How do you control beer serving temps?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Maestro0708, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Maestro0708

    Maestro0708 Aspirant (272) Feb 27, 2015 Kentucky
    Beer Trader

    Hey folks,

    Since ideal beer serving temperatures are above refrigerator temps, how do you control and measure your beers serving temperature?

    I have been told to throw a bottle of red wine in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool it but not bring the temperature so low as if you were to leave it in the fridge before consumption. Perhaps the same could work for beer?

    What are your thoughts?
    Harrison8 likes this.
  2. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Savant (995) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    A crappy bottle of red wine might be easier to drink after spending 15 minutes in the freezer, but it's not going to be better for it.

    I might be a beer advocate, but I'm also a wine connoisseur. If I ever took a bottle of wine near the freezer, my wife would slap me.
  3. Maestro0708

    Maestro0708 Aspirant (272) Feb 27, 2015 Kentucky
    Beer Trader

    Well, I appreciate the tip. A wine connoisseur I am not, just wondering what others BAs do to drink their beer at optimal temperature :slight_smile:
  4. Premo88

    Premo88 Meyvn (1,421) Jun 6, 2010 Texas

    I worked harder on my pacing (slowing down) than the temperature control, the upshot being I finish most of my beers way warmer than they started. I also tend to start most of my beers near ice cold, which some consider a big foul, but what happens is I get to experience a beer's full range of notes from very cold to about 60 degrees.

    Personally, I wouldn't sweat it too much. Unless you live on either pole, you can always let a beer sit and warm. Plus, how does anybody consume 12 oz. (or more) of beer at one single temperature? Chances are they're not ... they're drinking a beer in a range of temperatures, a range possibly as wide as 15-20 degrees.
    Soke, paymerick, KingCobra686 and 7 others like this.
  5. Maestro0708

    Maestro0708 Aspirant (272) Feb 27, 2015 Kentucky
    Beer Trader

    I definitely try to let my beer warm as well. Easier to do with bombers. I like to note the difference in taste as it warms.

    Premo88 and steve50 like this.
  6. donspublic

    donspublic Meyvn (1,204) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I have found for some IPA's they can be astringent at lower temps. If it doesn't taste right, I usually let it sit awhile and do something else. If I am going to have another, I will usually bring it out of the fridge and let it sit while I finish the other. I have one dedicated beer cooler that is set around 45, and everything else goes in the fridge, which can be between 35 and 38 depending on where it is sitting, so usually have to let beers coming from the fridge set out a while. I have been to some bars where their stouts are served way too cold, I will usually order the stout about 15 min before I want it.
  7. utopiajane

    utopiajane Poo-Bah (2,379) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    red wine needs 2 hours at least in the fridge and white wine four. (just my preferences) As for beer, I take them out of the fridge and wait. 20 minutes should give you a nice cellar temp!
  8. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Devotee (497) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Typically, I'll just deal with the temp stuff by pouring a smaller serving. If I'm using a wine glass. I'll cup it, and maybe gently swirl it to bring it up to temp.
    If the beer is a style that demands it. I just store them ambient temp. In the winter, that works out pretty well and I don't chill those beers down until after I open it. If the first pour feels a bit warm. The second glass typically is right in the sweet spot.
    If I have to use it. The quick chill can work, if you use a timer. Pro-tip. Use a damp paper towel. I've gotten ice crystals in like 20 minutes using that method. I'd also be cautious with anything with some sediment on the bottom as the co2 trapped in it might have a desire jump out of solution, and rupture when you open it.
    If I were more particular, I'd get a separate fridge just for beer and leave it at 45ºf.
    Maestro0708 and utopiajane like this.
  9. scottakelly

    scottakelly Devotee (479) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    Have a beer fridge. I keep mine on the warmest setting, which is 55 degrees. Added bonus is the wife won't give me heck if the beer is taking up too much shelf space!
  10. Kingfred

    Kingfred Initiate (31) Jan 6, 2016 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Wine fridge for me. It's a small one, but it does the trick of keeping my beer temps at a perfect 55 degrees
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,003) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I do as Maria posted above: for beers that I prefer to drink warmer than refrigerator temperature I simply take the bottle out and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

  12. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 Aspirant (266) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia
    Beer Trader

    I just take it out of the fridge and guestimate

    If it's too cold, I let it warm up in the glass
    tanis38, rgordon and DoctorZombies like this.
  13. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,266) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    I used the dial in the rear of the top shelf of the DBF*
    * Ya know, thinking about it now ---I don't see this abbreviation much anymore for the "Dedicated Beer 'Fridge".
  14. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,034) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    This is a bit extreme. I just throw it in the fridge and drink it when I get around to it. I don't compulsively worry about all of the idiosyncratic routines that beer advocates seem to advocate for. Really, think about it. Let's say you took your perfectly cellared stout, poured it into your appropriate glassware you painstakingly hand washed with unscented soap and an organic grassfed cashmere shamois, and now you wait with a freshly calibrated thermoprobe for the perfect serving temp. Do any of these steps really matter if you had some curry for dinner and your palate is off? How about a pilsner in the summer after you mow the lawn? All that debris in the air is going to inflame your sinuses to some degree, right? My point is this, beer is, in my mind, art. Yes, there is science behind it, but it is meant to be fun. It's meant to push boundaries and enhance our lives, it's meant to create memories. Do as you wish, but I encourage you to not take it so serious.
  15. DoctorZombies

