Chill Out with Cold Fermentation

There’s no doubt about it: It’s a great time to be a beer lover. In Austin and across the country, there are more options than ever when it comes to experiencing unique, exciting beers from local breweries and microbreweries. Like many beer aficionados, you are probably also fascinated by the science that produces the differences between various types of beer. If you enjoy lagers, you’ll be interested to know that they are produced through a process called cold fermentation. Why is it used, though? Keep reading to learn more!  What is a Lager?  If you are lucky enough to visit Live Oak Brewing Company in Austin, TX, you will be able to take your pick from a number of enticing lagers. What exactly is a lager, though? Unlike ales, which use a top-fermenting yeast that attenuates, or converts sugar to alcohol, relatively quickly, lagers rely on a bottom-fermenting yeast that attenuates more slowly and to a lesser extent. Additionally, this type of yeast has a lower alcohol tolerance, and it is capable of fermenting a sugar called melibose. What all of this means for you, the beer drinker, is that the resulting lager has more sugar remaining. It is also clearer, more full-bodied and tastes mellower on the palate.  Fermenting Lagers  While one could argue that the primary distinction between ales and lagers is the type of yeast that is used, another factor plays a crucial role: the temperature at which the beer is fermented. While ale yeasts typically prefer temperatures of between 60 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, lager yeasts ferment best at temperatures of between 48 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit. With cold fermentation, flavors that are derived from yeast, including phenols and esters, are rarely [...]