Definition of ale in English:



mass nounBritish
  • 1Any beer other than lager, stout, or porter.

    ‘a draught of ale’
    count noun ‘traditional cask-conditioned ales’
    • ‘At the bar there are a variety of lagers, draught ale and hand-pulls, a selection of bottled drinks and eight different types of wine.’
    • ‘While one brewing insider said that the chilled hybrid mix of lager and ale was way ahead of its time, most others though it was really pretty awful.’
    • ‘The company brews its own selection of nine stouts, ales and lagers in Dublin using chemical-free, unpasteurised brewing methods.’
    • ‘For example, pilsner is one of the most popular lagers, while porter and stout are examples of ales.’
    • ‘A copper coloured (golden brown) American style ale / lager hybrid with a lasting head.’
    • ‘I had a pint of Castle Eden traditional draught ale to wash it all down.’
    • ‘A dark beer such as Rickard's Red or Double Diamond will add smokier flavour while a lager or ale such as Brick's Red Cap will add a little bite.’
    • ‘Also on display was his lager and strong ale, so we gave it a quality control test, to make sure that they still tasted good.’
    • ‘The Skeff Bar, Eyre Square, raised the price of a pint of stout, ale, lager, cider and a measure of whiskey by 10 cents.’
    • ‘But the star attraction - cask beer and bottled ale at sensible prices - had never changed.’
    • ‘First, on 11 December 1979 AB applied to register the mark BUDWEISER for beer, ale and porter.’
    • ‘For this reason, real ale is also commonly referred to as cask-conditioned or bottle-conditioned ale.’
    • ‘The most common, or at least best known are lager, ale, stout and pilsner.’
    • ‘Two publicans in the city centre were found to have added 10 cents to the prices of a measure of whiskey and pints of stout, ale, lager and cider.’
    • ‘Moreover, they are not drinking the servant's traditional porter or ale, but ‘punch’.’
    • ‘It brews a range of 10 lagers, ales and stouts at a plant in Blanchardstown - the microbrewery in Temple Bar has been removed - and these are supplied exclusively to the five outlets.’
    • ‘This new style of beer tasted different from traditional ale and was received with initial suspicion in England.’
    • ‘The Wellington charged an extra 50 cent on a pint of stout, ale and lager, with 40 cent extra on cider.’
    • ‘In Wednesday's budget, he is expected to slash the duty that breweries have to pay on ale, beer and stout.’
    • ‘More than 50 cask ales, lagers and ciders will be on available, including Abbot Ale, Cumberland Ale, Titanic Iceberg and Sam Smith's Old Brewery Bitter.’
    1. 1.1North American Beer brewed by top fermentation.
      • ‘Acrid with the cigars and pipes held by half the room's population and sweet with wine and brewing ale.’
      • ‘Evander smiled as he watched his little sister leave, taking another sip at the strong brew of ale that lay in front of him.’
      • ‘Now I'm kicked back in the warm abode with a home-brewed Winter ale counting down the last hours of the weekend.’
      • ‘Before I could say anything he grabbed the mug of ale from my hands and gulped it down, spilling ale all over his clothes.’
      • ‘Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is a winter-time favorite, a zestily hopped ale that briskly wakes your tastebuds.’
      • ‘They found references indicating that about 445 years ago, a non-stout, non-porter black ale was brewed in Belgium.’
      • ‘The closer he came the heavier the scent of barley-based ale became.’
      • ‘Arthur Guinness first began to brew porter in 1778, and would eventually stop brewing ale in 1799.’
      • ‘With a character somewhat akin to that of a high-gravity, herbal pale ale, the White is also the sole Trappist ale available on draft in the U.S.’
    2. 1.2historical A drink made like beer but without the addition of hops.
      • ‘Twenty years ago, seven out of every 10 pints drunk were ale.’
      • ‘He could see quite a few sailors, laughing, smoking and drinking foaming pints of ale.’
      • ‘I sat on bar stools, drinking pints of warm ale with my mates.’
      • ‘Men grappled with heavy implements all day long, then hit the local pub to drink ale from a 10-pound beer tankard, fight and arm-wrestle.’
      • ‘At mid-winter the Norsemen lit bonfires, told stories and drank sweet ale.’


Old English alu, ealu, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse ǫl. Formerly the word referred especially to the paler varieties of beer.