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Inner mysteries of the ale process

My first brewing attempt is the Amber block party ale. I read that this is an ale because the yeast is added at the top. So what happens during the fermentation as far as the rest of the liquid below the surface? Do the yeast migrate into the liquid? Is there a slow diffusion of the sugars to the surface? This seems like a really complex picture. Also, do the yeast multiple as they consume the sugars? Thanks.

Easiest way to separate an ale from a lager: temperature you leave the liquid during fermentation. Lagers, you need to keep much cooler during fermentation than ales. That’s why most new brewers do ales, because they don’t own the necessary equipment to keep the fermenter at a constant, cold temp

Never heard anything about the yeast being in different locations. I’ve made a lager by adding yeast to to the top before. The yeast is specialized to be “lager” yeast where it works best under the colder conditions than the yeast you use for ales. The yeast does mix in together throughout the liquid, eating sugars everywhere.

The yeast does multiply as it eats, thats the nature of yeast as a “creature”. We often do this on purpose before even adding to our beer. We make a small amount of non descript beer a day before brew day. Add the yeast the same day, let it sit for a day… The yeast multiply and multiply. This is called a starter. We add this as our yeast once our beer is brewed

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During fermentation there’s basically a giant yeast orgy going on in your wort/beer. Lots of ravenous sugar consumption and reproduction until the most readily digestible sugars are gone. Then everyone takes a nap fully sated…that’s what she said.

The difference between a lager and an ale is the yeast. Lager yeasts generally speaking prefer colder temps but that isn’t always the case anymore. Ale yeasts, saccharomyces cerevisiae, are top fermenting and lager yeasts, saccharomyces uvarum, are bottom fermenting. This refers to where orgy occurs and has nothing to do with where or how you pitch the yeast.


You will also see yeast descriptors like True Top Cropping and Lager Like Bottom fermenting to describe even more extreme versions of @dannyboy58 just said is the nature of ale/lager yeast. At some point all yeasts are on the top and end up at the bottom.

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