There are two major types of beer, namely Ales and lagers. The major difference is the level of temperature at which the alcoholic drink is fermented. Note that Ales are fermented at hotter temperatures 65-75°F while Lagers are fermented at cooler temperatures ranging 46-55°. The second dissimilarity is the form of yeast applied in the fermentation method. Ales typically makes use of top fermenting yeast which floats to the beer surface for the initial couple of days and then settles at the base while Lagers make use of bottom fermenting yeast which settles without necessarily floating to the surface. Lambic is another major type of beer although it is far less popular than Ales or Lagers. Lambic uses wild yeast for fermentation.
Styles of Ale
Ales are sweet, tasty beers. They come in different color shades ranging from pale gold to shady, rich brown color based on the grains applied in the brewing procedure.
Amber Ale – Belongs under the Belgian Ale. They are sweeter due to their excess malt. Additionally, they are dark in color thus their first name ‘amber’. Popular types of amber ales include Fat Tire Amber Ale and Budweiser American Ale.
Pale Ale – It is a light-colored alcoholic drink that is full of malt and hops. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a popular example of pale Ale.
Bitter - Falls under Pale Ales. It contains hops that give it a pleasant aroma. A good example is Forster’s Special Bitter.
India Pale Ale (IPA) – Falls under the branch of Pale Ale. This hoppy flavor comes across as golden or darker in color and has a bitter scent and taste.
Irish Ale – It is deeply red in color and has a sweet, malty taste. A popular example of Irish Ale is Killian’s Irish Red.
Barley Wine – It ranges amber to darker shades of black. It is a very fruity and flavorful beer but with a high alcoholic content.
Stouts - these beers fall under the branch of Dark Ale. They are set apart from the rest with the use of malt-free, dark-roasted barley, minimal hops, and sweet, chocolate scents. Stouts come in various types including chocolate, coffee, dry, oatmeal, milk, oyster and Imperial stouts. The most renowned dry stout is Guinness with a minimal sweet taste.
Porter - this is a type of extremely Dark Ale, brewed from heavy-roasted malt. It is medium-bodied and has a crisp taste. Jack Porter is a famous example of Porter.
Wheat Beer – also known by names like weissbier or hefeweizen, is a refreshing beer, pale-colored and very carbonated. In-heat wheat is a well-known wheat beer.
Styles of Lager
Lager is well-known for its crisp, filtered taste due to its fermentation process where yeast settles at the bottom without necessarily floating to the surface. Lagers under a low-temperature fermenting process that result in the beer having a smoother flavor.
Bock – It is a tasty, dark lager with origins in Germany. Bocks do vary from malty-flavored lagers to darker, hoppy-flavored bocks, popularly referred to as Helles bocks. Two common examples of bocks are Shiner Bock and Michelob Amber Bock.
Dunkel – lager is the premier variety of German lager beer. It is dark in color with a modest alcoholic strength and tastes often suggestive of chocolate, coffee and licorice.
Marzen – also known as Oktoberfest beer, traces its roots in Munich. It is full-bodied and dark brown in color. A popular type of Marzen beer is Samuel Adams Octoberfest.
Pale Lager – They are popular types of alcoholic drinks worldwide. They are straw-colored; contain a malty taste besides being filtered and crisp. They are very carbonated though lacking high alcohol content. Pilsner lagers are prime examples of pale lager.
Munich Dark Pale – traces its origins in Munich. It is a dark lager with fiery blend of malt and coffee taste.
DoppleBock – a stronger version compared to Bock. It is full-bodied and malty. It is typically dark with increased caramel as well as chocolate malts.
Although there are basically two different types of beer, numerous other special varieties are produced using different blends of ingredients and additional flavors. Fruits, spices and vegetables among others are added to both ales and lagers to produce beverages with great tastes. After all, the variety in these unique beverages is enough to whet any drinking appetite.