Some Beers Are Best Served Less Than Cold

Currently, my favorite beers to drink are India pale ales and stouts.  Both types bring tend tohave more taste and flavor that other beers.  In particular, many stouts have that rich, creamy chocolate flavor and are just more satisfying than plain lagers or pilsners.  Certain stouts I’ve enjoyed at bars include Lancaster Milk Stout, Founders KBS and Left Hand Milk Stout.

So it’s been some surprise that when I’ve had some stouts, including many of the same ones I’ve previously enjoyed, at home, I have not always enjoyed them as much.  At first, I thought that I was just not properly remembering the amount of enjoyment I had while drinking the beers at bars.  Then, I figured it out: the temperature.

Most home refrigerators are maintained at 35-38 degrees.  Cold enough to slow the growth of bacteria but not cold enough to freeze liquids.  Unfortunately, most styles of beers are not meant to be served at that chilled temperature.  In fact, the list of beers intended to be served that cold are pretty much limited to commercial, minimal taste beers (the Coors Lights and Budweisers of the world).  Most beers are supposed to be served slightly “less cold.” provides a general guideline for beer serving temperatures:

  • Fruit beers at 40-50° F
  • Wheat beers and pale lagers at 45-50° F
  • Pale ales and amber or dark lagers at 50-55° F
  • Strong ales, such as barley wines and Belgian ales, at 50-55° F
  • Dark ales, including porters and stouts, at 55-60° F
For the darker beers, the ideal temperature is about 20 degrees warmer than the temperature coming out of the refrigerator.  Arguably, beers such as stouts and porters would be better off in a wine refrigerator/chiller, which are generally kept around 55 degrees.
So, the moral of the story is that from now on, for stouts I have at home, I’ll either store them to the wine refrigerator or just take them out of the fridge and leave them out for about 10 minutes before drinking them.

One comment on “Some Beers Are Best Served Less Than Cold

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