Bottled beer: Pouring

The “Bottled beer” series explores how to prepare a bottled beer for service and – all importantly – how to pour it! New to the series? Start here.

Now that we’ve prepared our bottle for service and have a “beer clean” glass at the ready… it’s time to fill it up!

When it comes to pouring bottled beer – as we mentioned when preparing our bottle for service – we need to take a slightly different approach when pouring a bottle-conditioned or unfiltered beer in order to ensure we leave any yeast sediment behind in the bottle.

With a filtered beer though, we can pour out the entire bottle. So let’s start there.

Pouring filtered beer

In this case, there’s no yeast or other sediment in the bottle (as it’s been filtered out), so the entire contents of the bottle can be poured into the glass.

  1. Hold your beer clean glass at a 45-degree angle about 2-3 cm (1 inch) below the bottle
  2. Pour down the side of the glass, until the glass is half full
  3. While pouring, gently tilt the glass upright and pour down the middle to create approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) of foam head on the beer as the pour finishes

Do remember though that some styles – like German weissbier and most Belgian ales – should have 5-8 cm (2-3 inches) of head. But many of these styles are bottle-conditioned, so let’s talk about how to pour them next.

Pouring unfiltered beer

When pouring an unfiltered beer, the yeast or sediment is typically retained in the bottle (unless the style, like German or Belgian wheat beer, is traditionally served with it), so do your best to not disturb the sediment during the pour.

The pour starts out the same, but we’ve got one additional step here:

  1. Hold your beer clean glass at a 45-degree angle about 2-3 cm (1 inch) below the bottle
  2. Pour down the side of the glass, until the glass is half full
  3. While pouring, gently tilt the glass upright and pour down the middle to create an appropriate amount of foam for the style being served
  4. While finishing the pour, watch the neck of the bottle and be prepared to stop pouring when the yeast moves toward the top of the bottle

To include the sediment (if it’s a style that’s typically served with the yeast or if it’s your/ your customer’s preference), simply swirl the remaining liquid in the bottle or roll the nearly-empty bottle on the table to rouse the yeast, then pour it into your glass and enjoy.

(Or if you want to give the proper German weissbier pour a go, you can invert the bottle prior to pouring to help distribute the yeast sediment throughout the beer.)

What about cans?

These same techniques are used for pouring from cans, too.

Of course, with an unfiltered or can-conditioned beer, it’s not possible to see inside the can and watch the movement of the yeast as the can empties. So if you’d rather serve your beer without the sediment, be prepared to leave some liquid – and the sediment – in the can.

Wondering how serving kegged beer differs from serving bottles and cans? Get started on the “Kegged beer” series here.


Discovering Beer is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone® Certification Program.


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natalya@beerwithnat.com
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