Primer’s Interactive Visual Guide to Beer Types

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Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.


  • Reply November 5, 2012


    Very cool

  • Reply November 6, 2012


    Nice, but I miss the classic Munich lagers and Belgian styles like double and tripel.

  • Reply November 6, 2012


    is this just a chart or is something supposed to happen when you hover over the beer type..nothings happening for me?!

  • Reply November 6, 2012


    How were these beers plotted on the sweet/bitter scale?  Seeing Imperial Stout down near IPA (and below it) is very surprising to me.  Perhaps it belongs down there if you go by IBUs, but the increased malt sweetness in these beers keep them from being bitter…I’m just not sure it’s the best way to describe them to folks.

    • Reply November 6, 2012


      Hey AJ, good to see you here. Imperial stout is a tricky one, but I still think it belongs on the bitter side due to the high IBUs and the large amount of roasted grains. Even though they are high in malt, most of the American ones I’ve tried have low residual sugar (and the ones that do have it are pretty off-putting to be honest) and finish pretty dry. I agree though it’s a little misleading when you see them next to IPAs because they’re very different.

      • Reply November 6, 2012


        I understand…it’s tricky any time you try to nail these things down. Your reasoning makes sense. Great job by you and Andrew on this–anything that helps people make sense of beer styles is a good thing!

        • Reply November 6, 2012


          Thanks. It would have been easier if we were talking about something simple, like wine ; )

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Just curious, where does a Sour Ale fall on this scale?

  • Reply November 9, 2012


    The x-axis is completely meanlingless. It’s an ale OR a lager or MAYBE a little bit of each yeast there is NO “in-between” for ale and lager, it’s binary. Where the hell are sours? Not there? Yeah, because this chart doesn’t make sense.

    • Reply November 10, 2012


      You’re right, they are either ale or lager, but the location on the axis determines the color of the beer as well. Check the top and bottom of the chart.

      As for sour ales, any one of these beer types could technically be soured just by aging it with a wild yeast strain, if I’m not mistaken. It would have all of the same properties as shown on this chart, but with a more sour yeast or fruit flavor. Please feel free to correct me if I’ve missed something though.

  • Reply November 18, 2012


    Very cool…but like Juergen said, where are the Belgium beers? The tripels? Those are some of the best (I could live without the pales).

  • Reply November 24, 2012

    Just A Beer Geek

    Most of the comments on this chart reflect one of the major difficulties in objective beer classification: it’s really tough to chart the flavors/styles of beer. One of the reasons for this is because there is no simplistic statistical method for calculating non-measurable flavor profiles. This chart is in line with the two common measurements for beer, color (SRM) and bitterness (IBU), but it neglects smoked beers, sour beers, bitterness/malt balance, etc.

    Unlike the other commenters, though, I will say that this is one of the better charts out there, and I think that it is a perfectly acceptable primer for the new-to-craft drinkers out there.

    • Reply November 24, 2012

      Just A Beer Geek

      Also, one of the best “style charts” out there is the one put out by John Palmer, author of one of the seminal homebrewing books “How to Brew.” You can check it out at his website, but it’s a bit daunting for the new beer drinker:

  • Reply May 7, 2013


    Definitely missing some, like New Belgium’s 1554, an enlightened black ale, and a Lager. Also missing is the Dunkels, of which I enjoy Warsteiner Dunkel. (Special order)

    Living in Bend, Oregon, the variety of micro brews will keep you going for a long time and then comes The Growler Guys and their 30 beers on tap. Don’t forget the Bend Ale Trail, Cycle Pub, and Bend Beer Trolley.

    Another brewery with some great beer is coming to market soon . . . Warfighter Brewery has some surprises in store for you, namely their HONOR (IPA) and PRIDE (toasted coconut cream stout). I was able to sample when I stopped by and thoroughly enjoyed the samples.

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