Yuengling is the top alcoholic beer of the D. G. Yuengling & Son brewing company, which is located in Potssvile, PA, and is the most experienced American brewing company. This beer brand has many ardent fans across the country, but not all of them know exactly what type of beer it is. Let’s fix that with this short answer!
Yuengling is classified as an International Amber Lager due to its moderate bitterness (IBU of 16), golden amber or copper-like color (SRM of 10), alcohol content of 4.5%, and being bottom-fermented rather than top-fermented.
There you have it – the simple answer to what type of beer Yuengling is. But when it comes to classifying beer, it’s never that simple, as you are about to find out. Here, we will examine in detail why Yuengling is classified as a lager and not an ale, as well as explain the reasoning behind this classification. Also, we will break down the factors that have been considered in sub-categorizing the beer lager.
Let’s get started!
Is Yuengling A Lager Or Ale?
We will answer this in a minute, but before then, let us examine what differentiates ales and lagers, the two broadest forms of classifying beers.
While many beer enthusiasts boast of their ability to tell between the two types of beer by just tasting them, the difference in brewing terms is in their production. Beers are fermented using either top-fermenting yeast or bottom-fermenting yeast.
If bottom-fermenting yeast is used at cold temperatures (35˚–50˚F), the beer is regarded as a lager. However, if top-fermenting yeast is used at warmer temperatures (60˚–70˚F), the beer is classified as an ale.
A minute has elapsed, and we’ll answer the topic question now – Yuengling is classified as a lager because its brewing involves using bottom-fermenting yeast at cold temperatures.
This is the first step in classifying Yuengling. The next – the type of lager Yuengling is.
What Kind Of Lager Is Yuengling?
There are different types of lagers. People classify ales and lagers using different standards, and we have gone with perhaps the most reputable organization for classifying beers – the Beer Judge Certification Program.
According to the Program’s guidelines, Yuengling is best classified as an international amber lager. This is a subcategory of lager beers under the international lager category. The other subcategories under international lager are the international pale lager and international dark lager.
If you find you enjoy Yuengling Traditional Lager, here’s a list of 10 other beers for you to try.
We have established that Yuengling is a lager and, more specifically, an international amber lager. The next stage is to consider why it is classified as such.
Why Is Yuengling An International Amber Lager?
Classifying Yuengling as a lager is the easy part of its classification. The tricky part is classifying it as an international amber lager. This was done by comparing specific values of Yuengling with the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines.
The values used are measurements of five factors – bitterness (measured in IBU), color intensity (measured in SRM), original gravity, final gravity, and alcohol content (measured in alcohol by volume). We will examine them one after the other.
The first factor is bitterness, measured in IBU (International Bitterness Units). This scale measures the relative bitterness of a beer. The higher up the scale, the bitterer the beer is. Per standard guidelines, international amber lagers have an IBU between 8 and 25.
Yuengling, the beer in review, has an estimated IBU of 16. As you can see, this falls within the standard range, meaning Yuengling meets the bitterness requirements for international amber lagers.
The next factor is the color intensity of the beer. As the name implies, the color intensity of a beer is an indication of the beer’s color, ranging from very light golden to very dark. This factor is measured using a special metric known as the Standard Reference Method (SRM).
The standard guidelines state that the SRM for international amber lagers is between 7 and 14. Yuengling has an estimated SRM of 10, which is well within the standard range. As such, the beer passes that particular criterion for classification as an international amber lager.
Furthermore, beer gravities are vital in their classification. The two relevant gravities are the original and final gravity – OG and FG, respectively.
The original gravity of a beer measures the sugar content in the beer wort before alcoholic fermentation. In contrast, the final gravity measures the unfermentable sugars in the beer after alcoholic fermentation.
The Beer Judge Certification Program states that the original gravity should be between 1.042 and 1.055 to be classified as an international amber lager. It also allows for a final gravity between 1.008 and 1.014 for international amber lagers.
While the gravities of Yuengling are not easily accessible, the estimated original gravity value using online gravity calculators is 1.056. This is marginally above the standard. Meanwhile, the FG is 1.011, well within the standard range.
The last, but definitely not least, factor is the alcohol content of the beer. The standard guidelines allow for an ABV value between 4.6% and 6%. Yuengling has an ABV of 4.5%, which is just 0.1% below the lower acceptable limit for international amber lagers.
Since Yuengling complies with the overwhelming majority of standard guidelines for international amber lagers, it can be classified as one.
Want to know what we think about this lager? Find our review here.
Has Yuengling Always Been An International Amber Lager?
D. G. Yuengling & Son Brewing Company, the makers of Yuengling, has a very rich history. Seriously, it dates back to 1828. They are the oldest brewing company in the United States.
After undergoing several challenges and name changes, the company stabilized with the production of products known as “near beers,” which contained 0.5% ABV.
Yuengling traditional lager, the most recognizable of their lagers today, was made in 1987 after the company reintroduced its amber lager recipe. Yuengling traditional lager is and has always been an international amber lager.
Are All Yuengling International Amber Lagers?
There are several beers produced by D. G. Yuengling & Son Brewing Company. Of course, their top sellers are lagers. In this section, we will consider the three biggest and if they are international amber lagers.
1. Yuengling Traditional Lager
This Yuengling lager beer is called traditional for a reason. It is the most recognizable Yuengling lager and the beer we have reviewed in this article. It falls under the international amber lager category because it meets standard guidelines.
2. Yuengling Light
This is the lower-calorie version of Yuengling Traditional Lager. However, it has a significantly lower ABV of 3.8% and cannot be classified as an international amber lager. It is more appropriately classified as a light lager.
3. Yuengling Black and Tan
The Black and Tan is, well, black and tan! It is unsurprisingly much darker than the other Yuengling lagers we have examined. This Yuengling beer is not an international amber lager but a porter and premium lager. Yuengling Black and Tan is actually a mixture of Yuengling Premium Beer (40%) and Dark-Brewed Porter (60%).