Brewing ale speaks to ale and brewing ale, all natural brewing, beer recipes and brewing ale at home.
There are two basic types of beer, brewing Ale and Lager with Ale being brewed from malted barley with a top fermenting brewers yeast.
This top fermenting yeast causes quick fermentation of the beer imparting a sweet, light but full bodied taste. Most ales contain hops which result in a bitter herbal flavor that is favoured by many. This helps to balance the sweetness of and preserve the beer.
Brewing ale is popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, the eastern provinces of Canada, South Australia and among craft beer consumers in the United States. Ales typically take 3 to 4 weeks to make, although some varieties can take as long as 4 months.
Brewing ale is defined by the strain of yeast used and the fermenting temperature and ales are normally brewed with top-fermenting yeasts. The important distinction for ales is that they are fermented at higher temperatures and thus ferment more quickly than lagers.
Brewing ale is typically fermented at temperatures between 15 and 24 °C (60 and 75°F). At these temperatures, yeast produces significant amounts of esters and other secondary flavour and aroma products, and the result is often a beer with slightly "fruity" compounds resembling but not limited to apple, pear, pineapple, banana, plum or prune. Typical ales have a sweeter, fuller taste than lagers.
Types of Brewing Ale
Pale ales are brewed using a pale barley malt, the classic example being the bitter of English pubs. Strengths vary from 3% abv to over 5%, but up to 12% in some rare barley wines. Hop levels also vary – ranging from barely noticeable to over 100.
In England, a light ale is the bottled version of a basic bitter. In Scotland, "Light" indicates the lowest gravity draught beer, which is often dark in colour. In neither case does the term imply "low-calorie".
Red ale is a type of ale originating in Ireland. The slightly reddish colour comes from the use of roasted barley, in addition to the malt. The beers are typically fairly low in alcohol (3.5% ABV typically), although stronger export versions are brewed. A red ale tastes less bitter or hoppy than an English ale, with a pronounced malty, caramel flavour.
A darker barley malt is used to produce brown ales. They tend to be lightly hopped, and fairly mildly flavoured, often with a nutty taste. In the south of England they are dark brown, around 3-3.5% alcohol and quite sweet; in the north they are red-brown, 4.5-5% and drier. English brown ales first appeared in the early 1900s, with Manns Brown Ale and Newcastle Brown Ale as the best-known examples.
Porter and Stout Brewing Ale
Dark ales are brewed using dark-roasted barley malts. Porter was a London style that became extinct but has been revived in recent years, particularly in North America by companies such as the Deschutes Brewing Company and Sierra Nevada. Porters range from brown to black in colour; a stronger version of porter was known as a "stout porter", or simply "stout".
In England a wide variety of stouts were brewed. These ranged from relatively weak sweet stout, typified by Mackeson's, a brew of around 3.75% ABV to which milk sugars had been added, to powerful export stouts of up to 10% ABV.
In Ireland dry stout became popular, exemplified by Guinness. Imperial Stout, or Imperial Russian Stout, is an even "bigger" style of 8-10% ABV, originally exported to the Russian court. Scotch ale
While the full range of ales is produced in Scotland, the term "Scotch Ale" is used internationally to denote a malty, strong dark ale. The malt may be slightly caramelised to impart toffee notes.
Mild ale originally meant unaged ale, the opposite of old ale. It can be any strength or colour, although most are dark brown. An example of a light-coloured mild is Banks's Original.
In England, old ale was strong beer traditionally kept for about a year, gaining sharp, acetic flavours as it did so. The term is now applied to medium-strong dark beers, some of which are treated to resemble the traditional old ales. In Australia, the term is used even less discriminately, and is a general name for any dark beer.
Belgium produces a wide variety of specialty ales that elude easy classification. Virtually all Trappist beers and Abbey beers are ales. Many Belgian ales are high in alcoholic content but light in body due to the addition of large amounts of sucrose, which provides an alcohol boost with an essentially neutral flavour.
German ales tend to be fermented at a somewhat lower temperature, and have more body than British or Belgian ales due to differences in mashing process; the traditional German decoction mash tends to create more oligosaccharides to provide body to the beer.
The best-known varieties are Kölsch, a very pale ale from Cologne, and Altbier (most associated with Düsseldorf but made in other parts of western Germany as well); wheat beers such as Hefeweizen and Berliner Weisse are also technically ales, though they may have different flavours, particularly the pronounced banana-like estery flavour of Hefeweizen.
Cream ales are related to American lagers. They are generally brewed to be light and refreshing with a straw to pale golden colour. Hop and malt flavour is usually subdued but some breweries give them a more assertive character. Two examples are Genesee Cream Ale and Little Kings Cream Ale.
While cream ales are top-fermented ales, they typically undergo an extended period of cold-conditioning or lagering after primary fermentation is complete. This reduces fruity esters and gives the beer a cleaner flavour. Some examples also have a lager yeast added for the cold-conditioning stage or are even blended with lager. Adjuncts such as maize and rice are used to lighten the body and flavour although there are all-malt examples available.
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