The Differences Between Stout & Lager

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There are basically two types of beer, lager and ale. Lager is cold fermented and takes longer to age. Ale warm ferments and is ready sooner. Stout is considered a subcategory for ales. Stout and lager are dramatically different brews because of how they are made, how they are fermented and how they are served.

Yeast

  • Lager is produced by bottom fermentation and ferments slowly over a period of months at near-freezing temperatures. The cold-loving lager yeast eats the natural malt sugars and creates a crisp beer. This method was perfected in the Czech Republic in 1842. The original pilsner lager was Pilsner Urquel. Historically, America's top 10 bestselling beers are all lagers. Stout originated in England. This ale top ferments at room temperature and is ready to drink much faster than a lager. The warm, vigorous fermentation of ales imparts more flavor.

Roast Barley Malt

  • The malt used in the production of stout is dark-roasted, it is sometimes called chocolate or black patent malt and it makes the beer very dark in color. This roasted malt lends coffee, toffee and chocolate-like flavor to the beer. Golden lager malt is often lightly roasted so that very little color is added to the brew. This keeps the beer crisp and light. Not all lagers are golden, some lagers are dark like stout, but these delicious beers are not as common.

Serving Temperature

  • As a rule of thumb, the colder a beer is the less you actually taste the beer. A bad tasting beer is best served very cold so you don't taste it. Like red wine, some beers taste better a touch warmer. In general, stout tastes best served between 54 degrees Fahrenheit and 57 degrees Fahrenheit. Like white wine, lager on the other hand, is more palatable when served cooler between 39 degrees Fahrenheit and 45F degrees Fahrenheit

Glassware

  • A pilsner glass is tall and slender and helps to show off a pilsner's appealing color and head, or the foam that is so photogenic in beer commercials. The perferred vessel for a stout would be an English pint glass. The delicate inward curved rim helps to trap the stout aromas, so the drinker can appreciate its chocolate and coffee scent.

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