Spiegelau Beer Glasses are Like Drinking Beer in HD



The last thing I needed as a beer geek was something new to obsess about.  Let’s face it, there’s a lot on my plate already; finding interesting beers, storing them properly, learning how to brew my own, serving beer at the right temperature, on and on and on it goes.  Now, thanks to the Spiegelau Glass Beer Classics Connoisseur set, we can add “glassware” to the list of the things that I need to be *just so* for me to truly enjoy the beer I’m drinking.

Simply put, these puppies are amazing.  It’s really night and day tasting beers side-by-side in a regular glass and one from the Spiegelau set.  My wife thought I was being a little precious by saying there was a difference, but then she tried some New Holland Dragons Milk, a beer she knows very well, in both a standard snifter and the Spiegelau stemmed beer tulip.  She actually said “whoa!” because the difference in flavor fidelity was so much better in the Spiegelau glass.

That’s for better and for worse.  In some beers, the clarity of flavor these beauties provide will help you find new things to love in your favorite beer.  I always knew I liked Dale’s Pale Ale, but I never realized it was the interplay between grapefruit and caramel that makes me so crazy for that stuff until I had it in the Spiegelau lager glass.

In other beers, the flavors that are diminished by ordinary glassware can take over and make you reevaluate your relationship with that particular brew.  I use the example of Victory Prima Pils in the video above, which is awesome in an ordinary tall pilsner glass, but becomes a peppery hop menace (to me) when poured into a Spiegelau tall pilsner vessel. I adjusted to it and still like the beer, but the herbal sweetness that drew me to Prima Pils in the first place is largely blotted out by the beer’s aggressive hop profile.

I reached out to Matt Rutkowski, a VP at Spiegelau USA, and asked him what black magic the company has worked to make these glasses so superior.  Here’s his reply, which was so well written (and I’m so lazy) that I’ve pasted it in its entirety below:

The chemistry and production of Spiegelau is what sets us apart from all others. It all starts with using the purest base ingredients. For Spiegelau, that is quartz silica (some people call this “sand”). We source our quartz silica (the primary ingredient) from the purest natural quartz mineral deposit in Europe, the Hirschau-Schnaittenbach Basin. This source is renowned for ultra pure quartz with almost no iron impurity. Iron, when is present at high levels, as is found in cheap glass, creates a green hue  (ever look at the edge of a glass table or shelf and see the green color? That’s iron in the glass). Impurities also demand that glass be made thick and rigid for structural integrity. Worse, this kind of cheap glass is full of distortions when you look through it.

Pure glass like Spiegelau does not need to be thick to be strong, because pure glass is flexible, and flexibility is where Spiegelau’s strength is derived. Just as a building in Southern California needs to be flexible, not rigid, in order to not break when under stress. The principal is the same with glass.

Pure Spiegelau glass, being colorless will visually present beer with optical-grade clarity.

Pure Spiegelau glass, being thin, will retain the cool beer temperature far longer than a thick, pint style glass. Thick glass actually draws temperature from the beer…and puts it into the glass itself, making your beer get warm quickly.

Pure Spiegelau glass is thin AND its surface is ultra smooth when viewed with an electron microscope, helping retain the precious effervescence of your beer. Cheap glass is thick AND porous which allows the beer to get warm to fast, thus robbing a beer of its fizz in a hurry.

So yes…the unsurpassed glass chemistry and high tech manufacturing process of Spiegelau absolutely does matter in how your beer will perform. Every beer is better in Spiegelau glass.

I’m not sure I agree with that last point, that every beer is better in Spiegelau glass (see Prima Pils above), but these glasses offer a clarity of flavor that makes you feel like you have the palate of a food critic.  And just like HDTV makes Adriana Lima look breathtaking and Maria Shriver look even more like Skeletor, these glasses bring out the essence of the beers served inside of them like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, for better and for worse.  I shudder to think what my homebrew might taste like in a Spiegelau glass!

You can find a starter set of these glasses on Amazon for about $40.00, which I think is a small price to pay for superhuman tasting abilities.



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Categories: Beer, review


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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45 Comments on “Spiegelau Beer Glasses are Like Drinking Beer in HD”

  1. June 21, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Agreed. I have a set of their tulips. I’ve had countless people tell me the same thing you have. These glasses do indeed add a level of clarity to your beer tasting.

    On the Spiegelau thinness, it’s a little unnerving sometimes. Especially when compared to your hefty standard bar ware. I often feel that if I grab my tulip with a bit too much gusto that it will shatter in my hand. But in the 4 or 5 years I’ve had them, not a one has broke on me. So maybe the whole flexibility thing is spot on.

    • June 21, 2012 at 11:17 am #

      Yeah, they are freaky thin! Funny thing is, in the four to five years you’ve had yours, I’ve broken at least four stemless glass wine tumblers, so maybe they’re telling the truth.

