Fine Belgian Abbey ales, Trappist ales, Triples and Doubles are becoming popular all over the world, but we have all experienced how foamy they can be. It would be a shame to spill such exquisite and expensive beer. Read on how you proceed to pour the perfect glass.
First. If you don't have the original Belgian glass, recommended for each beer, take a large fine red wine glass on a stem. Make sure the glass is clean: no dust and no grease. Rinse it with cold water before you pour the beer. Shake the water out of the glass.
Second. Belgians treat their beers just like they treat their women: very gently. This means you should avoid shaking the bottle before opening. Shaking the bottle will create more foam, and it will stir up the yeast on the bottom of the bottle. Indeed, fine Belgian ales are refermented in the bottle. Stirring up the yeast will make your beer cloudy. Nothing wrong with that, but aficionados prefer to have the beer more clear. By the way: yeast is a complex of vitamin B, thus very healthy.
Three. You hold the glass slightly slanted, and you pour the beer while you try to avoid the 'gloucking' of the bottle. I mean, that funny noise made by the gulps of air sucked in the bottle while pouring. You control the production of foam by playing with three factors. First the force of your pour, second the distance between the bottle and the glass. The larger the distance, the more forceful you pour, the more foam you will create. The third factor is the surface of the beer in the glass exposed to the air. You create extra surface by holding the glass more slant. More beer surface will limit the production of foam.
A side note in case you pour out of a 750 ml bottle: after serving your first guest going to your next guest, do not bring the bottle back up but keep it in the slanted position it is in. Reason: to keep the yeast at the bottom of the bottle.
Four. Ideally we end up with about two fingers thick of foam. It is not necessary to pour the whole small bottle in the glass. In Belgium the server will leave about one to two fingers of beer in the bottle. This will be the part of the beer that is most cloudy because of the yeast. When your guest, drinker, has almost emptied her glass, she can then pour the rest of the bottle in the glass. People in Belgium like this two-step approach very much. The drinker gets to enjoy first a clear looking beer, and then a cloudy looking beer, tasting slightly different.
Five. Present your guest the glass and the bottle, putting both down on the table in front of her, with the beer logo facing her. Cheers.
A video of me pouring a perfect glass of beer floats on the internet. Original Belgian beer glassware is available on the web.