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mattohara

Beers to Age: A List

33 posts in this topic

I just bought a house so I'm going to be putting together a beer/wine cellar (and a dry-cure room, but that's for a separate topic). What beers are you putting away for a few years? Here's what I've got so far, how much it cost and the quantity:

Mikeller Black 16.9 oz (19$)

Dogfish 120-Minute 12 oz (2@9$)

The Bruery Autumn 25.4 oz (8$)

De Struise Black Albert 11.2 oz (2@9$)

Brooklyn Black Ops 25 oz (23$)

I plan on getting some Dogfish Raison D'Extra and Worldwide Stout and some Russian River brews (probably on eBay). What else should I be on the lookout for?


Edited by mattohara (log)

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matt o'hara

finding philly

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I don't recommend cellaring any hoppy beers like IPAs or double IPAs. Those are meant to be drunk young. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and most other beers over 9% are fine candidates, especially in vertical tastings. I'm working on a vertical of Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek, a sour cherry ale. Look for what's good locally, like interesting beers from Ommegang in Cooperstown.

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Thomas Hardy Ale. Meant to be aged. And in my mind served with a plum pudding.

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Definitely cellar Weyerbacher anniversary ales. Any of the numbered ones, they're barleywines, and they only improve, the bite fades, and the fruits and honeys come out. In fact, any barleywine or barleywine style ale has only gotten better. Also, I had a smoked porter cellared for about 4 years, I wish I remembered what it was called, but it was excellent.

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In addition to other suggestions (generally high gravity, not hoppy stuff*), I'd suggest good quality sour beers. Probably half of what we're aging is sour. There's a lot of lambics from Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, De Cam (not available in the US), Hanssens, Oude Beersel, etc, but also other Belgian styles or American interpretations of those Belgian styles. I can take a picture of our "cellar", if you'd like.

*edit: Lilija mentioned barleywines, and I just wanted to point out that American barleywines are the exception to the hoppy rule.


Edited by feedmec00kies (log)

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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Okay, I found older pictures of the "cellar" which might help give you an idea of what my very well-versed husband cellars.

There's some stuff he keeps in top tends to be stuff he just throws in there (extras for trading he isn't looking forward to, or other things he ends up with that he's had already or doesn't want), but I think he avoided photographing that stuff. So from Sept 2008, inside the "cellar".

And...

Stuff pulled out that my husband must have been showing off on Ratebeer (a year old):

One

Two

Three

Four


"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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Here are the beers I am currently holding to age:

Bell's:

-Batch 9000

-Expedition Stout

-Kalamazoo Stout

Goose Island:

-BCS 2008

-Night Stalker

Half Acre Baume

Two Brothers Bare Tree Weiss Wine 2008

Left Hand Imperial Stout

He'brew Jewbelation 13

In addition, I would suggest:

-Sierra Nevada Bigfoot

-since you seem to like DFH, I would recommend Palo Santo Marron

-3Floyd's Dark Lord (good luck on this one!)

-Stone RIS

-Dark Horse: One, Too, Tres, Fore or Plead the 5th

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great recommendations everybody, thanks! i'm going to start keeping a list of beers to look out for. good calls on the lambic/gueze side, my girl loves sours. we both love barleywines so i'll remember to look for those too. i saw a Harviestoun up there too and i know that exists at Beers of the World, so maybe that's a next pickup.

hey feedmec00kies please pm me if your hubby has stuff up for sale.


Edited by mattohara (log)

--

matt o'hara

finding philly

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I didn't realize you were in Rochester, NY until you mentioned Beers of the World. Husband and I went to UR and that was where we used to buy stuff.

As for selling stuff, he only does trades. If you want to try stuff that's not available near you, you might want to look into it.


"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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Abyss Stout from Deschutes is a great one. I just opened a 2006 and it was double fantastic. I've got one more, and I expect it to be get better for a few more years.

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I don't recommend cellaring any hoppy beers like IPAs or double IPAs. Those are meant to be drunk young.

