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Perception of Serving Temperature

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So, I was recently chatting with a friend and he mentioned that he was upset that his kegerator was pouring at 40f rather than the 36f or 38f he was accustomed to and certainly not the 34f he had it set to.

This got me to thinking, a dangerous thing, and I wondered; what is the human ability (accuracy) to determine temperature?

I tried it, and used my family at guinea pigs, and I found that we could not figure that fine a difference. At least not better than chance.

What do you think? How dialed in is your sense of temp?
 

Cyclman

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So, does he swill his beers, drink them in a 36 degree room, or pour them out as they aclimate to room temperature?

Flavors do change with temp, but I doubt so dramatically.

I hate overchilled beer, though. Paying for flavors, then am numbed by their being too cold.
 

Stormcrow

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I don't know how extreme of a temp swing I'm talking about because I've never measured. But I've noticed most of my beers hit their peak flavor after they've warmed just little higher than the temp I serve at. I find this to be especially true with darker beers. They seem to transform in the glass. Your friend may have a blessing in disguise.
 
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Yeah, that's my feeling as well. I think some people just get fixated on a number.

I have a black lager that seems to hit it's stride as it warms a touch.
 

Yooper

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I am in a virtual beer tasting group via Zoom and a couple of weeks ago we were drinking some Belgians. The flavor really opened up as the beer warmed. When a beer is really cold (fridge temps), the flavors are just not as prominent. Try letting an IPA reach 48-50 degrees, or a Belgian, or a stout. The flavor changes dramatically along with the aroma.

Some beers, especially macro-lagers are better icy cold since there isn't much flavor there. Most are better a little bit warmer, at least in the 40s.
 

ncbrewer

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I was recently drinking Baltic Porter and tried letting one bottle sit out for 20 minutes before opening it - that beer had more flavor. Now I'm doing that for the rest of the batch and plan to check it out on other styles also.
 

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As the beer warms up you will notice the flavor change. This will happen for a range of initial temperatures.

I set my keezer at 48F. If my beer warms up it will get into cellar temperature range. If. I've always kept it around there because in the past I would also lager in the keezer so I would turn it up some. I ended up getting two small fridges for lagering and cold crashing.

Mid-30's is practically ice cold. I can tell when its super low, it's like when you pull a beer out of a cooler.
 
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