Is Shiner Bock Actually a Bock? – A Shiner Bock is categorized as a Bock; however, it’s not surprising if some might consider it not to be. For starters, a Shiner Bock has a lower ABV compared to any other Bock, sitting at just 4.4%. According to the BJCP style guidelines, a traditional Bock has an ABV between 6.3% to 7.2%.
A Maibock and Dunkles Bock will have a similar ABV range. And finally, a Doppelbock will have an ABV between 7% to 10%. However, the malt-centric flavors in a Shiner Bock do shine, and it’s what you’d expect from a Bock too. There’s also one thing to note. A Shiner Bock is an American-style lager. That means you shouldn’t expect a high ABV compared to say if a Shiner was a German-style lager.
The closest style you would find in the BJCP style guidelines for a Shiner would be an American dark lager. Its ABV ranges from 4.2% to 6%. Now, that’s just about the sweet spot for what a Shiner Bock is. So, what is a Shiner Bock, really? Is it a Bock? Yes, it is.
- 1 Is Shiner Bock a dark or light beer?
- 2 Is Shiner Bock a dark ale?
- 3 Why is Shiner so good?
- 4 Is Shiner a light crisp beer?
- 5 Why is German beer different?
- 6 Is lager a beer or ale?
Is Shiner Bock an ale or a lager?
About Shiner Bock –
A year-round bock lager made with roasted barley malt and German hops. First brewed in 1913. Brewed by Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. Owned by The Gambrinus Company of San Antonio, Texas. IBU : 13 4.4 percent ABV
Is Shiner Bock a dark or light beer?
Is shiner bock a dark beer? Definitely. At least traditionally, shiner bock is a dark beer. It is actually so dark in color that many are actually surprised by how fresh it tastes, expecting, judging by its color, a much less drinkable beer.
How would you describe Shiner Bock beer?
Every drop of Shiner Beer is brewed in Shiner, Texas, by a handful of local craftsmen who take pride in their classic Shiner Bock. First brewed in 1913, this lightly-hopped, American-style bock has a clean flavor a slightly sweet finish. Shiner Bock has a distinctive, rich, full-flavor with a deep amber-color. There is an inviting smooth taste without excessive bitterness.
Is Shiner Bock a dark ale?
Shiner Bock is one of the best offerings of the famous Bock genre of beers. The beer has a strong place in the hearts of many beer lovers, so much so that many refer to it as the official beer of Texas. But many people, even the most ardent fans, still don’t know exactly what type of beer Shiner Bock is.
Let’s provide a quick answer. Shiner Bock is best classified as a dark American lager because of its moderate bitterness (IBU of 13), dark brown color (SRM of 17), the alcohol content of 4.4%, and being bottom-fermented rather than top-fermented. There you have it – a quick answer addressing what type of beer Shiner Bock is, but there’s more to it.
This article will explain in more detail the exact type of beer Shiner Bock is, as well as walk you through the factors that have informed this classification. Let’s dig into it, shall we?!
Is Shiner a IPA?
Notes: An IPA brewed with cactus water featuring Amarillo hops. Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options. Reviewed by Thankin_Hank from Texas 4.36 /5 rDev +12.7% look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25 Box was dated BB 05/30/22 so I grabbed a sixer and glad I did. A light hazy beer color with a one finger head. It smelled of funky citrus but that’s been coming around lately and doesn’t change the way they taste which this has something different and some really nice bitterness. Reviewed by Death_Adder from South Carolina 4 /5 rDev +3.4% look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4 Supposedly brewed with cactus water, hazy in appearance, orangey in taste, and the can has a cool looking cowgirl on it. I liked it, not a beer I’m going to have on rotation, but I enjoyed it in my build your own 6pk. Reviewed by RonaldTheriot from Louisiana 4.61 /5 rDev +19.1% look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75 Shiner TexHex Bruja’s Brew has a thick, somewhat off-white head, and a hazy, sediment-filled, orange-yellow appearance, with minimal lacing. Reviewed by tone77 from Pennsylvania 3.56 /5 rDev -8% look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5 Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of pine, citrus. Taste is the same as the aroma, moderate to significant bitterness. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer. Mar 28, 2023 Reviewed by mothman from Minnesota 3 /5 rDev -22.5% look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3 Can. White head. Lace. Clear golden color. This doesn’t taste much like an ipa. Some bitterness. Has a very odd flavor. Maybe that’s the cactus water? No clue. Hard to tell what I’m drinking. Has a Smokey flavor. Mar 18, 2023 Reviewed by NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania 3.89 /5 rDev +0.5% look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75 Spoetzl Brewery “Shiner TEXHEX Bruja’s Brew IPA 12 fl. oz. can coded “080822OK+ 16:41:05” and sampled on 030523 $1.49 @ Total Wine & More, Claymont, DE Notes via stream of consciousness: This sounds good, an IPA brewed with cactus water and Amarillo hops, but who knows what it’s really like.
