Is it beer, or is it ale?

What's the difference between beer and ale?

That's what some people might say. What's the difference. Others, however, honestly mean it as a question.

The answer isn't too complicated, but it's explained uncommonly well on the Wise Geek site. We recommend you take a look at it, along with some related articles it links to.

To Dowd's Spirits Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

1 comment:

Leigh Nogy, Dark Hills Brewery said...

Hi Bill,

I was just reading the article on the difference between ale and lager. I'm impressed that wizegeek.com actually gave the correct historical account of ales and lagers.

Being a historical brewer, it's very interesting the true differences between them.

I could add that the gravity of ales before the use of hops in England was close to 1.1 (according to grain bill and brew logs of period), brewed and consumed within 5 days. Spices and bittering herbs were used to make the sweet more balanced.

Small ale (the second running off the malt) was quick fermented and consumed in lieu of water.

Continental european Lagers and Ales used far less malt because of the preservative ability of the hop, and therefore were more economical to produce. Economics drove the desire to import hops into England despite laws that forbade import.