Comparing beer glasses

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by gshak, May 6, 2013.

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  1. gshak

    gshak Savant (1,174) Feb 20, 2011 Texas

    Of late, I've wondered if all beer glasses were created equally. So I set out to experience this for myself this afternoon. I've got a stash of about a dozen beer/wine glasses, and picked the ones that I use more often. I decided on the following:

    Now, I needed a beer that was sufficiently complex and flavorful to set the glasses to the test, so I picked this:

    I let the bottle sit for 20 mins to allow it to warm up just a tad to allow the flavors to pop up, and then poured it into the glasses:


    I originally intended to test the glasses for the aroma, and then decided to include taste into the equation as well. One might ask, is it possible that a beer could taste different when sampled from different glasses. And that was what I intended to find out. All scores are based out of 5, with 5 being the best.

    Aroma test:
    Tripel Karmeliet tulip - I got some pretty strong notes of cherry followed by wood. Not bad, but not remarkable either. 3.75/5

    Delirium Tremens tulip - I got a lot of cherry on the nose, followed by wood and some vanilla notes. Very markedly different from the previous glass, and certainly a wonderful olfactory experience. 4.75/5

    Samuel Smith pint glass - I know that some folks might scratch their heads on this one, but given that it is my go-to pint glass, I thought why not. I got a lot of vanilla in this glass surprisingly, and very slight wood notes. The cherry was nowhere present. Not bad. 4/5

    Libbey Champagne Flute - This was the weakest performer of the lot. I got faint whiffs of vanilla and cherry, the aromas did not improve upon swirlning. I'm torn between a 2.5 - 3.5 on this, but considering the other glasses, I'll make this a 2.75/5. Nothing remarkable.

    Del Sol wine sampling glass - I had high hopes for this one, considering this is my go-to for the high-gravity beers.I got notes of vanilla and cherry in equal measure. Nothing overpowering, but rather a very soft, balanced, sensation. Pretty good, but not enough to beat the Delirium Tremens. 4/5

    Allagash stemmed glass - Here I got a lot of vanilla followed by faint cherry notes, and some wood aromas. Certainly a wonderful experience. Ties the Delirium Tremens. 4.75/5

    Duvel tulip - Will the venerable Duvel tulip hold up to the expectations - let's find out. Here I got a lot of vanilla again, followed by wood notes, and then cherry aromas. The vanilla certainly dominated, just like Allagash, although the wood and cherry aromas got juxtaposed. Interesting. 4.75/5

    Kostritzer - this was the weakest of all. I got very weak vanilla and cherry and some wood notes. Wish it did a better job. 2.5/5

    Meukow snifter - I had to throw in a snifter for good measure. I got some very faint cherry, but nothing beyond that. Quite unremarkable. 2.5/5

    So, this narrows down the list to the following 3:

    The taste test:
    I focused on the top 3 to start with, and then went to the rest. Here's how that unfolded:
    Delirium Tremens - While the aroma exploded with strong cherry notes, and then some vanilla and wood, the taste surprisingly showcased only the vanilla and cherry notes. And they were both in perfect balance on the taste, as opposed to the aroma, where the cherry clearly dominated the vanilla in this glass. Interesting - still hangs on to its 4.75/5

    Allagash - By now, the beer had warmed up just a tad, and I was getting vanilla and cherry. The taste followed smell, and it was an extremely balanced mix of vanilla and cherry. I think we may have a winner here - 5/5

    Duvel - Just like the Allagash, here the aromas were equally split between vanilla and cherry, and the taste followed the nose. Wonderful! 5/5

    I now went back to the Delirium tulip to see if my nose was influenced by the first sip, oh no, the Delirium was still showcasing the cherry notes up front.

    So here are the winners:

    Now, I felt compelled to bring back the DelSol winery glass that was the first one to demonstrate an equal split between the vanilla and cherry notes. So there you have, can't go wrong with any of the 4, unless you have to be absolutely nitpicky...


    Now with my mind at ease, I went back to finishing up the other glasses, here are my notes:
    Tripel Karmeliet - tasted just about the same - equal vanilla and cherry, although I really did wish it would showcase the aromas a bit more.
    Sam Smith pint glass - here the flavors came out more rounded surprisingly, permitting bigger gulps. This glass works really well for session beers where taking big gulps may be tantamount to a good drinking experience.
    Flute - nothing remarkable. I think I can safely put this away.
    Kostritzer - What it lacked in the aromas, it more than made up in the taste department. The flavors came out sharper. I believe this may be due to the reduced nucleation which enabled the goblet to retain the carbonation leading to the flavors bursting open in the mouth.
    Snifter - same as the Kostritzer.

