#Beer Cellaring 101 – Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

Happy Saturday hopheads – let’s get this out of the way straight-up. There is no art to beer cellaring. It’s not just for beer geeks or experienced craft beer drinkers. It’s for everyone who appreciates great beer. And contrary to popular belief, it is not expensive. For this blog, I’d like to take a Thor-hammer to beer cellaring mythos .

Cellaring is for everyone, & there are a few simple rules (calling them rules isn’t really right now it is?), so no – we’ll call them general guidelines, that need to be followed to get the best out of the process:

  1. Don’t ‘stock up’ on hoppy beers for the long term. These are best consumed as fresh as possible as the hop characteristics over time get devoured by the carbonation of the beer. They don’t age well. They die.
  2. Find a cool place away from sunlight or heat changes. A mini closet under your staircase can be a cellar.
  3. Always store beers upright. Wine is stored on its side to make sure the cork never dries out which ‘corks‘ the wine. Beer doesn’t have this issue.
  4. Never buy one of a beer to cellar. Buy at least two so you can understand how it progresses as it ages.
  5. High ABV beers tend to age better than lower ABV beers.
  6. Bretted beers and beers like lambics, sours, gose, & oud bruins as they age get even funkier & more complex as they age to mouth puckering effect.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, I’d like to show you how cheap it can be to start a brilliant beer cellar stock in Ireland & stock it well for under €50:

  • 3x Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser Aventinus @ €4.39 each (€13.17 total)
  • 4x Siren Broken Dream Breakfast Stout @ €3.79 each (€15.16 total)
  • 3x Porterhouse Celebration Stout @ €2.10 each (€6.30 total)
  • 4x Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen @ €3.59 each (€14.36 total)

€48.99 and change for a decent set of beers to start to build a cellar for drinking over the course of two years with the ability to buy fresher ones to do vertical taste testing over time due to their general availability.

Now, if you’ve got €100 to spend on building a cellar-stash, this would be my advice:

  • 3x Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser Aventinus @ €4.39 each (€13.17 total)
  • 3x Siren Broken Dream Breakfast Stout @ €3.79 each (€11.37 total)
  • 3x Porterhouse Celebration Stout @ €2.10 each (€6.30 total)
  • 3x Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen @ €3.59 each (€10.77 total)
  • 3x Westmalle Dubbel @ €3.50 each (€10.50 total)
  • 3x Pawel Kwak @ €3.59 each (€10.77 total)
  • 3x Rogue Dead Guy Ale @ €3.75 each (€11.25 total)
  • 3x Lindemans Kriek @ €3.90 each (€11.70 total)
  • 4x White Hag An Puca Lemon Sour @ €2.95 each (€11.80 total)

Now, you might look at that & say “Hey Ian, you coulda jammed more sour beers in there!” Yes, you  could be right. However, not everyone loves sucking down a Oude Geuze & it can be a fairly odd experience for someone, & honestly – for sour beers, you need to ease people in which is why I chose White Hag’s Lemon Sour. It’s easy to determine how someone will feel about sour beers without jamming a load of brett or LactoB beer onto their tongue. Even if someone doesn’t like it, it’s a cheap way for them to at least see how an entry-level sour beer develops over time.

Do you have any favorite beers to put into a cellar? I’d love to hear your suggestions for a €50 starter beer cellar or a €100 beer cellar. Leave your comments below, on the facebook or twitter pages.

Main image photograph of Amundsen Bryggeri & Spiseri beer cellar in Oslo taken by & the property of Bernt Rostad. Used under creative commons license.
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