The Differences Between Ale and Lager

With an ever-growing list of beers available to buy nowadays, it can be hard to keep up with all the different types of beer, as well as all the terminology associated with the UK’s most popular alcoholic drink. 

To give you a better understanding of ales and lagers, the team at Fletcher Drinks has written a really helpful guide to both of these beverages below. Have a read to know the main differences; and if you’d like to use your newfound knowledge - head over to our website to discover our ales to buy online today.

The Main Brewing Difference Between Lagers and Ales

First things first, it’s important to note that both lager and ale fall under the general category of beer. However, the main difference between the two is the technique in fermenting the malt. Lagers are typically fermented using a bottom fermenting yeast at cooler temperatures over a longer period of time. 

Whereas, ales are fermented using a top fermenting yeast at warmer temperatures, and an ale can be ready to drink in as little time as three weeks. Ale takes around half the time to ferment, so it can be ready to drink much earlier compared to lagers. 


Today, there are many distinct types of lager to choose from. A popular lager is the Pilsner, which is brewed with unroasted barley and sometimes includes other grains. This adds lightness to the Pilsner’s colour and crispness to the flavour. A Helles is another popular lager - this pale lager hailing from Germany has a sweet flavour softened with a low but present bitterness. 

If you want a lager with a kick, then Bock is the type for you. Bock was originally brewed in Germany, and the lager has an alcohol volume between 6 to 8%, so it’s a little bit more than your typical lager. Bocks have a rich, distinct flavour with minimal to no hop flavour. 


In the past, ales were the dominant type of beer around. In fact, in medieval times, ale was a major part of many people’s daily diets, and it was even drunk by children too. The popularity of ale in the UK still remains today, with a variety of types sold in pubs and shops. Pale Ales are full flavoured ales, but they’re not too heavy - so they’re a great starting point for anyone getting into ales from lagers. 

Brown Ales offer a maltier, nuttier flavour; they can vary in colour from dark amber to brown, and in volume from 3% to a much heavier 8%. If you want a beer that’s richer than a Pale Ale, and retains herbal hoppy notes, then an Amber Ale is the best choice for you. Amber Ales usually have caramel and floral notes, which combine to create an ale full of character.

Buy Ale Online UK 

Now that you know more about the differences between ales and lagers, if you’d like to buy ale online at low prices, visit our online beer shop now. We stock a wide range of ales including all the major brands such as Guinness, Old Speckled Hen, Mackeson, Murphy’s, Tetley’s, Bank’s, and Hobgoblin. All of our quality ales are brilliant value for money; you’ll be getting cheaper prices than anywhere else. 

What’s more, we also provide an alcohol delivery service, which is same-day delivery for locals and 1-2 day delivery for customers across the rest of England and Wales. When you spend more than £75 or more, you will get free local delivery to your address - saving you even more money. If you have any questions about our ales or lagers, please feel free drop us a message via the online chat form on our website, and we’ll get in touch with you shortly.