Around the world there are various styles of brilliantly crafted beers. From popular crisp lagers to heavy roasted stout there is a beer for just about everyone.
Beer is comprised of four main ingredients: water, yeast, malt and hops. It seems so simple!
So, how do breweries create such unique flavors? The answer is in the fermentation process, specifically the temperature. Monitoring temperature and responding appropriately to shifts throughout the brew cycle make or break delicious and unique craft beers.
When it comes to beer, there are two main categories – lagers and ales.
Lagers have a lower fermentation temperature. Lagers are brewed with bottom fermenting yeast. Bottom fermenting yeast strains work effectively at lower temperatures typically around 41°F–50°F. The lower temperature causes the yeast to work less vigorously and create carbon dioxide more slowly. This process allows for hop flavors to slip in, leaving lagers with the common “crisp” finish. Another unique characteristic about lager brewing is it is finished with a chilled storage.. To make the perfect lager, it is crucial for breweries to store lagers at the perfect chilled temperature.
Pale lager is the most widely consumed and commercially available type of beer. However, lagers can be pale, amber, or dark colored. The only factor that makes a lager, a lager, is the fermentation process.
Popular lager brands are: Miller, Stella Artois, Bud Light, Corona, and Heineken.
Ales are all about the hops! And, Ales cover a very wide spectrum. Ales have a higher fermentation temperature and are brewed with top fermenting yeast. Typically top fermenting yeasts work best in the general range of 60°F–78°F. This warmer temperature allows sweet, full bodied, and fruity flavors to be infused in ales. The peppery finish of a French saison, or the fruity esters of German wheat beers are results of finding the perfect fermentation temperature.
There are many varieties of ales including bitters, milds, abbey ales, pale ales and IPAs. Although these unique ales have very distinct characteristics, they are all typically fuller-bodied with nuances of fruit and spice as well as a pleasantly hoppy finish.
Ales are often thought of as darker than lagers ranging from rich gold colors to reddish amber tones, but they can also have lighter colors. The top fermenting process at higher temperatures gives these beers very distinct fruity tones, acidity and pleasantly bitter seasoning. Along with these flavors, ales can also be brewed with rich coffee and chocolate flavors. To put it in simple words, ales are more assertive than lagers.
Popular ale brands are: Guiness and Blue Moon
Easy Temperature Control
Whether you’re looking for a light, crisp lager, or a flavorful stout, there is a beer out there for you! Hundreds of home breweries are popping up all across the country thanks to new technology that makes home brewing easier than ever. North Slope Chillers take the hard work out of temperature control; no matter what type of brew you’re crafting, we’ve got you covered! Give us a call at (866) 826-2993, and we’ll help you find the best product for your brewing needs.