What is the best temperature for a good glass of beer? It depends on the drinkers taste, the weather, and whether you are going to drink the beer in or outside. But most of all, it depends on the type of beer. And even between those types there are a lot of differences.
,,Ah, Colonel. There you are. Try a real old English beer.”
- ,,Thanks! Well, bottoms up. My God, it’s warm!”
,,I bet you never tasted anything like that in your life. Warm? It’s quite cool for me.”
- ,,It tastes like tub water that comes through the faucet.”
The scene described above is from Dad’s Army, an English comedy show about the British Home Guard during the Second World War. An American officer gets handed a pint in a local pub in England. He quickly spits out the first sip, because he thinks the content of the glass is too warm. Everyone has their preferences and habits.
In general, a beer is served with an average temperature of 5 degrees Celsius. This is perceived too cold for beers with a higher percentage of alcohol. More alcohol in the beer? Then you can go a lot higher with the serving temperature; up to 13 degrees Celsius, bringing out the full flavor of the beer. Some of those beers you can warm up by holding it in your hand a little longer. You know you have reached the right temperature when you smell the beer foam and the aromas are clearly traceable.
Some beers have a cooling meter on the bottle or on the can. In 2009 Grolsch was the first brand in the Netherlands with an improved thermo-chronic ink for the beer cans. The blue ink of the label got a deeper color at the recommended drinking temperature. Grolsch kept that temperature at around 6 to 8 degrees. Around the same time, Grolsch also came with a Cooling Alarm. It was an app which indicated when you had to cool your beer. ,,Turn on the Grolsch Cooling Alarm and drink your cans cold at the outside temperature you specify,” the brewer advertised.
What about storing a can or bottle in the freezer? How often does it happen that a beer bottle is forgotten and the freezer compartment’s turned into a surreal work of art in no time? Avoid the freezer to prevent this and keep refilling the fridge (how about an app which tells you when to restock huh). If there’s a party and it’s self service, there’s always the question whether the guests have some social sense. And if they do, then there’s also the unspoken rule to always make sure that the cooled beers are first for grabs, otherwise, you’ll still face the same problem of warm beer (yuck).
With Heineken Extra Cold (we are going back to 2006 for the introduction) you don’t have think of a cooling meter like Grolsch has, let alone a freezer. The beer was tapped in the bars with a temperature of 0 degrees Celsius, with the tap itself covered in a layer of ice. The brewer claimed that during the development phase many women were especially positive about the taste of the extra cold beer. It seemed milder and gave less of that full-stomach feeling, because the carbonation bubbles turned out to be smaller at this temperature. The beer also tasted less bitter. The Heineken Extra Cold created an other experience, not comparable to the beers served and drunk at room temperature, or even to the other pilsners, which have a cooling system.
If you use a glass to pour the beer in, you should of course also pay attention to the glass itself. When drinking a cool beer, you have to make sure that the glass itself does not come straight from the dishwasher, or at least cool it afterwards with a cold jet from the faucet.
Having your cold glass ready but forgot about the bottle? Here are some tips to quickly cool your beer:
- Keep the bottles under the cold tap – It takes a long(er) time and your sink gets dirty with beer-labels. It also costs a lot of water and the bottles won’t stay cool for long.
- Place the bottles in a bucket of ice water – When adding ice cubes, the glass of the bottle reacts with the ice. Not cold enough? Add salt for a lower freezing point (salt water freezes at a lower temperature). Stir occasionally so that the colder water makes more contact with the bottles.
- The quickest way to cool the beer? – Wrap the bottles in a wet cloth and put them in the freezer, that way the cooling process starts faster. Do you easily forget things and don’t want that messy scene described earlier? Then we advice you to use the second tip.
When using salt with ice(water), make sure you wipe your can or bottle clean with a towel. Cold beer is nice, but an unexpected dose of salt with your first sip, not so much.
Do you have a beer cooling tip yourself? We would love to hear from you!