Author Topic: Storing bottles on their sides  (Read 2428 times)

Offline drtanglebones

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Storing bottles on their sides
« on: February 03, 2011, 10:31:12 AM »
Hey folks,

I'm having my basement finished, and have included a large built-in wine rack.  I actually have more 22 oz bottles of beer than I do wine, and was wondering if it is ok to store them on their sides.  I've heard talk of increased oxidation, and sediment problems...anyone have any experience with this?

Offline hamiltont

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2011, 10:36:10 AM »
If you're bottle conditioning I think the yeast sediment along the side of the bottle up to the cap might be a bit unsightly? Just my 2 bits, YMMV.  Cheers!!!
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Offline jamminbrew

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2011, 10:41:31 AM »
Unless you filter out all the yeast and sediment, it will collect on the side of the bottle, andwhen poured, will mix into the beer and will make the beer taste a little "yeasty".  I ike this with wheats and some trappist ales, but not many others.  If you store them on their sides, place them upright for a couple days before opening them, and you shold be alright in that respect.  I can't really comment on the oxidation, though.
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Offline Steve

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2011, 11:25:55 AM »
Wine bottles were laid on their sides to keep their corks moist while aging.  I've laid bottle conditioned beer in crown capped champagne bottles on their sides in wine racks.  I gently turn them up so that the sediment will return to the bottom in just a couple of days.  Then again, when I deliver the beer to someone the sediment gets knocked about anyway and has to resettle. 

I haven't noticed any difference in oxidation taste in the sideways stored beer.  In my brain there should be the same volume of oxygen to beer in the bottle whether it's on it's side or top up.
Steve
 
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2011, 11:59:20 AM »
I haven't noticed any difference in oxidation taste in the sideways stored beer.  In my brain there should be the same volume of oxygen to beer in the bottle whether it's on it's side or top up.

Volume yes, but there's much more surface area in contact with that volume of oxygen if the bottle's on its side.  At least that's the reasoning I've heard - never tried it myself.
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2011, 12:04:45 PM »
Generally hear this question in regard to corked bottles. The answer there is - this is not wine, store them upright. Best to store crown capped bottles upright as well for the reasons mentioned. Also having the beer in contact with the cap can encourage rust/oxidation -  - not a big deal unless you're talking long-term aging, but best upright.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2011, 12:06:52 PM »
If you are bottle conditioning, the yeast consumed any oxygen in the bottle so all that should be in the head space is CO2.  You should not have any additional oxidation storing them this way.

As others have said you'll have to deal with them yeast.

Paul
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2011, 12:51:58 PM »
If you have a corked and caged bottle one thing is to consider is that if the beer is in contact with the cork, you run chances of some of the beer becoming "corked".  3 to 4% of the cork has the fungus that causes the off flavor/aroma.

Paul as to the yeast consuming all of the O2, I used to believe that.  When we toured Bells Comstock facility at a AHA rally, John Mallet, the production manager (and a winner of the Ress Scherrer award for inovations in brewing) had some comments.  First he said that they double CO2 purge the bottles to get the air out, fill, and then give a squirt of water (IIRC) to cause foam, and they cap on foam (CO2 bubbles).  They bottle condition, but the yeast are viable and do not need O2.  If there were O2 in the headspace, he claimed the yeast would only use about 1/3 of it, and the shelf life of the beer would suffer.  If they go to great lengths to eliminate O2 when bottle conditioning, there is a reason.

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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2011, 01:34:23 PM »
I can't argue against that.  At my very small scale, I've never seen it but I don't make a living at it either.

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2011, 01:43:58 PM »
First he said that they double CO2 purge the bottles to get the air out, fill, and then give a squirt of water (IIRC) to cause foam, and they cap on foam (CO2 bubbles).  They bottle condition, but the yeast are viable and do not need O2.  If there were O2 in the headspace, he claimed the yeast would only use about 1/3 of it, and the shelf life of the beer would suffer.  If they go to great lengths to eliminate O2 when bottle conditioning, there is a reason.

