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3 Beer Glasses to Perfect your IPA

ipa beer glass

Written by Benjamin Parr

My passion for homebrew led me to set up KegThat!I work as a software developer during the day and manage kegthat on evenings and weekends.Occasionally I write some blog posts when I get the time!

1 June 2022

Why does the glass matter?

Whichever beer glass you choose helps to enhance aroma, flavour and visual representation. Much of the aroma is contained in the head, if served in the wrong glass this can deteriorate and the beer can lose the hop flavours and malty characteristics.

As the hop aroma you smell directly impacts the taste, choosing the right beer to capture this is essential.

Glass Hygiene

Whichever glass you use, a poorly cleaned glass can cause a surface film to build upon the sides, this will expel carbonation from the beer and will produce a poor pull regardless of the shape. Many pubs and bars use renovate to remove this film. The best thing to do is to clean your glass thoroughly just after using it!

Another factor which can ruin head retention is if there is any soap left in the glass, it is essential to ensure you thoroughly rinse the glass before pouring a beer.

What makes an IPA beer glass?

They are designed to have a wide area at the bottom / middle, leading to a narrower top. This creates a wide surface area for aromas to escape but then channels them towards the drinker’s nose.

Goblets and Chalices

chalice beer glass

A larger opening results in a larger head, there is no nucleated widget which helps maintain the head for longer. This will maintain the aroma and carbonation whilst presenting an attractive appearance. These glasses are perfect for Double IPAs, Triple IPAs and Belgian IPAs.

Chalice Beer Glass 400ml

Tulip Style

tulip beer glass

The tulip shaped glass helps retain the aroma in the bowl of the glass. The shape naturally encourages you to smell these aromas as you sip the beer, helping to deliver the intended aroma from the brewer. This means that the glass is especially suited toward hops with strong aromas such as West Coast, East Coast and other stronger ABV beers.

Tulip Beer Glass – 570ml

Spiegelau Beer Glass

Spiegelau Style Beer Glass

This glass was developed in collaboration with brewers at the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery alongside many brewing experts and professionals. It has been designed with the technical knowledge of how the glass will enhance the aromas of the IPA style, this is achieved through the unique shape at the bottom of the glass which enhances the hop aromas and balances the bitterness with the sweetness of the malt.

This is achieved through the extra surface area added with the curves at the bottom of the glass. This causes the beer to foam, improving head retention.

Although we don’t stock the Spiegelau, we stock a similar shaped glass at the fraction of the price. It features the same closed-in mouth which traps the aroma into your nose.

The glass is great for all IPA styles with a strong hop profile but is especially suited to West Coast IPAs and East Coast IPAs.

Spiegelau Style Beer Glass – 430ml

Nucleated Beer Glass

nucleated beer glass

Nucleated beer glasses have a widget etched into the glass which features rough edges giving the beer a carbonation point. They are great for surfacing the aroma flavours however they can quickly expel all carbonation which can make the beer go flat faster.

Due to nucleated glasses not being suited when left a while, they are perfect for lighter, sessionable beers whereas darker, heavier beers are better suited for Tulip or Goblet glasses.

American IPAs are a great fit for a nucleated glass, it therefore makes sense that the Spiegelau glass contains a nucleated widget.

Which Glasses are unsuitable?

Pint Glasses

The classic pint glass is unsuitable for IPAs mainly due to the large opening, this allows aromas to escape easily. The lager head produced by the wider opening also assists in helping the aromas escape faster than one of the other glass styles.

Steins

Steins are unsuitable for IPAs due to the shape of the glass, the aromas will not be persevered due to the large opening at the top. Steins are typically used to prevent your hand from warming up the beer and are great for beers with bold flavours, IPAs are complex and generally not suited to steins.

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