Problem? My beer cellar is growing.

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by Dan_K, May 17, 2016.

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  1. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (515) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Hey guys,
    I have a modest collection compared to many, but I have perceived that over time it is growing, not shrinking or staying the same. I have a spreadsheet keeping track of the brews, and that's how I know what's going on.

    Right now I've got 107 bottles and cans for a total of 51.7 liters of beer. I have a feeling that some of them will not be drank this summer, which means next winter I'll be buying more stouts and adding them into the older ones as well.

    At a certain point do you stop buying? Is this a problem that is just going to get bigger?

    I think one of my problems is that for special beers, I save them for special occasions, which seem to be few and far between. I'm better off just drinking them I guess. What do you think - has anyone else wrestled with this issue before?
  2. Jdub2839

    Jdub2839 Aspirant (254) Mar 15, 2014 Florida

    Simple solution, just drink them or send them to me.
  3. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,170) Mar 21, 2010 New York

    Stop buying, start drinking.
    WI-Beer-Man, neenerzig, Sak3 and 2 others like this.
  4. buckeye1275

    buckeye1275 Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2013 Delaware

    It's not as simple as, "stop buying, start drinking." I have the same issue. It started out with a dozen or so special beers and has now grown to over 600 bottles. It is a hobby/addiction that I am slowing down on but it's hard to simply stop because I don't want to.
    Harrison8, JLA1221, Dka67 and 7 others like this.
  5. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Poo-Bah (1,843) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa
    Society Trader

    It's not easy to stop buying and start drinking. I would invite some people over and pop a few bottles, I will be opening 2-3 bottles out of my cellar tomorrow depending on how many people show up.
  6. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (515) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    I have been sharing more, and I've been making progress... and then I added 4 more bottles this weekend. I guess I will keep after it. I don't want to keep beers past the point where they start to get worse.
    Harrison8 and archiebunkerjr like this.
  7. AndrewK

    AndrewK Aspirant (275) Oct 20, 2006 California

    How long have you been cellaring? After about 4-5 years I had figured out which of the stouts and barleywines I'd been cellaring that I thought aged the best, and drank down everything else so that I could focus on those. I started buying those particular beers in greater quantity, but have recently cut back because I can't keep up. I now buy about 4-5 cases a year combined of those stouts/barleywines which is about a bottle a week to pull from the cellar.
    JLA1221, maxifunk777 and gibgink like this.
  8. deadsincebirth

    deadsincebirth Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2014 Illinois

    I had the same problem. Kept on adding and minimally taking from, even with shares. So I made myself up a little contract. No beer purchases for 3 months. The consequence, you say? My wife would gain control of my cellar and do with it what she pleased (but no dumping)! I bought no beer and my cellar gained room. Drinking them is the most fun...
    neenerzig and archiebunkerjr like this.
  9. eppie82

    eppie82 Meyvn (1,471) Apr 19, 2015 Illinois

    I reached a point where I was annoyed at just looking at them over and over. Eventually, I just started opening them up... whether someone was there to share with or not. Enough is enough! I'm sure you didn't start acquiring good beers for collection purposes. You probably like(d) drinking 'em. So might as well get crackin', and start enjoying them.
    jrnyc likes this.
  10. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Poo-Bah (1,843) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa
    Society Trader

    I see you trade, you could trade multiple bottles to land some rarer beers you've been wanting.
  11. Hoppedelic

    Hoppedelic Initiate (193) Dec 6, 2010 California

    Get more shelf space then start drinking older bottles but keep adding new ones faster than you drink the old ones.
  12. reefer_bob

    reefer_bob Disciple (302) May 13, 2014 California

    I like to try and throw themed tastings... invite a handful of people over and open up several beers.
    Victory_Sabre1973 likes this.
  13. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (515) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Yeah I've got a few things planned. I can do a mini dragons milk tasting, and I can do a Praire bomb horizontal, a Yeti Horizontal (I have Chocolate, Oak Aged, Barrel-Aged, and Espresso).

    And I also want to buy some more Stone 2016 IRS to age, also picked up another Uncle Jacobs to age... 2 should be enough, for now...
  14. Yabu

    Yabu Disciple (300) Feb 4, 2015 California

    That's the same issue I have! :confused:
    I keep the special beers for special occasions. The problem is, there are few special occasions.

    I also have been proxying for multiple people recently.
    So for now, I only buy special beer, and drink thank you beers. Cutting down the shelf beer I buy.