Do they bottle condition all of their brews?  Your description of the capping on foam is standard proceedure (though using different methods) for most bottling lines but that's usually for force carb beer.  Commercial bottling is about eliminating as much O2 as possible but even the best of setups still leave measurable amounts of O2.  I'd love to learn more about commercial bottle conditioning proceedures but I would have assumed that the beer was moderately flat at the time of bottling.  cheers, j

oh and I agree with hookerer.  at least that's what I've been led to believe as well
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 04:05:28 PM by jaybeerman »

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2011, 01:50:42 PM »
I understand that Bells beers have some carbonation coming from the tanks, some sugar and yeast are added.  Almost all of their beer is bottle conditioned.

If they ever have another AHA Rally, I will have more questions.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2011, 02:49:15 PM »
I haven't noticed any difference in oxidation taste in the sideways stored beer.  In my brain there should be the same volume of oxygen to beer in the bottle whether it's on it's side or top up.

Volume yes, but there's much more surface area in contact with that volume of oxygen if the bottle's on its side.  At least that's the reasoning I've heard - never tried it myself.
I've got to call BS on this reasoning.  The amount of O2 in the bottle will be in equilibrium between the beer and headspace based on the partial pressure of O2 and the temperature of the beer.  The surface area has nothing to do with it.  The surface area will have an affect on how long it takes to reach equilibrium, but the difference should be minimal compared to how long you will be keeping the beer.  Maybe it will oxidize faster on it's side, but the surface area argument makes no sense to me.

That being said, I wouldn't want my beer in extended contact with the cap, so I store them upright.  :)
Tom Schmidlin

jaybeerman

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2011, 06:01:20 PM »
I've got to call BS on this reasoning.  The amount of O2 in the bottle will be in equilibrium between the beer and headspace based on the partial pressure of O2 and the temperature of the beer.  The surface area has nothing to do with it.  The surface area will have an affect on how long it takes to reach equilibrium, but the difference should be minimal compared to how long you will be keeping the beer.  Maybe it will oxidize faster on it's side, but the surface area argument makes no sense to me.
That being said, I wouldn't want my beer in extended contact with the cap, so I store them upright.  :)

Tom, your reasoning seems logical.  I can tell you that when testing airs in bottled beer you shake the bottle to "equilibrate the dissolved and headspace oxygen."  This would be odd using your line of reasoning.  I recall reading a study of a new method for testing wine o2; after a year of horizontal storage they shook the bottles to equilize.  I'm by no means an expert on this subject and I'd sure like to know more.  cheers, j

I understand that Bells beers have some carbonation coming from the tanks, some sugar and yeast are added. If they ever have another AHA Rally, I will have more questions.

Sounds interesting; I like their approach to just about everything and I'm sure I'd like their method of bottle conditioning.  Man do they have great beer, I wish it was available here.  Cheers, j
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 06:09:03 PM by jaybeerman »

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2011, 11:13:44 PM »
Tom, your reasoning seems logical.  I can tell you that when testing airs in bottled beer you shake the bottle to "equilibrate the dissolved and headspace oxygen."  This would be odd using your line of reasoning.  I recall reading a study of a new method for testing wine o2; after a year of horizontal storage they shook the bottles to equilize.  I'm by no means an expert on this subject and I'd sure like to know more.
This makes sense in newly bottled beer, but makes no sense in wine that has been stored for a year if the bottle is well sealed.  I would suspect that the test was designed for newly bottled product (lots of breweries test random bottles right off of the line) and they just follow the same procedure for older product because it's a good idea to always follow the same procedure. Or maybe they don't understand physics :)  If you did side by side well-sealed aged bottles and shook one and not the other, I would be bet beer that the readings would be within the margin of error.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline drtanglebones

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Re: Storing bottles on their sides
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2011, 09:29:32 AM »
Thanks for the info and opinions guys!  I may just have to do some side-by-side comparisons of homebrews and comercial beers when the rack is done and see if myself or my homebrew club can tell a difference.  I may not risk my bottles of Darkness this way, based on all of your input though!