Tips for craft beer storage

craft beer storage

Craft Beer – Because going out has become a very irregular occurrence, the beer we do have in our homes has only become increasingly valuable. While you could always consider ordering directly from your local brewery, it’s not as easy as it once was to swing by and pick up beer. Because of this, you want to care for the beer that you do have to ensure it lasts and to preserve its original fresh taste.

Here is a thorough list from Canadian brewers, Stanley Park, covering what you should do and what you shouldn’t do when it comes to keeping your beer tasting fresh.

Craft beer storage is key to the perfect pour

1. Know the craft beer you have

One of the key things you want to do is recognize the beer you have. Not every beer is going to age the same. Nearly every beer is going to taste better when it’s fresh. There are some exceptions. However, you will find some beers lasting longer than others. While hops were the original preservative found in beer, beers that have the most hops do not age the best. The modern hops that can be found in a lot of the newer craft beers like IPAs are chosen specifically for their strong taste and aromas. Because of this, they are generally the first to lose their taste and aromas as they get stale. While you can safely drink an IPA that has been sitting around for months, they aren’t going to taste nearly as good as they once did when fresh. You will find them tasting different from one another even when drinking out of the same case.

When you get a beer that has fresh hops, you will find it to be very flavourful and bright. Whereas, a fresh hoppy beer that has sat around will become increasingly muted in character. This is why you will find “Consume Blind Pig Fresh Or Not At All” written on every single bottle of Russian River Blind Pig IPA.

Any beer that features more malts isn’t going to be nearly as negatively impacted over time. Typically, the higher the alcohol content, the longer it can go without having its flavour negatively impacted. Therefore, you will find some specific types of beers like stouts being able to age well. Some may even improve over time. However, that’s not the case with IPAs.

2. Avoid any kind of oxidation

One of the things that you should be looking out for when you are looking to preserve the overall taste and quality of your beer is oxidation. You want to avoid oxidation as much as possible. When a beer gets old and when it’s not stored appropriately, oxygen will creep in. This will cause the beer to become oxidized and it can severely impact the taste (in a bad way). In a small number of beers like barley wines, you will find the oxidation process adding lighter sherry notes to the beer. However, for the majority, oxidation is something to be avoided. It can cause your beer to taste as bad as wet cardboard. While you will surely be able to drink the beer safely, it’s not going to provide you with a pleasant taste at all. Therefore, you can consider this as a reason to drink your beer freely without allowing it to sit around for too long.

3. Keep The Beer Cold

Two things negatively affect beer in a big way. These two things are the temperature it is stored at and light exposure. Your beer is going to be best enjoyed when it is properly chilled. You don’t want it to be too cold even for a short period. Therefore, you should avoid placing it in the freezer. When it is exposed to cold temperatures, you will find a lot of the flavour profile to be muted. A lot of the volatile compounds found in the beer which give it the flavour it has will not be released properly. Some tastes may even disappear for good. You will find the less hoppy beers to taste better at colder temperatures and the hoppier beers to taste better at a slightly warmer temperature. Ultimately, the colder your beer is, the less you will taste it.

4. Keep away from warm temperatures

While having your beer too cold is a problem, having it too warm is even worse. If you store beer at hot temperatures, it will go bad very quickly. Your beer will spoil much quicker in hotter temperatures and for every 10 degrees of temperatures it is exposed to, it will cut that period in half. Typically, the optimal temperature for storage sits around 38 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You will find the average craft beer to last anywhere from 90 to 100 days if stored properly. However, if you are storing your beer at higher temperatures like 50 degrees, you will find the shelf life to be diminished by half. If you are storing your beer at 60 degrees, it is going to be cut down to three weeks.

5. Keep it in the dark

You should be looking to avoid light as much as possible. This is typically what is referred to as “lightstruck” or “skunked” beer. There is a certain chemical process that occurs when hops are exposed to UV light. Because of this, you want to avoid any sunlight if at all possible. This is why a lot of beer manufacturers only use dark brown bottles to minimize exposure to light.

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