Let’s find out. It’s poured a lightly hazy deep golden body beneath a finger’s width of white foam. There’s not a whole lot in the aroma but I’m still getting that “Fruity Pebbles” note that Amarillo gives, and some sweetish and bready malt. The taste is fuller, with even more maltiness, and hoppy notes of orange, lemon, melon, spice, and Asiatic lilies.
Or is that the cactus water giving off a floral character? Maybe it’s both. I’m not even sure that I’m tasting the cactus water though but I did pick up something unusual on the first few sips. I’ll pay more attention on the next one. It’s solidly bitter with 60 IBUs listed on the label, and it finishes dry, bitter, and spicy with a little bit of the sweet malt and fruitiness fading quickly.
- In the mouth it’s medium bodied and crisp with a standard carbonation level.
- I honestly don’t know how I feel about this.
- It is a little bit unusual but at the same time it doesn’t really go beyond my expectations for any solid, go-to IPA.
- I think they could have done more with it, and perhaps they have as there are at least two more versions of the TEXHEX out there.
One is a hazy IPA with 45 IBUs that might better show off the cactus water. Review #8,561 Mar 05, 2023 Reviewed by WillieThreebiers from Connecticut 3.77 /5 rDev -2.6% look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75 Pours a straw yellow with a finger of rocky head that dissipates to a thin cap with some lacing. Aroma of honey, trace lemon and citrus. Taste follows nose. On the light side. Feb 18, 2023 Rated by tyden46 2 /5 rDev -48.3% look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2 Too bitter for me, painful in the stomach. Feb 18, 2023 Reviewed by Gansito_Slim from Texas 3.87 /5 rDev 0% look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4 Poured from can into glass. Reviewed 1/13/23, box was marked “1/15/23”, so I assume that’s an expiry date, not production date. I was not expecting a brew this impressive from Shiner.
No macro vibes at all. No off-flavors. Malt character is typical for an IPA. Hop aromas very faint – maybe because it’s at the expiry date? Even without the hops there is some depth & complexity here (from the cactus water?). Dare I say there’s even a small hit of capsaicin, but my tolerance is so high it’s hard to tell.
Pairs well with supreme pizza and probably tex-mex. Jan 14, 2023 Reviewed by Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania 3.9 /5 rDev +0.8% look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75 Shiner TexHex Bruja’s Brew from Spoetzl.12 oz can left by Thanksgiving guest. Stored at 34 degrees at home. Reviewed 26/11/22. Note that I use DD/MM/YY protocol.
- Can bottom stamped “081322OK+ 09:59:47”.
- Served at 50.1 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
- The final temperature is 59.5 degrees.
- Appearance – 3.5.
- First pour – Pale Straw (SRM 2), clear.
- Body – Pale gold (SRM 4), translucent.
- Under direct light, same.
- Rear-lite, same.
- Head – Large (Maximum 6.5 cm, aggressive center pour), ghost white, high density with rocks, quickly diminishing to a ragged 0.5 to 1.5 cm medium density crown and thick, rocky cap.
Many pieces of foam remain hanging on the glass. Lacing – Fair but ugly – bits of foam remain on the sides of the glass, giving it a dirty appearance. Aroma – 4 – Distinct citrus and some peach. Some weak honey notes, perhaps from the cactus water. No malt, no yeast.
