There are a lot of opinions out there regarding the best brews to store and how to store it. Although some cellaring tips are subjective, there are a few that are consistent across the board.
So, if you have decided to start cellaring your local craft beer selections, take a look at our guide to a few standard rules and suggestions!
Don’t Make A Cellar Spot For Your IPA’s
If there is one thing all beer enthusiasts can agree on, it’s that hoppy beers are not meant to be stored. IPA’s and Double IPA’s are meant to be fresh, this is why you may see “drink by dates” on certain hoppy labels. The reason? Over time the elements that make these beers special start to fade away.
Taste, aroma and bitterness begins to diminish, and the high levels of alpha acids in hops can oxidize giving your brew a stale flavor. So, if you are thinking about putting a few hoppy options in your cellar to age for a year, we highly recommend inviting friends over and enjoying them as soon as you can.
Add A Space for Imperials & Barleywines
If you have an imperial beer that is more than 8%, save a spot on your cellar shelves for them. Alcohol will act as a preservative for your beer, which is why we recommend giving your higher ABV beers more time to develop. The same can be said about oak-aged beers and barleywines. Just keep in mind that American Barleywines will need a close eye compared to its’ English Barleywine sibling.
American Barleywines often cater towards the “hoppy” beer lovers. With time it will loose its’ hops properties and offer a fruitier flavor palate. If you don’t mind the traditional barleywine taste, than feel free to leave your American style in the cellar for some time.
Keep An Eye on Your Wheats
Wheat beers are similar to to IPA’s in that over time its’ “special” components fade away. Have you ever seen a wheat beer with a sediment on the bottom? This is most likely due to the fact that wheat proteins don’t typically like to stay suspended in beer and will begin to drop. If you want to avoid sediment and a cardboard taste the occurs if aged too long, we recommend enjoying your wheat brews sooner, rather than later.
Best Storage Options
Proper beer storing techniques will always be up for debate, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First is temperature. We personally like to keep our beers at around 40 degrees. If you don’t have a spot in your home that stays cool on its’ own, consider getting an additional fridge. This will help you avoid temperatures fluctuating.
Just remember that if you have a few bottles with corks, a cellar environment is ideal. The low level of humidity will ensure your corks don’t dry out.
Create Your Own Opinions
You know your palate. We can give you all the tips in the world, but if you like your beer a little less hoppy and a little more fruitful, cellar it. A great way to find out your likes and dislikes is by trying one beer when you first purchase and then storing one to compare flavors.
In the end it’s your opinion that matters, so be sure to use your best beer judgement and to enjoy your favorites whether they are cellared or fresh from the brewery!