    It's hard to trade from qty to quality. Not many are willing. I'm usually the one trading from quality to qty.
  15. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (515) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Well quantity is a quality all of it's own!
    I bought 12 bottles of Fade to Black Volume 1 this year. I thought it was a bit excessive. But I gave most of them away in a bunch of trades. The other day I drank one, and it's tasting awesome right now. But I only have 1 bottle left. :slight_frown:
  16. Oktoberfist

    Oktoberfist Initiate (116) Nov 26, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Drink more, buy less. Problem solved.
    Tryionn66 and Sak3 like this.
  17. phildow

    phildow Initiate (0) Jan 6, 2013 Michigan

    I have encountered the same problem recently. I have a good mix between formats (12 oz vs 22 oz) and am now into the 400s. I found that bottles I was holding on to for a while and saving for a special occasion (Bell's Batch 10000, This one goes to 11) did not age well, despite being in the back of a fridge for their lifetime. I'm starting to thin out beers I've read/found that don't age well, but it's tough to go through the collection on a weekly basis. I can't really give any tips on how to get in the mindset of "I'm going to drink this beer tonight 'just because.'"

    I've found that I've had the mentality of "stop buying, start drinking" and every time I go to the store, I think that and I've eliminated some purchases I would have made in the past. Only focusing on verticals and the more rare releases has done a good job of slowing my cellar's growth.
  18. OnePuttBlunder

    OnePuttBlunder Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2015 Arizona

    Similar situation here, had well over 100 bottles in a condo so not much room. I stopped buying stuff just to buy stuff. I drank down some of the easily replace able beers which also was a good reminder that not everything is better with age.

    I am getting married in OCT and my best man and a couple other guests are craft beer nuts so I am going to clear out a bunch of my special bottles and have one heck of a night.

    Were boring and not doing anything crazy for bachelor party besides heading up to Northern AZ to a friends place for some golf bbq and beer. That weekend should feature
    BCBS Vanilla Rye
    Velvet Merkin 2015
    Stickee Monkee 2015
    Helldorado 2015
    Bruery Cuirve

    Wedding reception
    Relatives coming in from Santa Rosa bringing down fresh Pliny and Blind Pig for us
    Multiples of the following
    Parabola 2016
    North Coast 2013 BBA Old Stock
    Sucaba 2016
    2014 BCBS and BCBBW
    A few others I am still undecided on Black Tuesday might be a bit much for that night in name and ABV

    That should put a massive dent in my cellar
  19. cfh64

    cfh64 Zealot (556) Aug 16, 2005 Texas

    I used to have a similar problem but I've found that I prefer most beers fresh, as within a year. Since I don't drink "that" much, I ended up drain pouring a lot of beers that I would normally enjoy fresh. If you have lambics or other beers that age similarly then age on but most everything else I would stop or greatly slow down buying and trading until you have a smaller, more manageable amount that may be enjoyed in a timely fashion.

    I also got into the mindset "Im saving this for a special occasion" and most of the time that occasion never occurred. Instead of just opening the bottle and drinking it by myself or sharing it with my wife because I wanted a delicious beer I would save it for some magical time and place that rarely came. As a result, I missed out on enjoying those beers at their peak and were only a shell of their former selves by the time I got to them.

    IMOF, I'm having a couple BA's over today and basically its a cellar cleaning/drain pouring party because we all have the same problem. I'm sure some of the beers will be good to ok but many tears will be shed over pouring out what was once a fantastic delicious brew.

    Save a few different styles for variety or that are known to age well (very few IMO) and drink the shit. Start with your oldest and never buy more than what you can't drink in 6 months to a year.
    #19 cfh64, May 21, 2016
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
    johnyb, Kevin67, heatwaves and 2 others like this.
  20. Hoppedelic

    Hoppedelic Initiate (193) Dec 6, 2010 California

    ^^^Sounds like you aren't cellering your beer properly. Do you store your beer at a constant 55 degrees or lower? Cellarable beer should not be a shell of it's former self and drain pours after only a couple years if stored properly. They should still be good for 5+ years. If you've been storing them at room temp for a year that's your fault not the beers.
  21. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,078) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    I am in the same boat as you.I buy way more beer than I consume, and sharing the same market, I know there is at least one beer that drops every week that can be aged, or falls into the "buy it before its gone" column. That being said, I have stopped cellaring beer. Its just a money pit at this point, and some of the beers have gone south quickly. BCBS I had this year was horrible, I should have consumed it fresh. So now I go in to the bottle shop with the attitude that if I won't drink it this week, I won't buy it.
    Dan_K likes this.
  22. Ext

    Ext Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2012 District of Columbia

    I got into the same boat, and this is how I am solving it: I don't buy another beer unless 3 come out (either I drink it, share it, or give it as a gift). This system is really works.