  2. June 21, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    I doubt that my palate is discerning enough to tell the difference buddy.

    • June 21, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      You’d be amazed, Wayne. My wife isn’t a foodie, and likes good beer, but isn’t nutty about it. She also has a pretty poor palate, and the difference leapt out at her. I know you’re probably just making fun of yourself, but put these on your beer gift wishlist and you’ll be happy you did.

  3. June 21, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    My takeaway: Prima Pils really isn’t as good as you think it is. 😉

    I’ve had the same set of Spiegelau glassware for a few months now and I really enjoy them (more than I thought I would, even). My fiancee loves drinking IPAs out of the tall Pilsner glass. I use the stemmed tulip for just about every big beer. The “Ale” glass is nice for session beers, but it’s HUGE. An aggressive pour from a 12 oz. bottle or can still leaves a bunch of empty space, but maybe that is the point. Or, maybe I should be buying more tall-boys of Deviant Dale’s and Shift.

    Interesting factoids about the glass itself. I always thought that thin glass would warm up the beer a lot easier than thick glass, but I have to say that I haven’t noticed any difference (for better or worse) with my set of Spiegelaus.

    • June 21, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      I think the tulip is going to get the most work at my house for sure. The wheat glass (the giant curvy one) is a suprising versatile vessel, but both it and the lager glass (the huge English pint glass) both hold 20 ounces of beer, so I always wind up opening more than one just to fill them up. A beer should be FULL when you start!!

      • June 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

        I haven’t really used the Wheat glass yet, but it could definitely double an an elegant vase.

        • June 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

          Or a swimming pool for small children…

        • June 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

          Or an umbrella stand.

        • June 21, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

          You could also make a cool lamp out of one…

    • June 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

      This is irrelevant to the glassware discussion, but god-damn Shift is good! Now I just wish I could get it in BC.

      • June 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

        Yeah, Shift is pretty awesome. New Belgium have stepped up their game in the past couple of years. Their Belgo IPA is another Summer favorite of mine. It’s a shame you can’t get it in BC; I would have thought a brewer of NB’s size would have no trouble getting you all the beer you could want!

        • June 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

          I had the Belgo recently and was unimpressed. That said, I think it may have been a bit old. I really wish more breweries would put the brewed-on or enjoy-by date on their bottles. I do really enjoy the Ranger Pale Ale and Dig was good too.

          Rest assured, it’s not New Belgium’s fault we don’t have the beer here. The booze distribution business in BC is run through the province and it is a labour of love to bring anything in. We don’t even get much craft beer from inside Canada. It has expanded a lot in recent times, but even still, we get very few brews from outside the Pacific NW (not considering giants like Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams and Brooklyn).

  4. June 21, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Wow, I’ll have to check these out. I just wrote a post about how glassware matters, just trying to get people off the standard shaker pint. This would be the next step in the evolution.

    • June 21, 2012 at 11:22 am #

      Yeah, this is some next level stuff. I know about using the right shapes, but the materials (the crystal in this case) make a huuuuuuge difference!

      • June 21, 2012 at 11:59 am #

        Yeah, but with some people you just have to get them to admit that glassware does matter before you step them up to the next level of glassware quality. If you spring the spieglau on them in the first step, you’ll just confirm their wine snobbery suspicions. You have a great blog, I’ll definitely be diving into your older posts!

        • June 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

          But just about any knuckledragger will be blown away by the difference these glasses make 0 not sure the same holds true for Chimay chalices…

        • June 22, 2012 at 3:27 am #

          But they’re blessed with monkly goodness…how can they not be awesome?

  5. June 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    How much did you get paid to write this?

    I’m asking because I just dropped $80 on a set each for my wife and I.

    • June 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

      Nuttin.’ I thought about that as I was pasting the link to Amazon, doing so to make it easier for you guys and gals to find the glasses there. I did get the glasses for free, which is sweet, but now I’ll be buying the damn things for everyone I know come Christmastime, so I’m not sure I made out ahead at all.

      • June 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

        I was just teasing, but you should have at least signed up for that Amazon referrals thing. Might help you pay off your Christmas presents!

        • June 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

          But then I’d be a sleazeball for loving these glasses and making them easy to get. I’d rather be able to gush about awesome stuff and not have to worry if it makes people think there’s a profit motive.

          I guess I have standards – who knew?!

  6. John
    June 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    I am not surprised the Prima tastes better in the regular glass. Probably the same type of glass the brewer used to taste test, thus what he targets toward his audience. Plus now everywhere you go your gonna need to bring the crystal and that’s a pain in the ass. ” I’m not gettng the full flavor beer snob without my fancy glass wear BS.” I’d rather remain ignorant and like my beer than be retisent everytime I have a beer without my special glass thinking it could taste better.

