Last week I read an article online about many of the negatives of aging (AKA cellaring) beer or at least that is the way I interpreted the article. I have a number of beers in my cellar and in my opinion they don’t generally get worse with age. They often stay the same or get better. Sure a bourbon barrel aged coffee stout (ex. BCS Coffee) may lose some of the coffee flavor but you still end up with an excellent beer to drink even three to five years later.
As noted in the article beer must be kept upright and ideally in a dark space. Also mentioned is that beer should be at a consistent temperature generally below 55 degrees and above 8% ABV.
The best beers I’ve aged have been 9% if not 10% ABV or higher. I keep them in old wine boxes in my Minnesota basement which is as close to a cellar as I can create without spending a bit of money.
I like to age stouts, barleywines and as I noted pretty much anything above 9% ABV. So yeah common sense says don’t age most IPA’s or the ale you find at the market but if you age the right kind of beers in the correct environment you will have success.
All of this being said at some point a beer is going to fall off so don’t wait too long. As many people online will tell you if you have the funds buy a few of each beer, drink one the year you buy it and one every year or so after. With some of these beers being $20+ I know that isn’t an option for everyone, having kids I don’t get to do this and much as I would like.
So today following all of the info above I opened a Coco Mole from the Lips of Faith Series created by New Belgium Brewing Company. This Ale with Cocoa and Spices which sits at 9% ABV was amazing the first time I had it on tap back in 2012. It was excellent later that year (or 22 months ago according to my Instagram account)and well this evening it is outstanding over two years later. The bottle shows that it was bottled on 02/26/2012.
My only regret is that this is my last bottle of this beer, I get the feeling it would be enjoyable next year if only I had more.