What's the Best Temperature for Beer? Guide to Serving Temperatures

Craft Beer

two pints of cold craft beer

Ads showing beer being pulled out of ice buckets have made many people think beer must be consumed at sub-zero temperatures. But, this isn’t the case for all beer. So, what is the best temperature for beer?

Traditionally, on a hot summers day in Australia, beer and an ice cold esky go hand-in-hand. While this is great for light summer beers, the best serving temperature changes depending on the type of beer.

When beer is served too cold, the temperature affects the release of the flavours and aromas. Cold temperatures slow down the volatilization of aromatic compounds which makes them remain in the beer. Containing the compounds can lead to the beer losing taste and appearing as thin.

While cold temperatures can suppress flavour and aromas, it also brings out characteristics like dryness, bitterness and carbonation, which explains why the light summer beers always seem to quench our thirst when served ice cold in on a hot Australian summer’s day.

For lovers of craft beer, the flavours and aromas are everything. Continued growth in craft beer consumption suggest that beer drinkers are choosing quality, great-tasting beer as their drink of choice. It’s important to know the correct beer fridge temperature required to release the full range of flavours and aromas that were intended when originally brewed.

Want to find the perfect beer temperature in celsius for your favourite brew? Read on to find out which temperature your beer fridge should be set at.

What’s the Best Temperature for Pale Lagers/Pilsners?

Most medium to medium-full bodied beers such as pale lagers and pilsners are brewed with high carbonation and are meant to deliver a crisp finish. These beers place a strong importance on mouthfeel instead of flavour. Ideally, pale lagers and pilsners should be served at refrigerator temperature, which is 3 degrees celcius in Australia. Nothing disappoints quicker than a stale pale lager or pilsner, to avoid this mistake don’t serve warmer than 5 degrees celsius.

The Ideal Temperature for Pale Ale? 8 Degrees Celsius

What is the ideal beer temperature for the most consumed beer style among among Australian craft beer drinkers? A good pale ale delivers complex, hop-forward, malty flavours.  Pale ales develop strong flavours because of the warm-fermentation method used when brewing. The correct temperature will help release these complex flavours. To best bring out the hops, serve pale ale slightly warmer than refrigerator temperature - around 8 degrees celsius.

India Pale Ale (IPA) is Best at 8 to 10 degrees Celcius

The Beer Cartel 2018 Craft Beer survey showed Indian Pale Ale (IPA) as the favourite beer style for craft beer enthusiasts. There are many similarities in the brewing process between IPA and pale ales and the suggested serving temperature doesn't change too much. Often, IPAs will have a higher alcohol content and more hops than pale ales. As the beer slightly warms, the hops are intensified. IPAs are ideally served between 8 - 10 degrees celsius.

Is Warm Beer Bad?

Typically, full-bodied beers with complex flavours are best enjoyed at a warm temperature. As a general rule, the warmer the beer, the more flavours are exposed. As mentioned earlier, the volatilization of aromas and flavours increase as the beer warms which lets you experience the ingredients in greater detail. Imperial stouts and brown ale are packed with rich ingredients and are popular beers in England. So, it’s no surprise that England has forever been associated with drinking warm beer. Stouts, old ales and dark ales are ideally served between 12 - 15 degrees celsius.

Is Beer Better Cold or Warm? Decide Based on The Style of Beer and Your Personal Taste

These are guidelines to help you get the best taste and aromas from your beer of choice. Nonetheless, your taste buds may enjoy a crisp, ice cold pale ale and a warm summer lager. Make sure you experiment with your beer temperature to find what you enjoy. Remember, restaurants and bars tend to store all beer at refrigerator temperature so next time you order an IPA let it sit for five minutes before drinking it, you may be pleasantly surprised.

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Category: Craft Beer