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Over the weekend, I decided to order something new from the menu: a Big Bad Baptist. I thoroughly enjoyed it (lots of coffee flavor and not nearly as much alcohol taste as I feared). But it came in what looked to be a brandy snifter.

Is this the typical way to serve that type of beer? I assume the purpose has something to do with the aroma, but is there any other reason (either traditional or practical)?

  • Snifters are great. Most festivals these days seem to give them out for tasting glasses. – wogsland Jan 3 '16 at 22:00
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First, yes, this is quite typical. Snifters are widely used for beer and generally for two reasons, in my experience.

  1. As you suspect, the bowl shaped glass helps to concentrate the aroma. However, this isn't unique to the snifter as many types of beer glasses incorporate a narrowing throat to provide this effect.
  2. Quantity. With a glass of beer that has a particularly high alcohol content, or particularly strong flavor, you'll often get much less than a standard 12-16 oz. pour. The beer you refer to for instance, the Big Bad Baptist, has an alcohol content of 11.8% ABV, which closer to wine than beer, (and wine has a standard 5oz serving size per glass, or thereabouts) so it calls for a smaller serving size. However, a 5oz or 6oz serving would look rather silly in a pint glass, so a snifter is more appropriate in proportion.
  • In regards to #2, I appreciated it. When I finished the glass, the waiter asked if I wanted another and I contemplated how one can really have too much of a good thing. I would not have finished another 6 ounces. – Jon Ericson Apr 4 '14 at 19:16
  • @JonEricson I hear you. :-) Additionally, I didn't mention that in many cases the price can dictate quantity as well. People (myself included) don't seem to mind paying $10 for 6oz of a particularly special beer, but a $25 pint might be a good bit harder to sell. – Xander Apr 4 '14 at 19:19

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