered very aromatic and have more aromatic substances than bottom-fermented beers.

What is bottom-fermented beer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Bottom-fermenting yeast is a pure-breeding yeast that is bred specifically for brewing beer. After the fermentation process, the yeast drifts to the bottom due to the small cell surface, which is why the brewing result is also called bottom-fermented beer.

Advantages
  • Classic and light taste
  • Ideal beer for summer
Disadvantages
  • Few flavourings

Because of the cool storage temperature, which is between 6 and 9 °C, bottom-fermented beer is also often called winter beer. Bottom-fermented beers are, for example, Pils, Märzen and Lager. These types of beer do not have as many aromatic substances as top-fermented beers and are therefore considered less aromatic.

What is alcohol-free beer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Alcohol-free beer is produced by stopping the fermentation process or by removing the alcohol afterwards. If the fermentation process is interrupted, a weak original wort is stored before the actual fermentation. In a subsequent removal, the alcohol is separated with the help of reverse osmosis or vacuum evaporation.

Advantages
  • No alcohol
  • Suitable for athletes
Disadvantages
  • Less flavouring

Often a combination of these two processes is used to achieve a zero percent alcohol content. The choice has also increased in recent years due to rising demand. You can now even buy isotonic beers to supply yourself with important nutrients and minerals after sport.

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate beers based on these factors

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate beers. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Alcohol content, bitterness and original wort
  • Malt types

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Alcohol content, bitterness and original gravity

Beer types and thus the final result depend above all on the original wort. This includes the amount of hops and malt used per litre and influences the bitterness and alcohol content of your beer.

In the following table you will find various types of beer with their standard alcohol content. In addition, the required original wort content (in %) and the bittering units of the hops (IBU) are given.

Beer type alcohol content in vol. % original wort in % bitterness in IBU
Altbier 4-5 11-14 24-40
Barley Wine 9-14 15-25 50-90
Berliner Weisse 2-3 7-8 3-8
Bockbier 6-7 16-17 25-36
Braggot 9-14 14-28 25-65
Dubbel 6-9 15.5-20 20-30
Gneuze 4-6 10-14 10-23
Gose 4-5 10-12 15-20
Indian Pale Ale (IPA) 6-10 16-19 40-90
Kellberbier/ Zwickelbier 4-5 11-15 25-35
Lagerbier 3.5-5.5 1-14 5-25
Lambic 4-5 11-14 11-22
Märzen 5.5-6 11-13 18-25
Pale Ale 5-8 16-18 15-45
Pilsner 4-5 10-12 30-45
Porter 3-4.5 16-19 20-40
Quadrupel 9-13 18-28 11-23
Rauchbier 4-6 10-12 10-16
Saison beer 5-7 17-20 10-20
Stout 7-9 9.5-16 26-60
Tripel beer 7-10 18-21 11-23
Weissbier/ wheat beer 5-6 11-14 10-20
Witbier 4-5 11-14 10-20

Produktbild Bier

Alcohol content varies between beer types. Weissbier has a medium to high alcohol content. (Picture: pixabay.com / Capri23auto)

When buying, you should pay attention to different degrees of alcohol content.

Malt varieties

Beers also differ greatly in the types of malt they contain. Often, several types of malt are needed for certain types of beer.

Here is an overview of which types of malt are suitable for which types of beer. For this purpose, the colour of the beer is divided into EBC (European Brewery Convention). 0 represents a clear, uncoloured liquid. The higher the EBC value, the darker the beer. The pour describes the proportion of this malt in the individual brewing process.

Name Types of beer Colour/EBC Addition/Fill proportion General
Pilsner malt light beer, Pilsener beer 2-5 up to 100 % Base malt
Pale Ale malt for all beers, esp. Ale Stout Porter 5.5 - 7-5 up to 100 % base malt
Viennese malt export beer, Märzen beer, festival beer 5-9 up to 100 % produces strong golden colour, increases full-bodiedness
Munich malt dark beer, black beer, festival beer, strong beer, malt beer, Altbier 9.5-30 up to 100 % malt-typical aroma,
strong reddish-brown colour
Caramellmalz hell CARAHELL light beer, export beer, wheat beer 20-30 5-30 % increases full-bodiedness, intensive malt aroma, richer beer colour, reddish beer colour, better beer foam
Caramellmalz hell CARARED Brown beer, bock beer, amber, old beer, white beer, red ale, Scottish ale 40-50 up to 25 % increases full-bodiedness, more intensive malt aroma, darker beer colour, reddish beer colour
Caramel malt dark CARAMÜNCH dark beer, festival beer, malt beer 80-100 1 - 3 % (light beer)
3 - 10 % (dark beer)
higher full-bodiedness, better malt flavour, fuller and rounder taste, richer beer colour
Wheat caramel malt CARAWHEAT top-fermented beers 100-130 up to 15 % higher full-bodiedness, more intense wheat flavour, darker beer colour
Spelt malt, rye malt, emmer malt, oat malt Special beer, multigrain beer 3-8 50-70 % strong, special flavour corresponding to the type of grain
Colour malt/roasted malt CARAFA (also from wheat, spelt, rye) dark beer, strong beer, Altbier, Bockbier, Schwarzbier, Ale, Stout, Porter 700-1200 1-5 % typical roasted aroma, black colour
Smoked malt smoked beer, cellar beer, beer specialities 3-6 up to 100% special malt, typical smoked aroma
Melanoid malt wheat beer, bock beer, dark beers, red beers, amber 60 - 80 up to 20% special malt, reddish colour, better flavour stability, higher full-bodiedness
Sour malt - 3-7 up to 5% special malt, balances the pH value, better mashing

Image source: pixabay.com / Free-Photos

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