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. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,229) Mar 18, 2010 California

    We need Mythbusters to do a show on recommended beer glassware for popular styles of beer.
  2. jzeilinger

    jzeilinger Poo-Bah (5,070) Dec 4, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Supporter Beer Trader

    PtY for me in Styrofoam.
  3. StubFaceJoe

    StubFaceJoe Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2011 Colorado

    A big factor for me is in allowing for a good pour. If your pouring into an oversized tulip you can get a good amount of head on a beer to really release it.
  4. tofuspeedstar

    tofuspeedstar Initiate (185) Jul 12, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I pour pretty much every beer in the same 8oz snifter.

  5. ChanChan

    ChanChan Devotee (469) Dec 12, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    I don't think that would be a good idea, it would result in a lot of good beer going to waste! I can envision these douche-bags shooting bottles of Rare out of cannons or some chit like that!
  6. Cugabuh

    Cugabuh Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2012 Massachusetts

    Depends on the style. A hefeweizen is something I most definitely want in a particular glass so the sediment can be rooted out.

    Big hefty double IPAs and imperial stouts are something I usually put into a nice bulbous glasses that can release the aromas a bit.

    An IPA or Pale Ale works just fine in a standard pint glass!

    That being said...I'm not gonna hoot and hollar if a bartender serves me any/all brews in a pint glass. It gets the job done. Not everyone can be sophisticated craft beer drinkers like us BA nerds. After all...we are nerds.
    decimator likes this.
  7. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Defender (637) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    From the majority of the serious responses it looks like wrong glass = tastes great, less smelling.
    EyePeeAyBryan likes this.
  8. JeffTheJuice

    JeffTheJuice Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    "The Majestic Pint

    Dr. Michael Lewis, Ph.D., professor emeritus of brewing science at U.C. Davis, and highly regarded as one of beer’s leading advocates, is on a personal and professional campaign for a move back to what he calls the “majestic pint.” Simply put, he wants to dropkick the shaker glass back behind the bar where it originally came from. In a paper he just presented at the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA) World Brewing Congress, he states some jarring points about the spirits shaker:
    Dr. Lewis’ Arguments Against the Shaker Pint
    • …almost all beer, whether craft-brewed or made by the national brewers, is served in the ugly, nondescript “Shaker” glass, or straight-sided pint, that fails in every dimension to promote and support the product.
    • The same glass is used throughout the bar and restaurant trade to serve water, soda, iced tea and milk; this assures beer of similar low-level commodity status instead of the premium status it deserves.
    • Though the straight-sided pint glass can be tarted-up with a logo to improve the perception of the beer it contains, the glass still offers no technical support for the product and cannot contribute in any significant way to enhancing the consumer’s experience.
    • …the glass [shaker pint] is almost perversely designed to dissipate those very items the glass should enhance—that is: to help stabilize foam and to help entrap beer aroma. Both these benefits best accrue when the glass is narrower at the top than below i.e. some variation of the tulip-shaped glass.
    In speaking with Dr. Lewis about the majestic pint glass mission, he shared that as soon as one leaves the U.S., there is scarcely a shaker pint glass to be found. Based on his—and maybe confirmed by your beery travels too—the shaker pint is a phenomenon unique to the good ol’ US of A.
    The MBAA has a new and very useful educational Beer Steward Certificate program that I’ve been working my way through as of late. In chapter five they address serving beer, and ask an interesting question: “How many $100 bottles of wine would a restaurant sell if the wine was poured into an iced tea glass?” Good point if you ask me."

    While I agree with Vinnie and Natalie, why do they themselves sell shakers? hmmm
    frazbri likes this.
  9. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (6,368) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I think the biggest differences are shown in the smell and appearance (for appearance I always think about using weizen glass with a hefeweizen) but I am certainly not a stickler for always using the proper glass - I pretty much stick with with my tulip, snifter, and weizen glasses most of the time.
  10. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    Yes and no. Beer isn't destroyed by a pint glass, but specialty glassware certainly accentuates it.

    Much of it depends on the features - the curves, the opening, a nucleation point, etc, etc. Also, you experience beer with multiple senses, not just your tastebuds. Beer looks like shit in a shaker pint glass, but lovely in specialty glassware. And the right glassware with a nucleation point keeps the head up, which keeps the appearance and the aroma up. Changing the mental angles of sight and smell will enhance your tastebuds, even if the beer technically should taste the same.

