Cellaring Beer

I wrote this as one post, but it was far to long. Instead I will be delivering it in two posts. Today is kinda a basic rundown, tomorrow will be more how to.

the-bruery-beer-barrels

Goggle “Cellaring Beer” and you’ll easily get 10 articles on various blogs and websites, all of them the one written by Angie Rayfield, and for the most part useless. Go ahead, google it yourself. If you happen to choose the beeradvocate one where they quote Angie Rayfield word for word oftentimes you will also happen to find a list of reasons why storing beer sideways is silly. The point of this is it does me no good to quote Angie. This is especially true since she’s copyrighted the article and I don’t want to touch that. Instead I’ve decided I have to be unique and maybe even knock her article around a bit. After all there is no be all end all source on beer storage since it is more art then science. At least for now it is.

The reason beer storage hasn’t reached the realm of science you see with wines is that for the most part there’s no need. Most beers are best if consumed under the 1 year mark. Hoppy beers like pale ales shouldn’t even age at all. Secondly beer cellaring was until modern times just something that was done. Before refrigeration beer was often stored in the basement or cellar until someone wanted to tap the cask or open a bottle. Beers generally weren’t laid down to cellar for long times like wines. Also cellaring was treated as part of the fermentation process often times. If you had a sour ale you were laying down it was treated as you allowing the bacteria to do it’s job, not giving the flavors time to reach harmony.

Even with all the things going against beer cellaring proper long term storage has become a big thing, and big money. Prices for some properly aged barlywines in the 10 year old range are in the hundreds per a bottle at auctions. This is what’s turning the aging of craft beer from just something that happens, to something worth doing. And while your homebrewed 12% abv barleywine won’t command amazing prices if it’s aged, ageing is still a useful tool in the homebrewers arsenal.

from theweeklybrew

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