Got 12 beers? Want to be a scientist? Well, you’re in luck, because James Spencer (host of Basic Brewing Radio) and I are proud to announce the 5th in our series of BYO/BBR Collaborative Brewing Experiments. This experiment is very straightforward, all you need to do is take 12 bottled homebrews, store them under different conditions and sample them at the appropriate times. Here’s the details.
It’s best to store beer cold, and it’s best to drink beer when it’s fresh. But we all know that sometimes that’s not possible. Sometimes there’s no room in the fridge and a case or two of homebrew may need to sit out at room temperature. In this experiment, we test how different conditions of beer storage affect homebrew. Of course, this has been well tested on the commercial side with fizzy yellow lagers, but we’re talking about homebrew. Homebrew may be bottled conditioned. Homebrew may be strong, Homebrew may be dark, or brewed with a funky Belgian yeast or any number of other things. Do these factors alter the aging process? To what extent? And how long can you store homebrew under different conditions? These are the questions we’re asking. Here’s the experiment we hope will provide the answers:
Take 12 bottles from one batch of homebrew, ideally all in the same type bottles, and treat them all equally until the experiment starts. If the beer needs to bottle condition, do this before the start of the experiment. Separate the 12 beers into 4 groups of three bottles. The four groups will be cold storage, cool storage, warm storage and variable storage. Place the three cold storage beers in your refrigerator. (Label them so you don’t accidentally drink one before the proper time.) Place the three cool storage beers in a relative cool place (like a basement). Cover them so that they aren’t exposed to light. (It’s dark inside a refrigerator.) Take the temperature they are stored at. (If possible, measure temperature over the entire storage time with a high-low thermometer, so you know the range.) If you don’t have an actual cool spot in your house, pick a spot that’s room temperature. Take the three warm storage beers and place them somewhere warm, or even hot (like an attic or outdoor storage shed). Again, keep them dark and record the temperature.
Finally, take the three variable storage beers and put them in the fridge. After a week, move them to warm storage and repeat so the variable storages beers cycle between a week in the cold and a week of warm storage. (There will be one slight twist on this schedule for the first sampling.)...