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Beer Lexicon

Every beer is either an ale or a lager. Ales, fermented at warmer temperatures, grip the palate and leave a longer aftertaste. Lagers, fermented in cooler environments, are more restrained, with greater emphasis on toasted or sweet malt flavors.


  • Abbey ale—Strong, fruity, unctuous beer associated with Belgian Trappist monasteries. Made in traditional, dubbel and tripel varieties.
  • Pale ale—English-style bitter. Hoppy, medium-bodied, full of red fruit flavor and despite the name, typically bronze or even reddish. Most American versions are hoppier than British ones.
  • Porter—Dark-brown ale with chocolatey malt flavor and often a refreshing hop bitterness.
  • Stout—Porter's bigger brother. A blackish-brown ale made with dark-roasted malts.
  • Wheat beer, Weizenbier, Witbier—Ale brewed with raw wheat along with barley. A light beer with peach and apple flavors, a yeasty aroma and a creamy head. Belgian versions have spices added.


  • Bock—Strong brown lager with a characteristic malty sweetness. A Doppelbock ("double bock") is nearly twice as strong.
  • Pilsener—olden lager typified by a crisp, clean flavor and a floral, sometimes herbal, aroma.
  • Schwarzbier—"Black beer,"a chocolatey lager that looks like a stout but is lighter bodied, with a more bitter flavor.
Published June 1998
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