Beer Break Vol. 2, No. 10
How to pour a beer
Dec. 13, 2001
It may sound unlikely, but pouring a beer can be controversial. Some would
advocate pouring it directly in the middle of the glass, throwing off a great
deal of head and releasing all the C02 possible. Others would have you pour
it gently down the side of a glass, leaving almost no head.
We defer to these tips from Michael Jackson in his book "Ultimate Beer."
Pouring an ale
* A gentle, steady pour down the side of the tilted glass will stop the beer
from foaming excessively.
* b) Steepen the angle and pour more directly to avoid the beer being too
flat. Aim for one "finger" of foam.
c) Too much creaminess will rob the beer of its appetizingly bitter
character. The hop oils will migrate from the beer itself and hide in the
Pouring a stout
* Pour stout slowly, to allow the head to develop. If it grows too quickly,
stop for moment.
* A two-staged pour will make for a denser, creamier, more solid head, which
will suit the coffeeish flavors of the stout.
* A bottled stout will have a rockier, less rich head and a more natural
flavor than the "draft" versions containing a "widget" (nitrogen capsule).
Pouring a pilsner
* Bottles may take less than seven minutes prescribed for a draft, but a real
pilsner must have a blossoming head.
* A soft, sustained carbonation further enlivens the golden color with a
consistent rise of small bubbles (known as the "bead").
* The head should rise, almost like a soft ice cream, above the rim of the
glass. This brings forward the hop aroma and holds back bitterness to the
Pouring a wheat beer
* Beers containing yeast have high carbonation, so an especially gentle pour
is required. The Belgians wet the glass to control the head.
* In Bavaria, wheat beer is typically served with a huge head, especially if
it is a bottle-conditioned example. Some yeast is included in the pour.
* If the beer is deemed insufficiently cloudy, the last few drops may be
rolled in the bottle to loosen the remaining yeast sediment. This is then
added to the glass.
For information about "Ultimate Beer" and other books by Jackson:
Brewed by the Huyghe Brewery in Belgium
From the Celebrator Beer News Blind Tasting Panel:
This beer will have you seeing pink elephants in no time. The nose includes
hints of baked apples, sweet malt and spicy citrus. Creamy, chewy, warm, rich
flavors with a long, lingering finish; this strong beer is surprisingly
well-balanced with pleasant cherry wood notes. A good beer to enjoy with a
Brewed by Rio Grande Brewing in New Mexico
Real Beer tasting notes:
The 2001 edition pours a deep reddish brown. Malty, nose-filling aroma. Rich,
full flavor, toffeeish, maybe a bit of chocolate. Warm and alcoholic. This is
at least a doppelbock, if not more. The monks of St. Francis of Paula first
brewed doppelbock to sustain them during Lent. This beer tastes big enough to
last you from Christmas until Lent.