The Webtender
Bartender's Handbook


Serving Beer

Beer should be served at correct temperature for maximum enjoyment.

  • Lager beers should be kept in the refrigerator before serving at 9°C/48°F.
  • The light American and Australian lagers should be server at a lower temperature of 6°C/42°F.
  • Ales should never be over-chilled, or it will develop a haze and loose their fruity-flavors. 12-13°C/54-56°F are recommended temperatures for serving.
  • Very strong ales should be served at room temperature.

Never store a bottle-conditioned beer in the refrigerator, but keep them cool and standing for several hours before serving to allow the sediment to clear.

Beer mixed with something

Beer is sometimes mixed with other alcoholic beverages and given nicknames. Here's a list:

Black and Tan: Guinness and bitter or Guinness and mild.
Black Velvet: Guinness and champagne.
Poor Man's Black Velvet: Guinness and cider.
Black Russian: Guinness and vodka
Velvet Pussy: Guinness and port.
Black Maria: Guinness and Tia Maria
Red Velvet: Guinness, cider and blackcurrant.
Red Witch: Guinness, Pernod, cider and blackcurrant.

Mother-in-law: Old and bitter.
Granny: Old and mild.
Blacksmith: Guinness and barley wine.
Boilermaker: Brown and mild.
Lightplater: Light ale and bitter.
Narfer narf: London slang for a half pint of mild and a half pint of bitter.
Narfer narfer narf: A half pint of Narfer narf (of course).
Dragon's blood: Barley wine and rum.
Dog's nose: Bitter and gin.
Snake bite: Lager and cider.

Beer Glossary

This is a list of terms used when describing beers:

Commercial Belgian beers licensed by abbeys. Not to be confused with Trappist ales.

Materials, like rice, corn and brewing sugar, used in place of traditional grains for cheapness or lightness of flavor.

The oldest beer style in the world. Produced by warm or top fermentation.

Dark brown top-fermenting beer from Düsseldorf.

Alpha acid
The main component of the bittering agent in the hop flower.

The extent to which brewing sugars turn to alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Generic term for an alcoholic drink made from grain. Includes both ale and lager.

British term for the pale, amber or copper-colored beers that developed from the pale ales in the 19th century.

Bock or Bok
Strong beer style of The Netherlands and Germany.

Beer that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle.

Brew kettle
See Copper

Beer that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the cask. Known as "real ale", closely identified with British beers.

Vessel used to boil the sugary wort with hops.

Decoction mashing
A system mainly used in lager brewing in which portions of the wort are removed from the vessel, heated to a higher temperature and then returned. Improves ensymic activity and the conversion of starch to sugar in poorly modified malts.

The addition of a small amount of hops to a cask of beer to improve aroma and bitterness.

A dark lager beer in Germany, a Bavarian speciality that predates the first pale lagers.

The earliest form of porter, short for "entire butt".

Flavor compounds produced by the action of yeast turning sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Esters may be fruity or spicy.

Substance that clarifies beer, usually made from the swim bladder of sturgeon fish; also known as isinglass.

Framboise or Frambozen
Raspberry-flavored lambic beer.

The coarse powder derived from malt that has been milled or "cracked" in the brewery prior to mashing.

A blend of Belgian lambic beers.

Helles or Hell
A pale Bavarian lager beer.

Hop (Lat: Humulus Lupulus)
Herb used when brewing to add aroma and bitterness.

International Bitterness Units. An internationally-agreed scale for measuring the bitterness of beer. A "lite" American lager may have around 10 IBU's, an English mild ale around 20 units, an India Pale Ale 40 or higher, an Irish stout 55 to 60 and barley wine 65.

Method of mashing used mainly in ale-brewing where the grains are left to soak with pure water while starches convert to sugar, usually carried out at a constant temperature.

Top-fermenting golden beer from Cologne.

The addition of partially-fermented wort during lagering to encourage a strong secondary fermentation.

Cherry-flavored lambic beer.

The cold-conditioning of beer at around 0 degrees Centigrade to encourage the yeast to settle out, increase carbonation and produce a smooth, clean-tasting beer. From the German meaning "to store".

Belgian beer made by spontaneous fermentation.

Lauter tun
Vessel used to clarify the wort after the mashing stage.

Barley or other cereals that have been partially germinated to allow starches to be converted into fermentable sugars.

First stage of the brewing process, when the malt is mixed with pure hot water to extract the sugars.

Traditional Bavarian lager brewed in March and stored until autumn for the Munich Oktoberfest.

Dark brown (occasionally pale) English and Welsh beer, lightly hopped. The oldest style of beer that once derived it color from malt cured over wood fires. One of the components of the first porters.

Milk stout
Stout made with the addition of lactose, which is unfermentable, producing a beer low in alcohol with a creamy, slightly sweet character.

Pilsner or Pilsener or Pils
International brand name for a light-colored lager.

Dark - brown or black - beer originating in London.

Addition of sugar to encourage a secondary fermentation in beer.

Bavarian beer law of 1516 (the "Purity Pledge) that lays down that only malted grain, hops, yeast and water can be used in brewing. Now covers the whole of Germany.

Ancient method of invoicing beer in Scotland on strength. Beers are called 60, 70 or 80 shilling.

From the French esparger, to sprinkle; Sprinkling or spraying the spent grains in the mash tun or lauter tun to flush out any remaining malt sugars.

A traditional, open fermenting vessel.

Steam beer
American beer style saved by the Anchor Brewery in San Francisco.

Once an English generic term for the strongest ("stoutest") beer in a brewery. Now considered a quintessentially Irish style.

Ales brewed by monks of the Trappist order in Belgium and The Netherlands.

Method of fermentation developed in Burton-tn-Trent using large oak casks.

Ur or Urtyp
German for original.

Weizen or Weisse
German for wheat or white beer.

Liquid resulting from the mashing process, rich in malt and sugars.

Source: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Beer, Carlton Books Ltd.
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