Periodic Table of Beer

periodic beer.jpg

This is the sort of thing that makes me wish I knew more about beer. My usual unit of measurement is the purely subjective, but relatively simple, MPS, or Maggie Preference Scale. (IPAs near the bottom, porters near the top, your mileage may vary.)

Full Chart via Flickr user John602, don't know if that's the original source though.



    Free online version of How To Brew by John Palmer. Sort of the nerd home brewer’s bible. All the tasting and descriptions in the world didn’t help me understand beer quite as well as this. And I never quite grasped just how complicated the chemistry in brewing beer was until I read it. A fair amount of the info on this periodic table is actually measurements from/for brewing as well.

  2. There are a number of different Periodic Beer charts, Beeriodic Tables, etc. listing styles & brands for each “element” available as posters & Tshirts online. I’ve drunk my way through most of them, too. Remember, it’s quality, not quantity, that you want in your beer. Support your local!

  3. It’s a clever exercise, ordering them by original gravity and grouping by style, but the “mixed styles” section seems out of place. Most of those items fit in one of his categories. Oktoberfest and Vienna clearly fit in the European Lager section, so I’m not sure why they’re separate.

  4. Good for you Maggie, IPAs are overrated and the hop heads can keep ’em! Give me a nice porter, dopplebock, or better yet, a Belgian style any day.

  5. I was pretty anti-hops when I first started drinking beer- Guinness being my gateway drug. I eventually started to drink one of the local beers which was present at nearly every gathering, and afte a few years, I realized that not only did I kind of like it, I had really started to get into hoppier beers.

    I bring this up not becasue I’m suggesting that only hoppy beers are worth drinking, but that it was Summit that kind of morphed my palate, and I’d assume that Maggie has more than ready access to that particular brew. And Surly Furious is about as good as life gets, at least for me.

  6. Wow, I could happily drink myself to death on column three alone. In fact, I may be doing that right now. Happy new year!

  7. A good effort, but not something I can really enjoy as a nerd. I feel compelled to pick it apart…

    The ABV on RIS is too low, topping out at 12%. Ditto with the Barley Wine. The figures on Steam Beer should be more exact as there’s only one of them. The IBUs are way off. He’s got Foreign Extra Stouts being more bitter than IPAs, which is not right. FESs are more like a malt beverage (think Malta Goya) than a beer, but they are definitely not more hoppy/bitter than an IPA. There’s plenty of American IPAs that top 100 IBU…

  8. Seattle Pete, as a nerd you can pick this a part all you like, but as guidelines, they’re fairly accurate.

    There are Russian Imperial Stouts and Barley Wines that have higher alcohol contents, but that does not mean that they are brewed within style. The caps on both are pretty accurate. Anchor Steam is the best known in the Steam Beer category (aka California Common) it is by no means the only example. Even if this was the case, just because it is the only living example doesn’t mean that the category is/was defined by this single beer. As for the IBU difference between FES and IPAs… the chart doesn’t differentiate between American and English IPA, but even with that said, FES are generally going to be of equal or higher IBU. This does not mean that they will taste more bitter, as they may be better balanced by malt, this is simply a measurement of the alpha acids of the hops that go in to the beer. Malta Goya is NOT a Foreign Extra Stout, it is a soda, and contains no alcohol. Just because a Foreign Extra Stout seems less bitter than most IPA’s does not mean it contains fewer IBU’s. American IPAs that top 100 IBU’s are not really American IPAs they are Double or Imperial IPAs.

    Mrgerbek, although by name alone you would think that some of the mixed styles would fit in to other categories, they don’t necessarily. Both Oktoberfest and Vienna are European Lagers, that said they shouldn’t be grouped together, nor are they truly mixed styles. They both fit pretty comfortably as lagers. That said, Steam beer, Kolsch, Cream Ale, Alt Bier; all fit pretty comfortably as mixed styles. A mixed style being somewhere between a lager and an ale.

    As to the wish of knowing more about beer: Original gravity (this chart is in units of specific gravity) and final gravity are measures of density. The original gravity is the density of the wort (unfermented beer) and the final gravity is the density after fermentation. Using these numbers you can get a rough estimation of the amount of sugar fermented, which will indicate an estimation of the alcohol content. These numbers are also indicative of the relative dryness/sweetness of a beer. The higher the final gravity the maltier/sweeter a beer, the lower, the dryer a beer.
    IBU’s (International bittering units) are a measurement of the amount of alpha acids that go into a beer. This could mean many lbs of hops of a lower AA% or fewer hops of a higher AA%. Apparent bitterness is not a direct correlation to a higher (or lower) IBU, but could simply be due to poor malt balance.
    SRM (or standard reference method) is a unit of measurement for the color of a beer. Another common measurement of color is lovibonds.

    Hopefully this is coherent (if not it’s the beer’s fault). For more information on beer styles, check out


  9. IPA isn’t overrated. :( No pale ale deserves to be frowned upon. Especially the nectar of the gods that is American pale ale.

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