Ales Versus Lagers

If you are as passionate about beer as I am why not start brewing your own beer? A quick visit to http://www.nationalpayday.com can help fund your endeavor.

What the heck is the difference between ales and lagers? I mean they’re both beers, and I like beer…but there is a little bit more to it.

When you think ales, think micro beers. Sure, some major corporate beer companies are peddling their ales now, but for the most part it’s the smaller, craft brewers that are the leaders in ale brewing today.

Even though most of the big beer companies produce lagers, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good lagers out there…of course they are made by craft brewers, but that’s besides the point.

History

Ales are nothing new, they have been around for literally thousands of years since the Sumerian and Egyptian ancient civilizations.

Lagers are the new kids on the block. They were first discovered in 1830, although some research now suggests this method of brewing might have been around since the middle ages.

Yeast

In ales, the yeast do their work on the top. Lagers like the bottom. I’ll let you throw in you’re own joke there.

Temperature

Ales like it hot. They ferment best between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Lagers like to chill. They ferment between 40-55 degrees.

Time

If they’re in a rush, ales can finish fermenting in less than seven days. Lagers like to take their time, months at a time.

Most home brewers start with ales, generally because that’s what equipment and ingredients are for sale at home brewing shops. Since lagers require cooler temperatures to ferment, they also require extra equipment like special fridges and temperature controlling devices.

I don’t mind a good lager from time to time, but for now I think I’m going to stick to brewing ales.

About the author /


I'm a former coffee blogger, but I’ve been getting to know some really good craft beers and really getting into home brewing. I couldn’t resist starting this little project called Passion For The Pint. When I’m not blogging about coffee or beer, you can find me exploring New Orleans’ wide range of eateries, rooting for the New York Yankees (don’t hate me, I’m originally from New York), working out to burn off the beer calories or reading about beer.

  • Darrell

    Nice brief explanation Mike. A local bistro has an explanation on their website http://www.pourhouseonwhyte.com/weeklyspecials.pdf (scroll past weekly specials, desserts & sunday brunch to beer education). It’s kind of a newer place so I’ve only been there twice-small but diverse/changing beer selection. I had the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout last time I was there.

    • http://www.passionforthepint.com Mike Crimmins

      That’s really cool, I wish more places would do beer education. There’s a place near me that does a “beer snobs guide to craft beer” every few weeks. I wish I had found out about it before I started getting into beer. It was overwhelming at first when I’d go into a restaurant with a wide selection of craft beer.

      I loved the Black Chocolate Stout! One of my favorites from Brooklyn.

  • Darrell

    Rogue in Portland makes a good chocolate stout-if you can get them in Florida. Of course they also have a double chocolate & a couple of mocha brews that I still have to try – I’m almost scared, I Know I’ll probably be hooked lol! A local brewpub http://brewsters.ca/our-beers-2/ -oh, click on seasonals to see their planned lineup-had a limited-time chocolate brown ale(made with chocolate malt then aged with cocoa nibs). Unfortunately it was so popular that it sold out before I got to try it.:-(

    • http://www.passionforthepint.com Mike Crimmins

      Are you talking about the Mocha Porter from Rogue? I picked up a six pack recently, it was probably sitting around at the store for a while and tasted a little stale, but still good.

      I love some of the names of their beers. I have the same luck, it seems that a lot of the times, the best beers are gone long before I get there. However, sometimes I stop by and I get lucky with a release that I didn’t even know about.