How to Store Your Beer

Jon Fesmire |

Beer is refreshing, tasty, and just like wine, it needs to be stored correctly so that it will retain its flavor without going stale.

We’re going to cover the most important things to know about storing beer, whether you just want to get the most flavor out of your brews or you have a collection of specialty beers that are meant to be stored long term.

Most American beer lasts about three to six months, while many foreign beers last for about six months to a year. If you store them any longer than that, even in the best conditions, they’ll still degrade. However, there are beers meant to be stored, and aged, for several years. These often include barleywines, imperial stouts, strong ales, old ales, and lambics. To find these, you can contact brewers, research on the internet, and find online groups of other beer aficionados.

Beer Isn’t Meant to Lie Down

It’s common knowledge that wine is best stored on its side. However, this isn’t so of beer. Funny enough, there is some argument as to whether to store beer on its side or upright, but upright has clear advantages.

Each bottle of beer contains some yeast which isn’t really meant to be imbibed. Keeping beers upright gets the yeast to settle on the bottom and separate from the rest. Store beer lying down on its side, and the yeast can stick to the sides of the bottle and mix in too easily with the rest of the beverage.

Also, if the beer is sealed with a cork, which you’re likely to find with home brews, the beer can become oxidized touching the cork, and this can spoil the taste.

Keep in a Cool, Dark Place

So many things are best stored somewhere cool and dark, and beer is no different. Sunlight, from the blue up through the ultraviolet range, can spoil beer. Ever heard of beer getting “skunked?” Sunlight is what typically causes the taste of beer to go from delicious to a flavor that a skunk might make.

It’s important to note that green and brown bottles do help prevent this effect. However, it’s still not worth risking it.

Just How Cool?

If you have a variety of beers, and especially if you don’t plan to store any single beer for more than a few months, a good temperature range to store them is between 50ºF to 55ºF. The fridge is a good place to store them for a month or so, though it’s a bit colder.

If you want to get more specific and store them at ideal temperatures, here are the ideal ranges.

  • Store IPAs, lambics, stouts, and other beers with standard to moderate alcohol content between 50ºF to 55ºF, which can be considered cellar temperature.

  • Store dark ales, triples, and others with higher alcohol content between 55ºF to 60ºF, a typical temperature range for a closet.

  • Store lagers, pilsners, milds, and other light alcohol content beers between 45ºF to 50ºF, or refrigerator temperatures.

Self Storage for Beer Collections

Getting back to serious beer collections, you may want to consider keeping yours in a self storage unit. Not just any unit will do, however.

Even climate-controlled units aren’t made for storing beer. They have a wider temperature range that’s great for most belongings, but we’re talking about narrow ranges for a beer collection.

Look for nearby facilities with wine storage. They’ll be best equipped to handle beer as well. Let them know the temperature range you need. Wines are stored at similar temperatures, and in dark conditions, so there’s an excellent chance they’ll have what you need.

We hope this helps you get the most enjoyment from your beer whether you’re a major collector or you simply enjoy a delicious brew with dinner. For additional articles on various types of storage and more, feel free to peruse this blog.