Serving Temperature Matters
There’s nothing worse than a warm beer. But on the other end of the spectrum, a super-chilled frosty mug may be refreshing, but it sure can dull down a beer’s flavor.
As a general rule, all beer should be served somewhere in between 5-10C (41-50F). No colder, no warmer. Lighter beers are generally served colder, while darker beers and those stronger in flavor or alcohol ought to be served slightly warmer.
Light beers, both in color and in flavor, are best served in this range.
- Light Lager (American, European, Japanese, etc.)
- Blonde & Cream ale
- Wheat beer
8-10C (47F- 50F)
A great general-purpose serving temperature that covers many different styles. This also is a typical white wine serving range.
- Hoppy beers like pale ale & IPA
- Belgian and sour ales
- Stouts, porters, and brown ales
- Darker lagers and wheat beers
This is what’s meant by the phrase “cellar temperature”. It perfectly suits certain English styles and fuller flavor beer styles. Many red wines are also ideally served within this range. While it’s warmer than the colder temperature ranges, it’s still nowhere near room temperature.
- English cask ales, ie. mild & bitter
- Imperial stout, barleywine
- Darker Belgian ales
- Baltic Porter
You may notice that I didn’t tell you to freeze your glass and serving any beer ice cold. That’s because it’s a horrible way to serve a beer that you intend to evaluate. Extreme cold mutes aroma and numbs your taste buds, making your beer much blander.
These temperature ranges are just a guideline, and in practice you may find your tastes veer a few degrees warmer or cooler. For example, I’ve noticed I prefer IPAs slightly cooler than the recommended 8-10C (47F-50F), for even though I know that’s ‘wrong’. Taste is subjective!
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