The Guide to Ale Tasting

What is Ale

There are two main brands of beer that is ale and lagers, ale being the oldest. The main difference between the two beers is the fruitiness and sweetness of ale is more compared to lager. Ale is a beer that is produced by using a fermentation process that is warm.

Why is Ale Special

During the fermentation, the yeast used collects at the top of the tank hence giving it a more defined sweetness. It has a fruit-like taste that makes it sweet but it is added a bittering agent which neutralises it and works like preservative. At first, gruit which was a combination of several spices and herbs were used for this purpose. After some time, hops became were used to bitter the drink.

The Different Types of Ales

Ale is one of the oldest drinks and this makes it very traditional. It has many nutrients and also serves the purpose of giving pleasure to the one who drinks it. In today’s world, there is a wide range of the ales in the market with very unique characteristics and flavour. This means all the bottles of ale do not have the same taste. This is a full description of all the different brands:

Barley Wine

The name might make you think it’s a type of wine but barley wine is a beer. It is actually among the strongest beers with the alcohol levels ranging from 8% to 12%. Depending on which barley wine you choose, it might taste fruity, sweet, hoppy or even bitter-sweet. These flavours should not deceive you because it is very strong.

Belgian Ale

Belgian ale comes in very many types of delicious beers and that makes it a little difficult to classify it. During the brewing process, instead of using sucrose, they add grist which gives it some special characteristics. Belgian ale has high levels of alcohol and the body is quite light making it easier to drink.

Brown Ale

Identifying this type of beers is quite easy because they come in amber or brown colour. However, they have so many different characteristics and flavours. There are mainly two versions: traditional English brown ales and the English ales. For the traditional ones, they are full-bodied have a malty taste and are also sweet while the English versions have a low bitter taste and are hoppy. The traditional versions can also have a fruit-like taste and even dry.

Indian Pale Ale

The American Indian Pale Ale is well-known in many areas. A way of identifying it is that it has a bitter taste and it is clearly hoppy. It comes in different colours such as reddish copper and gold colour. England IPAs are less hoppy than the American ones but exceed the English pale ale. The England IPAs have low alcohol content.

Pale Ale

Pale malt is used in the production process hence the product is dry. Pale ale balances the hops and the malt characteristics. Mostly they come in a much lighter colour. British pale ale is less dry, less hoppy and less cleaner compared to American versions.

Porter

Dark malt is used in the brewing process giving porters a darker colour. Porters are among the best sipping beers because they have grainy characteristics and a low sweetness. There are so many varieties of this beer but you can know them because they are milder compared to stouts. Some may have toffee, coffee and chocolate flavours making them more impressive.

Stout

The most common type of stout is Guinness which has a roasted flavour. This is a major characteristic of the stout and this makes them very outstanding from the other beers. The brewing process incorporates roasted barley which is the cause of this outstanding flavour. There are so many types of stouts beginning from the ones that are dry, having high alcohol levels to the ones that are hoppy with low alcohol content. Another characteristic is that they are always dark in colour. However, it is to be noted that the flavours are different depending on where it was made.

How to Choose the Best Ale

The most important thing is that you should not just go around tasting every single beer you see. Go for the beers that are unique and have the specific characteristics you like. Anytime you plan on tasting beer, try out a new one that you have never heard of or even seen. You can get some good beers like Theakstones Old Peculiar Beer and Sharp’s Sea Fury.