Ale, a fermented liquor, extracted from malt by the process of brewing. It diners from beer, in having; a less proportion of hops. This beverage was first made in Egypt, and used as a substitute in those climates which were unfavourable to the production of the grape. Among the Anglo-Saxons and Danes, it was a favourite drink, and they believed, that large and frequent potations of it constituted one of the chief enjoyments of those who were admitted into the Hall of Odin.
There are various kinds of ale, particularly the pale and brown; the former, 'being brewed from malt slightly roasted, is esteemed more glutinous and wholesome than the latter, which is made from malt of a drier nature.—It may be prepared in various ways, from wheat, rye, millet, oats, barley, etc. Its consumption in this country was, about twenty years ago, computed at the value. of four millions sterling annually, including Great Britain and Ireland.—See the articles, Beer, and Brewing.
In cold countries, and to persons who take considerable exercise, ale may be of service, but in weak and lax habits, it is often attended with disagreeable effects, such as indigestion, flatulency, etc. When drunk to excess, it has sometimes occasioned cholera morbus, and severe colics.
Various methods of preserving this valuable liquor from turning sour on , have been proposed ; of which the following appears to be the most effectual: it was first published by Dr. Stubbs, in the 27th Number of the Philosophical Transaction... For its discovery we are indebted to an ale-seller at Deal; and it was tried with success in a voyage to Jamaica—" To every runlet of five gallons, after being placed in a cask on ship-board, not to be stirred any more, put in two new-laid whole, and let them lie in it ; in a fortnight, or little more, the whole shells will be dissolved, and the • become like wind-eggs, in-closed only in a thin skin ; after this, the white is preyed on, but the yolks are not touched or corrupted, by which means the ale was so well preserved, that it was found better at Jamaica than at Deal."