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I've got an extra room in my house that I was thinking of turning into a "beer cellar", or as much of a cellar as an above ground room can be. I don't have a problem with the actual construction, but especially since I'm in Phoenix, Arizona, I was trying to figure out how to insulate and cool the room for optimum storage.

Also, should I build the shelves to store both 6 packs still in the original cardboard casings along with individual bottles, or should I plan to remove all bottles from packaging? Separate temperature control? Lighting considerations?

One final consideration, should I keep all bottles of similar size on separate shelves, or should I have more open shelves for more air flow around bottles?

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    I personally prefer them to take them out of the packaging because I put them on right before the other. It's personal preference, but I think taking them out actually presents nicer :) (unless it's a special edition for instance) – Lucas Kauffman Jan 22 '14 at 15:49
  • Related: beer.stackexchange.com/questions/99/…. Do you have beer that will actually benefit from bottle conditioning? – Brian Nickel Jan 22 '14 at 18:52
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    This looks more like two questions: one around the room itself, and the other around bottle chilling and storage. – object88 Jan 22 '14 at 18:57
  • Not so much chilling, as just climate control in the room. In Arizona, if you leave the AC off you can easily get house temps in the 90's. It would be more cost effective to cool a controlled room environment than a whole house. Chilling I would regard as lowering to serving temperature which could easily be taken care of with a wine fridge or similar. – JohnP Jan 22 '14 at 21:20
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You'll probably do best keeping the room layout simple and as easily organized as possible. The main thing for the beer is to keep the temperature steady and relatively low (around 50F) and keep light out. Even with brown bottles there's still some UV penetration, which you want none of. So keep it dark when you're not in there and try to avoid florescent lighting when you're there. Keeping it organized also helps you minimize your time in there, which keeps light and temperature steady.

I wouldn't worry too much about the air flow as long as it's not completely stagnant and all the areas of the room are getting some air of the right temperature. Liquid and glass hold temperature a lot better than air on their own so they won't have significant fluctuation once you get them where you want them. I think most collections prefer shallow shelves for this reason.

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