Craft beer storage

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Kamikazio, Jun 6, 2021.

  1. Kamikazio

    Kamikazio Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2021

    Hi everybody, I’m new to this forum, so I apologise if this has already been covered.

    I’ve recently purchased a decent amount of craft beers and realise I don’t have refrigeration space to store them!

    What’s everybody’s thoughts on storing at room temperature (fluctuating between about 17-22degreeC) for about 3 weeks ? Should I be concerned that I may have ruined them by oxidisation ? How could I tell if this is the case, would it be obvious when I taste it ?

    p.s I now have a refrigeration unit for the beer but I guess if they have spoiled it may be too late for this batch

    thanks
     
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  2. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (3,732) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

    Properly packaged beer doesn't oxidize within 3 weeks, that is a much longer process. The main reason you wanna store beer cold is to preserve hops, which fade faster in warmer temperatures. However, three weeks at room temperature isn't really a huge deal either when it comes to that. It's certainly less than ideal for very hoppy styles like NEIPAs, but it's certainly not gonna ruin the beer either.

    In Germany it's pretty much unheard of for retailers to store beer cold, it just sits on the shelves for weeks and months on end. So yeah, I really wouldn't worry about it.
     
  3. Ernest7

    Ernest7 Initiate (35) Apr 24, 2019 Belgium

    Weeks or months are OK @ 17-22° C.
    Years or decades are OK @ 12-14° C. The lower the temperature, the slowlier aging will take place. The slowlier the aging, the more subtle aromas and tastes will be/change. Best is no or hardly any fluctuation in temperature between winter and summer. Best is no refrigeration but a cool cellar.
     
  4. BigIronH

    BigIronH Devotee (414) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
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    The topic has been explored extensively in other threads but this chart will explain your timeline on storing beer and at what temperatures. You’ll notice at the temperatures you described you have >90 days until your beer goes stale. Cheers![​IMG]
     
  5. dennisthreeninefiveone

    dennisthreeninefiveone Initiate (83) Aug 11, 2020 New Jersey
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    The important thing is not to let the beer get to warm. Heat kills beer.
     
  6. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,092) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    If you have more beer than refrigerated space, put the hoppy beers in first, then the light-colored ones to help protect their lighter flavors. Generally, the dark beers are okay at cellar temps unless it is a black IPA. However, even dark beers have hops in them which will degrade over time and change the beer, so be aware of that too.

    Unless beer is poorly packaged so that air gets inside, or packaged with poor sanitation (microbes) it won't spoil, it only changes over time. Your job is to decide if you like those changes and to learn from it for future beers of the same style.
     
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  7. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (13,144) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
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    I get a kick out of the classic Corona commercials where the scantily-dressed models are on the beach playing volleyball, while their ice-cold clear-bottled libations sit waiting for them in a tub of ice, in the sun, skunked. The later commercials have switched to cans. Keep beer out of direct sunlight. Canned or green-bottled beer won't skunk but can heat up. A cool dark basement is ideal if you have one.
     
  8. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (3,732) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
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    You mean brown-bottled, right?
     
  9. Steve_Studnuts

    Steve_Studnuts Zealot (538) Apr 21, 2015 Pennsylvania

    I just came to the realization that I need a dedicated beer fridge. I've far more unrefrigerated beer than refrigerated. There's only so much space and I was never all that great at Tetris.
     
  10. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (13,144) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
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    Yup, green are about as bad as clear.
     
  11. BigIronH

    BigIronH Devotee (414) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
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    I recently got one of those New Air 200 can coolers but when most of it is pints you can’t configure the shelving right to keep them all standing up. I would say it maybe is an 80 pint cooler. Ideal for cans as bottles are taller and that presents its own issue. Just my two cents. I know it’s a popular choice for beer enthusiasts because it’s adjustable and sleek stainless look with a glass front, but it’s really not economical compared to an 80 dollars fridge you can find on craigslist with probably 400 can capacity.
     
