BTW if something is described as "Hoppy" I'd expect it to be very bitter (since it's the hops that makes it bitter).
Yeah, in general hoppy beers tend to be more bitter, though this isn't *always* the case. Depending on how they're used hops can add bitterness, or they can add floral/citrusy/spicy/earthy (depending on type of hops) flavors and/or aromas.
"yeasty, malty, caramel, warm, nutty" I'd normally associate with darker beers. I only drink the stuff though so don't trust me.
Agree on all except the "yeasty"; any beer (light or dark) can be yeasty, and Weizens (which can be fairly light) are some of the yeastiest beers out there since they are almost always unfiltered and bottled with active yeast.
Actually I would suggest you try some of the darker ones like stout or porter as they don't tend to be as bitter as the lighter beers. BUT they are a bit of an acquired taste anyway and not really ideal if you want to cool down!
Guinness is actually lower in calories and alcohol than you'd think; but it can be somewhat bitter from the roasted malt so perhaps not the best bet here.
Isn't Boddington's full name Boddington's Bitter
?!!?!!?! Are you trying to kill me?
Bitter is just the term in England for Ale. It does not reflect the flavor. Its worth a try, though.
Yup. Most Bitters aren't actually all that bitter.
Yeah I don't know the proper lingo. But seriously, other than the historicity of it, why would anyone want to drink that vile stuff (lambic) ?
Well, I don't know why anyone wants to drink extra-hoppy beer, but judging from the "Super Ultra Hopped with extra dry hops!" varieties so many American microbrewers sell, somebody wants it.
I tell people that Lambics (the authentic ones) are kind of like the blue cheese of the beer world. Why would anyone want to eat moldy cheese? Because some people like the aroma and flavor of it! Like blue cheese, Lambics are a bit of an acquired taste.
There are also some Belgian ales that have the tartness without the Lambic funk; these are typically aged in wooden barrels that have natural lactobacillus living in the pores of the wood. Anything that says it is "Flanders style" is likely to be in this vein.
I like extra hoppy on occasion; but it has to be balanced with enough malt to make it bitter-sweet. If a beer tastes like I am chewing on a raw hop cone, that's simply not pleasant!
The porters and stouts sound intriguing. I read that there is a difference between American and European style porters/stouts, though. Anyone know if one is more bitter than the other?
For anything other than the mass-produced swill from the big commercial breweries (which is essentially watered down Pilsner), American micro/craft-brewed versions of most styles tend to be more bitter/hoppy than their European counterparts.
You might like some of the Baltic Porters -- Okocim, Utenos, Baltika #6 -- if you can find them. Dark, malty, but tend to go fairly easy on the roasted malt and hops compared to other Porters.
Finally, I've always heard about beer in England and Ireland that's so thick it would hold up a spoon (I imagine that's an exaggeration, but I get the point). What makes those beers so viscous? Is it all the yeast? And they seem to be generally dark in color. What makes them so dark?
It's an exaggeration. In fact, draft Guinness is pretty thin (though it can have a thick creamy head similar to whipped cream; this is due to the special tap used to serve it). Thicker/heavier beers get their character from lots of malt (which leads to lots of residual unfermented sugars). Dark beers get their characteristic color and flavor from dark roasted and/or caramelized malt.
I've not been brave enough to try actual Gueuze yet.
Not for the faint of heart. Most of them are intensely sour and funky. Oh, and if you drink an entire glass of it, a few hours later you will likely start passing some of the most foul-smelling intestinal gas you've ever experienced!
If you're still curious, I suggest finding a few other people who are interested in trying it, and splitting a bottle.
I've been known to imbibe in a little Gueuze on occasion, but tend to do so only rarely due to the fact that it tends to be rather expensive, not to mention the above mentioned gaseous aftereffects...
To the OP, I leave you with this: http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/catdex.php
While the descriptions are rather technical, you should still be able to get a feel for the sort of flavors associated with each style. The IBU numbers will also give you a rough idea of relative bitterness (higher IBUs = more bitterness). You can look at the FG numbers too if you want; FG will give you some idea of the residual sugar content. A beer with lots of residual sugar can *seem* less bitter, even if it has a higher IBU number. (FG < 1.010 is a fairly dry beer; FG > 1.020 is sweet; most are in the 1.010 to 1.020 range.)
[Really geeky stuff: The IBU number actually represents parts-per-million of bitter hop acids dissolved in the beer. FG is the specific gravity, i.e. the density of the fermented beer, where pure water is assigned a density of 1.0.]
Hey, it's kind of like choosing a video card or CPU -- it helps to look at the detailed technical specs if you want to make sure you get what you want!