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French-Style Bière de Garde

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Location: Belgian and French
Category: Ale
BJCP Comparable Category: 24C - Bière de Garde

Style Description

This is the description of how the French-Style Bière de Garde style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the French-Style Bière de Garde beer style.

Earthy and/or cellar-like aromas are acceptable.

  • Color: Light amber to chestnut brown/red
  • Body: Low to medium
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: These beers are characterized by a toasted malt aroma along with a slight malt sweetness and/or toasted malt flavor.
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Low to medium from noble-type hops
  • IBUs/Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity ester aromas are medium to high. Whereas fruity ester flavors are low to medium. Diacetyl should not be present. Bière de Garde may have low levels of Brettanomyces yeast-derived flavors that are slightly acidic, fruity, horsey, goaty and/or leather-like. Beers displaying more pronounced levels of Brettanomyces derived attributes are categorized as Brett Beers. Alcohol may be evident in higher strength beers.
  • Common Ingredients: The “cellar” character commonly described in literature is more of a feature of mishandled commercial exports than fresh, authentic products. The somewhat moldy character comes from the corks and/or oxidation in commercial versions, and is incorrectly identified as “musty” or “cellar-like.” Base malts vary by beer color, but usually include pale, Vienna and Munich types. Darker versions will have richer malt complexity and sweetness from crystal-type malts. Sugar may be used to add flavor and aid in the dry finish. Lager or ale yeast fermented at cool ale temperatures, followed by long cold conditioning. Floral, herbal or spicy continental hops.
  • Commercial Examples: St. Amand (brown), Saint Sylvestre 3 Monts (blond), Russian River Perdition, Ch’Ti (brown and blond), Jenlain (amber and blond), La Choulette

Brewing Properties of French-Style Bière de Garde

These are the functional brewing properties of French-Style Bière de Garde beers, as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, the historical significance, authenticity or a common profile in the current commercial beer market.

The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
4.4 - 8.0%
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
20 - 30 IBUs
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »
7 - 16 SRM
(14 - 32 EBC)
Original Gravity
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
1.060 - 1.080
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.012 - 1.024

If you see an error in our data, please let us know!

Based on Brewers Association 2020 Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.