    For the past 6 years, I host an annual party for only the guys in the neighborhood who in the past they themselves have also hosted a party at their house for the neighborhood (ie. poker parties, holiday parties, birthday parties...) It's my way of saying thanks to them for making our neighborhood a great place to live, and it gives me a chance to reduce the cellar. I pick a brewery, and I get as many beers as I can from that particular brewery for them to try and we have a massive tasting. I usually provide food, create a list of the different flights, and we start at 3pm and stop around 11pm.

    This year, the brewery I chose was The Bruery. I did an inventory before the tasting, and I had 68 different Bruery beers (not counting muliples, and not counting the same beer but different years). So, I created 4 flights of 10 beers each, and we knocked down 40 different beers. They all had a great time, and my cellar gets this kind of clean out treatment every year. It really helps.

    Maybe there are some folks you'd like to thank for something, and you could do the same thing?
  23. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Zealot (530) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    This type of thread always leads me to use the unsettling term 'YOLO'.

    What if something happens tomorrow that causes you to not be able to taste?
    What good will those beers be then?

    I have recently slowed my beer hoarding, and begun drinking beers I had been saving for some 'special occasion' that never seemed to occur... And they taste great!
  24. LRTR

    LRTR Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2005 Massachusetts

    This has been a super helpful read. My SO just shakes his head at my cellar and it's clear that we need to start drinking and stop saving for a special occasion, etc. I love the idea of a brewery themed dinner/tasting. Just kinda have to do something and it doesn't help that the fridge is full of IPAs (hard knock life).
  25. parris

    parris Zealot (545) Jan 18, 2010 Massachusetts

    I made a New Years resolution to drink up everything that I can't fit into a single wine fridge... two years ago. Still working on it. I find that I've got more velocity in the winter when I'm looking for big warm stouts, and in the summer when I'm looking for refreshing lambics. Spring and fall are fresh hops season.

    One thing I can say is beers definitely start to fall off, especially big stouts. 3 year old black ops is freaking amazing, 5+ not so much. So it's in your best interest to start enjoying some of those beers you've cellared. There's something gratifying about drinking a cellared beer by yourself that you were originally planning on sharing.
    Coronaeus likes this.
  26. Yabu

    Yabu Disciple (300) Feb 4, 2015 California

    Never heard of Fade to Black Volume 1. It looks good though. I wish I made a trade with you this year, I could of tried one ! :slight_smile:

    That's a bit alarming. Were you drain pouring stouts? What happened?
  27. cfh64

    cfh64 Zealot (556) Aug 16, 2005 Texas

    Stouts made up a good portion. A huge part of it was how they were aged. I had a mix of beers stored in wine fridge (optimal), regular fridge (next to optimal) and closet with no light at a constant 68-70 degrees. They obviously aged differently depending on storage conditions and some stouts/beers hold up better than others.

    For whatever reason some beers, even stored properly, seemed to oxidize quicker than others. Also, depending on what you think of xyz adjunct beer fresh, the adjuncts usually fade over time which I normally prefer fresh. There are a few "big" beers that I think benefit from aging because the heat tends to subside but its a personal preference and getting to know which breweries and/or beers age better than others.

    Currently I'm starting to trade a little bit again. There are several beers I want to try but a) I'm done chasing for the most part, plenty of good local non hyped beers and b) I still have lots of beer left that needs to be consumed and I really don't drink that much. I say that but I did just buy a couple cases of geuze, lol, those will be fine for years to come :slight_smile:
  28. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (515) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    My stash is hovering between 45 and 52 liters for the last couple months. I am going to do significant damage to it this month though; my cousin is getting married and my BIL is coming to visit.

    Plus I am homebrewing now so it won't be long before my "stash" of bottles is mixed with 100 bottles of homebrew.
  29. Beerisheaven

    Beerisheaven Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Can you post back on which beers in particular were good and which were disappointing.
    ManBearPat likes this.
  30. brother_rebus

    brother_rebus Meyvn (1,024) Jul 28, 2014 Maine

    I have the same problem. Its just tricky when traveling somewhere with a good beer scene not to spend $ on a haul. My woman keeps me in check though. Why i keep her around.
  31. BradStokley

    BradStokley Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2013 Maryland

    I'm in the same spot. The "cellar" has grown much larger than I ever anticipated. The wife is getting pissed cause I've run out of space now to even store them and there's only so many nights in a row you can break open 750's of BA stouts and barleywines ranging between 12 and 18% abv. First world problems I guess
    Current82 likes this.
  32. bushbeer75

    bushbeer75 Savant (906) Aug 23, 2006 Michigan

    Dan K, WOW, I could have written your post verbatim. I too have all the same issues and questions. THANKS for posting as I am enjoying all the feedback.
  33. CMiesen

    CMiesen Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2015 California

    Buying a house so my cellar will decrease as I won't have as much spare money for buying beer
  34. joeboe2001

    joeboe2001 Initiate (0) Jun 17, 2008 Maryland

    Usually we have less than a case on hand, but we are on our way home from Alchemist tonight with about 6 cases of 16 oz cans . We are planning on buying a small second refrigerator when we get there. (Driving 500 miles with 6 Styrofoam coolers rubbing against each other has been rather annoying.)
    Oktoberfist likes this.
  35. emike1955

    emike1955 Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2016 California

    I'm new to BA. Mostly have collected wine (500+). Just starting to collect beer (probably 50bottles). Mostly like porters, stouts, ambers.

