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Anything Else Forum

Offtopicland. This still isn't the place to discuss politics, religion, or hot-button social issues, however.

Good Beer for Aging?

sbentz4's picture
February 9, 2014 at 3:21pm

I know there are a good number of craft beer fans on this site and was wondering if anyone has experience with aging/cellaring beer.  I have read some articles online and think I know what to do.  Based on what I read I will be looking for a high ABV, malty brown ale for my first try.  I was wondering if anyone has any advice or recommendations for a beer that ages well. Thanks in advance.

*I live in Chicago, but frequent NE Ohio

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Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

You ideally want beers that are being bottle conditioned, meaning bottled with active yeast for carbonation. If they aren't being bottle conditioned, then there's really nothing in the beer to change it. I think you're going to need to look for beers that are specifically intended for aging. Most commercial breweries make beer to be consumed ASAP.  That said, your best bet is with belgians, barley wines, mead, and Russian imperial stouts. 

Edit: I am under the impression that you're buying the beer and not brewing it

Read my entire screen name....

+1 HS
Alpo's picture

Keep in mind your temperature as well as that is a huge factor in aging beer. For ales you usually want to keep it between 68-72 degrees F during fermentation. Lagers have to be fermented at much lower temps, meaning regulating the temps in a fridge. Good luck and brew on!

brandonbauer87's picture

I aged some Bell's Two Hearted Ale. Unfortunately I didn't taste one before aging it. I can't really speak for the change but it was delicious. I guess I should buy a fresh batch to compare directly to next time. 

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

IPAs are the worst beers to age. Hop flavor is the first go.  That's not to say the beer goes bad, but its definitely not how the brewer intended it. It's best to drink IPAs as fresh as possible to enjoy the "hop snap" at its best. 

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chitownbuckeye's picture

Usually beers that are high in alcohol are best for aging.  Right now I am aging a bottle of Darklord and a bottle of Barrel aged Santa's Little Helper.  Btw , what part of Chicago are you from?  I am in Wicker park.

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sbentz4's picture

I currently live in Lincoln Square.  I have lived here for about 3 years and lived in the northwest suburbs for 1 year before that.

harleymanjax's picture

Beware of bitter beer face!


"Because I couldn't go for 3"

+1 HS
BUCKEYE_JIM's picture

I haven't posted much on this site but I thought I would pass on this website for your enjoyment!

craft beer reviews

Let me know what you think...

cinserious's picture

I would get your hands on some Bells Third Coast Old Ale. Its a barleywine thats about 10.5 % and if you have the patience you can devote a couple bottles to the cellar for a few months. I know a place on the Westside of Columbus that carries lots of micros.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

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BTBuckeye's picture

OP - First of all, best of luck on the "experiment". Secondly, don't age IPA's!! Also, a "high ABV malty brown ale" is probably not worth aging, bu that's just my opinion. Bottle conditioned beers are a good idea....imperial stouts, barleywines, strong ales are good choices as well. I'm going to guess you're not into Belgians or Lambics, Saisons and Wild Ales, but all of those are great to cellar as well. My advice would be to try as many new beers as possible to see what you like and then age those to see the difference over time. For example, cellar a few bottles of this years release to try alongside next years so you can compare/contrast. My advice would be to have a set amount ($100 or something) you drop each month on your cellar...don't drink any of the beers...and year from now you got $1,200 of dank brews and all your friends are hounding you about the next tasting party!

Given your locale, here are my recs for beer to start aging. I have aged all of these beers at one point or another to various degrees of success:

Goose Island - Bourbon County Brand Stout (and all the variants).

Bell's - Expedition Imperial Stout, Black Note, Third Coast Old Ale (this is a greatly underrated beer imo)

Founders - KBS, Imperial Stout,

Firestone Walker - Anniversary Ale (XVII, etc.), Sucaba, Parabola,

Great Lakes - Blackout Stout

Stone - Imperial Russian Stout, Double Bastard

Three Floyds - Behemoth, Dark Lord

Oskar Blues - Ten Fidy

Surly - Darkness (available in CHI I think now).

Pipeworks, Revolution, Central Waters, Jolly Pumpkin & lots of other Michigan/Wisconsin breweries have good beer to age as well.

Best of luck. Remember, It's an experiment!!! YMMV

+1 HS
sbentz4's picture

Thanks for the help.  Dogfish head recommends aging their Indian Brown ale, so I thought I may give a brown ale a try due to the malty nature and this recommendation.  I was also thinking a imperial stout and a baltic porter (if I can find one).  I think that Dark Lord Day is coming up too, so I will try and make it out there.  I will probably start with 2 six packs or a couple of bombers for a first run and taste test every 6 months with results of my first trial.  If I like where its going, I will continue to add.  Thanks again for the advice.

+1 HS
BTBuckeye's picture

Ah, DFH beers...yes, those do age well. If you can track down some World Wide stout and Old School Barleywine those would be good ones to try from them. The Old School Barleywine is fantastic with age...recently drank my 2011 and it was fantastic. I could see the DFH brown ale being decent as it fades. 

Here's a good link to look up breweries that distribute to your area and my personal favorite beer site appropriately called Don't Drink Beer, which is pretty funny. dude is nuts.