A novice alcohol consumer might ask themselves just what is the difference between beer and lager. Heck, even a few experienced hops-loving, liquor-downing alcohol aficionados don't know the real difference. Beer and lager go deep back into man's history, as early 9000 BC in the early Neolithic. There is evidence to support the use of beer fermentation by pre-civilized humans. While both beer and lager are widely used today, it seems that modern man could use a little refresher on the history of these two beautiful beverages.
Lager is a type of beer. Not all beers are lagers, but all lagers are beers. The other category of beer is ale. So, either your beer is categorized as an "ale" or a "lager." This best rephrases the question into a sensible one. What we are going to be divulging, for a bit anyway, is the main differences and components of both lagers and ales, which make up the larger "beer" category of alcoholic beverages.
Lager is made with bottom-fermenting yeast. This best displays the difference between beer and lager (well, ale and lager). "Regular" beer, also known as ale, uses top-fermenting yeast, the polar opposite of what lager utilizes. Whether it is beer and lager or beer and ale, yeast is used in the process.
Lager is brewed in colder temperatures. As usual, ale takes the opposite position. Ale (regular beer) brews under warmer temperatures (from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit). Lager, on the other hand, is fermented at a cold 46 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, although variation is definitely possible.
Lager takes a bit more time to ferment. Beer and lager both ferment, but ales generally take a shorter period of time to get theirs done. Lager's fermentation in colder environments is the primary cause of its unusually long "waiting" period.
Although not a definite rule, beer and lager tend to have different recipes. Ales additionally include, typically, more malts and hops to their mixes. Lagers, while different in their own way, tend to shy away from extra ingredients and new variants in their tried-and-true recipes.
As you can see, there is quite a big difference between beer and lager. The majority of beers out there are typically your "regular" ales, often just nicknamed "beers." Smooth, cold lagers, on the other hand, are a bit more difficult to spot around town, and you might be hard pressed to find a friend who enjoys them more than ales. Regardless, beer and lager are both great drinks that have persevered throughout human history; they are truly "man's best friend" in this world.
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