My family went on holidays to Vancouver Island when I was a kid. Having only ever seen the prairies and the Rocky Mountains
Cellaring beer is something every beer enthusiast should get into. “Why?” you may ask and I wouldn’t answer because I’m too busy savouring a delicious ale I’ve cellared for the last three years, and then you’d be jealous, so I’m going to teach you everything you need to know to get your beer cellar started. Cellaring beer is relatively similar to cellaring wine and wine is classy, but beer is the new wine. I just went there. If you think you’re ready to get classy, here we go.
The first thing you need is a place to put all these bottles of beer. The best location for your cellar is going to be somewhere with no or minimal sunlight and a constant temperature hovering around the 15C mark. Basements work really well for this. Now go get some shelves to keep that shit in order. It’s important for you to keep things organized in your cellar or it will be chaos and you won’t be able to take pictures for your Instagram account. You also need shelves to store the beer upright; this differs from wine cellaring as with wine it’s laid on it’s side. With beer that’s a huge no-no and if you do this you should have the privilege of drinking beer taken away from you. Beer has to be stored upright. Very often beer has sediment in it that you want to settle on the bottom of the bottle, not on the side. Heed my words, children, and your cellar shall flourish.
So what should you cellar? There are a few beers you should avoid. The rule of thumb (Quick Fun Fact: the idiom “Rule of Thumb” comes from brewing) is to avoid beers with lower ABV and never store standard pilsners or IPA’s. Pilsners and IPA’s are to be consumed as freshly as possible or that punch-in-the-face hops flavour you bought it for will diminish exponentially. Stronger beers, usually any imperial beer, barley wines and lambics will be great to cellar.
Great so you know what to grab at the liquor store but when you reach for that imperial stout don’t grab one… grab at least 3. Wait, what? “Why?” you might ask me. I’m done my beer so I’ll tell you. You’re going to want to try one right away to get an idea of what it tastes like “fresh”, the other two you put into storage. You might get tempted to crack one open earlier than what you had initially anticipated so then you’re down to one so DON’T TOUCH IT! TOUCH IT AND I WILL BREAK YOUR FINGERS!
Sorry, I’m okay now. You’ll want to cellar the beer for a minimum of a year, ideally two or more but different beers have different lengths of storage. For the most part, the higher the alcohol content the longer you can store it for. Stronger Stouts and barley wines cellar great, same with sour beers like lambics.
“So why am I doing all this?” you might be asking. Money, fame, fortune…you tell me. What you’ll find is new, smoother flavours in your cellared beer. Similar to wine, cellerable (just made that word up, but you can use it too because I’m nice like that) beer gets better with age (duh). If you’re skeptical try storing a couple different beers to see if you think it’s worth it.