Ale and Lager are the most popular kinds of beer that are available in the market today. Though there are many different varieties of beer with many more subtypes, Ale and Lager seem to be the most preferred by beer drinkers. With so many types of beers going around, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on the differences. We explore the two most popular types of beer.
“Lager” was termed in the German language and comes from the word Largern, which means “to store”. Beermakers in Bavaria discovered Lager when they left yeasts in cold storage for months and noticed that they were still fermenting. Larger batches of yeasts could withstand near-freezing environments which their ale counterparts couldn’t.
Many beer drinkers believe that the difference lies in no more than the usage of yeast. But, in fact, there is a much larger difference between these two variations. These differences will show up in your beer’s quality, clarity, flavour, and aftertaste. Each of these factors including yeast can make a huge difference in the type of beer you are drinking.
1. Yes, they taste different!
When it comes to flavour it’s not that hard to differentiate. Ales and lagers can be easy to differentiate through their colours and taste. Ales tend to have a more cloudy and darker hue. They are more fruity and robust in their flavour notes. They can also have more bitterness owing to their higher hop content.
Lagers, on the other hand, have a lighter and clear appearance. Their flavour is usually sweeter, distinctively crisp and is said to be smoother than Ale.
2. The Difference in Brewing Yeast (you heard right)
Fermented using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, an extremely common yeast used in many different forms of fermentation including making wine and bread. It’ a seasoned variety that copes well with the environment, whether it’s varying temperatures or higher alcohol content. It is the original yeast of civilizations and has been found across the world, including Antarctica.
It is commonly referred to as the top-fermenting yeast due to the fact that it will rise to the top and will sink to the bottom of the vessel during the end of fermentation. Its quality makes it easy to be harvested without disturbing the whole process.
Lager uses a separate kind of yeast, Saccharomyces uvarum. First used in Bavaria, it is one of the first species to have travelled from America to Europe.
Compared to the yeast used in Ale, it is more fragile yeast. It requires specific conditions to thrive and produces different results than ale yeast.
3. The Alcohol Content:
Whichever beer type it may be, the yeast is a direct contributor to the overall alcohol content. With Ale yeast being much more potent in higher alcohol environments, it will survive higher levels of alcohol as well, thereby giving Ales a higher alcohol content, in general than Lager.
As a beer aficionado, we hope this has helped make your beer knowledge better. Whether you are a beer novice, an expert or just someone curious to find out these quirky differences between Ale and Lager, we have got you covered. In case this has tempted you to order some beer, you can go to our shop section on our website or download the Liqroo app and order in the comforts of your home!