Food, Beer & Buffoonery - Hops

The Missing BJCP Styles, part 3: the Australian Lagers

We recently looked at some unique Australian Ales not found in the BJCP Style Guidelines. In this third installment of The Missing BJCP Styles series we’ll be focusing on a couple Australian Lagers: Australian Lager and Premium Australian Lager.

These two styles are very similar to their American counterparts: Standard and Premium American Lagers, though the Standard Australian Lager’s IBU range is slightly greater than that or Standard American Lager. Other contrasts would probably show up in choices for yeast and especially hops. Seeking out good Australian malt is desirable, of if you’re doing extract brewing, use Coopers’ extracts.

If you’re setting out to brew an Australian lager, you’ll probably want to use Pride of Ringwood hops for bittering and flavor/aroma; though if you can’t find them, Galena or Cluster are said to make acceptable substitutes. There are no readily available Australian Lager yeasts (in the USA) that I know of, but due to their strong similarity to American Lagers either White Labs’ WLP840 American Lager or Wyeast 2035 – American Lager yeasts would be appropriate.


Appearance: Very pale straw to pale gold colour. White head. Carbonation medium to high. Clarity good to

Aroma: Little to no malt aroma. Hop aroma may range from low to none and may be flowery. Slight fruity
aromas from yeast and hop varieties used may exist. No diacetyl.

Flavour: Crisp and dry flavour with some low levels of sweetness. Hop flavour may range from low to medium. Hop bitterness low to medium. Balance can vary from slightly malty to slightly bitter, but is usually close to even. No diacetyl. No fruitiness. Finish tending dry.

Mouthfeel: Low to low medium. Well carbonated. Slight carbonic bite on tongue is acceptable.
Overall Impression: Light, refreshing and thirst quenching.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1040-1050
FG: 1004-1010
IBU: 10-20
ABV: 4.2-5.1%

Commercial Examples: Fosters Lager, Carlton Draught, XXXX, and Tooheys New.


Appearance: Straw to pale gold. Bright, with a reasonable head. Darker than common Australian lagers, due to the use of less adjuncts.

Aroma: A mild, malt aroma, which may be supported by low to moderate, and even possibly noble, hop notes. Estery fruitiness, diacetyl, and phenolic or yeasty notes should be absent.

Flavour: Low to moderate mild malt flavour may be supported by low to moderate hop flavours. Bitterness can range from low-medium (lagers) to high-medium (pilsners), resulting in a neutral to slightly bitter malt/bitterness balance. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Crisp and dry. Any fruity flavours, phenolics, yeasty flavours, diacetyl, astringency or harshness, should be penalized.

Mouthfeel: Light to light-medium.

Overall Impression: A clean, crisp lager, designed basically for quaffing, but containing more interest and more malt and hop character than the typical Australian session lagers.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1045-1055
FG: 1008-1012
IBU: 15-25
ABV: 4.7-6.0%

Commercial Examples: Malt Shovel Pilsner, Boags Premium Lager.

Special thanks to Tony Wheeler and all those at the AABC for assisting me, directly and indirectly, with putting the Australian styles together.

Note: I was going to include Australian Bitter Lager here, but the Australian version of the BJCP, the AABC, recently removed it from their style guide.

Other Missing Styles to Be Covered Soon:
Kellerbier, Gose, Wiess, Honey Beers (not Braggots), Classic American Cream Ale, Czech Dark Lager, English Pale Mild, Scottish 90/- (?), American Stock Ale, English Strong Ale, Non-alcoholic “Beer”, Malt Liquor, Imperial/Double Red Ale, Imperial/Double Brown Ale, Imperial Lager, Imperial Pilsner, Imperial Porter, Rye IPA, Dark American Wheat/Rye.