Ale Vs Beer: The Difference Between Ale And Beer

Ale and beer are extremely popular drinks all over the world, but what makes them so different?

Knowing the differences between ale and beer allows you to be aware of what you are drinking and how beer differs from ale, and how ale differs from beer. 

As ale is a beer, what makes it different from other beers? The way that they are brewed makes ale and beer slightly different, which is what gives them their signature tastes.

Ale Vs Beer: The Difference Between Ale And Beer

If you are not aware of the differences, you can find out more below!

Find out more about the differences between ale and beer and how they differ from each other.

This will allow you to become more familiar with the drinks that you love and understand the different ingredients that are used for distinctive flavors. 

What Is Beer?

Beer usually has two categories that it is broken down into, which are ale and lager. Beers are made from grains and yeast, which are then fermented to give beer its distinctive and beloved taste.

Some people think that ale is different from beer, but it is a type of beer that differs only in the way that it is brewed. 

What Is Ale?

Ale is a beer that is made by brewing malted barley. When the ale is brewed, the yeast ferments at the top of the vessel, so the temperature needs to be high to achieve this desired effect and for the malt to mature quicker.

As the temperature is high for the ale to ferment, this helps to give it its distinctive taste and aroma, making it deep and rich. 

How Are Ale And Beer Brewed?

Ale and beer are both brewed the same way, to begin with, as barley or grain is used, which is then malted. When the grains are malted, it means that they are kept in a moist environment to sprout before they are then dried.

Once the grains are ready, yeast is added, which ferments the beer. If the yeast is not added, the malt will spoil the beer and change the flavor. 

As well as grains and yeast, hops are another popular ingredient to be added to beer. Hops are used to add depth of flavor to the beer and to balance out the tastes of sweetness and bitterness in the beer. 

How Are The Brewing Processes Different?

How Are The Brewing Processes Different?

The brewing processes of ale and beer differ based on the temperatures at which they are brewed. For the malt to mature quickly to add depth of flavor, ale needs to be fermented at high heat.

This adds depth of flavor and creates the rich and flavorful taste of ale that people are familiar with. 

Lager is fermented at a lower temperature, allowing the yeast to mature at the bottom of the cask. This allows the beer to mature and create the distinctive taste of lager that is crisper and lighter than ale. 

Although both beer and ale use malted barley in their production, beers can be made out of other ingredients, like maize, rice, and wheat.

As other types of beers can be made out of other ingredients, ale is always made from malted barley. This gives it a distinctive taste and differs from other types of beer that do not use barley. 

How Can You Tell The Difference Between Ale And Beer?

The main difference between ale and beer is that they taste different from each other. The taste of the ale is very rich and has a strong flavor of hops.

Ale also usually has a higher alcohol content than beers, which can affect the overall taste of the beverage. 

Some people struggle to tell the difference between ale and beer solely on taste, but others find that you can easily tell the difference, especially if you are unfamiliar with one.

If you are used to drinking beers like a lager, you will find ale richer and deeper. If you are used to drinking ales, you will find that lagers are crisper and lighter. 

Drinking lager is a different experience from drinking ale as the taste of lager is milder and smoother than the taste of ale. Lager has a cleaner taste than ale, which some people find more appealing and pleasant to drink. 

The taste is the main way that you can tell the difference between ale and beer as the brewing process causes them to taste different.

Another common difference between the two is the color. Beer is usually served in a golden amber color, whereas ales tend to be served in brown or dark red. 

How Should Beers And Ales Be Served?

Beers can be served at different temperatures as certain temperatures bring out different flavors in the beers. When serving lager, it can be served at warmer temperatures to emphasize a wide range of flavors in the beer.

However, it can also be served cold to make the beer more refreshing. It is up to the person consuming the beer what temperature they prefer to drink lager at. 

When you are serving ales, they should be served at cellar temperature, which can range between 10 degrees Celcius and 14 degrees Celcius.

This allows the flavors of the ale to be rich, and strong, and have the right depth of flavor. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, the main difference between ale and beer is the way that they are brewed.

Ale uses malted barley in its brewing process, and although lagers can use malted barely also, beer can also be brewed using maize, rice, and wheat.

This can cause the flavors to differ, but ales are always made using malted barley.

Ales are fermented at a higher temperature to allow the malt to mature quicker and create a distinctive flavor, but lagers are fermented at a lower temperature for a fresh and crisp finish.

Some people can tell the difference between ale and beer through taste alone, but others struggle, which is how the colors can further emphasize the difference between the two.

Mandy Winters

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