How many beer styles are there in the world?

Including all the major beer styles and all of their sub-styles, there are believed to be over 100 different beer styles in the world.

A prime example of a major beer style would be stout; its sub-styles include Irish dry stout, London sweet stout (also known as milk stout), oatmeal stout, tropical stout, foreign extra stout, and Russian imperial stout.

From which three countries do the majority of the world’s beer styles originate? 

The great majority of all recognized beer styles originated in Belgium, Britain, and Germany. Because grains and hops (two of the most important ingredients in beer) are indigenous to northern Europe, it stands to reason that most beer styles would originate there. Most technological brewing advancements in history also took place in Europe, further establishing the region’s dominance in the beer world.

Because America is much younger than these European countries, only a scant few beer styles, such as cream ale, California common (steam beer), imperial IPA, and black IPA, originated in the United States.

What is the difference between ales and lagers?

The basic difference between these two major beer classifications is how they are fermented. Ales are fermented with top-fermenting yeast at warm temperatures (60–70 F), and lagers are fermented with bottom-fermenting yeast at cold temperatures (35–50 F).

Because of their warm fermentations, ales can generally ferment and age in a relatively short period of time (3-5 weeks). Lagers, because they are cold fermented, take much longer to ferment and age, up to 6 or 8 weeks.

Are dark beers stronger than pale beers?

No, that’s an oft-repeated myth. The flavor intensity of a dark beer might lead one to think that beer is strong, but there is no correlation between darkness and alcohol content. The color of a dark beer simply comes from the roasted grains used to make it.

Are ales stronger than lagers?

No, that’s also a common misunderstanding. While there are many ales with higher alcohol contents, there are also quite a few ales with very low alcohol contents. Conversely, there are also a few lager beer styles with very high alcohol contents. Some examples of strong ales are barleywine, old ale, Scotch ale, and imperial stout. Some examples of strong lagers include doppelbock, eisbock, and Baltic porter.  

Are Ales darker than lagers?

No, that’s a widespread misconception. While there are a lot of ales that are, indeed, dark, there are plenty of lager beer styles that are equally dark. Some examples of dark ales include stout, porter, and Belgian quadrupel. Some examples of dark lagers include doppelbock, schwarzbier, and Munich dunkel.