Monday, July 8, 2013

Beer Gear: IPA Glass

If you read my post last week about hops, you may have seen this glass. Spiegelau and the head brewers from Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada created this glass specifically to enhance the experience when drinking an IPA. They experimented with 50 or 60 different glass designs before they settled on this design. To keep it unbiased, the two head brewers, Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head and Ken Grossman from Sierra Nevada, helped design the glasses in different places without talking, but eventually both brewers came to the same conclusion.

Basically there are two parts to the glass. The ridged bottom and the straight bowl that resembles a white wine or burgundy glass. The "bubbles" at the bottom of the glass create more head, by agitating the liquid and forcing it to release the carbonation and aroma trapped inside. It gives the glass more surface area for the liquid to have the head pulled out. The shape of the top is similar to a wineglass where it directs all of the aromas that have been released at the bottom of the glass directly into your nose.

I had to give it a try and see if it was really worthwhile. I pulled out a Pliney the Elder that was only about a month old. I put it in a standard pint glass, a Spiegelau IPA glass and I drank it out of the bottle. In theory I should get the most aroma from the IPA glass and the least by drinking it straight out of the bottle.

As a result of that little experiment, I have become a believer. The Pliney from the bottle was fine but the hops didn't seem as bold or front-forward as the beer usually does. The IPA glass and the pint glass were closer. Every sip from the IPA glass hit you with some beautiful aromas and great big flavor. The pint glass was fine, but nothing out of the ordinary. The biggest difference was head production. The IPA glass creates head nonstop while you are drinking. This gives you that great fresh taste like you just popped the brew the whole time.

I am so glad that I went out and picked one of these up. Great glasses and an essential for any true hophead out there. Thanks to my Cali bud Jeremy for the Pliney, one of the best DIPAs out there.

You can also get it here:


  1. Be careful in the sink, it's very thin!

  2. Did you compare a standard snifter or a tulip as well?

  3. Scott: It says it is dishwasher safe, so far so good over here. I have big fat man hands so I break tons of stemware, so was thrilled to see I didn't have to do it myself

    Jake: Not yet. I plan on doing a post about the tulip and the snifter separately and then maybe doing a mash up. Snifter will probably be DIPA or barley wine.

  4. Of you're serious about beer... DO NOT put your beer glass in the dishwasher. The detergent residue is not only a head killer but will impart off flavors as well.

  5. Jim, soap can really mess up the head on a good beer. Unfortunately most meathods of cleaning require soap. I have found that my dishwashers rinse cycle does a solid job, but just to be safe I rerinse before I use the glass in case it still has residue or dust from the cabinets. I don't hand wash because I'be had more trouble with cross contamination by pots and pans. Heavy greases and oils from my sponge would cause problems. These can be just as leathal as soap.

    If I really meant business I would use the Starsan I use for home brewing. This would probably be the safest way, but like I said I have found that an extra rinse before use works great.