A Comparison of Lager and Ale Beer

Essay by BeerloverUniversity, Bachelor'sA, February 2006

download word file, 2 pages 1.0

Beer is a wonderful thing. You can have a casual relationship with it, or a

full-fledged love affair. You can stay true to your high school sweetheart, or you

can have a string of torrid, meaningless short-term affairs that rival the

appetites of James Bond or Don Juan. However, we are living in an informed

age and if you are going to drink beer, you should obtain a basic knowledge of

your choices and the differences between them.

All beer can be broken down into two different categories, lager and ale.

Because breweries make beer in two ways. The yeast, which beer

needs to produce alcohol, ferments either on the top (for ale) or on bottom (for

lager) of a large metal tank called a "mash tun." The two methods create two

very different results.

Another main difference in producing beer is in the temperature during

fermentation. Most ales ferment at around seventy degrees Fahrenheit, lagers

ferment about fifteen degrees lower.

The differences in temperature cause the

yeast to either rise or fall.

The yeast and fermentation temperatures play an important role in the

flavor of the beer. Ale and lager share the same benefits of a rich variety of

flavors and aromas due to the yeast used. However, ales tend to be more robust

and fuller flavored because of the warmer fermentation. Colder fermentation

tends to rob the lager of flavor because colder temperatures subdue

fermentation activity. This is why lager beers take longer to ferment.

Lager, in one form or another, is what most people in the United States

prefer. From the humble Budweiser to the sophisticated Marzen or Bock, most

breweries in America make lagers and this is why lager beer is the most

accessible in our country. The positive characteristics of lager are that it is...