Store Beer Properly: An Art In Itself

Fresh tastes of the barley juice is still best. Like most foods, beer can not be stored indefinitely; on average, it is 3 to 6 months. Some types of beer such as Doppelbock or barley wines can even be kept for several years. You will often find references to how long you can store a beer on the label of the beer bottle.

The expiration date is a good indication of how long a beer is consumable. However, it is often misinterpreted by consumers:

The expiration date only indicates that the beer can be enjoyed to this day without loss of quality or impairments in the taste – when the right beer storage is provided. The ED does not mean that from this day there are health risks when drinking the beer.

A beer that has lost quality, you can usually tell by its peel taste. By the way: for the quality of a beer not only the packaging and the date of use are decisive. True beer connoisseurs also check the foam crown. Fine-bubble and stable, it must be, so that the taste is right.

Beer likes it cool

But all the beers have one thing in common: they like it cool. A cool and dry cellar is the ideal storage location for a normal beer. Because it does not tolerate high temperatures or sunlight. The ultraviolet and blue components of sunlight make beer spoil quickly. That’s why beer is bottled in green or brown bottles. The colored glass hardly lets light through to the beer. Why is that so important?

If light meets beer, the so-called light taste is created, making the drink inedible. The light causes the bitter constituents from the hop to turn into 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol (MBT). The substance is sulphurous and smells unpleasant. Chemically it is related to the anal gland secretion of skunks – not a nice idea. Traditional brewmasters are more likely to prefer brown bottles as green bottles allow more ultraviolet light through. And nothing brewers fear more than the skunk flavor.

Beer that you want to consume soon, you can store well in the fridge. In general, the optimum temperature for beer is between 10 to 12.8 ° C during storage. In the refrigerator, although lower temperatures (about 5 to 10 ° C) prevail, but for the short-term storage that’s fine. The zones with the highest temperatures in the refrigerator are the upper compartment and the refrigerator door – there you should keep your beer. By the way, a full fridge is better for storage. The beers and / or other foods act as chillers, which prevent the opening of the refrigerator that much warm air flows in from outside. High temperatures accelerate the aging process of beer, which is why you should not expose your beer to large temperature fluctuations.

The balcony is not necessarily the ideal place for beer storage in the cooler months. Because there the beer is too exposed to the sun and minus degrees do not do him much good either: Even at less than 2 ° C it can cause beer to chill. If it is only stored for a short time at such low temperatures, the turbidity goes back again. However, it stays in storage for a long time and the beer becomes bitter. In addition, beer bottles can burst below -2 ° C.

In general, even if a beer has developed the described flavors, it is not harmful to health.

Store beer bottles outside the refrigerator

For longer term beer storage, the refrigerator is not recommended because the dehydrating environment may affect the bottle cap. For collectors, therefore, a beer cellar or a special beer fridge is recommended, where the desired temperature can be set. The storage temperature depends on the type of beer.

Most beers with a medium alcohol content feel well in a temperature range between 10 and 12.8 ° C. That corresponds approximately to the cellar temperature. Strong, high-alcohol beers such as dark beers or triples may prefer warmer at 12.8-15.5 ° C. Often this corresponds to the room temperature. Lighter beers such as lager, pils or wheat beer benefit from a storage temperature between 7 and 10 ° C, which corresponds to the conditions in the refrigerator. The optimal beer temperature for all varieties does not exist. A compromise is the beer storage between 10 and 12.8 ° C. In this temperature range, all beers are good.

An influence on the duration of beer storage also has, whether it is a top-fermented or bottom-fermented beer. Top-fermented beer types such as Kölsch or Altbier should be used up quickly, while top-fermented beers such as the popular Pils can also be stored longer.

Store home-brewed beer

The question of how long self-brewed beer can be stored is not easy to answer due to the large number of influencing factors. If it has always been clean and the beer has at least a 5% alcohol content, then it can be stored well for 3 to 6 months. The higher the alcohol content, the longer the taste will last. Beers with an alcohol content of over 8% can be treated like a good red wine. Through the still active yeast cells, they can continue to ripen in the cellar. Especially with dark, malt-colored beers it is worth trying a long beer storage.

Does your home-brewed beer not taste good anymore after storage, then pour it away, even if no germs harmful to health form. Otherwise, home-brewed beers are similar to those produced industrially: dark, dry, stand-up and, depending on the type of beer, store at a constant temperature between 4 and 10 ° C. Since beer cells are still active in home-brewed beer because it is not filtered, you must first of all pay attention to cool storage, as otherwise the beer bottles can even burst.

Maturing through wooden barrels

A special case is the wood barrel storage. Barrel aging is very popular in the craft beer scene. The beer matures in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood, so it develops a unique taste. The method is mainly used for lager, ale and hybrid beers. Most oak is taken for the barrel, but also apple, alder or walnut are used. Many barrels are also charred inside or toasted to enhance the taste of the wood. Wood varieties, toasting and storage temperature have an influence on taste, aroma and color. Depending on the variety, and depending on how long the yeast cells are to continue to ripen, the beer does not necessarily have to be kept refrigerated all the time. In any case, wooden barrels are a must for barrel storage and drum closures so that they are not damaged.

The keg

The reusable keg for beer storage and serving has prevailed especially in the catering industry. But even in the private sector increasingly small dispensers with corresponding devices are found. Also for kegs you should make sure that they are stored cool and dark. Tapped beer kegs should be emptied if possible within two weeks. How long the beer lasts in the tapped keg depends on the cask and barrel cooling. Special drum coolers ensure the optimum temperature during storage.

Beer likes it upright

In private fridges you can often see the beer lying down. If the beers are soon consumed, that is not a problem. But if you want to store it longer, the beer bottles should stand upright. This ensures that only a small surface of the beer has contact with the air trapped in the bottle. Why is that important? The equation is simply: “Less air contact = less oxidation of the beer.” Due to the reduced oxidation, the beer is longer lasting.

Storing beer offers further advantages: The yeast sediments settle on the bottom of the beer bottle instead of forming a heaping or watermark on the bottle wall, causing them to be slightly swirled up when dispensing. In addition, the beer does not come in contact with the cork in the upright storage – as that would affect the taste as well.

Beer has to be finished

Again and again the question among beer drinkers comes up: how fast does an open beer have to be drunk? The answer is clear: an open beer has to be drunk entirely and should not be stored again. Similar to lemonades, carbonic acid is the reason: when the beer is open, it evaporates quickly. Even if only one day has passed, you get a beer that tastes only moderately.

If you do not like to drink the beer for whatever reason, there are other uses – in the kitchen and elsewhere to make good use of your remaining beer. For example, open beer can be used for cooking and baking – for example, bread. As hair conditioner, it ensures super-soft hair, and gardening friends know: beer keeps snails from making a run on your salad.


Your newly discovered, tasty craft beer variety would be so nice on the kitchen shelf. But that’s where it does not belong. Although there are subtle differences between the types of beers in terms of their storage, they all have something in common: all beers like it dry, cool, dark and standing. If you stick to these four points, not much can go wrong with your favorite brew.

Share how you store your beer in the comment section below and enjoy your beer – cheers.

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