Beer Serving Temperature Guide

We learned yesterday that the marketing campaigns we see every day which conjure up fantasies about ice cold beer are not designed to enhance your beer drinking experience, but rather to increase the big guys wallets. But the question still remains; what temperature should I enjoy my delicious beer at to best absorb the flavors that it has to offer?

It can be difficult to know what temperature you should enjoy your beer at, and it is not as cut and dry as determining if your beer has a little or a lot of flavor. The intensity of the beers flavor is but one of many characteristics that should be taken into consideration when picking the proper temperature for your beer.

It should be noted though that serving temperature is merely a guideline; everyone has their own specific preferences as to how they like to enjoy their beers, and there is no real right or wrong. Serving temperature for beer can be broken down into six essential categories:

Very Cold, slightly colder than your fridge (0 – 4C, 32 – 39F): This serving temperature is for beers which you don’t actually want to taste. It is better suited for pop, iced tea and similar beverages, but certain beer styles do fit into this range. You get these beers at most all sporting venues and at commercial shopping chains. Malt Liquor, Canadian-style commodity ales and lagers, low alcohol or low calorie beers, Scandinavian-style ciders, and most all commodity grade beers fit into this category of flavorless beverages.

Cold, around fridge temperature (4 – 7C, 39 – 45F): This is more appropriate for beers designed to quench your thirst and refresh you. Often beers with high carbonation, and many times fruit added will fit into this range. They will range greatly in flavor intensity from light to mild, and include sweet flavors as well. These are perfect for hot summer days at the beach or in front of a BBQ, or after hard physical exercise. Hefeweizen, Weissebier, Wit and other wheat beers, Kolsch, Premium Lager, Pilsner, European Strong Lager, American Dark Lager, sweetened Fruit Lambics, and some Belgian pale ales such as Duvel will fit here.

Cool, out of your fridge for ten minutes (8 – 12C, 45 – 54F): This range is designated for beers with richer body and aromatic properties, more complex and layered flavors, but will still quench and refresh your palate. These can still play a large role on the beach or BBQ, but are better choices than above for the dinner table, a relaxing pint, or a celebratory drink. American Pale Ales, Sweet Stout, Dry Stout, Porter, English Golden Ales, unsweetened Lambics, Belgian Ales, Bohemian Pilsner, Dunkel, Helles, Vienna Lager, Schwarzbier, Smoked beers, Altbier, Tripels, Irish Ales, and Fresh Ciders are all perfect in this temperature range.

Cellar, out of your fridge for fifteen minutes (12 – 14C, 54 – 57F): Beers in this range are often filled with flavor, but this is not always the case. This temperature is applicable for beers which are designed to accentuate specific flavors, whatever they may be in that style. They can be very complex and higher in alcohol, and if served colder you risk loosing many of the beers characteristics. This range is great for dinner, enjoying with friends over good conversation, as a nigh cap, or a solitary beer for pure enjoyment.  Bitters, Brown Ales, India Pale Ales, English Strong Ales, Saison, Old Ales, Unblended Lambics, Sour Ales, Baltic Porter, Spiced Beers, Abbey Dubbel, Belgian Strong Ales, Bocks, Kellerbier, Scotch Ales, American Strong Ales, English Cider, and many Stouts will be perfect at this temperature.

Warm, out of your fridge for twenty minutes (14 – 16C, 57 – 61F): This range is not quite up to room temperature which is around 21C, but is significantly warmer that right out of the fridge. It should be reserved for big beers with massive flavors and typically higher alcohol percentages. Some of the worlds best and most complex beers will be served at this temperature, and you should not be shy to try it – you can always begin your beer cooler, and compare how it taste towards the end as it has warmed. Barley Wines, Quadrupels, Imperial Stouts, Imperial IPAs, Double IPAs, Doppelbocks, Winter Beers, Eisbocks and meads should all be served close to this range. Anything much colder will numb the fast flavors which these beers are famous for.

Hot, heated close to tea (70C, 158F): Not many beers fit into this range, but some breweries do still produce specific beers designed to be served piping hot. It does bring out immense flavor and huge aromatics, but can be very confusing to people – this is not something we are accustomed to when drinking beer. Nonetheless, these beers are best served at this temperature, and can reward your bravery with beautiful flavors only choice people have enjoyed. Unibroue Quelque Chose, Liefmans Gluhkriek, and Dark Spiced Winter Ales like Daleside Morocco Ale are few examples that are tremendous when hot.

