Sort of Not Our Problem

Thermometers and temperature illustration.

How important is it to store and serve beer at the exact temperature prescribed by the brewer?

That’s the question that we were left asking ourselves after discussion around last Friday’s porter tasting post.

The fact is, we don’t have an elaborately constructed ‘cellar’, and we don’t have thermometers on hand for every stage of the process.

What we do have is a kitchen with a shady corner the temperature of which barely changes; and a fridge. We don’t let beer get hot or freeze, and we protect it from light.

In practice, we give those that we think need chilling an hour or two in the fridge; otherwise, we serve straight from the shelf. If a beer we’ve chilled tastes bland, we let it warm up in case that might reveal hidden depths.

And that’s about it.

Serving temperature should not make or break a beer. Some beers might taste better served within a particular range, but they shouldn’t taste disgusting, gush everywhere, or have no condition whatsoever if served otherwise, surely?

Clean glasses on the other hand…

The phrase ‘beer clean’ has a smugness about it that makes our toes curl, but there is something in it: serving a beer from a glass that’s anything less than gleaming can instantly kill it, or at least cause it to pour fizzy and headless.

We always clean our glasses just before serving, giving them a good dose of washing up liquid, a scrub with a clean sponge, a thorough rinse with piping hot water, before a final rinse with cold water.

If a beer has no head after that, it’s not our fault.

5 replies on “Sort of Not Our Problem”

Sounds like a handy corner. When we lived in Italy, and it was 40C in a Roman summer, even the kitchen RT was 26C ish, so beers had to go in the fridge. Always forgot to get them up to bring them up a bit from that 4-ish C. Back in Blighty now, 1950s house with cold concrete slabshould be fine for ambient RT approximating a cellar temp for most ales.

All very well put. A good beer is fully resistant to changes in temperature, and vice versa. (Within reason, of course, as Daniel’s message shows). For many years I drink much beer off the shelf, it tastes best that way regardless of type, IMO. Too much emphasis is placed on temperature, it is the least important thing to worry about in beer. The second is excess carbonation. If you think it too fizzy, swirl hard or pour from glass to glass to release some of the CO2. You can get a beer to emulate pretty fair a cask beer by doing this.


As to cleaning beer glasses, I picked up a hint from another beer blogger who cleans all his glasses with baking soda (extremely cheap in the US), then rinsed thoroughly with hot water and air dried. Baking soda has the added benefit of being a mild abrasive, so with hand washing it gets rid of lipstick & lip-balm stains on the rim and also neutralizes the interior of the glass. Works quite well.

Off-topically, you have to post about that Rick Wakeman feature. Wonder if the Ruddle’s was actually off? If it was the only thing not on keg it might well have been badly kept. And WTH’s Riger’s?

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