Beer Storage: How to Store Craft Beer To Keep Your Beer At Its Best

Beer Storage: How to Store Craft Beer To Keep Your Beer At Its Best

We know the feeling when your favorite beer goes bad right when you drink it. It will make your day go blue. Even if your beer hasn’t reached its best-by date, its quality might not be the same as when you first got it. Craft beer should ideally be stored cold to maintain its quality. A lot of effort goes into crafting the perfect beer, and it’s easy to miss out on the experience if it’s not stored correctly.

Beer Storage: How to Store Craft Beer To Keep Your Beer At Its Best

Key Takeaways

  • Properly storing beer is essential for maintaining the quality and freshness of the beer.
  • Once you’ve opened a beer and exposed it to light and oxygen, it won’t stay fresh for very long. Leaving a beer open for an extended period exposes it to air, causing it to lose carbonation and altering its taste.

We often receive questions about the best practices for storing craft beer, so we’ve put together a helpful guide to ensure your craft beer stays in the best condition possible until you’re ready to enjoy it.

There are several key points to keep in mind when storing craft beer, and this article will provide you with valuable information on the best ways how to store craft beer. Be sure to give it a read to make the most out of your craft beer experience.

Why Should I Store Craft Beer

Properly storing beer is essential for maintaining its quality and freshness. Beer, being an organic product, begins to deteriorate as soon as it’s brewed. Exposure to heat can accelerate this process, leading to unpleasant flavors and odors. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your beer cool but not excessively cold, striking a balance between longevity and the ideal serving temperature.

The most suitable storage temperature is around 3 to 5 degrees celcius. You can store your beer at temperatures as low as 3 to 5 degrees to extend its lifespan.

How do You Know When Your Beer Goes Bad

Several signs can indicate that the cold beer you’ve opened might have gone bad. One noticeable sign is the absence of the familiar “psst” sound when you crack open a can or bottle. This sound, along with the sight of white foam rising to the top, indicates that the beer is fresh and ready to enjoy. However, even if you hear the “psst” and see the foam, if the beer tastes flat or slightly off, it might have gone bad.

When inspecting a beer bottle, you can look for warning signs even before opening it. If the label appears faded, discolored, or dusty, there’s a good chance the beer has passed its best-before date. Although beer can still be drinkable after the best-before date, it should have been stored well to remain enjoyable weeks or months later.

If you notice sediment settled at the bottom of the bottle, it’s best to avoid drinking the beer. The same applies if you see any liquid seeping around the bottle’s opening, as it may suggest that the bottle, and consequently the beer inside, was exposed to extreme heat at some point.

Also read: Beer Pairing: Guide to Beer and Food Pairing

Why Does The Beer Go Bad?

So, why does the beer go bad? Beer is an organic substance, which means it can spoil if not stored properly. Three main factors that contribute to beer spoilage are light, oxygen, and bacteria.

To protect beer from sunlight’s UV rays, it is often stored in dark bottles. These rays can cause a chemical reaction in the beer, breaking down its flavors and resulting in a skunky taste and smell.

Bacteria can also be a problem, although it’s difficult for them to survive in beer due to its high alcohol content, which acts as a natural preservative. If bacteria manage to get into the beer, they can spoil it. While commercial brewers take precautions to reduce bacterial contact, refrigerating craft beer can help extend its shelf life. Cold temperatures also slow down the life cycle of microbes in the beer, such as the yeast used to brew it.

To minimize that, using cans is recommended for beer. They shield beer from light and oxygen, keeping it fresh longer. Cans also chill faster and stay colder thanks to their aluminum. Plus, they’re lighter, safer, and infinitely recyclable, making them a sustainable choice for eco-conscious brewers and beer lovers alike.

How Long Does Beer Last?

Beer labels and cans usually display a pack date and a best-before date, typically a year apart. Storing beer above 5°C can affect its lifespan as it may not be stored as intended during the brewing process. While fresher beer is generally better, there are others you should know about how long beer will last.

Once you’ve opened a beer and exposed it to light and oxygen, it won’t stay fresh for very long. Leaving a beer open for an extended period exposes it to air, causing it to lose carbonation and altering its taste.

If you’re wondering how to store beer after opening, it’s best to reseal it with an airtight cap or stopper. This can help reduce oxidation and prevent further loss of carbonation.

Is It Safe to Drink Bad Beer?

The simple answer is yes, you can drink old or bad beer, but you probably won’t enjoy it. For those concerned about whether old or bad beer can make them sick, the good news is that it typically doesn’t cause severe illness, although it might give you a minor stomach ache. However, the taste of expired beer is often the more significant issue, as it can become flat, skunky, or generally unappealing.

What Temperature Beer Be Stored?

What Temperature Beer Be Stored?

Craft beer is typically best kept cold. A considerable amount of effort is put into crafting the perfect beer, and it can be easily spoiled if it’s not stored correctly.

