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Texas cellar question

Discussion in 'US - Southwest' started by icetrauma, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Phoenix2443

    Phoenix2443 Savant (345) Texas Jan 20, 2010

    Fridge in the garage, cabinet in the house. And whatever I'm planning on drinking ends up in the fridge. Next time I organize my cellar ill take pics.

    I need a temp controller, anybody have a link to one they rec?
     
  2. starkmarvelo

    starkmarvelo Advocate (500) Nevada Jan 20, 2010

    i can help.
     
  3. bleeng

    bleeng Savant (270) Texas Aug 16, 2005

    Deep dark closet mostly except for a couple dozen in the fridge. Try to keep the apt at 70ish F. I desperately need a beer fridge but apartment living precludes that for now. I've had a least 3 cellar cleaning tastings but I've gotten at least 100 new beers since I moved back to Houston from Alabama-probably close to 400 now. I know some have to have gone off but I still have a good stash of lambic/gueze that I've brought back from Belgium that should be OK. And I have these damn friends that keep shipping me beer that I cannot keep up with. :cool: Where's a cellar when a man needs one???
     
  4. jbeezification

    jbeezification Savant (415) Texas Jun 6, 2012

    My house?
     
  5. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Texas Apr 11, 2012

    Mostly its the time to do it. I have pkenty who are willing to help. LOL
     
  6. cfh64

    cfh64 Advocate (655) Texas Aug 16, 2005

    I'd like to get in on this. I tell you guys what...I know this seems really generous but we won't take no for an answer. Anyone complaining of having too much beer (myself excluded) Starmarvelo and I will take a week or two traveling across the state to personally "help" reduce your cellar contents FREE of charge. Pretty sweet deal, eh? No need to thank us now.
     
  7. Ford

    Ford Savant (480) Texas Sep 8, 2012

    You guys really are bastions of humanity...one of the thousand points of light guiding the way.
     
    jbeezification and cfh64 like this.
  8. bentwookie

    bentwookie Initiate (0) Texas Jan 13, 2008

    This is the one I have.
    http://www.austinhomebrew.com/product_info.php?products_id=1214
     
  9. xpimptastikx

    xpimptastikx Initiate (0) Texas Oct 8, 2008

    15 cft. chest freezer with a temp controller and a medium size fridge with a temp controller.
    I still have spill over of about 3 cases of bombers and a case of 12oz. :(
    First world problems.


    RANCO ETC 111000, I have 2 that I picked up for a little less than 50$ a piece and took about 5 minutes to wire up. Super easy to use and extremely efficient. Here's an ebay link.
     
  10. fragilehearted

    fragilehearted Savant (270) Texas Dec 13, 2009

    Yeah, same thing happened to me. My bf doesn't drink as much as I do (or even want to drink certain beers that I like, other than a quick taste), so I'm having the same first world problem with the amount of beer in my home. Just can't drink it quickly enough!
     
  11. starkmarvelo

    starkmarvelo Advocate (500) Nevada Jan 20, 2010

    Scratch that. No box, I just acquired a full size beer fridge...for freeeeeeee!
     
    Ford likes this.
  12. blatherbeard

    blatherbeard Savant (430) Texas Sep 30, 2007

    Then again, if your AGING, 55 deg prevents it from aging doesnt it?

    and yes 70 to 73 is perfect year round, sometimes colder in my apt.
     
  13. MattCinatl

    MattCinatl Aficionado (145) Texas Aug 30, 2009

    The chemical reactions that comprise beer aging are vastly over simplified. That assertion is far too general to really mean anything. Some reactions will proceed at low temperatures, some will proceed very slowly, and some won't proceed at all.

    Here's a good resource if you want to learn more about what is happening inside the bottle.

    Also, 55 degrees F is a common number tossed around for cellars (that's what I keep mine at because I like to drink them at that temperature). The number is based off of the temperature of caves in France where they would mature wine, so it is kind of an arbitrary figure for aging beer, though it seems to work well enough.
     
  14. blatherbeard

    blatherbeard Savant (430) Texas Sep 30, 2007

    Cool, thx for that. I was always told if you kept it cold it just stayed in the state it was in and wouldnt further age.
     
