Perfect Head – Guide to Proper Beer Pouring


If you spend much time in the brewing industry it will be important to understand what defines a properly poured beer. Before I begin, understand that pouring beer properly is an art. Just like any art, the art of pouring beer is somewhat subjective and opinions on how to do the perfect pour vary from person to person. This is my take on how to consistently pour like a pro.




The Glass:

Before I get into specifics about the pour…. probably the most important thing about a perfect pour is that it is being poured into a clean glass free of contaminents and leftovers from a previous beer. “A dirty glass, containing oils, dirt or residuals from a previous beer, may inhibit head creation and flavours.” – (Beer Advocate).


Optimal beer temperature is vital to enjoying a beer as it was meant to be enjoyed. For most craft beers I recommend 45 degrees fahrenheit. Some brews such as lagers should be served colder and some brews like porters should be served higher. Temperature of beer is largely subjective but 45 degrees is generally a safe rule when serving people that you are unfamiliar with preference-wise. A word of caution, frozen glasses may cause the beer to pour improperly or to cool below desired temperature upon pour.

The Pour:

Believe it or not, the way a beer is pouring into a glass can have a profound impact on the smell and taste of the beer and your overall experience. When pouring a beer into a glass you want to hold the glass at a 45 degree angle. Tilt the bottle or open the tap and aim for the middle of the glass. Allow the beer to cascade for about 2 inches or so of gap before hitting the glass. Roughly halfway through the pour shift the glass upright to a 90 degree position and finish the pour this way to create the perfect head. In size the head should be .5 – 1.5 inches or about 2 finger widths in size.

There are endless subtleties to the perfect pour, but experiment with each beer you pour to find the perfect pour for you. Follow me on Twitter @Tanner_Brews for more beer information.



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