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  1. #1
    ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Number 47's Avatar
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    Brown Bottles and Tall Tales: 7 Myths About Storing Beer

    We debunk or confirm the top 7 beer storage myths.

    Beer is the third-most widely consumed drink in the world, after water and tea. It’s also the oldest and most popular alcoholic beverage. With that kind of demand, it’s not surprising that everyone has an opinion—opinions that breed myths about the best ways to store, age, refrigerate, and drink this tasty malted beverage. But we’re here to clear that all up. Here are seven beer myths exposed to the light of truth.

    1. If Cold Beer Gets Warm, Cooling It Again Will Make It Stale

    Wrong! Like Valentine’s Day, this is a myth brought on by some wily marketing gurus, most likely that brand that won’t stop talking about how “cold” their beer is. The fact is, beer experiences substantial fluctuations in temperature during shipping. Of course, you don’t want these changes to be drastic, and excessive heat will certainly ruin your beer. But the notion that it can only be refrigerated once is a total myth.

    2. Sunlight Skunks Beer

    True! Sunlight is the nemesis of beer—not only in storage but in the fermentation process as well. Ultraviolet light, in particular, “skunks” beer. But before I explain how, it’s probably a good idea to clarify the difference between staleness and “skunkiness.”

    There are “off” flavors, and then there are “skunky” flavors; the former is the result of poor carbonation or excessive heat, and the latter—an odorous, rubbery taste—is the result of a photochemical reaction. Specifically, UV light breaks up acids in the hop plant (an essential bittering agent in beer) to create a nasty little compound called “3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol.” or “MBT.” This wordy concoction combines with other sulfurous chemicals to create a horrid odor that is darn close that of a skunk, and even more oppressing in the realization that your precious brew has been ruined. In fact, researchers at the University of North Carolina even found a similarity between the chemical composition of skunked beer and that of the anal glands of actual skunks.

    The lesson? Don’t expose your beer to excessive sunlight—or really any light for that matter. It’s just another reason to refrigerate beer, as even prolonged indirect sunlight will cause this very basic chemical reaction. Interestingly, this is not a threat with wine, cider, or mash liquor, as none of these beverages contain hops.

    3. The Color of the Bottle Affects Beer’s Shelf Life

    Yes and no. It’s not the color of the bottle so much as its translucence that affects beer’s long-term quality. Clear and green bottles allow in significantly more UV light than brown ones. This leads to skunking, as mentioned above. So if you were to store green or clear bottles in complete darkness, then there would be no discernible difference in shelf life from that of a brown bottle in similar conditions.

    For whatever reason, green bottles are rife among European imports (Heineken, Stella Artois, Beck’s, and Pilsner Urquell, to name a few). You may even have noticed that these brews are much better on tap (from a opaque keg) than in the bottle—but you could argue the same for any beer.

    Once again, this is really only a threat if you don’t refrigerate your beer, as coolers and refrigerators keep sunlight out. It is worth noting, though, that beer that’s been sitting on the store shelf for a while is at a higher risk of skunking or going stale. For this reason, most craft beers include a “freshness” tab that tells you how long it’s been since it was bottled.

    4. Beer Must Be Shipped, Stored, and Aged Cold

    So, so wrong. In fact, certain kinds of beer—mainly unpasteurized, bottle-conditioned craft beer—can be aged in cellars, just like wine! While cooler temperatures are ideal, most experts agree that anywhere in the 40-70 degree range is fine for dry storage—again, as long as you keep out the sunlight.

    Refrigeration is a crucial part of enjoying good beer. But it’s actually discouraged when it comes to long-term storage of corked beers, used mainly for Belgian-style ales. Despite some fridges’ abilities to regulate humidity levels, Beer Advocate explains that prolonged storage in artificial cooling chambers will dry out the cork, allow small amounts of air to enter, and eventually spoil the beer. Best to age these beers in a cellar with moderate humidity, which describes pretty much every cellar ever.

    5. Putting Beer in the Freezer Is an Easy Way to “Quick Chill” It

    This is true, but with a caveat: Do not ever freeze beer. Anyone who’s ever put a brew in the freezer to chill it but then forgot it was in there knows how disastrous this scenario can be. 70-proof liquor (or higher) is fine, but beer will explode when frozen.