- Flavor – 4 – Less fruity citrus than orange or lemon.
- Slightly bitter so the malt and hops are well attenuated.
- No yeast, but a slight maltiness is noted.
- As the end of the pour nears, some herbal notes appear.
- No ethanol (6.5% ABV as marked on label) aroma or taste.
- No gastric warming occurs.
- No dimethylsulfide or diacetyl.
Palate – 3.75 – Medium, approaching creamy, soft but lively carbonation. Final impression and summation: 3.75 I didn’t find this on the shelves in SAT on my recent trip, probably because it’s not in the typical Shiner bottle but in a gaudy can. The flavor is mostly Amarillo hops with some malt and a bit of honey.
Why is Shiner so good?
Reviewed: Shiner Bock Official description: Tip back a bock. Brewed with rich roasted barley malt and German specialty hops, this lightly-hopped American-style Dark Lager always goes down easy. Originally a seasonal beer, fans have demanded it year-round since 1973. Spoetzl Brewery – Shiner Bock – 12oz bottle served in Rastal Harmony glass – 4.4% ABV Background Brewed since 1913, Shiner Bock, perhaps in competition with Lone Star Lager, may be the official beer of Texas. The style of this beer is a bit continuous because Bocks are strong German-style lagers.
- Shiner Bock weighing in at a svelte 4.4% ABV is out-of-bounds for Bocks, which bottom out at 6.3%.
- Despite this, the major online rating websites list it as Bock.
- Spoetzl calls it an American-style Dark Lager on its,
- Review I’m reviewing Shiner Bock from a twist-off 12oz bottle from a 6-pack.
- Into my glass, Shiner Bock is clear ruby in color with towering tan foam that sticks around for an impressive 3 minutes before collapsing.
Bringing up the glass, Shiner Bock has an aroma of Raisin Bran cereal, whole wheat bread rolls, and dark cherries – not too different from traditional German Bocks. Taste-wise, Shiner Bock is fairly malt-forward but lacks the sweetness and body of its namesake style.
Though Shiner Bock is significantly darker in color, the body doesn’t seem to match up coming across as lean but very drinkable. Cherry and raisin flavors persistent with very little bitterness for balance. Just a touch of roastiness is about all you get from its impressively dark facade. Perhaps the high point is its wonderfully clean finish, which tempts you to crack open another without hesitation.
Perceived Specs for Shiner Bock Conclusion Though it isn’t a Bock in a traditional sense, Shiner Bock is a wonderful beer for two major reasons. First, it is relatively flavorful compared to most beers in its market segment (pale, flavorless, macro lagers). The aroma especially is reminiscent of stronger, malt-forward German dark lagers.
Second, it is below 5% making it a great session beer. That unusual combination of a locally-made, low alcohol, dark lager places Shiner Bock as an American classic along with Yuengling. VERDICT: 80 pts (GOOD) * * * The Full Pint is a fully independent website dedicated to bringing you the highest quality reviews of today’s craft beer.
Our team has no financial conflicts of interest with the beer industry in order to give you the least biased information out there in today’s craft beer world. Please use the comment section below for general comments about this beer and/or our review.
Is Shiner Bock a Czech beer?
Texas is home to a very wide array of different cultures, each with their own storied history and traditions. From the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, waves of Europeans, especially German and Czech immigrants, would mostly settle in Central Texas due to large amounts of land available at low prices.
- With them, they brought their food, drink, music, and own way of life from back home.
- We still see elements of their influence around us today.
- Their brass Polka bands eventually merged with indigenous Hispanic music, creating the subgenres of Tejano and Banda.
- And we still see places like The Czech Stop in West and Collin Street Bakery (founded in 1896 by German immigrant Gus Weidmann) that provide Czech and German favorites like kolaches (with fruit), klobásníks (with meat), and fruitcakes.
Even the Texas staple, Chicken Fried Steak, is practically a beef version of the European staple, Wiener Schnitzel. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, there was an estimated 155,000 Czech Americans in Texas (the most of any state), with over 25,000 in Dallas-Fort Worth alone and another 40,000 in the Houston area.
