How do y'all keep tabs on your beer cellar?

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How do y'all keep tabs on your beer cellar?

Postby TLOYou » March 1st, 2018, 9:10 pm

I'm still new to craft beer (about 2 years in) and recently my brother and I have started getting a pretty decent sized beer cellar going on. What was originally only a couple beers has probably grown into around 30. 2 questions I have:

1. How do you determine what beers to cellar and what beers to drink now? To me it seems like there isn't really a point to cellar beers unless you've had the beer already and wanted to see how the flavor changes with age or if it isn't aged in anything (I made the mistake of aging a bottle of Urban Chestnut Cherry Thralls for a year. Don't do that). Right now we both have a bottle of Rum Aged Abyss in the cellar, but neither of us have tried it yet. Does that make aging the beer pointless since you haven't had it "fresh" to base it on?

2. How do you determine how long to cellar a beer? Right now I have a few bottles of High West Victory at Sea with a plan to drink one every 4-5 months to taste the difference, bu I also don't know if this is too soon or not.

3. What's a good way to check the temperature of your beer cellar and/or a good way to keep it at optimal cellar temperature?
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Re: How do y'all keep tabs on your beer cellar?

Postby hopmolester69 » March 1st, 2018, 10:03 pm

https://www.cellarhq.com/ is great to log your stuff... i really need to update mine... lets get into it....

FIRSTLY dont listen to jake1605 :D

I'm still new to craft beer (about 2 years in) and recently my brother and I have started getting a pretty decent sized beer cellar going on. What was originally only a couple beers has probably grown into around 30. 2 questions I have:

1. How do you determine what beers to cellar and what beers to drink now? To me it seems like there isn't really a point to cellar beers unless you've had the beer already and wanted to see how the flavor changes with age or if it isn't aged in anything (I made the mistake of aging a bottle of Urban Chestnut Cherry Thralls for a year. Don't do that). Right now we both have a bottle of Rum Aged Abyss in the cellar, but neither of us have tried it yet. Does that make aging the beer pointless since you haven't had it "fresh" to base it on?

Usually you can age anything that isn't dry hopped or meant to be drank fresh (IPAs), beer won't go bad over time it will just change. Some people say that a beer that needs age to taste better is flawed, but it's your choice. The abyss stuff used to have a label that says best after the bottling date, but they took it off. I age beer i've never had and probably won't have because I'll end of trading it for something I want even more (beer currency). It's a volatile market with lots of ups and downs, I only recommend it if you hate your wallet and your social life revolves around beer haha. I've also aged beer because I haven't gotten around to drink it. Unless the adjunct in your beer is something that will definitely fade i.e. coffee then aging it a year or two won't do that much to it, especially if it already barrel aged a year. If you consistently buy 2 bottles (one to age. one to drink) you're going to end up with a hoarders style cellar because you'll always "be on to the next one". But you do you boo.

2. How do you determine how long to cellar a beer? Right now I have a few bottles of High West Victory at Sea with a plan to drink one every 4-5 months to taste the difference, bu I also don't know if this is too soon or not.

There isn't a guideline on how long to cellar something. You kinda just grab the bottle in the moment (or drunk at a bottle share and hardly remember ticking it haha). Usually the big dogs are planned and that rando drunk bottle pop won't dent the hood of your cellars rep to hard. It's beer, it's a source of food and refreshment, there is no wrong way (or time) to drink it. I actually have a caveat to that, don't ever randall your beer with fresh hop cones or any kind of insane bittering agent (looking at you McCoys hehe)

3. What's a good way to check the temperature of your beer cellar and/or a good way to keep it at optimal cellar temperature?

Get one of those wall temperature things from the hardware store. They are cheap and are pretty accurate, also humidity is a factor as well, you don't want your caps getting rusted (although i've never seen that, but heard). A good way to keep optimal temperature is to keep your beer in a temp controlled environment, wherever that may be in your home, somewhere that's not going to get warm or get really really cold. I've seen people get dedicated fridges for these (cheap craigslist stuff), but a lot of peoples cellars are just too big for a typical fridge. KEEP YOUR BOTTLES AWAY FROM SUNLIGHT/HEAT AT ALL COSTS, they will destroy your beer.
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Re: How do y'all keep tabs on your beer cellar?

Postby ReedM » March 2nd, 2018, 7:54 am

I keep my beers in boxes in the basement. This prevents light from hitting them, and my basement stays a consistent(ish) temp all year around. cellar anything you like, but know the more you cellar, the more you will probably never end up drinking.
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Re: How do y'all keep tabs on your beer cellar?

Postby JSchock7 » March 2nd, 2018, 11:31 am

ReedM wrote:but know the more you cellar, the more you will probably never end up drinking.

This.
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Re: How do y'all keep tabs on your beer cellar?

Postby keezer » March 2nd, 2018, 1:15 pm

I'll keep it simple: cellaring beer rarely improves it, so be very selective. Assume a beer is ready to drink now, unless the brewer tells you otherwise (e.g., Deschute's "best after" dated beers) or unless a beer is well known to improve with age (e.g., Samichlaus). If you get multiple bottles, and the first one you crack open is too [fill in the blank], hang onto the second bottle for a while depending on how intense the undesirable characteristic is.

Despite all the talk of cellaring online, cellaring is not cool. A large cellar is not a badge of honor. It's a badge of shame, unless you can consistently cycle through it before beers decline. If you can cycle through a large cellar before beers decline, there's a good chance you are either a notorious trader or a raging alcoholic. So, I guess either way, it's a badge of shame. :lol:
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Re: How do y'all keep tabs on your beer cellar?

Postby Jake1605 » March 4th, 2018, 12:28 am

Mine is full of rot and failed potential
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Re: How do y'all keep tabs on your beer cellar?

