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Refrigeration vs. Proper Storage

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by TheCorkStopsHere, Aug 25, 2012.


When you're shopping your favorite stores, how do you like your beer stored?

  1. Shelves at room-temp, but safely away from sunlight

    38 vote(s)
  2. In small glass-door coolers to keep everything cold

    25 vote(s)
  3. In a big walk-in cooler (beer cave) that's open to public

    20 vote(s)
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  1. TheCorkStopsHere

    TheCorkStopsHere Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 Connecticut

    I was recently poking a big Wegman's in PA in their beer section. While fairly cramped, they really do have an amazing selection for a "grocery store." But while shopping around I over-heard a conversation from another customer that caught my attention. The guy was complaining that Wegman's stocked all their [insert cheap yellow beer] twelve-packs in the refrigerator. He said he wasn't going straight home, and would prefer the twelve-pack warm instead of cold. The girl working there tried to explain to him that it didn't really make a difference for the beer, and suggested he just buy the cold beer instead.

    This then sparked a conversation with me and another (more serious) consumer shopping around. I guess I never really paid attention to whether I was grabbing a cold beer or a room-temp, I was more concerned with getting a beer I wanted regardless of current temperature.
  2. jhartley

    jhartley Poo-Bah (2,380) Aug 22, 2010 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Unless the temperature is extreme high to low it shouldn't make a difference. I shop at Wegman's (Allentown) as well and they seem to have a pretty good selection from the coolers to the shelves. It isn't all the macro in coolers and craft not or vice versa from what I see. Now if you're buying beer from the cooler in the summertime and leaving it in your car all day, that might be a huge problem.
  3. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    All IPA's should be in the cooler. Anything hoppy should stay colder to aid in maintaining freshness and not accelerating it's aging. Otherwise though, I can give 2 shits how it's kept. But any pale ale and especially IPA, needs to be in the cooler
    Fluteswell, jgluck and jglowe77 like this.
  4. loafinaround

    loafinaround Aspirant (296) Jul 16, 2011 New York

    I'm so grateful I'm a stout girl. My fam would never put-up w/ a stash outside of the designated pantry shelf.

    Here's a follow-up question relating to the original poster's: Does it make a difference if I store a stout for a longer period (say year+) at room temp? or must it be in the 50's?
  5. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,277) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    "Refrigeration" IS "proper storage". A retailer's job is to keep the beer as fresh as possible - cold and out of the light. They are not "cellaring" beer.

    The Wegmans in NJ are some of the worst at storing beer that I've seen. The coolers that they store most imports and craft beers are "open", front-loaded and actually have florescent tubes under the shelving (!), so all the beer is exposed to both the overhead lighting and the shelf lights. No "reaching in the back" for something that's been exposed less than the front sixes.
    hopfenunmaltz likes this.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,014) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Below is something I posted in a previous thread:

    Storing beer at room temperatures (e.g., 70°F) is not necessarily a bad thing as long as the beer is consumed in a relatively short period of time. Storing beer at refrigeration temperatures (e.g., 40°F) will extend the shelf life on the beer. There is a rule of thumb for the shelf life of BMC type beers:

    “A general rule of thumb is that beers from large breweries will have a shelf life of approximately 8 to 12 months if refrigerated properly and kept from direct light, or 4 to 6 months at room temperature. Keep in mind that these shelf lives are from time of bottling, not time of purchase, and plan accordingly to ensure that you have the best-tasting beer available.”

    As regards the OP’s query about a single temperature cycle (cold – warm – cold) his beer is just fine. It takes multiple cycles with the critical aspect being how hot the beer gets. A temperature of 65°F is not very damaging to beer. Hot temperatures like > 90°F is damaging to beer. Below is something interesting:

    “2. Temperature -

    It is best to keep beer refrigerated at all times. Warm temperatures will hasten the spoilage of beer, like any other food. The chemical reactions that occur during beer staling are accelerated by temperature. A common myth is that cycling beer from cold to warm and back to cold temperatures will damage its flavor. This is only true in that warm temperatures are bad for beer. Higher temps and severe temperature swings (cold-warm-cold-warm) can cause an excelerated oxidative process, shorting the shelf life of beer. Keeping beer cool is always good for the preservation of its flavor.”