??? I was under the impression that hops are a preservative and, in particular, IPAs were originally highly hopped specifically for aging on the voyage to India. Was I misinformed?


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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i have a very simple and small stash. can't really call it 'cellar' because i drink it all in due time.

Samischlaus circa 2003. last 2

#12 bought in 2005. down to my last 2 now though. perfect time to drink it all as it will get less delicious after 8 years. i know some people disagree but i digress.

Närke Kaggen! and non kaggen, years 2006, 2007, and 2008. best when reached 5 years.

Schlenkerla Urbock. last 3 from this winter. going to drink them all within a couple of weeks though.

Liefmanns Goudenband. old batch from before the takeover. 10

Liefmanns Frambozenbier. old batch. 5

Cuvee de Keizer circa 2000. will drink my last bottle as soon as i can get more [1.5hrs on the push bike from my house to Belgian border].

Drie Fonteinen Oude Kriek 2005. 3

Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueze 2005. 4

Cantillon Lou Pepe Gueuze 2006. going drink it very soon.

Boon Oude Gueuze Mariage Parfait 2005. many. drink a bottle each week because it's delicious, still easy to get, and is relatively affordable.

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I don't recommend cellaring any hoppy beers like IPAs or double IPAs. Those are meant to be drunk young.

??? I was under the impression that hops are a preservative and, in particular, IPAs were originally highly hopped specifically for aging on the voyage to India. Was I misinformed?

You are correct that hops are a preservative and that IPAs were highly hopped to help them on their trip across the ocean to India. The time it took for beer to get from England to India is months which is quite different from cellaring a bottle for years. IPAs many be stronger than most mainstream brews but are still usually not more than 6-7% which is not really high enough ABV to keep a beer good for years. Todays IPA and IIPA brewers are going for the high Alpha Acid hops which add so much fragrance and upfront citrus and floral notes in that style but these qualities fade quickly meaning these will change quickly after a few months in the bottle. The IPA of a hundred years ago bears little resemblance to today's American IPA. Many good beers for cellaring start off with a noticable and often harsh alcohol taste and by aging them this harshness tends to mellow and allow some of the more complex flavours contained in the beer to shine through. A high ABV beer will start with lots more malt than a standard brew and after the alcohol taste fades the other flavours produced by all that malt comes alive.

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Fair enough but I would say, it is more that high alcohol beer cellars better, even fairly high hop ones like (at least some) barley wines, and that you wouldn't want to age any beer that has a distinct hop aroma/flavor as opposed to bitterness.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Not sure how available they are south of the border, but the unibroue beers can all be aged. Every time I buy a six pack I put the date on the top of one with a sharpie and drink the other five.

The web page lists how long they can be aged for. Somewhere on the web page there was a writeup on aging as well but I can't find it.

http://www.unibroue.com/products/bieres.cfm

http://www.unibroue.com/our_beers_eng.html

The above two links are both from the manufacturer's web page, but sometimes list different times for the aging of the beer. Very confusing!

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IPAs many be stronger than most mainstream brews but are still usually not more than 6-7% which is not really high enough ABV to keep a beer good for years. Todays IPA and IIPA brewers are going for the high Alpha Acid hops which add so much fragrance and upfront citrus and floral notes in that style but these qualities fade quickly meaning these will change quickly after a few months in the bottle. A high ABV beer will start with lots more malt than a standard brew and after the alcohol taste fades the other flavours produced by all that malt comes alive.

I'm a big fan of cellaring IPAs and DIPAs (especially) actually. Two things to note: 1) it's easy to mask poor brewing skill with a lot of hops, by cellaring an IPA it clears out much of the "bombast" and reveals the "true beer" underneath the IPA; in my opinion, if an IPA can cellar well (admittedly the malt qualities shine through, and hops change) the brewer has done his job of creating a balanced, well-crafted beer; 2) the hops quality certainly changes and they become less "alpha acid" bitter and over-the-top, but much of the bitterness will remain and the grass notes and a "tea-like" quality comes out, I like this change and often IPAs and DIPAs become much more "old ale" or "strong ale" like. One of my personal "aged favorites" is the Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster.

