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ale:

see beerbeer,
alcoholic beverage made by brewing and fermenting cereals, especially malted barley, usually with the addition of hops as a flavoring agent and stabilizer. One of the oldest of alcoholic beverages (there is archaeological evidence dating to c.3000 B.C.
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[āl]
(food engineering)
A fermented malt beverage, differing from beer in containing up to 8% alcohol by volume and being hopped more heavily.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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1. a beer fermented in an open vessel using yeasts that rise to the top of the brew
2. (formerly) an alcoholic drink made by fermenting a cereal, esp barley, but differing from beer by being unflavoured by hops
3. Chiefly Brit another word for beer
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

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References in periodicals archive ?
It meant that intoxicating beverages had entered into new drinking situations and had reached groups in the population who until then had known only the weak top-fermented beer. In 1893 the Good Templar Journal (Nordisk Good Templar) wrote: "Many who had never tasted alcohol when it was available only in the form of concentrated spirits have now through beer got used to drinking alcohol as a part of their daily nutrition.
Of course in Danish thinking no one could prohibit the consumption of "nonintoxicating" top-fermented beer. But how much alcohol did it take to make a beer "intoxicating?"--that was the question.
They distanced themselves from the old type of top-fermented beer, which they now described as being as strong and as dangerous as distilled spirits.