  15. omnigrits

    omnigrits Savant (345) Texas Jun 1, 2006

    I've tried understanding the complexities of ageing beer but the chemistry of it goes so far above my head that you'd need a telescope to see it, so I have to accept what the 'experts' say (and what centuries of experience have shown) and what I hear time after time is this:

    The best temperature to keep beer (and wine) at for extended periods is between 55° and 60°, which also happens to be the ambient temperature of most caves and pub cellars, because some chemical reactions which make changes in beer that our taste buds like (hereinafter called 'good') will happen at a certain rate and some reactions that make tastes we don't like (hereinafter called 'bad') will happen more slowly - but they will happen. It's not so much that it "works well enough", it works optimally and balances out the good and the bad for a desired end result.

    When beer is kept at temperatures higher than 60° all reactions will happen more quickly, but that doesn't mean you'll get the same result in a shorter time. It'll change differently because some of the reactions that happen slowly at lower temperatures will speed up more than some of the others, and that goes for the bad ones as well as the good. The end result won't be the same, so don't go putting that can of Ten Fidy on the windowsill thinking you'll get a ten-year-old beer in a couple of months.

    If you keep a beer in the fridge it will change so slowly as to be almost imperceptible, with one or two exceptions such as hop flavour, which will diminish over time no matter how cold you keep it, but oxidation can still occur given enough time, and without the benefit of the good changes.

    What's good and what's bad can be subjective. Some people like the oxidised sherry-like notes in decades-old (even hundreds of year old) beers, and I for one would love to taste some of those. There are still bottles of Allsopp's Arctic Ale from 1875 hanging around which are very drinkable, if you like that sort of thing. Maybe I'll bury a bottle of Utopias somewhere and dig it up 150 years from now in a future life.

    Just to play devil's advocate and argue with myself: All those barrels at places like Boon, Cantillon and Lindemans aren't in a cellar, they're in a building above ground that gets warm in the summer, cold in the winter, being aged for up to three or four years before being blended and bottled, and I suspect the same was true for the beers that were blended to make Ballantine's Burton Ale which could be aged for up to 20 years before bottling, and probably for those stock ales that the lord of the manor used to brew when a son and heir was born which were kept until he attained his majority at 21, and sometimes longer.

    If I had the money (lots and lots of money) I'd set up a brewery that made a beer like Ballantine's Burton Ale. Can you imagine a beer solera?
     
    BK1017 and UHCougar12 like this.
  16. MattCinatl

    MattCinatl Aficionado (145) Texas Aug 30, 2009

    I'm not sure that words like "best" and "optimal" belong in a discussion on beer storage temperatures. There's simply far too many factors to arrive at such a neat conclusion like that. Are we talking about a traditionally produced gueuze at 5% ABV or a flash pasteurized imperial stout at 10.5%? How can these two beers of vastly different composition share the same "optimal" storage temperature? Again, I'm all for 55° F, but that's a loose personal preference rather than a hard and fast standard backed up by research.

    I think you're painting too broad a stroke here. Temperature isn't a known factor in many of the associated reactions.

    Overall, you seem to be saying that low temperatures corresponds with slower aging, and higher temperatures corresponds with accelerated aging (and some not-so-desirable byproducts). I agree for the most part, but the conversation goes a lot deeper than that. Truly just the tip of the iceberg.
     
  17. omnigrits

    omnigrits Savant (345) Texas Jun 1, 2006

    With respect, it's not a personal preference, it's what I've learned from people who, by my judgement, know more about the subject than I do, and enough times to convince me there must be something to it, as well as the empirical evidence of having worked in pubs with cellars and spoken to long-time managers and publicans for whom it's accepted knowledge and who passed it on to me. I agree that not all beers will give their best in the same conditions but operating several different fridges or walk-ins is impractical for a lot of people who age beer at home and for most businesses. If you begin delving deeply into it then yes, 'best' is probably not a good word to use for the reasons you said, but again, a lot of us have only one space to work with unless we have room for three or four temp/humidity-controlled dedicated fridges. Not out of the question by any means, and that's a whole realm of geekdom above me, but if you can only manage one space to age your beers there'll be an optimal temperature to get the best results overall. A compromise.

    Quite so, but it is a factor and often the easiest one to control, especially if you have a bona fide cellar. What else could be at work on a beer that's being aged? Low humidity can dry out a cork but does it have an effect on the processes and reactions? Really, I want to learn.

    Agreed, although I see a somewhat smaller iceberg.
     
