Along with lager, ale is one of the two main groups of all beer styles. The term ale is often put on the same level as the term beer, which is incorrect because an ale is a style of beer that can be classified under the generic term beer.

Since the beer style Ale is one of the top-fermented beers, all top-fermented beers can also be classified in the class of ales ( Pale Ale , India Pale Ale , Red Ale, Dubbel, Tripel, Quadrupel, Saison, Lambic, Weizen , Porter , Stout etc.) . Top-fermented beers are fermented by top-fermented yeast at around 15°C – 27°C.

This form of fermentation has its name for the following reason: Since top-fermenting yeasts form longer bud groups during fermentation than bottom-fermenting yeasts, more CO 2 is collected there, which causes the yeast particles to rise to the surface.

However, a typical taste cannot be determined in advance for ales, as Pale Ale and India Pale Ale (IPA's) impress with their clear hop note, while porters and stouts have a very malty taste.