Glassware Cleaning Best Practices

Now with over 4,656 breweries—a record high for the United States—America’s beer culture is flourishing in neighborhoods across the country.

Highly-skilled in their craft, brewmasters put forth a great deal of passion and knowledge to achieve a desired result that will be enjoyed in tasting rooms and local establishments alike. Consequently, it is equally important to ensure the great flavor and aroma are preserved by serving in a properly cleaned glass. The following tips from the Brewers Association will help bars and restaurants create quality beverage experiences that are not hindered by glass residue and unsanitary practices.

Glassware Cleaning

As a starting point, glassware must be free of visible soil and marks. A beer-clean glass is also free of foam-killing residues and lingering aromatics such as sanitizer, which can ruin the taste of the beer.

A freshly cleaned glass should be used for every pour. Never refill a used glass; this practice may also violate local health codes.

A dedicated, automatic glasswasher is one method that can deliver effective beer glass cleaning to your clean-up process.

Automatic Glass Washing Machines

  1. Dedicate this machine to cleaning bar and beer glassware only. Do not subject it to food or dairy product residue.
  2. Use correct detergent, sanitizer, and rinse agents in properly metered amounts.
  3. Check concentrations once each day, or follow detergent and sanitizer supplier recommendations.
  4. Use water temperature that corresponds with your high- or low-temperature glasswasher.
  5. Properly maintain the machine to assure good water flow through the system, including free flow through each nozzle and wash arm.
  6. Regularly service the machine based on the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Handling Clean Glasses

Keep glassware clean and odor-free after washing:

  1. Air-dry glassware. Drying glasses with a towel can leave lint and may transmit bacteria and odors.
  2. Dry and store glasses in a stainless-steel wire basket to provide maximum air circulation. Similar deeply corrugated baskets or surfaces also work.
  3. Do not dry or store glassware on a towel, rubber drain pad, or other smooth surface, as they can transfer odors to the glass and slow the drying process.
  4. Store glassware in an area free of odors, smoke, grease, or dust.
  5. Store chilled glasses in a separate refrigerator away from food products such as meat, fish, cheese or onions, as they can impart an odor to the glasses.
  6. Store beer glasses dry in a chiller. Never use a freezer. Chill glasses 36°-40°F.

Testing for “Beer-Clean” Glass

Beer poured to a beer-clean glass forms a proper head and creates residual lacing as the beer is consumed. After cleaning, you can test your glasses for beer-clean status using three different techniques: sheeting, the salt test, and lacing. Each technique is described below.

  1. Sheeting Test: Dip the glass in water. If the glass is clean, water evenly coats the glass when lifted out of the water. If the glass still has an invisible film, water will break up into droplets on the inside surface.
  2. Salt Test: Salt sprinkled on the interior of a wet glass will adhere evenly to the clean surface, but will not adhere to the parts that still contain a greasy film. Poorly cleaned glasses show an uneven distribution of salt.
  3. Lacing Test: Fill the glass with beer. If the glass is clean, foam will adhere to the inside of the glass in parallel rings after each sip, forming a lace pattern. If not properly cleaned, foam will adhere in a random pattern, or may not adhere at all.

Adapted from “Brewers Association Draught Beer Quality for Retailers.” The Technical Committee of the Brewers Association. 2014. Print.

To learn more about Stero Warewashing solutions, contact Doug Cole, Business Development Manager, 937-831-0799 or visit our website at