So, take that for what it's worth.

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IPAs many be stronger than most mainstream brews but are still usually not more than 6-7% which is not really high enough ABV to keep a beer good for years. Todays IPA and IIPA brewers are going for the high Alpha Acid hops which add so much fragrance and upfront citrus and floral notes in that style but these qualities fade quickly meaning these will change quickly after a few months in the bottle. A high ABV beer will start with lots more malt than a standard brew and after the alcohol taste fades the other flavours produced by all that malt comes alive.

I'm a big fan of cellaring IPAs and DIPAs (especially) actually. Two things to note: 1) it's easy to mask poor brewing skill with a lot of hops, by cellaring an IPA it clears out much of the "bombast" and reveals the "true beer" underneath the IPA; in my opinion, if an IPA can cellar well (admittedly the malt qualities shine through, and hops change) the brewer has done his job of creating a balanced, well-crafted beer; 2) the hops quality certainly changes and they become less "alpha acid" bitter and over-the-top, but much of the bitterness will remain and the grass notes and a "tea-like" quality comes out, I like this change and often IPAs and DIPAs become much more "old ale" or "strong ale" like. One of my personal "aged favorites" is the Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster.

So, take that for what it's worth.

I’m not sure I agree with this.

Modern IPAs and DIPAs really aren’t meant to be aged. They’re hopped to hell because that is what people expect out of them and, while I cannot speak for every brewer, I can’t imagine a brewer going through the trouble to hop to hop/wet hop/dry hop a beer just to have the customer put the beer down to rid the beer of all the benefits of the hopping. It’s not as if bittering hops are the beer equivalent to tannins in wine with the brewer adding hops with the intent that the beer with “mature” with age.

And, sure, hops can mask a flawed beer, but so what? If we’re going to use that standard, then we should give credit to the folks who brew Miller Lite and Budweiser because their beers are so consistently devoid of any flavor there is absolutely nothing for any flaw to ever hide behind. If a brewer is intending to make a hop-heavy beer, then that is the intent and, in my opinion, criticizing a beer that is meant to be consumed fresh (Pliny the Elder comes to mind) for being a poor beer underneath is the equivalent of attempting to age a Beaujolais Nouveau and being upset with the results. If you’re looking for an old ale or an American Strong ale, why don’t you just purchase beers that were intended to be old ales or strong ales in the first place?

Of course, in the end, these are your beers and you can do whatever you want with them.

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Modern IPAs and DIPAs really aren’t meant to be aged. They’re hopped to hell because that is what people expect out of them and, while I cannot speak for every brewer, I can’t imagine a brewer going through the trouble to hop to hop/wet hop/dry hop a beer just to have the customer put the beer down to rid the beer of all the benefits of the hopping. It’s not as if bittering hops are the beer equivalent to tannins in wine with the brewer adding hops with the intent that the beer with “mature” with age.

I'm not really that concerned with what a beer is "meant" to be or the trouble and/or effort a brewer went through to make it or why he/she made it - it should stand on its own without context and without explanation. Lots of brewers "mean" their beer to be good, and it isn't. Sour beers are "meant" to be sour, if you don't like sour things, explaining the intention doesn't make it any better. Modern hefeweizens are "meant" to be served with orange or lemon slices, but I don't like stuff in my beer - does that mean that I'm drinking hefeweizens incorrectly?

I guess I'm not advocating that you only buy IPAs and DIPAs for cellaring. But I am suggesting that there is some value in cellaring them - that they do, in fact, change and sometimes for the better - or at least equivalently different. Yes, the hops, particularly aroma, degrade over time. But bitterness degrades much more slowly with little noticeable difference (especially in DIPAs) 2 or even 3 years down the road (a lot of the reason for this is that our palates can't really differentiate above 75 IBU or so, so 100+ IBU is often functionally equivalent). And, yes, hops can be a bit like tannins, especially with less filtered IPAs, the vegetal properties really come out and hops can taste like steeped tea. The hop aroma disappears, but often the malt aroma comes out, again without losing much of the bitterness. So, it becomes different, sometimes better, sometime not.

