View Full Version : German storage temperatures in the US

04-01-2008, 11:07 PM
OK, I need some expert advice here. I have been trying to convince the beer department manager at a local chain here in the Dallas area that beer and particularly German beer should be refrigerated as much as possible to protect quality. He claims that it does no harm to leave out cases upon cases of good German beer stacked on the store floor and then periodically restock the chiller. His claim is based on the assertion that German beer is pastuerized before export and therefore invincible and bulletproof.

If this guy can't be convinced to move his products, I will vote with my feet and get my beer at another place. The only problem is that he carries the most extensive and eclectic collection of beers in town.

Which one of us is right? Or more right than the other?

04-02-2008, 01:07 AM
You are both right, to a point. Beer ages faster at warmer temperatures, but if he turns his stock over quickly enough and the beer doesn't get warmer than 70 F you are probably still OK. Its more likely during warmer months that some of the beer has seen temperatures higher than 70 F during shipping or warehousing due to somebody taking even worse care of it.

I keep part of my own stock at room temperature. I, like others here, don't have refrigeration space for the multiple gallons of beer that I brew. I keep as much as I can cold. I'll also comment that the initial aging after bottling is done at room temperature. Long term I'll own a nice chest freezer and keep my aged and ready beer stored at cool temperatures in that. Ideal aging temperature is more like cellar temperature.

04-02-2008, 03:29 AM
It says "Kühl und dunkel lagern" (= Store in a cool and dark place) on pretty much every beer bottle here in Germany for a reason.

04-02-2008, 08:07 AM
His claim is based on the assertion that German beer is pastuerized before export and therefore invincible and bulletproof.

Does the same chain (I'm assuming it's a grocery store) keep their pasteurized *milk* at room temperature? Does the same manager notice that the big US macro beers (pasteurized or "sterile filled") have "pull dates" of 3-4 *months*?

Does he notice that most of the German beers have "Best before" dates of one year (the difference being more to give them time to ship the beer across the ocean, and then -slowly- distribute it through the importer - distributor - retailer chain than any miracle of German brewing know-how). Does he REALLY think that the beer on day 364 is the same as it was on day 1, but, on day 366 it's gone bad (maybe if he works the midnight shift, he'll hear the *groan* of the beer expiring).

The sad aspect of the current craze for "cellaring" beer (a term I prefer over "aging"- since in my mind, beer should be "aged" AT the brewery in their cellars) is that, while there are many more beers that can benefit from cellaring than in years past, they are still a tiny minority of beers available. But, retailers are quick to jump on this bandwagon (even jacking UP the prices in some cases) and sell slow-moving beers that have been improperly stored in a retail or warehouse setting as "vintage".

My response- "That ain't aged- that's just old."

04-02-2008, 08:27 AM
Maybe you can contact the distro and have them talk with this retailer? That is, if the distro is up on things...

I had a similar situation at a store where I pointed out the past a year bottling date on some Paulaner Helles. the answer was, "Oh, those German beers will last forever with all that alcohol." I pointed out that the Helles was probably lighter in alcohol than a Budweiser. Then they started passing the buck to their distro -- "These just came in from them last week." Yeah, well -- they're selling you old stock.