BJCP Styles – Category 8, English Pale Ale

8A – Standard/Ordinary Bitter
The bitter style can be slightly a misnomer. Americans may not consider this a bitter beer, though for old style English ales it would be seemingly higher. Bitters would be more hop forward but can still have a medium maltiness and a dry finish. They are balanced overall and are a very much session beer with a low alcohol content. Bitters originally a cask real ale version which have since been produced by a variety of distribution methods. They are low in alcohol (3.2-3.8% ABV), light yellow to light copper in color (SRM 4-14) and medium to high in bitterness (IBU 25-35). Example: Young’s Bitter, Boddington’s Pub Draught, Fuller’s Chiswick Bitter.

8B – Special/Best/Premium Bitter
Like the previous style, not much hop aroma due to mostly bittering hops used. A very flavorful and refreshing session beer with just slightly higher stats all around from the Ordinary Bitter. Low carbonation and a stronger malt flavor as well. They are low to moderate in alcohol (3.8-4.6% ABV), gold to medium copper in color (SRM 5-16) and medium to high in bitterness (IBU 25-40). Examples: Fuller’s London Pride, Young’s Special, Goose Island Honkers Ale, Black Sheep Best Bitter.

8C – Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)
This style can have more of a hop aroma, and also a fairly high malt aroma. Balanced in hops and malt in flavor, and it also may have more complex flavors (nutty, biscuity) as other English ales tend to have. Also a good session beer, though higher in alcohol than the previous styles in this category (4.6-6.2% ABV). ESBs are gold to deep copper in color (SRM 6-18) and moderately high in hop flavor (IBU 30-50. Examples: Fullers ESB, Bass Ale, Redhook ESB.

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