What Does Stella Artois Taste Like? (Flavors and Tasting Notes)

Created in 1926 as a Christmas present for the citizens of Leuven, Belgium, this ‘star’ Stella Artois is now available worldwide on draft, in bottles, and in cans. What does it taste like, how is it best enjoyed, and how could a homebrewer make their own at home? 

Stella Artois is a pilsner-style lager originally brewed in Belgium. Stella Artois has a crisp, clean flavor that features floral Saaz hops, light malty sweetness, slight carbonation acidity, and a dry finish.

Continue on to discover more about Stella Artois, its ingredients, and tips on how to best enjoy the Belgian pilsner.

Tasting notes and flavors for Stella Artois

Stella Artois does not use many ingredients to deliver its trademark lager taste.

Stella Artois is made of malted barley, water, and hops. Though the ingredients may be simple, it is a crisp, easy-drinking pilsner with a balance of sweet barley maltiness and floral, herbaceous bitterness from the hops. 

Stella Artois is available on draft in some bars and restaurants, in cans, and most distinctively, in 11.2 oz green bottles. 

Learn more about the characteristics of Stella Artois below.

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Taste

Stella Artois is a crisp, floral beer with malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness. The citrusy hops complement the barley malt to make for a refreshing, well-balanced lager. Expect a soft, dry, lingering finish.

Aroma

Stella Artois is a classic Belgian lager. As such, it has a crisp and clean aroma with hoppy floral notes. The sweetness of the barley brings out those herbaceous qualities on the nose.

Appearance

Stella Artois is packaged in green bottles with a white capsule or in tall white cans with red and gold lettering. In the glass, Stella Artois pours clear, straw yellow with a pale white, quickly-dissipating foamy head.  

Mouthfeel

Stella Artois is light on the palate with lively carbonation and a refreshing finish. The light body and kinetic bubbles make it a great option to drink on its own or pair with food.

Stella Artois recipe and ingredients

Stella Artois may not provide an official recipe, but they do disclose the following ingredients that make up their beer: 

  • Water
  • Barley
  • Hops

This isn’t the most helpful summary provided directly from Stella Artois. According to some sources, Stella Artois also uses a secret, unique yeast strain. This may be the secret behind Stella Artois’ simple but distinctive taste.

While Stella Artois does not divulge its official recipe, there are many clone recipes available both for free and for sale online.

Watch this video for a great tutorial on a Stella Artois clone recipe, with ingredients and instructions listed here (5.5-gallon batch): 

Ingredients:

  • 11 lbs German Pilsner malt
  • 1.75 oz Saaz hops (60 minutes)
  • .5 oz Saaz hops (5 minutes)
  • WLP830 German lager yeast
  • 3 oz priming sugar

Instructions:

  1. Mash at 150℉ for 60 minutes.
  2. Add 1.75 oz hops for 60 minutes.
  3. Optional: Add ¼ teaspoon Irish Moss 10 minutes before the end of the boil
  4. 5 minutes before the end of the boil, add .5oz hops.
  5. Aerate and cool the wort before transferring to your fermenter.
  6. Pitch yeast.
  7. Ferment at 50-55℉
  8. Rack to secondary after fermentation is complete. Keep in a very cool place, dropping the temperature 5℉ a day until you reach 35℉. It may take several weeks to be ready to bottle.
  9. Add priming sugar before bottling.

Stella Artois Style

Despite the French name, Stella Artois originally comes from Belgium. It is a pilsner-style lager, defined by its pale color, crisp character, and low ABV.

Like other popular European pale lagers, Stella Artois is bottom-fermented with a relatively small amount of noble hops.

Stella Artois ABV

The ABV of Stella Artois is between 4.6% and 5.2% depending on where it is sold. Stella Artois in the United States, for example, is 5% ABV while the ABV in the UK and Ireland was recently dropped from 4.8% to 4.6%, much to the chagrin of UK and Irish drinkers. 

Stella Artois calories and nutritional information

For every 11.2 fl oz (or one bottle) of Stella Artois, the company provides the following nutritional information: 

  • 141 calories
  • 10.9g carbs
  • 0g sugar
  • 5% ABV

As noted above, the ABV of Stella Artois fluctuates depending on where it is produced and sold. These numbers appear to be based on Anheuser-Busch produced Stella Artois in the United States.

How to drink Stella Artois for the best flavor

According to their website, Stella Artois delivers over 600 years of brewing experience into every bottle, can, and chalice.

Stella Artois has a specific nine-step method of pouring their beer for premium results, dubbed The Ritual (detailed below). Even at home, Stella Artois can be properly chilled and poured to great enjoyment.

