Ale vs. Lager

palm-stieglHave you ever been stumped by the question “What’s the difference between an ale and a lager?”

Well here is a simple explanation to help you show off your beer expertise.

The main difference comes down to how the beer is brewed. As everyone knows beer is made from yeast. However ales and lagers use two different yeast strains.


The yeast used to make ale ferments at the top of the brewing vessel and requires a warmer temperature to produce the best results. Ales generally carry a more robust spicy and fruity flavour than lagers.


Lager on the other hand is brewed with a yeast strain that ferments at the bottom of the brewing vessel and requires cooler temperatures to complete the process. Lagers are generally described as crisp, clean and smooth.

An easy way to remember the difference is the word ALE has 3 letters as does the word TOP. Ale is top fermenting, lagers are bottom fermenting.

Keep in mind that ales and lagers are two very broad categories of beers. Within each category lie many beer styles!