My only point is this: Try it. See if you like the results - maybe you will, maybe you won't. I often like the results. You don't. We disagree. The only point of my post is that there are some of us, whether you find me crazy or not, who do cellar some IPAs on occasion. And, frankly, I don't know a single brewer of quality beer that would be offended.

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Modern IPAs and DIPAs really aren’t meant to be aged. They’re hopped to hell because that is what people expect out of them and, while I cannot speak for every brewer, I can’t imagine a brewer going through the trouble to hop to hop/wet hop/dry hop a beer just to have the customer put the beer down to rid the beer of all the benefits of the hopping. It’s not as if bittering hops are the beer equivalent to tannins in wine with the brewer adding hops with the intent that the beer with “mature” with age.

I'm not really that concerned with what a beer is "meant" to be or the trouble and/or effort a brewer went through to make it or why he/she made it - it should stand on its own without context and without explanation. Lots of brewers "mean" their beer to be good, and it isn't. Sour beers are "meant" to be sour, if you don't like sour things, explaining the intention doesn't make it any better. Modern hefeweizens are "meant" to be served with orange or lemon slices, but I don't like stuff in my beer - does that mean that I'm drinking hefeweizens incorrectly?

To me, this doesn't make sense. Yes, a sour beer is meant to be sour and, personally, I don't care for sour beers. But that is my preference, it's not as if there is something wrong with the beer. I don't fault the beer for being something it was intended to be. As for IPAs or DIPAs, I feel the same. Beers like Dreadnaught, Artic Panzer Wolf, Exponential Hoppiness, and Pliney are all heavily hopped, but restrained on the malts. It's done to showcase the hops. Aging these beers to see if they will "stand on [their] own without context and without explanation" is pointless and won't result in better beer. I simply can't see faulting an IPA or DIPA (just as I can't fault a sour) for being something it wasn't intended to be.

I guess I'm not advocating that you only buy IPAs and DIPAs for cellaring. But I am suggesting that there is some value in cellaring them - that they do, in fact, change and sometimes for the better - or at least equivalently different. Yes, the hops, particularly aroma, degrade over time. But bitterness degrades much more slowly with little noticeable difference (especially in DIPAs) 2 or even 3 years down the road (a lot of the reason for this is that our palates can't really differentiate above 75 IBU or so, so 100+ IBU is often functionally equivalent). And, yes, hops can be a bit like tannins, especially with less filtered IPAs, the vegetal properties really come out and hops can taste like steeped tea. The hop aroma disappears, but often the malt aroma comes out, again without losing much of the bitterness. So, it becomes different, sometimes better, sometime not.

So every beer ends up tasting like some variation of malts and steeped tea?

My only point is this: Try it. See if you like the results - maybe you will, maybe you won't. I often like the results. You don't. We disagree. The only point of my post is that there are some of us, whether you find me crazy or not, who do cellar some IPAs on occasion. And, frankly, I don't know a single brewer of quality beer that would be offended.

The side of a bottle of Pliney the Elder states:

"Keep Cold. Drink fresh. Please do not age."

"Consume Pliney fresh"

"If you must, sit on eggs, not on Pliney"

I'm pretty sure Vinnie doesn't want you to age this beer.

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Just drank a bottle of Dogfish Head Olde School, their barleywine. It's extremely boozy, like pure whiskey, lots of burn. It's not as complex as some barleywines, but it doesn't suffer from that. As soon as I tasted it, I made up my mind to get another bottle and cellar it. I'm pretty sure it can only get better.

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I have the following in my basement... I need to add a few more to my collection.

1994 Cantillon Iris (4 bottles)

Trader Joes Holiday Ale from 2006 and 2008

Old Marley Barleywine (2004, I think)

Panil Belgian Red from 2006

De Proef Signature Les Deux Brasseurs Ale

I think I have a bottle of Stone Old Guardian, but I am not sure.

