If you're a beer lover, then you would definitely love to get beer in bulk and store it. However, before you buy beer in large quantities, you should know how to store it properly, to maintain its flavor and freshness. Whether you're buying it for consumption in the near future or you intend to age it, follow these simple storage ideas, till you can keep yourself from opening it.
#1 - Store Beer in an Upright Position
Beer should always be kept upright, be it any beer, vintage, lambic, strong ale or imperial stout. There is a very simple reason for this, which is to ensure that yeast settles at the bottom of the bottle; if it forms a ring on the side, it will not mix with the drink. Also, when the cork touches the beer for a long time, it changes the taste of the beer. Lastly, when kept upright, it oxidizes less, and can be kept longer. This also applies for beer cans.
#2 - Keep it Cool
Keeping your beer at the right temperature is essential to maintain its taste. Heat spoils beer after some time, resulting in small floaty bits with a nasty smell and it is not recommended to freeze it as it spoils its carbonation, and ends up bland. The temperature at which beer should be kept depends on the type of beer. Beer should ideally be stored at 10°C-12.8°C, stronger beers should be stored at a slightly higher temperature, around 12.8°C-15.5°C. Lighter beers benefit from the temperature of the refrigerator, which is 7.2°C-10°C. If you intend to store your beer for a very long time, it is not advisable to keep it in the fridge, as the dehydrating environment impacts the cork.
#3 - Store it Away from Light
Always store beer away from light, in dim places such as a refrigerator or basement, the darker the better. Ultraviolet light spoils beer, it creates a chemical compound that tastes and smells bad, often referred to as 'skunked'. Brown bottles let in the least amount of light, so it is better to get brown bottles over green or clear bottles, if you plan to keep it for a while. So, always keep your beer away from light to maintain its taste for a long time. If you want to drink it in the open on a hot afternoon, then opt for a can.
#4 - Take Note of the 'Consume By' Date
Beer like other food items comes with an expiry date. So make sure you check it, and consume accordingly, fresh beer tastes best. If you have a huge collection, it would be wise to keep the new bottles back and the old ones in front. It's not exactly harmful to drink it past the expiry date, but it won't taste good. Do not store beer for more than 5-6 weeks, unless you are aging it. Stronger beers can be kept a little longer than the lighter ones.
#5 - Adopt a Trial and Error Approach when Aging
Beers can be aged for anywhere between 6 months to in rare cases 25 years, depending on the brand and storage system. However, not all brewers know how long the beer can be aged. The idea is to adopt a trial and error approach and see which ages best. There is no fixed science involved, but beers with an alcohol content of over 7% age best. Generally, imported beers can be stored up to a year, whereas American beers can be stored for about four to six months. Read the label to get information, or ask your retailer.
#6 - Keep the Beer Bottle Airtight
Air is the biggest enemy of your beer, once oxygen is trapped inside, it continuously spoils the drink. The solution is to use a cork, to keep it airtight. Wine corks can be used, but plastic corks work better, as it won't dry out like the wood one. Make sure whichever cork you use is clean, and does not have any holes. Insert the cork to half its length to ensure it is tightly sealed. If you do not want to go through all this, simply finish the bottle/can once you open it. Even if you keep it for some time, it will lose carbonation and go flat, you sure can use it to condition your hair after that.
To get more ideas, it's best to keep records of beer that you had straight after buying and the ones that were stored. Buy two bottles of the same beer, store one and have one straight. Make notes of the taste, texture and head quality and compare. This way you will be able to decide for yourself, which beer is better suitable for storage. To sum it up, for long time storage, refrigerator is not the best option, it's best to store it in a dark space in the cellar. However, if you do not have space in your house to store it, then your best bet would be to store it in your belly!