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Ale on Wikipedia:

For other uses, see Ale (disambiguation). A pint of ale

Ale is a type of beer brewed from malted barley using a top-fermenting

History of ale

In Norse Mythology, Ægir, Ran and his nine daughters brew mead or ale in a large pot

After their introduction into England from the Netherlands in the 15th century, ``beer`` was used to describe a drink brewed with hops, unlike ``ale``.[1] This distinction no longer applies. Beer generally needs a bittering agent to balance the sweetness of the malt and to act as a preservative. Ale was typically bittered with gruit, a mixture of herbs and/or spices which was boiled in the wort in place of hops. Ale was an important source of nutrition in the medieval world along with bread.

The word 'ale' is native English, in Old English alu or ealu, but aloth, ealoth in the genitive and dative. This is cognate with Old Saxon alo, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Old Norse öl/øl, Old Bulgarian olu cider, Slovenian ol, Old Prussian alu, Lithuanian alus, Latvian alus (whence, Finnish olut).[2] These have been derived from the Proto-Indo-European base *alu-, *alut-, connected to either the concept of bitterness (cf. alum, allium)[3] or intoxication and hence hallucination, possession, sorcery and magic (cf. Runic alu spell).[4]

Modern ale

Cask ale handpumps

Ale is typically fermented at temperatures between 15 and 24 °C (60 and 75°F). At these temperatures, yeast produces significant amounts of esters and other secondary flavour and aroma products, and the result is often a beer with slightly ``fruity`` compounds resembling but not limited to apple, pear, pineapple, banana, plum or prune. Typical ales have a sweeter, fuller mouthfeel than lagers.

In a number of U.S. states, especially in the western United States, ``ale`` is the term mandated by state law for any beverage fermented from grain with an alcoholic strength above that which can legally be named ``beer,`` without regard to the method of fermentation or the yeast used[citation needed].

Varieties of ale

Brown ale

Main article: Brown ale

A darker barley malt is used to produce brown ales. They tend to be lightly hopped, and fairly mildly flavoured, often with a nutty taste. In the south of England they are dark brown, around 3-3.5% alcohol and quite sweet; in the north they are red-brown, 4.5-5% and drier. English brown ales first appeared in the early 1900s, with Manns Brown Ale and Newcastle Brown Ale as the best-known examples. The style became popular with homebrewers in North America in the early 1980s;