    DoctorZombies Poo-Bah (2,155) Feb 1, 2015 Florida
    Beer Trader

    In addition to the "wine fridge" set at 55 degrees that I have, I too take beers out of the regular refrigerator and let them warm up on the counter for about 20 minutes. The avg. 'fridge is set to cool food at 38 - 40 degrees. Perfect for El Presidente (kidding, but cold Mexican beer is better cold, IMO) but in general a bit too cold to drink for many styles of beer...

    Last month the Mrs. got me for my birthday a food/beverage thermometer - "Super-Fast Thermapen" by ThermoWorks. Highly recommended by chefs AND beer geeks. Great product!

    For example, took this morning's stout out of the 'fridge to "warm" as I walked the dogs. Approximately 40 minutes later, I poured the beer and it had warmed to 53 degrees. Still a little on the chill side, but there you go. By 60 degrees my Bourbon County Brand Stout was sublime!

    Let big beers and stouts warm up, and drink well friend! Cheers!
  16. Squire123

    Squire123 Poo-Bah (1,508) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    I find if the beer is too cold swallowing quickly warms it up.
    #16 Squire123, Mar 18, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  17. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,128) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    As others have mentioned, I find 15-20 min. warming outside the fridge to work fairly well.

    That said, for many beers, especially when reviewing, I actually enjoy sipping the beer and enjoying the changes in the beer's aromas and flavors as the beer warms from fridge to almost room temperature. For some beers there's an opening up of the aromas and flavors that has helped me understand why I might want to even pay any attention at all to serving temperatures and/or glassware shapes.

    (Also, since I'm a cheapskate, knowing how the flavors and aromas change as the beer warms helps me decide which beers are worth my time and money to have again and which I'm going to avoid even when offered for free. :slight_smile:)
    #17 drtth, Mar 18, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
    cjgiant, Maestro0708 and Squire123 like this.
  18. MNAle

    MNAle Champion (811) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Seriously! I mean, seriously? (I mourn the death of the adverb! :slight_frown: Grammar is my affliction, I know...)

    OK, seriously... :wink:

    I agree with your general point. I have one of those small cube-shaped 'fridges that I use for beer. It is set at the low 40's. But, it is frequently too small and the overflow goes into the regular 'fridge.

    I'll try to put the lighter, hoppier beers there and the heavier, maltier beers in the small 'fridge when the small one overflows, but I won't reshuffle everything just to do that.

    As far as drinking the beers out of the regular 'fridge? I just take them out, open them, pour, and begin enjoying. Not worth fretting over, IMO.
    rgordon, ebin6, cjgiant and 1 other person like this.
  19. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,034) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    In my defense I dropped out of college, in your defense my major was in English.
    zstef99, ebin6, cjgiant and 2 others like this.
  20. Uniobrew31

    Uniobrew31 Zealot (544) Jan 16, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    You have to be careful with some types of beer when chilling them in the freezer. I have found that Chilling a Belgian quad or dubble too quickly results in massive over carbonation. Once the cork shot off a bottle of chimay blue as soon as I removed the cage after about a 20 minute trip to the freezer.
    Maestro0708 likes this.
  21. Maestro0708

    Maestro0708 Aspirant (272) Feb 27, 2015 Kentucky
    Beer Trader

    Thanks everyone for your responses!

    I'll try to be patient enough to let my beers warm a bit before drinking.

    A separate fridge set at a higher temperature would be ideal. I may check into that thermometer as well!

  22. Maestro0708

    Maestro0708 Aspirant (272) Feb 27, 2015 Kentucky
    Beer Trader

    Thanks for the recs, I don't drink wine often... My wife only likes the super sweet stuff and ice cold. Yikes!
    Harrison8 and utopiajane like this.
  23. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (559) Mar 28, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    I like to plan my beer consumption. Start with something that should be drank cold like a pils or even IPA. Then pull the next beer/s out of the fridge accordingly while drinking my current beer. Most often i start light and pull all the dark beers ahead of time.

    I prefer to drink my beers warmer rather than colder so I often pull my beers out as early as possible.

    If I need quicker warm time I like to put the beer in the couch cushions and cover with a pillow. Just make the wife aware so she doesn't sit on it.
    Maestro0708 likes this.
  24. lester619

    lester619 Zealot (513) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    :slight_smile:You are thinking about this way too much. If you like it cold drink it right out of the fridge, if not let it sit a while. Drinking beer is not supposed to be complicated.
  25. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Meyvn (1,489) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    I'll pull just about any beer out of the fridges (both are set around 36*F) and pour it in the glass and start consuming immediately.

