BJCP: Light Lagers 1D and 1E

In an effort to expand on the “education” part of my “Beer Reviews, Education and Nonsense” motto, I am starting a new series of posts that will focus on beer styles.  It is my intention to write a paragraph description about each category (there are 23 categories) and each sub-category (generally there are 2 to 4 but sometimes more for each category) that will give you an overview of each style. Each description will describe the general aromas, colors and tastes you could expect to taste if you drank a beer from that style.

Admittedly, I am writing this series for self-growth and as a study guide for the beer judge certification exam and Certified Cicerone exam I will be taking later this fall. However, I thought maybe you would be interested in learning more about the specific beer styles.  I will be starting at the beginning of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) and I will examine and describe each style (even the ones I don’t like).

If you are an overachiever OR if I am not moving fast enough for you OR if you find that my descriptions are not in-depth enough for you AND you just want to geek-out some more, then please go to  There you will find all the beer geek information you can handle!

This week I will be describing subcategories 1D and 1E of light lagers, BJCP style #1.  These two subcategories aren’t dominated by American macro-brews like 1A, 1B or 1C, in fact, you would have a hard time finding a comercial American example of a Munich Helles or a Dortmunder Export. In general the two subcategories are characterized by crystal clear, straw colored beer with low to mid alcohol, more pronounced hop and malt flavor, meium-light body and refreshing.

Style 1D: Munich Helles

This style is a medium-bodied, malt showcase beer.  Because this is a German beer there are no adjuncts used in brewing and the all malt recipe produces a smooth beer that is more filling. The flavor is malt driven meaning that the hops play a supporting role by balancing the grainy sweetness.  There will be a subtle spicy hop aroma and flavor but no fruity esters from the yeast hiding under the malt.  The beer will pour a pale gold and crystal clear with a medium lasting creamy white head, again resulting from the all malt recipe.  A medium carbonation ensures the smooth malt flavor shines through without a carbonic bite.

Information courtesy

Vital Statistics:                 OG: 1.045 – 1.051

IBUs: 16 – 22                    FG: 1.008 – 1.012

SRM: 3 – 5                      ABV: 4.7 – 5.4%

Commercial Examples: Weihenstephaner Original, Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Gold, Bürgerbräu Wolznacher Hell Naturtrüb, Mahr’s Hell, Paulaner Premium Lager, Spaten Premium Lager, Stoudt’s Gold Lager


Style 1E: Dortmunder Export

Dortmunder Exports are characterized by their balance. Everything from its color and aroma to its mouthfeel and flavor is in balance.  This medium-bodied beer pours crystal clear, light to deep gold in color and produces a long lasting head.  A sweet malty aroma is void of any fruity esters but a light noble hop –herbal or spicy – aroma balances it.  The initial malt sweetness is balanced by a crisp medium carbonation and a light hop bitterness that lingers after each drink.

As a side note, export is a beer strength category.  If you see export on any beer it generally means that the beer has a higher alcohol content –to provide extra stability in shipping the beer long distances- and many times it is charged a higher tax in its home country.

Information courtesy

Vital Statistics:                 OG: 1.048 – 1.056

IBUs: 23 – 30                    FG: 1.010 – 1.015

SRM: 4 – 6                      ABV: 4.8 – 6.0%

Information courtesy

Vital Statistics:                 OG: 1.048 – 1.056

IBUs: 23 – 30                    FG: 1.010 – 1.015

SRM: 4 – 6                      ABV: 4.8 – 6.0%

Commercial Examples: DAB Export, Dortmunder Union Export, Dortmunder Kronen, Ayinger Jahrhundert, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, Barrel House Duveneck’s Dortmunder, Bell’s Lager, Dominion Lager, Gordon Biersch Golden Export, Flensburger Gold

Bolded beers are my personal recommendations.

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