Difference between ale and lager
Ale vs lager:
Ale and lager which are ranked among the most consumed beverages of the world deserve a spot among the list of most popular beverages ever to be founded by the mankind. While the differences between the two beverages hardly cross the minds of many in sipping an ale or a lager, it may matter to quite a few who are interested in finding out the differences between the two. This article is aimed at those curious few who are in fact, interested in observing the differences which set these world famous beverages apart from one another.
What is ale?
Ale can be described as a type of beer which is derived from malted barley by use of a warm fermentation method. It typically has a bittering agent that is used as a balancing agent that will counteract with the sweetness of the malt while it also acts as a preservative. Originally, ale was given this bitterness with a mixture of herbs and spices called gruit which was later on replaced by hops, which is a female flower cluster that is now being used as a common flavoring ingredient in beer. Some popular types of ale are IPA’s, Hefeweizens, scotch ales etc.
Despite the bittering process, ale is known for its sweet and fruity flavors. Ale and bread were popular sources of nutrition in the medieval world. Brewing of ale is traditionally done in the caves of Germany which are quite cold during the winter season.
What is lager?
Larger is a type of beer which is produced using bottom fermenting yeast which signifies that the yeast works from the bottom of the vat. Lager is usually fermented around 5-14 degrees Celsius, traditionally over a period of several weeks which is then ‘Lagered’ for up to several months. This cold or deep fermentation method is known to allow the malt and hops to assert their fine flavors. Lagers are usually smooth, elegant, fruity, and clean in flavor and are available in highly carbonated or crisp nature.
What is the difference between lager and ale?
The difference between lager and beer can indeed be detected, first and foremost by sight. Lagers tend to be lighter colored than ales, although there do exist certain ales which carry colors as dark as the darkest of ales. In taste too ales and lagers can be differentiated easily. Ales tend to be more robust tasting whereas lager tends to be much smoother and mellower tasting than ale. This may be because of the amount of hops, malt and roasted malts included in the two beverages. While ale characteristically includes a higher content of the above mentioned ingredients in the making, lager uses these contents in considerably low amounts. This is why ales tend to have a more prominent malty taste and bitterness than its counterpart, lager.
Regarding the method of brewing, the two beverages differ. Ale uses the much older method of brewing which is called “top fermenting “where the yeast that is used in ale is seen to be fermenting mostly from the top. In contrast, lager uses the bottom fermenting method where the yeasts start brewing from the bottom of the tank. The temperatures in which these two beverages brew are very different as well. Ale brews in a warmer temperature of about 15 – 25 Celsius whereas lager brews in a colder temperature of lesser than 10 degrees Celsius. This affects the flavor of the lager as the cold fermentation allows the malt and the hops to dispense their finer flavors in a more efficient way.
Ale is known to possess a higher amount of alcohol than lager. Differences ensue in the manner in which they are served as well as lager is served at about 3 to 7 degrees Celsius whereas ale is served at a warmer temperature of about 7 to 12 degrees Celsius.