|beer brewed from malted barley using a top-fermenting brewers' yeast. This yeast ferments the beer quickly, giving it a sweet, full bodied and fruity taste. Most ales contain hops, which impart a bitter herbal flavour that helps to balance the sweetness of the malt and preserve the beer. The other major style of beer is lager, which is bottom-fermented.
Ales are common in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, the eastern provinces of Canada and among craft beer consumers in the United States. The German word for "top-fermenting" is "obergärig"; the French equivalent is "Haute fermentation".
Ale typically takes 3 to 4 weeks to make, although some varieties can take as long as 4 months. The Sumerians are credited with discovering beer in approximately 3000 BCE. They made ales in a shorter time than those made by modern techniques because they did not add any hops. Lagers take longer than ales to make and tend to be less sweet.