In the craft beer community, how best to store your beer is a constant topic of debate. There are many different opinions on this, some fairly conflicting and often based on personal preference.
With the help of our beer experts, we have come up with the best possible advice on the subject that we can offer you.
In the craft beer community, the temperature can be the topic of some debate. For instance, some say that extreme cold can deaden the taste of some beers, and point out that darker beers such as stouts or porters flourish when taken closer to room temperature. There’s truth in this and we would never want to dictate how you get the most from your ales, but for the purposes of general advice and taking delivery of any of our bundles, we would always advise that they be transferred to a chilled environment as soon as possible, whether that’s the kitchen fridge, a dedicated beer fridge, an icebox or any other cool receptacle you might have to hand.
Store in the dark
Craft aficionados know that ‘Skunking’ is a beer’s worst enemy. Named for a sulphur-y taste and aroma that can put you in mind of the stinky spray of the monochrome mammal it’s essentially what happens when a beer goes ‘off’ and there are a lot of myths about what causes it. Some will tell you that a skunked beer is caused by beers being stored in warmer temperatures but this simply isn’t true. The real culprit is light, not heat.
When a beer is exposed to direct light a chemical reaction can happen that causes the hops (or isomerized alpha acids if you want to be a bit ‘QI’ about it) to release sulfuric compounds and these lead to the foul taste and smell. Essentially it’s a photochemical reaction, so sunlight is the only reason for this to take place. For this reason cans are by far and away the better receptacle for craft beer since bottles (particularly the green or clear varieties) can be susceptible to the curse of the skunk. This reaction can happen remarkably quickly too. In tests, a beer has been shown to start to ‘skunk’ when left in direct sunlight for only thirty seconds.
Even if you do have your beer in cans or brown bottles, the best rule of thumb is to keep these in a dark place and if you’re following the first step, that makes the fridge ideal.
Let them settle
The journey to your doorstep should have been a smooth one for our boxes, but the back of a van is never the ideal place for a selection of beers to stay. While we always want to crack open a beer as soon as we take delivery, it’s always advisable to let any can or bottle settle for about an hour or so wherever you choose to store them.
As pressurised containers, and ones that may have gone fairly rapidly from one temperature to another recently, it’s always wisest to let them acclimatise first before enjoying. All of our beers are best when drank, not worn after all and we don’t want to risk spillage.
When bottles are on their sides, they expose much more of the beer to the air, which can hasten decay. Upright beer also prevents sediment from ruining the flavour.