Brewed with top fermenting yeast at cellar temperature, ales are fuller-bodied, with nuances of fruit or spice and a pleasantly hoppy finish. Generally robust and complex with a variety of fruit and malt aromas, ales come in many varieties. They could include Bitters, Milds, Abbey Ales, Pale Ales, Nut Browns, etc.
Ales are often darker than lagers, ranging from rich gold to reddish amber. Top fermenting, and more hops in the wort gives these beers a distinctive fruitfulness, acidity and pleasantly bitter seasoning. Ales have a more assertive, individual personality than lager, though their alcoholic strength is the same.
Lager originates from the German word lagern which means ‘to store’ – it refers to the method of storing it for several months in near-freezing temperatures. Crisp and refreshing with a smooth finish from longer aging, lagers are the world’s most popular beer (this includes pilseners).
A lager, which can range from sweet to bitter and pale to black, is usually used to describe bottom-fermented brews of Dutch, German, and Czech styles. Most, however, are a pale to medium colour, have high carbonation, and a medium to high hop flavour.
Stouts & Porters
There’s very little distinction between a Porter and a Stout, but they do have their differences.
Stout, not as sweet to the taste, features a rich, creamy head and is flavoured and coloured by barley. Stouts often use a portion of unmalted roasted barley to develop a dark, slightly astringent, coffee-like character.
Porter is a dark, almost black, fruity-dry, top fermenting style. An ale, porter is brewed with a combination of roasted malt to impart flavour, colour and aroma. Stout is also a black, roast brew made by top fermentation.
The Beer Wheel
When people who enjoy beer talk about their favorites, you’ll hear some of the same words over and over. Terms like mouthfeel, aromatic, grassy or hoppy have become part of the standard language of beer. In the 1970s, Dr. Morten Meilgaard created the Beer Flavor Wheel. The wheel has 14 categories broken down into 44 flavors. The wheel was a way to standardize a language through which beer tasters can agree on a word-to-flavor correlation.
Scientists have found more than 1,000 identifiable flavors in beer, yet an experienced taster can pick out perhaps only 100.
Dr. Meilgaard’s wheel gave beer tasters a common vocabulary and caught on all over the world. It is now used as the standard reference by the European Brewery Convention, the American Society of Brewing Chemists, and the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.
Beer Hues in Lovibond Units
The way a beer looks has a powerful impact on its enjoyment. The color of a beer is an important visual cue and part of the overall sensory appeal of evaluating a brew. Brewers carefully control the color of their beers and define the colors on the Lovibond scale. The higher the number, the darker the color of the beer. Abita Wheat is a three and Turbodog is a 60 on the Lovibond scale. Classic beer styles are defined in part by definite visual images of what is appropriate.
Larger breweries use a special device called a spectrophotometer to measure the exact Lovibond units. If you don’t have your own personal spectrophotometer, you can simply compare the tall, cold glass of beer you’re holding to the chart.
Color And Bitterness Comparison Chart
Beer is also rated in units of bitterness called International Bitterness Units or IBUs. IBUs measure the intensity of the bitterness of the beer. Bitterness in beer comes from a compound in hops called alpha acids. Different varieties of hops have different ranges of alpha acids. Brewers use different varieties of hops to create different levels of bitterness.
The chart below is often used in beer tasting competitions and displays the range in color and the range in bitterness for many different beer varieties.
A very versatile beer, Amber beers are full bodied malt aromas with hints of caramel, these beers could be either lager or ale.
Our Amber Beers
Blonde ales are very pale in colour and tend to be clear, crisp, and dry, with low-to-medium bitterness and aroma from hops and some sweetness from malt.
Our Blonde Beers
Dark amber or brown in colour, brown ale have evidence of caramel and chocolate flavours and may have a slight citrus accent or be strong, malty or nutty, depending on the area of brewing.
Our Brown Beers
A very mild, sweetish, golden style of ale.
Our Cream Beers
Dark ale is a British type beer, combining hops, yeast and a blend of malts. It’s a medium chestnut brown colour, with a delicate fruity smell and robust, malty character.
Our Dark Beers
First developed in the UK, Golden ales are straw coloured with a slight hint of citrus and vanilla. The beer can sometimes contain spicier flavours.
Our Golden Beers
A full-bodied beer with a creamy texture and copper colour. Honey beers are slightly sweet with hints of caramel.
Our Honey Beers
India Pale Ale
A hoppier version of pale ale. Originally brewed in England with extra hops to survive the journey to British troops stationed in India.
Our India Pale Ales
Extremely light in colour and mild in flavour. Light beer has fewer calories and/or lower alcohol content.
Our Light Beers
Pale ale has a fruity, copper-coloured styler. It originiated from England. Pale ales are robust beers that can be enjoyed with strongly spiced foods.
Our Pale Ales
Made with neutral and hard water. Tend to be golden in colour with a dry, crisp, and somewhat bitter flavour. Pilsner stands out from other lagers due to its more distinctive hop taste.
Oh yes the delicious porter.
Red ales can either be red or light brown in colour. They are moderate to heavy in flavour and contain hints of caramel that is offset by the predominant hop characteristic of the beer.
Our Red Beers
Deep colored, rich flavor.
This is a broad grouping that can describe any beer over 7% ABV. Strong beers are typically dark in colour, some are almost black. Different styles can include old ales, double IPAs, and barleywines.
Our Strong Beers
Light and easy to drink with very little aftertaste. Wheat provides a soft character to beer and is sometimes hazy or cloudy with a touch of spice notes.
Our Wheat Beers