    Couple of ideas.

    Quarterly potluck party. You supply the beer [wine in my case], Your friends supply the food. We knock back about 8-9 bottles with about 20 people. If you feel like it, make a simple main course, or do appetizers (cheese) for when people straggle in.

    Second, color code your spreadsheet so you have drinkable bottles now highlighted in a special color. Maybe use colors by type. For our wine consumption, we sort of figured out how many bottles the wife and I were drinking per year, and then tried to figure out what we would need to have on hand over the next 5 years. Turned out we had a bit of a 'hole' so we started filling that with some stuff. Now we are in maintainance mode. (CA Pinot Noir needs about 5 years aging to hit its prime, so we have sort of ongoing verticals of the wineries we like).

    We did this because before we started tracking, we were 'losing' stuff in the back, and found some white wines that were both stored badly and were twenty years old, tasted like bad sherry. (On the other hand, had a great Sauvignon Blanc from 1999 that was fantastic. Not something that I would have normally tried to age.

    Looking forward to vintage beers in 6 months to 5 years. If anyone has a 'starter' list they could recommend, please send it to me. I've got that book Vintage Beers, kind of kicked it off for me.

    Also looking forward to my first visit to Toronado soon.

  36. azurel

    azurel Initiate (0) May 27, 2016 Michigan

    Never realize how bumpy the roads really are till you have multiple foam cooler rubbing together....That is a god awful sound one of those types you can't just put out of mind....

    Congrats on the haul....
  37. emike1955

    emike1955 Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2016 California

    A couple of more ideas about keeping your cellar under control:

    As I mentioned, you should be color coding your spreadsheet, or otherwise keeping lists of what you have (and maybe what you want). Also important is to print out you speadsheet and keep a more or less current copy in your car.
  38. emike1955

    emike1955 Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2016 California

    1. You can look at it at the store and not buy stuff you already have.
    2. you can write on the spreadsheet what you bought, and use that to update the database later.

    Another thing (and I am less certain about this in regard to beer rather than wine) is don't buy stuff you don't like. While this sounds obvious, at least in the wine world, wine doesn't really get better as it ages, it just gets less tannic. At least to me, that is the main effect. If I don't like a wine when I taste it young, I'm pretty sure I won't like it later. But If I like the wine, but feel, okay I could drink this whole bottle, but I prefer to have it be less tannic, then that is a candidate for cellaring. Put another way, if the wine has an offtaste I don't like (say barnyard) then that probably won't go away as it ages, and it might very well get worse. (Okay, I'm new to beer collecting, and realize the whole hoppy degredation over time is very different. A beer if made with
  39. emike1955

    emike1955 Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2016 California

    Also, while I don't prefer the sour beers, I understand they also undergo significant change, so I've got a few of those in the beer section of the cellar as an experiment.

    [Ack! hitting <tab> seems to post the message, rahter than spacing over. Really meant this to be one post. Maybe the moderator can fix it up?]

    Finally, make it easy on yourself and invest in beer/wine racks that hold individual bottles. At least for me, I'm a lazy sod and if takes a bit of incremental effort to find something, I'll likely put off doing it. I also use neck hanging labels, so I can see what the info on the bottles are, while they are resting in the rack. Got those from Amazon. The racks were originally J. K. Adams ash racks, that go together like tinker toys. This was for the first wine closet under the stairs (odd shape worked well with these racks. When I ran out of room, I used another set of these to build a caster version that I can pull out of the closet to access the bottles on the walls. When I ran out of THAT room, I used another basement closet, but I built my own racks our of redwood, based on a design I saw at K&L Liquor.

    For me, I couldn't do a crawl space version, if it was at all a hassle to get at the bottles. My wife does a fair amount of sorting of stuff over time.
  40. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (515) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Here I am, back again with the same problem. And right now I'm dieting so I am cutting back on how much I drink. I tried to have a cellar drink-down share recently, only consumed 2 bottles from the cellar. People brought beers. Fail.
    mlee2587 and SFACRKnight like this.
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