Forget the naughty or nice lists, this is the only list you’ll need this holiday season!…
What is the ideal temperature to keep your beer fridge? Welp. The more important question is what temperature do I want to serve my beer? There are scads of articles about the ideal temperature for serving beer. We in the beer snob community tend to over complicate things. I’ve seen serving recommendations from 35 degrees to 68 degrees. That is a tinge obsessive if you ask me. You only need to keep three temperatures in mind when it comes to serving beer. Hold on. We’ll get to that.
Beer Temperature and Taste
The ingredients embedded in your favorite suds are engaged at certain temperatures. Cooler temperatures slow down carbonation, muting some of the flavor potential of the hops, grain, and yeast. These cooler temperatures are fine for some beer styles and tragic for others. Serving a Barrel-Aged anything at 40 degrees is defying the potential of that beer. You want the ingredients in those brews to dance together a while at warmer temps. As they do, you notice all the subtleties. Fruits become more jammy, stouts become more layered with bourbon sweetness offset by the bittering roasted notes. And the oak of the barrel whisps through your palate like a faint echo. But you still haven’t answered what is the best temperature for a beer fridge. And what are these three magical temperatures you speak of? Patience, grasshopper. Patience.
40 Degrees – Best Beer Serving Temperature – Lagers Pilsners
The best serving temperature for lagers and pilsners is 40 degrees. Put that check book away there’s more. This temperature is ideal for hoppier beers like IPA’s and dry beers like ciders. All the after you mow your lawn beers work well at this temp. These beers have inherent bitterness that is supported by the carbonation. Wheat beers like hefeweizen and wits are also perfect at this serving temp.
46 degrees – Best Beer Serving Temperature – Wild Ales
This temperature is ideal for lighter bodied wild ales and table beers. Grissette’s are quite refreshing propped up against this slightly autumn like breezy temp. I remember sipping on Side Project’s Biere du Pays at Side Project’s Cellar. Suddenly I was in a French farmhouse, circled around the dinner table with friends and family. Of course my friends spoke French in this fantasy so I couldn’t understand them, but it was nice. Nice story there, but are you ever going to get to answering the best temperature for a beer fridge? Please, just answer the question.
52 Degrees – Best Beer Serving Temperature – Stouts Barrel Aged Sours
This temperature is the starting point for your bolder beers. Barrel-aged fruited sours, lambics, gueuze, and Bourbon/spirit-aged stouts and barleywines. These beers have so much going on that they need a platform from which to shine. Serving it at 52 allows you to sip on it and notice its gradual maturation on our palate as the beer warms. Fruited sour beers come in glasses with stems. This allows you to use your hands around the bowl of the glass. Your hand helps the brew warm. As it does, complexities emerge like a turtle from its shell. By the last sip, your beers reach the cellar temperature.
What about the Beer Fridge Temp?
I have two beer fridges and a cellar of sorts. I keep one fridge below 40 degrees for my IPAs and lagers and the like. Beer fridge number two clocks in at above 45 degrees for my fruited sours and fruited Lambics. Fruit is a sticky wicket, because it has a life span. It’s difficulty to determine how long fruit integrity will hold up in cellar temperatures. I keep them a little cooler. Keeping these beers at cooler temperatures will delay the evolution of these wild-ales. I remedy that by drinking them early. I have the patience of a toddler.
My stouts and Gueuze stay in my cellar which is ideally set for 65ish degrees. In honesty mine is about 69-70, but who’s judging? I recognize most people do not have the space for that many fridges, nor do they want to spare the expense of it. That’s fine. You can keep your beer fridge at 40 degrees. Just plan to let the bottle of choice time to reach the ideal temperature. How long is that you say? Beer warms at about 3 degrees per 10 minutes.
These beers are typically served in stemmed glasses allowing you to use your hands around the bowl of the glass. Your hand helps the brew warm. As it does, more and more complexities are revealed. By the time you’re done, your beers is right at the temperature it has been held in the cellar. BTW, if you are looking to buy a beer fridge, check out our recommendations.