in ,

Does Beer Need to Be Refrigerated?

A popular alcoholic beverage that has been consumed for ages is beer.

Beer holds a special place in the hearts of many people, whether it’s a cool one on a steamy summer day or a warm one by the fire. But whether or not beer needs to be chilled is frequently unclear.

Not every beer needs to be chilled, despite common perception. While some beers, like lagers and pilsners, are best-drunk cold, others, like stouts and porters, taste better at room temperature. It all depends on individual taste and the kind of beer being consumed.

Having said that, it’s significant to remember that keeping beer in the refrigerator can increase its shelf life.

Beer should be kept in a cold, dark place like a refrigerator to help keep it from going bad because the beer that is exposed to light and heat can degrade more quickly. Additionally, to keep the flavor and carbonation of beer once it has been opened, it should always be kept in the refrigerator.

The Basics of Beer Storage

When it comes to beer storage, there are a few basic rules to follow to ensure the best possible taste and freshness. Whether you’re storing beer for a few days or a few months, the way you store it can make a big difference in how it tastes when you’re ready to drink it.

First and foremost, it’s important to keep beer in a cool, dark place. Exposure to light and heat can cause the beer to spoil and lose its freshness. Ideally, beer should be stored at a temperature between 38 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be achieved by storing beer in a refrigerator or a cool, dark pantry or closet.

It’s also important to store beer upright. Unlike wine, beer should not be stored on its side. When beer is stored on its side, the yeast sediment can settle on the side of the bottle, making it difficult to pour without disturbing the sediment. By storing beer upright, the sediment settles on the bottom of the bottle, making it easier to pour and enjoy.

When storing beer, it’s important to consider the beer’s shelf life. Most beers have a shelf life of a few months, although some stronger beers can be stored for longer periods of time. To ensure the best possible taste and freshness, it’s a good idea to consume beer within a few months of purchasing it.

If you’re storing beer for a longer period of time, it’s best to store it in a refrigerator. Refrigerated beer will last longer than beer stored at room temperature. However, if you don’t have enough space in your refrigerator, storing beer in a cool, dark place at room temperature is still better than storing it in a warm or sunny spot.

By following these basic rules for beer storage, you can ensure that your beer stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible. Whether you’re a beer aficionado or just enjoy a cold one every now and then, proper beer storage is an important part of enjoying a beer to the fullest.

Understanding Beer Types and Their Storage Needs

When it comes to storing beer, understanding the different types of beer and their storage needs is crucial.

Here are some of the most common beer types and how they should be stored.

Ales and Lagers

Ales and lagers are the two main types of beer. Ales are typically brewed with top-fermenting yeast at warmer temperatures, while lagers are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast at cooler temperatures. Ales are generally more robust in flavor, while lagers tend to be lighter and more refreshing.

Ales and lagers can both be stored at room temperature, but lagers benefit from being stored at colder temperatures. Ales can be stored at around 50-55°F, while lagers should be stored at around 40-45°F.

IPAs and Hoppy Beers

IPAs and other hoppy beers are known for their bold, bitter flavors. These beers are best consumed fresh, as the hop flavors and aromas can quickly fade over time. If you’re storing an IPA or hoppy beer, it’s best to keep it in the refrigerator at around 38-45°F.

Dark Beers

Dark beers, such as stouts and porters, are typically brewed with roasted malts, which give them their dark color and rich, complex flavors. These beers can be stored at room temperature, but they benefit from being stored at slightly cooler temperatures, around 50-55°F.


Port is a type of beer that is typically brewed with higher alcohol content and aged in barrels. These beers should be stored at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.

Craft beers, which encompass a wide variety of styles and flavors, may have specific storage needs depending on their ingredients and brewing process. However, as a general rule, most craft beers can be stored at room temperature or slightly cooler temperatures.

Overall, the key to storing beer is to keep it away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. By understanding the specific storage needs of different beer types, you can ensure that your beer stays fresh and flavorful for as long as possible.

