Quality assessors from Cask Marque have revealed that hundreds of pubs in the UK are serving real ale which is too warm to be refreshing.

The recommended temperature for a hand-pulled pint of real ale is between 11C to 13C but the Cask Marque survey found that 44% of pints bought in 2,000 UK pubs exceeded 13C. It said that pubs in London, Essex, Middlesex, Cambridgeshire and the West Midlands had served pints ranging from 25.9C and 28.1C, while in Kent one pub served a pint of ale at 35C.

The unannounced visits by inspectors were carried out in the nine months up to February.

"There is a common misconception that cask beer is intended to be warm," said Cask Marque director, Paul Nunny. "Proper beer is cool, refreshing and thirst quenching."