    That said, placing a beer in the freezer for a few minutes should be fine. Even then you should be careful, as you may still alter the taste of the beer. According to the American Homebrewers Association, freezing beer alters the molecular structure of the proteins in the beverage. It can also reduce the carbonation level and, in the case of bottle-conditioned brew, possibly kill the yeast.

    On a related note, the Eisbock style of beer (like the infamous Naty Ice) uses intentional freezing in the production process. Brewers chill the beer to the point where it partially freezes. They then remove the slushy parts, so as to create a more concentrated and alcoholic beverage (water freezes at a higher temperature than ethyl alcohol). However, this process usually reduces the hop and malt presence in favor of the alcohol itself.

    But if you really want to impress your friends, the LG “Blast Chiller” is perhaps the most extravagant—and downright silly—way to cool beer quickly. Despite our well-documented enthusiasm for this awesome feature, it has yet to materialize in a commercially available refrigerator. [Update: It has materialized! LG contacted us to let us know it's been available since July. Let the good times roll.]

    6. Beer Should Be Stored Upright.

    True. There are a few reasons why beer should not be placed on its side, and this applies to both corked and capped bottles, and especially to bottle-conditioned brews.

    First, the yeast—that magical little organism that eats sugar and poops out alcohol and carbon dioxide (the process of fermentation). Yeast is critical to beer, but the sediment it leaves behind has a way of corrupting flavor; you want the yeast sediment (dead cells and chemical byproducts) to settle at the bottom of the beer. According to Beer Advocate, prolonged storage on the side will create a “yeast ring” along the walls of the bottle. This is why there’s a separate craft to pouring beer, and why you’re supposed to decant the liquid and “filter” out the gunk at the bottom.

    Second, upright storage limits the amount of beer that’s directly exposed to air (the neck of a bottle is narrower than the barrel). This slows the process of oxidation and prolongs the life of the beer.

    Finally, upright storage is especially important for corked beers. When a beer is stored on its side, the cork—by virtue of being in contact with the beer—will gradually impart its own cork flavors on the beer, and some corks contain chemicals and other ingredients that will exacerbate this “corruption” of the beer.

    7. Bottles Are Better Than Cans.

    Wrong! Well, actually, this all comes down to personal taste. Canned beer has gotten a bad rap in recent decades because it’s often associated with mass-market, “cheap” beer. However, craft brewers are beginning to can their beer—212 breweries, according to CraftCans.com, including notable names like Sierra Nevada and Brooklyn Brewery.

    Some craft brew fanatics even swear by the distinctive flavor of canned brew. The Huffington Post even conducted a blind taste test and found participants preferred the taste of canned beer to bottled three times out of four. But putting taste aside, you can’t deny that canned beer is much easier to store and transport—not to mention, you don’t need a bottle opener.

    http://refrigerators.reviewed.com/Fe...=USAT%20Recirc

  2. #2
    Good Enough cabomiro's Avatar
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    I prefer to drink mine instead of storing it
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  3. #3
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    I put in my own kegerator taps, so I only drink keg beer, and LOVE it, what a difference.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

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  4. #4
    Atomic Punk
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    Cool "facts". I beg to differ that bottle beer isn't better then can beer. It is, and my opinion is the only one that matters. Don't do tap beer at all unless that's my only option when I'm out.


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  5. #5
    Atomic Punk Raldo's Avatar
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    I think bottled beer tastes better than canned beer.

    My father thinks #1 is true and tells me all the time. LOL
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    I put in my own kegerator taps, so I only drink keg beer, and LOVE it, what a difference.
    Did you buy one pre-made, or make one yourself? I've been thinking about doing this.

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    I have done both, but this last time I just bought one, it's easier obviously, less messy, and usually since it is designed that way from the start, the insulation is better.

    Once you do it, you will wonder what took you so long. Most kegerators will hold two 1/6th kegs, each one is 56 beers. Get the two headed tap, it's worth the extra price, that way you can have one heavier beer and one lighter beer on tap for when you have people over.

    Also, unfortunately, if you want to have European beer on tap, it becomes much more complicated and a pain in the ass. A) they use a different tapping system than us B) most keg places that us non-commercial guys would go to therefore don't carry them C) US, Canadian and Mexican beers are pretty much your menu of available beers.

