Does the style of glass really matter when drinking beer?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by SerialTicker, Jan 22, 2013.


Does using a particular drinking glass really matter?

  1. Yes.

    174 vote(s)
  2. No.

    71 vote(s)
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  1. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    It seems like a lot of people swear that a snifter or tulip is "required" to fully experience one style, and then others use nonic pints for others, etcetera. I can't say there are any times where I "should" have been using a tulip and kicked the wall because I couldn't taste, smell, or experience the beer fully. I figure that so long as the beer is in a clean glass, regardless of the shape, you'll be fine. Is there any sort of science to prove that the shape changes anything? I know pouring into a glass helps because when you take a drink your nose goes into the glass and you can just taste/smell the beer a lot better overall.

    Also, I'm adding a poll because I know a lot of people lurk threads without posting.
  2. audioserf

    audioserf Aspirant (253) Sep 3, 2010 Connecticut

    I do have a moderate collection of different styles of glassware, but a lot of that is because I enjoy collecting things and find using different glassware fun. At the end of the day, as long as I'm not drinking from a bottle, I don't particularly mind what kind of glass I'm drinking from.
  3. bradcochran1234

    bradcochran1234 Initiate (0) Jan 22, 2011 Georgia

    To me it matters. I can take a big BA stout and put it in a normal pint glass or I can put it in a tulip and both will taste great. The difference for me is the mainly in the smell and aromatics of an ale. Certain glasses help me in smelling the beer which is a HUGE part of tasting.
  4. crossovert

    crossovert Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2009 Illinois

    There are nuances to certain glass styles. Generally if you use a tulip for any beer but an adjunct lager,low alcohol, malt liquor, or light lager you should be fine. The shape of the glass maximizes the aromas.
  5. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    The only thing that matters in the size of the opening of the glass. It's pretty common sense that the smaller the opening the more concentrated the aroma will be coming out. Outside of that, I do not believe shape or size of the glass means anything, it's all just personal preference.
    jglowe77, gshak and azorie like this.
  6. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    It can't be that huge of a part if they "both will taste great." regardless of the glass...
  7. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Disciple (335) Sep 14, 2011 Missouri

    It absolutely matters.
  8. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    Care to explain..?

    As Hanzo said, it matters if there's a smaller opening, but other than that. Why do you say the shape makes a difference?
  9. codysjb

    codysjb Devotee (424) Jun 16, 2010 Prince Edward Island (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    The both TASTE great but they dont both hold the aroma and nose. Like with wine glasses, the aroma and smell of the beer is greater if there is a large, air filled portion of the glass that holds the smell (like in a red wine glass or tulip/sniffer). Being that a majority of how we interpret flavor comes from smell rather than taste, this has a huge impact. If you dont believe me try drinking a stout right out of the bottle without sniffing it then pouring it into a glass where it has room to breath, you'll notice a difference.
  10. grandmachine

    grandmachine Initiate (89) Mar 11, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Of course it does.
    Which is why I always drink out of a red Dixie cup. Some people prefer Solo, but Dixie has never let me down. The plastic adsorbing the beer really balances the beer out.
    HarryPotHead, jrnyc and evilc like this.
  11. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    I said in my original post that I already know it makes a difference to pour, and that smell+taste are really similar/close... I don't like drinking craft/good beer from a bottle for that reason.
  12. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    Does the style of glass really matter when drinking beer?

    That would have been a pretty good comment if I had said "cup" though.
  13. codysjb

    codysjb Devotee (424) Jun 16, 2010 Prince Edward Island (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    But the amount of room to breath and concentrate aromas in a sniffer/tulip verses no room in a pint is what were getting at here. More room = more concentrated aromas = better flavor
  14. YogiBeer

    YogiBeer Initiate (0) May 10, 2012 Illinois

  15. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    Can't argue with that.
    YogiBeer likes this.
  16. jbertsch

    jbertsch Meyvn (1,125) Dec 14, 2008 Massachusetts

    Depends what you mean by "really matter".

    Does your glassware choice completely kill a beer or make a mediocre beer excel? No.

    But if maximizing enjoyment of beer is important to you, especially if you dropped serious cash on a particular bottle, then yeah you should seek out an appropriate glass.