Certain cities in Texas, like West and Shiner, also boast over 30% of their populations as having Czech heritage. One of their most enjoyable contributions to Texas is their beer. With styles like Pilsner, Kōlsch, Hefeweizen, and Bock, both the German and Czech brewing traditions are rife all over the state.
The most popular German/Czech-style brewery in the state is Spoetzl Brewery, makers of Shiner Bock. The Shiner Brewing Association (its original name) was originally founded in 1909 by German and Czech immigrants who could not find the beers they originally enjoyed in their native lands.
The eponymous Shiner Bock was originally brewed as a seasonal Lentenbock and was only available in the Spring. It was so popular that they made it year-round. After some initial missteps, the brewery eventually hired a professional brewer, Kosmos Spoetzel, who ended up buying the brewery in 1915 and renaming it after himself.
He was formally trained in Bavaria and after a few years brewing in Egypt, moved to Texas, bringing family beer recipes with him. Even well before Shiner opened, German brewer Adolphus Busch (yes, that Adolphus Busch) started up the original Lone Star Brewery (no, not that Lone Star) in San Antonio in 1883.
- The brewery was focused on mechanization and the mass production of beer in order to sell it at a lower price, before it was eventually shut down due to Prohibition.
- The Pearl Brewery was also founded in San Antonio in 1886, also producing German-style lagers.
- It eventually grew to producing 110,000 BBLs of beer per year (over 3.4 million gallons).
Though many breweries did not survive Prohibition, the ones that did mostly did so by selling ice, near beer (non-alcoholic beer), and malted products. Line up of German-inspired Funky Picnic beers to celebrate Oktoberfest. After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, most of the breweries that survived in Texas were making mass produced light lagers, a former shell of their original German and Czech heritages.
- It wasn’t until the craft beer boom of the 1990s that brought us new breweries like Saint Arnold Brewing (1994) in Houston, Real Ale Brewing (1996) in Blanco, and Live Oak Brewing (1997) in Austin.
- In the late 2000’s, another wave of new Texas breweries started to open.
- Just this year was the inaugural Brewers Cup put on by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, and the most entered category was Pilsner with over 60 entries.
Live Oak Gold (Gold), Real Ale Hans Pils (Silver), and Pondeseta Patek Pils (Bronze) each took home medals in the category. Several Texas breweries also won medals at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival, including Fort Worth’s Cowtown Brewing (Silver for Dortmunder Export, High Brau ), Meanwhile Brewing (Gold for German-Style Pilsner, Meanwhile Pilsner ), Real Ale (Bronze for German-Style Märzen, Oktoberfest ), Austin Beer Garden Brewing (Bronze for American Pilsner, Rocket 100 ), and Pinthouse Pizza (Silver for Hoppy Lager, Timbo Pils ).
Other popular German- or Czech-style focused breweries in Texas include Franconia Brewing (McKinney), Altstadt Brewery (Fredericksburg), Klaus Brewing (Houston), and Pivovar (Waco). If you come by Funky Picnic, we always have a wide range of beer styles and traditions on tap, including our year-round German beers like Vibes Kōlsch and Its Called Lovebus Hefeweizen, as well as some of our seasonal beers, like Coasters!!! German-style Pilsner and Prostoberfest Märzen.
All of this shows that German and Czech beer roots are alive and well in Texas! Author: Collin Zreet Collin is a native Texan and is a founding member and co-owner of Funky Picnic Brewery and Café. He is a Certified Cicerone and Certified BJCP Beer Judge, specializing in beer and food pairings. When he is not thinking about beer, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Taylor, son, Alder, and dog, Rocco.
How strong is Shiner Bock?
Originally a seasonal beer, fans have demanded it year-round since 1973.4.4% ABV, 13 IBU’s.
What is Shiner Bock comparable to?
Negra Modelo. Negra Modelo is a beer brewed in Mexico but is German in style. It’s a Munich Dunkel Lagers, which is generally very malty with a deep, complex flavor, making it similar to Shiner Bock.
