serving craft beer

Best Temperatures for Serving Craft Beer

June 2, 2022

You’ve put all of the effort into crafting the perfect brew. So, you may as well make sure you’re serving it properly to achieve the ideal drinking experience. After all, craft beer serving temperature is important to make sure that the beer isn’t too flat and the flavor still comes through the way you want it to.

Why is Craft Beer Temperature Important?

Most people are aware enough to know that a hot beer left out in the sun all day won’t taste its best. But the effect of temperature on beer doesn’t have to be as extreme to make a difference.

As craft brewers, you know that temperature control is a crucial aspect of the fermentation process that can alter the flavor of a beer significantly. A similar element is at play when serving a craft beer, though admittedly on a much smaller scale. The serving temperature of a beer (depending on the type) can influence the activation of certain flavors and aromatics in the beer.

Generally speaking, the colder the beer is served the less nuance you can taste when it comes to flavor. That’s because at a certain point cold temperatures suppress flavor in our taste buds. When it comes to beer, serving certain brews at too low of a temperature can affect the release of some flavors and aromatic elements of the beer.

What’s the Best Temperature for Beer?

Even though there’s no “one temperature fits all” guide for craft beer serving temperatures, craft brewers benefit from a small variation in temperature range.

The majority of craft beers will ideally be served in the 40°-55° F temperature range. The only beers that should be served at lower temperatures than 40° F are mass market American Light Lagers. While these can be refreshing beers because of the icy cold serving temperature, they are also light on flavor. In that way, the colder temperature enhances the drinking experience because it adds a layer of sensation to what otherwise would be a light, potentially flavorless beer.

As a general rule of thumb for craft beer serving temperature, the stronger and darker the beer, the higher the serving temperature.

A Guide to Craft Beer Temperatures
Craft Beer Type Serving Temperature Range
American Light Lagers 33° – 40° F
Pale Lagers, Pilsners 38° – 45° F
Blond Ale, Cream Ale 40° – 45° F
Nitro Stouts 40° – 45° F
Belgian Pale Ales, Abbey Tripels 40° – 45° F
Wheat Beers, Lambics 40° – 50° F
Dark Lagers 45° – 50° F
IPAs, American Pale Ales 45° – 50° F
Stouts, Porters 45° – 55° F
Real Ales, Cask Ales 50° – 55° F
Belgian Dubbels, Tripels, & Quads 50° – 55° F

Things to Keep In Mind When Serving Beer

The chart above can be a handy quick reference guide for serving your craft beer. There are some other considerations to keep in mind for an ideal drinking experience.

Glass Temperature and Heat Transfer

You want to account for the loss of temperature when pouring the beer into the room temperature glass as well as the transfer of heat from someone’s hands when holding the glass after being served. Sure, this may seem a bit nit-picky, but if you serve your beer one degree cooler than its ideal temperature, you’ll compensate for the heat transfer and loss of cold pretty easily.

Draft System Temperatures

If you’re running a draft system, the default temperature of most is 38° F. Keep this in mind when operating and maintaining a draft system. While this is an acceptable temperature point for lighter lagers, pilsners, wheat beers, and even Belgian ales, it may be too cold for heavier and darker beers like IPAs and stouts.

There Is Such a Thing as Too Warm

At this point, we’ve covered why you want to avoid serving darker, more layered craft beers at overly cold temperatures. However, that doesn’t mean that you want them at room temperature.

When it comes to light beer, serving it too warm will lead to an unpleasant experience because there’s not much flavor there to enjoy.

Darker beers shine when they’re served in the 45° – 55° F temperature range. This allows for the drinker to experience the full palette of flavor in balance with the bitterness of the hops. If the beer becomes any warmer than that, it can actually lose its hoppiness as well as its carbonation. In short, it becomes flat.

Perfect Your Craft with Beer30

Craft beer serving temperature impacts the flavor and carbonation of beer. These are both a huge part of the drinking experience! Serving a beer below or above its recommended temperature range can lead to flavor loss and the beer becoming flat for different reasons.

Of course, each craft beer has its own unique properties and flavor profiles. Before serving your brew, try drinking it at the low and high range of ideal temperatures to see which one is more enjoyable. Ultimately, a degree here or there will only matter to very experienced beer enthusiasts. The key to finding the best temperature for beer is making sure that you’re in the ten degree range recommended for a given type of beer.

Beer30 brewery management software was designed for brewers by brewers. The goal of our software is to help brewers save time, increase profits and brew better beer. Learn how to perfect your craft with our software.

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