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76 Responses to Beer Serving Temperature Guide

  1. […] a look at the Temperature Guide to see what styles of beer should be served at what temperatures for ultimate enjoyment. Possibly […]

  2. […] this isn’t a huge porter, I would serve it cool around 10C (50F) which will provide for a smooth and also refreshing experience, while […]

  3. […] It comes in a wine shaped 750 ml bottle branded with 10.5% abv on the side. I let it warm up to cellar temperature around 12C (54F) as would be appropriate  for a rich brown ale of this magnitude, and poured it […]

  4. […] the Maximus preferably in a stemmed tulip around cool at 10C (50F) so you can enjoy both the cold refreshment of the hops, and the warmth of the malts as […]

  5. […] Samichlaus branded glass is very close to a snifter, so I opted for exactly that and poured it at cellar temperature (12C, […]

  6. […] Magnums as shown. All bottles are bottle conditioned. This beer is a Pale Ale, and should be served cold between 4 to 7C (39 – 45F); Moortgagte suggests 6C. This will allow you to enjoy the beers […]

  7. […] beer should be served cool between 8 to 12C (45 – 54F) and should be poured into a wide goblet to best release the […]

  8. […] this stout out at cellar temperature, between 12 to 14C (54 – 57F) to to allow the rich aromas and flavors to […]

  9. […] the Hazelnut Brown Nectar cool around 8C (45F). It is only 6.2%, so not rich enough to warrant cellar temperature, and the initial […]

  10. […] a big barleywine, technically it should be served warm around 14C (54F). Now, this isn’t room temperature, that is around 21C, but it is […]

  11. […] With dinner, almost regardless of what it is, grab an Innis & Gunn Original. For the ideal serving temperature pull one out of the fridge about five minutes before you are ready to eat, just to let the Innis […]

  12. […] cracked open this IPA at about 8C (45F) and poured it into a proper Innis & Gunn glass. It poured smooth and softly built an airy white […]

  13. […] brought the Bourbon County Stout out and let it rest a bit to bring it up to a cool temperature worthy of this big stout, around 8C (45F). Goose Island does recommend a colder 40F, however I […]

  14. […] If not, any wide mouth chalice will do. Bring it out of your fridge and let it relax a bit to a cool temperature around 10C (50F). Pour gently into the chalice, and reserve the last bit, or if you enjoy the rich […]

  15. […] McEwan’s comes in six-packs of 355ml bottles at 8% abv. I prefer my scotch ales around cellar temperature, but always begin them cool around 10C (50F). At cellar temp you are able to absorb all the rich […]

  16. […] baby deserves a cold welcome, well, by that I mean your palate deserves to enjoy it cold, somewhere around 5C (40F) as a typical Weiessebier should be served. I poured this beer gently […]

  17. […] that, in order to absorb even more flavor we enjoyed it cellar temperature around 14C (57F). It poured smooth and oily at first generating almost no head. With a slower pour […]

  18. […] was very rich and aromatic; hinting on the true power of this beer. We poured this beer relatively warm around 14C (54F). For a big IPA like this we were directly trying to emphasize the richness of the […]

  19. […] poured the 22oz bottle into a Southern Tier tulip glass at a cool temperature of 8C (45F); my intent was to enjoy both the cool quenching characteristics of the IPA and the […]

  20. […] larger bottles, as well as 64oz growlers at some locations. The Dead Guy will be best enjoyed cool around 10C (50F) offering fully quenching characteristics and smooth and creamy […]

  21. […] opened the Double cool, as I did with the Dead Guy, but this time a touch warmer at 12C (54F). There is more power and […]

  22. […] senses. While you could serve this beer at cellar, or even room temperature, I think it is best cool around 12C (54F). All the rich aromas and flavors are extremely potent when closer to warm, but it […]

  23. […] opened this up at a the top of the cool temperature range at 12C (54F) to try to evoke both crisp and quenching characteristics as well as excite loads of […]

  24. […] in both a foil wrapped 355ml capped bottle, and in corked 750ml bottles. I brought the Raftman out cold around 5C (40F) and poured it into two Unibroue tulips. It was a classic Unibroue pour with lots […]

  25. […] a pilsner, even a strong one, I poured the Nobel cold around 5C (40F) to help me quench my palate to the fullest. It poured gently but built lots of life […]

