Ales V Lagers

Some love a lager, others an ale but in broad terms, what makes them different?
Burleigh Brewing’s own Brewmaster Brennan (try say that 10 times fast) sheds a little light on some of the fundamental differences between the two styles of beer in the short clip above.

We don’t want to leave it there however, ’cause there’s plenty of other things to note when comparing lagers and ales and although we can’t cover every detail we should at least take a look at some history…

Once upon a time everyone was drinking brown ales. It’s all there was. Beer was brown, and it was an ale – we refer to it as an ale due to the type of yeast used in the brew.
Later, through Atlantic trade and kind of by accident, some fruity Patagonian Beech trees brought a new type of yeast to European brewers, and more specifically to the caves of Bavaria.

The Bavarians found this new yeast fermented differently to what they’d brewed with before. It liked cooler temperatures, fermented for longer and is what’s now referred to as ‘bottom fermenting’ yeast whereas ale yeast can be referred to as ‘top fermenting’. This loosely refers to the position of the fermenting yeast in the fermentation vessel. ‘Lagering’ was born.

Fast forward a few hundred years to the mid 1880s when Carlsberg Brewery’s Emil Hansen, with the help of a microscope, identified the differences between ale and lager yeast, completely separated them from one another and created a pure culture of lager yeast.
From here it’s fair to say the first “real” lager was made using Emil’s pure culture of lager yeast.

Have you still got an unanswered question about craft beer or Burleigh Beer? Let us know below and we’ll add it to the list of topics for Brennan the brewmaster to talk about. Follow us on Facebook to see the video as soon as it comes out!

Last updated 17 September 2020


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