When most people think of beer, they imagine a nice, cold glass, bottle or can. However, like with wine, beer temperature is actually more complex than you might believe. In fact, ice-cold temperatures might not always be the best choice for your drink…
Beer Temperature: Is Cold The Best?
The role of temperature
Beer temperature matters because of its impact on carbonation and flavor. Carbonated drinks such as beer retain their carbonation much better at cooler temperatures instead of at higher ones. However, the cold also tends to both subdue the flavors in a beer, as well as numb your taste buds.
Beer companies are well aware of this, and they use it to their beer’s advantage. For example, you’re probably aware that most mass-produced beers are advertised as being best ice-cold. This is intentional; the cold temperatures will make the beer easier to drink. If you try one of them at a higher temperature, you might find they don’t taste as you’d expect.
Beer temperature can be split along the low-ranges and the high-ranges, with some in the middle. However, don’t get the wrong impression about the temperatures in question here being super high. The overall range which all these beers fit under is the 40-to-60 F.
For instance, mass-produced or lite beers tend to do best at 40 F or below, which maximizes their carbonation and eases their flavors. At 40-to-45 F, beers like lagers, wheat beers, and overall more lighter colored choices will do the best. These beers tend to also have lower ABV levels, which work well with the cold.
The 45-to-50 F range is in-between range for beer temperature. At this range, choices like American pale ales, IPAs, porters, and stouts will do well. This range helps these beers due to them being in-between the more-lighter and more-darker options.
Going up the the 50-to-55 F range, you’ll begin to see stronger and darker beers pop up. Some of these options will include English beers and Brown ales. Finally, at the 55-to-60 F range, you’ll have some of your strongest beers, like Imperials and barleywines. With these higher ABV choices, a higher temperature helps the flavors stand out over the alcohol.