What is a Ale ?
Ale is nowadays defined as any beer made with top fermenting yeast, in contrast to lager—which is defined as any beer made with bottom fermenting yeast. But its origins are somehow different, being the definition of ale by the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1773 a fermented liquor obtained from an infusion of malt and differing only from beer in having a less proportion of hops. Thus the origin of the term ale comes from Old English alu or ealu, referring to a totally unhopped beverage, in contrast to the the continental hopped bere that arrived to the UK in the 15th century.
India Pale Ale - IPA
Modern IPA's are decidedly hoppy and bitter, with strong hoppy and floral aromas, specially from American hops such as Citrus and Mosaic. Some versions are dry-hopped to get an even more intense aroma. Its color ranges from medium-gold to amber and even to dark brown and black in the case of Black IPA's. The body is medium-light and the ABV is not very high, in the range of 5 to 7,5% ABV. The English styles have a more sweet character derived of the malts used (giving them a caramel, bread, and toast touch).
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American Pale Ale - APA
American Pale Ale (APA) is a refreshing and hoppy, ale, with enough supporting malts to guarantee drinkability. ABV ranges between 4.5 and 6,2 ABV, and bitterness goes from 30 to 50 IBUs. Hops can range from traditional to modern American hops. Appearance is pale to light amber, and flavours and aromas are hoppy with floral and fruity notes. It is lighter and cleaner than English Pale Ales, and more accesible that modern day American IPA's.
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Belgian Strong Ale
Belgian Strong Ale is a style that comprises from pale to bitter beers, with stronger yeast character than malt flavours, and higher alcohol than standard Belgian Ales. Colors tend to be light, and flavours smooth with some fruity and spicy notes.
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A Belgian Ale is a moderately malty, fruity and easy-drinking, amber-colored ale that is less aggressive in flavor profile than many other Belgian beers. They are quite balanced and smooth, and they have the lowest alcoholic character in the Belgian traditional styles. Fairly similar to pale ales from England, and with less yeast character than many other Belgian beers.
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Wheat ales are not as yeasty and more hoppy than classic German wheat beers, and difference themselves by using a cleaner yeast and an extra amount of hops. They are pale in appearance, and quite malty with some ballanced hop bitterness. Depending on the variation they can be fairly drinkables or more ballanced towards hop or wheat.
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English Brown Ales are itself a very varied category, ranging from lighter and hoppy to darker and more caramel and roasted beers. Their American counterparts tend to be more hoppy. Malts used are caramel and chocolate, and hops varieties are mostly English. It is a more malty style than British Bitters, and less roast than English Porters, and with less sweetness than London Brown Ales.
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