  26. […] brought the 2001 Harvest out of the fridge and let it warm to cellar temperature around 12C (54F); I did not want to mute any flavors or aromas that would manifest in this beer, so […]

  27. […] opened this bottle cool around 8C (45F) as I normally would with a rich porter. The pour was pretty usual; not to lively […]

  28. […] of hops. Goose Island recommends serving the Night Stalker around 8C (40F), which is quite cold. I would have normally opened it up around 12 to 14C to let all the rich aromas and flavors pour […]

  29. […] it was served to me at the proper temperature at cellar around 12C (54F). Cold would have muted to many flavors. This beer was ready to be enjoyed! I […]

  30. […] opened the White Gold cool around 8C (45F). I didn’t want it to be too cold as I would typically open a wheat beer, […]

  31. […] the Black & Blue up cool around 8C (45F). Any colder and you will loose the malt and complexity in the beer, but too warm […]

  32. […] with a great wave of refreshing. I opened the bottle on ice out of the cooler, so it was probably cold around 7C (45F) – it was so perfect. It was about 30C outside and the sun was mercilessly […]

  33. […] a big Imperial Stout, you could enjoy the Black Chocolate Stout warm around 14c (54F), however I have a lot of experience with this beer, and I like to start it off a […]

  34. […] a barleywine, it should be enjoyed warm around 14C (54F) so that all of the malt aromas and flavors can be released as they were designed to […]

  35. […] opened this Rye beer cool around 8C (45F) and poured it into a tall and slender gold rimmed tulip glass. It built a very […]

  36. […] opened the Kellerweis cold around 7C (45F) as should be a weisse of this sorts. Luckily I had a nice Sierra Nevada Pint glass, […]

  37. […] Long Trail recommends serving it between 45 and 50F, so as per the Brewmaster I opened it up cool at 8C (45F) and poured it into two deep […]

  38. […] opened the Skjalfti cold around 5C (40F) as is appropriate for a refreshing lager of this sort. Right from the get-go this […]

  39. […] the Canadian Cask up cool around 8C (45F). This beer should be cold enough to quench and refresh you, however you wont want […]

  40. […] a lot going on here, so don’t mute all the flavors by serving it too cold. I recommend cellar temperature around 12C (54F), but I have also had it cool at 8C, and it was exceptionally refreshing. So open […]

  41. […] yeast remaining in the bottle continued to eat away at the sugars. I opened the Manifest Destiny up cool around 8C (45F); this beer is moderately hopy with significant spice and mildly sweet malts – […]

  42. […] and sooth the heat out of us. I went right for the Torpedo Extra IPA. We opened it right away cold around 5C (40F), which really is a bit to cold for a big IPA of this sorts, but we both wanted a […]

  43. […] opened it up cool at 8C (39F) and poured it into a proper Innis & Gunn glass. It poured smoothly and gently […]

  44. […] I would open a big spicy saison around cellar temperature, but knowing that this bottle is from Stone, I did anticipate a reasonable dose of quenching hops, […]

  45. […] opened the 13th up at cellar temperature around 12C (54F) and poured it into snifter.  It poured very aggressively building a deep garnet […]

  46. […] opened the Triple at cellar temperature around 12C (54F) and poured it into a chalice. It formed a rich golden red beer that glowed deeply […]

  47. […] Canadian Cask out of its resting place. I poured it into a stemmed Innis & Gunn glass at a cool 8C (45F). The pour was smooth but rumbled with excitement as a darker than normal, creamy […]

  48. […] opened the Keller up cool around 8C (45F) and poured it into a stemmed Pilsner glass. The beer was dangerously pretty glowing […]

  49. […] sweetness does shows up a bit more now was the beer nears cellar temperature; its brings a lightly caramel and sugary sweetness in the back that gently rolls off your tongue […]

  50. […] opened the Blue close to cellar temperature around 12C (54F). Like all Chimay beers, the Grande Reserve is bottle conditioned. I don’t […]

  51. […] opened the Cascadian up cool around 10C (50F) not really knowing where to start this Porter/IPA. So I figured, start cooler, and […]

  52. […] comes in a wide 750ml capped bottle at 6.7% abv. I opened it up cool around 8C (45F) and poured it into Sierra Nevada’s own pint glass. It poured out smoothly but […]

