Properly Pouring Beer

Posted on July 8th, 2009

A lot of different things get said about the proper way to pour a beer, but if you’re looking to get the best experience and richest taste out of your beer it turns out there’s not simply one proper way to pour a beer. Different styles of beer require different pours. Today we’re going to cover three pours that everyone should know.

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1. THE STANDARD POUR- This the basic approach you should employ when pouring most beers.

Step 1 – While holding your bottle of beer in one hand and a clean glass in the other, tilt the glass at a 45 degree angle

Step 2 – Pour the beer in at a generous pace, aiming for the center of the glass’s side

Step 3 – When the glass is approximately half to ¾ full return it to an upright position and continue to pour the rest of the bottle. This will create the proper amount of foam for your pint. Contrary to what some people think, some foam is desired as it is an important part of the flavor profile of a beer.

2. THE BOTTLE CONDITIONED POUR – Some beers, particularly those from Belgium are what’s known as “bottle conditioned,” meaning that they retain active yeast culture inside the bottle. This yeast naturally carbonates the beer and allows it to continue to mature inside the bottle.

You need to be careful when pouring these beers because you do not want to pour the yeast at the bottom of the bottle into your glass. The yeast can disturb the intended flavors and cause indigestion; to avoid this follow these steps

Step 1 – Much like standard pour, tilt your glass at a 45 degree angle and pour your beer into it, however use a slightly gentler rate of pour than with a non-bottle conditioned beer

Step 2 – As before, when your glass is approximately half to ¾ full tilt it back upright and continue to pour the rest of the bottle. This will create the proper amount of foam for your pint.

Step 3 – Towards the end of the pour you will begin to get to the yeast. Watch carefully and when you notice the stream coming out of your bottle begins to become cloudy or unclear, stop pouring. With practice you will learn to judge this without pouring any yeast into your glass.

Step 4 – Discard the rest of the beer in the bottle. You may be surprised by how much is left, but don’t drink it; It won’t taste very good.

3. THE HEFEWEIZEN POUR - This is for German wheat beers such as the Hefeweizen or Dunkelweizen, which are generally bottle conditioned beers, however with these the yeast is a desired part of the flavor, and you will need to take extra steps to ensure you get all of the yeast into the glass.

Step 1 – Be sure to use a tall Hefeweizen glass, or another glass which can accommodate the high carbonation of such beers, otherwise you may end up overflowing. Much like standard pour, tilt your glass at a 45 degree angle and pour your beer into it, however use a slightly gentler rate of pour than with a non-bottle conditioned beer

Step 2 – As before, when your glass is approximately half to ¾ full tilt it back upright and continue to pour until the foam reaches the team of the glass.

Step 3 – Chances are foam will rise to the top of the glass before your bottle is empty; this is to be expected. Swish and roll around the remaining beer in the bottle to loosen the yeast from the bottom.

Step 4 – Pour the remaining amount in the bottle into your glass.

Now sit back and enjoy the perfect pint.

Cheers!

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  • http://techcommdood.com/ techcommdood

    The “won't taste very good” about bottle-conditioned beers is a matter of opinion. Consuming it with the beer is usually not an issue.

    The hefeweizen pour is wrong. You invert the glass over the bottle, then flip them together, slowly draw the bottle out, and swirl the foam left int he bottle with the yeast and pour the slurry over the top of your glass of beer.

  • beerinbaltimore

    Clipper City Brewing founder Hugh Sisson told me, “right down the middle, fairly aggressive.”

    I've been told the same by other brewmasters and beer geeks.
    The only exception is the heavy yeast beers like Orval. Gotta be gentle with those.

  • hotsauce

    I have audio of a 70s radio ad for Budweiser wherein they say “to unlock the full flavor of Budweiser, tell the bartender to pour it straight into the bottom of the glass.”

  • hotsauce

    I have audio of a 70s radio ad for Budweiser wherein they say “to unlock the full flavor of Budweiser, tell the bartender to pour it straight into the bottom of the glass.”

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  • Ole Wolf

    While it may be a matter of opinion, virtually every opinion agrees that one should avoid rousing the yeast sediment, as the article correctly describes. The exception is wheat beer, as is also discussed.

    When the CO2 is released, it releases flavors that would otherwise remain hidden. That’s why a healthy foam is required for a proper taste.