Most helpful positive review
186 of 192 people found the following review helpful
Very Good For Use As A Beer Cellar
on April 18, 2014
I began researching a variety of cooling devices to store my ever-growing collection of beers and was frustrated by the dearth of information readily available for such storage. Dedicated beer refrigerators/coolers were far more expensive than their wine cooling counterparts and, given that I was looking to keep the cost relatively low, I was unwilling to shell out more than $300 for one. After seeing the wide variety of thermoelectric coolers available, I was initially reticent to purchase a refrigerator because it seemed like there was a steep price differential between the two. The more I considered proper beer storage and read about the aforementioned coolers though the less comfortable I was with using them.
Ultimately, I came across the Danby DBC120BLS Beverage Center and liked what I saw in terms of the price, the reviews, and the product itself. I liked also that at least a few people were using it to store beer and so I made my purchase. I wound up setting it up last night and discovered a few things that I thought would be of interest to anyone else in search of something to use as a beer cellar.
BEST ASPECTS OF USING THE DANBY BEVERAGE CENTER FOR BEER CELLARING
1. The adjustable temperature range covers a wide assortment of beers. Usually the target temperature for aging beer is between 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit. Many of the thermoelectric coolers feature extremely narrow ranges with the LOWER end being closer to the low 50s (which means that it would have to work essentially at max capacity at all times just to maintain the temperature). Plus, if there are any temperature fluctuations, say, of five degrees or more, you could wind up impacting the long term quality of your beers. The 43-57 degree range of the Danby is great because it affords more leeway, particularly if you live in an area that gets particularly warm in the summer thereby creating a substantial temperature differential between the interior and exterior of the refrigerator.
2. At the $200 price point, you'll be hard-pressed to find better capacity. By comparison, most of the wine cellars available at and around $200 hold less than 20 bottles and, in most cases, 18 or fewer. Depending upon what you are aging beer-wise, you will easily store double that amount or better with the Danby.
3. The removable shelves provide flexible storage layouts. Again, depending upon what you're looking to age, you will have a variety of options in terms of how to store your stash. The single most limiting aspect though is the type(s) of bottles that you're looking to age. When it comes to cellaring beer, the common best-practice is to store it upright, especially if the beer is corked. The problem with this is the fact that most corked bottles tend to be of the larger variety (750ml) and thus take up much more space than their twelve ounce counterparts.
The existence of multiple shelf grooves will allow you to make the most of the space available but only to a certain degree. One of the photos for this unit had a comment that the user was able to get 49 twelve ounce bottles and 4 bombers for a total of 53 bottles. None of the bottles appeared to be corked and a few were being stored sideways--something to consider, again, if you have a variety of beer bottle types.
As for my current setup, I have the top-most shelf in along with a single shelf towards the bottom dividing the interior into three zones. At the bottom I currently have 8 large bottles including three corked 750mls, 1 uncorked 750, and four bomber sized bottles along with 6 smaller bottles, two of which are corked. Now, you won't be able to take advantage of the full space on the lowest level because there is a small portion that juts out to allow water to drain towards the compressor during the automatic defrosting cycle. Having the corked bottles standing on a wire shelf ABOVE this point should allow you to get more in...but the thought of overloading the shelf and losing bottles of Black Tuesday and the Firestone barrel aged series made me anxious. Instead, I opted for the security of the ground level at the expense of housing a few more bottles (which, at present, I don't have).
On the middle shelf I have 29 bottles approximately half of which are the standard slender 12 oz and half are the stubbier, slightly fatter bottles; these are all vertical as well. Lastly, I have six bottles stored on their side in two pyramids on the special top shelf. You lose a little bit of space at the very top so that you can keep the fan clear (the shelf is designed specifically for this purpose) so you can't make use of the ENTIRE interior.
In total though, with nearly a dozen very big bottles, I was able to get a total of 49 bottles into the unit. They are perfectly chilled at the moment and, with any luck, they will remain that way for a long time to come.
The bottom line: if you're looking to cellar beers then this is the ideal unit with which to do so!