New style list poll - premium lager & pale lager

Inspired by the discussion about a new style list input is needed on topics.

  • Merge
  • Keep both

0 voters

Do we need both premium lager and pale lager?

Pros - clearly splits out pure malt lagers which are ‘superior’
Cons - impossible in most cases to know whether lagers have adjuncts or not so impossible to accurately enforce

If pure malt lagers are ‘superior’ it will show in the score. Keeping both would require a reclassification of extant examples, since currently some all malt lagers are listed as pale because they have insufficient bitterness and some currently listed as premium are so solely because it said that on the label and nobody’s cared enough to check.

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Pale Lager
The color of pale lager ranges from light bronze to nearly transparent and the alcohol anywhere from 4-6%. Adjunct usage may be quite high, though in some cases the beer is all-malt. Carbonation is typically forced, though not always. One thing that does not vary is that neither the malt nor the hops make much of an impression on the palate. These beers are brewed for minimum character, though faint traces of hop or malt may show through. Commonly detected features and flaws include fusels, oxidized malt and skunked hops. The body will often be thin and/or spritzy while the finish is typically mildly bitter.

Premium Lager
A beer that straddles between the mainstream Pale Lager and Pilsner. Not all beers that call themselves Premium Lager are, but those that are will typically have a deep gold to light bronze colour, and distinct influence of malt and hops. They should be free of adjuncts and will have a softer carbonation than Pale Lager or Classic German Pilsner. IBUs will typically range in the 20’s, and lagering times will typically be 4-6 weeks, more in line with what pilsners have. Overall accent will be malty-to-balanced, alcohol in a slightly tighter range than either Pale Lager or Pilsner (4.5-5.5%). Most often the product of a microbrewery or brewpub, but macrobreweries can make this style if they jack up the hops a bit and make it all-malt.

Not seen that it is a requirement for “pale lagers” to have to use adjuncts, while all all-malt beers sjall be “premium lagers”.
Certainly not how Swedish admins have treated the two styles.

As per above “who cares”, that can be said of about quite a few beer styles, that some/many users of ratebeer feel really should have a style of its own.

Just because many active raters on ratebeer feels lagers that does not taste of IPA is an inferior beer to start off with does not mean all “pale lagers” should be clumped together by default.

By example the style guidelines we use for Swedish homebrewing judging have 13 lager sub styles, not including the “others” category. It does not contain what is sometimes referred to as “international lager” with plenty of DMS, since the ones deciding the style guidelines feel “just because a lot of commercial brewers have managed to convince customers it shall taste of DMS, doesn’t make it less if a flaw”.

When I judged at WBC earlier this year, not counting what is called “hybrid/mixed” there are some 26 lager styles mentioned.

Just to point out there just might be different types out there, also for lagers.

Of course, but the issue as admins is that we need to be able to police them and with this it’s generally impossible. Premium lager is not generally a term used in marketing (though when it is it’s often for stuff that isn’t a premium lager by our guidelines) so what we end up with is lots of things that should be premium lager stuck in pale lager and lots of things that should be pale lager stuck in premium lager.

Actually it’s largely used

But nevertheless the distinction between the two “styles” is more subjective than real.
I would say that it’s almost 99% decided at this point that the 2 will be merged.


My point was more that it’s not used as a marketing term in the context we use it here.

There’s also only 483 beers come up a ‘premium lager’ search vs over 4000 premium lagers on the site. The top results also include quite a few Czech pilsners as well as Kingfisher and Sapporo (both on the site as a pale lager, I assume because of adjuncts?). Out of the ones I clicked on I think more beers with premium lager in the name are not in the style on here than are.

Whilst I voted for the merge, I do think that there is merit in a “watery piss”, sorry, I meant “adjunct lager” categorisation. As someone who’s added a lot of eastern european lagers to the site, I always consciously put the adjunct lagers in as “pale” and the all-malt lagers in as “premium”, which neatly satisfied the “brewer’s intention” criterion - if he wanted to make cheap swill, on the left it went - even if the marketting department had plastered the word “premium” on the label.

To quote Mags, being premium is like being powerful - if you have to tell people you are, then you probably aren’t.

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