Beer Types


There are two major types of beer - ales and lagers.



The type of yeast determines whether a beer is an ale or a lager. Ale yeasts ferment on the surface of the tank, while lager yeasts - on the bottom.


Ale is made with yeast that collects at the surface (top) of the fermentation tank. The yeast froths up, traditionally in open tanks. When the ale fermentation has finished, the yeast head will settle into a thick, creamy crust, providing natural protection from the air. Ale ferments at temperatures as high as 60°-75°F, much hotter than lagers. This results in a warm, fast and vigourous fermentation.  Fermentation is usually complete within a few (1-8) days. Ale yeasts provide rich, fruity flavours to the beer. After fermentation ales are aged (stored) for a very short time (days or weeks) before leaving the brewery.  The storage process is generally performed at 40 to 55°F.




Lager yeasts work at the bottom of the tank (bottom fermentation). Lager yeasts ferment at lower temperatures than ale yeast (around 34°F) and have a longer, cooler fermentation period. For hygienic reasons, lager fermentation tanks are often enclosed and may have a conical base (to allow the yeast to settle in the base). After fermentation, lagers are stored for a longer time, typically months. This is called ‘lagering’ and is performed at 32 to 45°F.


The term lager actually comes from the German word lagern which means, 'to store'.






So what does this mean?

The differences in brewing processes for ales and lagers result in very different products. Lagers are generally clean, crisp beers with lighter aroma and flavour. Lager yeasts tend to leave behind less residual sweetness and flavour than ale yeasts, producing a cleaner flavour.

Lagers are nearly always served cold. Ales are more complex, richer beers with more aroma and flavour. Some ales are served closer to room temperature. There are also a few hybrid styles that use the brewing methods of both ales and lagers, but even these beers can be distinguished based on the yeast used to ferment them.


How can I tell if my beer is ale or lager?


Sometimes the distinction between ale and lager isn't obvious as not all breweries make it clear on the label. With BEERPUBS you can check if your beer is ale or lager, and find other details such as style, strength and brewery information.


You may also discover a lot more about the beer you are drinking!




Why are there 7 beer types on BEERPUBS?

Technically, there are only 2 types of beer. However, to make browsing easier, we have identified 7 general categories. Sometimes, you may not be sure of the specific beer style, so our 7 beer types will help you find the beers you want.




The 7 types used in BEERPUBS are :


Ales are made with a type of yeast that rises to the top as it ferments. Ale yeast works at higher temperatures than lager yeasts and produce richer, fruitier flavours and aromas. Prior to the growth and subsequent domination of lager brewing in the 20th century, ales were the most popular beers in the world.

Fruit & Flavoured Beer

Fruit-flavoured ale or lager. Fruits have been added to beer for centuries and the beer body, colour, hop character and strength will all vary depending on the type of fruit used. Traditionally, fruit beers have been associated with Belgian Lambic styles. In recent times a number of Polish Breweries have expanded their beer range (reflecting a growing interest in these beer styles) by experimenting with new and exotic flavours including plum, cherry, blueberry, raspberry and many more.

ABV % varies

Honey Beer

Beer with a honey flavour and aroma. Honey is a popular addition for many brewers as it provides varied flavours and aromas that add complexity and character. Honey contains a range of sugars and also living organisms such as yeast and bacteria. Honey can be added directly to the beer where it can take as long as 8 weeks to fully ferment. The percentage of honey added to the brew is only about 2-10% of ingredients. A variety of honey can be used depending on the desired flavour and results.

ABV % varies


Lagers are bottom-fermented beers with a crisp, clean taste. The term lager comes from the German 'lagern' which means 'store' in reference to the long time lagers will spend in cold storage. Lagers are made with lager yeasts which ferment at lower temperatures, producing a clean, dry beer. They are generally lighter in body with a less-fruity aroma than ale. Brewed to a sufficient strength and well conditioned they can be excellent beers. In the past 100 years, lagers have become the dominant beers of the world.

Low Alcohol

Very low or non-alcoholic beers brewed in any style.

ABV < 1%

Not Beer

Other alcoholic drinks.


Stout and Porter are closely related dark beer styles. All Stouts and Porters are dark beers that are full of character, and can be sweet or dry. They can range from light-bodied, transparent beers to thick, syrupy and bitter brews.


Wheat Beer

Wheat Beers are made with malted barley (just like other beers) but also have a proportion of malted wheat. A beer made solely with malted wheat (without the barley) would not work as the wheat grain would not be able to convert the starches to sugar. Wheat beers tend to be cloudy and light orange in colour. Flavours of plum, apple banana and a vanilla after taste are sometimes evident. Wheat beers are generally good thirst-quenchers. The body is light to medium, and the wheat lends a crispness to the beer, often with some acidity. There may be some hop flavour, but bitterness is generally low.

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