  18. Yes, although I could just go upstairs in my brewing area and look at one physically.
     
  19. MattCinatl

    MattCinatl Aficionado (145) Texas Aug 30, 2009

    I didn't mean to say that it was just personal preference for you, I meant to say that it was just personal preference for me. I can see the reasoning behind 55 degrees. It's a middle-of-the-road, best of both worlds kind of a number. I'm just not convinced that there is a chemical basis for 55 degrees. I am, however, convinced there is an anecdotal and preferential basis for 55 degrees.

    Accepted and passed down knowledge are my least favorite kinds (not to knock your managers or friends in the industry), so you'll have to pardon the contrarian in me.

    What I meant was that there are other factors inside the aging inside the bottle (pasteurized vs. living microbes, low levels of dissolved oxygen vs. high, free radicals, reductive capacities of dark malts, high alcohol) and as a result there can't be a one size fits all temperature, in my opinion. And you're right, it's all about compromise. Besides limiting light exposure and maintaining a reasonable level of humidity, there isn't anything you can do (don't even get me started on waxing bottles ;)).

    Sorry if I piecemealed your response a bit too much. It's easier to respond to specific points, and, let's be honest, I've had a few beers tonight.

    Also, if you go to the Draught House tastings I owe you a beer. Discussions on BA usually end up being hate-filled and pedantic or a big circlejerk. Hooray for friendly discourse.
     
  20. omnigrits

    omnigrits Savant (345) Texas Jun 1, 2006

    O rly? You have my full attention. Please tell me more.
     
  21. starkmarvelo

    starkmarvelo Advocate (500) Nevada Jan 20, 2010

    This sounds like a badass science fair project. Seriously, age beer at different temps and such and then do a blind tasting. Anyone have kids in middle school? That way well have a good 4-5 years of cellaring.
     
    BK1017 likes this.
  22. omnigrits

    omnigrits Savant (345) Texas Jun 1, 2006

    No probs, although we'll have to agree to disagree about passed down knowledge, and I did know about filtered/unfiltered beers, I was thinking mostly about factors from outside the bottle. Now I'm about to have a few beers myself in the shape of a 2010 Old Guardian that's sat through three Texas summers (and winters) in what neither you or I would probably call ideal cellaring conditions ;)
     
  23. H0rnedFr0gs

    H0rnedFr0gs Savant (425) Texas Mar 12, 2012

    Love this thread guys. I really appreciate learning from the collective knowledge.

    I've had a similar thought about the reaction of beers with active things in them like Brett. If you stir the bottle (by shaking it or flipping it upside down). I posited that a daily stir might yield more reactions by rousing the yeast but I suspect these reactions would require near constant shakes to affect taste. Anyone with info on this side of scientific study on beer reactions?

    For my cellar I live 8 feet below ground at a 100year old+ building and my closet has a ambient temp of 65...although I tried to convince my GF that I could attach a window unit to the closet door and seal it up to keep it even colder but she didn't want her clothes to be frozen every morning...and she somehow convinced me not to.
     
    blatherbeard likes this.
  24. jacobbocce72

    jacobbocce72 Savant (335) Texas Dec 18, 2011

    Ha! I do science fair every year with about 120 or so kids. This has crossed my mind on several occasions. Too bad you would have to go through some serious, serious paperwork to allow a 12-13 year old to legally experiment with beer.
     
  25. icetrauma

    icetrauma Savant (495) Texas Sep 7, 2004

    Don't champagne house do a quarter turn on every bottle at certian intervals? I thought I saw something on TV about this when they did a segment on Moet & Chandon.
     
  26. omnigrits

    omnigrits Savant (345) Texas Jun 1, 2006

    I do know that in times past when brewers were making a strong ale like barley wine they'd roll the barrels to wake up the yeast inside when the fermentation had slowed down, just to get a little more out of the critters. Maybe they still do. Brett eats up a lot of the sugars that regular brewers yeast can't so maybe it doesn't need so much activation, and some of those tuns that lambics are matured in at places like Boon and Cantillon would need a bulldozer to roll them.
     
  27. Among my homebrewing I brew lambic. Rather than brew a batch, bottle it and repeat or brew several batches and blend I brew a single batch, bottle part and refill fresh wort, so that any given year of bottling will contain a mix of every year of beer fermented. It produces a very different blend than straight lambic (obviously) but also I think it has slightly different character than gueuze because you don't have several distinct beers blended together but more of a continuum of blending. I guess you could say it's not technically a solera because I'm not using multiple vessels but the effect is the same.

    There is a brewery...I forget who it is... that actually does have a multiple barrel solera system for some of their sours.
     
