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Dispensing and Serving

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The Beer Brewing Process
1. Preparing the Ingredients
2. Cleaning and Sanitation
3. Making the Wort
4. Boiling the Wort
5. Cooling, Racking, and Aerating
6. Pitching the Yeast
7. Primary Fermentation
8. Conditioning the Beer
9. Packaging and Carbonation
10. Dispensing and Serving

The final test of your homebrew is in the drinking of it. Pouring homebrew from a bottle requires more care than many commercial beers due to the yeast sediment found at the bottom of the bottle. In addition, many home brewers take great care in choosing the appropriate glass for serving their beers.

Contents

Dispensing and Serving for the Beginning Homebrewer

The beginning home brewer will probably have bottled his or her beer and carbonated it by bottle conditioning. This means that the yeast will have carried out a small fermentation in the bottle, resulting in natural carbonation but also leaving a small layer of yeast at the bottom of the bottle.

Yeast are nutritious and harmless(although some claim that they cause gas) there is nothing wrong with ingesting the yeast and some do it religeously.

However, if you don't want the yeast to end up in your glass, pour carefully and leave the last bit of beer in the bottom of the bottle. Read the page on pouring from a bottle for a more detailed explanation.

Obviously, for that and other reasons, home brew should not be drunk directly from the bottle. You can read the section below on glassware, but in a pinch a good pint glass works well for all of the beer styles commonly brewed by beginning brewers.

Dispensing Beer

The first step is to get the beer out of the bottle, keg, or cask.

Serving Temperature

The proper serving temperature for beer is mostly a matter of personal taste, and . In Australia, anything more than a degree or two above freezing is considered "warm", while some English CAMRA members consider anything below 55 degrees F offensively cold.

As beer is cooled, it becomes more refreshing, but at the cost of losing flavor or aroma. Too cold, and almost any beer will become practically flavorless. On the other hand, warmer beer tends to have a thicker mouthfeel.

When in doubt, it is better to serve beer too cold than too warm, since the beer will eventually warm up in the glass.

Pouring From a Bottle

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Pouring home brew from a bottle may require a certain amount of finesse if you want to leave the yeast sediment at the bottom. See here for more detailed information.

Of course, it is not necessary to leave the yeast behind. The yeast is safe to drink and nutritious, and in some styles, such as hefeweizen and many Belgian beer styles, the flavor of the yeast makes an important contribution. Whether to avoid the yeast or not is mostly a matter of personal taste.

Dispensing Keg or Cask Beer

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Serving Beer

Getting the beer out of the bottle or keg is one thing; but you also need to know where to put it and whether to put anything else in there as well.

Glassware

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There are as many different types of glasses as there are styles of beer. The right glass can bring out different flavor and aroma characteristics of the beer making it an important part of the overall presentation of your creation.

Most English and American ale styles are traditionally served in a Pint glass. English or "Imperial" pints, and therefore English pint glasses, are 20 ounces, while American pints and pint glasses are 16 ounces. German lagers are often served in a Pilsner or Stein. Belgian ales are traditionally served in goblets resembling brandy snifters. Some other beers also have distinctive glasses associated with them; see the Beer glassware page for more detailed information.

Flavoring and blending beer

In most cases, all you really need is beer and a glass. However, there are a few special cases.

Fruit and fruit syrup

Berliner Weisse is traditionally served "mit Schuss", meaning with a shot of herb- or fruit-flavored syrup; it should also be served in a special goblet-style glass and drunk with a straw. See the Berliner Weisse entry for more information on this unique style.

Some wheat beers are sometimes served with a slice of lemon or orange, although purists often disapprove.

Blending beers

The tradition of blending beers from different casks, kegs, or bottles at serving time is longstanding in England, and survives today in traditional blends such as the Black and Tan.

Beer cocktails

While frowned on by most beer purists, beer, like almost anything else, can be mixed, blended, or shaken into a mixed drink.

Beer Tasting

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There are several factors to take into account when evaluating your beer but ultimately the adage "if it tastes good, it is good" wins out over all the others.

Food and Beer

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Of course, beer is even better with food, either used as an ingredient or paired with the right food. Visit the Pairing and Recipes page to explore the connection between beer and food.

What do I do next?

Enjoy your beer, and then brew another batch!

For the more adventurous brewer, you now have all of the equipment and most of the skills you need to make plenty of other fermented beverages, such as mead, wine, cider, or sake. Or you might want to try your hand at creating your own fermented foods.