Why beer tastes better cold

Science supports this theory.

Click here to read the Spanish version.

Beer is drunk cold, whatever the season. A sort of sentence that binds all consumers of this drink who have probably asked themselves this question at some point. Well, the answer to that question has just been given by a group of Chinese scientists in a study published in the journal Matter.

The minds behind the study were Jiang, Xiaotao Yang and a team that examined the structure of ethanol alcohol molecules in baijiu, a popular Chinese liquor, at different temperatures.

It all started two years ago, when the two were drinking beer together and asked the question: ‘Why does Chinese baijiu have a very particular alcohol concentration? The team examined the structure of the alcohol molecules, finding that when they have a higher concentration of ethanol they are clustered end-to-end in a chain, and in drinks with lower ethanol concentrations, the molecules appear ‘more like tetrahedral or pyramidal clusters’. The researchers also concluded that the ‘chain’ version tasted more like ethanol.

In this sense, the ethanol clusters in beer are more chain-like at cooler temperatures and create small pyramids when heated. So the beer loses its ethanol flavour as its temperature increases. At low temperatures, the tetrahedral (pyramid-shaped) clusters become the amount of ethanol in the beer.