Dirty Glass!

Dan Norris Beer Quality, Craft beer 3 Comments

If you are like us you’ll be triggered by a great beer presented in a dirty glass. We’re always tempted to join the Facebook chorus and yell ‘Dirty Glass!’ everytime we see one. But now we don’t have to, because we offer you this post.

Drinking beer from a glass should hit that magical sweet spot of how it looks after it’s been poured, how it smells after you raise the glass to your lips and how it tastes as you knock it back and savour the flavour. This multi-sensory ritual is one of the most satisfying moments for any beer drinker, from casual imbiber to serious connoisseur alike.

But an often overlooked factor which can negatively impact this beer sensory experience is the state of health of your beer glass – in particular, how well it has been cleaned.

If your glass is not in a ‘beer clean’ state, then the beer that it holds will not be best represented from the point of view of clarity, head retention and carbonation. And it just won’t look as good as it can when held up to the light for that epic beer snap for your Socials.

So you want to be sure that your beer glass is as clean as possible, so that your beer looks and tastes as good as it can be.

Bubbles, Lacing And Salt: How Can I Tell If My Beer Glass Is Clean Enough?

While you may think that your beer glasses are clean, there’s three quick and easy tests you can do which might indicate otherwise. So the next time you plan to drink your beer from a glass, follow these steps to establish how clean your beer glass really is ..

The Bubbles Test
Dirty beer glass!

The most obvious sign that your glass isn’t clean is bubbles on the inside of the glass and the foamy ‘head’ of the beer is weak or lacking. The image above is an example, it means that your glass is not ‘beer clean’ and you need to change your cleaning methods.

The Lacing Test
A sweet lacing effect

Lacing refers to those random foamy leftovers from the head of the beer that coat the insides of your beer glass after you’ve downed it. What we love about this test is it requires you to drink the beer to fully undertake the experiment!

So drink up, and if there’s a lacy residue all over the inside of your beer glass then it’s clean. If you don’t see very much lacing or it’s extremely patchy then you’ll need to revisit your cleaning strategy.

The Salt Test

This one is a little bit less fun but if you’re seriously keen you can have a crack at the salt test. Start out by first wetting the inside of the glass with water, then get some salt and sprinkle it in the glass. If the salt doesn’t stick to the surface of the inside of the glass evenly then your glass is not ‘beer clean’. The salt won’t adhere to any parts of the glass that are dirty.

Tips For Keeping Your Beer Glasses Clean

Keeping your beer glasses clean involves more than just rinsing them in soapy water or sticking them in the dishwasher. We recommend following a strict and specific cleaning routine incorporating an alkaline based cleaner and then a rinse and a dry.

If you fail any or all of the cleaning tests above then these tips are a must, but even if your current cleaning methods scrub up ok, you still might learn a few new strategies from the following. This detailed regime might not be for the average punter but if you really want the best out of the best beer and squeaky clean glasses, then it’s worth considering.

  • Always wash your beer glasses by hand. While it’s tempting to simply dump them into the dishwasher with all your other dishes, they will often be left with an invisible film/coating. And over time, regular dishwasher use may start to leave your glasses with a foggy or cloudy type appearance that’s hard to remove.
  • Don’t use the same cleaning sponge that you use for your other dishes, make sure you have a sponge or cloth just for your beer glasses.
  • Wash your beer glasses first up and separately to your other dishes. If you wash them in the murky, oily water that results from washing other dishes previously, then they’ll be left with a thin film of oil once they’ve dried.
  • An effective cleaning strategy for a glass ‘gone bad’ is giving it a white vinegar soak then putting it in hot soapy water and rinsing and drying it thoroughly.
  • Dishwashing soap can be ok for washing you beer glasses, but you will need to make sure you follow a meticulous rinsing and drip drying routine as dishwashing soap contains oils and may create suds that cling to the glass and stop your beer from frothing up with a nice head.
  • An alternative to dishwashing soap when hand washing your beer glasses is to sprinkle a bit of bicarb soda on them, give them a scrub, then rinse them.
  • Avoid washing your glasses only in water, as this can lead to a bio-film build up over time.
  • When drying your beer glassware, use the drip dry method and rest them upside down on a tray with suitable ventilation.
  • Get in the habit of rinsing your beer glasses with cold water prior to drinking from them. This will get rid of any dust and cool your glass down prior to pouring your beer.
  • If you’ve been using the same beer glasses for a long time all of the above tips may not be enough to keep things ‘beer clean’, in which case it may be time to buy some new glassware. We humbly recommend the Black Hops Rastal Craft Master glass, a great all round option for most beers.

We hope this article has been useful in helping you identify if your beer glasses are clean or need some polish and in giving you some simple strategies to make sure you keep them in a ‘beer clean’ state. If you’ve got any feedback feel free to leave a comment below.

  • Nick Bonner says:

    Nice read, cheers Dan. My glasses passed all the tests and ticked all your boxes except a dedicated sponge… next on the shopping list 🍻

  • Simon John Smith says:

    Thanks, appreciate the sharing. Sounds like I’m doing mostly the right things. Coincidentally I picked up 2 Rastals last weekend from BHII to replace my cracked Teku!

  • Foge says:

    Pale ale is a bloody ripper, keep up the good work🍻