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Difference Between Ale and Pale Ale

Ale vs. Pale Ale

Beers are probably the most popular alcoholic drink in the world, and are actually quite broad in nature. There are several beer varieties, and most of them are equally popular with one another. In this regard, two beer types come to surface ‘“ the ale and the pale ale.

Prepared using malted barley, ale makes use of brewer’s yeast, which ferments the drink much faster than usual. This special yeast and malt combination gives the beer its sweet, fruity and full taste. To counter this sweet blend in beers, hops are incorporated into the drink. This gives off a bitter herbal taste, and, at the same time, acts as a beer preservative. Ordinarily in the past, gruit was used to bitter the taste of beer. It is a combination of herbal ingredients and spices boiled altogether.

In addition, it is of common knowledge that regular beers generally have lower a alcohol content than most alcoholic drinks, like liquors. Now, it gets confusing, because the law itself mandates the usage of the word ‘ale’ to refer to any drink whose alcohol content or strength is higher than what is typically in standard beers (1% to 6% alcohol per volume). Regardless of the type of yeast utilized or the type of fermentation method employed, for as long as the drink has about 6% to 12% alcohol per volume or more, then the said beverage will be called ale. This ruling is observed in many Western states in America.

Ale is actually a more general term that represents various subclasses of more specific beer types. Some of the most popular varieties of ale are: Brown, scotch, mild, old, Belgian and also the pale ale. The latter (pale ale) has also many sub variations, like Amber, America, Burton, English, India and Irish pale ales. The American and English blends are said to be the stronger ones.

Because of its use of pale malts, pale ale is generally a lot paler looking than regular ale. It is about 8-14 degrees Standard Reference Method (SRM) ‘“ a color or darkness gauging system in beers. The larger the value, the darker the beer becomes.

Overall, ale and pale ale got their names because of the type of yeast used for their fermentation process ‘“ Brewer’s yeast (top fermenting) as opposed to other yeast types, like the bottom fermenting yeasts of lager drinks. Although both beers are top fermented, they are different because:

1. Ale is a more general term compared to pale ale, which is just one type of ale.
2. Pale ale specifically uses a pale malt that gives its much paler beer color, compared to the darker color in regular malts, as in the case for standard ales.


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