Cellaring Beer. Just Say No?

Beer Smack by | Sep 2013 | Issue #80

Generally speaking, cellaring beer is a waste of time, money and beer. There. We said it. Someone had to. Based on our experience, the overwhelming majority of craft beers should be consumed fresh. Of course, there are exceptions in which a beer’s style, alcohol content and yeast treatment, combined with ideal cellaring conditions, can create a suitable candidate for a cellar experiment. However, even if certain criteria are met, it’s still a crapshoot, and most consumers make rookie mistakes when trying to age their beer anyway.

Then there are brewers who recommend aging their beers but offer little to no information as to how consumers should go about it. Even if they did provide advice, the beer still has to go through distributors and stores, the vast majority of which handle their beer stock poorly, putting it in warm storage and exposing it to light.

So, you still want to cellar beer? Despite all of the above, it can be a fun adventure, and whether the beer turns out great or terrible, it can teach your palate a thing or two. To avoid wasting your time, money and beer, here are five tips to help you along the way:

1. Don’t buy beers off of warm shelves.
2. Only cellar high-ABV or bottle-conditioned beers.
3. Store your beers at around 45°F; higher temperatures can accelerate the aging process in a bad way.
4. Cellar multiple bottles of the same brew. Aging beer will often go through cycles, so you’ll want some bottles to test now and then. What’s foul now could be glorious a year later.
5. Hops fade, so don’t expect much success from cellaring hop-centric beers.

For more tips: beeradvocate.com/beer/101/store and also check out the site’s Cellaring / Aging Beer forum.

Respect Beer.