Ale Beer

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 mouthfeel than lagers.

In a number of U.S. states, especially in the western United States, "ale" is the term mandated by state law for any beverage fermented from grain with an alcoholic strength above that which can legally be named "beer," without regard to the method of fermentation or the yeast used.

History of Ale

The term "beer" was initially used to describe a drink brewed with hops, unlike "ale". This distinction no longer applies in Modern English, and "ale" as a term is now usually used to indicate the type of yeast used in brewing, in contrast to Lager. Beer generally needs a bittering agent to balance the sweetness of the malt and to act as a preservative. Ale was typically bittered with gruit, a mixture of herbs and/or spices which was boiled in the wort in place of hops. Ale, along with bread, was an important source of nutrition in the medieval world, particularly Small beer, which was highly nutritious, contained just enough alcohol to act as a preservative, and provided hydration without intoxicating effects. Small beer would have been consumed daily by almost everyone in the medieval world, with higher-alcohol ales served for recreational purposes.

The word 'ale' is native English, in Old English alu or ealu, but aloth, ealoth in the genitive and dative. This is a cognate of Old Saxon alo, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Old Norse öl/øl, Old Bulgarian olu cider, Slovenian ol, Old Prussian alu, Lithuanian alus, Latvian alus (whence, Finnish olut). These have been derived from the Proto-Indo-European base *alu-, *alut-, connected to either the concept of bitterness (cf. alum,allium)or intoxication and hence hallucination, possession, sorcery and magic (cf. Runic alu spell).

Modern Ale

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 mouthfeel than lagers.

In a number of U.S. states, especially in the western United States, "ale" is the term mandated by state law for any beverage fermented from grain with an alcoholic strength above that which can legally be named "beer," without regard to the method of fermentation or the yeast used.