I’ve read and researched a lot more than I’ve written on this blog about cellaring. Unlike wine, beer cellaring is not mainstream, it’s not well documented and it’s a guessing game as to what improves and what “falls off”. The consensus of most beer geeks is that cellaring is not worth it. I’ve had Lambic beer older then 15 years old and it was very good. Lambic is the uncontested ale that can be cellared. No one will disagree that you can’t keep it for a long time. Most beer geeks prefer fruit lambics fresh. Big stouts, barley wines and some American Wilds can be enjoyed with age and it’s okay to assume you can cellar those beers.
There’s a big difference between cellaring and simply having more beer than you can drink. In my cellar, it’s a mix of 100 bottles I’m intentionally aging (almost all of this is lambic) and another 75 bottles that I consider “trade bait” which are beers that I use to get trades started or simply sweeten deals for bottles I’d like to try and that leaves over 100 bottles of beer that I just need to consume because I doubt they’ll get better with age OR I feel they’re better fresh. There have been some surprises in opening some older bottles of beer but, when you spend $20 on some bourbon barrel aged stout, taking a 50/50 chance that it will taste terrible in 3 years is a waste of money.
Finally, I’ve only been buying “more beer than I can drink” for the last 12 months. To have over 300 beers within a year makes me think that, without a serious reflection on what my goals are and some serious cellar pruning, I would end up doubling this next year especially considering I have joined Crooked Stave, Bruery’s and soon, Hill Farmstead’s membership programs. That’s a lot of beer I’ve pre-bought. The cellar must remain the same or shrink in 2013. Not grow larger.
I moved into a new house last month which has a proper basement. I ordered new shelving and am really stoked about the basement setup. Tonight, after finally setting up the horizontal lambic storage, I took a few photos and shot video.