    I love it. I currently have one keg of Fat Tire on tap and one keg of Corona. I love Fat Tire, my sister in laws like Corona, so voila, everyone is happy.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    I have done both, but this last time I just bought one, it's easier obviously, less messy, and usually since it is designed that way from the start, the insulation is better.

    Once you do it, you will wonder what took you so long. Most kegerators will hold two 1/6th kegs, each one is 56 beers. Get the two headed tap, it's worth the extra price, that way you can have one heavier beer and one lighter beer on tap for when you have people over.

    Also, unfortunately, if you want to have European beer on tap, it becomes much more complicated and a pain in the ass. A) they use a different tapping system than us B) most keg places that us non-commercial guys would go to therefore don't carry them C) US, Canadian and Mexican beers are pretty much your menu of available beers.

    I love it. I currently have one keg of Fat Tire on tap and one keg of Corona. I love Fat Tire, my sister in laws like Corona, so voila, everyone is happy.
    Thanks, man! Fat Tire is a good choice, too.

    Last question - Is there a way to lock the taps? Or just remove them, maybe? I ask because I have two boys, 15 and 12, and I'm sure the oldest would LOVE for me to get a kegerator.

  9. #9
    Baluchitherium
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    I have done both, but this last time I just bought one, it's easier obviously, less messy, and usually since it is designed that way from the start, the insulation is better.

    Once you do it, you will wonder what took you so long. Most kegerators will hold two 1/6th kegs, each one is 56 beers. Get the two headed tap, it's worth the extra price, that way you can have one heavier beer and one lighter beer on tap for when you have people over.

    Also, unfortunately, if you want to have European beer on tap, it becomes much more complicated and a pain in the ass. A) they use a different tapping system than us B) most keg places that us non-commercial guys would go to therefore don't carry them C) US, Canadian and Mexican beers are pretty much your menu of available beers.

    I love it. I currently have one keg of Fat Tire on tap and one keg of Corona. I love Fat Tire, my sister in laws like Corona, so voila, everyone is happy.
    In this situation I think I would be much like the family dog if a 50 pound bag of food was left out.
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  10. #10
    Good Enough jeff spicoli's Avatar
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    I have also built a kegerator, currently dispensing my own homebrew. The biggest pain in the ass in the homebrewing process to me was always the bottling. Siphoning 5 gal. of beer into a keg>>>>filling 48-50 12 oz. bottles.

    ToddE - if you go the home fabrication route, I would offer up two suggestions. 1) If you can, make sure the mini fridge you use doesn't have a ledge at the back of it, especially if you are going two tap. You're going to need room to store two kegs and a CO2 container. 2) Make sure you get good directions on how to do it. A lot of fridges have the refrigeration lines running acropss the top, so you want to make sure you find those before you start cutting through the top of the fridge.

    I agree with DD that two taps is the way to go. I always have an IPA on one of my taps, and whatever style I feel like brewing at the time on the second tap. Currently, I'm pouring a pilsener.

    Also ToddE, yes they make locks for taps.
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  11. #11
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    When we bought our house a few years ago, the basement came with a full bar completely made of stained wood with two lit glass cabinets on the back wall with space for liquor bottles in the middle. It's got it's own separate drop ceiling made of the same stained wood with canned lighting--it looks like a neighborhood bar just parked itself in the back of my basement.

    Anyway, the thing came with it's own beer tap but it wasn't hooked up any longer. One of the previous owners cut the beer line and used the lit cabinets to store books. BOOKS!?

    When we bought the house, I got a free full sized fridge from a neighbor who left it at the curb because he thought the liner around the door was compromised. Works perfectly for me. Then I bought a new tap, ran a beer line to the fridge, cut a couple of holes in the side of the fridge and fit a threaded PVC pipe in both holes which would allow me to run insulated beer and air lines. The pipes were threaded because we wanted a way to cap the holes back up in case we ever wanted to use it for something else.

    This baby fits full size kegs and is on the other side of the wall to the unfinished side of our basement, so there's nothing under the bar except a sink to wash glasses. Needless to say, we throw some good parties
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff spicoli View Post

    Also ToddE, yes they make locks for taps.
    Righteous information, Mr. Spicoli. Thanks!

 

 

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