Adventures in Cellaring

Over the last couple years, I’ve set aside a considerable amount of craft beer to give it a chance to age. The conventional wisdom is that higher ABV beers and darker beers will stand the test of time. Hop forward beers will degrade, but may soften, resulting in a more drinkable beer. Well, tonight I was bitten by holding on to a beer a little too long.

Gritty McDuff’s Black Fly Stout is a favorite of mine. It’s relatively low ABV and tasty. Not a super huge stout, but a nicely balanced brew for a cool night. It’s not the kind of beer I’d expect to have a long shelf life, but for some reason I lost sight of it on my shelf until recently. This bottle had a 4/11 tag on it, meaning it’s 17 months old. Too long it would seem. Well, let’s see.


It poured a beautiful dark brown/black color and collected into a nice head. A quick smell showed no off aroma (it actually smelled delicious… nutty almost)… so I dove in. WOW… a lot of carbonation! Too much. To the point of an almost cider-like taste that just wasn’t right.

I learned tonight that a low ABV stout can’t survive that long in the cellar. I think this is the lowest ABV beer I have down there right now. I will take a closer look and continue my adventures in cellaring.

What have your experiences been in cellaring craft beer? Any winners? How long did you put them down? Losers? I look forward to your comments.

2 comments on “Adventures in Cellaring

  1. Too bad about that one, Jim. I’ve only just started this practice with a few bottles I think can take it. The only one I can say for sure can stand the test of time is Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout having heard straight from the brewer that it could last 8 or 10 years if you had that sort of self-control.

  2. Yep. I have a few of those in the cellar. Trying a Pretty Things Babayaga from 2010 tonight. Look for the next installment in "Adventures in cellaring." 🙂

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