Is it OK to store beer at room temperature?

Answered by Roy Gibson

As an expert sommelier and brewer, I can confidently say that storing at room temperature is not ideal. While some beers may be more forgiving than others, refrigerated storage is generally the best option for all beers, at all times. This is especially crucial for draft beer and many craft beers.

One of the main reasons why refrigerated storage is recommended is to slow down the aging process of the beer. When beer is exposed to higher temperatures, it accelerates the chemical reactions that occur within the liquid. This can lead to the development of off flavors and a deterioration in the overall quality of the beer. By keeping beer refrigerated, you can help preserve its freshness and extend its shelf life.

I've personally experienced the impact of non-refrigerated storage on beer. On one occasion, I left a six-pack of in my car on a hot summer day. When I finally cracked open a bottle, I was disappointed to find that the flavors had become muddled and the beer tasted stale. It was a stark reminder of how temperature can greatly affect the quality of beer.

It's important to note that different styles of beer have varying levels of sensitivity to temperature. Lighter, more delicate styles such as pilsners and lagers are particularly susceptible to the negative effects of warm storage. These beers are best enjoyed when they are crisp, refreshing, and free from any off flavors. Storing them at room temperature can quickly lead to a loss of these desirable characteristics.

Craft beers, in particular, often contain a higher amount of and other flavor compounds that can be easily damaged by heat. These beers are often brewed with a specific flavor profile in mind, and exposing them to higher temperatures can alter and diminish the intended flavors. This is why many breweries go to great lengths to ensure their beers are stored and transported at cool temperatures.

To further illustrate the importance of refrigerated storage, let's consider the example of draft beer. When you visit a bar or pub, you expect the draft beer to be fresh and of the highest quality. This is achieved by storing the kegs in a refrigerated environment from the brewery to the tap. If draft beer were stored at room temperature, it would quickly lose its carbonation, become flat, and develop off flavors. This would result in a less enjoyable drinking experience for the consumer.

Refrigerated storage is highly recommended for all beers, regardless of style or origin. It helps to slow down the aging process, preserve freshness, and maintain the intended flavors of the beer. Non-refrigerated storage can accelerate the development of off flavors and lead to a deterioration in quality. So, if you want to fully enjoy the flavors and aromas of your beer, make sure to keep it chilled.