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  12. Steve_Studnuts

    Steve_Studnuts Zealot (538) Apr 21, 2015 Pennsylvania

    I just looked at these. That's one sexy beer fridge, but man is it expensive. They have some cheaper options, but those ones don't look they hold a whole lot. Think I'm just going to move some stuff to the cellar while I figure out what I want to do. Getting too hot to just leave things in the cupboard.
     
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  13. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,201) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    What? :astonished: Beers like Heineken, Beck's, Ballantine Ale, Haffenreffer Malt Liquor and Chesterfield Ale were notorious for becoming light struck. And brown bottled beer will also become lightstruck.
     
  14. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,087) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    Please explain.
     
  15. BigIronH

    BigIronH Devotee (414) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
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    Yeah they are expensive especially when you consider capacity. Like I said, you can probably find a decent fridge on Craigslist or Facebook for half the cost and twice the capacity. But it is a good looking cooler. I really dig it, it just doesn’t quite hold what I want it to.
     
  16. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (446) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    As has been covered, oxidation isn't your worry here, but premature aging and staling.
    If you don't have fridge space, keep them in the coolest space you can - if you have a basement, great, othrwise an internal closet will work. You want to keep them out of the light, and as stable a temp as you can - rapid fluctuations, even within "recommended" are as bad as too hot.
     
  17. Kamikazio

    Kamikazio Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2021

    Thank you, can you advise where this graph comes from ? Does it have substantial science behind it ?

    cheers
     
  18. BigIronH

    BigIronH Devotee (414) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
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    @JackHorzempa can advise us further where the chart comes from and what data substantiates it. Jack, if you would please.
     
  19. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,201) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    In the Brewers Assoc.'s Best Practices Guide to Quality Craft Beer (page 8) a similar graph is credited to Charles Bamforth, UC Davis, but similar beer freshness "rules of thumb" are common in brewing literature.

     
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,007) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    As already mentioned: Dr. Charlie Bamforth. He is retired now but he used to be in charge of the Brewing Studies program at UC Davis.
    Yup, it is based upon the Arrhenius Equation if you wish to further research the topic.

    Cheers!

    @BigIronH
     
  21. Kamikazio

    Kamikazio Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2021

    Thanks to all for the great responses, it’s much appreciated have a good day
     
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  22. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,852) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
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    There was some good information here, and a lot of disinformation.
     
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  23. Kamikazio

    Kamikazio Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2021

    Im going to stick with the graph as my “go to” guide
     
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  24. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,852) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
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    The graph is good information.
     
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  25. larryi86

    larryi86 Poo-Bah (4,689) Apr 4, 2010 Delaware
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    Properly packaged is key here. The vast majority of breweries do package properly, but I have noticed an increase in smaller breweries in the US having issues with canning, definitely if it seems they are trying to quickly push out a bunch of hype styles. I can think of one brewery in my state that I have had beers completely fallen off after a month and have the color change to a murky oxidized color.

    Store near me stores a lot of beers like you described and the beer I get there is still great. I personally feel that if a beer is not shelf stable to these conditions than it shouldn’t be packaged.
     
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,007) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Many (most?) small breweries do not have the capital and staff to install and operate their own canning line so they will utilize mobile canning services to package their beers. These mobile canning services may be able to achieve high quality packaging but sometimes not.

    My personal preference is to purchase canned beer that was packaged by the brewery vs. mobile canning. I have had issues in the past with canned beer from small breweries that were packaged by mobile canning businesses.

    Cheers!
     
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  27. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,931) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
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    One aspect I didn’t see covered in skimming this thread: What kind of beer did OP buy? I would not store IPAs at room temp for 3 weeks and expect them to be as good as fresh, but I wouldn’t blink at storing imperial stouts or barley wines for much longer than that with no worries at all (provided they’re at least kept away from direct sunlight). Beer style is a major consideration as to how it should be stored.
     
