The manner in which beer is poured has both an effect on the release of its aroma as well as how the head is formed. First, make sure the glass is clean as a dirty glass containing oils, dirt, or residuals from a previous beer may inhibit head creation and flavors. The glass should be tipped at approximately a 45º angle. The beer should be poured by targeting the middle of the slope of the glass. As the beer fills up to about the halfway point, the glass should be gradually brought back to a 90º angle. This will create an ideal foam head which helps release the beer’s aroma. Generally, the ideal head should be anywhere between 1” and 1-1/2” thick.
Different beer styles often call for distinct pouring methods. Ales call for a gentle, steady pour down the tilted side of the glass to stop the beer from foaming excessively. The angle should then be gradually steepened to avoid the beer from becoming too flat. Stouts require a slower poor to allow the head to develop. If the head begins to grow too quickly, pause pouring for a moment. A denser, creamier head will suit the coffee-like flavors of the stout best. Bottled beers that contain a higher concentration of yeast have higher carbonation and require a much gentler pour. Wheat beer is typically poured with a larger head than other types of beer. Pilsners require a soft, sustained pour giving way to a consistent rise of small bubbles that brings out the golden color that typifies Pilsner beer. The head should rise slightly above the rim of the glass bringing forward the hop aroma and holding back the bitter flavors until the finish.
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