Ale is a type of beer brewed from malted barley using a warm fermentation with a strain of brewers' yeast.[1][2] The yeast will ferment the beer quickly, giving it a sweet, full bodied and fruity taste. Most ales contain hops, which help preserve the beer and impart a bitter herbal flavour that balances the sweetness of the malt.


History of ale

The former Anchor Brewhouse in Bermondsey, South London, bought by John Courage in 1787.

The term "ale" was initially used to describe a drink brewed without hops, unlike "beer"[3]. It has often now come to mean a bitter-tasting barley beverage fermented at room temperature. In some British usage, however, in homage to the original distinction, it is not now used except in compounds (such as "pale ale" (see below)) or as "real ale", a term adopted in opposition to the pressurised beers developed by industrial brewers in the 1960s, and used of a warm-fermented unpasteurised beer served from the cask (though not stout or porter).

Ale typically has bittering agent(s) to balance the sweetness of the malt and to act as a preservative. Ale was originally bittered with gruit, a mixture of herbs (sometimes spices) which was boiled in the wort prior to fermentation. Later, hops replaced the gruit blend in common usage as the sole bittering agent.

Ale, along with bread, was an important source of nutrition in the medieval world, particularly Small beer, also known as table beer or mild beer, which was highly nutritious, contained just enough alcohol to act as a preservative, and provided hydration without intoxicating effects. Small beer would have been consumed daily by almost everyone in the medieval world, with higher-alcohol ales served for recreational purposes. The lower cost for proprietors combined with the lower taxes levied on small beer led to the selling of beer labeled "strong beer" that had actually been diluted with small beer.[4]

The word 'ale' is native English, in Old English alu or ealu, but aloth, ealoth in the genitive and dative. It is believed to stem from Proto-Indo-European root *alu-, through Proto-Germanic *aluth-[5]. This is a cognate of Old Saxon alo, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic and Old Norse öl/øl, Old Bulgarian olu cider, Slovenian ol, Old Prussian alu, Lithuanian alus, Latvian alus (whence, Finnish olut).[6]

Modern ale

Ale is typically fermented at temperatures between 15 and 24 °C (60 and 75°F). At temperatures above 75 (°F) the yeast can produce significant amounts of esters and other secondary flavour and aroma products, and the result is often a beer with slightly "fruity" compounds resembling but not limited to apple, pear, pineapple, banana, plum, cherry, or prune.

Varieties of ale

Brown ale

Brown ales tend to be lightly hopped, and fairly mildly flavoured, often with a nutty taste. In the south of England they are dark brown, around 3-3.5% alcohol and quite sweet; in the north they are red-brown, 4.5-5% and drier. English brown ales first appeared in the early 1900s, with Manns Brown Ale and Newcastle Brown Ale as the best-known examples. The style became popular with homebrewers in North America in the early 1980s; Pete's Wicked Ale is an example, similar to the English original but substantially hoppier.

Pale ale

Pale ale was a term used for beers made from malt dried with coke. Coke had been first used for roasting malt in 1642, but it wasn't until around 1703 that the term pale ale was first used. By 1784 advertisements were appearing in the Calcutta Gazette for "light and excellent" pale ale. By 1830 onward the expressions bitter and pale ale were synonymous. Breweries would tend to designate beers as pale ale, though customers would commonly refer to the same beers as bitter. It is thought that customers used the term bitter to differentiate these pale ales from other less noticeably hopped beers such as porter and mild. By the mid to late 20th century, while brewers were still labeling bottled beers as pale ale, they had begun identifying cask beers as bitter, except those from Burton on Trent, which tend to be referred to as pale ales regardless of the method of dispatch.

Scotch ales

While the full range of ales is produced in Scotland, the term "Scotch Ale" is used internationally to denote a malty, strong dark ale. The malt may be slightly caramelised to impart toffee notes; generally, Scottish beers tend to be rather sweeter than English ones.

Mild ale

Mild ale originally meant unaged ale, the opposite of old ale. It can be any strength or colour, although most are dark brown and low in strength, typically between 3-3.5%. An example of a lighter coloured mild is Banks's Mild.

Burton Ale

Burton Ale was a strong, dark, somewhat sweet ale brewed to good strength and vatted at the brewery for a year or more. Sometimes used as a 'stock ale' for blending into younger beers, these comparatively strong ales were also enjoyed on their own. Bass No.1 was a classic example of Burton Ale, and in modern times Fullers Golden Pride is often considered by some to be a rare remaining example of a classic Burton style ale. The strongest Burton Ales are often called Barley Wine.

Old ale

In England, old ale was strong beer traditionally kept for about a year, gaining sharp, acetic flavours as it did so. The term is now applied to medium-strong dark beers, some of which are treated to resemble the traditional old ales. In Australia, the term is used even less discriminately, and is a general name for any dark beer.

