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New to aging beer. Looking for helpful advice.

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by Shamski, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Shamski

    Shamski Zealot (85) Pennsylvania Dec 19, 2012

    I'm thinking of purchasing a mini fridge as I'm currently a renter and have no celler space. So far im just storing the beer i have (stone verticle epic, Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout, and a 12oz bottle of Victory's Storm King) in the crisper of my fridge. Do you guys think that would be a wise purchase, whats the best temp and some tips on beers. I enjoy Stouts, Porters, Lagers,.. pretty much everything aside from most pale ales..
  2. ChadQuest

    ChadQuest Initiate (0) Illinois Mar 4, 2009

    At this stage of your beer life, spend the money on more new beer and drink it fresh. No point in aging when there is so much new territory to explore.
    claspada, xxcarpxx and Shamski like this.
  3. ypsifly

    ypsifly Savant (430) Michigan Sep 22, 2004

    Aging beers can open a new dimension of enjoyment for you, but getting it right can take time. You have to develop a feel for it. I have never cellared anything in a fridge, even when I lived in an apartment. The key is finding a space where the temp doesn't vary too much. That Storm King will develop just fine in a closet that isn't exposed to temp extremes. The Sam Smith Oatmeal is not meant to be aged, IMHO. The Stone's...depends on what year. The last two won't gain anything from some time out AFAIK.

    Long story short, don't bother with the fridge. Find a space that is somewhat temp stable and load it with some strong beers and find out what works for you.
    Shamski likes this.
  4. Shamski

    Shamski Zealot (85) Pennsylvania Dec 19, 2012

    Thank you both for you input. I didnt realize the abcvof the Samuel Smith till now. the stone is a 12/12/12
  5. jedwards

    jedwards Savant (340) California Feb 3, 2009

    Ideally, the first step in aging beer would be to find someone (or a bar) with some cellared bottles and try them -- you may find that while you like a stout with some years on it, you aren't interested in older American barleywines, et cetera. In cellaring palate variation comes into play even more than in normal beer drinking, which is a lot more than people want to admit already ;)

    If you do want to cellar beer specifically in order to experience the changes brought on by age, find a spot between 50-60 degrees and dark. Start out with a few classic (and reasonably priced) examples that are released every year -- North Coast Old Stock, Bell's Expedition, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, etc. Buy 10+ bottles of each, and drink one every three months or so, taking notes about what you like, don't like, and differences from prior bottles. When the next year's vintage comes out, do a side-by-side and think about what elements of each you like and dislike. Start saving bottles of those where you prefer the older version, and try them at two, three years in and see if they're still to your taste.
    Shamski and Knifestyles like this.
  6. Im thinking about cellaring too. Im thinking about doing mostly stouts and porters because I hear IPAs don't age very well. How long is too long to age you beer? Is there a cut off point? Im sure it varies by alcohol content, just wondering if there was just an average.
  7. jedwards

    jedwards Savant (340) California Feb 3, 2009

    Realistically, 6 months is too long to age most beers. It really is incredibly palate dependent -- as a personal example, I enjoy many American-made Russian Imperial Stouts with 1-3 years of age, North Coast Old Stock with 5+ years of age, and De Dolle Stille Nacht as old as I can get it (opened a 28-year-old bottle over the holidays). But as beer ages, particularly in the 5-10+ year range (assuming it's worth aging at all), it tends to develop a very characteristic set of "old" flavors (lambic being the exception), and if you don't like those flavors then beer of that age is simply not going to appeal to you.

    Most beers sold as "porters" probably aren't going to change with age into something that you'll like more than the original beer, nor will most dry or export-style stouts. Look for imperial stouts in the 8+% ABV range -- Brooklyn BCS, Great Lakes Blackout, Bell's Expedition, etc -- and start by cellaring those using the patten I describe above to see if that's something you'd like to get into (or find a local bar or BA who's already done it and convince them to share!).
    Shamski likes this.
  8. Shamski

    Shamski Zealot (85) Pennsylvania Dec 19, 2012

    I currently run the 6-pack shop and bar at the Ironwood Grill. I've been getting good beer like North Coast's Old Rasputin and Great Lake's Black out. I really enjoyed both so i think im going to try them. I also have a bottle of southern tiers chocolate stout i'd like to try that one out as well. I also have storm king from victory, which i honestly found a bit to hoppy for my taste, but hopefully w/ age the hops will be more mild. @jedwards.. I'm an Edwards as well sir and i see you play the guitar... i do as well, perhaps its a family trait!!
  9. beercanman

    beercanman Savant (485) Ohio Dec 17, 2012

    I thought the same thing with storm king. Very hoppy. Gonna lay a few down for a year or more and try again.