Updated annually, the 2013 version defines 142 styles of beer, up from 140 in 2012.
A collaborative effort, the guidelines incorporate more than 100 suggestions from U.S. and international beer judges and experts, brewers and beer lovers.
The two new additions are the Adambier and Grätzer styles, which are both historic pre-Reinheitsgebot styles that are slowly being revived. Adambier and Grätzer are smoky ales, with the former thriving around Dortmund in Germany, and the latter primarily in Poland.
Changes were also made to the guidelines for American Wheat Ale to reflect the growing trend for all-wheat grists.
Additionally, the descriptive text of each beer has been reordered to reflect the growing procedure of tasting beer. This means that the notes now focus first on appearance, aroma, flavour and finish – in that order.
Other information includes ranges for: original gravity/plato; apparent extract/final gravity; alcohol by weight/volume; bitterness and color.
Regularly released since 1979, much of the early work for the guidelines was based on the assistance and contributions of beer journalist Michael Jackson and Fred Eckhardt. The guidelines are used in some of the world’s most prestigious beer competitions, including the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup.
The 2013 beer style guidelines are available for download at BrewersAssociation.org.