    My tulip (or any glass with a tapered opening) gives me the most concentrated aromas, so I use that most often at home. And I love a beer's aroma just as much as it's flavor.
    seplo, YogiBeer and LeRose like this.
  17. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    Not really, otherwise the beer wouldn't still smell and taste awesome when tailgating, camping etc. . .

    (Says the guy w/ about 100 different pieces of glassware, sigh).
    2beerdogs and humalupa like this.
  18. StarRanger

    StarRanger Initiate (167) Nov 27, 2006 North Dakota

  19. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    I figure that so long as you aren't like... pouring a small amount of beer into a big glass, it doesn't really matter. But no matter what, the last few sips ought to be the least enjoyable, because they're further from the nose.
  20. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    I got one of those glasses for free at the Sam Adams Brewery when I was in Boston, and I've used that for about half of the beers I've had, and then standard pint glasses for the other half ... I haven't noticed a difference in any of the beers that I had one of in each glass. I feel like I worded that oddly. Oh well.
  21. JoeyBeerBelly

    JoeyBeerBelly Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2006 New York

    Every beer tastes better when it's in a frosted beer mug!...

    I'm just joking, seriously though I do find myself using a non-frosted beer mug for a lot of styles but I always use a tulip/snifter for Imperial/Double beers and a chalice for most Belgians so I voted "yes".​

    dachshunddude86 and davey101 like this.
  22. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,280) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
    Premium Member

    I'm not a total fanatic about it, but I can tell that it makes a difference in the overall sensory experience (visual appeal, aroma, taste). The right glass enhances things and I don't think it is subjective. There is definitely science involved, but as stated already it isn't going to make the mediocre great or vice versa. I have a hard time picking out any differences between my stemless tulip/snifter type glass (OK...WalMart white wine glasses) and the Sam Adams perfect pint glass - taste/aroma seems very similar on the same brew. But between either of those and a plain old pint glass, some of the intensity is lost especially in the aroma. In my opinion, the visual is part of the sensory experience too - whether it is the right glass or just a nice glass to capture that visual thing I don't know. But when I look at the pics posted in the daily what are you drinking thread, some pours just look spectacular and make me want to drink the beer (or sit at my desk and drool during lunch).

    My opinion is the glass just adds to the experience, so why not try and use the "right" one. SWMBO got me some Spiegelau glasses for Christmas, and I love 'em and can't really say why - they are just "better" (if the damned tulip would just come off backorder...) YMMV...
  23. coltsr2

    coltsr2 Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 United Kingdom (England)

    I do think its personal preference and agree with all the comments here already, i like to use goblet wine type/style glasses for strong ales and barley wines, and tall glasses for bitters and lagers.....somebody once said to me wouldn't want to serve champaign in a plastic mug.....

    Some beers definitely look better and more appealing in stylish glasses...and lets face it many beers are far superior to champaign....a nice picture often looks better in a nice frame....and a nice beer will always look better in the appropriate glass imo..
  24. frazbri

    frazbri Crusader (740) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    The right glass will enhance the drinking experience. (It may be a minor enhancement, but it does make a wee bit of difference.)
  25. vader06

    vader06 Initiate (0) Jan 13, 2011 Michigan

    It makes a big difference drinking from a glass.
  26. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Disciple (335) Sep 14, 2011 Missouri

    Presentation, temperature control (stem), surface area, tapering in or out for aroma concentration/retention, comfort in hand, comfort on mouth, historical appreciation, etc.
  27. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2011 California

    Well I prefer to not be drinking out of a glass with a shattered rim, otherwise, they're all about the same.

    Otherwise, I prefer stemmed tulips so I can look down my nose and past my ginormous beer belly to sneer at all the newbian retards drinking their crafty beer. Blue Moon my ass.

    And as always, Pinkies OUT Bitches!!!
    2beerdogs and jglowe77 like this.
  28. Icarus

    Icarus Initiate (175) Oct 6, 2012 Minnesota

    Bypass the glass and drink straight from the barrel. :wink:
  29. fujindemon74

    fujindemon74 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 Pennsylvania

    A snifter allows a greater surface area to come in contact with the hand which leads to greater transfer of heat into the imperial stouts, barleywines, and old ales I like so much.

