Is cellaring a generational thing?

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by Eddiehop, Dec 30, 2016.

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  1. Eddiehop

    Eddiehop Defender (632) Jun 28, 2014 Texas

    Full disclosure here. I'm in my mid 30's and have a beer stash that consists of maybe 20 or so bombers and lesser number of bottles I hold for shares with friends.

    My question is this. Are these large cellar pics I see largely coming from the younger crowd (20's - 30's) or are there older folks who partake in this?

    I ask b/c from what I can tell, its more this younger crowd thats into the whale trading, standing in beer release lines for hours and large cellaring. For lack of a better comparison, its almost turned into a pecker measuring contest of craft beer officianados IMO. I myself am guilty of this.

    Im talking about the pics posted with dedicated fridges and in some cases, rooms full of beer that have 100's of beer.

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  2. RDMII

    RDMII Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2010 Georgia

    I'm 42. I don't cellar per say, I just have a lot of beer that I slowly get through. Ten years ago I bought and stashed more, but moving into a smaller space and loosing a basement forced me to drink down some stuff.

    I do think the younger crowd 'cellars' more just for the recognition. It is all about who's bottle (dick) is the biggest these days, and having whales and verticals for years seems to fit that bill perfectly. Personally, if I had to stand in line to get a beer, I'd leave. I also don't gloat (much) or drop into shares swinging big, I drink most of my beers alone or with a few close friends and forego the shitshow of the 'share'.
  3. 1beerbaron

    1beerbaron Initiate (99) Mar 24, 2009 Ohio

    I am more inclined to believe it is usually the younger group because that is more of the crowd that is more inclined to view beer as a product worth cellaring. This is obviously broad strokes, but I'd say this is at least part of it. I know my dad just cannot get it through his head why I have so much beer just sitting around. I explain it time and time again, but every time he see's it, he asks the same question about why I have so much beer just sitting around. In his mind it's like I had cases upon cases of beer to drink this weekend. Beer is just not a premium product to him. I think anyone drinking craft isn't that bad, but I've noticed the older groups tend more along that end of the spectrum.

    ***this is all anecdotal so take it with a grain of salt***
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  4. mwginnh

    mwginnh Initiate (0) Aug 27, 2010 Massachusetts

    I'm in my mid 40's, and a craft beer drinker for about 25 years now, but just in the past 2 years have begun accumulating and cellaring beer. I think its probably because its so easy to find good beers that will age well compared to what the market was like back in the 90's. I buy only for personal consumption and realize that there is so much good beer out there now that I don't feel the need to trade or hunt down that whale.
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  5. Heretic42

    Heretic42 Initiate (0) Aug 31, 2011 Texas

    I think this is closer to the truth. Cellaring beer has been around for a long while (see: Belgian quads, lambic, brett beers), but now it seems every brewery has some kind of BA stout or sour that might improve with age.

    Whale trading is completely orthogonal to having a cellar.
  6. phildow

    phildow Initiate (0) Jan 6, 2013 Michigan

    I am 30 and only started putting a "cellar" together 2 years ago after I read Vintage Beer. I decided to focus on putting verticals together of a few readily available beers (Bell's Expedition Stout, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot & Narhwal, Oskar Blues Ten Fidy) and one less readily available one, Dark Lord.

    I don't know if my thought process is in line with @mwginnh , but I don't really focus on "whales" (does Dark Lord count?) because to acquire them you usually have to give up a lot more than $4$, and then I end up sitting on them past their prime because the GF only drinks IPAs when she's drinking beer, and I rarely find/make a special occasion to open the "whales."
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  7. Eddiehop

    Eddiehop Defender (632) Jun 28, 2014 Texas

    I didn't think about this, but it's good point. Seems like most breweries now crank out a BA stout of some kind with an abv >10% which would lend itself to aging.
  8. AJmon13

    AJmon13 Initiate (0) May 9, 2014 Ohio

    I'm 24, and have started to accrue more and more beers "for later." Acquiring a whale is an exciting prospect, so I usually drink what I get immediately. Down the road as more and more highly coveted beer gets into my grasp I'll likely stash it away for special occasions.

    At the moment I have a total of maybe 15 bottles on hold. I find myself allocating beer in my head as "Consumable" (Drink Immediately), "For Aging" (for Future Verticals) and "Celebratory" (Drink in Case of 'X'). It often comes down to the price - a $20.00 bomber is not something I want to drink after a regular day of work.
  9. eppie82

    eppie82 Meyvn (1,410) Apr 19, 2015 Illinois

    I'm 34, recent 'cellar-er', long time beer drinker.

    I have maybe 40-50 bottles in my temp controlled beer 'chest' and primary reasons are some already given above:
    • Too much good beer to consume quickly.
    • Save rare beers I want to share with others.
    • Curiousity after aging.
    • Hoarding/psychological issues.
    I love having a dozen BCBS '16 so I can drink them over the next year until '17 release. I'd also like to keep 2-3 for a couple of years and see how they (maybe) changed.

