Terms & Lingo

SRM: Standard Reference Method

Possibly the most confusing designation, Standard Reference Method measures the color of the beer in your glass—the higher the number, the darker the beer.

SRM: Standard Reference Method

But color does not necessarily equal flavor. While it’s easy to make overarching judgments and think that pale gold beers are light in flavor, amber beers are sweet and malty, and near-black beers are super roasty, exceptions abound—like black kölsch!

“SRM is a really useful number from a brewer’s point of view because we need fine control over those kind of things,” Mosher says, but for the average beer drinker, it’s not as essential. However, it might be fun for a blind taste test: pick a barleywine, an Irish red ale, and a Vienna lager, all of which have the same SRM range, and see who can tell what’s what.

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