How To Pour Beer - Bottle and Draught (aka Draft or Tap)

Picture of How To Pour Beer - Bottle and Draught (aka Draft or Tap)
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A Brief History:
Beer is the world's oldest and most popular alcoholic beverage, and as such, needs to be enjoyed properly. With an extensive list of activities associated with beer, such as playing cards, darts, beer pong, quarters and other games; attending beer festivals; or just drinking it; it's no wonder that beer outsells wine four to one!
That said, pouring beer is an art, and a huge part of the overall tasting experience. Here we'll demonstrates the most common pouring technique for most beers.
Remember, "Practice makes Perfect".
(You can always just drink the beer straight from the bottle/can/hose/bong/etc.)


This Instructable will demonstrate the art of pouring beer.
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Step 1: Prepare to Partake

Picture of Prepare to Partake
An Overview:
Enjoying a beer at its best involves 3 key components; the Beer, the Glass and the Pour.

Supplies Needed
1) Cold Beer (This is very delicious)
2) A Clean Glass (This is very important)
3) A Bottle Opener (Thanks acaz93)

Optional Supplies
Drinking Buddy (This is a good person)

NOTE: I used Paint.NET for most of my illustrations.

Step 2: Pregame

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Make sure the glass is completely clean. Why am i reiterating? Because dust, grime and oils can interfere with the flavor of a beer, and can also disrupt carbonation and the production of a good head. Always pour your beer into a clean glass.

Hold the glass under the bottle (or tap) and tilt at approximately a 45 degree angle.

Step 3: The Pour, Part I

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Part I
Pour the beer down the side of the glass, targeting the middle of the slope of the glass at about the halfway point. Be careful not to pour too quickly; let the beer flow nice and steady.

Step 4: The Pour, Part II

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Part II
When the glass is half full (or empty) bring the glass vertical again at a 90 degree angle (img2) and continue to pour the directly into your beer in the center of the glass. This will produce the perfect amount of foam head.

Perfect Head? Read on...
Ramvan5 years ago
This is why I love Belgium: we have the best beers in the world
ezcheese5 years ago
Ok so pouring most beers is pretty much along the lines of the above. Good ible btw.

Draught Guinness is special, and needs to be poured correctly. Essential to this is the Guinness glass with its tulip shape. Unfortunately in my experience this you cannot get Guinness in this glass in the US. You can only get 'straight' sided glasses.

If you have the correct glass as shown below the proper procedure is to place the glass against the tap tilted to a 45 degree angle. Start the pour by pulling down sharply on the tap until it is fully open. If you do this too slowly too much head will form later on so be quick. Pour down along the side of the glass. Continue pouring at this angle until the glass is a little less than half full then slowly tilt the glass back to 90 degrees as you pull the glass away slightly from the tap. You should be just finished reaching 90 degrees as you reach the top of the first part of the pour. The first part ends on the bottom of the harp on the glass i.e. the line between the head and the liquid rests on this point (see pic 4). Leave your pint aside until it is FULLY settled.

I know its a pain and you want to enjoy your pint right now, but why not enjoy watching it settle instead and marvel at how Guinness is in fact a deep red and not 'the black stuff' as it is often called.

For the second part of the pour bring the now settled pint to the tap. Place the tap into the pint just to below the head (you actually don't really need to do this, just make sure its less than an inch of distance between the head and tap so as to cause as little disturbance to the settled first part as possible). Press the tap away from you so as to fill the glass slowly. Do not pull it down and fully open as you did when pouring the first part. Finish your pour as the head comes up to the top of the glass and sits nicely as shown in the second pic below. The 'perfect' head on a pint of Guinness is as shown here too, just above the harp to the top of the glass in thickness.

Let this settle before supping any of it.

There you have it, the perfect Guinness pour. Enjoy!!!!

If you haven't got the proper glass then its hard to form the head and your pint wont keep a proper head the whole way down. If you have those 'straight' sided glasses a trick that helps is to move the glass towards and away from the tap as you do the first part of the pour. This 'upsets' the pint more and causes more head to form. Finish the pint in the same way.

If you really really want to you can do the artsy shamrock thing which is where you pour the second part of the pour while moving the glass in the shape of a shamrock so that the head has a shamrock imprint on it. For this you wouldn't place the tap into the pint, you would keep it just above the head.

