Even if you still have plenty of time before the best-by date has passed on your beer, it does not mean it has the same quality as when you received it. It takes effort to store craft beer correctly to retain its flavours and quality. Some beers can get better over time, but only if you store them well. Storing craft beer correctly will help you lengthen beer's shelf life and ensure its quality. But how to store craft beer?
There are a few things you should know about beer and storing it:
- How to store craft beer
- Shelf life of craft beers
- Can you drink expired beer?
- How to know when a beer has gone bad?
- Keeping beer out of the storage
How to store craft beer
You can, of course, keep your beers in the fridge. That is one of the best ways to store craft beer to maintain its quality. Nevertheless, if you like to have extra beers at home and still keep some space for food in the refrigerator, you need to find other solutions. Here are some things to consider for storing beer.
Correct storage space
When you do not have any room in the fridge, do not put beers in the freezer. Your beer may explode when frozen too long. Instead, find a cool, dark place. You may have a cellar or basement where the temperatures are lower than room temperature. Even UV rays can damage the beer, which is why it is important to keep it out of the light.
If you are ageing beer in a cellar, keeping it in an upright position is the best way to store it. That is to avoid any contamination. The upright position is best for storing any beer.
The main reason why it is best to keep beer in a cool dark place is that light and heat can accelerate the best before date. The cold slows down the ageing process, which is why storing beer in the refrigerator is best. Some of the recommended storing temperatures are between 10 to 12 degrees celsius.
Storing beer correctly depends on the beer style and container. If you are not sure, you may ask the brewer directly for any advice.
Shelf life of craft beers
The self-life of a craft beer depends a little on the style of the beer.
Indian Pale Ales are best consumed within the first three months. After that, they start losing their quality. With proper storing, you can extend the shelf life of IPAs up to twelve months. Nevertheless, the quality is not completely the same after packaging.
The shelf life of wheat beers and brown ales is similar to IPAs. It is best to drink these styles of beers within the fourth month.
Beers that are darker in colour are less sensitive to external conditions. Dark beers can last up until six months before they start losing their quality and flavour.
What about beers that are better when they age? These beers actually need time before they reach their peak flavour. Even several years later, the flavour of these beers can continue evolving. However, storing these beers properly is still crucial. You can, for example, keep them in a cellar. Proper storing allows them to develop their flavour.
Can you drink expired beer?
Yes, you can drink expired beer. Like with many foods or beverages, beer does not necessarily go bad after passing the expiry date. It just does not have the same quality as after packaging.
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How to know when a beer has gone bad?
There may be times when you have forgotten about a beer or did not manage to store one properly. Maybe one of the beers was accidentally exposed to a lot of heat. But how to know when a beer has gone bad rather than just lost its quality?
You can already know that the beer may have gone bad without even tasting it. When you open your beer, and there is no fizzy sound coming out, you can take it as a bad sign. Plus, when being poured, beer should always form some kind of foam. Also, pay attention to the colour. When the beer colour has faded and differs from its usual colour, it may have gone bad. Additionally, when there is an unusual amount of sediment at the bottom and some dried-up liquid around the cap and the neck, the beer has most likely gone bad.
After looking at all these signs but still unsure if the beer has gone bad, you have to taste it. The unpleasant flavour is a confirmation that the beer is no longer good to drink.
When you do not have storage space
If you do not have many options to store your beer properly, then it is recommended to drink the beer within the next few months. If you do have space in your house and are a regular beer drinker, you may consider getting a beer fridge.
Like wine, any beer sommelier will understand the importance of storing beer properly to restrain its qualities. If you are an amateur craft beer drinker, you can experiment and compare beers that have passed their shelf life with beers fresh out of the packaging. You will notice a difference.