Stella Artois served on tap in bars and restaurants is almost always served in branded Stella Artois chalices, with the bowl of the glass balancing on a heavy stem. You do not have to have one of these chalices to enjoy Stella Artois at home, however. Any beer clean pilsner glass or pint glass will work just fine.

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Temperature

Stella Artois recommends serving their beer between 3-5℃ or 37.5-41℉. Conventional wisdom for pilsners is 38℉, which is not only where most commercial draft systems land, but also an appropriate refrigerator temperature at home.

Bottle, can, or draft?

Stella Artois can be enjoyed from a bottle, a can, or on draft.

For the sake of freshness, Stella Artois is best enjoyed on tap. The brewery has formulated a dramatic 9-step process for pouring and serving their beer on draft:

  1. The Purification: The Chalice is rinsed with cold water, allowing the glass to reach the same temperature as the beer.
  2. The Sacrifice: The tap is opened in one swift motion to let the first burst of foam flow away to ensure every drop of your Stella Artois is fresh.
  3. The Liquid Alchemy: The Chalice is held at a 45-degree angle so that when the beer begins to circulate, it creates the ideal proportion of foam relative to liquid.
  4. The Crown: The creation of the foam head occurs by straightening and lowering the glass. This initial foam is important as it prevents the beer from coming into contact with the air and losing any flavor.
  5. The Removal: The tap is closed in one smooth action and the Chalice is quickly removed to prevent any drops from falling into the glass.
  6. The Beheading: While the head is flowing over the edge of the glass, your bartender cuts it gently with a knife on a 45-degree angle. This eliminates the larger bubbles, which burst easily and accelerate the dissipation of the head.
  7. The Judgment: Your bartender then checks that the foam is 2 fingers (3 cm) thick. The final head creates a protective “cap” that keeps your Stella Artois from going stale.
  8. The Cleansing: Your bartender then rinses the bottom and sides of the glass. This step keeps the outside of the Chalice clean and comfortable to hold.
  9. The Bestowal: Finally, your Stella Artois is served to you on a coaster, accompanied by the drip catcher at the base. Behold the perfect glass of Stella Artois. Cheers to you, and for your patience, a refreshing reward.


You can watch this complete, elaborate process below:

If serving Stella Artois from either a can or a bottle

  1. Start with a clean, dry glass.
  2. Tilt the glass and the bottle or can toward each other, pouring confidently.
  3. At the ¾ mark, begin to lift the glass upright to finish the pour.
  4. Allow the head to settle momentarily. Enjoy!

Type of glass

Bars and restaurants that carry Stella Artois on tap will likely serve it in branded glassware. You can purchase your own Stella Artois branded chalices or serve the beer in any beer clean pilsner glass for best results.

What kind of foods pair best with Stella Artois

Whether on a hot summer day or at the pub, as a pilsner, Stella Artois pairs well with food fresh off the grill or bar fare

Pairings include: 

  • Burgers: A fully-dressed burger off a charcoal grill – melted cheese, crisp lettuce, a squirt of ketchup and a couple of dill pickle chips – would be beautifully complemented by a cold, crisp, lightly sweet pilsner like Stella Artois.
  • Fish and chips: The energetic carbonation of Stella Artois cuts through the grease of flaky fried white fish and fries with refreshing results.
  • Lobster and shellfish: According to Anheuser Busch, the “mild malt and light hops of Stella Artois accentuate the richness” of lobster and shellfish without overwhelming the protein.
  • Cheesecake: The contrast between creamy, tart cheesecake and clean, malty Stella Artois makes for an unexpected and delicious dessert combination.

If serving Stella Artois out of the bottle, ensure it has been stored away from the sunlight and kept appropriately chilled for best results.

The green glass is more susceptible to allowing sunlight to affect the beer than beer stored in kegs or cans. 

Is Stella Artois a good beer to drink?

Like any other beer, Stella Artois has its die-hard following and its haters. It is a light, crisp lager with great marketing and wide availability. Some detractors label Stella Artois as ‘skunky’, which could be a result of the lighter-hued glassware and pronounced hop character.

Other beer drinkers may find Stella Artois to be too basic depending on their own tastes. For many drinkers, Stella Artois is their beer of choice.

Is Stella Artois a girly beer?

Maybe it is considered a ‘girly beer’ because of the feminine name, however Stella Artois is no more a ‘girly beer’ (or ‘manly beer’!) than any other beer on the market.

Stella Artois is for anyone who is craving a crisp, clean lager, regardless of gender.

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