All About Lager
Lager is an immensely popular type of beer, characterized by a clean taste and high levels of carbonation thanks to its particular brewing style. There are a wide variety of lagers ranging from dark to light and sweet to bitter, the most common being the 'pale-lagers' or pilsners. Lagers are typically 3-5% alcohol by volume.
Merriam Webster Online Dictionary
Main Entry: la·ger
Etymology: German Lagerbier beer made for storage, from Lager storehouse + Bier beer
1. Also called lager beer. a beer stored from six weeks to six months for aging before use.
–verb (used with object)
2. To age (beer) usually by storing in tanks at just-below freezing temperatures for several weeks or months.
1835–45; short for lager beer, half adoption, half trans. of GLagerbier. See lair1, beer
The lager beer was originally developed in the 19th century. During this time, brewers in Bavaria commonly stored their beer in cool places to allow the beer to mature. In order to aid in the brewing process, the brewers created a type of yeast that was cable of helping cold beer mature properly. This bottom fermenting yeast is called Saccharomyces Uvarum yeast. These yeast work best at temperatures between 44º & 50ºF. This process will take several months, but you can produce just about the same outcome if you raise the temperature to around 55 to 65ºF. This will produce a clean and subtle taste. Lagers can be altered by using different types of grain, altering the temperature of roasting. Examples of lagers are Pilsner, Bock, and Dunkles to name a few.
The term lager is derived from the German word lagern, which means “to store.” This name hearkens back to the early methods of creating lager by storing it in places such as caves. Unlike the modern lager, early lager was dark in color because the water used to make it was quite hard. Today, softer water is used to make lager. This has resulted in the beer's distinctively light color.
The process of storing lager beer in a cool area results in a clean taste, because certain flavors and particles are removed during the process. The most common type of lager is the pale lager, and there are many types of beer that fall into this category, including pilsner, helles, and dortmunder export. Most pale lager beers are very light in color and tend to be blander in taste, although modern types can have a bitter or sweet taste. The difference depends on the water used, the storing process, and the ingredients used in the lager.
American Lager is basically the main style of beer in America. It is a mass produced, inexpensive product that’s aimed at the broadest possible demographic. Since it is very watery and has little flavor characteristics, it is the least likely to offend a large number of consumers. In the health craze of the 70’s brewers started offering Light Beer. Light Beer is simply an American Lager with an even lower gravity. American Lagers achieve a low gravity by adding corn or rice syrup which is highly fermentable. This means that a higher percentage of sugars ferment into alcohol leaving behind less flavor.
Dark American Lager: Some popular commercial examples are San Miguel Dark, Dixie Blackened Voodoo, Saint Pauli Girl Dark and Dixie Blackened Voodoo.
Lite American Lager: Amstel Light, Bud Light and Miller Lite are some good commercial varieties.
Standard American Lager: Budweiser, Kirin Lager, Molson Golden, Corona Extra and Miller High Life are some nice commercial examples of the style.
Premium American Lager: Coors Extra Gold, Singha and Miller Genuine Draft are some first-rate commercial examples of the style.