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Letting Cold Beer Get Warm

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by kmello69, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. kmello69

    kmello69 Advocate (505) Texas Nov 27, 2011

    So I was in my local beer and wine store today, and saw that they had Widmer Raspberry RIS on the shelves. Went to grab one, and it was colder than it should have been for sitting out on the shelves. Checked the other bottles, and realized that these had been in the cooler, and were now being shifted out onto the shelves and allowed to get warm. I noticed the same with some bottles of La Folie, and a few other things on their shelves.

    I've always been told that its bad to let beer get warm once its been cold, but maybe this is just one of those things we're told that isnt true. Is this bad, and should I be wary of buying beer off their shelves, or is it OK to let cold beer get warm like this?
  2. joeebbs

    joeebbs Savant (360) Pennsylvania Apr 29, 2009

    It's only going to get up to "room temperature" on the shelf so I don't think that is too warm.

    But I've been told that is sort of a tall tale about beer being cold then getting warm then getting cold again. What really affects the beer is light hitting it and not necessarily temperature. But then again I could be wrong.
  3. jchoffman

    jchoffman Aficionado (185) Georgia Jan 28, 2012

    That is what I've heard as well, and my father seems to do this all the time with BMC, because he isn't really a beer drinker but people will come over that want a beer, he will cool it when someone comes, but put in the pantry when they leave... or on his house boat will store beer under deck..., I'm curious on the real answer myself..
  4. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    Everything I've ever heard from anyone who would actually know (and based on personal experience) is that it doesn't matter if you're talking about doing this once or twice. Beer isn't a souffle, it's not just going to fall apart at the slightest provocation.
  5. djbreezy

    djbreezy Advocate (510) Washington Dec 16, 2008

    As long as it's not an extreme temperature change happening often, the beer will be fine.
  6. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,015) Washington Sep 18, 2010

    From what I've gathered, the most harm comes from numerous pretty dramatic fluctuations in temperature.

    However, this morning I read a couple reviews both here and on RB of the new Churchkey pilsner (local to Seattle only I think, packaged in old-school steel flat-top cans you open with a churchkey opener) indicating that this one definitely needs to be kept cold, or the results could be literally explosive. Caveat emptor.
  7. dukes

    dukes Aficionado (180) Apr 2, 2012

    I think that's an adage for BMC beers since the taste gets progressively worse as it warms up.
  8. Kinsman

    Kinsman Advocate (555) California Aug 26, 2009

    The beer will be fine. Most beer goes through quite a few temperature fluctuations along it's voyage from the brewery to your glass so as long as it's not sitting on that shelf for months on end you should have nothing to worry about.
    GodlessWatermelon likes this.
  9. joeebbs

    joeebbs Savant (360) Pennsylvania Apr 29, 2009

    Speaking of the beer "voyage" I went on a tour of Philadelphia Brewing Co last fall and they let us taste a beer that came right off the bottling line. I was surprised to find out the the beer was cold right off the line.
  10. Temp is an enemy of beer, but in most cases only if temp changes are drastic (32° cooler to baking in the sun then back again over and over).
    However bottle conditioned beers can referment at higher temps, causing overcarbonation...gushers.
    Honestly, there is no hard and fast rule for all beers, just use your best judgement.
  11. Beer is always cold during packaging. If it is too warm when going through the filler, bottles will foam over and not fill properly.
  12. In my experience it is fine. I have taken bottles from my fridge and aged them along side other bottles that were always at cellar temp. Never could tell the difference so far. I don't think the temperature change from cooler to room temp. is drastic enough to really affect the beer, especially if it is something that will be consumed fairly fresh. Also, a lot of beer probably sees similar temperature variation when being shipped across the country and even worse when it comes across the ocean.
  13. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Champion (930) Arizona Jun 18, 2002

    It's fine.

    Also have you been told to leave the last 2-3 ounces in every can bottle that you drink from? :p
  14. jchoffman

    jchoffman Aficionado (185) Georgia Jan 28, 2012

    Well then that explains my fathers beer that is moved from refig to under deck since the temp under the deck of the house boat is 110 degrees in the summer... ;)
  15. Which has nothing to do with the warming up itself, just that the bad flavor that's already there is masked by the cold temps.
    BoneyardBrewer likes this.
  16. NiceTaps

    NiceTaps Savant (460) New Jersey Nov 21, 2011

    I always figure that the temperature of beer changes at least a few times before it finally gets to me.
    Between packaging, shipping, storage, transfers, etc., I doubt that the beer temp remains anywhere near close to constant.
    5thOhio likes this.
  17. kmello69

    kmello69 Advocate (505) Texas Nov 27, 2011

    I guess I was just worried because this is the first time I've actually SEEN this happen, and didnt know what to make of it. It likely happens all the time, and I just happened to touch that bottle while it was in the "warming up" process. I didnt end up buying anything, but its good to know that its not really an issue going forward.
  18. Last month I went to my local craft beer place, grabbed a 12 pack of Dale's Pal Ale, and the owner told me not to purchase anything from the cooler where they kept their cold beer. Apparently they had a power outage all night and he felt the beer was not up to par. I really didn't understand, but I picked up some warm beer instead.
  19. JimKal

    JimKal Savant (290) North Carolina Jul 31, 2011

    There are some non-pasteurized beers that need to be kept cold all the time. Locally, Greeensboro NC, has Red Oak that needs to be kept cold. Sweetwater out of Atlanta recommends the same for its beers.
  20. If it was true then IPA would never have been a possibility. Churning about on the seas for months , sometimes cold sometimes very hot yet by all accounts all the better for it.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  21. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Savant (440) Oregon Aug 17, 2005

    That issue has been addressed. They noticed that the first batch of cans had too much live yeast and/or sugar in them, and if left at room temp they would continue fermenting and cause the cans to bulge. They pulled everything from the distributor warehouse from that batch, and yanked everything they could out of stores/bars. They ran tests on random samples of the new batch, and after 72 hours at warm conditions they are apparently good, so it started shipping out again today.

