BJCP – Acceptable Characteristics in Different Beer Styles

This is a simple listing of whether certain sensory characteristics, such as acetaldehyde or diacetyl, are acceptable in certain beer styles tested on the BJCP exam. Note that it doesn’t list maximum permissible levels, whether the listed characteristic is expected or optional or whether it is acceptable in both aroma and flavor. It also doesn’t describe the exact character of some traits.

 

Off Flavour Tastes like Appropriate for style Caused by
AcetylaldehideAlcoholicBitteringCloudy / HazyDiacetylDimetyl SulphideEstersGrassyGrainyHydrogen SulphideLight BodiedLow Head RetentionMustyPhenolicSournessSweetVinous
Green apples
Grassy
American Lagers
Light / Premium / Dark

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Premature Flocculation
Oxygen Depletion
Bacterial Spoilage
Incomplete Fermentation

Storage:
Oxidation

Hot
Spicy
Vinous
Aroma
Strong Ales & Lagers
Mashing:
Low Mash Temp.

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Underpitching
Incorrect Yeast Strain
Low O2 or FAN (Free Amino Nitrogen)
High Amount of Sugar
High Fermentation Temp.

Bitter
Hops
IPAs
Pale Ales
English Bitters

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Low Fermentation Temp.
High Alpha Acid Hops
Lenghty Hop Times
Incomplete Fermentation
No perceivable taste
Wheat Beers (incl. American)
Lambics

Mashing:
Insufficient Protein Rest

Sparge / Transfer:
Long or Hot Sparge

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Incorrect Yeast Strain
Bacterial Spoilage

Buttery
Butterscotch
Scotch Ales
Bitters
Dry Stouts
Czech Pils

Sparge / Transfer:
Long Wort Cooling

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Underpitching
Incorrect Yeast Strain
Bacterial Spoilage
Low Fermentation Temp.
Incomplete Fermentation

Cooked Corn
Vegetal
Shellfish
American Lagers
Cream Ales

Mashing:
Covered Boil or Short Boil

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Oversparging
Long Wort Cooling
Underpitching
Incorrect Yeast Strain
Bacterial Spoilage

Fruity
Banana
Berries
Apple
Ales
Dark Lagers
Dopplebock
Eisbock
Wheat Beers

Sparge / Transfer:
High Gravity Wort

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Incorrect Yeast Strain
High Fermentation Temp.

Grass
Mown Hay
Nearly all Pale Ales
Setup:
Low Quality Malt
Overcrushing

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Over Hopping
Oxidation

Cereal
Huskiness
Spent Grain
Light Lagers
Pilsners
Alt
Some Porters & Stouts
Wheat Beers

Setup:
Untreated Water
Overcrushing

Sparge / Transfer:
Oversparging
Long or Hot Sparge

Rotten Eggs
Struck
Match
In All Beers At Low Levels
Fermentation / Conditioning:
Bacterial Spoilage
Rapid Lagering
Wild Yeast Contamination
Watery
Light mouthfeel
American Light Lagers
Lambics

Setup:
Insufficient Dextrins
Low Quality Malt

Fermentation / Conditioning:
High Amount of Sugar

Flat
Lambics
High Alcohol Beers

Setup:
Low Quality Malt
Overcrushing
Insufficient Dextrins

Fermentation / Conditioning:
High Amount of Sugar

Musty
Cellar-like;
Earthy
Biere de Garde
Fermentation / Conditioning:
Wort Aeration

Storage:
Oxidation

Cloves
Smoky
Some Belgium Beers
Smoke Beers
Wheat Beers

Setup:
Low Quality Malt

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Incorrect Yeast Strain
Bacterial Spoilage
Wild Yeast Contamination

Tart
Sour
Vinegar
Acetic Acid
Witier
Lambics
Flanders Ale
Berliner Weiss

Mashing:
Over Mashing
Excessive Acid Rest

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Incorrect Yeast Strain
Bacterial Spoilage

Storage:
Incorrect Storage
Oxidation

Sugary
Syrupy
Strong Ales & Lagers
Low Levels in American Lagers

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Incorrect Yeast Strain
Sherry
Leather
Woody
Barleywine
English Old Ales

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Incorrect Yeast Strain
High Fermentation Temp

Storage:
Excessive Age
Oxidation

Off Flavours – never appropriate

Off Flavour Tastes like Caused by
AstringentChlorophenolsLightstruckOxidisationSolventButyric Acid
Drying
Tannic
Tart
Unpleasant
Setup:
Overcrushing

Mashing:
Alkaline Mash
Oversparging

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Bacterial Spoilage
Over Hopping

TCP
Bandaid
Medicinal
Setup:
Untreated Water

Mashing:
Oversparging

Mercaptan
Skunky
Storage:
Exposure To UV
Wet Cardboard
Stale Bread
Setup:
Untreated Water

Fermentation / Conditioning:
Wort Aeration

Storage:
Excessive Age
Incorrect Storage
Oxidation

Acetone
Harsh
Turpentine
Fermentation / Conditioning:
Underpitching
Low O2 or FAN
High Fermentation Temp
Wild Yeast Contamination
Baby Vomit
Cheesy
Rancid
Fermentation / Conditioning:
Bacterial Spoilage

Author: Andrew