Most of us have heard of a wine cellar, but did you know that home brew enthusiasts can get the same enjoyment from a beer cellar? Stashing your favorite home brew is definitely possible and it’s pretty awesome to have a full supply of your favorite beer whenever you feel like cracking a cold one. Making a beer cellar requires a bit of a different approach, however, then making a wine cellar but with the right tips, you can hide your bottles away for later enjoyment.
How to Make an Awesome Beer Cellar
As the name implies, a cellar is typically a room that is below the ground floor of a building. If you have a basement, this is usually the best place to make your beer cellar. If you do not have a basement, find a cool, dark place like inside a closet on your first floor. Heat and light are both mortal enemies of maintaining the flavor and quality of beer. You’ve got to hide your bottles away if you want to keep your beer tasting fresh and vibrant over a long period of time.
The ideal temperature in your beer cellar should be around 55° to 60° F throughout the year. If you cannot maintain that temperature naturally with passive cooling often found in basements, you’ll want to use some type of refrigeration.
The most important things to consider when creating your own beer cellar include:
- Heat – keep your beer cool, away from heat sources and limit thermal cycling (heating and cooling). Cold temps prevent spoilage and slow down yeast activity.
- Light – prevent all exposure to UV light as this can alter the hops, ruin your beer and make it taste “skunky”.
- Vibration – you’ll want a stable flooring and shelves to prevent vibration and let the yeast settle in peace. Oxidation is always a concern when storing beer and the less oxygen that interacts with your beer bottle, the better.
- Store upright – we often see wine bottles stored sideways, this is so the cork doesn’t get dried out allowing the wine to age gracefully. Beer bottles, on the other hand, have a hard cap that will only rust and should always be stored upright.
- Security – make sure children, guests or unwanted intruders cannot access your beer
What Types of Beer Stores Best in a Beer Cellar?
The type of beer you store in your beer cellar also makes a difference in the quality that can be maintained over a period of time. Beer with the following attributes does best when stored long-term:
- Low in hops – hops are literally delicate flowers and they will break down. Beers with a lot of hops are not ideal for aging. Roastier, maltier beers that are low in hops typically maintain their freshness and flavor longer when stored properly.
- High alcohol volume – beers that have an ABA of greater than 6% typically store better than beers with low alcohol by volume.
- Bottle conditioned beers – beers that contain extra yeast to continue fermenting while sitting on a shelf can do better for long-term storage.
- Barrel-aged beers – beer that has been aged in barrels soaks up the complex flavors of the wood. Storing in a beer cellar often brings out the oaky and fruity characteristics even more.
Most breweries create their beer to be enjoyed fresh because beer can lose prominent flavor as it ages. You should always taste your beer fresh before deciding to age it, this gives you a baseline for comparison. With a little practice and patience, you will learn what type of beer you will enjoy in your beer cellar.
RainMakers Supply is your home brew store serving the Chicagoland area with all the supplies, equipment, and ingredients you need to home brew quality beer. Brewing your own beer, wine, cider, and mead is easy with quality ingredients and tips from homebrew experts. Contact us with any questions on home brewing and enjoy a long-lasting stash of your favorite recipe with an awesome beer cellar.