What is a Lager?

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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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A lager is a type of beer that is recognized by its high carbonation level and light color, though some modern varieties are darker in color and may even be black. This type of beer was originally developed in the 19th century. During this time, brewers in Bavaria commonly stored their beer in cool places to allow it 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 yeast is still used today to make lager beer and is referred to as bottom-fermenting yeast.

The name is derived from the German word lagern, which means “to store.” This name hearkens back to the early methods of creating this beer by storing it in places such as caves. Unlike the modern lager, however, the early beverages were dark in color because the water used to make them was quite hard. Today, softer water is used to make it, which 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 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 bland in taste, though modern examples can have a bitter or sweet taste. This difference depends on the water used, the storing process, and other ingredients added to it.

The pilsner was the first pale lager beer to be created. With its hint of bitter taste, it was an instant success when it was developed in 1842. Modern examples include Dommelsch and Heineken.

The dortmunder export type of pale lager was not introduced until 31 years later. Helles is very similar to pilsner, except it has more malt and less hops. Examples include Lowenbrau and Augustinerbrau.


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Post 3

As with all beer types be they traditional English ales, Belgian beers or Czech pilsners, the color is determined by the malted barley and other cereals used. Once malted (the process of beginning germination to allow starch to be converted into sugars) barley is then heated in a kiln for varying amounts of time affecting color and flavor properties. Malts roasted for longer attain a darker color and some of the sugars are used resulting in a darker beer with caramel flavor notes. It is this roasting (or lack of) which determines the color of the malt and the malt choice which determines the color of the beer. Hops are added at different stages of the brewing process for bitterness

, flavor and aroma.

Pilsner was invented in Bohemia, now the Czech Republic, in 1842 in the town of Pilsen. At the time, the use of pale malts and distinctive Saaz hops was entirely new. As the new style of beer grew in popularity and acclaim it became known as 'Pilsner Urquell' with “urquell” meaning original. Pilsner Urquell is still brewed to the same recipe today and is available in bottles internationally.

Another fine example of the style, though more golden in color and with a slightly sweeter malty taste is Budweiser Budvar, another Czech pilsner. Budweiser brewery was formed in 1895 as the Czech share brewery and (unlike the inferior American beer which stole its name and uses cheap cereals such as rice which add nothing to flavor or appearance only serving to make the 'beer' cheaper to produce and therefore more profits for the brewing giant) still uses the same methods, and ingredients today from a town with a brewing tradition dating back to 1265. The only change being a bore hole for an artesian well being sunk in 1922 to maintain a water supply which had been cut off. In 2004, however. Buvar began production once again of a dark lager, returning to the traditions pre pilsner.

Post 2

I don't know where you got this information: "Unlike the modern lager, however, the 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."

But it's total crap. Do some homework. The color of the beer is all about the ingredients and how they are treated before fermentation.

Post 1

Lager is said to be dark brown to black, and stouts such as Guinness are also usually very dark.

There are pale ales, but many lagers are also quite light in color.

What is the differences in the various beers?

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