From the HBD Archive
From: Jay Hersh <hersh@expo.lcs.mit.edu>
Subject: ale vs. lager
Date: 1992-03-25 18:40:24 GMT

jack said:
>>It is obvious from reading the many and varied responses to my question,
that the tastes are highly variable, to the point that ale can be made to
taste like lager and vice versa.

i replied
>I think I'm missing something, please explain...

and jack responded:

> I don't know what you are missing other than the rest of the thread and the
email I received but someone made the claim that to find out the difference
between ale and lager, one should go out an d buy a few bottles of each to
taste the difference.


I *have* been following this thread. It seemed to me you were implying
(still) that there is no difference between an ale and a lager. While
you can use lager at Ale temperatures to say that ale can be made to
taste like lager is a confusing and meaningless statement, which is why
I called for clarification. Rather than receive that I got your typical
chastising response.

Do you mean to say that trying to tell the difference between ale
characteristics and lager characteristics based on tasting commercial beers
is pointless because of stylistic differences (ie the recipes are so
different that you won't be able to isolate taste differences due to the
yeast)?? If that is what you mean, yes it is difficult, but I could suggest you
try a Molson Export (aka Red) which is an Ale, versus a Molson Beer which is
a lager. They're very similar recipes. As a matter of fact I believe many of
the Canadian breweries brew both Ales and Lagers to similar recipes.

If you are looking for a single recipe isolation of this variable, yes you'll
have a hard time, but it seems to me as if you're still using this as a cover
to refute the differences in character between Ale and Lager yeasts. And while
I agree that you can often not tell, even in a given recipe, I have brewed many
a lager beer where the smoothness of the flavor was something that could not be
acheived with an Ale yeast.

-JaH

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