When perusing the menu at your local microbrewery (or our extensive online collection of beer), you might wonder, “Wait, what’s the difference between ale and beer?” Have no fear; Ale Vs Beer it is. You should know that you have support. This is not innate knowledge. Instead, we’ve honed it over the course of many years and countless beers, and we’re more than happy to share what we’ve learned with you.
The craft beer sector in the United Kingdom has boomed, with more varieties of beer than ever before. Unsure of the distinction between a hefeweizen and a hazy India Pale Ale? Here is a guide to understanding the various types of beer available in bottles, cans, and kegs.
Water, yeast, hops, and malt are the four components used to produce all beers. The flavour of your beer depends on how you combine the ingredients, how long you brew them, and whether or not you add anything additional to the mix. Click here to view our brewing process.
Taste and process distinguish beer and ale. Ale has a brighter, richer, more aggressive, hoppy taste and higher alcohol content. Lager has a smooth and mild flavour with a clear, clean finish. Ales include porters, stouts, and German speciality beers like Pilsners, and Doppelbocks, at Oktoberfests, are lagers.
Beer and ale also have different distribution patterns. Belgium, the British Isles, and former British colonies like the US and Canada make ale. German speciality beers are ales, but lager is popular in Europe. Modern breweries use a variety of brewing methods and flavours, making it hard for consumers to tell beer from ale by taste alone.
Let’s get down to the first principles. We can all agree that beer is “the foam-topped, yeasty golden liquid,” but some people may struggle to go beyond that definition. Beer, however, is not just that.
Beer is a global staple, having been consumed for thousands of years. Only water and tea have lower priority. There would normally be some resentment toward that position on the list. Third place isn’t too bad, considering how essential water is to human survival and how basic tea is to British survival.
Water, hops, malt, yeast, and Mother Nature all work in unison to create a delicious beverage known as beer (also known as the fermentation process). The yeast used is the primary (but not the only) determinant of a beer’s style.
There are only two main categories of beer: lager and ale, regardless of whether you prefer pale ale, IPA (Indian pale ale), pilsner, porter, or stout.
THE MAIN INGREDIENT: LAGER
Lagers are great first beers because they are easy to drink and not too complex. Most of the world’s best-selling beers are lagers because they’re so approachable; these are also the brands you’ll most often see advertising at football games, big-name sporting events, and music festivals.
Lagers are fermented using a yeast strain known as saccharomyces uvarum. While this strain of yeast likely originated in the United States, it was first used in brewing in Bavaria.
This beer is classified as a Bottom Fermenting Beer because the yeast does not rise to the top of the brewing vessel before sinking again. Saccharomyces uvarum yeast, used in the fermentation of wine, is more sensitive to handling than ale yeast, which is used in the same process because subtle differences in flavour, quality, and clarity depend heavily on variables like fermentation rate (which usually take around three weeks). Lager is rarely brewed in the home brewing community due to the high level of care that is required.
The finished product is remarkably crisp and airy. As the yeast ferments the vat, it interacts with some of the sugars in a way that ale yeast doesn’t, resulting in a beer that is smoother and sweeter than most others.
Some of the most widely consumed lagers in the world include:
A Pilsner, an American Lager, a Vienna Style Lager, an Imperial Pilsner, a California Common Bock, a Doppelbock, a Maibock, a Marzen/Oktoberfest
ALMOST AS IMPORTANT AS THE BREW ITSELF: ALE
In contrast to Bottom Fermenting lager yeast, Ale yeast floats to the brewing vessel’s surface as the beer ferments. That’s why we call it “Top Fermenting Beer”; it’s short and to the point. After the brewing process is complete, it returns to the bottom as a handy indicator of when the ale is ready to drink.
The saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast used in brewing ales has been around for a long time and is also commonly used in other fermentation processes, such as making wine and bread. Yeast was traditionally recovered from the top of ale and used again in the baking process. The yeast is readily available, and fermentation takes only about a week, making ales the go-to for home and small-batch brewers.
It may be helpful to think of beers as family members. Both Pale Ale and India Pale Ale are ales. While there are some parallels between the two types of beer, there are also many distinctions. Each one is unique.
Among the most widely consumed beer styles are:
- India pale ale Amber Ale (IPA)
- Various types of brown and golden scotch ales
- Ale made from malted barley
- Burton Ale, a mild beer,
- Belgian and Old Ale
After this brief introduction to the science and history of lagers and ales, you’re ready to quench your thirst with a frosty brew. Why not take a chance and try the other beer style we discussed if you’re already committed to the first? You could end up believing in the cause.
Check out our brewery web store to begin your journey into the world of beer.