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What is the difference between beer, ale, and lager?

Just came from a local brewery that offered beer, ale, and lager on the menu.  I do not know the difference between them.  Aren’t they all beer?  They also had stout, which I believe is also a kind of beer.

    Posted 6 years ago

    This is a very broad question, and the answer may be different depending on whom you ask. In many places, “beer” refers to almost any hops based fermented beverage, but the most common answer is that lagers are beer, but not all beers are lagers; which narrows the question to: What’s the difference between lager and ale?

    For the most part, there are three distinct differences in the brewing process that differentiate lager from ale: type of yeast, brewing time and temperature, and the ratio of certain ingredients.

    Lager is made with yeast that sinks to the bottom of the tank to ferment, appropriately named “bottom fermenting yeast.” They’re typically cold brewed at temperatures between 46-59 degrees F (8-15C).

    Ale relies on top fermenting yeast and generally brews at warmer temps, up to about 75 degrees F (24C).

    Ales also usually have a higher content of hops and different types of malts, which gives them a “heavier”, more malty flavor. They’re also more likely to contain other flavor enhancing ingredients, called adjuncts.

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