And from my homebrewed archive

Blueberry honey cyser

cranberry braggot

Abigail's Abby Ale (brewed in her honour when LOML was 3 months pregnant)

Earlier this year I opened a 750 of Dogfish Head's Raison D'Extra from 2002 to celebrate my daughters birth. That bottle aged very, very well.

I'm sure there is more, but I tend to forget these things.


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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My girlfriend just bought me a 3L bottle of Chimay blue from the Cost Plus. It was only $50! It's going to be the centerpiece of my cellar for a few years, I should hope.

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So, my collection of beer has multiplied greatly over the last year and is now encroaching on my wine collection. The problem has become where do I keep all this beer? Unlike wine, for which I have wine racks and a wine cooler, my beer has largely accumulated in the standard case-sized cardboard box. Since I have well over a hundred bottles, I can say I have several of these boxes stacked on top of each other in a rather disorganized fashion. And while my wife has absolutely no issue with the beer itself, the boxes are a great source of aggravation for her. I’ve looked at buying additional wine racks for the beer, but these pose two problems: (1) unlike wine, the preferable method for storing beer is upright and (2) wine racks may accommodate bombers, but I have yet to find one that can hold a 12oz bottle safely.

Additional wine coolers are out of the question as I simply don’t want six of these things whirring away in my basement.

Where is everyone else keeping their bottles? Is anyone aware of a beer storage system?

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Had the 2007 Cantillon Lou Pepe (Kriek) this weekend. Excellent, could have aged it longer without issue. Though, it was perhaps the best kriek I've ever had. Nice funk, plenty of sour. Cherry was there, but not at all sweet.


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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Modern IPAs and DIPAs really aren’t meant to be aged. They’re hopped to hell because that is what people expect out of them and, while I cannot speak for every brewer, I can’t imagine a brewer going through the trouble to hop to hop/wet hop/dry hop a beer just to have the customer put the beer down to rid the beer of all the benefits of the hopping. It’s not as if bittering hops are the beer equivalent to tannins in wine with the brewer adding hops with the intent that the beer with “mature” with age.

I'm not really that concerned with what a beer is "meant" to be or the trouble and/or effort a brewer went through to make it or why he/she made it - it should stand on its own without context and without explanation. Lots of brewers "mean" their beer to be good, and it isn't. Sour beers are "meant" to be sour, if you don't like sour things, explaining the intention doesn't make it any better. Modern hefeweizens are "meant" to be served with orange or lemon slices, but I don't like stuff in my beer - does that mean that I'm drinking hefeweizens incorrectly?

I guess I'm not advocating that you only buy IPAs and DIPAs for cellaring. But I am suggesting that there is some value in cellaring them - that they do, in fact, change and sometimes for the better - or at least equivalently different. Yes, the hops, particularly aroma, degrade over time. But bitterness degrades much more slowly with little noticeable difference (especially in DIPAs) 2 or even 3 years down the road (a lot of the reason for this is that our palates can't really differentiate above 75 IBU or so, so 100+ IBU is often functionally equivalent). And, yes, hops can be a bit like tannins, especially with less filtered IPAs, the vegetal properties really come out and hops can taste like steeped tea. The hop aroma disappears, but often the malt aroma comes out, again without losing much of the bitterness. So, it becomes different, sometimes better, sometime not.

My only point is this: Try it. See if you like the results - maybe you will, maybe you won't. I often like the results. You don't. We disagree. The only point of my post is that there are some of us, whether you find me crazy or not, who do cellar some IPAs on occasion. And, frankly, I don't know a single brewer of quality beer that would be offended.

While I agree with you that the beer should stand on its own, ultimately - after all, you bought it - I think a brewer's intent is instructive if one is going to give a fair evaluation of the product, especially an aged product.

I do have to disagree with the characterization that hop bitterness degrades fairly slowly; obviously so much depends on cellaring conditions, but degradation of iso-a-acids to off-products (which can often be mistaken for "bitter," but are in fact harsh, astringent chemicals differing from the isomerized alpha acids) can be quite pronounced, and it can happen fairly quickly.


Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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