Live. Laugh. Love. Lager! Sounds super cool (we think), but what is Lager beer anyway? And is there something like Higher beer?
Lager has nothing to do with the height, it is no less of quality, low at the ground and it is also not donated in low glasses. Lager is just German for storage. After fermentation, a Lager beer has to be kept cool for a long time before it is completely matured.
Beers that are drinkable almost immediately after fermentation are generally referred to as Ale. A typical English typeof beer. There’s is not a lot of science behind this, but that’s how we just started to call these beers.
Whether a beer is a Lager or an Ale is determined by the yeast strain: saccharomyces pastorianus or saccharomyces cerevisiae. With pastorianus you make a Lager, with cerevisiae an Ale.
The pastorianus yeast is doing well at low temperatures while the cerevisiae is doing well at higher temperatures. Lager beer is therefore fermented at a colder temperature than an Ale.
Because cold fermentation goes a lot slower than warm fermentation it takes much longer to make a Lager beer. We ferment our lagers for 3 weeks and then have the beer ripened for another 5 weeks. On average, an Ale has already finished fermenting after 1 week and can often be drunk immediately.
Another difference is the way the yeast works. Lower yeast drops to the bottom and does his thing there while Ale yeast stays on top of the beer during fermentation. Lager beers are therefore called bottom fermenters and Ales top fermenters.
Because the Lager yeast works at low temperatures, processing the sugars into alcohol takes place at a slowpace, leaving almost no traces of the yeast in the beer. The taste of the beer comes almost entirely from the grains and the hops. An Ale yeast, on the other hand, leaves a wagon load of flavours and smells during fermentation that determine the final beer. The taste of the other raw materials is therefore somewhat directed into the background.
Lager beers are therefore usually less intense in taste than Ales. They are pure, dry, thirsty, refreshing (in other words: very nice) and you want to keep drinking (I at least do so). Because there are few strong flavors that can mask mistakes, brewing a good Lager is a huge challenge. Every slight mistake is mercilessly punished.
The fact that Pils, the most famous Lager beer in the world, can be sold for a tenner per crate, says something about the efficiency of the large breweries that produce these beers. Unfortunately, this low price also leads to an undervaluation of this type of beer. Just regular beer, we call it, when nothing is just regular about it. If you know how hard it is to make, you’d never spill a drop of Lager again!