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Beer vs. Lager: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 26, 2023
Beer is a fermented alcoholic beverage; lager is a type of beer that is fermented and conditioned at low temperatures.

Key Differences

Beer is a broad term encompassing all alcoholic beverages made from fermented grains. Lager, on the other hand, refers specifically to beers fermented with a bottom-fermenting yeast at lower temperatures. This fundamental difference affects the taste and characteristics of each beverage.
While beer can be made using various yeasts and fermentation processes, lager is characterized by its specific yeast strain and cold fermentation process. This gives lagers their clean, crisp flavor profile, distinguishing them from other types of beer.
The history of beer dates back thousands of years, with diverse styles and brewing techniques. Lager emerged later, with its roots in Central Europe, where cooler climates favored its unique fermentation method.
When discussing beer, one might refer to ales, stouts, and IPAs, among other varieties. However, when talking about lager, it specifically pertains to light, refreshing beers like Pilsners and Märzens, which fall under the lager category.
In terms of alcohol content, beers can vary widely, but lagers generally have a moderate alcohol level, contributing to their popularity as easy-drinking options.

Comparison Chart

Fermentation Type

Can use top-fermenting or bottom-fermenting yeast.
Uses bottom-fermenting yeast.

Fermentation Temperature

Typically fermented at warmer temperatures.
Fermented at cooler temperatures.

Flavor Profile

Can vary widely, from bitter to sweet to fruity.
Generally clean, crisp, and smooth.


Includes ales, stouts, IPAs, and more.
Includes Pilsners, Märzens, Bocks, etc.


Ancient origins with diverse styles.
Originated in Central Europe, more recent than beer.

Beer and Lager Definitions


A fermented beverage made from grains, often barley, and hops.
I enjoy a cold beer after a long day at work.


A type of beer characterized by bottom fermentation and cold conditioning.
This lager has a crisp and clean taste.


An alcoholic drink with a wide range of flavors and styles.
At the beer festival, there were over fifty types of beer to sample.


A light, refreshing beer often with moderate alcohol content.
On a hot day, nothing beats an ice-cold lager.


A social drink commonly consumed in pubs and gatherings.
Let's grab a beer and catch up.


A beer style with a smooth and often subtle flavor profile.
I prefer the smoothness of a lager over the bitterness of an ale.


A versatile beverage with varying levels of alcohol content.
This craft beer has a surprisingly high alcohol content.


A beer typically enjoyed for its easy-drinking qualities.
At the barbecue, we served lagers because they're crowd-pleasers.


A brew with historical significance and cultural importance.
Beer has been a staple in human civilization for thousands of years.


A beer with a history rooted in European brewing traditions.
Lagers became popular due to their unique brewing process.


A fermented alcoholic beverage brewed from malt, usually flavored with hops.


A beer of German origin that is fermented for a relatively long time at a low temperature. Also called lager beer.


What is beer?

Beer is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grains like barley, often flavored with hops.

What is lager?

Lager is a type of beer that's fermented with bottom-fermenting yeast at lower temperatures.

What are some common types of beer?

Common types include ales, stouts, and IPAs.

What are some examples of lager?

Examples include Pilsners, Märzens, and Bocks.

How does the flavor of beer compare to lager?

Beer can have a wide range of flavors, while lagers are generally clean and crisp.

Is the fermentation process for beer always the same?

No, it can vary, with some beers using top-fermenting and others using bottom-fermenting yeast.

What temperatures are used for fermenting lager?

Lager is fermented at cooler temperatures, usually between 45-55°F (7-13°C).

What makes lager different in terms of brewing?

Its use of bottom-fermenting yeast and cooler fermentation temperatures sets it apart.

Is lager a modern invention?

Lager has a more recent history compared to the ancient origins of beer.

Are there non-alcoholic versions of beer and lager?

Yes, both non-alcoholic beers and lagers are available.

Is the alcohol content in beer different from lager?

It can be; beers have a wide range of alcohol content, while lagers usually have moderate levels.

Can lagers be dark or only light?

While commonly light, there are also dark lagers like Dunkels.

Do beers have more varieties than lagers?

Generally, yes, as beer is a broader category with numerous styles.

Are all beers bitter?

No, the flavor profiles of beers can range from bitter to sweet or fruity.

Can lager be considered a beer?

Yes, lager is a specific category within the broader classification of beer.

Do all beers contain hops?

Most do, but there are traditional styles like gruit that don't use hops.

Can lager be brewed at home?

Yes, with the right equipment and conditions, lager can be brewed at home.

Is beer or lager better for cooking?

Both can be used, but the choice depends on the desired flavor profile in the dish.

Is lager popular worldwide?

Yes, lagers are popular and widely consumed globally.

Can lagers be fruity or only crisp?

Lagers are predominantly crisp, but certain styles can have subtle fruit notes.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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