The Different Types of Beer

A beer’s color, body, and flavor are dependent on the ingredients used to make it. Malted barley is the primary ingredient, while hops play a secondary role. Both of these ingredients contribute to its unique flavor. The malts themselves contain enzymes that convert starch in the grain to sugar. The yeast uses these sugars as food for itself, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. The final product has a complex combination of flavors, textures, and aromas.

Carbonation is the main component in beer, providing body to the mouth and triggering the trigeminal nerves, which are involved in the sensation of taste and pain. Carbonation can also affect the appearance of beer, adding a thick collar of foam to most varieties. In some brewing techniques, nitrogen is added under pressure to the wort, resulting in a softer mouthfeel and smaller bubbles. Beers can also contain unfermented sugars, proteins, and yeast sediments.

Sour ales have different flavors. Lambics, for instance, are made by exposing beer to wild yeast and bacteria. Lambics originated in Belgium, but today, brewers all over the world have found ways to manipulate this process to create unique alcoholic drinks. American sour ales contain wild bacteria and pack a wild punch from the fermentation process. Flanders red ale has a malty, fruity flavor and a distinctively sour taste.

Besides pilsner and lager, there are also German-style ales and pilsners. German-style pilsner is light-colored with an average hop profile and a malty taste. This German-style beer is often called Dortmunder and is also a style of lager. The key to making an excellent pilsner is balance. With medium hop character and a low malt sweetness, German-style pilsners are often enjoyed as light, refreshing beverages.