If you ask an Italian for a beer, chances are incredibly high that you’ll be handed a Peroni. Today, this beer has a following not just in Italy but also around the globe, including the United States. Despite Peroni’s popularity, many people are unaware of what kind of beer it is. This article aims to change that.
Peroni is best classified as an International Pale Lager, characterized by its moderately high bitterness (IBU of 24), pale straw-to-gold color (SRM of 4), alcohol content of 5.1%, moderate to high carbonation, and bottom-fermentation process.
While the information above offers a quick snapshot of what Peroni is, it doesn’t tell the full story. In this article, we’ll explore the factors that have led to this classification. We’ll also delve into the beer’s history to see if it has always been an International Pale Lager and examine if other Peroni beers fall under the same category.
Is Peroni A Lager Or Ale?
Before we delve into the specifics of Peroni, it’s essential to establish some fundamentals of beer classification. Beers fall into several categories and sub-categories, with the broadest classification being whether a beer is an ale or a lager. This distinction serves as the foundation for any beer classification.
The key determinant in classifying a beer as either an ale or a lager is the fermentation technique employed during brewing. There are two primary fermentation techniques: bottom and top fermentation.
Ales are brewed using a top fermentation method. In this technique, a specific yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used, and the brewing occurs at warmer temperatures, typically between 60˚–70˚F (15˚–21˚C).
On the other hand, lagers are brewed using a bottom fermentation method. This technique employs another type of yeast, Saccharomyces Pastorianus, and the brewing takes place at colder temperatures, generally ranging from 35˚–50˚F (1˚–10˚C).
Given that Peroni is brewed using the bottom-fermentation technique at colder temperatures, it falls squarely in the lager category.
What Kind Of Lager Is Peroni?
Now that we’ve established that Peroni is a lager, the next step is to delve into its specific sub-category within the world of lagers. Unlike the broader classification of ales and lagers, sub-classifying beers can be a bit more complex.
Different organizations have their own sets of principles and criteria for beer classification. For this article, we’ll rely on guidelines from one of the most reputable beer certification organizations – the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP).
According to the BJCP’s standard guidelines, Peroni best fits the “International Pale Lager” category, a subset of international lagers. We’ll explore the specific requirements that make Peroni an international pale lager in the following sections.
Why Is Peroni An International Pale Lager?
To understand why Peroni is classified as an International Pale Lager, we can look at five key criteria laid out by the Beer Judge Certification Program: bitterness, color intensity, original gravity, final gravity, and alcohol by volume.
The bitterness of a beer is measured using the International Bitterness Unit (IBU). A higher IBU indicates a more bitter beer. According to the BJCP guidelines, International Pale Lagers should have an IBU between 18 and 25. With an estimated IBU of 24, Peroni comfortably fits within this range.
The color of a beer is gauged using the Standard Reference Method (SRM). A higher SRM value means the beer will be darker. The standard for International Pale Lagers is an SRM value between 2 and 6. Peroni’s estimated SRM of 4 aligns well with these standards, confirming its place in this category.
Original and Final Gravity
Gravity in brewing refers to the concentration of sugars in the beer, and it’s measured at two critical points: before fermentation starts (Original Gravity or OG) and after fermentation ends (Final Gravity or FG). These gravity readings are essential because they help brewers estimate the potential alcohol content.
According to the BJCP guidelines, an International Pale Lager should have an original gravity between 1.042 and 1.050. Peroni has an estimated original gravity of 1.050, which just meets the standard criteria.
As for the final gravity, the range for International Pale Lagers is between 1.008 and 1.012. Peroni’s final gravity is estimated at 1.012, falling within this range as well.
Alcohol By Volume (ABV)
The final criterion is the alcohol content, measured as Alcohol By Volume (ABV). This percentage tells us the amount of pure alcohol in the beer. For International Pale Lagers, the standard ABV range is between 4.5% and 6%. Peroni has an ABV ranging from 4.7% to 5.1%, which aligns perfectly with the guidelines for International Pale Lagers.
Considering that Peroni meets all the specific criteria outlined by the Beer Judge Certification Program, it’s clear why this popular beer is classified as an International Pale Lager.
Has Peroni Always Been An International Pale Lager?
Peroni boasts a rich history as the flagship product of the legendary Italian company, Peroni Brewery. The original Peroni beer was initially brewed as an international pale lager. In Italy, some prefer to call it an “Italian lager.” This style quickly won the hearts of many Italians, solidifying its place among the best-selling beers in the country. The saying goes, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” and Peroni has remained an international pale lager ever since.
Are All Peroni Beers International Pale Lagers?
Success often leads to variations, and Peroni is no exception. The brand’s second most popular beer is Nastro Azzurro. Introduced in 1963, this beer is slightly more alcoholic than the original Peroni, which is darker in color. Nastro Azzurro also contains corn grits and has a more pronounced malt character. Despite these differences, it still fits the international pale lager classification.
The Peroni brand also includes other variants like Peroni Gran Riserva, Peroncino, and Peroni Leggera. While they vary in alcohol strength, all these beers are lagers.