There has been much debate over the ideal temperature to serve beer. Is it 35°F (1.5°C)? Is it as cold as your fridge will go? We go through all the reasoning and come up with our ideal beer fridge temperature.
The not so short answer is… it depends on the type of beer and what the reason is for drinking it…
Let me explain.
If it’s summer and you just want to smash a beer down because it’s hot then the temperature of your beer should be as cold as possible without freezing. But if you want to taste the beer to its fullest then you should serve beer at the correct temperature for that type of beer.
How does Beer Temperature Affect Taste?
The chemical compound that are found in beer that give it flavor are triggered according to certain temperatures. The colder the temperature, the slower carbonation that is released and the less flavorsome and aromatic the beer will be. Icy cold temperature will also lessen the flavor of beer as it numbs our taste buds .
Many lagers are often produced and served at cold temperatures so they can be “smashed” down quickly. These beers usually don’t taste well unless they’re served icy cold.
Bottle, Can or Keg… how does the vessel dictate the temperature beer can be served?
Quite often this is not a question that needs answering simply because when you buy your beer, the type of beer vessel has already been decided. It is really a case of what temperature can my beer be served at?
Generally, glass bottles will explode if the beer inside freezes. A good way to make a mess of your freezer.
Cans of beer will usually dent outward as the beer freezes and may also explode.
The temperature of beer inside a keg can be a little lower. This is because a keg is made from stronger materials. Most modern kegerators can be safely set to 24°F (-4°C).
In short, if you want your beer as cold as possible then buy a kegerator or a growler.
How fast does beer warm up once it’s out of the fridge?
This depends on the ambient temperature. Typically, a beer temperature will rise 3°F for every 10 minutes it’s out of the fridge… and not drunk of course!
The rate at which beer warms can be lessened by using a chilled glass, or a cooler. Also, holding your beer in your hand will warm it up more quickly so it’s best to leave it on a table when you’re not drinking it.
Beer Temperature Guide (For All Types of Beer)
With the popularity of craft beer, beer drinkers are now spoilt for choice when comes to buying beer. Man has also become a lot more educated when it comes to enjoying beer. The drinking experience has become so much more important… it’s not a matter of smashing down a “coldie” at the end of a hard day.
In order to appreciate the full flavor of any type of beer, this guide will help you serve just about any sort of beer at it’s intended (full flavor and aroma) temperature.
American Lagers, Light Bodied Lagers and Low Alcohol Beers
Serving Temperature: 35 – 40°F (1.5 – 4°C)
These are the mass-marketed beers. The ones designed to be drunk quickly… goodness me! Team that with your taste buds being numb from the cold and the low alcohol
German Pilsners, Wheat Beers and Full Bodied Lagers
Serving Temperature: 40 – 45°F (4-7°C)
Light bodied and drinkable. This is where you’ll see a lot more craft beers… brewed for flavor not quantity.
American Pale Ales, Indian Pale Ales, Porters and Stouts
Serving Temperature: 45 – 50°F (7-10°C)
Many Pale Ales should be served slightly warmer than your Lagers. Pale Ales are all the rage these days. They remain very drinkable while still showing off a palate of flavor.
Belgian Strong Ales, Sour Ales, Imperial Stouts
Serving Temperature: 50 – 60°F (10-15°C)
Now these beers certainly have an acquired taste. If you are used to smashing down Lagers while watching the Super Bowl then these aren’t for you. These strong Ales and Stouts do have a lot more flavor than most other beers.
What Temperature Should I set My Beer Fridge to?
If you like a few different styles of beer then it’s just not possible to set the temperature of your fridge to the style of beer you are drinking.
Most people set their beer fridge to 35°F (1.5°C). Although this temperature will be ok if you are drinking American Lagers or Low Alcohol beers, it will be too cold for every other type of beer.
The easiest way to fix this is to simple leave your beer out of the fridge and let it warm up slightly before drinking. This is of course assuming that your ambient temperature is higher than 35°F.
Use the rule mentioned above for working out roughly how long a beer should be left out of the fridge to get to it’s ideal temperature. If you plan on using a wine cooler to store beer then there are options.
Now with all of this new-found knowledge, serve beer at the temperature “You” will enjoy it. Just because you take a beer out of the fridge doesn’t mean you have to drink it straight away, although the temptation will always be there.
Warmer styles of beer aren’t for everyone, but any beer that’s served “too” warm will be enjoyed by no-one!
Whatever you’re drinking… Enjoy it!.