What’s the difference between lager and Bock beer?
What’s a Bock Beer? If you’re looking to drink a beer with a robust history and flavor, consider a traditional German bock. Like many German beer styles, it dates back to the Medieval era and is, historically at least, so much more than just a beer. Originally brewed in the northern town of Einbeck during the fourteenth century, the style gradually moved south to the city of Munich by the seventeenth century.
- Due to subtle language differences between the north and south of Germany, the pronunciation of the beer from Einbeck was misconstrued by the Bavarians to sounds like “ein bock,” which means “billy goat” in German.
- The name stuck, as did the image of a billy goat, which still adorns bock labels to this day.
Bock is a bottom fermenting lager and typically spends extra time in cold storage during the winter months to smooth the intense flavors that develop during the brewing process. Bavarian monks brewed and enjoyed this strong beer as a symbol of better times to come, often during Lenten fasts which coincided with the departure from winter.
- A beer meant for special occasions, Bock has been a part of German celebrations for longer than America has been a country.
- Stronger than a typical lager, bock is dark amber in color with robust malt flavors and very light hoppiness.
- A normal bock falls within the ABV range of 6 to 7 percent and has a very smooth mouthfeel and low carbonation.
Substyles of bock vary in flavor and profile: a maibock is paler and has more hops while a doppelbock is heavier, darker, and maltier. Modern day American versions of the style include Sam Adams Winter Lager (MA) and Great Lakes Rockefeller Bock (OH).
What is special about Bock beer?
Dead Guy – Rogue Ales – Newport, OR Helles/Maibock – A super popular beer at Rogue, Dead Guy came into the brewery’s portfolio in 1990. First brewed for a Day of the Dead celebration, Dead Guy’s unique artwork draws people in. But it’s the beer that captures their taste buds.
Is Shiner a light crisp beer?
Description – Brewed with the highest-quality two-row barley and choice aroma hops, Shiner Light Blonde is a refreshingly flavorful beer with a crisp, clean finish. • 18 pack of cans • ABV: 4.2% • Bitterness: 9 IBU • Calories: 99 • Availability: Year-round • First Brewed: 2011 • Awards: 2013 Australian International Beer Awards – Bronze About Shiner Beer Since 1909, every drop of Shiner Beer has been brewed at the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, TX (population 2069).
Today, Spoetzl Brewery sends more than 6 million cases of delicious Shiner beer to states across the country. Today’s Spoetzl Brewery is a far cry from the old tin shed where Shiner first flowed back in 1909. Shiner’s found, Kosmos Spoetzl, would probably be amazed at the current state-of-the-art Brew House.
He’d also be happy to know that every drop of Shiner beer is still brewed in Shiner, TX.
Is Shiner a dark lager?
Description. Germans call it a schwarzbier (black beer), but Shiner fans know this one as Shiner 97. Unusually Smooth for a dark beer, our Bohemian Black Lager is brewed with roasted malts and Czech Saaz and Styrian Hops.
Is Shiner a pale ale?
Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale – Where to Buy Near Me 📣 Add your business, list your beers, bring in your locals.
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Wild Hare is a classic American Pale Ale – richly hopped, fruity and floral. Munich malt nicely balances the assertive character of the U.S. Golding and Bravo hop varieties that give this brew its signature bitterness and aroma. Hop to it! The print menu customers want. Sell more beer: print menus designed to help your customers choose beers. : Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale – Where to Buy Near Me
Why is German beer different?
Germany is famous for its brewing law, ‘Reinheitsgebot,’ which was designed to help preserve the purity of their beer. This law helps preserve the legacy of using barley and hops rather than substitutes to keep the authentic flavor.
Is Bock beer an ale?
First, The Bock Family Tree: Helles Bock / Maibock, Bocks, and Doppelbock – Photography courtesy of Off Color Brewing Typically, when saying bock one refers to the classic dark German lager, but there are actually several different types of bocks that fall under that umbrella. Think of all these bocks on a spectrum, starting with a lighter, pale lager and moving toward a darker, heartier lager.