  28. I don't know of any brewery that still does this. Especially not with breweries with large foeders. As you say, you'd need a bulldozer (or two) to move them.

    The reason it was done for strong beers is because the yeast were poor attenuators and when fermentation stops prematurely rousing the yeast is one of the first steps to restart fermentation. Breweries now have better yeast controls to avoid those problems but it's fairly common advice for new homebrewers who underpitched their yeast.

    Brett isn't lazy like sacc. It gets itself motivated and chews up everything it can find. It doesn't have the problems being overloaded with food sources like sacc can because brett can metabolize pretty much anything but the water in beer, even ethanol. It has an extremely high tolerance for alcohol (at least at undistilled concentrations).
     
  29. omnigrits

    omnigrits Savant (345) Texas Jun 1, 2006

    It kind of sounds like a cross between a solera and krausening... which are sort of the same thing I guess.

    Edit: no, maybe they aren't.
     
  30. It's not krausening because the beer that gets bottled is completely fermented out. It's done. It could all get bottled. Krausening is used for bottling purposes.
     
  31. Clonies720

    Clonies720 Initiate (0) Texas Oct 24, 2012

    I'm actually running an unofficial experiment aging beers @ 55F in a temp-controlled chest freezer vs. the closet. I'll crack em open in a few months and compare.
     
  32. xpimptastikx

    xpimptastikx Initiate (0) Texas Oct 8, 2008



    Yep, they claim it has to do with the yeast and a carbonation build up. They used to lose a lot of bottles to carbonation bombs. They also used to store bottles in large dirt mounds, but now they're stored in large wooden rectangular contraptions that hold the bottles at a certain angle and they use machines to rotate the bottles. The champagne caves stretch for miles and miles under the city of Champagne and are truly amazing.
     
    icetrauma likes this.
  33. MattCinatl

    MattCinatl Aficionado (145) Texas Aug 30, 2009

    I don't have any links to pertinent studies, but I suspect that rousing bottles/barrels/etc works by breaking up flocculated masses of yeast (but rousing doesn't seem likely to break the bonds between neighboring cells in a significant percentage of the total number of yeast cells). Flocculation is a poorly understood facet of yeast cell biology. We know that mannans and flocculins (structures on the cell surface) bind, causing yeast to flocculate, and that flocculins are activated by a cell signaling process triggered by low nutrient levels, but there are a lot of unanswered questions. Why do certain strains flocculate more quickly? Why is the flocculation of certain strains so sensitive to temperature?

    Also, I think there is another mechanism at work here, maybe the redistribution of oxygen in the headspace of the vessel? Just an idea.
     
  34. BruceBruce

    BruceBruce Initiate (0) Texas Dec 4, 2011

    Lets be honest, Wine storage facility in Houston, Fridge in Houston, Fridge in Austin, another Fridge in another place, a guys house in California am I missing some lol
     
  35. icetrauma

    icetrauma Savant (495) Texas Sep 7, 2004

    A fridge? :cool:
     
  36. BruceBruce

    BruceBruce Initiate (0) Texas Dec 4, 2011

    lol
     
    icetrauma likes this.
  37. Ahaley

    Ahaley Aficionado (120) Texas Dec 24, 2009

    Keep all my drinkers in my extra fridge and retrofit an interior closet with r-matte plus insulation and shelving. Put a small cooler system in there and keep it at cellar temp.
     
  38. lokieman

    lokieman Savant (475) Oklahoma Jan 20, 2011

    Kegerator with a shelf that I installed set on lowest setting. Holds from 50-57 degrees and works great except it's too small. Have fresher beers in the fridge and a couple boxes on the floor in the pantry. I'm shopping craigslist for an old, cheap fridge to put in the garage. Running out of room real fast....
     
  39. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Texas Apr 11, 2012

    You'll eventually outgrow a beer fridge too.
     
  40. ThirdEyePA

    ThirdEyePA Savant (370) Texas Nov 7, 2011

    I'm at that point now. I keep what I plan to drink within a few days to a week in the fridge. The rest, I have a cabinet under the counter in my kitchen that I keep the "aging" beers in. My fiance got me a wine fridge for X-mas and I wound up taking it back because it didn't have enough room, bad ratings, etc. Now I'm looking for an something to store more beer in. I'm pretty much looking for the most room I can get, and still control the temp to between 50-60. Looking to spend around $200-$250 total if anyone has any suggestions.
     

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