How to Pour Draft Beer

Pouring a great glass of draft beer can seem tricky on the first few pours. You may pour a beer and get a glass full of foam and other times you may pour and get no foam at all. Pouring a perfect glass of draft beer takes more than just a glass tilted at a 45 degree angle. If you pay close attention to all the key dispensing elements (temperature, pressure, tube length, keg and glass) you should not have any issues when pouring a fresh draft beer in your home.

Pouring Drfaft Beer
Start with a 45 degree hold on your beer glass and pour along the side, then about halfway through, tilt the glass vertical.

In order to fill a glass with a well balanced beer, the keg’s dispensing gas must be balanced and fully saturated into solution for that specific beer’s style. Often the transportation of a purchased keg of beer will cause agitation and release of some of the infused gas. The result is extreme foam when immediately tapped and served.

The key is to allow the beer to settle, return to optimal serving temperatures in your kegerator and then de-gas the air from the keg’s head space that has been released from solution. It is best to let a keg sit 24 hours after transport, but this is usually not practical. Try to hold off for at least an hour.

For more information on CO2 solubility you can reference our Pressure Chart and for temperature suggestions reference our article on Dialing in Your Home Draft System's Temperature.

A clean glass always receives liquid with the least amount of agitation. Make sure your beer glass has been emptied, washed, rinsed, sanitized, dried and then rinsed with cold water before making a pour. The final rinse will remove any residual sanitizer and bring the glass temperature closer to that of the beer being dispensed. (Do not freeze glassware, as the ice formations lining the glass can cause foaming).

Hold the glass at a 45 degree angle, pour along the side, then about halfway through, tilt the glass vertical.You want an inch or so of head. Allow the beer to settle slightly and top off if necessary. Present the beer to your guest or yourself and savor the flavor.

Make sure to take close attention to your beer and air line tube lengths as this can cause foaming issues also.

Christian Lavender Christian Lavender is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server, homebrewer and founder of and in Austin, TX.

More Draft Dispensing References:
CO2 Pressure Chart
Beer Dispensing FAQs
Eliminating Foam