    As for availability, it's in Oregon as well as Washington. The amount of phone calls and emails we've been getting about this beer has been approaching PtE levels, which just goes to show how effective marketing and packaging can be.
  22. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Savant (440) Oregon Aug 17, 2005

    Meh, that's more of a "CYA" thing than actual need for refrigeration. I'd wager that the vast majority of craft beers are unpasteurized and/or bottle conditioned, and as long as it's done right there's absolutely no reason it has to be kept cold. It'll certainly extend the shelf life on the slower moving varieties if you keep it cool and dark, but that's about it.

    When you think about it, the whole "Live beer, keep cold!" spiel that's printed on so many craft beers is kind of an oxymoron. Yeast doesn't do it's thing at refrigerator temperatures, so if you actually want to keep the beer "alive" you'd want it at cellar temp or slightly higher rather than kept at 38 degrees.
  23. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,015) Washington Sep 18, 2010

    Interesting. I haven't heard/seen much buzz at all about this beer, clearly there are a lot more hipsters in Portland. I admit, I bought a can for the sheer novelty of it—and I thought the beer was pretty decent for what it is (I may be in the minority, my rDev is currently a +22%)—but I doubt I'll be buying any more.
  24. jchoffman

    jchoffman Aficionado (185) Georgia Jan 28, 2012

    The funny thing is that I see Sweetwater at the package store kept warm as well, and correct that Sweetwater is non-pasteurized.
  25. If the beer was carbonated the yeast used up all of the sugar. The conditioning room for a breweries bottling line is about 70F to insure the yeast consume the priming sugar. The gushing on highly carbonated beers is due to the pressure increasing with temperature. PV=nRT if the temp goes up so does the pressure.
  26. emannths

    emannths Savant (390) Massachusetts Sep 21, 2007

    Not really--gushing of warm beers is caused by the inverse relationship between temperature and the solubility of CO2 in water. PV=nRT may play a tiny role, but it's a negligible contributor.
    breakingbland likes this.
  27. That is true also, yuo are probably right, but it is not another fermentation.
  28. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Savant (440) Oregon Aug 17, 2005

    There's the understatement of the day ;)

    As for the beer, I thought it was a decent lawnmower beer, but at $9-10/6pk I'd be more likely to grab a 12pk of Session or some pint cans of Bitburger if I'm going somewhere that doesn't allow glass.
  29. stevecarp6

    stevecarp6 Disciple (65) New York Jan 2, 2009

  30. stevecarp6

    stevecarp6 Disciple (65) New York Jan 2, 2009

    hey, my big thing w/ my distributers is that they should keep the ipa's and pale ales in the fridge and the stouts and what have you on the shelfs.
  31. I'd be more concerned with beer kept at a consistently warm temperature suddenly being put in the cooler. The cold beer might fool someone into thinking that the beer was kept cool and that oxidative damage was likely not present. This could lead to the false belief that the beer was a miss, as opposed to the handling practices of the merchant were poor.
  32. I didn't think BMC beers could get any worse
  33. Derranged

    Derranged Advocate (500) New York Mar 7, 2010

    How wrong you are, chief.

    I'm curious myself. I plan on buying beer from a place that keeps everything pretty cold and was wondering if it were safe to let it get to room temp then chill it again.
    RobertColianni likes this.
  34. Think about this, how often does the beer change temperatures during transit? Brewer to truck (possibly sitting overnight or during the day (could get really hot or really cold), truck to distributor, distributor floor, distributor to truck, truck to shelves. So many opportunities for temperature swings. I do not think moving from the fridge to the floor will make much of a difference. I would be more worried about the effect of light on the bottles in a place that keeps their beers near the windows or by bright lights.
    5thOhio, andrewinski1 and benart like this.
  35. bennetj17

    bennetj17 Advocate (625) Arizona Oct 30, 2005

    Used to worry about this, but I've done it so many times I can tell you it isn't a problem.
    5thOhio likes this.
  36. It's not an issue unless it happens often and/or with exposure extreme temperatures. Light however is a huge factor in the degradation of both beer and wine which plays a role in the use of colored glass for bottling.

    My girlfriend brought this up so I did some research and that was the general consensus as well as fitting with my own personal experience.
  37. Ri0

    Ri0 Champion (915) Wisconsin Jul 1, 2012

    So how do you think the temperature fluctuates from the time it is bottled to the time it is shipped from the brewery to the distributors warehouse, then to the store? I think we should only worry about frozen beer or beer that is hot to the touch. It has been in through a bunch of temp changes before it even gets to the shelf.
  38. People where I work can't get through their head that if beer warms up it won't go bad. I tell them it won't go bad and they pitch a fit and it drives me nuts.
    Lemke10 likes this.
  39. beerme411

    beerme411 Savant (350) California Sep 28, 2010

    Why did you revive a year old thread when similar threads have been popping up the past few weeks?
  40. as long as it doesn't freeze or go too hot it does not matter I really don't know where all this shit comes from its not a big deal I do this all the time.

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