    Bottom line - it's rather pointless to not use a nice piece of glassware. You can certainly get by on a single Duvel tulip for 100% of your beers, and you don't need a huge collection, but the shaker pint should die.
    zrbeer1579 likes this.
  11. matrix64015

    matrix64015 Initiate (166) Jun 23, 2009 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    The tulip or a cognac snifter are my go-to glasses. Def the smell factor is huge. But also isn't there a difference in the carbonation release/retention? I thought I read somewhere that skinnier glasses release carbonation slower than wide glasses. Thus drinking styles like a lambic & certain IPAs stay carbonated a bit longer & don't gain that syrupy taste as quickly?
  12. seplo

    seplo Disciple (376) Sep 8, 2009 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    It makes a HUGE difference as far as smelling the aromas and i believe a little in the taste.For example: i have had a shit ton of Smuttynose IPA in my time and have had it both out of my tulip and a pint glass and just like most ppl on this thread the tulip makes a difference as far as the aromas of the beer but i'll go a little further and say in the taste as well.Smuttynose or any beer for that matter doesnt smell or taste the same(at least to me) in a pint glass as it does out of a tulip...CHEERS
  13. ColinStClaire

    ColinStClaire Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2012 Washington

    Taste and smell are so closely related, so if a glass has an effect on the smell, it will in fact have an effect on the taste.
  14. Danny1217

    Danny1217 Champion (852) Jul 15, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    My Samuel Adams perfect pint glasses do a fine job of concentrating aromas. But, I do feel a little fancier when I use my Cigar City snifter.
  15. Jayman931

    Jayman931 Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2011 Mississippi

    Snifter is my favorite. The Sam Adams glass is really nice as well. Its actually pretty simple why the shape of glass matters. More surface area will let off more aroma. The sense of smell and taste are intertwined. Plug your nose and drink your favorite beer....the flavor will change dramatically. The top of the glass of a snifter is smaller in diameter than the rest of the glass. This holds the aroma in the glass and around the top of the glass longer. The glass matters.

  16. CUE45

    CUE45 Initiate (0) Jul 29, 2008 Virginia
    Beer Trader

  17. BlowstotheBody

    BlowstotheBody Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2012 Florida

    I don't think it's as massive an issue as some would have you believe, but it does matter. The difference between using a tulip vs a weizen glass for a particular beer won't be as great as the difference between actually pouring into a glass vs drinking from the bottle/can.

    Certain beers like barleywines, imperial stouts or Belgian strong ales will be best suited for a snifter because of the complexity of their aromas. The narrowed opening will enhance aroma (which is linked to taste perception) and will accomodate these styles' minimal carbonation. Meanwhile, an IPA could use a tulip because of the aroma enhancement and the slightly larger, angled out opening allows the brew to maintain its head. Pilsner glasses keep the carbonation nice and lively for Pils and other lagers of which this attribute is a hallmark.

    Plus, different glasses make you look cool.
  18. zrbeer1579

    zrbeer1579 Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2012 Illinois

    To me glass style does matters. Even though I only have two types of beer glasses. Two 16 oz nonic's and a 20 oz snifter. Thinking about getting a tulip. I love the snifter because it makes so much easier to swirl and agitate beer. Thus, releasing more aromas and flavors(and warms the beer a bit quicker). Especially, since I love smelling beer.

    Like some has said, certain glasses does make a different for the array of beer styles. Which could be enhancing aroma, support head, and/or showcasing the beer's body. It is better to use a specially glass to enhance the beer experience. But sometimes, it comes to personal preferences.
  19. zstef99

    zstef99 Initiate (41) Dec 25, 2008 New York

    If your entire hand is wrapped around a pint glass, how can your hand possibly cover more surface area on a snifter? Your hand only has so much surface-area covering capability, and that capability is way exceeded by the surface area available on a pint glass.
  20. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    A better question would be, does the style of beer matter when drinking a beer? This site has made people so organized and rating-focused that I think sometimes they fail to recognize that beer comes before catEgorization, which is really only a tool for pundits and bloggers
  21. CircusBoy

    CircusBoy Initiate (0) Mar 10, 2008 Ohio

    I believe certain glasses can enhance the drinking experience depending on style/glass. I've had people say they don't taste a difference but that's not what it's about for me; rather enhancing specific characteristics that you need to look for in a beer. Aroma, drinkability, and just plain comfort come into play depending on which beer I'm drinking and which glass I choose.
  22. SerialTicker

