Style Details

Bri­tish Gol­den Ale
Pale Com­mon­wealth Beer
BJCP Style Code
12 A
Straw to gol­den in color. Good to bril­li­ant cla­ri­ty. Low to mode­ra­te white head. A low head is accep­ta­ble when car­bo­na­ti­on is also low.
Hop aro­ma is modera­te­ly low to modera­te­ly high, and can use any varie­ty of hops – flo­ral, her­bal, or ear­thy Eng­lish hops and citru­sy Ame­ri­can hops are most com­mon. Fre­quent­ly a sin­gle hop varie­tal will be show­ca­sed. Litt­le to no malt aro­ma; no cara­mel. Medi­um-low to low frui­ty aro­ma from the hops rather than esters. Litt­le to no diacetyl.
Medi­um to medi­um-high bit­ter­ness. Hop fla­vor is mode­ra­te to modera­te­ly high of any hop varie­ty, alt­hough citrus fla­vors are incre­asing­ly com­mon. Medi­um-low to low malt cha­rac­ter, gene­ral­ly brea­dy with per­haps a litt­le bis­cui­ty fla­vor. Cara­mel fla­vors are typi­cal­ly absent. Litt­le to no diace­tyl. Hop bit­ter­ness and fla­vor should be pro­no­un­ced. Modera­te­ly-low to low esters. Medi­um-dry to dry finish. Bit­ter­ness increa­ses with alco­hol level, but is always balanced.
Light to medi­um body. Low to mode­ra­te car­bo­na­ti­on on draught, alt­hough bot­t­led com­mer­cial ver­si­ons will be hig­her. Stron­ger ver­si­ons may have a slight alco­hol warmth, but this cha­rac­ter should not be too high.
Over­all Impression
A hop-for­ward, avera­ge-strength to modera­te­ly-strong pale bit­ter. Drin­ka­bi­li­ty and a refres­hing qua­li­ty are cri­ti­cal com­pon­ents of the style. 
Typi­cal Ingredients
Low-color pale or lager malt acting as a blank can­vas for the hop cha­rac­ter. May use sugar adjuncts, corn or wheat. Eng­lish hops fre­quent­ly used, alt­hough citru­sy Ame­ri­can varie­tals are beco­ming more com­mon. Some­what clean-fer­men­ting Bri­tish yeast.
Modern gol­den ales were deve­lo­ped in Eng­land to take on stron­gly-mar­ke­ted lagers. While it is dif­fi­cult to iden­ti­fy the first, Hop Back’s Sum­mer Light­ning, first bre­wed in 1986, is thought by many to have got the style off the ground.
Well-hop­ped, quen­ching beer with an empha­sis on show­ca­sing hops. Ser­ved col­der than tra­di­tio­nal bit­ters, this style was ori­gi­nal­ly posi­tio­ned as a refres­hing sum­mer beer, but is now often bre­wed year-round. Alt­hough ear­ly on the beers were bre­wed with Eng­lish hops, incre­asing­ly Ame­ri­can citrus-fla­vor­ed hops are used. Gol­den Ales are also cal­led Gol­den Bit­ters, Sum­mer Ales, or Bri­tish Blon­de Ales. Can be found in cask, keg, and bottle.
Com­mer­cial Examples
Crouch Vale Bre­wers Gold, Fuller’s Dis­co­very, Gol­den Hill Exmoor Gold, Hop Back Sum­mer Light­ning, Kel­ham Island Pale Rider, Mor­land Old Gol­den Hen, Oak­ham JHB
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
1.038 - 1.053 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.006 - 1.012 SG
2 - 6 SRM
3.0 - 5.0 %vol
20 - 45 IBU