Craft beer isn’t just any ordinary drink; it’s a blend of science and art. Similar to wine enthusiasts, beer specialists suggest precise storage and serving temperatures to ensure that the final product retains the intended flavors and qualities.

A general guideline for storing beer is to keep it at the temperature you plan to serve it, or slightly above.The best suggestion to store your beer is store it at 3 to 5 degrees celsius temperature. If you can’t maintain these precise temperatures, don’t worry. As long as the beer is in a relatively cool, dark place and not exposed to sudden heat spikes, it should be fine. Just keep in mind that changes may occur more quickly over time.

Refrigeration is great for many beers, but certain styles should avoid it. For wild or sour ales with live yeast, refrigeration halts the beer’s aging process. Similarly, some beers like Imperial Stouts and Barley Wines improve over time, so refrigeration might slow down this development. Be cautious with beers sealed with corks, as long-term refrigeration can dry out the cork.

Finally, unpasteurized and non-bottle-conditioned beers should be kept refrigerated whenever possible. These beers lack preservatives, so they tend to deteriorate more rapidly due to oxidation if not stored in the fridge.

Also read: The Ultimate Craft Beer Glass Guide to Enjoy Every Sip of the Beer

What Happens if the Beer is Not Stored Cold

If the beer is not stored cool or stored in an open environment, when the beer gets exposed to too much oxygen, it can lead to an off taste with hints of cardboard, sherry, or vinegar flavors. While some beer styles might benefit from these flavors, they can often interfere with the intended balance and taste intended by the brewer. This process, known as oxidation, occurs when oxygen gets into the can during various stages like fermentation, maturation, pressurizing, chilling, and packaging.

Oxidation can also affect the aroma of light-colored beers. The original malt character might transform into a honey-like flavor due to the formation of the 2,3-pentanedione compound. Although this flavor might not be unpleasant, it may not always match the brewer’s intended flavor profile.

In highly humid environments with humidity levels above 70%, mold can start to develop. This can lead to rusting bottle caps or cans, deteriorating labels, and mold sticking to the bottle, especially in corked beers, which can negatively impact the beer’s flavor.

Conversely, an environment with absolutely no humidity can pose a different risk. In such cases, the corks in bottles may dry out and crack when the bottle is opened, which can also affect the beer’s flavor.

Are All Craft Beer Best Served Cold?

While it’s generally recommended to store most beer styles in the fridge, not all of them are best served as cold as possible. Some stouts and porters, for instance, can benefit from being taken out of the fridge a bit earlier. Allowing these beers to warm up to room temperature over a 20-30 minute period before drinking (around 10°C) can accentuate their malty coffee and chocolate flavors according to the consumer’s preference.

What Happens if the Beer is Too Cold?

We’ve all been tempted to toss beers in the freezer to speed up the chilling process, but forgetting about them can lead to more than just frozen, slushy beer or broken glass. It’s crucial not to let the beer get too close to 0°C, as carbon dioxide will dissolve in the beer and it won’t taste the same when it warms up again.

The Best Way About How to Store Craft Beer

So, what is the best way to store beer? Certainly, refrigerating your beers is a great way to preserve their quality. However, if you want to save space for food and still have extra beers at home, you might need to explore alternative storage options. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when considering how to store your beer.

Correct Storage

If your fridge is full and you’re looking for an alternative to the freezer, it’s best to find a cool, dark spot to store your beer. Avoid freezing the beer as it can cause it to explode when left frozen for too long. Also, consider not keeping the beer at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Craft beer is best stored in a chiller to maintain its quality. We recommend storing the beer at a temperature of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius.

Upright Position

To minimize the risk of contamination, it’s advisable to store larger beer containers, such as kegs, separately from other food items. Always keep beer containers in an upright position rather than laying them on their sides. This rule applies even when you’re aging beer in a cellar; keeping it upright and avoiding unnecessary movement is key.

Storing beer upright serves two primary purposes. Firstly, it helps to reduce the amount of beer that comes into contact with oxygen, which in turn slows down the process of oxidation within the beer. Secondly, it prevents the formation of a yeast ring, a common issue when beer is stored on its side. By storing the beer upright, the yeast settles at the bottom of the container, minimizing any impact on the beer’s flavor.

Temperature Control

Storing beer in the refrigerator is always a better choice compared to keeping it at room temperature, as light and heat can speed up the beer’s aging process. The cold environment helps to slow down this process, which begins soon after the beer is packaged. Moreover, refrigeration protects the beer from the harmful effects of UV rays and heat, even from fluorescent lighting if the beer is stored outside the fridge.

If you’ve purchased a large quantity of beer that you don’t plan to consume for several weeks or months, it’s best to store it in the fridge (not the freezer), some of the recommended storing temperatures are between 3 to 5 degrees Celsius, to preserve more of its original taste. 

If you’re on the lookout for the finest craft beers from a brewery that prioritizes quality in Bali, consider giving Canard Brewing Co. a try. From the Strawberry Gose to the Session IPA, we offer the best of both worlds when it comes to brewing and ingredients. Visit the Canard website to explore more.

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