Does the glass a beer is served in really affect its flavour?

I've now added a third party poll button as Blogger's one wasn't working. So if you already voted please vote again!

I've been considering a blog post on beer glasses for some time, specifically whether a certain type of glass actually changes a beers taste or aroma, or if it's just cosmetic. But then I decided I wanted to know what you thought first, to get an idea of peoples perceptions before I dive in with what I think. So here's your chance.

I'm not talking about branding here, forget what badge is on the glass, I'm talking about whether the shape of a glass actually effects the taste of the beer. You may have drank from an impressive looking Kwak glass, or a nice dumpy tulip shaped
Duvel glass, but if you take the lovely Gold logo off the side does the shape of the glass still effect the flavour - or is it purely psychological?

I'll wade in with what I think in a weeks time. Though I will warn you, whatever the outcome of the poll, my minds pretty much made up....

Use the voting buttons on the top right to have your say, but please also feel free to comment below if you feel you have something to add to the debate.


Photo lazily stolen from Wikipedia

15 comments:

  1. Sorry but it should be "affect its flavour".

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  2. The question is too narrow - I think what you are asking is How does a glass contribute to the experience of drinking beer - if at all.
    I don't drink milk from a beer glass, I don't drink fruit juice from a beer glass; I drink beer. I prefer a different type of glass for a different style of beer. Light hoppy beers in one shape glass while dark malty beers in say a dimple jug. Taste and aroma is impacted coz it is part of my tasting experience.

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  3. Tankard - you are missing the point entirely. I want to know whether it actually 'affects' (thanks a pedant!) the flavour, not your perceptions of the overall drinking experience. I'm not talking psychology, i'm talking science. Does it ACTUALLY makre a difference or is it all in our heads?

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  4. p.s. votes don't seem to be working properly! What are the numbers everyone can see?

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  5. As I understand it, the orthodox view is that it can affect the aroma (trapping and directing it to your nose or otherwise) and the speed at which the effervescence is released.

    I think both probably hold true and prefer to drink most of my favourite bottled beers out of a variation on tulip glasses. Zak of course does his tasting out of a big wine glass and I'm not about to disagree.

    I should also mention that I like the feel of a dimpled tankard in a pub, although I think it has no benefit on taste etc over a nonic pint glass.

    Nick

    PS - I have voted but it shows zero for each.

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  6. I think different glass shapes/sizes will affect it to some degree, flavour profile, the amount of aromas released from different shaped glasses. I'm intrigued to see the results, especially compared to say a wine view, where the glass is always very important!

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  7. UPDATED THIRD PARTY VOTING SYSTEM!

    Please vote again

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  8. You've completely neglected mouthfeel, which is of course affected by level of carbonation and head density, which is in turn down to shape and cleanliness of the glass. I attended a web seminar on the chemistry of beer, of which a section was on head formation and glassware does make a difference. Of course glasses with narrower openings allow the aromatic volatile compounds escaping to be concentrated under the nose too. As for flavour, I'm not so sure, though some molecules can be "bruised" by handling and the pour could effect these kind of changes in theory.

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  9. Hi Stephanos, thanks for your input. Very interesting!

    I've not neglected mouthfeel - I've just tried to keep things simple. If you think that mouthfeel is an element of flavour then please vote accordingly.

    I will say what I think when voting ends in 1 weeks time.

    Mark - use the voting buttons top right!

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  10. I would say it massively effects the aroma, (try smelling the same beer from a straight sided table glass and a wine glass)... but flavour, for me, is not part of the receptacle. (and if it is it's purely psychological)

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  11. It is nigh on impossible to consider flavour without aroma. You can't shut down your olfactory bulb just when the drinks in your mouth (or to put it another way your mouth and nose are connected). Consequently you'll still be taking in the smell when you're imbibing. This is kind of a cause and effect. The shape of the glass causes the aroma to change and that will effect the flavour profile.

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  12. Nicely put Ghostie and Rick, and thanks for commenting.

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  13. You know a good way to test this is to a beer and several different glasses. tables glasses, beer mug, wine glass, the glasses that bars and pubs use. See if you notice anything different in the aroma and taste. Make sure the beer is the same beer for all glasses.

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  14. Although drinking ice cold beer from a frosty mug is aesthetically pleasing to many, there are those who believe the frozen condensation melts into your beer and dilutes it.

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