Cellaring and Aging Beer

Aging beer, what’s all this about?

2013-05-11 16.38.39Some beers are barrel-aged by the brewer. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the bottle-conditioned beers that are meant to either be enjoyed now, or stored away for later.

Just like wine, the flavors in beer will change over time. Hops lose their intensity, malts gain a richness, and yeast does all sorts of things in the bottle. In short, you age a beer to see what happens.

Years ago I was invited to my first bottle share event and brought with me the freshest double IPA I could find at the local store. Most of the other folks brought Belgian ales, imperial stouts, saisons, and barley wines. Some of the beers were a few years old and tasted almost like sherry. My hop bomb was a good¬†palette¬†cleanser between the other brews, but didn’t get nearly as much praise as the bottles with some age on them. I got to taste some fantastic beer that day and wanted to have something impressive for the next bottle share. That’s when I started cellaring beer.

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