    In this event, it really matters to me.
    jglowe77 likes this.
  30. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    I cannot tell the difference myself. until i open my eyes.:grinning:
  31. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    As long as it's clean and has enough of an opening to get a good nose-ful, it's all good.

    I would imagine that even the majority of BAs can't really detect any difference, it's more of just a matter of using what is in each person's mind is the "right" glass.
  32. imbibehour

    imbibehour Poo-Bah (6,538) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Tapered glassware will concentrate the aromas to a point, / \ usually making it easier to detect and enhance aromas and sometimes flaws. Which is why lots of people prefer snifters, globes, wine goblets and so forth, versus classic non tappered glassware \ / shaker pints etc... since the aromas just open up and can escape. It's very subtle sometimes, other times not so much. Also depends on how you pour. It also depends on the beer, some bouquets are so large that you will still get something off of them even in a shaker pint.

    Other glassware physically can show off a style much more impressively. Tall pilsner glasses and pokals, Belgian tulips and chalices unique to each own brewery. These show a range of colors, and in the case of the pilser glasses, they show a great amount of rising carbonation, and of course throw in the champagne flutes when appropriate also to really get a wow factor. Stemware (as opposed to pints) will also help keep your hands off the glass (if you use them) preventing you from dirtying it's appearance (smudges, fingerprints), and warming it up (which has its benefits also).

    Color and bouquet is part of the experience. Do you absolutely have to have the correct glass all the time? Of course not (one part of that is you just may not have access to one), but it greatly enhances the experience which is what we are all out there for. Do I have a distinct Belgian glass for every beer out there? no, but for my favs I sure do. Grab maybe 2 for each style of beer you drink often, you'll slowly start finding your favorites.

    Often I still use nonics cause they are practical, and fit well to style sometimes, they are easier to just carry, but for beers you want to really accent aromas you probably want a nice tapered glass. Either way, you'll live.

    All depends on what experience you want to have.
  33. VitoFerrante

    VitoFerrante Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Does not matter, as long as it is open at the top and you can get your nose in! That is what she said.....
  34. ColinStClaire

    ColinStClaire Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2012 Washington

    I notice quite a difference. I have a fairly strong sense of smell. For example I had some Celebration last night in a regular pint glass. I usually drink it in my New Belgium globe. While it was still delicious, I get way more fruity scents when drinking from the globe. It's not a big enough diff for a lot of people, and it isn't the end of the world for me. Would I prefer a tulip or snifter? Why sure! But I'll drink my shaker pint of whatever and be happy too! Does it matter? Well, if I spend $10+ on a bomber, you'd better believe I'm gonna do what I can to get the best experience I can.
  35. jglowe77

    jglowe77 Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 Massachusetts

    I think this is the most reasonable explanation of the glass-choice issue.
  36. jglowe77

    jglowe77 Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 Massachusetts

    Only beer noobs drink with the pinkie in. :astonished:
    Jason and 2beerdogs like this.
  37. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,538) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Really matter? No. But I hate shaker pints, prefer tulips and red wine glasses.
  38. 2beerdogs

    2beerdogs Poo-Bah (2,050) Jan 31, 2005 California
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    A difference, yes. How much, usually slight. At times, not noticeable. Re Dixie cup? NOOOO! But I wouldn't turn it down if it was a good one. Then again, great glassware with Bud Lite, or other swill, I'll pass.:slight_smile:
  39. --Dom--

    --Dom-- Disciple (305) Dec 22, 2012 Missouri

    The shape of the glass affects which part of the tongue whatever you're drinking comes into contact with first. It's why you can drink the same beer out of two different glasses and it'll taste different. Try it if you think I'm crazy. A wine enthusiast explained it to me a while back and it makes perfect sense to me. Its why you drink different wines out of different glasses, the same principle applies to any drink.
    albertq17 likes this.
  40. ChanChan

    ChanChan Devotee (475) Dec 12, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Actually, the beauty of science is that it is always open to question and revision!
    dachshunddude86 and davey101 like this.
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