Understanding the difference there is between these three components isn’t hard at all. To start things off, we need to understand that beer is both an ale and a lager. All beer needs to be either ale or a lager, and the only difference that exists is between ale beer and lager beer. There are other branches in the beer family, but these are the most important ones.
Understanding the Differences
Ale is an older type of beer, and it is what is mostly distinguished as the traditional beer, since it is made out of the traditional brews of the world. Lagers are a modern creation, they are about 200 years old, but ale on the hand is thousands of years old and mankind has been consuming it for a long time.
The big difference between ale and lager boils down to the yeast. The yeast is what makes the beer and there are two types of yeast: ale and lager yeast. These are going to be used to ferment the beer and the type of yeast used is going to dictate the process, including the temperature at which the beer is going to be fermented.
Ales are usually fermented at a higher temperature when compared to the temperature at which lagers are fermented (usually a little over twice the temperature). This means that the cooler temperature used for lager is going to make it last a little bit longer, since the lower temperatures actually lower the activity that the yeast has. This process makes lager a little bit cleaner when it comes to the taste.
Whenever we try to differentiate the taste between ale and lager, things get incredibly complicated. A lot of people believe that they have the ability to taste the difference between them and that they can tell one and other apart, but it is incredibly complex and there is so much variety out there, that is almost impossible to jump to conclusions between ale and lager.
Usually, ales are a little bit fruity and aromatic and have a robust taste. They are pronounced in the flavor and are a little bit bitter sometimes. They are usually enjoyed warmer, but are also pretty good when they are fresh.
Lagers, on the other hand have a much lighter taste, but they are also smooth and mellow, They are subtle in their taste but are usually carbonated or crisp. The fresher the better when it comes to lagers and as long as they aren’t frozen, they are going to be pretty good to anyone who drinks them.
Clearly, it is a generalization to say that one is like this and the other like that, but they do share some common characteristics despite their differences.