Choosing the Right Beer: Lager versus Ale

Some people take their alcohol seriously. Beers are one of the most favoured beverages. Beers are fermented beverages made from grain, hops, water, and yeast. The process of making them is called brewing. Despite its bitter taste, most drinkers consider beer to be the best drink in the world.

Many people say that they don’t really drink beer because of its taste. Although this may be true for some, others find that beers have a pleasant and refreshing taste. Good thing it’s easy to appreciate and enjoy every bottle of beer.

Comparing the two classes of beers: lager and ale

The two biggest classifications of beer are lager and ale. These varieties of beer differ in some aspects. Ask a brewer what their distinctions are and they will probably tell you that the yeast used in the fermentation process is the primary cause for the differences among the two. Nevertheless, that is just a single component and there are more distinctive features that ale and lager have.

To figure out how ales and lagers differ from one another, below are some brief explanations.

Lager versus ale: what are the differences?

The method of brewing ales is not new in the beer-making industry. Ales have been around for thousands of years. While lagers are almost new on the brewing scene.

The taste of beer depends on the person drinking it. Therefore, we can’t distinguish what the kind of beer it is solely on the basis of how it tastes. The type of yeast used in making ale beers is different from that of the lager. A top-fermenting yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used in the brewing process of ale beers while for lager, Saccharomyces uvarum, a bottom-fermenting yeast, is used for ale.

They also differ in temperature. Ales are fermented in a medium range temperature while lagers are fermented in cooler conditions. For this reason, some find ales to be more flavourful and tasty with a complex aroma. On the contrary, lager beers taste lighter and smoother.

Usually, ales tend to have higher alcohol content than lager. On the other hand, there are still plenty of strong beers classified under both of them. However, it is difficult to distinguish ales from lagers through their taste. To recognise one, experts prefer to smell it instead.

The duration of the brewing periods for ales and for lagers is also different. Ales are brewed for a shorter length of time. It can be a week or more. For lagers, they have a longer brewing process. It can last for several months. The two classifications of beer have distinct brewing processes, starting from the kind of yeast up to its temperature during the fermentation.

From the moment the yeasts are added, the fermentation begins. When making ales, the yeast rises to the surface of the brew in a warm condition during fermentation. The yeast is more active on top while brewing ales at 59 to 77 degrees F. On the other hand, lagers ferment at the bottom of the brew in a cold temperature that usually ranges from 40 to 50 degrees F.

Lagers are brewed longer than ales. That slow and low fermentation gives a lesser fruity taste to lagers. As a result, these beers become crisp and less flavourful. After fermentation, ales are usually served in a warmer condition while lagers are served cold.

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