The “Beer Closet”

Over several years, I’ve been cellaring beers to see how they will age. Wine is not the only drink that can be aged for maturation. Many beers benefit from extended aging. We’re not talking about your average beer with a mere shelf life of 3-6 months, tops — before quality begins to degrade. We’re talking about beers that beg for maturation and strict storage like vintage beers, barleywines, imperial stouts, Belgian strong ales, lambics, old ales and so on. Ideally, any type of beer that can be laid-down for a year or two, or even more, in order to build a slew of complexities and thus further its character in a positive way.

If you’re interested in starting your own beer cellar it’s actually pretty easy. First, you’ll need to maintain enough patience and will-power to not drink them too early. This, beyond anything else, is the public enemy number one to your attempts. There’s nothing worse than thinking about that special beer, just sitting there, as it whispers its sweet song to the pleasure portion of the brain, “Drink me”.

Next, you’ll need to buy at least two of each beer. One of the beers you’ll want to drink immediately so you’ll have a comparison in which to judge the aged one – taking some notes if you want. The other beer should be cellared for at least a year.

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