\ ˈāl How to pronounce ale (audio) \

Definition of ale

1 : a beer that is brewed by fast fermentation with a quick-acting yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) at relatively high temperatures

Note: Ales tend to have a complex, slightly fruity or spicy flavor with a usually darker appearance than lagers and usually with a more intense, bitter flavor of hops. The yeast used to ferment ale is often referred to as "top-fermenting" since it tends to rise to the top of the brewing vessel during fermentation. This yeast also has a tolerance to higher alcohol concentrations, resulting in a beer with a usually higher alcohol content than a lager.

ale can be produced more quickly because it is fermented at higher temperatures—from 60 to 70 degrees.— Frank J. Prial — compare pale ale, porter, stout
2 : an English country festival at which ale is the principal beverage

Examples of ale in a Sentence

The bar serves two very different ales.
Recent Examples on the Web Problem Solved has a 7%er that uses a brown ale base to deliver a sweet, delicious dessert-style beer. Blaine Callahan, Hartford Courant, 20 July 2022 This ale - double dry-hopped, so the brewery is going for big aroma – has orange pith across the palate with big hops throughout the sip. Marc Bona, cleveland, 6 Mar. 2022 Over glasses of ale, Jack admitted Christ was a great moral teacher, but rejected his claim to be God. Lorraine Murray, ajc, 27 May 2022 During the past year, the brewery installed a pizza oven, and the pizza is pure glutenous heaven paired with a cask ale. Gary Stoller, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 Afterward, stop by the Cookery in Seward for a dozen oysters and Seward Brewing Company for a pint of red ale. Megan Michelson, Outside Online, 22 Mar. 2021 And then there was Fred, a golden special ale named after esteemed beer writer and historian Fred Eckhardt, an influence on and friend of the brewery who inspired Fredfest, an annual philanthropic beer festival held on Eckhardt’s birthday. oregonlive, 27 June 2022 Fans can expect more House of the Dragon merch now through the fall including vino by Vintage Wine Estates and Treasury Wine Estates, ale from Mikkeller Beer and more products with other retailers. Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 June 2022 The Kolsch – a hybrid between an ale and lager – is a crispy, summer sipper at 5.2% alcohol. Marc Bona, cleveland, 1 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ale

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ale

Middle English, from Old English ealu; akin to Old Norse ǫl ale, Lithuanian alus

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Time Traveler for ale

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The first known use of ale was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near ale



alea jacta est

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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for ale


\ ˈāl How to pronounce ale (audio) \

Kids Definition of ale

: an alcoholic drink made from malt and flavored with hops that is usually more bitter than beer


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