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Does Beer Temperature Matter?

Glass of cold craft beer with water drops

As indications of how much Americans love their beer “ice cold,” Super Bowl ads, bar signs, and country songs come to mind. After all, you wouldn’t be able to have a backyard barbecue in the summertime without an ice-filled cooler of longneck bottles and cans, would you? It is always true that beer tastes best in a frosty mug, isn’t it?

In a nutshell, yes and no. In the event that your preferences lean towards mass-produced lagers that contain the word “lite” somewhere in the name, then yes, you definitely should keep those things as cold as the natural laws of the universe will allow you to keep them. But when it comes to craft ales and lagers, as well as most homebrews, there really is no good one-size-fits-all temperature when it comes to these types of beverages. In fact, even if there was water available, it probably wouldn’t be as cold as it could be.

The Effect of Temperature

The temperature, as you can see, has a profound impact on our taste buds. The chemical compounds that are responsible for the wide variety of aromas and flavors we love in our beer are activated or suppressed in various ways depending on the temperature of the beer. A flavor is usually more discernible when it is warm, whereas a flavor is less discernible when it is cold. By choosing the right temperature for your craft beer or homebrew, you will ensure that these constituent chemicals remain in the proper balance as you enjoy your drink.

There is no doubt in your mind that this is true. We enjoy our coffee hot, our red wine at room temperature, and our white wine at a cold temperature for a reason. The same can be said about beer as well. It has been found that different styles of beer taste better at different temperatures to most people.

Ideal Beer Temperatures

Thus, we are left to ask the million-dollar question: at what temperature should beer be served so that it is refreshing and thirst-quenching, while still allowing you to enjoy the bouquet of flavor that makes drinking high-quality beer such a wonderful experience?

It depends on the beer style, the brewing process, and a little bit of tradition as to what temperature is perfect for all beers. In spite of this, a few basic rules, along with the handy table below, can help you to make informed decisions on what temperature to serve your next beer at based on a few basic rules. You should keep in mind that these are general suggestions and some styles may deviate from the rules a bit depending on the style!

35–40°F (2–4°C): Mass market light lagers

40–45°F (4–7°C): Czech and German Pilsners, Munich Helles, wheat beers, and Kölsch

45–50°F (7–10°C): IPAs, American pale ales, porters, and most stouts

50–55°F (10–13°C): Belgian ales, sour ales, Bocks, English bitters and milds, Scottish ales

55–60°F (13–16°C): Barleywines, imperial stouts, Belgian strong ales, and Doppelbocks

When in doubt remember this rule of thumb: light body and low alcohol beer tastes better cold while full body and high alcohol examples are better warmer.

Regardless of whether your enjoying beer from a bottle or keg your homebrew, it is unlikely that you will dedicate different refrigerators to different types of homebrew, that’s why Kegcold will come in handy to keep your keg cold. As a result, the easiest way to enjoy a pint at its best is to pour your beer into a glass and allow it to warm up to your preference before you plunge in.

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