Depending on a few factors, it is easy to devise an effective plan to store your beer and keep its freshness and taste. Most beers are not brewed to be aged, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Contacting the beer brewer if often a first step when trying to determine the best option for storing your beer. If you are moving, it is important to understand the specific variables that will keep your beer fresh and full of its original flavor.
One of the most important factors, however, when deciding where to store your beer is finding a place that can maintain the temperature of the brew. If you cycle brew from warm to cold and then back again continuously, it will cause cloudiness and a distinct change in taste. Keeping your beer in a refrigerated unit is usually the safest way to store an abundance of different types of brew. Some stouts and strong ales seem to do just fine in a warmer environment and can be stored in just a dark place, but the same rule of changing the temperature of the beer causing some taste distortion rings true.
No matter what temperature that your beer is stored at, one rule of thumb is to keep the bottles away from any source of direct sunlight. The hops react to the light and may cause it to stale rapidly. This reaction is sometimes referred to “skunking”. Even if the dark place is a little hotter than ideal, keeping the brew away from light is the most important factor. When storing vintage beers, lambics, and imperials stouts, it is important to keep the bottles upright. Some of this variety of beer can even be aged for a more distinct taste.
If you keep an eye on the “consume by” date on your beer you can discern which beer will be appropriate for storage. Most microbrews are not made for long term storage, and it is usually recommended that it is not stored for longer than six weeks. As was mentioned before, hoppier brews have a substantially extended shelf life if stored properly. If you have already opened a bottle of beer that you then recap, remember that this will significantly reduce the time that it will store well. If you recap a beer, purchase a professional stopper that will keep the nitrogen in the air out the brew. Nitrogen is the main culprit in beer that will cause it to spoil.
Remember, proper storage is necessary to keep your brew at its best.