- Helles Bock / Maibock – Like the lighter, paler cousin of bocks, helles bocks and maibocks are oftentimes used interchangeably.
- According to the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), definition helles bocks are “a relatively pale, strong, malty German lager beer with a nicely attenuated finish that enhances drinkability.
The hop character is generally more apparent than in other bocks.” Pouring a deep gold to light amber, these beers are meant to represent the spring ( Mai actually means May in German). For that reason, you’ll find a strong malt character, but also a heavier hop presence than in other bocks.
- Bocks – The traditional dark German lager that sort of acts as the godfather to all these others bocks.
- Historically, according to the BJCP, bocks are “a dark, strong, malty German lager beer that emphasizes the malty-rich and somewhat toasty qualities of continental malts without being sweet in the finish.” Doppelbock – Still very malty, still very dark, but much sweeter, Doppelbocks are much like the imperial version of a stout—maltier, richer, and higher in ABV.
In fact, this makes sense when you translate the word doppel, which means double in German. First brewed by Munich monks, doppelbocks interestingly started out actually lower in alcohol content and considered “liquid bread” at the monastery. Expect deep chocolate, roasted toffee, and caramel sweetness.
Is lager beer the same as ale?
What exactly is the difference between ales and lagers? – The basic difference between these two major beer classifications is how they are fermented. Ales are fermented with top-fermenting yeast at warm temperatures (60˚–70˚F), and lagers are fermented with bottom-fermenting yeast at cold temperatures (35˚–50˚F). The birth of the Pilsner style in the 1800’s introduced much of the world to lagers. Virtually all beer before then were ales since yeast was not known as an ingredient and cold fermentation would have been difficult. Both ales and lagers can be produced today with relative ease.
However, in the current craft beer market ales are typically more common among craft brewers because ale yeast can produce beer in as little as 7 days, making it more convenient for small breweries who may not have the fermenter space to produce lagers on a regular basis. In medieval Europe, ale, along with bread, was a very important source of nutrition.
During this time, people (including children) drank small beer, which was unfiltered and porridge-like in consistency, but highly nutritious, with just enough alcohol (1% ABV) to act as a preservative. This provided nutrition and hydration without the effects of alcohol or the dangers of water. The advancement of technology played an important part in the advancement of Ales and Lagers. The Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 actually stated that beer could only be make of grain, hops, and water. It made no mention of yeast since it was an unknown ingredient.
The ability to see yeast strains under a microscope and advent of refrigeration in the 1800s altered the course of beer history for the next century. In the late 19th and most of the 20th centuries saw the dramatic rise of lager beer. The mellow taste and lower alcohol content led to the take over of pilsner-style beers.
Thankfully, ale has made a resurgence in the past 40 years. As of 1974, there were just 55 breweries operating in the United States. They were mass producing the flavorless, watered down “lager” a true craft beer lover would not be caught dead drinking.
- Today, there are more than 6,000 breweries in operation, creating ales, lagers and combinations of the two that have brought beauty and art back to brewing.
- So, what’s the bottom line when it comes to beer? All beer is either an ale or a lager (or hybrid).
- This is not determined by color, flavor or alcohol strength, but by the fermentation technique and yeast used in brewing.
The only detectable difference between and ale or a lager is the presence of esters in ale. These esters are produced in greater quantities during warm fermentation. This is why they are more present in ales due to their warm fermentation. We are experiencing a brewing renaissance, and it has given beer lovers an abundance of flavor and character in our beer choices with flavor and character.
Is lager a beer or ale?
The key brewing difference between lagers and ales – Before we delve into the details, it’s important to know that all lager and ale falls under the category of beer. The alcohol volume, flavour and colour may determine what type of ale or lager it is, but the technique in fermenting the malt is the one thing that separates lager and ale.
Lagers are fermented using a bottom fermenting yeast at cool temperatures over a relatively long period of time, while ales are fermented with a top fermenting yeast at much warmer temperatures and can be ready to drink in as little as three weeks.200 years ago, the vast majority of beers available were ales.
