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Beer tree

Bottom-fermenting method 

Top-fermenting method 

Fermentation with wild yeast 

Bottom-fermenting means that the fermentation process is carried out at a lower temperature (6-12 °C), and it lasts longer (2-3 weeks) than top-fermenting. The beer is also ready after a longer period of time (after 3-4 weeks). At the end of fermentation the yeast sinks to the bottom of the tank – this is how the so-called crude beer is made, with it being left to mature after the fermentation process in order to acquire a lager type beer as a result.

It is mostly barley malt that is used in the bottom-fermenting method. The most popular lagers are light and foamy pilsners and strong bocks. Most of the beers produced in Latvia are made with the bottom-fermenting method.

Top-fermenting is carried out at a higher temperature than bottom-fermenting. The heat, which usually ranges from 15 to 25 °C depending on the yeast variety, allows it to happen quickly and efficiently, and after fermentation the yeast rises to the top of the fermentation tank – that is how ales are produced.

The top-fermenting method has become especially popular in England and Belgium. Dark porters and stouts also belong to ale type beers. Top-fermenting is used to brew wheat beer, in the production of which wheat malt is used in addition to the barley malt.

Beers that are fermented with wild yeast are called lambic. This is a type of beer with a strong, sour taste and a small amount of hops, which is brewed by using barley malt and non-malted wheat. During the production process the so-called spontaneous fermentation takes place under the influence of the microorganisms existing in the air. Lambic beers may mature for up to three years, during which their golden colour turns dark.

CLASSIC LAGER

Lager or classic light beer is the most popular type of beer in the world. It is fermented for a long period of time at a lower temperature, thus acquiring a golden beer with a tender and refreshing taste. It is served cooled to 10 degrees.

SPECIAL LAGER

When brewing classic lagers, region-specific raw materials are used at times, with the main ingredients – hops, malt, yeast, and water – being supplemented with specific spices or grain crops.

AMBER LAGER

Amber lagers are made according to the classic lager brewing technology, however, there is also a small amount of roasted malt used in the brewing process, adding an amber shade and caramel flavour to the beer. When tasting the beer, one can feel roast, barley, and caramel, as well as notes of coffee. The taste of amber lager is more complete than that of a classic light lager. It goes great together with spicy foods.

LIGHT LAGER

A classic light beer with a smaller amount of calories and less alcohol than in other types of beer. In the US the term ‘light’ means that a beer has less calories. Whereas in Canada and Australia ‘light’ usually indicates that the beer has less alcohol in it.

PILSENER

Pilsener got its name from the city of Pilsen located in the west of the Czech Republic, where its production was started in 1840. There are Czech and German pilseners (usually labelled as ‘Pilsener’ and often referred to in abbreviated form as ‘Pils’). The alcohol concentration usually ranges between 4–5.5%.

PALE BOCK

Traditionally bocks are dark and strong beers, but pale versions of the beer are also brewed. The rich taste of pale bocks is formed by the aromatic and fruity notes characteristic to strong beers, as well as the freshness of hops. This type of beer is usually clear and pale and it has beautiful and consistent foam, as well as a rich taste and an aroma of stale bread.

DARK LAGER

A dark red-brown beer made with the bottom fermentation method, and it should be served at a temperature of 14–16 °C. In Latvia the most popular dark beer is porter.

BALTIC PORTER

This beer comes from the Baltic states and it is strong, a little sweet, and it has a dark brown shade. Historically, porters originated in England, where they were made with the top fermentation method. However, since it was more common to use the bottom fermentation method in continental Europe, the brewers of the Baltic states started to produce porter from local raw materials in accordance with local traditions, i.e. with the bottom fermentation method.

MUNICH LIGHT/DARK

This beer has a reddish-brown tone, and its alcohol concentration is usually 4–6%. The beer is produced from special Munich malt that gives the beer a mild and rich taste. Usually Munich types of beer are slightly bitter, and they have a well-balanced level of sweetness. The foam has a slight caramel shade, whereas the beer’s aroma includes a hint of coffee, roasted malt and chocolate.

SLOW-BREWED BEER

The beer variety and its name are both new. The uniqueness of slow-brewed beer is its long-term maturation process – it’s a process that starts after the fermentation. The maturation of the beer may last from a few weeks up to as much as several years depending on the recipe, as well as the desired nuances in taste and aroma. Such a variety of beer that is matured for a very long time is new to Latvia, therefore the first beer to be created in this category is the Cēsu Nefiltrētais Lēnalus. It is a beer that is matured for an especially long time – at least 60 days. It is the long maturation process that gives the beer its nuanced taste – it has a pronounced aroma of hops and barley malt, as well as a mature, well-rounded bouquet of various flavours. This beer becomes clear naturally during the long maturation process.

SMOKE BEER

An old German type of beer that started to be produced in the 16th c. in Germany, in the Franconia region. In order to produce this type of beer, the malt is dried above an open fire, giving the beer a strong aroma of smoke that slightly resembles smoked meat. Usually the alcohol concentration of smoke beer ranges between 4–7%.