There are certain things in life that are just known to be true. There is no scientific fact backing them up, nor has anyone ever questioned their validity. We all know that reading in dim light is bad for your eyes, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that women do not know how to drive, but there is one such belief that has always bugged me. It’s the belief that taking cold beer out of the refrigerator and letting it get back to room temperature will somehow ruin its flavor. Now, I’ve read several books, articles, magazine, etc… on brewing and beer in general and I honestly cannot think of one thing that would cause this. Here’s what I do know:
- Cold beer absorbs CO2 more readily than warm beer. Warming an opened beer will cause it to slowly lose its CO2 and opening a warm beer will cause more CO2 to be instantly lost when opened than opening a cold beer.
- If you chill a beer that is meant to be ‘bottle conditioned’ or a homebrew, the yeast inside will go dormant and will not do their work while chilled. Under most circumstances though, they will not die.
- Extremes of temperature are not good for beer. Keeping beer above 80° or so is probably the single most common thing that will skunk your beer. This is the reason that alot of European beers end up with recognizable skunkification.
- Beer is best bottle conditioned at 50-55° but can be stored anywhere from 34° to 80° without any harm done.
I intend to do an experiment to prove whether this observation is true or false. I’m going to go buy a six-pack of Sierra Nevada Pale and put it in the fridge. I’m using commercial beer instead of homebrew to further limit any potential variables in the beginning sample. After two days, I will take two beers out and leave them at room temperature. Every two days, I will move them to the fridge and back. After two weeks, I will sample them and determine if there was any noticeable difference. We’ll see what happens in two weeks.