Cellaring is still new to many people. And honestly, there’s no major mystery to it. It’s super easy to start too. In fact, it’s cheap AND easy to start. It doesn’t even require exotic beers. We’ve a great selection of cellarable (is that even a word) beers people can get to do this with. And this week’s late ‘5 things’ is going to show you five great beers you can pick up for less than thirty of your hard-earned merkels to get going with.
The most important thing about cellaring is to learn HOW a beer’s taste changes or develops over time. It’s harder to do this with ‘one-off’ beers as you’ve rarely got a ‘fresh’ version of the beer to compare it to (otherwise known as ‘vertical tasting’). Well, that’s not strictly true.
If you’re new to this idea & making notes around beers you try you can understand one or two or even five years later, it’s a pain in the ass. So it’s good to start with incredibly available beers. Just remember to avoid trying to cellar ‘hoppy beers’ – its an expensive trip to disappointment as they don’t hold up over time. I’ve writtenabout this before more extensively as a kindof cellaring 101 guide.
As a warning in advance, many know I generally an completely unenamored with Belgian beers, especially higher ABV ones as I find them way too sweet due to the use of brewing candy sugars, but for ageing out – they’re just better than my regular choice of hopped up, nuclear fallout hoppy thrill rides, which are just not viable to age/cellar.
#1 Rodenbach Grand Cru, 6% ABV
This is the beer-drinkers beer. A blended beer where two-thirds of it is aged out in oak barrels for two years, & then blended back with a fresher, younger un-aged version of it for he final third. It’s got a fantastic wine-y taste to it (and for reference as a smarky FYI – Stone Brewing did a beer usinga similar technique under their Stochasticity range called ‘HiFi/LoFi Mixtape‘ which was so so so soooo good). And thebest part about Rodenbach Grand Cru is that it generally is less than three merkels a bottle. THAT is a damned bargain.
#2 O’Hara’s Leann Follain, 6% ABV
Probably the single best beer O’Hara’s have in regular production, this robust foreign export stout is well worth aging. I’ve personally aged out a few bottles of this to three years so far, & it defintely develops incredibly interesting flavours, with the alcohol in it mellowing out quite a bit. And again, it’s cheap to do at three merkels a bottle.
#3 Schneider TAP6 Aventinus, 8.2% ABV
This beer is a personal obsession for me (as well as it’s bigger brother, Aventinus Eisbock at 12% ABV which is equally as good to use, but it’s usually a fiver a bottle). I love this beer. Yes, it’s all bananas/plums/raisins & roasted malts, but it’s such a comfort beer on shitty winter nights, shitty-mood evenings & with Sunday roasts, or hearty comfort food & my personal favourite, chocolate desserts. And the best part of this cracking beer, is that it usually costs between three or four merkels depending on the outlet.
#4 Stone Arrogant Bastard, 7.2%ABV
Now here’s one I’ll bet people didn’t expect to see on the list. I have aged out bottles of this due to my over-whelming obsession, love & general addiction to this beer (which I have loved dearly for over a decade), & due to it’s incredibly rareity, when I’ve seen it available via BrewDog UK, I’ve bought copious amounts of it & cellared it so I’ve had it. And surprisingly, it ages very very well. Sure, the hoppy notes on the nose die out but Arrogant Bastard for me has always been about that big Hulk-fiststrong ale punch in the mouth. Now its in cans, I think this will be a heck of alot easier to try this with. It’s not as cheap as others on this list, but at under a fiver a can, this is still viable AF cost-wise to try it.
#5 Lindemans Gueuze, 4.5% ABV
Not including a sour or lambic on this list would probably have had me shot with balls of my own shite by many of the craft beer wankerati I call friends (seriously – it would happen!). At under four merkels, and if you’ve been enjoying the plethora of kettle sours on the shelves these days, & are curious how a sour ages out (talk to Alex in Whiplash about ageing out sours …. he’ll share his funkadelic tales with you that will pucker more than just your mouth). I’m currently ageing out some Kriek as its a fruit beer I very much love (don’t you fucking judge me!!!!), but this I think once I reduce my cellar or find a bigger space to grow it, is worth including in mine.