CONTRIBUTION · 16th September 2010
There are two main categories when looking at beer ales and lagers. With in these there are many sub categories. With ales a few that come to mind are Pale ale, India Pale ale, Stout and Barley wine to name but a few. In the lager category there is Pilsner, Dunkles, Dark lager and Bock. The yeast they say is the difference. True but there are flavor differences as well.
Ales are fermented at higher temperatures than lagers. The yeast forms a cake on top of the beer as it ferments. This produces a fruity ester quality with a sweeter malty back round. Ales are also typically hopped heavier than lagers.
With lager the yeast is a bottom feeder that loves cooler temperatures. These are very aggressive yeasts that consume a lot of the sugars in the brewing process this typically produces a crisp dry tasting beer that is easy to drink. These beers also are brewed with lighter malts and less hop. A lager therefore is not a bitter as ale. Ales are usually only aged a couple of weeks post ferment before they are ready to serve. Lagers are cold stored for months to age.
It is during this stage of the ferment that these aggressive yeasts continue to digest the rest of the sugars and smooth out the rough edges to the beer.
Researched and written by Robert Broome.