  53. […] abv; pretty much where everything in the Harvest Series lands. I opened the Southern Hemisphere up cool around 8C (45F) and let it slide into a Sierra pint glass. The pour was smooth and very gentle. […]

  54. […] did finally open it up after much contemplation at the high end of the cool temperature range around 11 or 12C (54F) and poured it gently into a Belgian style chalice. Prior to opening the […]

  55. […] brought out the Cream Stout and let it rest a bit so that I could pour it cool around 7C (45F). This isn’t a big rich stout, it is a sweet stout of mild strength, so it […]

  56. […] opened it up cool around 8C (45F) and poured it into a tulip glass. The pour was smooth and clean with a slight oil […]

  57. […] poured the 10W30 cool around 10C (50F) into an English Tulip Pint Glass. It poured smoothly building huge life the second […]

  58. […] a Double IPA would show big rich malty flavors and I would pour it close to the cellar temperature range, but I had a feeling that Southern Tier’s version would still be a fresh IPA at heart. I knew […]

  59. […] at I pictured a Strong Golden Belgian Ale. I poured the Sah’tea into a Dogfish Head Snifter cool, around 12C (54F) anticipating to enjoy it at both this cooler temperature as well as at cellar […]

  60. […] opened the #9 cool around 8C (45F) and poured it into a stemmed beer glass. The pour was very smooth and creamy […]

  61. […] opened it cold around 7C (45F) and poured it into a tall Schneider Weisse glass. A careful pour created a huge […]

  62. […] be richly hopped, and ripe in bitter and savory flavors and aromas. As such you should open it cool around 8C (45F). This Black IPA though is unlike the majority of them. It has smoother, creamy […]

  63. […] is around 4C (39F) – keep this in mind. Classic English Cask Ales should be served at Cellar Temperature, which is between 12 and 14C (54 to 57F) – some may insist that it should be served even […]

  64. […] opened the Devine Rebel warm around 14C (57F), which is much warmer than you would typically enjoy a beer, but is also still […]

  65. […] time, so serving temperature is an interesting question. It is 5% abv, so you could easily serve is cool at 8C (45F) to enjoy the creamy and silky waves of cooling roasty beer. But at the same time you […]

  66. […] opened the Highland Cask cool with much excitement around 8C (45F) and poured it into an Innis & Gunn glass. The pour was […]

  67. […] poured the Obscura in a tulip class at cellar temperature around 12C (54F). The pour was pretty standard; nothing to creamy, nothing to crazy. But the end […]

  68. […] opened the Decadence cool around 8C (45F) and poured it gently into a tulip glass. The pour was rich and lively showing huge […]

  69. […] Westy 12 was served to me at cellar temperature around 14C (57F) as a vintage Belgian Quadrupel should be. This allows all of the beer’s […]

  70. […] opened the Porter cool around 10C (50F) and poured it into a stemmed beer glass. The pour was smooth and soft gently […]

  71. […] opened the Hobgoblin cool around 12 C (54F), right at the edge of cellar temperature, and poured it into a stemmed tulip […]

  72. […] opened the Xyauyu up around cellar temperature around 14C (57F), just slightly chilled, but far from cold. I poured it into a stemmed tulip glass […]

  73. […] opened the Bashah cool around 10C (50F) and poured it into a Stone tasting glass. The pour was gentle at first, then half […]

  74. […] Tasting the Founders Dirty Bastard The Dirty Bastard is a big Scotch Ale, also known as a Wee Heavy. It is one of Founders Brewing’s year round, and flagship beers. Founders has been brewing since 1997 in Grand Rapids, Michigan – very close to several other great American Craft Breweries. And I’ve always been impressed with their beers, especially the bigger ones. But so what it a big Scotch Ale? Well its 8.5% abv, 50 IBUs (which is higher than the normal style, but typical in the US), and malt focused. Scottish Ales show a big, sweet, malty center with classic toffee, caramel and roasted malt sensations. They are thick and rich in both mouthfeel and flavor, and are best served at cellar temperature. […]

  75. […] opened the Winter Beer at cellar temperature around 12C (54F) and poured it into an Innis & Gunn stemmed beer glass. The pour was smooth and […]

  76. […] Two Hearted Ale comes in a 355ml bottle at 7% abv. I opened it cool around 8C (45F) and poured it into a stemmed beer glass. The pour was gentle and smooth showing […]

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