Should I Drink Beer At A Certain Temperature?

The temperature of beer may not seem like a big deal. Just serve me a cold one and I will be happy, right. A cold beer is a thirst quencher and on a hot day that is what we want. But what about aroma and flavor, will it be affected by how cold or warm a beer is? Which poses the question, ‘should I drink beer at a certain temperature?

It may not be important to many people, like I said when it comes to drinking beer, we just want it to be cold. However it does become a little more important when we enjoy more than one beer type. From lagers to stouts, every beer has a temperature range that suits it best.

Should I Drink Beer At A Certain Temperature?

The simple answer is yes, but there is no need to get to hung up about it. You will not need an array of scientific equipment to make sure you get your beer to the perfect temperature. However serving your beer at the right Fahrenheit or Celsius will get the best out of it. Knowing the beer temperature ranges is the most important thing. Around 35°F/1.6°C is the lowest temperature and 55°F/13°C the highest point.

Just remember each beer type does have a generous range. So we haven’t got to zero in on an exact temperature point.

Does Beer Temperature Really Matter?

Does Beer Temperature Really Matter

Like I said the answer is yes, temperature can enhance a beer or kill a beer. Now when I say enhance, I really mean bring out the best. The right level of chill can bring out the right characters of a beer. We get to enjoy the aromas and flavors that the brewer intended.

On the other hand serve a beer to cold and you can mask its aromas and flavors, killing off the intended experience. This goes for serving a beer too warm, it may just end up seeming flat.

What Happens When A Beer Is Too Cold?

An ultra cold beer seems to be the best thing when we are hot and thirsty. There is nothing like it, an ice cold beer to satisfy that thirst and cool us down. This is fine, but have you noticed, there is not much to the beer.

A beer served too cold may squash aromas and flavors, but can also boost dryness and carbonation. This is why they can quench that thirst and satisfy on a hot day. It maybe acceptable for the light beers produced by the macro breweries. These lend themselves to more carbonation and less flavor, they are brewed to be light and crisp.

Anything else though would be served better slightly higher in temperature.

What Happens When A Beer Is Too Warm?

Serving up a warm beer is sacrilege, it’s just wrong and no one wants one. When I say warm beer, I mean room temperature or above. Room temperature normally falls between 68 to 77°F ( 20 to 25°C). A beer served around or above these temperatures does not make for a nice drink.

The right temperature beer, one that is served warmer than ice cold, will be more aromatic and flavorsome. Each beer type suits a different temperature. But too warm and flavor and carbonation are compromised and you end up with a dull flat beer.

Just leave a beer out in the sun for half an hour and you will see what I mean. It won’t hurt you, but I bet you don’t drink it.

Okay we get the point, so what are the right temperatures? Get on with it.

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Beer Serving Temperatures

Beer Serving Temperatures

These beer serving temperatures are a guide and not a scientific formula. You don’t have to get a beer at a specific degree of temperature. Just get your beers within the range of the type you are drinking. I will start with beers that are served at the cold end of the scale and work up from there.

Light Lagers

These are those macro lagers like Coors or Bud, brewed for a lighter crisp taste high in carbonation. It’s more about the thirst quench than depth of flavor. That said, they serve their purpose, they are great go to everyday beers.

Best served cold and on the lowest end of the scale. Serve between 35 to 40°F (1.6 to 4.4°C) as a general guide.

Pale Lagers

These include light lagers and pilsners like those from Germany and Czech Republic. Also Helles, Kolsch and wheat beers. They have a little more kick to them and have a hoppier flavor than light lagers. Blonde ales can also fit into this range as they have a lighter body than regular ales.

Best served cold, but not quite as cold as the light lagers. Serve between 38 to 45°F (3.3 to 7°C) to enjoy at their best.

Pale Ale And IPA

Pale ales come in with flavor, fruits and citrus notes come bounding in with malty caramel signatures. Too cold and you suppress these wonderful flavors, so the temperature can be slightly higher. The same goes for IPA’s, with their complex mixtures. IPA’s are growing at a high rate, but because of their citrussy, tropical and herbal tones, they are better served slightly warmer.

Porters and stouts can also fit in the same temperature range as pales and IPA’s, with their creamy bitter flavors.

Best served cool or chilled rather than cold, you want to get the best out of the flavors. Serve between 45 to 50°F (7 – 10°C) to get the best aromas and flavors.

Real Ales

Real or cask ales can go a little warmer still, which will allow the aromas and tastes to be experienced how they were intended. This category also includes sour beers, bocks and Belgian ales. Generally beers that are stronger, often sweet and fruity can go a little warmer.

Best served at the kind of temperature your average cellar would normally be. Serve between 50 to 55°F (10 to 13°C) for a real cask ale experience.

Not all beers types are covered here, there are so many. Imperial stouts and barley wines could go slightly over these temperatures, but also will fit within the real ales range.

Remember that the lighter the beer the lower the temperature. A full bodied stronger beer is served a little warmer. But you decide how you want to serve your beer, after all its your beer.

How To Get Your Beer To The Right Temperature?

How To Get Your Beer To The Right Temperature

Obviously the best way to get beer to the right serving temperature is by way of a fridge. If you have a dedicated fridge in your home bar set up, then all the better. But it is still possible to achieve the right temperature beer by using the household fridge.

It is easy to get one type of beer to the right temperature, just say you always drink the same beer. Set the fridge to the desired temperature, somewhere in that beers range, and you got it. A fridge thermometer can help you get it to the right temperature.

What if you are like me and like to try different types of beer. The easiest way to sort this is to set the fridge at the lowest beer range, 35 to 40°F (1.6 to 4.4°C). It will serve those beers that are in that range, and any others you can take out the fridge a little before serving.

This will allow them to increase in temperature before you pour them. Feeling a little picky and want to get the temperature spot on. Use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature once taken from the fridge.

Final Thoughts

The temperature of your beer is up to you, don’t let anyone tell you how to drink a beer. These are just temperature guidelines that are said to bring out a beers characteristics. Considering the many types of beer there are and the different ways in which they are brewed. It does make sense that different temperatures will suit different beers.

May be you like your IPA ice cold, why not give it a go between 50 to 55°F (10 to 13°C). It might surprise you, if not just continue the way you like it. Should I drink beer at a certain temperature? What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

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