Beer Maverick

Specialty Beer

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Category: Hybrid

Style Description

This is the description of how the Specialty Beer 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 Specialty Beer beer style.

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.

  • Color: Very light to black depending on the underlying style
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Varies depending on intention of brewer
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Very low to very high
  • IBUs/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.

Brewing Properties of Specialty Beer

These are the functional brewing properties of Specialty Beer 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.
2.5 - 25+%
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
1 - 100 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 »
1 - 100 SRM
(2 - 197 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.
1.030 - 1.140+
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.006 - 1.030+

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.