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Important Beer Storage Tips

Drinking a great beer not only requires the right taste in beer, but also the ability to store the beer in an optimal environment. Beer storage is more important than people think; if beer is not properly stored, its taste and overall quality may be compromised.

Perishable Beer

Contrary to what most people think, beer is a perishable beverage. While some beers are like wine in the sense that they can be further aged for maturation, some beers have a limited shelf life. Average beers are only good for about three to six months; after that, their quality deteriorates. Beers that have a limited shelf life include packaged and draught beers.

Beers For Aging

Some beers have a longer shelf life than others. Items such as vintage beers, barley wines, old ales, imperial stouts, lambics and Belgian strong ales not only allow for maturation, but also demand strict storage.

Here are some general beer storage tips to remember:

  1. Store beer in a cool, dark place. Beer subjected to direct sunlight and high temperatures can lose its flavor.
  2. Store the beer in a constant temperature environment. Keeping the temperature can be a balancing act: it shouldn’t be too cold or too warm. Strong beers (barley wines, tripels, dark ales) are best at room temperature (55-60F), standard ales (IPAs, lambics, stouts, dobbelbocks) are ideal for cellar temperature (50-55F) while lighter beers (lagers, pilsners, wheat beers) are okay at a refrigerated temperatures (45-50F). The higher the alcohol, the higher the temperature.
  3. Kegs should remain stationary 24 hours after they have been received. This is necessary to prevent the beer from having too much foam due to agitation in transit
  4. Store the beer upright. There are many reasons for this particular tip:
    • Storing the beer on its side can result in a yeast ring or water mark inside the bottle. If the beer is stored upright, the yeast would surely compact to the bottom of the bottle.
    • Upright storage reduces the amount of exposed beer. The positive consequence of such reduction is the slower oxidation of the beverage.
    • Storing a beer on its side can cause the cork (particularly the non-taint treated natural cork variety) to affect the flavor of the beer. The alcohol in the brew extracts the mouldy or musty character of the cork, tainting the beer in the process. It is also said that natural corks possess some fungal bacterias that are believed to have off-flavor compounds.

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