    Above is from: http://www.consumersbeverages.com/beerinfo/index.html

  7. Danny1217

    Danny1217 Champion (850) Jul 15, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I've had good imperial stouts and Belgian dark ales stored at room temperature for a year and sometimes more. They were all delicious. So I would say it doesn't matter.
    loafinaround likes this.
  8. DennyCrane

    DennyCrane Initiate (0) Nov 19, 2011 Illinois

    i agree. i keep all of my beers at room temp (68-70 degrees), but keep everything in a box to avoid any light getting to the beers. i've always been told that extreme temp change and light are a beers worst enemy so in my opinion, as long as you keep them in a dark place and keep them from getting too warm, you're good to go.
  9. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,277) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    A few more opinions...(granted, these people aren't "BeerAdvocates", so one should judge accordingly, I guess:rolling_eyes: ):

    loafinaround likes this.
  10. IHyphySF

    IHyphySF Aspirant (240) Nov 21, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    When i walk into a store i appreciate things like IPAs, Saisons, and Ales all in the refrigerator so they keep their freshness. I have walked into a lot of larger stores which have tons of those said above sitting out for weeks or months unrefrigerated and i would not touch them. Also one thing i do not like is when they have stouts, barleywines and other more enjoyable room temp beers in the refrigerator. Some of the times they are in such cold fridges it takes them a few hours to warm up when i want to drink them immediately.
  11. rjniles

    rjniles Initiate (141) Aug 30, 2012 South Carolina

    I keep my good beer in a refrigerator that I keep on the warm side (for a refrigerator), about 45-48 degrees. I pour and wait 10 -15 minutes before I drink. I am not into room temp. beer. I also keep some Yuengling Black & Tan, if I want a cold 1 to drink immediately.
  12. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,299) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The speed may depend a little on the style, but all beer follows the Arrhenius Equation. The reactions proceed faster at higher temperature.
    jesskidden likes this.
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,014) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The topic of cellaring beer (he didn’t explicitly use that term) was brought up my Danny1217. There are some beers (e.g., he mentioned “imperial stouts and Belgian dark ales”) that some folks think benefit/improve with aging at non-refrigerator temperatures. The stereotypical temperature for aging beers is cellaring temperatures (e.g., 55°F). During the aging timeframe the beer ‘matures’. Much of the maturation process is driven by oxidation. Most beer styles do not benefit from oxidation; instead those beers develop stale flavors from that oxidation.

    So, most beers (99% of beer sold?) are best consumed fresh and stored cool if not consumed right away.

    A minority of beer (1% like imperial stouts, Belgian Strong Dark Ales, etc.) may benefit from long term storage at cellaring temperatures.

    nickfl likes this.
  14. rdilauro

    rdilauro Crusader (753) Mar 8, 2010 Connecticut

    This is how we break it down in our store:
    • The 24/30/36Pk Normal American Beers are kept in the visible cooler and in the cave cooler (open to public)
    • The Premium crafted 4 and 6pk beers we keep in our cooler and again in the cave
    • We keep Bombers in our cooler, plus we have a backup (at lease 8 bottles) in our shelve space
    • The super hard to get (at least for us) DogFishHead 120, PalateWrecker, Sculpin, StormTropper, we keep in our closed back room (room temp) and none of these see the cooler. Available upon customer request.
    For the most part, our customers want it this way. In fact, we do get calls from some of our customers that ask
    us to put some of the warm beers in the cooler, so when they pick them up a couple of hours later, they are ready to drink.

    Is this right or wrong? I really dont know, I guess its amount of preferences and from the business pov , which sells more
    gjoker321 likes this.
  15. slangtruth

    slangtruth Initiate (199) Jan 8, 2012 Massachusetts

    Sounds good to me, as long as you have a sign or something up to let buyers know what you have that they can't see. I for one don't want to have to dig an employee up to ask for stuff. I went to the store I got Stone Enjoy By in December three different times looking for it on this run and staring at an empty shelf. The third time an employee asked me if I was looking for something and I said, "Yeah, but I don't think you have it...". He said "Oh yeah, we've got that, we're keeping it in the back so somebody doesn't come in and take the whole case". Well, OK I guess, but how was I supposed to buy it? Why not just leave one in plain sight?
  16. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,408) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I almost never shop at stores that do not keep most or all of their beer refrigerated.
    Everything else being equal, you're more likely to get fresher beer if it has been kept cold.
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