Beer is one of the most enjoyed beverages in the whole world. Wherever you go, in every corner of the globe, the locals have a prized beer to offer. The strength and tastes may vary from place to place, but these drinks will always have that familiar beer flavor. Among the many kinds, lager beer is one of the most famous that is why many are often wondering what is lagering in beer brewing?
The Two Types of Beer
Beers come in many different styles. Each style has a distinctive taste, color, and method of fermentation. However, the category can be narrowed down to two types. Let’s take a look and get to know more about our favorite beverage.
The history of ale dates back over thousands of years. This confirms that our ancestors were fond of alcoholic beverages! Believe it or not, archaeological evidence found in Iran suggests that ancient people have been enjoying ale since 3500BC. In China, it’s found that ale was brewed in small scale by local villagers in 7000BC.
Ale is characterized by sweet, fruity, and full-bodied taste. It is made through warm fermentation. The original ale recipe does not use hops to add flavor. But today, they are included in almost all grain bills.
Lager is a German term that means “warehouse” or “storeroom”. Compared with brewing ale, lagering is a pretty young technology. The process of lagering beer is just a few hundred years old. After the initial brewing process, lager beer is stored and conditioned at low temperatures near zero degrees Celsius.
This beer ranges from pale to dark color and has a smooth texture. Generally, lagers have a mellow flavor and crisp and highly carbonated characteristic.
The Brewing Process
Brewing is the method of choice for producing beer. It involves steeping starch source in water and fermenting it with yeast. The process takes time and patience. It is an art that takes a while to be ready for consumption. If you are familiar with homebrewing, you probably know how precise the method is and how much it needs to be free from bacteria.
Ales and Lagers are the primary classifications of beers. These two have distinctive flavors. Both are delectable and awesome, many would agree, but they are prepared differently. If you dive in deeper into the history of beer brewing, you will be surprised on how complex it can be!
Thanks to the commercialization of the industry and the abundant supply, we don’t need to wait long to enjoy meticulously fermented beers. When you want to be buzzed, you can always get a few bottles from the bar or the local pub.
The Fermentation Process
After the tedious process of steeping, mashing, and boiling, a fermenting agent is added to the wort to make beer. Bottom fermenting yeasts are best lagered to create crisp and smooth beer while top-fermenting yeasts are favored in making full-bodied ale.
After mixing the yeast, the wort is fermented and left to ferment for few hours to days. Ale is fermented at low temperatures ranging from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius. Fermentation takes a relatively long time; experienced brewers let their beer ferment for 3-4 weeks depending on the yeast used.
Lager is fermented at a much lower temperature. Usually, the best lagers are fermented near zero degrees to yield clean and smooth beer.
What Is Lagering In Beer Brewing?
Most consumers are familiar with the term “lager” but you may not have fully understood what it means or how it is done to produce clean tasting smooth beers. The term means “to store” in German.
The first lager beer was fermented at a low temperature in caves near freezing point in the medieval ages. Freezers were not available back then, so people brewed and made lager beers during the cold season. They especially skip the summer as it ruins the lagering process.
After the delicate process of brewing, lager beers are fermented with bottom-fermenting yeast and stored at cold temperatures. Beer is fermented at near freezing point and is conditioned for a few weeks to months, depending on brewer’s preference. This gives a lager beer a clean, mellow, and crisp taste.
The Three Popular Types of Lagers
A lager beer can be further classified according to its style. The three famous types are a pale lager, Vienna lager, and dark lager. The color of the beer is determined by its name and gives a clue about how clean it tastes.
This beer is the most common version of all beers and is bottled by many different commercial breweries. A pale lager has a crisp and clean taste that many people enjoy. This lager usually contains about 4-5 percent alcohol, has a very light color, and is best served very cold.
This amber-colored lager was popularized in 1841 by Anton Dreher, an Austrian famous in Mexico for adopting the original method from Austrian emigrants. Vienna lagers are known for their malty, crisp taste.”
The color of dark lager ranges from reddish brown to black and is characterized by its higher alcohol content which is usually 6% and above. This type of lager has an intense malty taste and strong aroma. Even though they are dark colored, they still taste clean and crisp.
In summary, lagering is a process where fermentation takes place in a near freezing storage room. It’s that easy! The long lagering period gives a lager beer its distinct clean taste.
Enjoying Ales and Lagers
Wherever you are, wherever you go, a few bottles of cold beer will quench your thirst and give you a buzz. Drinking beers has been an important part of history, and many consider it as a leisure.
Turn yourself into a connoisseur by knowing the difference between beers! Knowing what is lagering in beer brewing is your first step. Soon, you will find yourself dabbling in the art of homebrewing and fermenting your own crisp lager!