805 is the Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s top-selling beer. Although the beer was made in and primarily for Californians, it is fast spreading across the nation. Everyone loves good things, not just Californians, you know! The chances are high that you have heard this of beer before, but do you know what type of beer it is? Let’s help you with a quick answer.
805 is best classified as a Blond Ale because of its moderate bitterness (IBU of 15), light gold color (SRM of 5), the alcohol content of 4.7%, high carbonation, and being top-fermented, not bottom-fermented.
Above is the short answer, “what type of beer is 805.” However, there’s more, and in this article, we will dig into the essential issues about 805 beer. This includes why it is classified as an ale and not a lager, the exact type of ale, and other important information about the beer and its variants.
Is 805 A Lager Or Ale?
To answer this, it makes sense first to consider what ales and lagers are.
When fermenting beer, brewers employ two different brewing techniques – top-fermentation or bottom fermentation. For the former, you use top-fermenting yeast, while the latter involves bottom-fermenting yeast.
Ales are prepared using the top-fermentation technique, which is done at warm temperatures (60˚–70˚F). Conversely, lagers use the bottom-fermentation technique, and this is done at colder temperatures (35˚–50˚F).
To answer the question, then, 805 is classified as an ale because it is fermented using top-fermenting yeast at warm temperatures.
While the distinction between ales and lagers is critical to classifying beer, there are other subcategories of beers. Let us examine which subcategory 805 falls.
What Kind Of Ale Is 805?
805 is an ale because it is made using top-fermenting yeast. However, it is common knowledge there are several types of ales, so what kind is 805? To ascertain this, we will rely on the guidelines provided by the Beer Judge Certification Program.
Under these guidelines, 805 bests fit the blond ale category, which is a type of pale American ale. 805 is under this category because it meets the requirements specified by the standard guidelines for blond ales.
Now that we know 805 meets the requirements for a blond ale, the next question that pops to mind is, what exactly are those requirements? We have you covered below!
Why Is 805 A Blond Ale?
Categorizing a beer as ale or lager is relatively easy because you need just consider one direct and simple factor – the fermentation technique. It is not nearly as straightforward when classifying a beer under the several different types of ales. Here, you need to consider five factors: bitterness, color intensity, original gravity, final gravity, and alcohol content.
Let’s start with bitterness. This is simply how bitter a beer is, and it is measured using the International Bitterness Units (IBU). The higher the IBU of a beer, the more bitter it would be.
According to the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, blond ales have an IBU between 15 and 28, meaning they range from moderate to high bitterness. 805 has an IBU of 15, meaning it meets the standard bitterness requirements of blond ales.
The next factor we will consider is color intensity. Typically, beers range from very light golden or corn-like color to very dark. This range is well represented using the Standard Reference Method (SRM). The higher the SRM of a beer, the darker it is.
The standard SRM requirement for blond ales is between 3 and 6. The beer 805 has an SRM of 5, which is right within the desired range for blond ales.
Additionally, the gravities of the beer are vital factors in classification. There are two gravities here – the original gravity (OG) and the final gravity (FG).
The original gravity measures the fermentable and un-fermentable substances in the beer wort before alcoholic fermentation starts. The final gravity measures the un-fermentable sugars in the beer at the end of alcoholic fermentation.
The Beer Judge Certification Program states that blond ales should have an original gravity between 1.038 and 1.054. The OG for 805 is estimated at 1.048, which is in accordance with the standard guidelines for OG. Also, the standard guidelines state that blond ales should have a final gravity between 1.008 and 1.013. The beer 805 has an estimated FG of 1.009, which also falls within standard requirements.
The final and most straightforward factor is the alcohol content of the beer, which is measured in Alcohol By Volume (ABV). According to standard guidelines, to be regarded as a blond ale, a beer needs to have between 3.8% and 5.5%. The beer 805 has an ABV of 4.7%, implying it falls under the standard requirements.
After considering all of these factors, it is clear to see why 805 is regarded as a blond ale, as it meets all standard requirements guidelines to be categorized as such.
Has 805 Always Been A Blond Ale?
Yes, 805 itself has always been a blond ale. The Firestone Walker Brewing Company launched 805 into the Californian market as a blond ale back in 2012. It is still produced as a blond ale to date.
However, 805 is not the Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s first entry into the beer industry – the Double Barrel Ale is the undisputed owner of that title. This beer was not a blond ale, though, but a British-style pale ale. Note that blond ales aren’t even British-style but American pale ales.
Despite coming 16 years after the pioneer beer, 805 is still – and by a reasonable margin – the best-selling of the beers the Firestone Walker Brewing Company produces. So, in a way, we can say the move from British pale ales to American pale ales, blond ales, in particular, was a success for the brewing company.
If you’d like to read our full review on this ale, have a look here.
Are All 805 Beers Blond Ales?
Riding off the massive success of the 805 blond ale, the Firestone Walker Brewing Company introduced 805 Cerveza into the market in 2021. This is the first variant of the standard 805 beer.
Interestingly, this new model is not a blond ale or even an ale at all. The Firestone Walker Brewing Company markets the 805 Cerveza as a cousin to the 805, but it’s hard to draw that direct a connection when classifying them.
The two products aren’t worlds apart when you taste them, but 805 Cerveza is a pilsner beer, a type of lager. The ABV is 4.5%, which is basically the same as its mother beer, but there’s the addition of a lime flavor into the newer model.