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A Guide to Lagers

The name lager is taken from the German word lagern, meaning “to store.” Most of the mass-produced beers of the world are lagers, but a wider range of styles exists than what those commercial brands may lead you to believe.

Lager is a beer that is brewed at cool temperatures by slow fermentation with slow-acting yeast. The yeast used to ferment lager is often referred to as “bottom-fermenting” since it does not rise to the top of the brewing vessel during fermentation. Lagers can be pale, amber, or dark. Pale lager is the most widely consumed and commercially available style of beer.

Lager yeasts can also tolerate much lower temperatures than yeasts used for ales. Typically between 7 and 13 °C, these lower temperatures reduce the number of by-products during the fermentation stage and produce a cleaner, crisper beer. 

Cold storage of beer is called “lagering” and in the medieval period, these beers would be stored in caves.

Lagers are a tighter group of beers than ales. While there are countless styles of ale, there are only a few styles within the Lager family. 

Types of Lagers 
Helles It is a pale malty lager brewed in southern Germany around Munich.
PilsnerIt is a pale hoppy lager originally from the city of Plzeň in the Czech Republic. The Czech Pilsner is the inspiration behind the German Pilsner. In turn, the German Pilsner influenced the modern American Lager style
MärzenIs an amber lager, traditionally brewed in Munich for the celebration of Oktoberfest, though the beer served at modern-day Oktoberfest is Festbier, a style closer to Maibock or Helles than Märzen.
BockOriginating in Einbeck in central Germany, Bocks have higher alcohol content (7% ABV or more) than most lagers. Sub-styles include Maibock, Doppelbock, and Eisbock, a type of ice beer that has been concentrated by freezing
Vienna LagerThis colour of this beer can range from medium amber to brown, originating in Vienna, Austria, but also influencing brewing in Mexico, typified by beers such as Dos Equis Ambar.
DunkelDunkel (meaning dark) is a dark brown lager; the word Dunkel can also be appended to other styles to indicate a darker variety
SchwarzbierThis Lager is dark brown to black in colour.

 

 

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