Refrigeration vs. cellar temperature for newly bought beer.

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by Sam21, Feb 17, 2013.

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  1. Sam21

    Sam21 Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2009 Connecticut

    Hi all,

    I have a few boxes of beers that I am aging. It's nothing special - nothing older than a few years, as I purposely keep the stash small and manageable. My question is not about aging beer, but rather storing beer that is newly purchased. I always store hoppy beers in the fridge without question. That said, I am never sure what to do when I buy big imperial stouts or other similar styles, i.e. barleywines, wheatwines, wee-heavys.

    Should these beers go into the fridge if I am not meaning to age them or sit on them for more than a few months? I recently purchased some new beers and remember reading somewhere (no clue where or what the experience level of the author was) that you shouldn't refrigerate those bigger styles, but rather store them at cellar temps until you are ready to drink them. That seems to go against what is out there regarding cellaring versus fridge storage.

    I'm almost sure the answer will be to store beers in my fridge that I don't plan to age and to store beers in the cellar that I want to age. Still figured it was worth tossing this question out there. Also, I wasn't sure if this would be a better topic for the Cellar/Aging forum, so please move if I was incorrect in posting here.


  2. GodlessWatermelon

    GodlessWatermelon Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2012 Maryland

  3. fx20736

    fx20736 Meyvn (1,017) Mar 7, 2009 New York

    I keep Stouts, Porters, Scotch Ales, Belgians, Dopplebocks, etc. on a shelf in the basement pantry. When I want o drink one I bring upstairs, open and pour.
  4. gshak

    gshak Zealot (512) Feb 20, 2011 Texas

    Some breweries specifically mention if a beer is meant to be refrigerated or not, for e.g., Firestone Walker, regardless of the style of the brew while others give a temperature range. At any rate, you can never go wrong by refrigerating a beer...
  5. Sam21

    Sam21 Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2009 Connecticut

    Specifically, I have a bottle of Pretty Things/Boulevard Stingo, Abacus, Fantome, Rochefort 10, and a few singles of imperial stouts. I am not aging any of them, but they also may be hanging around for a few months before there I drink them. Should I be keeping these beers in my fridge or in my cellar at temps that stay around 55?

    I guess it would be more simple to ask: Will refrigerating to anything detrimental to these beers if they are in there for a a 3-6 months? Not saying they will be in there 6 months, but wondering if there are an ill effects.
  6. Andygirl

    Andygirl Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2013 Michigan

    I cellar about 50. I do it mainly because I drink most of my beer at that temperature, not because the fridge will hurt it. You might get some clouding in 6 months, but you won't harm the taste if you fridge.
  7. gshak

    gshak Zealot (512) Feb 20, 2011 Texas

    If it is corked, you might want to store it in a cellar, otherwise, a refrigerator wouldn't hurt....hth, and those are some very good beers btw. Enjoy!
  8. Sam21

    Sam21 Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2009 Connecticut

    The only corked beer is the Stingo and Fantome saison, but I'm not worried about either. After taking a peek in the fridge this morning, the only beer that will likely be around for longer than a few months is the Abacus.

    For a while last year, I got in the bad habit of just buying beers to toss in the cellar - ones I had never tried. I did this because of space in the fridge. I've since drunk it down to a box of 12oz bottles and a case of 22oz/750s, but never did read into cellar temps impact on big beer that I don't plan on aging long term.
  9. TheBeerAlmanac

    TheBeerAlmanac Savant (967) Mar 3, 2011 Kentucky
    Beer Trader

    You just described 80% of the community here. I doubt you'll be chastised for this.
  10. Sam21

    Sam21 Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2009 Connecticut

    Maybe that's where the habit came from. Been trying to get back to the enjoyment part and have just kept a handful of things in my "cellar" to age and experiment with. I have some barleywines, a few Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stouts (the 2010-2011 batch is really unbelievable), and some other imperial stouts in big format bottles tucked away. It became overwhelming as many of the bottles I had bought weren't things I had ever tried before. Not to mention, my cellar is a cold corner of my bedroom - in the fall, winter, and spring it stays 50-60 degrees, but only because my darling wife lets me keep the heat off in that room. She's a keeper!
    TheBeerAlmanac likes this.
  11. jtmartino

    jtmartino Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

  12. jtmartino

    jtmartino Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    No, it should be fine. If anything, the beers will taste fresher than if you had stored them in the cellar.
  13. gshak

    gshak Zealot (512) Feb 20, 2011 Texas

    IIRC the refrigerator tends to be a dry environment which affects corked bottles. I think the following link explains this better - Hope this helps, cheers!
  14. jtmartino

    jtmartino Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Fridges don't usually have humidity control, and really aren't that dry. The "dryness" comes from how the evaporator is set up, and only on fridges with freezers.

    Many mini-fridges have the opposite effect - humid air collects on the condenser coils of the freezer unit and drips onto your beers, which is why there is a collection tray below the freezer drawer. This happened with my two mini fridges before I went to a full-sized unit for my cellar.

    Also, most wine fridges don't have humidity control either, but are usually "less dry" because they don't have freezer-based cooling systems. Realistically it's not a problem for most people, and modern corks usually aren't really affected (also mentioned in your BA link). Most corks would take a long time to dry out, so not really relevant to the OP.

    Bottom line: store bottles in the dark and in places that don't get hot.
  15. gshak

    gshak Zealot (512) Feb 20, 2011 Texas

    I myself used a wine cooler for quite a while to store my beers out of necessity, but glad to know the science behind it. Thanks for the info and Cheers!!
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