    So there you have it - the winners turned out to be the usual suspects with the surprise inclusion of the Allagash stemmed glass. And now, I will finish up the rest of the bottle. Cheers!
  2. TastyIsBeer

    TastyIsBeer Initiate (0) Dec 13, 2006 Illinois

    Wish I would have found this thread before posting my own on essentially the same topic (albeit using Enjoy By instead of Grand Cru). Good work...
    yemenmocha likes this.
  3. utopiajane

    utopiajane Initiate (0) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    Well that is an excellent comparison. Thank you. =)
  4. Augustiner719

    Augustiner719 Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2008 Massachusetts

    nice write up! I was surprised at how well the pint glass did
  5. Rayek

    Rayek Initiate (0) Jan 17, 2008 Colorado

    Great info. I wonder how the SA Perfect Pint glass would fare in one of these comparisons?
  6. Flathead_Monster

    Flathead_Monster Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2013 Montana

    I'll stick to the pint glass. I don't need more pretense in my beer drinking experience.
    markdrinksbeer likes this.
  7. Roguer

    Roguer Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,245) Mar 25, 2013 Connecticut
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Excellent write-up! I'd offer two observations, though:
    1) Glass shape may be geared toward different types of beers. Your Samuel Smith pint glass might work just fine (or even better) for a less complex brew. Tulips pretty much always work, though. I'm sure you know all that; just didn't want it overlooked by someone with less experience.
    2) I wonder if the small amounts of liquid (and head) affected the aromatic profiles. It might be interesting to do a more limited sample (two glasses at a time, basically) with a fuller glass. Just a thought.

    Awesome post, though. I typically choose my glass carefully.

    Flat, man, you're on a site called "BeerAdvocate." We don't hide the fact that we're beer snobs. Your pint glass is, I'm sure, fine - but glassware can and does make a difference, and we beer snobs want the most out of our experience. As long as you enjoy your beer, that's what matters; but this is something we choose, because we do enjoy our beer more that way.

    Prost, Freunde!
    Rayek likes this.
  8. mntlover

    mntlover Pooh-Bah (1,978) Jun 30, 2003 Tennessee

    I agree with Samuel Smith as everyday regular glass can dump in 12oz brew and not worry about the head.
  9. Flathead_Monster

    Flathead_Monster Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2013 Montana

    I agree with you, no doubt. Of course it does make a difference, but I'm not above drinking out of the bottle or pint glass. Some beer, especially hop heavy beer almost NEEDS to be drunk out the proper glass. But being a BA i'm not going to be a snob around others that just think its ridiculous and would be turned off by the thought of needing a special glass to drink a beer. Now, sitting at home alone or with family that is a different story. Bring on the geek.
    Roguer likes this.
  10. StubFaceJoe

    StubFaceJoe Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2011 Colorado

    You gotta throw an Teku in there.
    sharpski and VTMoondog like this.
  11. Roguer

    Roguer Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,245) Mar 25, 2013 Connecticut
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Well-said. :slight_smile:
  12. herrburgess

    herrburgess Pooh-Bah (2,991) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina



    Belgian brewers usually know what they're doing when they select glassware for their beer.
    JCam9981 likes this.
  13. Roze

    Roze Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2012 New York

    I did a similar glass test with the same beers in each and found the Teku and a tulip white wine glass to display the best aromas by far.
  14. markdrinksbeer

    markdrinksbeer Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2013 Massachusetts

    I am curious how your results would have been if this were a blind test and you had no knowledge of the type of glass you were smelling from during the aroma test.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  15. Premo88

    Premo88 Grand Pooh-Bah (3,414) Jun 6, 2010 Texas

    when in doubt, tulip ... in fact, I give every new beer at least one full shot in the tulip before I write up the review

    i love the different glasses. i need a good snifter for stouts ... my "stout glass" is really a tulip hybrid. fortunately, the pint glass works great for stouts
  16. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Grand Pooh-Bah (3,076) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Agreed. Unfortunately the minute you pick up a glass you know which one it is. Unless you awkwardly (very awkwardly) had someone else bring the glass to your mouth while your eyes were closed. I would probably hire a prostitute for this.
  17. KingforaDay

    KingforaDay Pooh-Bah (2,319) Aug 5, 2010 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Am i the only one who finds this ridiculous?
    I have an extensive glassware collection myself, but this just seems like unnecessary over thinking and overanalyzing. Those are all great glasses so wouldn't the OP have enjoyed that Rodenbach more if he just poured it in any one of those glasses, sat back, and drank it, without worrying about which glass might provide him the best experience?
  18. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Grand Pooh-Bah (3,076) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Pooh-Bah Society

    You're oversimplifying his overthinking.
    sharpski, utopiajane and KingforaDay like this.
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