Impact of Temperature on Beer

Effects of Warm Temperatures

When beer is exposed to warm temperatures, it can have a negative impact on its flavor, aroma, and overall quality.

Warm temperatures can cause the beer to age and develop off-flavors, making it taste skunky or stale. This is because warm temperatures accelerate the oxidation process, which is when naturally occurring compounds in the beer react with trace amounts of oxygen.

According to AbbeyBrewingInc, a beer that is not refrigerated can last up to three days at room temperature, but it will only last three days in a trunk at 90°F. Therefore, it is important to keep beer stored at a cool temperature to preserve its quality.

Effects of Cold Temperatures

While warm temperatures can negatively impact beer, so can cold temperatures that are too extreme. If beer is stored at a temperature that is too cold, it can freeze and expand, potentially causing the bottle or can to burst.

Additionally, if beer is served too cold, it can mask the beer’s flavor and aroma, making it difficult to fully appreciate the beer’s characteristics.

According to a Craft Beer Retailer Temperature Cheat Sheet, refrigerated storage is best for all beers at all times. This is especially true for draft beer and many craft beers, which require refrigeration to maintain their quality. Non-refrigerated storage can accelerate the aging and development of off-flavors.

In summary, it is important to store beer at a cool, consistent temperature to preserve its quality and flavor. While cold temperatures are important, it is equally important to not store beer at a temperature that is too cold, as this can have a negative impact on the beer’s quality.

Factors Affecting Beer Quality

Beer quality can be affected by various factors, including oxidation, age, bottling date, and pasteurization.

Understanding these factors can help you maintain the freshness and taste of your beer.

Oxidation and Skunking

Oxidation is one of the main culprits that can negatively affect beer quality. When beer is exposed to air, it can lead to the formation of off-flavors that can make the beer taste stale or cardboard-like.

One of the most common examples of oxidation in beer is skunking. Skunking occurs when beer is exposed to light, which can cause a chemical reaction in the hops and create a sulfur-like aroma and flavor.

To prevent oxidation and skunking, it is recommended to store beer in a cool, dark place, away from light and air. Bottles with darker glass, such as brown or green, can also help protect the beer from light exposure.

Age and Freshness

Beer is a perishable product and can deteriorate over time, affecting its taste and flavor. The aging process can vary depending on the type of beer, with some beers improving with age while others are best consumed fresh.

Generally, hop-forward beers, such as IPAs, are best consumed fresh to retain their hop aroma and flavor. On the other hand, high-alcohol beers, such as barleywines, can benefit from aging to mellow out their flavors and aromas.

It is recommended to check the bottling or canning date of the beer to ensure freshness. Some breweries include a “best by” date on the label, which can also help you determine the freshness of the beer.

Bottling Date and Pasteurization

The bottling date of beer can also affect its quality. Beer that has been sitting on the shelf for a long time can deteriorate and lose its freshness. It is recommended to purchase beer that has been recently bottled or canned to ensure the best quality.

Pasteurization is a process that some breweries use to extend the shelf life of their beer. Pasteurized beer is heated to a high temperature to kill off any bacteria or yeast that may be present. While this can help extend the shelf life of beer, it can also affect the flavor and aroma.

Unpasteurized beer, also known as “raw” or “real” beer, can have a more complex flavor and aroma profile due to the presence of live yeast and bacteria. However, unpasteurized beer can also be more susceptible to spoilage and may have a shorter shelf life.

Overall, understanding the factors that can affect beer quality can help you enjoy your beer at its best. By storing beer properly, checking the bottling date, and understanding the effects of pasteurization, you can ensure that your beer tastes fresh and flavorful.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Three highball glasses filled with non-alcoholic cocktail drinks mixed with ice and tropical fresh fruits as lemon, lime and orange, on a table

14 Must-Try Non Alcoholic Spirits

Mojito 1990s cocktail with fresh lime on wood table

Our 15 Favorite 1990’s Cocktails to Drink