Tips From our Quality Control Team: Keep Your Beer FreshJul 25, 2013 Comments (9)
One of the most prevalent and easily preventable defects that occurs in beer is caused by age and improper storage. To emphasize the importance of temperature in beer storage, a large brewer’s research led to the development of the “3-30-300” rule. The rule states that you get the same development of age-related off-flavors in 3 days at 90°F as you would in 30 days at 71°F and as you would in 300 days at 33°F.
What can you do to minimize the chances of getting an aged beer? Being aware of the following will help you taste the beer as the brewer intended:
- Check the Code Date. Most breweries stamp their beer with an expiration or "born on" date. At Ninkasi, our beers are marked with a time stamp on each bottle. This date is used to ensure our partners know when to pull a bottle off the shelf and when the beer will still possess its original aroma and taste.
- Buy Cold Beer. This is the “3-30-300” rule in full effect. If you buy cold beer, there is a better chance it has retained more of its fresh flavor than if you buy it warm from the shelf. We don’t know what happened to that beer before it was in the cooler, though, so remember to check the code date and buy the freshest beer you can!
- Don’t Leave it in Your Car! We all have been guilty of this before and the “3-30-300” rears its head again. If you leave your beer in the car (especially during the hot summer months), it can get upwards of 120°F which means it will develop that aged flavor even faster!
- Buy Local. Aside from supporting local business, you are also much more likely to get fresh beer if you buy locally. That isn’t to say that you should stop buying beer from your favorite brewery on the opposite coast, only that you are more likely to taste the beer fresh and as the brewer intended if it only has to travel a couple hundred miles or less rather than a few thousand.
If you want to explore the flavors and aromas of aged beer at home, it is extremely easy. First, go buy a 6-pack of your favorite beer cold and the freshest you can find. Once you get it home, put 4 of those beers in the fridge, one on the counter, and one in the garage, car, or somewhere else hot. After a few days, move the one from your car or garage into the fridge. After a few more weeks, put the one on the counter in the fridge and once cold, taste against the one stored cold and the one stored hot. If you don’t want to wait a few weeks, you can always buy a bottle of the same beer stored warm on the shelf that is already a little older than the rest.
When tasting these beers, you can get aromas of cardboard, dried fruit, and any hoppiness in the beer will be diminished greatly or gone. Some of the flavors associated with age are earthy, tobacco, green or black tea, dried fruit, and it can have a papery feel. All beers age differently so, if curious, you can explore the way different styles age. A double IPA will age much differently than a stout which will age much differently than a barrel-aged barley wine. Explore the differences and have fun!
We work hard to ensure our beers are at the highest quality possible and taste exactly how our brewers envisioned them to taste each and every time. These few steps will ensure that the beer you buy from us remains fresh and flavorful. Cheers!