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

    I feel like snifters and the like make you look like a chick.
  23. imbrue001

    imbrue001 Aspirant (213) Aug 6, 2010 Pennsylvania

    If you don't know the obvious answer to this question, it just means that you haven't tried enough beer.
  24. yamar68

    yamar68 Initiate (0) Apr 1, 2011 Minnesota

    It doesn't really matter as long as you use a straw.
    Steimie likes this.
  25. fujindemon74

    fujindemon74 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I don't know about you, but I rarely see ANYONE completely wrap their hand around a pint glass of any variety.
    It's usually only finger pads, and typically not even all 5.
    More frequently though, I see others and myself "palming" snifters.
  26. fujindemon74

    fujindemon74 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Why stop there?
    Drinking beer from any glass instead of a bottle makes you look like a BA.
  27. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (789) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    i voted no. The glassware may have some effect but not enough to care much about.
  28. Steimie

    Steimie Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2012 Michigan

    Paging cosmicevan...
  29. fujindemon74

    fujindemon74 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 Pennsylvania

    So we've learned that...

    the point/purpose of just about anything will be lost on some people either through apathy or disbelief.
    Welcome to Earth.
  30. Ricelikesbeer

    Ricelikesbeer Zealot (578) Nov 29, 2006 Colorado

    yes, you are correct on this. A pilsner glass does not show off the aromatics of a beer the same way that say, a wide mouth goblet or snifter does. There is a reason brandy and bourbon glasses are wider too.
  31. fujindemon74

    fujindemon74 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 Pennsylvania

    It's just like narrow hips don't show off a woman's...
  32. brewtus

    brewtus Zealot (556) Dec 29, 2012 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Just have a friend pour it into your cupped hands, you can trap all of the aroma while having an easily adjustable opening
    searsclone likes this.
  33. BlowstotheBody

    BlowstotheBody Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2012 Florida

    I don't associate masculinity or femininity with drinking or glassware. But knowing which glass to use for which occasion does display a certain level of knowledge; that's not to say that that some dude who uses a pint for everything doesn't have more knowledge than the guy with a 10-cabinet goblet collection. Some people may see it as too much effort for too small a reward to use appropriate glassware, and that's fair enough. As I said, I don't think it has tremendous impact on your beer. I just don't understand when or why using the ideal tool for a job became uncool.
  34. AlaskanYoung

    AlaskanYoung Disciple (379) Dec 1, 2011 Arkansas

    Just bought 8 styles of glasses BA recommends today. Usually pour all beer into a pint, but theres been so much uproar about it in the forms lately. Cost me $85. Hope glass makes a real diff. I also bought a boot haha
  35. Sneers

    Sneers Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2009 Pennsylvania

    The hypothesis that different parts of the tongue are responsible for different flavors has been largely disproven.

    That said, I definitely think it's true that certain styles of glassware may empirically make certain aspects of a beer more prevalent, but I've never seen any real science supporting that fact. Even those points in Dr. Lewis's paper barely rise above common sense (I would hope the actual paper has more technical details and that the folks at simply didn't report them).

    Personally, as much as I might like to say that enhancing flavor/aroma is the main determinant of my glassware choices, historical use is really my main factor for a given beer.
  36. --Dom--

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

    If you're tongue is wider in the middle than at the front like everyone else then you have more taste buds in the middle of your tongue than in the front. While its true there's no such thing as flavor zones or whatever there are definitely areas with higher concentrations of taste buds.
  37. Oshy

    Oshy Initiate (0) Oct 9, 2012 Wisconsin

    Pretty much my go to glass for most everything. Don't really dig stems.

    PABSTMASTER Initiate (0) Feb 23, 2009 Pennsylvania

    The Sam Adams glass is great. I don't favor the brewery.
  39. decimator

    decimator Zealot (572) Jun 1, 2009 Ontario (Canada)

    I must have 40 or so glasses but I always end up using the same ones:
    Low ABV beers - pint/pub glass, sometimes a mug
    High ABV beers - goblet/chalice, sometimes a mug
    German wheat beers - Weizen glass

    It does make a slight difference to the flavour & aroma but I find it is minimal overall. I find temperature has more of an effect then choice of glassware.
  40. Johnny5

    Johnny5 Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2008 Minnesota

    I laughed out loud at this as it brought back memories of a work trip I was on in San Francisco. A work colleague/fellow beer lover from the area gave me a bottle of PtE. While sitting in my hotel room the night before flying home (a hotel that didn't have a bar I could grab a glass from) I resorted to drinking it out of a styrofoam coffee cup. That was my first PtE and I enjoyed it in style. For drawing that memory out of me I thank you...
    jzeilinger likes this.
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