Difference Between Beer and Lager

There are various kinds of alcoholic drinks. Consumption of alcoholic drinks on a moderate level can have several health benefits. The two most common types of alcoholic drinks are beer and lager. Though both have a similar origin and are of the same type, there are distinct differences between beer and lager.

Beer vs Lager

The main difference between beer and lager is that beer can have a fruity, floral, and mouthful taste while lager has a clean and crisp taste. Beer is manufactured by brewing and fermentation while lager is fermented for a longer period which can range from months to even years.

Beer vs Lager

The word beer is derived from an Old English word “bēor” and the German word “bier”. The main step in the manufacturing process is the presence of yeast. The yeast used in the beer processing is Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is a common alcoholic drink.

On the other hand, the word lager is derived from a German word called “lagern”. Lager was initially derived from the idea where the brewers of Bavaria kept beer in cold areas and caves to make it refreshing during the hotter months. Later they found a fermentation process in the beer bottles which lead to the formation of lager.

Comparison Table Between Beer and Lager

Parameters of ComparisonBeerLager
Word derivation Word is derived from Old English ‘bēor’, and from Dutch and German ‘bier’ Word is derived from a German word called “lagern” which means “to store”
Yeast used Saccharomyces cerevisiae Saccharomyces pastorianus
CharacteristicsBeer can have a specific aroma, appearance, mouthfeel, flavor, bitterness, alcohol content, and color Crisp, light and refreshing
Types Ale, Porter, Stout, Lager, Brown Ales and Blonde Ale Helles, pilsner, märzen, bock, viennna lager, dunkel, schwarzbier, doppelbock
Period of production Shorter Longer

What is Beer?

Beer is an alcoholic drink that is made by the process of brewing and fermentation of starches. The starches are mainly of cereal grains like malted barley, rice, wheat, oats, maize, and other common cereals. The word is derived from Old English ‘bēor’, and from Dutch and German ‘bier’.

The procedure of production includes brewing, fermentation which produces ethanol and carbonation. Beer can also be brewed with hops. Hops acts as a preservative, stabilizing agent and adds a bitter flavor. Flavors of herbs, gruit, and fruits are also added and loved by consumers. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a type of yeast, is used in the industrial fermentation of beer.

In large commercial production, there are forced carbonation procedures to make the processing faster. The best beer types in local style have been together written in a book called ‘The World Guide To Beer’ by Michael Jackson. Beer was also known as ‘ale‘.

The beer and brewing industry is a global business with a huge market. The two standard sizes of beer are 330 mL and 650 mL. It is also available in cans. The freezing temperature of the beer is 27 °F. Beer even has a cultural association and is used in various festivals like beer festivals, pub games, pub quizzes, crawling, etc.

What is Lager?

Lager is a type of beer. It is a cool fermented version of the beer. Lager is derived from a German word called “lager” which means “to store”. The idea of lager originated when brewers kept and stored beer in the cool cellars and caves in Bavaria. It was done to provide relief in the hot summer months. Those stored beers were found to ferment in cold conditions and the sediment was removed.

The yeast used in Lager production is Saccharomyces pastorianus. The process includes a primary fermentation at a temperature of 45 – 55 °F and is followed by a secondary fermentation which is a long process at 30 – 40 °F. It is also called the lagering phase. Esters are produced which caters to a clean and crisp taste to the beer.

The industrial breweries of lager manufacture in a short span of cold storage. They take around 1-3 weeks to produce lager. Lager can be of various types like dark, pale, or amber. The pale lager is the most common and widely preferred type among lagers. Lagers are lighter and crisper than beer and are refreshing in taste.

The entire revolution of lager was seen after the development of refrigeration. Some lagers contain adjuncts, that is the large proportion of maize or rice. Common types of lager are helles, pilsner, märzen, bock, viennna lager, dunkel, schwarzbier, doppelbock and various other types.

Main Differences Between Beer and Lager

  1. Beers ferment at medium temperatures while lagers ferment at extremely low temperatures.
  2. Beers do not require a long fermentation process while lagers require long processes of fermentation before.
  3. Beers are processed with yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae while lager is processed with the yeast Saccharomyces pastorianus.
  4. Beers are not necessarily served cold but lager is always served cold.
  5. The brewing process of beer is shorter while the brewing process of lager is longer.


Lager is a type of beer. Beer is a wider term and has several types depending upon the process of production. Both the type are quite similar. The difference between both lies in origin, manufacturing process, and storage process. Both taste quite different from each other and the difference in taste arises from the use of different yeast and different manufacturing processes.

The fermentation process of beer does not necessarily need a cold temperature while the entire fermentation process of lager takes place at extremely cold temperatures. The low temperature produces esters and caters a unique taste to lager.

Consumption of beer and its type, on a moderate level, has proven to reduce the risk of development of various heart diseases and can control blood sugar levels. All lagers are beer but all beers are not lager. Consumption of any alcoholic drinks is not promoted in any way. Before indulgence in any drink, the consumer should not be influenced or pressurized. Most drinks can have an adverse effect on health.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jsfa.2740210906
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