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Is Draught Beer Ale Or Lager?

Draught beers are not defined by their brewing style but rather by how they are served and stored afterwards.

That is, draught, or draft, beers can be both ales and lagers as this is not a defining feature of draught/draft storage.

This method of dispensing beer helps to maintain its freshness, carbonation, and flavor, as it is not exposed to air or light like bottled or canned beer. Draught beer can include various styles, such as lagers, ales, stouts, and IPAs, among others.

As an expert brewer, I’ve had the pleasure of tasting countless draught beers over the years. In this blog post, I will explore the distinct differences between draught ales and lagers, including their brewing process, appearance, and flavor profiles.

So, let’s dive into the world of draught beer and discover the unique characteristics of these two beloved styles.

What Is Draught (Draft) Beer?

Draught beer, also known as draft beer, is beer that is served from a cask or keg rather than from a bottle or can. It is typically served on tap from a draft system, which involves using compressed gas to force the beer from the keg and into a serving glass.

  1. Freshness: Draft beer is typically fresher than bottled or canned beer because it is not pasteurized or filtered. This means that it retains more of its natural flavors and aromas.
  2. Carbonation: Draft beer is carbonated using carbon dioxide gas, which is injected into the beer as it is dispensed. This gives it a creamy, frothy head and a pleasant mouthfeel.
  3. Temperature: Draft beer is served at a cooler temperature than room temperature, which helps to bring out its flavors and aromas. The ideal temperature for serving draft beer is around 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 6 degrees Celsius).
  4. Variety: Draft beer is available in a wide range of styles and flavors, from light lagers to rich stouts and everything in between. This variety is due to the fact that many craft brewers and microbreweries only offer their beer on draft.
  5. Environmentally friendly: Draft beer is more environmentally friendly than bottled or canned beer because it does not require the use of packaging materials such as glass, aluminum, or plastic.

Draught beer is often preferred by many people because it is fresh and has a unique flavor and texture that cannot be replicated by bottled or canned beer. It is also typically served at a cooler temperature than beer that has been stored in a bottle or can, which can enhance its taste.

Different types of beers may be served on draught, including lagers, ales, stouts, and porters. Many bars and restaurants have a variety of draught beers available, and some even offer flights of different types of draught beers to allow patrons to sample and compare different brews.

What is the difference between lager and ale draught beers?

Draught beers are not defined by their brewing style but rather by how they are served and stored afterwards.

With that in mind, here is what differentiates lagers from ale draught beers:

1. Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast, while lagers use bottom-fermenting yeast.
2. Ales typically have a faster fermentation process, resulting in more fruity and spicy flavors.
3. Lagers have a longer fermentation process, leading to a cleaner, crisper flavor profile.
4. Ales can range in color from pale gold to deep brown, while lagers are generally lighter in color.
5. Ales often have a hazier appearance, while lagers are known for their crystal-clear appearance.
6. Ales tend to have more complex aromas, with fruity, spicy, and malty notes.
7. Lagers have a more subtle aroma, focused on the malt and hop characteristics.
8. Both ale and lager styles offer a diverse range of flavors, making draught beer a truly enjoyable experience for all beer lovers.

The Brewing Process

Ale Brewing

Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast, which means the yeast rises to the top during fermentation and works at higher temperatures (between 60-75°F). This process results in a faster fermentation, typically taking only a few days to a couple of weeks. The yeast imparts unique flavors and aromas to the ale, depending on the specific strain used.

Lager Brewing

Lagers, on the other hand, are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast, which works at lower temperatures (around 45-55°F). This process takes a bit longer, with fermentation lasting anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The longer fermentation results in a cleaner, crisper flavor profile, with fewer fruity or spicy notes than ales.


Ale Appearance

Ales tend to have a wide range of colors and can be anything from pale gold to deep amber or even a rich, dark brown. They often have a hazier appearance due to the higher fermentation temperatures and the residual yeast that can remain in suspension.

Lager Appearance

Lagers are generally lighter in color, ranging from pale straw to deep gold. They are known for their crystal-clear appearance, as the lower fermentation temperatures allow the yeast to settle more effectively, resulting in a bright and clear beer.

Flavor Profiles

Ale Flavors

Ales encompass a vast array of flavor profiles, from fruity and spicy to rich and malty. The higher fermentation temperatures allow for the production of more esters (fruity flavors) and phenols (spicy, clove-like flavors) in the final product. Ales can range from sweet and heavy to dry and bitter, depending on the ingredients and brewing techniques used.

Lager Flavors

Lagers are known for their clean, crisp flavors, often showcasing the malt and hop characteristics more prominently than ales. They can range from light and refreshing to more full-bodied and malty, but generally have fewer fruity or spicy notes. Lagers tend to have a more balanced flavor profile, with a smooth, clean finish.


Ale Aromas

The aroma of an ale can be quite complex, with fruity, spicy, and malty notes all coming together to create a unique and inviting scent. Hops can also play a significant role in the aroma of an ale, contributing anything from floral and citrus notes to pine and earthy aromas.

Lager Aromas

Lagers typically have a clean, subtle aroma, with the malt and hops taking center stage. The low fermentation temperatures result in fewer esters and phenols, so the fruity and spicy notes are generally less pronounced than in ales. The aroma of a lager can range from light and grainy to rich and toasty, depending on the malt used.

Popular Styles

Ale Styles

Some popular ale styles include pale ales, IPAs, stouts, porters, and Belgian ales. Each of these styles has its own unique characteristics, but all share the common thread of being brewed with top-fermenting yeast and showcasing the complex flavors that can be achieved through ale fermentation.

Lager Styles

Popular lager styles include pilsners, Märzens, and doppelbocks. These styles tend to be more focused on the malt and hop flavors, with a clean and refreshing finish that is characteristic of lager fermentation.


In conclusion, draught beer is mostly lager, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a fantastic ale on tap as well. Both ales and lagers offer a diverse range of flavors, aromas, and appearances, making the world of draught beer a truly exciting and enjoyable one to explore.


Is draught beer stronger?

Draught beer is not inherently stronger than bottled or canned beer. The strength of a beer is determined by its alcohol content, which is dictated by the recipe and brewing process. Draught beer, bottled beer, and canned beer can all have varying alcohol content depending on the specific beer and brand. The main difference between draught beer and other forms is the method of storage and serving, with draught beer being stored in kegs and served on tap.

What are the two common draught beers?

The two common draught beers are ale and lager. These beer types differ in their brewing process, yeast types, and flavor profiles, with ales being generally fruitier and more robust, while lagers are often crisp and clean in taste.

Is draught beer an ale or lager?

Draught beer can be either an ale or a lager. The term “draught” refers to the method of serving the beer (from a keg or cask) rather than the type of beer itself. Ales and lagers are two main categories of beer, distinguished by their fermentation process and yeast used.

What is difference between draft and draught beer?

The main difference between draft and draught beer lies in their spelling and regional usage. Both terms refer to the same process of dispensing beer from a keg or cask through a tap, rather than being bottled or canned. “Draft” is the American spelling, while “draught” is the British spelling. The beer served through this method is typically fresher, better preserved, and has a smoother taste compared to bottled or canned beer.

What type of beer is a draught?

A draught beer is not a specific type or style of beer, but rather a method of serving beer. Draught beer, also known as draft beer, is beer that is poured from a keg or cask into a glass, typically using a tap system.

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