Side storage for non-corked beer?

Discussion in 'Cellaring Beer' started by The Red Viper, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. The Red Viper

    The Red Viper

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    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    This is probably a stupid question, but do the reasons for storing bottles on their sides only apply to corked bottles, or to others as well? My reason for asking is I've accidentally acquired a storage rack that will only fit 12 oz and 33cl bottles (I bought it for 375ml bottles and didn't realize it was meant for 187ml wine bottles), and am wondering if there's even a point to using it this way for the smaller format bottles I'm cellaring.
     
  2. Sage

    Sage

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    Jul 26, 2013
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    Sandy Eggo, California
    Yeah, you still have the issues of larger surface area that's exposed and yeast that'll get everywhere when you turn the bottle upright for serving. I probably wouldn’t stress about it for short term storage though.
     
  3. stupac2

    stupac2

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    Oakland, CA
    I have never understood why this supposed to matter. What is the causal mechanism that makes this a problem? Any O2 in the headspace is already in equilibrium with the liquid, and (IIRC) surface area doesn't matter for that. But even if it does, elemental O2 doesn't cause oxidation, (it requires metal ions) I doubt the rate changes all that strongly with whatever change the surface area is supposed to cause. And, after all that, isn't the point of aging supposed to be to cause oxidation?
    No it doesn't. Have you ever done this? The yeast cakes onto the side pretty quickly and mostly stays there. Plus you have the same problem with 750's on their side, and I'd expect that to be worse since most 330's that you'd be cellaring won't be as dreggy as a lambic. The solution is the same as with lambic, pour carefully and keep it on its side.

    Anyway, OP, I've put a number of capped beers on their sides for a long time and I've never noticed it making any kind of difference. The only thing I can think of that should matter with orientation on capped beer is the beer dissolving the cap liner and either leaking or getting the taste of it into the bottle, but I never observed that (and this was on the timescale of ~2-3 years). These were mostly Bruery beers, and so if anything should be a better-than-average test since those are so acidic. (At least, I assume the big stouts are pretty acidic, but I never got anything with the sours either.)
     
  4. The Red Viper

    The Red Viper

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    Knoxville, TN
    Well, with some styles yes, but with lambic it is mostly about the activity of the microorganisms over time, and you want to keep oxidation to a minimum with long term lambic storage. There are probably various other effects of aging on non-wild styles, but in my case anyway I'm really only interested in cellaring beers with brett and/or bacteria.

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm thinking there isn't much point to side storage for small, non-lambic bottles, especially since with the possible exception of some Stille Nacht bottles I'm not going to be aging any of these for a super long time anyway as I would be with lambic. I'm just trying to find a way to justify the expense of this otherwise worthless storage rack I now have. :(
     
  5. stupac2

    stupac2

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    Oakland, CA
    Well yeah, but you already said you're not putting lambic in the rack!

    I think that, in general, all the chemistry about beer aging goes out the window with lambic, since the bottles are still so alive, but that's pretty far outside my bailiwick.
    Not much point, but it could be useful depending on your space. At the very least I really don't think it'll be harmful on the timescale of ~5 years. (And probably not longer, but I worry a little about the beer eating through the caps.)
     
  6. jedwards

    jedwards

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    Jul 26, 2013
    Location:
    SF
    I've seen issues with this on older bottles, beer getting between the compressible seal (plastic or cork laminate) and cap and rusting through, but caps are generally much, much better than they used to be and it's probably not an issue now. I probably wouldn't try it with any US/UK beers from before the late 90s or any Belgian bottles from before 4-5 years ago.

    I'm with stupac2 on oxidation effects -- if the seal is gas-tight, partial pressures dictate that there will not be a difference in dissolved gas based on orientation.
     
  7. BigToad22

    BigToad22

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    Feb 20, 2014
    Location:
    CA
    Good info here gents, thank you