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Could you tell if a pint of beer is ‘off’?

Could you tell if a pint of beer is ‘off’?

A report by Cask Marque has found that a third of us are being served through dirty pipes in the pub.

The report says:

‘If you have dirty beer lines and murky looking, foul tasting warm beer, you will soon have an empty pub,’

‘When a clean is overdue wastage levels increase due to the lower quality beer, causing a lower yield.

‘Stopping regular cleaning starts a downwards spiral, you get an increase in waste, driving an even poorer yield as the consumer looks elsewhere for a quality product, lowering your overall revenues and GP.’

How to spot a dirty pint? (from Dylan Murray, operations director at the Drake & Morgan bar)


“Off flavours which may vary from metallic through to vinegar” = you should be able to instantly notice these.

When pulling a pint of real ale right from the pumps, what you’re looking for is a smooth, tender, rhythmic plunging pumping motion. Over pumping can fill the beer with oxygen and an over-oxidized ale will smell of wet paper.


“Sulphuric, rotten eggs, wet cardboard” are all big no nos, so if your beer smells of any of these and you have the sudden urge to use the toilet facilities face-first, there’s something wrong with your pint.

Sulphurous smell and a metallic taste it can also indicate “premature pouring”, beer needs to settle in the barrel for around 1 day prior to being poured.

How much of by beer price goes to the pub?


Beers shouldn’t be too “bright, hazy, or cloudy”. “A cloudy pint usually means pour line hygiene or yeast in the lines,” Let your pint settle before you judge it for cloudiness.

Also, be sure to know your beer some beers are supposed to be cloudy and you will look quite the idiot when you complain!

Flat beer indicates they’re using beer that hasn’t sold well, “A container should be on service and sold in 3-4 days for optimum quality.”

Watch your glass – A too warm glass will cause the head of the beer to dissipate quicker than usual; a cold glass will often water down your pint due to condensation.


Do you think you could tell an 'off' pint?

How to complain?

First of all, ask your mates what they think, it might just be you.

Remember a bartender will replace your beer if it is funny-tasting, but don’t be the idiot who swaps his pint because you just don’t like that beer.

Speak with the bartender and explain your reasoning.
More information available on Telegraph website

Where can I get a cheaper pint?


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