I remember reading somewhere that certain beers are supposed to be drunk much closer to room temperature than most people drink them for optimal flavor. Specifically stout beers and nut brown ales are only supposed to be "slightly chilled". I think I read that the temperature for optimal flavor is around 55 ℉ (13 ℃). However, most people I've met are shocked when I tell them this and swear by a nice cold one. My own personal experience does seem to confirm the "slightly chilled". Am I crazy?

  • 2
    This ought to be a community wiki. As evidenced in the question itself, this is subjective. (I prefer a ice-cold Guinness myself)
    – awithrow
    Aug 30, 2010 at 12:58
  • 5
    @awithrow: Purists will tell you that cold Guinness is an anathema. "Guinness Ice-cold" is a marketing ploy to get people drinking again (and it worked). The colder a liquid is the less you actually taste it, which is why most popular American beers (Bud, MGD, Coors etc) are served extremely cold, they'd loose hands down on a chilled (not ice cold) taste test with any standard European beer (e.g. Heineken or Carlsberg) . . . that said I too like my Guinness cold :) Aug 30, 2010 at 13:08
  • @Binary: FWIW, Heineken, in the US, tends to be a bit skunky. Donno if it's the green bottles or just the time on the shelf, but I certainly wouldn't recommend drinking it or Budweiser warm.
    – Shog9
    Aug 30, 2010 at 16:00
  • @Knives: Its the bottles. Light causes a chemical reaction in the beer that causes the skunkiness. Brown bottles block the majority of the light, limiting the problem. The only way to avoid this is not to buy beer in green or clear bottles.
    – KeithB
    Aug 30, 2010 at 16:12
  • @Knives ...which is why many German/Belgian beers do better on draft in America than from the bottle. Heineken is terrible from the bottle as is Stella, but if I see a tap head with either I know it will be a better pint.
    – mfg
    Sep 14, 2010 at 15:09

3 Answers 3


No, you're not crazy. You have good taste. The reason for drinking darker beer like stouts and porters is for the flavor. If they are over-chilled, you lose most of that flavor. Don't obsess over it, but in general a lot of people serve dark beer too cold.

That said, you should drink your beer at whatever temperature makes you happy. There is nothing wrong with a nice cold pilsner or Hefe-wizen on a hot day.

  • Some beers like a good Saison I actually prefer to drink "too cold." Then let the beer warm up as I drink it, changing the flavor and experience and the glass gets empty. Same with scotch. The important rule is as above, it's what you prefer.
    – MeltedPez
    Aug 30, 2010 at 23:02

Yes porter should be drank at at almost room temperature, how it was drank before fridges where invented to really enjoy the flavours


in summer i like my XXXX cold, my stout cool, in winter i drink my stout room temperature.

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