Beer is a natural product; the main raw materials used to most Australian Beers are;
- Malted Barley
- Liquid Sugar or Glucose
- Hops to introduce bitterness
Today there are so many beers – New Age beer chill filtered beers in clear glass bottles, beers unfused with varying flavours, low alcohol beers and calorie modified beers.
Then there's the traditional lager, ale, stout such as the world known Guinness and of course Australia's favourite, draught beer. Other styles not so well known in Australia are porters and pilsners.
While visual differences aid in recognising certain beers, it's the style of beer that differentiates. Each style depends upon the quantities and types of the key ingredients; Hops, Malt, Yeast and Water along with the brewing process undertaken.
All beer can be classified as either a lager or ale. The type of yeast used in the brew and the temperature at which fermentation takes place defines an ale or lager type beer. – Broadly, beers are produced using two methods;
All beer can be classified as either a lager or an ale. The differences begin during the brewing process. Whether the beer is an ale or lager is defined by the type of yeast used in the brew and the temperature at which fermentation takes place. Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast which allows for rapid fermentation at warmer temperatures;
Lagers are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast which ferments more slowly and at colder temperatures.
- Lager means to store or put aside.
- This beer is made with bottom yeast, so-called because it flocculates to the bottom of the vat.
- Traditionally bottom yeast will ferment at cold temperatures less than 10 deg C. Now fermentation takes place at 12 to 18 deg C. This cold or deep fermentation allows the malt and hops to assert their fine flavours.
- Lager tends to be paler, drier and less alcoholic than ales.
- Pilsener or pils beer originated in Bohemia where brewers first found beer that was over-wintered or lagered improved if stored in cool caves and kept on ice.
- German lagers, including beers such as bock and marzen, are made according to the Bavarian Purity Laws of 1516 to ensure the beer is all-malt (no sugar) and hopped with bitter and aromatic varieties (noble hops).
- Some German-style beers are described as "helles" meaning pale or blonde. Pale beers grew in popularity following the adoption of the glass for drinking in the 19th Century.
Top Fermented Beers - Ales, Porters & Stouts
- Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeasts at temperatures from 15 to 25 deg C.
- Ales are matured for shorter periods and at warmer temperatures.
- Ales include a wide range of beer styles from porters and stouts to pale ales and wheat beer.
- Generally, ales are higher in alcohol, more robust and complex than lagers.