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Specialities are types of beer whose flavour might even be very challenging for the ordinary consumer. Specialities also include beers that are highly valued by beer enthusiasts as well as beers whose availability is limited or whose style is difficult to define. The flavour of these beers ranges from bitter, refreshing mild beers to full-bodied, sweet and strong beers.

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Various specialities

The style description is followed by information about alcohol and bitterness (EBU) levels and colour.


The boundaries of the world of beer are only in the imagination, so difficult-to-classify or very special, small style trends are included in the speciality beer style category.


Lambic a traditional beer style from Belgium, is brewed by spontaneous fermentation. Spontaneous fermentation beers begin to ferment themselves (spontaneously) when exposed to wild yeasts. In character, it has slight hints of fino sherry or vermouth and, due to its fermentation method, is rather sour. The standard lambic is almost uncarbonated. In flavour, it is located somewhere between fino sherry and traditional cider. The aroma is of oak and citrus, and a fruitiness with notes of honey, pear or apple. The aroma may also have notes of earthiness, hay, stable, goat's wool and vanilla.
5.0–6.5% • 0–10 EBU • pale yellow–golden yellow

Fruit beer

Fruit beers include fruit-flavoured versions of genuine Belgian lambic: kriek (cherry), framboise (raspberry), cassis (blackcurrant), pêche (peach) etc. The berry or fruit flavour added to lambic is clearly perceptible. In addition to distinct notes of berry and fruit, the aroma may have hints of earthiness, hay, stable, oak, citrus, apple and honey.
5.0–7.0% • 0–10 EBU • berry–fruit colour


Gueuze is made by blending young and mature lambics. As a result, the beer undergoes secondary fermentation that forms carbon dioxide. Gueuze has a head that is champagne-like, festive, sparkling and long. The aroma is of oak and citrus, earthiness, hay, stable, apples and honey.
5.0–8.0% • 0–10 EBU • golden yellow–rosy


Faro is a lambic sweetened with brown sugar or molasses. The flavour is of sweet caramel and traditional lambic notes.
3.0–6.0% • 0–10 EBU • bitterness varies

Flavoured beer

Flavoured beer is a top-fermented beer flavoured with fruit, berry, herb, smoke or some other flavouring. The flavour in question is distinctly perceptible. Many different types of beer, e.g. wheat beers, can be flavoured in this way.
alcohol % varies • EBU bitterness varies • colour varies


Saison is a refreshingly tangy and spicy top-fermented beer style that originated in Belgium and Northern France. The flavour combines fruitiness and spiciness. The aroma is of orange, lemon and often also pepper and leather.
5.0–7.0% • 20–35 EBU • golden yellow–amber

Sour ale

Sour ale is a top-fermented beer style that has a distinctive abundant sourness. Such beers include, for example, Belgian Flanders red ale. In other countries, too, many microbreweries make sour beers.
4.0–8.0% • 10–25 EBU • amber–copper–brown

Bière de garde

Bière de garde, i.e. beer for keeping, was originally a top-fermented beer style that was stored for summer needs. It is brewed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, and it is often sold in a champagne-style bottle. Traditionally, barley grown in the Champagne region is used in brewing the beer. The aroma is malty and elegantly fruity with spicy overtones. The aroma may also have oak, cork and cellar notes as well as toasted bread and a hint of caramel.
6.0–8.5% • 15–30 EBU • amber–copper


Alt is a northern German top-fermented beer style, traditionally brewed in Düsseldorf. The flavour is dryish and malty with a gentle bitterness of hops.
4.5–5.2% • 25–40 EBU • copper brown


Kölsch is a top-fermented local specialty beer brewed in Cologne, Germany. In flavour, kölsch is light, soft, sour, sparkling and cleanly malty. The aroma is of orange, peach or cherry.
4.4–5.2% • 20–30 EBU • pale yellow–golden yellow


Trappist beer is brewed by monks in Trappist breweries. Only the following breweries have the right to use the Trappist name: Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, Achel and Westvleteren in Belgium, De Koningshoeven in the Netherlands, Abbazia delle Tre Fontane in the Italy and Stift Engelszell in Austria. Trappist beers are top-fermented beers that undergo secondary fermentation in the bottle. In character, Trappist beers are strongly alcoholic and aromatic, often sweetly malty. The aroma is of ripe fruit, rum, spice, pepper, leather and herbs. If dark malts have been used in the brewing process, the aroma often has notes of chocolate, sherry, plum, liquorice, syrup, raisin or banana.
5.0–9.0% • EBU bitterness varies • golden yellow–coffee brown

Barley wine

Barley wine in England has traditionally meant a very strongly alcoholic top-fermented beer. In flavour, barley wine is robust, malty and richly fruity. The aroma may have notes of cherry, plum, sherry, toffee, nut and chocolate. Modern beers also have hints of floweriness and citrus imparted by hops.
8.0–12.0% • 30–130 EBU • bronze–copper–mahogany brown

Double IPA

Double IPA is a beer that is more richly alcoholic and has a higher hoppy bitterness than ordinary IPA. The aroma of double IPA often has citrus and flowery notes.7.5–10.0% • 50–130 EBU • amber–copper


Steinbier, i.e. stone beer, is a traditional German top-fermented beer style. Steinbier wort is mashed by placing hot stones into the mashing tubs. During mashing, malt sugar crystallises on the surface of the stones and this breaks down during storage to give the beer its flavour. The flavour of Steinbier is softly elegant, with smoky nuances.
alcohol % varies • EBU bitterness varies • colour varies

Steam beer

Steam beer is a traditional Californian bottom-fermented beer style. In its brewing process, bottom yeast is used, but at a high temperature in the manner of top-fermented beers. Steam beer is malty in character with a distinct hoppiness, which imparts to the flavour notes of wood, rust and mint.
4.5–5.5% • 30–45 EBU • amber–copper

Rye beer

Rye beer is a beer style in which part of the barley malt has been replaced by rye. The flavour is of rye bread and slight sweetness.
4.5–6.0% • 10–20 EBU • copper–brown

Smoke beer

Smoke beer, i.e. rauchbier, was originally a German beer brewed using malts smoked with beech or oak smoke. The flavour is smoky and malty. The aroma has notes of smoke, wood, bacon, sweetness or toasted bread.
4.8–6.0% • 20–30 EBU • amber–copper–brown


Sahti is an authentic traditional Finnish beer that has a heritage stretching back thousands of years. Sahti is brewed from barley malt to which is sometimes added rye malt, wheat and oats. Hops are not used; the wort is filtered through juniper twigs. In basic character, sahti is sweet and fruity.

The aroma often has notes of sweet fruit, e.g. banana, and of juniper.
5.0–12.0% • 0–10 EBU • amber–copper brown

Berliner weisse

Berliner weisse is a very refreshing beer style brewed in Berlin, Germany. The flavour is sweet and sparklingly refreshing, with a crisp sourness. It is generally enjoyed with woodruff or raspberry syrup, which tames the sourness.
2.5–4.0% • 3–8 EBU • pale yellow


The history of mead dates back to ancient China in 7000 BCE. The Vikings are also said to have used honeyed beer has an energy drink. Mead is an alcoholic drink brewed with yeast from honey and water. The Finnish sima is an example of a sweet version of mead. In character, mead varies from flat to sparkingly carbonated, while the alcohol content may vary from mild to strong.
alcohol % varies • EBU bitterness varies • colour varies