    I do try and drink BA beers a little slower to see how they open up, as I find it interesting what notes disappear and appear as the beer approaches and surpasses its suggested serving temperature.
    Maestro0708 likes this.
  26. MNAle

    MNAle Champion (811) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Wouldn't this just insulate it and slow the warming time? (... unless you wife DOES sit on it! :slight_smile:)
    zstef99, rypkr and drtth like this.
  27. Maestro0708

    Maestro0708 Aspirant (272) Feb 27, 2015 Kentucky
    Beer Trader

    I agree with you for the most part. However, this is from Todd's "How to review a beer":

    I drink my beer right out of the fridge. If I drink it slowly, I can definitely detect changes as it warms. I'm interested in how (or if) others control the serving temps of their beer. Don't want to miss out on the beers true flavors!

    drtth and lester619 like this.
  28. Hoppy_Time

    Hoppy_Time Disciple (318) Jan 3, 2016 Maine
    Beer Trader

    I never put beer in the freezer, particularly if it is meant to be hazy, this can result in cold crashing, which drops yeast and proteins and other goodies out of the beer. Generally I rinse my glass with warm water before pouring a beer, Fridge temp plus slightly warm glass gives me a good cool starting temp that usually warms up great while I drink it. Big stouts go in the cellar and get drank at cellar temperature, that may be to warm for some but that's how I like it.
    Maestro0708 likes this.
  29. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (559) Mar 28, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Maybe??? The cushions tend to be warm themselves, kinda like putting a beer between the legs :grimacing:

    I could be wrong but it seems to work.
    Maestro0708 likes this.
  30. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (559) Mar 28, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    I can't imagine a limited time in the freezer will have much impact on yeast fluctuation. Have you seen hazy beers clear with this method?
  31. MNAle

    MNAle Champion (811) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Frequently, I'll pop a just purchased beer into the freezer to offset the warming in the car on the drive home. It only stays in the freezer for 5 minutes, 10 max, while I unload the car, put the other beer in the 'fridge, and change clothes. I've not noticed any ill effects.
  32. Hoppy_Time

    Hoppy_Time Disciple (318) Jan 3, 2016 Maine
    Beer Trader

    Yes I have seen this, while it may not be easily noticeable in super hazy IPA's, lighter German and Belgian styles can see noticeable effects of cold crashing after 20 to 30 minutes in a freezer, particularly if up right and placed upright and against frozen items. I have cold crashed individual bottles of homebrew where I've sucked up some trub.
  33. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (559) Mar 28, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    @Hoppy_Time @MNAle

    So I missed the part that said "I never put hazy beers in the freezer".

    Disregard my posts. I am going to blame it on beer and the iPhone.

    Premo88 likes this.
  34. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,034) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I'm curious how this works. Typically when a carbonated liquid is chilled the CO2 in solution tends to stay in solution
    Uniobrew31, drtth and jesskidden like this.
  35. scream

    scream Disciple (363) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    I have a cool unfinished basement where the temp usually stays in the 50's in the coolest area-that's where my beer stays. If I know someone likes their beer cold I put some in the frig for them.
    Premo88 likes this.
  36. Premo88

    Premo88 Meyvn (1,421) Jun 6, 2010 Texas

    Bombers are made for it, for sure.

    @TongoRad's idea of dumping two normal-sized bottles (11.2 or 12 oz.) of a German style into one big mug/glass/stein/whatever you got does this trick perfectly. And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense for the wide array of those good German lagers that are 6% ABV or under ... I mean, you were going to drink two or three (or more) bottles anyway, why not fill up a big mug and enjoy the spectrum of notes as the beers go from cold to cool?

    I say German styles but obviously you could try it with anything. The point, I think, is that we consider the big beers, the 8-9% ABV-plus crowd, as the kind of beer you want to let warm up, but the last half of a 24 oz. mug of good amber lager or German import can surprise you with its tastiness.
    TongoRad and Maestro0708 like this.
  37. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (1,987) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Supporter Beer Trader

    The dedicated beer fridge is truly best for going with the flow and not thinking too much about it. The only issue you'll find is calculating how long it will take to warm up a bit when you buy cold beer :wink:.
    Maestro0708 and Premo88 like this.
  38. rgordon

    rgordon Crusader (712) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I know. The internet has made a mockery of proper colloquialisms and useful obscure dialect. Language is so casual that good jokes go missing all of the time.
    Squire123 likes this.
  39. Maestro0708

    Maestro0708 Aspirant (272) Feb 27, 2015 Kentucky
    Beer Trader

    We have a small fridge in the garage that is not in use.. Haier mini fridge. It has a temperature dial with settings 1-10. Perhaps it could work for beer on warmer settings? May give it a shot! :grinning:
    john0721 and TongoRad like this.
  40. DrStiffington

    DrStiffington Meyvn (1,083) Oct 27, 2010 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I have a beer fridge for keeping IPAs, pales, lagers, etc. cool but not too cold, and the stouts and other "cellarable" big beers go in my basement where they stay cooler than room temp but warm enough to enjoy right away. I like my beer warmer than most people do.
    TongoRad likes this.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.