Beer 101: 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Lager
What are the things you should know about lager beer?
- The Etymology of Lager
- Lagers Are One of the More Recent Types of Beer
- It Takes Longer to Brew Than Ales
- Lagers Are Made with A Specific Type of Yeast
- Lagers Come in A Range of Colors
- The Art of Making Quality Lager
Lager is a type of beer with a clean and subdued flavor profile. The clearer and more full-bodied beer is created with a bottom-fermenting yeast (Saccharomyces Pastorianus). When conditioned at low temperatures, a greater remnant of sugar remains in the beer, creating the well-known lager taste. Lager comes in three basic categories: pale, dark, or amber.
With a variety of types being sold by a number of different companies, lager is one of the most popular types of liquor in the Philippines. But, have you ever been curious as to how lager develops its iconic taste and aroma? Read on to learn more about the things that you probably didn’t know about lager!
The Etymology of Lager
Here’s how the name of lager came to be. Lager is short for the German word Lagerbier which translates to “beer brewed for keeping.” It is a combination of the German words Lager (storehouse) and Bier (beer). The reason for this is that compared to ale beers, lager ferments at a slower pace and at a cooler temperature. They are stored in cool temperatures for a few weeks up to a few months. This methodology has been named the process of “lagering”.
The history of lager beer dates back to 15th century Germany. Compared to other types, it is considered one of the more recent variations of beer.
Lagers Are One of the More Recent Types of Beer
The counterpart of lager beer is ale, which was created as far back as the Middle Ages. While other types of beer have been in existence for numerous centuries, lager beer itself was created in 15th century Germany. It was made with a new type of yeast that was said to have evolved from a previous strain in order to better suit the climate around it, which was a rather cool one. After years of experimentation, sometime between the 1500s, German brewers were finally able to use the new type of yeast that could withstand cooler temperatures and longer aging. This fermentation process was popularized in the German state of Bavaria during the 16th century.
It Takes Longer to Brew Than Ales
The fermentation process of ales can last as quickly as a couple of hours to a couple of days. This is because the type of yeast it utilizes thrives in warm temperatures, speeding up its fermentation process. On the other hand, the type of yeast lager uses only ferments in low temperatures, which slows down the entire fermentation process. The final lager product can take around three to four weeks to achieve.
The differences in the types of yeast used to make beer can create a multitude of effects, from the speed of its fermentation to its flavor profile.
Lagers Are Made with A Specific Type of Yeast
In the early days, the yeast created to brew ales was called Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. It was a “top-fermenting” yeast that fermented quickly in warm temperatures. By the 1500s, a new strain was discovered, Saccharomyces Pastorianus. As previously mentioned, this yeast was observed to ferment at a slower rate and at cooler temperatures. This new process was called “bottom-fermenting”.
Besides the type of yeast used, the variation in the ingredients used to make lager create a large range of colors and flavors for you to choose from.
Lagers Come in A Range of Colors
Lagers come in three basic variations: pale, amber, and dark. Each one has a distinct look, aroma, and taste. Beer also can further refine your dining experience. Pair the right types of lager with the appropriate dishes that will be mentioned below.
Here are the types of lagers and their distinct qualities:
Pale Lager (5.8% ABV)
Pale lagers are known for their distinct deep to light golden color with a clear appearance. The white head it produces is moderately thick and dense.
When you take a sip of a pale lager, you should be able to taste its delicate bitterness. You should also taste notes of herbal hops along with a grainy character. A pale lager has an almost water-like consistency with minimal to no after-taste.
- Food to Pair with Pale Lagers
A pale lager is a light-bodied beer. They go well with light-flavored food such as seafood, corn, or a salad.
Amber Lager (4.8-5.4% ABV)
Amber lagers are distinctly known for their reddish-brown color as well as their thick white head. A whiff of an amber lager will give you sweet yet slightly bitter notes of dark malt.
When you take a sip of an Amber lager, expect a toasty or a sweet, caramel-like character. Depending on how it is brewed, it can be extremely bitter or light-tasting.
- Food to Pair with Amber Lagers
Amber lagers do well when paired with heavy dishes such as pizza, hamburgers, or a good thick cheese.
Dark Lager (5.4% ABV)
Dark lager tends to have an extremely dark color, sometimes, even going towards a dark black. Its aroma should give you hints of chocolate and licorice.
Dark lagers tend to have a sweet, chocolate-like taste paired with a bitter aftertaste.
- Food to Pair with Dark Lagers
Dark Lagers work well with roasted or smoked meats. Pair your barbecued steak with a nice cold glass of your favorite dark lager.
These are just some of the types of lager that you can enjoy with your favorite dishes. The bold flavors of lager are created through an extremely delicate and well-calculated process.
The Art of Making Quality Lager
Making high-quality lager is an art form. Each step is carefully calculated to achieve the perfect flavor profile. Here’s a simple step-by-step summary of exactly how high-quality lager is made:
- Step 1: Make a starter
- Step 2: Boil appropriate ingredients
- Step 3: Chill starter & wort, pitch yeast, and keep cold
- Step 4: Increase temperature to 65º F to rest diacetyl
- Step 5: Lower temperature and maintain until lager creation
This is a simple compilation of the complex processes that are done to create the popular lager taste and feel. Now that you know more about the history of lager, savor the flavor and enjoy the enhanced experience.
Lager is a type of liquor known for its crisp aroma and full flavor profile. The reason for this comes from the etymology of the name itself – Lagerbier which is a German word for “beer brewed for keeping”. Lager is stored longer in order to lengthen its fermentation process, giving it a full-bodied taste. It is also one of the more recent types of beer to be discovered and can be customized to be amidst a range of colors and flavors. The art of making quality lager ensures a refreshing yet palette-bursting experience for any of its loyal drinkers.
Choose the right lager for you to enjoy during a night out with friends or paired with one of your favorite homemade dishes!