We are going to distinguish between two fundamental forms of beer classification by types:

1. In function of its Balling Degree
2. In function of type of fermentation

In function of its Balling Degree

The Balling Degree (E.S.P. in Spanish) is the group of organic ingredients that make up the wort before fermentation, except for water. Its quantity is expressed in grams of “ESP” for each 100 grams of wort.

The beers in Spain subject to this classification system are distinguished between:
  • Non-Alcoholic Beers: variable Balling Degree, between 2 and 4
  • Traditional Beers: Balling Degree not less than 11
  • Special Beers: Balling Degree not less than 13
  • Extra Special Beers: Balling Degree not less than 15

In function of type of fermentation

By the type of fermentation we can distinguish between low and high fermentation beers, as well as those of spontaneous fermentation.

Low fermentation beers (bottom fermentation) or LAGER, are light beers that ferment at low temperatures (0º to 4º). Its name means “warehouse” in German, a place where they are kept cool. They are usually foamy and smooth.

There are classifications in function of their place of origin, the most common being: Pils/Pilsner, Munich, Vienna, Dortmunder Export…

In addition, its classification can be a result of the particular characteristics of its production: smoked, Bock, Steam, Rauchbier, rye, black, seasonal…

High fermentation beers (surface fermentation) are those beers that ferment at temperatures greater than those mentioned above (up to 24º). We can distinguish between several sub-categories: Ale, Stout and Porter

For their part, in consideration of their place of origin, Ales can be: Altbier (Düsseldorf), Kölsch (from Cologne; it is a golden Ale), Trappists (produced in the Trappe monasteries of Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, Westvleteren, Saint Sixtus and Schaapskooi, by monks), Abbey, American Ale …

But they also have sub-categories based on the particular characteristics of their production. According to this, Ales are divided in:: Mild Ale (not bitter), Bitter Ale (bitter), Pale Ale, Indian Pale Ale, Brown Ale and Old Ale (aged or traditional), Stout, wheat (known as “white” beers), Bière de Garde, …

Black, creamy, bitter and acidic beer. Depending on their production we can divide them into dry and sweet (milk, oatmeal …).

Light, toasted black beer

Beers of spontaneous fermentation (fermentation through wild yeast strains). We differentiate between Lambic, Gueuze and Faro beers.