That’s because it was much harder to brew beer at cooler, controlled temperatures and yeast was unknown as a key ingredient in the process. Not to mention that ale takes almost half the time to ferment, so could be ready to drink much faster.
What is the difference between ale and lager beer?
What’s The Difference Between Lagers and Ales? – Firestone Walker Brewing Company We’re sure you’ve heard it before: All beer is either an ale or a lager. But is that true? And what actually is the difference between lagers and ales? We sat down with Sam Tierney, Brewery Manager of our, to get to the bottom of it. The simplest explanation for the difference between lagers and ales is that they use different yeasts during fermentation. Lagers are made with lager yeast and ales are made with ale yeast. There are some exceptions to this generality that Sam likes to think of as “hybrids” (more on that later).
While reading about ales and lagers, you might see a lot of information about top-fermenting and bottom-fermenting yeast. “Before the science of genetics and microbiology was well understood, ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ fermentation descriptions were used to differentiate yeast types based on how they looked during fermentation,” Sam explained.
“Top-fermentation was done with yeasts that produced large, foamy heads that could be seen in open-top fermentation tanks used before the modern era,” he said. The yeasts that didn’t produce the large, foamy heads were considered bottom-fermenting. “We now know that these yeasts are almost always divided into two different species. Installation of six 1,500-barrel fermentation tanks at our Paso Robles brewery in October 2021 Of course, there are a few exceptions. For example, “some classic ‘lager’ yeasts are genetically ‘ale’ yeasts that have developed special adaptations making them phenotypically present just like lager yeasts in the brewery,” Sam told us. Fermentation temperature also plays a factor in the difference between lagers and ales. Generally, the two species of yeast have genetic differences that allow them to thrive best at different temperatures. Ale yeasts tend to ferment at warmer temperatures, generally in the 60°F to 75°F range, but sometimes going as high as 100°F. Of course, as it seems with everything related to the lagers versus ales distinction, it’s not always so cut-and-dry. “While those are the general guidelines,” Sam told us, “there are some lager yeast strains that are happy fermenting at warmer temperatures, and some ale yeasts that can ferment just fine at lager temperatures.” Here they are again – the hybrids. Some ales and lagers can be distinguished by their flavor. Colder temperatures often cause yeast to produce fewer aromatic compounds during fermentation than warmer temperatures. This means that lagers generally have a ‘cleaner’ taste that allows the malt and hops to be more noticeable.
- Ales, on the other hand, tend to have strong fruity and spicy flavors that balance out the malt and hops.
- If you focus on the fruity and spicy character as the hallmark of an ale, you can start to notice the difference in most beer.
- Sam Tierney, Brewery Manager Consider two iconic Firestone beers as an example – and,
Pilsners fall under the ‘lager category,’ and Pivo is a great example of a crisp, clean-tasting beer that allows the malt and hops to shine through. Mind Haze, on the other hand, is a juicy beer with fruity flavors that were achieved both through the yeast and fermentation and through its featured hops. Another, perhaps more obvious, example is versus,805 is an ale, while Cerveza is a lager. “If you taste the two side-by-side, you will notice a fruity character in 805 Beer that many people find evocative of banana candy or juicy fruit gum,” Sam said.
In contrast, 805 Cerveza does not have this flavor, and this allows the lime addition and clean malty character to take center stage.” But again, it’s not always so simple. Sam explained: “Even so, some ales are relatively clean in profile and can seem lager-like. In general, lager and ale styles have other differentiating aspects beyond just the type of yeast used, making it useful to know your beer styles.
The examples of hybrid styles show that changing yeast or fermentation doesn’t always make for a very different beer.” Hybrid styles and breweries’ own discretion in labeling their beers can complicate it a bit, but here’s a recap of the basics: most beers are either lagers or ales, and the primary distinction is that they’re made with different species of yeast. Ale yeast tends to ferment better at warmer temperatures, and lager yeast at cooler temperatures.
- Generally, you can taste the difference between lagers and ales by zeroing in on fruity or spicy characteristics.
- Have questions about lagers and ales, or anything else beer related? Send us a message on Instagram or Facebook, and we’ll look into it for you.
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