Beer Serving Temperatures
The “ice-cold” beer – is it the perfect way to end a long week or enjoy a hot summer’s day? Perhaps not! Well, not if you want to be enjoying the beer’s true taste and qualities as the brew master intended.
Serving a beer at the proper temperature is essential for true beer enjoyment. A beer served too cold will withhold most of its flavor, and may taste flat and boring. While serving beer at room temperature does bring out the flavors and aromas and is appropriate when actually judging beer, most drinkers prefer something somewhat cooler.
So what’s recommended when it comes to optimum beer serving temperatures?
Well, here are a few don’ts before we get to the do's:
Don’t Serve Straight Out of the Refrigerator
Refrigerator temperatures or colder tend to kill the beer’s flavour. Your taste buds don't actually work below about 4 degrees Celsius. Extreme cold can also stops the bubbles from forming until after you swallow -- that means the gas rises to the top of you instead of to the head of your glass!
Don’t Serve English Beer Warm
English beer is properly served at cellar temperature, which is between 12-14 degrees Celsius. Since room temperature is about 21 degrees Celsius, that’s a fairly big difference.
There are recommended temperatures for serving different types of beer, but in the end individual preference will and should win out. Just be cautious because the colder the temperature, the less able you are to actually taste the beer’s special qualities.
The generally accepted rule among beer aficionados is that most beer should be served at cellar temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer handy, this simply means noticeably warmer than in your fridge and noticeably colder than room temperature. Lots of folks find that letting the beer sit for 20 minutes after being removed from the fridge works to achieve a better drinking temperature.
When it comes to temperature, colour does seem to make a difference, much like with wine. Lighter-coloured beers are generally best served slightly colder. And at the warmest end are the big, dark beers like Imperial Stouts and Barley Wines. English-style beers are best served as close to cellar temperature as possible and everything else ranges in the middle of room temperature and cellar temperature.