Fall beer includes heavier recipes and hints of popular autumn flavors, and Oklahoma Gazette’s panel judged this year’s beers based on style. 

click to enlarge Mary Coyne, Gail White, Jacob Threadgill and Nick Trougakos partcipate in the Fall Brew Review. | Photo Garett Fisbeck
  • Mary Coyne, Gail White, Jacob Threadgill and Nick Trougakos partcipate in the Fall Brew Review. | Photo Garett Fisbeck

Ale: beer made using warm fermentation, which imparts a sweeter fruit taste and heavier body; hops add bitterness and balance sweetness.

Belgian Dubbel: Belgian-style ale with a full, heavy body and strong malt flavor; colored deep garnet to dark brown, traditionally the result of using highly caramelized beet sugar. It was inspired by Trappist monks and has a high alcohol content.

Cream stout: made with lactose, a sugar found in milk, with a sweeter flavor and creamy body; sometimes called milk or cream stout.

Farmhouse ale / saison: complex bottle-conditioned beer with heavy spice flavor, often tart with medium bitterness; saison, French for “season,” is the most common variety, and it’s traditionally brewed in winter and kept farm staff busy in off seasons as they created beer to drink in summer months.

Imperial: Derived from British brewers who would ship beer to the Russian Imperial Court, Imperial is used as a descriptor by American craft breweries for stouts, pale ale and pilsner to indicate the amount of hops and malts used during brewing have been doubled or tripled for more flavor and higher alcohol content.

India pale ale/ IPA: Ale with stronger hop flavor; originally brewed in England and exported to India for British troops, and more hops were used to help preserve the beer during its transport.

Pale ale: made with pale malt, usually with a medium hoppiness that is easy to drink.

Pumpkin ale: ingredients include pumpkin chunks, puree or flavoring, and the ale is usually mild and malty with little bitterness.

Lager: made with bottom-fermented yeast at colder temperatures for a crisper, cleaner taste.

Märzen: medium to full-bodied German-style beer; Märzen is German for “March,” when the beer was traditionally brewed, and it is a traditional Oktoberfest beer with color ranging from golden yellow to dark brown and a rich taste with mild hoppiness.

Pilsner: smooth pale lager named for the Czechoslovakian city of Pilsen; hops impart bitter and floral spice notes.

Porter: dark style of beer developed in London from well-hopped beers made from brown malt. Porters predate stouts but are similar. Stouts are dark porters marketed in the 18th century as “extra porter” or “stout porter.”

Vienna lager: color ranges from copper to reddish-brown with a medium body; named for the Austrian city, Vienna lagers are more associated with beers in the United States and Mexico like Yuengling and Negra Modelo.

Hops: delicate, cone-shaped flowers of Humulus lupulus plant, which grows in vines more than 20 feet long; light green cones are full of flavorful resins and oils that give beer bitterness when used early in brewing and aroma when added later.

Malt: most popular brewing grain, short for malted barley, is soaked in water until it germinates and then coked or roasted to stop the growing process; the amount of heat used impacts the color and flavor of beer and sugars in malt create alcohol during fermentation.

Wheat ale: usually top-fermented — brewed with a large portion of wheat relative to the amount of barley malt. American wheat beer takes Hefeweizen recipe and uses fermenting ale yeasts for a subtle brew.

Yeast: single-celled microorganism that create flavors in beer and convert sugar into alcohol; ale yeast rises to the top during fermentation and bottom-fermenting lager yeast settles at the bottom.


The second annual Oklahoma Gazette Fall Brew Review tested 28 locally available beers in five categories: aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel and overall impression. The four-member panel tasted each beer blind, only knowing the type in order to grade it to style. Beers were judged in a vacuum to style and not to other beer in the panel. Judges submitted score sheets before brewers and beers were revealed.


Appearance, mouthfeel and overall impression were graded on a six-point scale. Aroma and taste were given a 10-point scale. The highest possible combined score is 38. The beer scores listed are the combined average from the panel. The top 20 beers made our list with anonymous comments from the panel.

Score averages

26-38: Outstanding — world-class example of style

21-25: Excellent — exemplifies style well; might need minor fine-tuning

16-20: Very good — generally within style parameters; some minor flaws

11-15: Good — misses the mark on style and/or has minor flaws

6-10: Fair — off flavors, aromas or major style deficiencies

0-5: Problematic — major off flavors and aromas dominate 

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See a list of beer-related events here!

Learn about our panelists here!

Read Oklahoma Gazette's Fall Brew Review here!

Print headline: Brew Score: Fall beer includes heavier recipes and hints of popular autumn flavors, and Oklahoma Gazette’s panel judged this year’s beers based on style.

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