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Ale

Ale is a type of beer brewed from malted barley using a top-fermenting brewers' yeast.

This yeast ferments the beer quickly, giving it a sweet, full bodied and fruity taste. Most ales contain hops, which impart a bitter herbal flavour that helps to balance the sweetness of the malt and preserve the beer. The other major style of beer — lager — is bottom-fermented.

Ales are common in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, the eastern provinces of Canada, and among craft beer consumers in the United States. The German word for "top-fermenting" is "obergärig"; the French equivalent is "Haute fermentation".

Ales typically take 3 to 4 weeks to make, although some varieties can take as long as 4 months. Lagers take significantly longer to brew than ales and tend to be less sweet.

See also: Beer, Stout, Lager Beer
Last modified: 7 September 2009
Editors: Nik D
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