What is the best temperature for beer, so that it tastes as good as possible when you knock it back? You may not be surprised to learn that the answer is – it depends on the beer! Some beers taste best served at cellar room temperature, while others taste best served cool or icy cold.
First up let’s discuss a few general rules when it comes to beer and temperature.
The colder the beer, the less you’ll taste it
The chemical compounds in beer that give it flavour and aroma are triggered according to temperature. The colder the beer, the less carbonation is released and the more the flavours and aromas of the beer tend to be suppressed. Icy cold beer also numbs your palate, making it harder to discern many of the beer’s subtle flavour nuances.
The flavour balance is also compromised the colder the beer. For example a stout served icy cold is likely to taste harshly bitter, whereas drinking it at a slightly warmer temperature enhances the balance between the malt sweetness and the roast bitterness.
It’s no accident that mass produced lagers with a long shelf life are generally served icy cold. You’re drinking them for their smash-ability, not for the complexity of their taste (or lack thereof). These type of beers generally don’t taste very good served at anything other than ‘arctic’!
Higher alcohol volume beers generally taste best warmer
High alcohol beers are fuller bodied and more complex in flavour, which are best savoured when consumed at a warmer temperature. On the flipside, lower alcohol beers are lighter bodied and less big on flavour and are often consumed for reasons other than their ‘mmmm’ factor, such as for refreshment or staying under the alcohol limit. These should be served colder.
Beer drinking temperature ranges
So what’s the ideal temperature range when it comes to drinking different styles of beer? Keep in mind that venues are not going to keep beer refrigerated at different temperatures. Nor would you. When it comes to how we do things at Black Hops, we keep our beers that taste best slightly warmer (like Eggnog Stout and Hornet DIPA), closer to the front of the refrigeration room, where the cold escapes more as we open and close the door.
You may want to experiment with letting your beer sit for awhile after you’ve poured it, sipping it until it reaches a temperature to your liking before tipping it all down the hatch.
Icy cold: 1.5 – 4 degrees celsius
Beers styles: mass produced lagers, light bodied lagers and low alcohol beers. Knock these beers back icy-cold so as not to over-accentuate the malty flavours and unbalance the light, refreshing bitterness.
Black Hops beers: We’d recommend that for the full flavour experience, try to avoid drinking any of our beers icy cold.
Cold: 4 – 7 degrees celsius
Beer styles: Pilsners and wheat beers, full-bodied lagers, saisons
Black Hops beers: Our own range of saisons, Beach House and Pink Mist, fall into this category. You’ll also get the most flavour from our Lay Day Lager at this temperature.
Cool: 7 – 10 degrees celsius
Beer styles: Full bodied ales such as American pale ales, IPA’s, porters and most stouts.
Black Hops beers: Our full range of IPA’s, such as Hornet and Code Red, as well as Pale Ale and Eggnog Stout, will taste at their absolute best when consumed in this temperature range.
Cellar temperature to warm: 10 – 15 degrees celsius
Beer styles: Belgian strong ales, sour ales, English bitters and milds, imperial stouts and Doppelbocks.
Black Hops beers: If you can handle your beer at a slightly warmer temperature, our Hornet DIPA (double IPA) will taste it’s absolute best at cellar temperature.
We know that warmer beers are not for everybody, so if you want to be drinking Black Hops beer at a cooler temperature you’ll still savour most of the flavour.
Let us know your thoughts
We hope this has given you a bit of an insight into . If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear from you.