A pint for Dionysus

January 23, 2013

Glass Experiment

Filed under: glassware project — Tags: — grotusque @ 2:10 pm

I’ve made comment before about how I believe the ‘proper glass’ to be a bunk idea. And I have been called out on it.

So there’s only one thing to do: science!*

Here are four different glasses:

I chose these glasses because they’re pretty solid approximations of what might be used to present a beer in an actual pub. I will admit they are not be 100% accurate but my hope is that they’ll be close enough that my results will be credible.

What I’m going to do is get a commercial beer, pour it into each glass and try it, taking notes. Each beer will be drank it its entirety. The hope will be to determine if the glassware is impacting my drink and how much that matters to my enjoyment of the beer.

Some ground rules:

  1. Same set of glasses, every time. I have a lot of pint glasses but I’ll be using the same one every time in order to reduce variance. While I feel that a pint glass should be the same world over, the truth is that one pint glass may be a little different from another. I don’t want the results to appear tainted because I changed a glass.
  2. Commercial beers as samples. Homebrews, as consistent as they can (and should) be, cannot compare to the kind of near-certain quality of a commercial beer. Since the goal is to discover whether or not glassware impacts a beer and how that affects the experience, the base for that experience has to be the same and again, to avoid tainting the results I want that base to be built by a professional.
  3. Multiple beers will be sampled over the course of this experiment. There are just too many styles of beer out there. To run the experiment with an IPA and then presume those results would apply to all other styles is foolish. I won’t get to every style of beer but I will run the experiment multiple times with different beers, so readers can see how things play out.
  4. I will have at least one other person to try the beers with so we can compare notes. This will usually be my girlfriend. Beer judging has long been a collaborative thing and I see no reason to change that. Again: this will help refute any bias I may have and provide better results.
  5. All glasses will be cleaned prior to use. Just so we’re clear.

I think that covers it. I’ll have some results very soon.

*should not be taken for actual science

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6 Comments »

  1. I like science! I really like science experiments that have a hypothesis…might you have one for us?

    I’ve never run this type of experiment, but anecdotally, I have found that nitro beers taste better out of snifters than a pint glass. No idea why. Also, I am a sucker for an old school beer mug. Glad you are throwing that puppy into the mix.

    Comment by Brian — January 23, 2013 @ 7:08 pm

    • I didn’t really lay out the hypothesis did I? Well, the premise is this: The type of glass does not affect the flavor/experience of the beer. If the glass does affect the beer, in what manner?

      Trying nitro ales sounds like an interesting idea, especially at a pub where there might be more than one style on tap.

      Comment by grotusque — January 24, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

  2. It looks like you hit all the points. Will multiple people drink from the same glass at the same time or will it be cleaned between them or will the two people taste at different time?

    Comment by Helper Monkey Brews — January 23, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

    • Multiple people will have to drink from the same glass, since in some cases I only have one glass. Plus, if I switched glasses then that might impugn my results. I realize this may skew things in a different direction but I’m going to try and keep it as consistent as I can.

      I will say that I have learned from the first experiment, and after that only two glasses at a time will be filled, just so we don’t feel we have to rush through the beer; drinking 4 glasses of beer poured all at once is a little overwhelming.

      Comment by grotusque — January 24, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

  3. This may not be actual science, but it is a grueling kind of experimentation.

    Comment by Alodie — January 24, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

    • Aw, I thought you were having fun!

      Comment by grotusque — January 24, 2013 @ 3:38 pm


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