    The number of bottles I'm keeping for long term may fluctuate over time but at this point I imagine myself always having at least a dozen.
  10. youradhere

    youradhere Initiate (0) Feb 29, 2008 Washington

    I don't think it's an age thing at all- I have younger friends in their 20s and 30s that are baffled at keeping a beer cellar. They are either open to the concept, or you can tell that they think I am "one of those weirdos", like a Furry Fan or Brony. Older friends, family and neighbors (60+) simply don't understand the concept, even when compared to wine collecting, and are quicker to scoff and more apt to provide derisive comments (eg: "I bet a beer that old tastes like crap")

    That said, I'm not sure what that demographic us cellar-folk are, but I don't fall into the weenis measuring camp. This is personal opinion- but there are "those types" that use any and every occasion to compete with strangers in order to prove their self worth to themselves. Those types can be found in every hobby- sports ("I get a new set of ultra golf clubs every month"), woodworking (full $100k workshop to make crappy bird houses), snowmobiling (new truck and toy hauler with top of the like cat, barely puts an hour on the machine in a season).
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  11. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,347) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Just like everything else, it all has to do with influence. Why do any of us have beer cellars in the first place? We either had friends who have beer cellars or saw a bunch of people on the internet post pictures of their cellars and thought to ourselves "Wow, I can lay down beer just like people lay down wine!" Then we eventually got to the point where we could build our own. At what age we encountered that influence is irrelevant. What is relevant is the point that @mwginnh made: that we're in an era where cellarable beers are not only more prominent but also there are resources like this website that provide education on how to build a beer cellar. I agree that the whole posting pictures of your cellar to show how badass you are is more of a younger generation/social media engagement, yet one's cellar should, of course, not be gauged by quantity but rather quality and thoughtfulness. The joke's on the losers who let their cellar get so out of hand that they end up cracking oxidized mess after oxidized mess once they realize "I have way too much beer!"

    P.S. Speaking of influence, I may have never heard of Tycho if it wasn't for my bandmate telling me about what electronic music he enjoyed @Eddiehop :wink:
  12. mwginnh

    mwginnh Initiate (0) Aug 27, 2010 Massachusetts

    My journey to begin cellaring was actually pretty accidental. A few years ago during the first Christmas with my girlfriend, she knew I liked good beer so she asked a relative who was really into beer to buy me some stuff and she ended up getting me a case of different bottles. At that time I was still in the mindset of "if I have beer it goes into the fridge to be consumed in the near future" but she had given me so much that I couldn't fit it into my fridge and put most of it in a storage closet in my basement and actually forgot them. About a year later I noticed I had a bunch of beers in the basement and popped one open. It was my first Tilquin Gueuze and fell in love with it. I started looking for Tilquin every store I went to, and began to stock up every time I found it. After awhile I realized I had built up a small collection and it just took off from there.
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  13. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,347) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    That's awesome. I guess I was introduced to the concept of cellaring by Dogfish Head, since when I started working for them they would sell vintage bottles of their beer for an upcharge. It wasn't until my friend - who brewed for them and was a homebrewer - showed me his cellar years later that I started thinking I could start building one of my own though. This could be a cool thread idea: "How were you introduced to the concept of cellaring beer?" Hmm
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  14. Eddiehop

    Eddiehop Defender (632) Jun 28, 2014 Texas

    Reading the replies, it seems like it's something both young and old partake in, however, it may be us younger folks who drift towards social media and post the pictures of this stuff (the epic haul pics) maybe more so than some of the old school guys...or so it seems, thus maybe skewing or masking the fact that in reality, cellaring is widespread amongst all ages.
  15. eastbayfunkdunk

    eastbayfunkdunk Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2015 Minnesota

    It's not so much an age as a mentality. Beer like a lot of things has become more of a commodity and collectors item than product to be consumed in certain circles, not a knock because I've drifted that way a little bit. Beer is how collecting sneakers was when I was younger 10-15 years ago or stamps and Beenie babies before that. Some people go overboard and amass huge collections that will never get the use (drinking) they should. I have about 100 bottles in my cellar that I've been trying to drink down because I've been burned by cellaring something that has not improved at all or even gotten worse with age. Not a generation thing IMO just the new fun collectible item, but a very awesome and tasty item it is
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  16. phildow

    phildow Initiate (0) Jan 6, 2013 Michigan

    @eastbayfunkdunk , I like the shoe analogy. Fellow former sneakerhead here, I have like 40 pair of deadstock shoes I will never end up wearing.