Postby nightfly_dp » March 4th, 2018, 12:25 pm

Good point about large cellars. I'm not sure what I would ever do if the cases of Bourbon County were only a small part of my cellar.

I generally will hold on to a beer if I have multiple bottles and the first one came off too hot or I know this is historically true with the beer.

I only have a handful of bottles saved up now and just need to get those rotated in before I add 2-3 bottles of Blvd Grand Cru in there LOL.
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Re: How do y'all keep tabs on your beer cellar?

Postby EricH » March 4th, 2018, 5:01 pm

TLOYou wrote:What was originally only a couple beers has probably grown into around 30.


30 isn't too bad at all, at least for most people, I assume. That's not even close to out of hand or hard to keep track of, in my book.

1. How do you determine what beers to cellar and what beers to drink now?


Experience and educated guesswork. Beers that tend to age well have certain characteristics:
    -May or may not be highly hopped, but do not feature hops as a prominent part of the flavor profile. This means that for me, IPAs/DIPAs are among the worst candidates for aging. A hoppy Imperial Stout on the other hand, may make a great candidate for aging, assuming you want to minimize the hop bitterness or flavors. Victory Storm King is a great example for me. It's a little too hoppy when its fresh, so a year or two in the cellar helps to tame those and bring the beer's other characteristics to the forefront.
    -High in alcohol content. The higher, the better, as a rule. I've had a 5-year old DFH World Wide Stout (18%) that was amazing.
    -Adjuncts have been added that you may want to minimize. Additions such as coffee, chili pepper, chocolate, fruit, certain spices, etc. have a tendency to fade relatively quickly. If a beer has too much of that particular ingredient for your liking, aging it may help. Likewise with beers that have a lot of alcoholic heat, in some cases age helps to temper that and cool the beer down a bit thanks to the other flavors that are induced through oxidation.
    -Speaking of oxidation, certain styles of beer such as English-style Barleywines may make good candidates for aging as these beers are very malty and sweet, so the characteristics of oxidation help to round out the beer's profile and add sherry or madeira-like notes which are generally welcome. Strong Belgian ales such as Quadrupels/Abts similarly make for good candidates, again being very malty, powerful and sweet, and hopped relatively sparingly. Other beer styles may tend to show more prominent flavors and aromas of wet cardboard or paper, which are not desirable.
    -Bottle conditioning - this is a big one. If beer has live yeast in the bottle, it is potentially still undergoing a tertiary fermentation which may improve it, but is certainly changing it, assuming you store the beer at the proper temperature.
    -Sour/Wild ales, if you want to them to develop more of their sourness, yeast funkiness and/or dryness
    -Certain beers take all the work out of it and just flat-out advertise on the bottle that they are good for aging. That's a good sign, if the brewer themselves recommend it.

To me it seems like there isn't really a point to cellar beers unless you've had the beer already and wanted to see how the flavor changes with age or if it isn't aged in anything


To an extent this is true. But for me, aging beer is far more of a consequence than something I do intentionally. I have a cellar not because I want to age beer, with a small handful of notable exceptions, but because I want the equivalent of a small bottle shop in my house. Let's say a beer comes out that I want some of, but is only available in very limited quantities. I will buy it when it's available, cellar it, and then drink it whenever I am in the mood for it, which hopefully strikes some time before the beer gets too old. That's basically how it works.


Does that make aging the beer pointless since you haven't had it "fresh" to base it on?


To a large extent, yes.

2. How do you determine how long to cellar a beer? Right now I have a few bottles of High West Victory at Sea with a plan to drink one every 4-5 months to taste the difference, bu I also don't know if this is too soon or not.


That's a pretty good plan. As far as how to determine how long to cellar a beer, again, it's not about having a cellar to cellar beer, by and large. It's about selection. I want to go into my cellar and kind of browse a little bit. "What I am in the mood for today?", or "What beer's time has finally come, meaning I should crack it today?" That's why I have a cellar.

3. What's a good way to check the temperature of your beer cellar and/or a good way to keep it at optimal cellar temperature?


I have a digital thermometer that has a "base station" in one part of the house and a "remote" in the cellar that uses RF to transmit the temperature info. It's supposed to be an indoor/outdoor thermometer.

The best way to keep it at optimal cellar temperature (50-55 F) is to use a refrigerator set to that temperature. That's also a good way to control the size of your cellar and not let it get too out of hand.

Just to toss this out there, here are a few beers that I have found to make good candidates for aging:

Bell's Expedition Stout and Third Coast Old Ale
North Coast Old Stock Ale
Chimay Blue (Grande Reserve)
Anchor Old Foghorn
Free State Old Backus
Boulevard Saison Brett (gets drier and funkier as time goes by as the Brettanomyces slowly consumes the remaining sugars in the beer)
Liefmans Goudeband
Double Bastard Bigger Longer and Uncut (I hope that time helps this stuff, it had an absolutely massive peaty Scotch profile that I am hoping to tame a little bit, and the fact that its 13% abv. should also make it a good candidate)

I would encourage you and your brother to experiment by doing some vertical tastings. That will give you a very good idea of the effects of time on a particular beer.

Overall though, as others have mentioned, the vast, vast majority of beers are going downhill from the minute they are released, and cellaring them typically does them no favors at all. And to reiterate, I may have a decent-sized cellar but that is simply my desire to have a lot of beer onhand, not because it's good for the beer (though being in my basement is always better for a beer than sitting at room temperature on the shelf at a store).
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Re: How do y'all keep tabs on your beer cellar?

Postby wizzy » April 10th, 2018, 10:14 am

I settled on https://www.beerxchange.com/; it integrates with Untappd to help with searching and also decrementing based on check-ins (it asks for confirmation).
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