There’s nothing as much fun as starting your own beer cellar. Like wines, some beers require particular storage and actually improve as they are stored for an extended period of time. The biggest concern is whether or not you have the discipline to leave the beers untasted until they are fully mature. Of course, quite literally, the longer you wait, the better it tastes. Here’s some tips on storing beer in your home effectively.
Which Beers Fare Well With Storage
In particular, some beers (barleywines, Belgian strong ales, imperial stouts, some old ales, and many vintage beers) require strict and specific storage. Of course they can be opened and enjoyed immediately, but ideally, a year or two, they will build up more complexities and their flavor will grow. In some cases, it’s advisable to lay them down for more than 2 years. Of course, your average beer with a short self-life will begin to lose quality around 3 to 6 month mark.
Store Beer Upright or Laying Down?
Wine has always been traditionally stored laying on its side. It is thought that this will help stop the cork from shrinking, but this is not much of a concern due to advances in the material modern cork is made from. In fact, people have reported storing beer upright for over ten years without any problems. In fact it’s actually advantageous to store the beer so it does not touch the work as it will not pick up any cork flavors. Upright storage also allows the yeast to settle on the bottom of the bottle instead of forming a ring on the side of the bottle. Overall, it seems perfectly reasonable to store the beer upright.
Where Should You Store Your Beer?
When determining where to store your beer remember it should never come in contact with heat or light. There is a reason the word “skunky” is used to describe a beer which has been “light struck.” Store your beer in a cool, temperature controlled area away from direct heat or light. The ideal temperature for beer to be stored at is 50 – 55 degrees F. Higher temperatures can reduce the beer’s lifespan, and lower temperatures will make the beers too cloudy. Note that refrigerators should not be used as a long term solution, as corks will shrink due to the dehydration, whether they are upright or laying down.
Myths About Beer Storage
Here are a few misconceptions about beer and storage.
- The freezer is a good quick chill: While this is true, don’t freeze beer. It will explode!
- Canned beer is no good: while most cheap beers are canned, some craft beers are starting to use their own cans
- Beers must be shipped cold: similar to storage, a cool temperature is good, but it doesn’t need to be refrigerated
- Cooling warm beer will make it stale: sure, extreme fluctuations are bad for beer, but it can be refrigerated more than once
Remember keep it cool, keep it dark, and keep your hands off it. If you follow these three rules, you will have an excellent beer cellar in a short time.
To learn more about beer storage or to begin stocking your own beer cellar, be sure to drop by Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, Massachusetts. In addition to our beer store, our wine store has over 3000 labels from 16 different countries, our burn center as some of the best hot sauces around, and our smoke shop boasts world famous cigars. Talk to our experts or come visit us to learn more about your favorite beers.