    I have experienced what @Immortale25 said about oxidation/oxidized beers and have been trying to get down from ~400 to ~200 bottles. The comment about being thoughtful with the cellaring is especially true - I am proud of myself for having been able to not touch 2 six packs of Expedition for the last 3 years (Bells claims it ages indefinitely), but I always find myself thinking "I should do a 3 year vertical now to see what the early years of aging does to a stout of that nature." I have been trying to cut out the single bottles in hopes of putting together verticals that are less likely to have aged poorly, but it's tough when there's a new Bourbon Barrel [insert beer type here] coming out every week; however, a recent bad experience with BBIMM opened my eyes - not every BBA stout was designed to be aged.

    </end rambling post>
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  17. CoreyC

    CoreyC Initiate (199) Mar 16, 2015 Wisconsin

    I don't think it's generational. I think it's more in line with what someone said about being into good beer (and particular types) and then someone introducing you to it. I'm mid fifties, and have loved good beer for decades. "Good" has gotten better over the years as there are many more much better beers than there were decades ago. Also, I have to love strong, sweet malty beers (it started with Beglians) which are what aged well. I hate hoppy beers can't drink an IPA. So, what I like ages well, and some difinitely get much better for me (loved aged RISs, but most are too hoppy fresh). Then an awesome coworker gave me a two year old Dark Lord and told me about aging and to sit on it longer. I had it at at five years and was hooked on what aging can do.
    So I think it's taste specific and circumstantial.
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  18. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (498) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    My brother and I have really taken to referring to beers you have to stand in line or fellate an internet stranger for as Beanie Baby Beers. Its so fitting, especially when people just acquire them for the sake of having them rather than ever drinking them.

    As far as the thread topic:
    I'm 33 --- my brother got me into imperial stouts about 6 years ago and that was after trying some Expedition Stout that had been aged about a year (its sweet-spot IMO) side-by-side with a freshie. Now I only really age beers like the above noted, Narwhal, Jubilale, etc. Basically only big, malty beers that can be found in 4, 6, and 12 packs that have been proven to age well. There's certainly a few stragglers that are more whale-like, but I mainly stick to shelf beers for aging. I have about 60, 12 oz bottles and a few bombers in my 'cellar' and try to drink a couple a week. Beer needs to be drank, not hoarded.
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  19. readzeppelin

    readzeppelin Initiate (0) Sep 4, 2015 Georgia

    I am 42. I have been "cellaring beer" for just over 10 years. It started by accident. I enjoy high ABV beers and when I would find something I liked I would save some to have or share later. After a couple of years of doing this I had several cases sitting in a closet. I always knew that if they were in a temp stable environment out of light that they would keep. I wasn't cellaring just had more beer then I could drink at any one time and always like to buy something new. We moved to a bigger house with a cool basement. The beers and wine went down stairs just to be out of the way. I kept adding to the pile. Since about half of what I would buy would get "saved for later" It started to be a fairly large stash. When I was planning on stocking up for our first thanksgiving in the new house my wife mentioned all the beers I had stashed and that we should have them. I pulled about a case of what I thought were good ones for me, my brother, step-father and wife to share over diner. The first was two bottles of a 2004 Samichlaus. It was 10 years old. We were optimistic but none of us ever had a beer with that much age on it. We cracked it open, it was still lightly carbonated, it smelled amazing, tasted like a jammy figs and had this plum sherry taste that was so flavorful, you would never be able to guess that it was 14%. We all sat there shocked with how good it was. After dinner and several more different beers we went down into the basement and spent the rest of the night pulling various bottles to take an informal inventory of what I had. Following that weekend we were hooked (my brother and me) we decided to build cellars in our respective houses and started to buy beers specifically to taste then put away. We mostly buy beers that are commercially available and don't chase whales, I refuse to stand on line, and don't participate in trading for things I can't get. I prefer to follow "a drunkwards walk" in my quest to discover beer to buy. We travel for work and will bring home regional limited distro cellar worthy beers that we can't get back home. We enjoy going into small little shops that have little turn over and find beers that have been "cellared" because someone years earlier decided to buy a couple of cases of something good for inventory purposes that never sold. Several grocery stores near us have "out of date" beers on a sale rack and have no clue that a Belgian Quad doesn't really have an expiration date, and it is always worth it to get something over 8% that costs less than a buck. At some point I started using Cellar HQ to track everything and as a reference to see if I need to plug a year for a vertical I am working on. Since that first year we have a get together for a "bottle share" on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It's one of a few that we do during the year but it is the one where we pull out our best stuff. We have met lots of great people and built a little network of friends who get together for cellar drink down parties. It is amazing to me how many people are doing this. For instance I was at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago buying a case of vintage ale. The cashier mentioned how he gets one ever year since he cellars to. We chatted briefly, exchanged numbers and are going to get together next time we set something up.

    To answer the original question I don't think this is a generational thing. I wish I discovered doing this in my 20-30s. I have met people of all ages and walks of life who do it. Most tend to be cool and we steer clear of anyone who displays Whales Bro mentality.

    #19 readzeppelin, Jan 6, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
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