The importance of good lighting for beer cellaring
Lighting is of key importance in many industries and food preservation is no exception. In this article, we discuss craft beer preservation and examine the lighting techniques used in this sector.
Given the decisive role of light in the optimal preservation of any food or drink product, including beer, storage cellars must adhere to strict lighting requirements.
This article addresses...
- THE KEYS TO BEER CELLARING
- LIGHTING FIXTURES FOR BEER CELLARING
- SPECIALIST LUMINAIRES FROM SECOM
The keys to beer cellaring
The three keys to preserving the flavour, colour and texture of beer are: correct temperature; prevention of oxidation; and protecting it from direct light exposure, particularly sunlight or any unsuitable artificial lighting.
Beer contains yeasts and other living organisms and this is what makes beer preservation so tricky. That said, a beer which has been properly brewed can be stored for a long time under the right conditions.
Temperature must be controlled throughout the cellaring process. Exposing beer to high temperatures degrades its sensory properties and accelerates the effects of oxidation. Beer should always be stored in a cool dry place, and in a refrigerator if necessary.
Oxidation is the most harmful factor when it comes to beer. Oxygen in the air mixes with the hops and degrades the beer’s flavour, aromas, colour and carbonation. Prevention of oxidation is absolutely essential to preserving a craft beer.
Exposure to sunlight
Sunlight or unsuitable artificial lighting damages the colour, hoppy aroma and flavour of beer. Brewers have been aware of this problem since the mid-19th century and is the reason why beer is almost always bottled in amber or green glass, which can filter 80% of UV rays.
UV light degrades the aroma of the hops and causes a photochemical reaction that generates sulphurous compounds and unpleasant smells. In 2001, scientists at the University of North Carolina used lasers to show how beer degrades and discovered that the process creates a new compound with a nasty smell that also affects the beer’s colour.
Thanks to this research, the brewing industry has paid more attention to techniques that protect beer from light – the same techniques that must be used in beer cellars. The best way of preventing light-induced damage to beer is to use bottles that absorb light and to instal adequate lighting in the beer cellar, specifically LEDs which are indicated for such spaces.
Lighting fixtures for beer cellaring
The overriding goal of any beer cellar is to ensure that the beer is preserved under the best possible conditions to maintain its sensory properties. There is no question that the original flavour and aroma of the beer can be damaged by light exposure.
The damage is caused by a photochemical reaction in hops compounds when these are exposed to blue light with a wavelength of between 400 and 500 nm. That is, when the hopped beer is exposed to UV light, whether from sunlight or artificial blue light.
LEDs can provide light with no blue frequencies in their emission spectra. This prevents light from interfering with the preservation process and ensures that the sensory properties of the beer remain intact. The ideal LEDs have warm tones with a wavelength of between 550 and 590 nm. They are suitable for any environment and also offer greater energy efficiency, not to mention creating a cosier atmosphere.
Before selecting lighting for a beer cellar, those responsible must understand the layout of the space, the architectural features and which zones will be the focus of attention. With this information, lighting can be fully tailored to the space.
Specialist luminaires from SECOM
SECOM is a global leader in the professional lighting sector. SECOM’s relationships with architects, engineers, distributors and installers help ensure that clients are fully satisfied and that their lighting projects are tailored perfectly to the site in question.
In any project, the conditions and characteristics of the desired lighting effect must be analysed to ensure all the needs of the space are met. This includes the appropriate tone, colour rendering and how well the light suits the intended use of the space.
SECOM supplies a huge range of professional lighting products and systems including specialist fixtures specifically suited to beer cellars. We recommend the Protek SECOM spotlight with amber LEDs, which help protect beer from the damaging effects of light. We also supply Konak LED Especial and Supra Rectangular LEDs which are specially designed to ensure proper cellaring of craft beer.
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