  28. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,087) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    How do you know which is which?
     
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  29. hbbeeremptor

    hbbeeremptor Aspirant (238) Aug 12, 2018 California
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    Beer lives a pretty hard life before it even makes it to shelves and people seem to think it's an incredibly fragile beverage. Really only true with temperature extremes and light (always the enemy if the bottle is anything other than brown; non-issue if it's a can).

    Huge and/or rapid fluctuations in temperature are big ones to avoid. When refrigeration isn't an option, keeping it in a place where the temperature is stable (a cellar/basement, a closet/dark space centrally located in your house away from sunlight, etc.) will help.

    Refrigeration is obviously best because you're able to maintain conditions but that's not always possible. They likely won't be so horribly marred by a couple of weeks at a stable, non-refrigerated temperature to render them undrinkable. They may lose a little bit of luster depending on the style however. That said, in my experience, some IPAs that are adamant about "drink fresh, keep cold" have been better after a week or two in a fridge.

    Good strategy is to drink the oldest ones first, prioritize styles like IPAs and lagers. Then get yourself a fridge, or make room in your kitchen one.
     
  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,007) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I typically purchase canned beers from non-small breweries and I know they have their own canning lines.

    Some examples: Victory, Sly Fox, Lawson's, etc.

    Cheers!
     
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  31. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (474) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Not feeling it.
    Temperature fluctuation has little to do with the staling of beer. The rate of fluctuation does not matter either.

    The longer the beer stays at a warm temperature the faster it will stale.
    The longer the beer stays at a cold temperature the slower it will stale.

    Going back and forth between warm and cold does not matter, only that the time at the warm end shortens shelf life and vice versa. In fact, the faster you can chill the beer the better as it decreases the length of time in the staling zone.

    Also, brown bottles do not protect beer from UV light and skunking.

    Cheers.

    edit; We are discussing commercial packaged beer, not homebrew or bottle conditioned.
     
  32. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (474) Sep 1, 2004 New York


    Sort of.
    Warm temperature accelerates the effects of oxidation. Assume all packaged beer has at least some oxygen present. Better brewing and packaging lines reduce the amount of oxygen present in the beer but do not eliminate the presence of oxygen in beer. A good brewery is getting less than 1 ppb, which seems like a very small amount of dissolved oxygen. (Then again if I can do the math...2 ppb is twice that amount so there you go).

    Cold storage slows the staling, just like it does for bread, meat and all sorts of food. In the instance of beer it is the presence of oxygen that creates noticeable staling. Warm it up and create more staling more faster.

    Cheers
     
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  33. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,087) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    Temp fluctuations might matter for bottled beer. The coefficient of thermal expansion is different between glass and metal. So, theoretically, continuing fluctuations in temperature could loosen the bottle cap, which could result in faster oxidation. I have no idea if this is a practical reality.

    Brown bottles are not an absolute protection from UV, but they significantly reduce it, thereby providing some protection from light struck effects.
     
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  34. hbbeeremptor

    hbbeeremptor Aspirant (238) Aug 12, 2018 California
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    My point was more that temperature extremes and a rapid change (from room temperature to a freezer for instance) can have a negative affect on the package, not necessarily the beer itself. Freezing or very hot temperature can cause damage to the container it's in. While it's not a situation most will encounter often, if ever, it does still matter.

    Otherwise you are correct, keeping beer cold keeps it from staling more quickly and brown bottles are not perfect defense against light but they are better than other colored or clear bottles.

    This sounds pretty plausible. I'd be curious to find out if it does happen and to what extent.
     
  35. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,201) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Not me. While the graph is meant to illustrate the dramatic effect that storage temperature has on beer, there's no way I'm going to buy a 1½ year old (:astonished:!) beer of normal ABV that's been kept at 4° C (~ normal US refrigerator temp), which is what that graph shows.

    There is also a big middle ground between "fresh" (what I want from most beers) and the graph's "Days to develop distinct aged character".