Real Ale – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Brewing Process Glossary

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I. What is Real Ale?

Real Ale is a term used to describe a type of beer that is brewed using traditional methods and ingredients. It is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and undergoes a secondary fermentation in the cask from which it is served. Real Ale is often referred to as cask ale, as it is typically served directly from a cask without the use of additional carbonation or nitrogen.

II. How is Real Ale brewed?

Real Ale is brewed using traditional methods that date back centuries. The brewing process begins with malted barley, water, hops, and yeast. These ingredients are combined in a specific ratio and boiled to create a wort. The wort is then cooled and transferred to a fermentation vessel where yeast is added to begin the fermentation process.

After the initial fermentation, the beer is transferred to a cask where it undergoes a secondary fermentation. This process allows the beer to develop complex flavors and aromas. The cask is then sealed and allowed to condition before being served to customers.

III. What is the difference between Real Ale and other types of beer?

The main difference between Real Ale and other types of beer lies in the way it is brewed and served. Real Ale is unfiltered and unpasteurized, which means it retains more of its natural flavors and aromas. It also undergoes a secondary fermentation in the cask, which gives it a unique character and mouthfeel.

In contrast, other types of beer, such as lagers and ales, are typically filtered and pasteurized before being packaged and served. These beers are often carbonated using additional gases, such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen, to create a consistent level of carbonation.

IV. What are some popular styles of Real Ale?

There are many different styles of Real Ale, each with its own unique characteristics and flavors. Some popular styles include:

1. Bitter: A traditional English ale with a balanced malt and hop profile.
2. Porter: A dark ale with roasted malt flavors and hints of chocolate and coffee.
3. Stout: A rich and creamy ale with flavors of roasted barley and dark chocolate.
4. Pale Ale: A hop-forward ale with a crisp and refreshing finish.
5. Mild: A low-alcohol ale with a malty sweetness and subtle hop bitterness.

These are just a few examples of the many styles of Real Ale available to beer enthusiasts.

V. How should Real Ale be served and stored?

Real Ale should be served at cellar temperature, around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit, to allow the flavors and aromas to fully develop. It is typically served directly from the cask using a hand pump or gravity dispense system. The beer should be poured gently to avoid disturbing the sediment that may have settled at the bottom of the cask.

Once a cask of Real Ale has been opened, it should be consumed within a few days to ensure freshness. If the beer is not finished, it can be stored in a cool, dark place to slow down the oxidation process. It is important to keep the cask upright to prevent the yeast from settling and clogging the tap.

VI. What are some common misconceptions about Real Ale?

One common misconception about Real Ale is that it is always warm and flat. While Real Ale is typically served at cellar temperature, it should not be warm. The ideal serving temperature allows the flavors and aromas to shine without being overly chilled.

Another misconception is that Real Ale is only for older generations or beer enthusiasts. In reality, Real Ale is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. Its diverse range of styles and flavors make it a versatile and appealing choice for beer drinkers of all preferences.

Overall, Real Ale is a unique and flavorful type of beer that offers a taste of tradition and craftsmanship. Its brewing methods and serving techniques set it apart from other types of beer, making it a beloved choice among beer enthusiasts worldwide.