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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > what makes an ale an ale and a lager a lager?
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:19 AM   #1
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Default what makes an ale an ale and a lager a lager?

possibly a philosophical question:
i have an ipa i'm planning to brew this week that is mostly pilsner malt and will be using cali lager slurry
is this still an ipa? is this a hoppy lager?
will be fermented around 62*F
i don't expect a definitive answer, just curious how ya'll think

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Old 05-31-2012, 06:43 AM   #2
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There was a set of local breweries that did some collaboration beers by designing three separate recipes but rotating each others yeast. One brewery received lager yeast and made an IPLager. It turned out pretty well. I do not know the details of fermentation, but they went pretty far with making sure it was called a lager.

Style is in the eye of the beer holder!

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Old 05-31-2012, 07:20 AM   #3
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Lagers are generally store in bulk cold for longer periods then ales and also uses yeast called bottom fermenting yeast. Were ale yeast in top fermenting.
To me the major difference is optimal fermention temp. I like the cal lager strain, i dont have a lagering fridge but in the winter my basement gets cold enough for that yeast. I did a maibock with it that turned out awesome.

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Old 05-31-2012, 07:35 AM   #4
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Lager yeast results in a Lager....hops make it delicious.

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Old 05-31-2012, 12:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetragichero
possibly a philosophical question:
i have an ipa i'm planning to brew this week that is mostly pilsner malt and will be using cali lager slurry
is this still an ipa? is this a hoppy lager?
will be fermented around 62*F
i don't expect a definitive answer, just curious how ya'll think
Have to vote for lager.

However that's too generic. Its similar to stout and porter, one has to look at the specific styles to tell them apart (ie Baltic porter, imperial stout)

Lagers usually finish a little drier so a super bitter lager hasn't really developed like the crazy ipas. So your beer might not fit any style but cat 23, or ipa, if you enter it into a contest
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:12 PM   #6
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I wouldn't even call that a lager. I would call that a hoppy Steam beer.

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Old 05-31-2012, 01:30 PM   #7
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At it's most basic, a lager is fermented using lager yeast and an ale is fermented using ale yeast.

That said, there are always crossovers in styles and flavours so there may not be any "definitive" characteristic for either yeast except in their biology.

I've only ever used ale yeast but have brewed several styles of beer that are normally fermented with lager yeast and they turn out very close to style.

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Old 05-31-2012, 01:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clanchief View Post
I wouldn't even call that a lager. I would call that a hoppy Steam beer.
Yep. At 62 degrees with California lager yeast, this would be considered a "hybrid amber" for competition purposes. Of course, since it's an IPA, it wouldn't really "fit" into that style either, but that's the basic fermentation method for a California common. If you were going to enter this is in competition, it might fit in the regular IPA category- if it had the right flavor characteristics of an IPA. If not, it could go into 23 category- as an IPL (India Pale Lager)!

Generally, a lager is fermented with lager yeast (Saccharomyces pastorianus) while ales are fermented with ale yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae).

Same genus, different species.
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:15 PM   #9
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Jack's Abbey in Massachusetts does an AMAZING IPL...I believe its called Hoponius Union, but its really fantastic

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