Belgian ales

Belgium produces a wide variety of speciality ales that elude easy classification. Virtually all Trappist beers and Abbey beers are high in alcoholic content but light in body due to the addition of large amounts of sucrose, which provides an alcohol boost with an essentially neutral flavour.

Trappist beers are brewed under direct control of the monks themselves. Of the 171 Trappist monasteries throughout the world, only seven brew beer, of which there are six in Belgium. The seventh is in the Netherlands. Abbey beer is brewed by commercial breweries in the style of a trappist beer, sometimes using the name of a monastery, often one that no longer exists or in some cases one that has licensed its name to a brewery.

See also


  1. ^ Ben McFarland, World's Best Beers: One Thousand Craft Brews from Cask to Glass, p 271. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2009, ISBN 1402766947. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  2. ^ M. Shafiur Rahman, Handbook of Food Preservation, p 221. CRC Press, 2007, ISBN 1574446061. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary Online
  4. ^ Accum, Friedrich Christian. A treatise on adulterations of food: and culinary poisons, exhibiting the fraudulent sophistications of bread, beer, wine, spirituous liquors, tea, coffee ... and other articles employed in domestic economy and methods of detecting them. Longman, 1822, p. 159, p.170 read online
  5. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary,
  6. ^ William Dwight Whitney, The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedic Dictionary fo the English Language vol. 1

[[sv:Ale (öltyp)ass

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ale — [ ɛl ] n. f. • 1280; mot du moy. néerl.; repris à l angl. au XVIIe ♦ Bière anglaise blonde et peu amère, fabriquée avec du malt peu torréfié. ⇒ pale ale. Des ales. ⊗ HOM. Aile, elle, 1. l. ● ale nom féminin (moyen néerlandais ale) Bière anglaise… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ale — I {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}spój. {{/stl 8}}{{stl 7}} łączy zdania współrzędne lub równorzędne człony zdania o treści przeciwstawnej, skontrastowanej; wprowadzany fragment wypowiedzi jest często zastrzeżeniem do treści poprzedzających; lub : {{/stl… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • Ale — 〈[ ɛıl] n. 15; unz.〉 helles engl. Bier [engl.] * * * Ale [e:l , engl.: eɪl], das; s, s [engl. ale < aengl. (e)alu, H. u.]: helles, obergäriges englisches Bier. * * * Ale   [eɪl, englisch] das, s, englisches obergäriges Bier mit hohem… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • ale — ale; ale·cost; ale·gri·as; brid·ale; ra·di·ale; roy·ale; ale·a·tor·ic; ale·a·to·ry; ale·wife; tib·i·ale; ale·cith·ic; gradu·ale; …   English syllables

  • Ale — steht für: Address Latch Enable, ein Steuersignal beim Datentransfer im Zeitmultiplexverfahren Application Level Event, ein Standard für eine RFID Softwareschnittstelle Application Link Enabling, Synchronisierung von Daten über verschiedene SAP… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ale — (n.) O.E. ealu ale, beer, from P.Gmc. *aluth (Cf. O.S. alo, O.N. öl), perhaps from PIE root meaning bitter (Cf. L. alumen alum ), or from PIE *alu t ale, from root *alu , which has connotations of sorcery, magic, possession, intoxication. The… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Ale — ale. interj. hala. * * * Ale es un nombre que abarca a todas las cervezas de fermentación alta, lo que las diferencia de las Lager que son de baja fermentación. La fermentación alta quiere decir que la levadura que cumple el proceso de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • ALE — steht für: Address Latch Enable, ein Steuersignal beim Datentransfer im Zeitmultiplexverfahren Amt für Ländliche Entwicklung Application Level Event, ein Standard für eine RFID Softwareschnittstelle Application Link Enabling, Synchronisierung von …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ale — ([=a]l), n. [AS. ealu, akin to Icel., Sw., and Dan. [ o]l, Lith. alus a kind of beer, OSlav. ol[u^] beer. Cf. Ir. ol drink, drinking.] 1. An intoxicating liquor made from an infusion of malt by fermentation and the addition of a bitter, usually… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Alê — Aleksander Montrinas «Alê» est un footballeur brésilien né le 11 septembre 1981 à Brasilia. Carrière 2004 2005 : CA Bragantino  Brésil 2005 ... : Beira Mar …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ale — alleu archal boréal boréale bractéal bractéale châle céréale dual duale déciduale floréal franc alleu féal féale halle hâle joual linéal linéale marshal marshall maréchal maréchale multisalles negro spiritual nivéal nivéale ombellale pale ale… …   Dictionnaire des rimes

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.