Definitions and Facts of the Types of Beer
BEER is a brewed and fermented beverage made from malted barley and other starchy cereals, flavored with hops. Beer is a generic term embracing all malt beverages.
ALE is an aromatic malt or malt and cereal brew, usually fuller-bodied and more bitter than beer. Ale is fermented at a higher temperature than beer and the yeast remains at the top of the brew, hence it is a top-fermentation brew.
STOUT is a very dark ale with a strong malt flavor, a sweet taste, and a strong hop character.
PORTER is a type of ale having a rich and very heavy foam. Very dark malt is used to give a high extract. It is sweeter and less “hoppy” than regular ale. It is brewed like stout but is not quite as strong.
LAGER is a bright, clear light bodied beer, which is sparkling and effervescent, brewed from malt-and in some cases prepared cereals such as corn grits or cracked rice-hops and water. The resultant “wort” is fermented and “lagered” (stored) for aging and sedimentation. After this period it is “krausened” or carbonated (its own C02 is gathered and added back to it). All American beers are the lager type.
PILSNER is a term employed universally upon labels of light beers around the world. The original and most famous is the Pilsner Urquell from Pisen, Bohemia. The intent of the brewer labeling his beer Pilsner is to convey the impression that his beer is similar to that of Pilsen. All are bright, light, lagered beers, but I have yet to taste the first one that comes close to duplicating the original. Pilsner is not a separate type of beer, as Bock Beer is.
BOCK BEER is a special brew of heavy beer, usually somewhat darker and sweeter than regular beer, which is prepared in the winter for use in the spring. Bock Beer day is supposed to herald the arrival of spring. The bock beer season usually lasts six weeks.
MALT BEER Old style dark German beer, very similar to ale.
BARLEY a cereal grain converted to malt that is one of the basic ingredients of beer.
CREAM ALE Usually a blend of layered beer and ale.
DARK BEER Lager beer made by using roasted barley.
DRAUGHT BEER Traditionally meant to be keg beer, but now also packaged.
EXTRA SPECIAL BITTER(ESB) Full body, strong, hoppy and amber in color.
HOPS Natural, aromatic herbs that provide the level of bitterness in beer and act as a natural preservative.
LAGER Bottom-Fermented beer that has been “Lagered” (Stored or aged) at near freezing for a few days to several weeks depending upon the brewer. Most American and imported beers are Lagers, Lagering improves both the taste and stability of beer.
LIGHT BEER Lager beer brewed to have lower levels of calories. They also generally have lower levels of alcohol.
MALT Spouted barley that is then kiln-dried. The type of malt determines the level of sweetness in the beer.
MALT LIQUOR A lager beer brewed to have high alchol content.
MICR-BREW Hand crafted, made with only traditional ingredients without chemicals. These beers are brewed and aged slowly to allow flavors to come through.
NON-ALCHOLIC BEER Required by law to be called “malted beverage”. They generally contain less than .5% Alcohol the alcohol is removed by interrupting the fermentation cycle or through vacuum evaporation.
PALE Medium maltiness. High hop bitterness, and gold in color.
WHEAT BEER Medium-body, cloudy or clear, fruity and spicy-low in alcohol.