Bottles or Cans of Guinness don't need this fancy pour, just pour it as you would any other beer. This is because the kind folks at Guinness invented a little plastic ball called a widget that goes in the can to do all this work for you.

Good Guinness should not taste like coffee, if yours does then something is wrong. Also the head on a good Guinness should 'stick to the glass'. I don't know how to explain this other than when you finish your pint the glass should not be clean, it should be kinda white like the last picture below.

That about covers Guinness, possibly the hardest beer in the world to get a good pint of.

PS someone else tried to explain it on ehow. Maybe its better than my attempt.
tr_t1.jpgguinness%20glass.jpgguinness-draft1.jpgGuinness Pint part1.jpggood_guinness.jpg
MrStuff (author)  ezcheese5 years ago
Thank you.
oakback5 years ago
I don't like beer foaming in my belly and burping after every little sip, so I just pour it all in at a 90 degree angle, wait for the head to settle, and pour some more. Barbaric, I know, but this way it doesn't fill me up with foam creeping up my esophagus.
lasersage6 years ago
For the completely incompetent beer pourer, try wetting the glass first. Swill water around it then tip it out. The water smooths the inside of the glass covering and filling imperfections. It is these imperfections which create nucleation sites for the bubbles to form on. You still need a little care but can be much more cack handed with this method. Of course us skilled beer pourers never need such brutish cheats :D Nice 'ible
MrStuff (author)  lasersage6 years ago
Thank you. :) ~Mr Stuff
icedog5156 years ago
do we really need to learn this? the alchohol companies always say 'drink responsibly', but wouldnt they assume this to go in one ear and out the other of a confused drunk taxi driver?!?!elleven1!1?!!? i say, let that 1 keg/ bottle/ watever stay in its fortress of filth and ew-tastingness unitl it dies! but it doesnt die..cuz itz beer.....
chiok7 years ago
Nice work, that's pretty much the textbook pour. Thought I'd pitch in with my tips on tap pouring. Pretty much the same from the bottle. Make sure you pull the tap all the way down and keep the spout near the glass at an angle. As it fills up, flip the tap back swiftly. If you get too much head at the beginning, tilt the glass more to increase the surface area. If that doesn't work, put the spout into the beer to prevent further frothing. Not great technique, so wipe the spout after you're done. If you need more head, shake the glass to froth it up as you pour or flip the tap back up and pull it towards you just a bit to put more gas into the beer so you're just pouring head essentially. Did that all make sense?
MrStuff (author)  chiok7 years ago
Thanks for the comment. Let me edit this info into here.
bob314157 years ago
Hi I'm from Ecuador. Your instructable is very funny! LOL!!!!
acaz937 years ago
Nice Pouring method (useful for Pacifico , of Course) , Btw:it would be cool if you teach the art of proper drawing with paint , your drawings look very real and clear .
acaz93 acaz937 years ago
You Forgot a Key Item a Bottle Opener , Which is actually useful with bottled beers
MrStuff (author)  acaz937 years ago
I'll edit all of these tips/tweaks. thanks for the feedback.
acaz93 MrStuff7 years ago
you are welcome
at first i wondered why beer was so hard to pour with all the instructables, but now i get it :-)
MrStuff (author)  GorillazMiko7 years ago
knowledge is power... the more you know, the less you don't... to live is to learn.. and a whole bunch of other adages. ~MrStuff
pipeski7 years ago
With hefeweizen or other beers where sediment should be mixed in, try slowly rotating the bottle end over end a couple of times before opening. This will distribute the sediment evenly and you won't need to swirl the bottle before pouring the last bit. It also means that with larger bottles you can pour two glasses with the sediment distributed evenly between them. Surprisingly, agitating the bottle gently in this way doesn't seem to cause the beer to froth as you might expect.
Stout should be poured at 45 degrees down the glass until till 2/3 of the way full then left to settle. Then fill up pouring in the middle at a much slower rate (by pushing tap forward if in bar) Then when just near the top put in a shamrock which you draw out with the pour. Move the glass not the bottle/can/tap That's how i got my Guinness certificate of excellence anyway
lol i actually learned this from a teacher way way back in 5th grade :-P LOL. Yeah this works really well also for pop, it keeps a huge amount of carbonation in, and it makes your drink smoother (smaller carbonation bubbles, opposed to careless poring with bigger bubbles!)