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BJCP 2015 Guideline

Historical Beer Pre-Prohibition Lager


BJCP 2015 27A Pre-Prohibition Lager example
27A - Pre-Prohibition Lager


Overall Impression

A clean, refreshing, but bitter pale lager, often showcasing a grainy-sweet corn flavor. All malt or rice-based versions have a crisper, more neutral character. The higher bitterness level is the largest differentiator between this style and most modern mass-market pale lagers, but the more robust flavor profile also sets it apart.


The classic American Pilsner was brewed both pre-Prohibition and post-Prohibition with some differences. OGs of 1.050-1.060 would have been appropriate for pre-Prohibition beers while gravities dropped to 1.044-1.048 after Prohibition. Corresponding IBUs dropped from a pre-Prohibition level of 30-40 to 25-30 after Prohibition.

Commercial Examples

Anchor California Lager, Coors Batch 19, Little Harpeth Chicken Scratch

There are more details available on the BJCP website. Click below to view the complete style.

View Style on BJCP Website


  • OG:  1044 - 1060
  • FG:  1010 - 1015
  • ABV: 4.5 - 6
  • IBU: 25 - 40
  • SRM: 3 - 6
BJCP 2015 27A - Pre-Prohibition Lager Commercial Example