    • June 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      I honestly had no idea what I was getting into. I started off by writing a shootout between these and my go-to stemless wine tumblers for (a “do the fancy glasses really matter?” type post) but changed course when I realized the stark difference these glasses made. Now there’s no going back!! Of course, I can always drink beers outside the house and decide if they’re a good candidate for the “good glass” treatment.

      Anyway, you might be wise to stay away, except for the fact that these are SO GOOD it’s worth the pitfalls IMO.

      • John
        June 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

        You know I gotta know… So now I hate you, hate you, hate you, hate you… Maybe small servings in my Glen Cairns will work instead?

        • June 21, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

          It’s the exact same effect for sure. I thought about weaving that into the story, as those Glencairn’s work miracles for booze just like these things do it for beer.

        • Brett
          June 22, 2012 at 8:34 am #

          I actually have a couple Glen Cairn snifters that I got free at a bourbon tasting, never realized there was anything special about them other than the “preferred” shape. Do you think trying beer out of them might be a baby step towards the Spiegelau glasses? I’d love to just get an idea of what you’re talking about before ordering them for $40.

        • June 22, 2012 at 9:09 am #

          It couldn’t hurt, and I think it’d give a similar effect.

      • June 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

        I can see you traveling with these in a case a la The Hustler (and his pool stick); you’ll have the bartender use YOUR glass for the beer. Then you’ll be able to taste the dirt in their keg lines. Okay, maybe you won’t take the glasses with you. It’s probably better not knowing how much crud is in the lines.

        • June 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

          Unfortunately, I usually don’t need a good glass to taste how bad the tap lines are in some places. It seems craft beer interest is outpacing tap line hygiene at bars abs restaurants across America!

        • Jeff
          June 21, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

          My dream is to open my own beer bar one day…and when it happens…all lines will be thoroughly cleaned daily…company policy…even if I have to do it personally.

  7. splat8391
    June 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    You want to really put these glasses to the test? (You had me at “hello,” by the way.) I have two words: Corona Light.

    • June 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      Again they only distill what’s inside of them, so I can’t wait to be overwhelmed by cold pee!

      • splat8391
        June 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

        I dunno … Maybe all this time it’s been the glass’s fault. Maybe Corona Light tastes like … Victory.

        And maybe we never landed on the moon.

        • June 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

          I hope you ordered a set and will give us a full report! 🙂

  8. FatCatKC
    June 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Curse you Jim and my impulse buying habits! Can’t wait to try them out.

    • June 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

      You’re gonna thank me, Fat Cat. And then curse me the next time you have a good beer away from home without one of them…

  9. Jeff
    June 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Thanks Jim…though I lament the loss of my cash…I anxiously await the arrival of my pair of stemmed pilsner glasses. If they impress me…I’ll be sending a set to my girl in fairly short order.

  10. June 22, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    Maybe the reason the Dragon’s Milk tasted so good was the fact that you poured it into a tulip glass instead of a chalice. Just saying.

    • June 22, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      Ha ha, Zac. I mostly use wine tumbler that are mostly stemless tulips, wise guy.

  11. June 25, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    Dammit Jim… first the Glencairn glasses and now these? You guys are costing me a lot of money 🙂

    Funny thing is that one of the things that convinced me this weekend was actually drinking a Bell’s Oarsman out of a plastic (blue Solo) cup. (It was at a party at somebody else’s house, I didn’t want to be “that guy” who asked for proper glassware so I just grabbed what they had)

    Now it’s taking it to the extreme and thus a “duh” statement but it amazed me how much the beer lost in that cup. Obviously still better than out of the bottle but I know how good that beer is just out of a regular pint glass and in the plastic cup the head retention was absolute zero even though I poured it fast, straight down the middle.

    So knowing what moving from a plastic cup to a shaker pint glass to a tulip can do for a beer, I’m looking forward to seeing if these bad boys live up to their hype.

    Cheers guys, keep up the great work.

  12. June 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    As a beer snob and a scientist, I cannot wait to try these out. It will be really interesting to see what it does to homebrew.

    • June 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      They’re gonna fill your lab notebook with smiley faces!

  13. Manny
    August 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    Just got a set (props to my loving wife) two days ago. So far I’ve had the Pyramid Curve Ball and the Cisco Summer of Lager, both in the lager glass. The Curve Ball didn’t taste any different, but the Cisco was brighter and tangier. (This is in comparison to drinking from the bottle, which is what I normally do.)

    I think I’m going to like these!


  1. Read A Blog That Is Not Mine! « No Replicators - June 28, 2012

    […] 2. One about awesome glasses that make it easier to taste your slutty beer! […]

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