Can you take the beer out of the fridge and put it back?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you take the beer out of the fridge and put it back?”, and what are the most common beer storage myths?

Can you take the beer out of the fridge and put it back?

Yes, you can take the beer out of the fridge and put it back. Do not opt for extended storage if you re-chill an opened bottle of beer. Because the beer, although at a much slower rate than at warmer temperatures, loses its carbonation, after the seal is broken.

Plus it takes several cooling and warming cycles for the beer to undergo a noticeable change in its quality. So, you should be fine if you re-chill your beer once after warming it to room temperature. The longer the beer is stored in cold temperatures (4 – 7 °C), the best (1).

Temperature is the principal factor affecting beer aging. Usually, the Arrhenius equation is used to describe the beer aging phenomenon. According to this model, the compound degradation is temperature-dependent, favored when the matrix is exposed to higher temperatures and at different temperatures, staling compounds are produced at different rates. Therefore, cold storage is recommended to keep the freshness of the beer and avoid the formation of degradation compounds, such as furfural and Strecker aldehydes (1).

Beer storage myths—and how to keep your beer at its best

Myth 1: All beer should be stored and served ice cold 

Different beer types have different optimal serving temperatures. The literature shows that different serving temperatures affect hedonic ratings in beverages and serving temperature also modifies sensory properties. A warmer temperature can change the partition coefficient of volatile compounds and the perception of the flavor of the product. Furthermore, appropriate serving temperature might vary across different consumption scenarios and cultures (2).

The lightest mass-market pale ales (Miller, Coors Lite, and Budweiser) are best served at slightly warmer temperatures. On the other hand, the big beers are the most flavorful when served at an icy 35 to 40 degrees.

You naturally go back to drinking a warmer beer after you have drunk enough of the icy cold beer to numb your taste buds. Beers like IPA, Imperial Stout, or any other craft beer should not be stored in home refrigerators, which usually operate at around 38℉. These beers are best served warm.

Your best bet is to invest in a beer cooler maintained at a specific temperature that is ideal for beer storage. This is particularly important for storing beers with high alcohol content. 

According to the American Homebrewers Association, these should be the serving temperatures of the beers:

Beer                                                 Suggested Temperature

American Mainstream Light Lagers 33° – 40° F

Pale Lagers, Pilsners 38° – 45° F

Cream & Blonde Ales 40° – 45° F

Nitro Stouts 40° – 45° F

Belgian Pale Ales, Abbey Tripels 40° – 45° F

Wheat Beers 40° – 50° F

Lambics 40° – 50° F

Dark Lagers 45° – 50° F

American Pale Ales & IPAs 45° – 50° F

Stouts, Porters 45° – 55° F

Strong Lagers 50° – 55° F

Real & Cask Ales 50° – 55° F

Belgian Dubbels 50° – 55° F

Myth 2: You have to store the beer at the same temperature it was at the store 

The natural dehydration of the beer starts right after it finishes brewing. If the beer is kept in a hot environment during this time, the decay speeds up, resulting in the production of off-flavors and smells.

When it comes to the best storage conditions for beer, it is best if you stick to the 3-30-300 Rule. This rule states that you can keep your beer at 90 degrees for only 3 days but it can be stored for 30 days at 72 degrees and 300 days at 38 degrees.

The bottom line is to keep the beer at cool temperatures that extend its shelf-life and do not affect its serving quality. Make sure your beer is not stored for extended periods at room temperature. 

Myth 3: Letting beer warm up with skunk it 

Skunky beer is caused by light and not heat. The “Light struck” beer contains bitter hops due to the presence of sulfur compounds formed as a result of chemical breakdown. In this situation, the light (350–500 nm) can penetrate clear and green glass bottles and promote off-flavor formation due to iso-α-acid degradation in the trans-isomers and also degradation of phenolic compounds. This phenomenon occurs less in beer stored in brown bottles, thus the brown glass decreases photodegradation (1).

To prevent your beer from going skunky, store it in a dark place. 

Myth 4: Beer is bottle lasts longer than cans 

Bottles are not a reliable storage medium when it comes to extended beer storage. Brown bottles block the sunlight to some extent but clear bottles do not protect the beer from light at all. On the other hand, an aluminum can acts as a blockade between the beer and light and does the best job at preventing skunky beer.

Moreover, a can is better sealed than a bottle, even better than a cork-sealed bottle. A good seal blocks the oxygen from reaching the beer, thus, preventing oxidized beer. Oxidized beer develops dreadful cardboard or vinyl-like taste.

Many investigations were done comparing glass bottles and aluminum cans as packaging material for beer storage and concluded that there are no significant differences between them as a barrier against gas and aroma permeability. They also concluded that aluminum cans and stainless-steel kegs have an excellent preservation property in keeping volatile compounds at acceptable levels for 6 months (1).

Myth 5: Beer can’t freeze 

We are sorry to burst your bubble but beer can freeze. However, the rate of freezing of beer differs with the alcohol content of the beer. Generally, all types of beer freeze solid below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Even pure alcohol is freezable, although alcohol has a much lower freezing point – of -114.7 degrees Celsius (-174.6 degrees Fahrenheit), as opposed to water’s freezing point of 0 degrees C (32 degrees F) (3).

To avoid your beer cans or bottles from exploding in the freezer, avoid quick-chilling your beer or bringing it too close to the freezing temperature.

Myth 6: Beer should be stored on its side like wine 

The best way to store your beer is to make sure it sits upright. Because most beers, especially craft beers, contain residues of yeast from the brewing process. When the beer sits upright, the yeast settles down at the bottom and you get a clear brew on the top of the container.

Storing the beer on its side like wine will lead to the formation of a “Yeast ring”, which is a line of yeasty sediment that sticks to the beer, thus, reducing its appeal and ruining its taste. In addition, the upright storage method decreases the amount of exposed beer thus slowing oxidation of the beer (4).

Myth 7: Corked beers should be stored like wine 

A beer bottle with a hinge and a cork should always sit upright to prevent the cork from coming in contact with beer and lending its flavor to the beer (4).

Other FAQs about Beer  that you may be interested in.

Does beer go bad?

Is beer vegetarian?

Can you live off Beer?

Conclusion 

In this article, we answered the question “Can you take the beer out of the fridge and put it back?”, and what are the most common beer storage myths?

References

  1. Aguiar, D., Pereira, A.C. & Marques, J.C. The Influence of Transport and Storage Conditions on Beer Stability—a Systematic Review. Food Bioprocess Technol (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11947-022-02790-8
  2. Dorado, Rocio, et al. The impact of using a written scenario when measuring emotional response to beer. Food qual pref, 2016, 50, 38-47.
  3. Shipman, M. Why does water freeze before beer does? 2011. NC State University.
  4. How to store beer. 1996. Beer Advocate.