03/16/2015 12:58 pm ET

Become A Craft Beer Expert In Three Minutes. Here's To Chemistry!

You don't have to know any chemistry to enjoy beer, but it's nice to have a few facts on tap--especially if you find yourself in a game of one-upmanship with some hopped-up craft brew know-it-all.

And you can get all the basic facts about the molecular basis of beer in a fun new video just posted by the American Chemical Society as part of its Reactions series.

Wort! Malt! Hops and humulone! It's all here.



  • Pilsner
    Pilsner is one of the youngest beer styles in the world; it's a clean and simple pale lager and one of the more popular beer varieties. It was originally brewed in Plzen, Czechoslovakia in 1842 using the regions distinctive Noble Saaz hops. Flavor Profile: Strong hops, softer malt, fragrant, and pleasurably bitter flavors. Recommended Pilsners:RadebergerPilsner UrquellWarsteiner
  • Wheat Beer
    Wheat beer is reminiscent of the first brewed beers. They're a mixture of barley and wheat grains, have a low to nonexistent hops presence, cloudy appearance, and often prominent yeast flavor. The yeast used is a specialized ale yeast used only in wheat beers and contributes much of the aroma and flavor of the brew. Flavor Profile: The flavor ranges greatly depending on wheat styles, but they're typically light in flavor, making them great summer beers. Recommended Wheat Beers:HoegaardenAllagash WhiteHarpoon's UFO Hefeweizen
  • Brown Ale
    New Castle
    True to its name, brown ale is a dark amber color. It's a very old style beer, whose history dates back to unhopped ales. In the 18th century, brown ales were lightly hopped and brewed from 100 percent brown malt -- which is how they got their distinctive color, but today the term brown ale incorporates many different kinds of brews. Flavor Profile: Brown ales have a higher level of malt, which makes it more earthy and less bitter. Flavors vary from sweet, to slightly hoppy, to earthy and malty. Recommended Brown Ales:New Castle Brown AleSamuel Smith Nut Brown Ale
  • Pale Ale
    Anchor Brewing Company
    Pale ale is one of the world's most popular beer styles. It was invented thanks to innovation in brewing technology where they discovered a method to gently roast the barley. It's made with the use of pale malt. Flavor Profile: In the UK, this brew has a strong malty and woody flavor. In the U.S., the hops are ramped up during brewing, making it a spicy beer. Recommended Pale Ales:Anchor Brewing Company Liberty AleSierra Nevada pale aleDuvel
  • India Pale Ale (IPA)
    During the 1700s, when English troops lived in India the typical pale ale brew most Englishmen drank would spoil before the ship reached the Indian shores. In order to prolong the beers shelf life, brewers added more hops (a natural preservative), and hence the origin of a now very popular beer. Flavor Profile: A strong hoppy flavor, with a slightly bitter taste. Recommended IPAs: Brooklyn East India IPADogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
  • Double IPAs
    Flying Dog Ales
    Double IPAs are also called "Imperial" IPAs. These beers have even more hops added to them than traditional IPAs, sometimes double to triple the amount. To balance the strong hoppy taste, more malt is also added which makes this beer a strong one. Flavor Profile: Due to its doubling up on hops and malts, this brew has strong, fruity, hoppy notes and deep malty undertones. Recommended Double IPAs:Lagunita MaximusDouble Dog Double Pale Ale
  • Bock
    Anchor Brewing Company
    Bock beer is stronger than your typical lager and has a more robust malt character. In the Medieval days, German monasteries would brew strong beers, such as this one, for sustenance during their Lenten fasts. Flavor Profile: Rich and malty with a slight hint of hops bitterness. Recommended Bocks:Michelob Amber BockAnchor Bock BeerSamuel Adams Chocolate Bock
  • Porter
    Stone Brewing Co.
    Porters are very dark, almost opaque. They consist of roasted malts or roasted barley, and are typically brewed with slow fermenting yeast. Flavor Profile: Mild with notes of roasted grains, chocolate and toffee and none of the harsh notes of stout. Recommended Porter:Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald PorterAlaskan Smoked PorterSmoked Porter
  • Stout
    Samuel Smith
    Stouts have an unclear history, yet it's strongly held by many that they derive from porters. They're made with black unmalted barley which contributes to most of the color and flavor characteristics common in all stouts. The head of stout should be thick and is usually tan to brown. Flavor Profile: Heavily roasted flavor. Should have hints of coffee, chocolate, licorice, and molasses with no apparent hops flavor. Recommended Stouts:Samuel Smith Oatmeal StoutPike Stout Extra Stout
  • WATCH: The Right Way To Pour Beer
    The right way to pour a beer (regular beer and Guinness).