How To Pour the Perfect Beer

There’s nothing more disappointing than too much head…on your beer of course. While a nice, creamy half inch layer of foam at the top is delightful, a pint glass filled with the white stuff will ruin an otherwise tasty beverage. Hence, one might be wondering how to properly pour a beer. Thankfully, most experts generally agree on how to pour a beer and we won’t be arguing with the experts. Instead, we’ll lay out what they’re saying in a simple format for your reading and drinking pleasure. With our help, your days of waiting for the foam to go down one popped bubble at a time (while the beer gets warmer) will soon be over. Here’s a breakdown on how to pour a beer the right way.

This article is part of our Brews & Bottles Series.


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use a clean glass of proper size

1. Use A Clean Glass of Proper Size

Get yourself a clean glass that doesn’t have grime, oil or dirt anywhere on it. This is because foreign agents like microbes and dirt can affect both the texture and taste of the beer (plus, who wants to drink dirt?). You might also consider rinsing the glass with cold water or pre-chilling it so that the glass temperature and beer temperature are similar. Lastly, be sure the size of the glass matches the ounces in the bottle or can. For instance, if you have a 16 oz. bottle then you’ll want a proper pint glass to pour it in. If you’re pouring a 12 oz. bottle, get a 12 oz. glass, and so on. What’s ultimately important is that you’re filling the glass all the way to the top. You’re already learning how to pour a beer like a champ. Good for you!

 

tip the glass at a 45 degree angle

2. Tip the Glass at a 45 Degree Angle

Before you begin pouring, you want to position the glass at a 45 degree angle from the source. And don’t pour just yet because where you place the bottle, can or tap is equally important. Instead just stand there with the empty glass and marvel at your off-the-cusp geometry skills. Wow. Okay, moving on.

 

place beer source midpoint glass to pour

3. Place Beer Source at Midpoint of Glass to Pour

Just as crucial as glass angle is placement of the beer bottle, can or tap in relation to the top of the glass. You want the bottle or tap to hover around the midpoint of the glass opening–think of it like aiming for an invisible bullseye. Keep the source slightly elevated above the rim of the glass if possible.

 

put glass upright about halfway through pour

4. Put Glass Upright About Halfway Through Pour

Okay, things are going to get a little complicated at this stage, but we’re nevertheless confident you’ll learn how to pour a beer just right the first time out. Now, as you’re filling the glass with cold, delicious beer, you’re going to tilt that glass from its 45 degree angle into the upright position as the beer crosses the 1/3 to 1/2 point. This procedure involves moving your wrist slightly and carefully. Continue pouring as you go. Take note of the thin, dense layer of foam that’s forming on top of the beer.

 

let the beer settle before completion

5. Let the Beer Settle Before Completion

Like the mysterious carbonated entity that it is, foam has a tendency to grow and develop even after you’ve stopped pouring. Hence, you should stop short during the initial pour about an inch from the top of the glass. This will let the foam settle. The official suggested wait time is about 119.5 seconds, though that sounds excruciatingly long to us and we’re sure you can use your own judgment. Once the foam has settled, top off the beer and then take a sip. Ahhh, refreshing!

 

position angle of drink beer

6. In Summary

Remember, foam in and of itself is not a bad thing. It actually serves a purpose by releasing both aromatic and flavour components that would be otherwise obscured. Foam is also very rewarding in the texture department because it adds a sort of creamy component to the overall profile of the beer. However, too much foam is a bad thing. You’re ultimately aiming for about a half inch of thick foam that sits right at the top. If you can achieve that, then you’ve learned how to pour a beer like a true gent!

 

This article is part of our Brews & Bottles Series.

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You may also like:
The Ultimate Guide to Beer Types & Styles
The Ultimate Guide to Types Beer Glasses
Snake Venom is the World’s Strongest Beer at 67.5% ABV