Drinking a cold pint of beer is one of life’s simple pleasures. Whether you’re enjoying a beer with friends or on a night out, there is nothing quite like that first sip of a freshly poured pint. However, there are times when you may end up with a bad pint. If you have ever experienced this, you know it can be a disappointment. So, how can you spot if your beer has gone off before you take that first sip?
In this guide, you will learn the key signs to look out for when it comes to a bad pint of beer. We will cover the different types of off-flavors and aromas that can indicate a bad pint. You will also learn how to distinguish between a bad pint and one that has gone flat. By the end of the post, you will be able to recognize a bad pint of beer, and in most cases a good bartender will replace it for you.
Does it smell of butterscotch?
If you’re about to take a sip of your pint and it smells of butterscotch, then this is a clear sign that the beer has gone bad. Butterscotch is one of the more common off-flavors that can occur when a beer has gone bad. It is usually caused because something has gone wrong in the fermentation process. This just means that it contains too much diacetyl. Diacetyl is present in all beer, but if there’s too much it can leave a foul taste.
The smell of butterscotch can indicate a number of different issues, such as contamination due to bacteria or a lack of cleaning of the brewing equipment. In addition, it could also be caused by a beer that has been stored for too long or has been exposed to too much heat.
Does it taste sour?
Note: This does not count if the beer is meant to be sour
If you take a sip of your pint and it tastes sour, it is likely that the beer has gone bad. Sourness is another common off-flavor that can indicate a bad pint. This sour taste can be caused by a number of different factors, such as the presence of wild yeasts or bacteria in the beer, or improper storage or handling of the beer. This sour flavor can be unpleasant and can also give you an upset stomach if consumed. Therefore, it is best to avoid a beer that tastes sour and opt for a fresh pint instead.
Does it look cloudy?
Note: This does not count for unfined beer
A cloudy pint of beer is another warning sign of a bad pint. Cloudiness can be caused by a number of things, such as improper fermentation, improper filtering, or bacteria in the beer. The cloudiness can also be an indication of a beer that has been stored at too high of a temperature or for too long. A cloudy pint of beer can also have off-flavors, such as sourness or a metallic taste. If you notice your beer is cloudy, it is best to avoid drinking it as it could be a sign of a bad pint.
Does it look flat and listless?
A bad pint of beer can also appear flat and listless. This is usually caused by a lack of carbonation in the beer, which can be caused by improper fermentation or storage. If a beer is flat, it is likely that it has lost its natural carbonation, which can lead to a flat and unappetizing taste. A flat beer can also taste stale and have an off-flavor, but before you even take a sip you should be able to tell just by looking at your beer if it’s flat.
Does it look too cold?
If a beer is too cold, it can also indicate that it is a bad pint. Cold temperatures can cause a beer to become flat and listless, as the cold inhibits the natural carbonation of the beer. Additionally, when a beer is too cold, it can mute the flavor of the beer, making it taste bland and unappetizing. Whilst many might think a beer being too cold is a myth, the ideal minimum temperature for most craft beer is in the low to mid-40s. For hearty yeast or hop-forward ales, a bit warmer. For even more adventurous styles, arguably as high as the upper 50s.
It’s a good idea to be aware of these signs and take the time to inspect your pint before drinking it, as this will help ensure that you only drink a fresh and flavourful pint of beer, but don’t let one bad pint put you off the drink completely. It’s likely to just be a bad batch, so it’s always worth trying again, but asking to try the beer first before buying a full pint.