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Friday, April 28, 2006

Beer Tasting Tips: Temperature

Don't forget that the taste of beer changes as it changes temperature. You can help or hinder the taste of a beer by serving it cooler or warmer. It's amazing what even a small change in temperature will do for a beer's taste profile. Certain beers, especially some of those fuller-bodied and flavored stouts that we've been enjoying all winter long, will start to take on different, richer flavors as they approach room temperature. Other beers, like certain pale ales should be served as close to refrigerator temperature as possible. As these beer start to warm, some of them may tend to lose their clean, crisp, and aromatic floral aromas. When it comes to cask-conditioned, though, it's a whole new story. Try it sometime. Pour a beer and take a few sips. Think about how it tastes. Then let it sit for a while. Give it a chance to drop a few degrees. Now, when you taste it do you get a fuller flavor? Not all beer benefits from warmer temperatures. Sometimes colder temperatures help mask certain undesirable flavors. I like to think that some of the best beer is able to be served at warmer temperatures. Of course that's just us, we're learning about what we like. Just like you! ;-)


Jeremy said...

On the topic of temperature and taste...

As I got in my car around 7:00 PM last night, after a long day of working my arse off, my wife called the cell... I lamented about the long arduous day I had and proclaimed "I need a beer!" Being the wonderful, loving, wife that she is... I got home, and she had a bottle of Ommegang Abbey Ale awaiting my arrival. She was using the wine cooler ice pack thing to try to cool it off and had our wine tasting kit out with the thermometer and everything in attempts at having the perfect beer awaiting my arrival :-) Come to find out that the stupid thermometer only reads out in Celsius! I realize that I could hop on google and quickly find out what the readout was and not to mention the fact that you can't go 4 steps in my house without tripping over a computer... nonetheless I went with the old fashion method of pouring out a bit and giving it a taste.

Anyway, long story short... temperature IS very important when tasting beer. Maybe they should put labels on all beers that say what the optimal temperature is for tasting.

Adam said...

So, what do you think? How did it taste :-) Did it get better as it warmed?

About the sticker. I think that would help. I also think that part of the whole experience is learning what you YOU like. Taste is subjective. You might not always agree with a label like that, but, it could get you pointed in the right direction.

"Use the Force, Luke. Trust YOUR feelings."

Hmmm...I think I'm onto something. Thank you fellow readers. That's all for todays edition of "Find YOUR Inner Beer".

Jeremy said...

It was good... but probably not my favorite Ommegang beer.

Adam said...

What is your favorite Ommegang Beer?

Jeremy said...

That's a tough question... I will have to purchase all of them and compare :-)

Adam said...

You should just go to Cooperstown, NY in July! That way you can REALLY sample them all.

Belgium Comes to Cooperstown

Dan said...

Some brews do indeed include serving temps. While most Ommegangs only list cellaring temps, rule of thumb seems to be cellaring temp is serving temp in those cases. With most of the Ommegangs, that seems to ring true.

The Abbey Ale is indeed my least favorite of them. Tops would have to be Rare Vos and Hennepin. I enjoy them all though and just recently finally had the Witte. While it may be a relatively bland offering compared to their more powerful stuff, it's still the best Witbier I've had to date.

Nice blog you have here, keep up the good work!