CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Beer doesn’t need to feel complicated – it’s just beer after all. If you’re looking at craft beer at the grocery store, you might see a lot of terms like “session,” “hazy,” or “juicy,” but what do those words actually mean when talking about beer? Keep reading if you want to have a better idea of what you’re buying the next time you’re in the mood to kick back with a few brews.


A “session” beer means that the alcohol content is relatively low, usually in the 4% to 5% range. This makes it easier to have multiple beers in the same drinking “session.”

Common examples: Founders All Day IPA, Bell’s Light Hearted IPA


While haziness is usually attributed to certain styles like IPAs, it’s easy to understand because hazy beers are just that – hazy. Hazy beers are unfiltered, which means a lot of the grain and other solid ingredients like fruit particulate stay in the beer, often making the flavors stronger and more distinct.

Common examples: Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA, Samuel Adams Wicked Hazy IPA, New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze

Orange Oswald SMaSH IPA (Courtesy The Freefolk Brewery)
Orange Oswald SMaSH IPA (Courtesy The Freefolk Brewery)


Juicy is a term used to emphasize a beer’s fruity taste, which is usually derived from the hops used during the brewing process or the fruit used in making the beer.

Common examples: New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze, The Freefolk Brewery Orange Oswald


As one Maine brewery puts it, “‘imperial’ simply refers to a big beer, both in terms of flavor and alcohol.”

The most notable characteristic of imperial beers is their strength. Any beer with the word “imperial” in the name likely ranges anywhere from 8% ABV all the way to 12% ABV. Imperial beers also have a tendency to be even more bitter than your typical stout or IPA.

Common examples: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Great Lakes Brewing Co. Lake Erie Monster, Sierra Nevada Big Little Thing

“Double,” “triple,” “tripel”

Similar to imperial beers, double and triple mostly refers to the alcoholic content of a beer, but also the increased emphasis on hop characteristics. Tripel-style beers are traditionally Belgian and fall in the 7-9.5% ABV range.

Common examples: Stone Brewing RuinTenTriple IPA, Victory Brewing Golden Monkey, New Belgium Trippel