BeerCellarList: the go-to app for beer collectors
The practice of storing our favourite beers to consume at a later date, once we hope the flavour has matured, is nothing new. People have been ‘cellaring’ beers at home for about as long as beer has existed. Most beer lovers will have a cool corner, extra refrigerator, beer-shelf or an actual cellar in which some special beers sit in a state of almost suspended animation, imperceptibly altering their composition, taste and aroma with each passing week, month or year.
Let’s be clear, not every beer will ‘cellar’ well. It’s an artform. We can’t just walk into our local beer store and pick-up a selection of beer for consumption many months (or years) later. Most beers will not survive the journey into the distant future. As a rule of thumb, the more robust and hefty a beer, the better it will age. Without doing some research into what other beer-lovers are cellaring — and for how long — it may prove an expensive learning lesson for the novice.
It is not simply a matter of choosing the optimal temperature, ensuring the storage methods are correct, and sitting back to wait. Almost all breweries release their beers to be consumed within a reasonable timescale from the date they leave the brewery; it can consequently be a hit-and-miss affair to identify which beers will age well without some initial direction from experienced people.
Whilst some beers benefit from a cellaring process, most won’t. It is therefore not only important to roughly know what to expect from each beer, but it’s important to open some cellared beer occasionally to determine how that manufacturer, style and vintage have aged so far. It’s a subjective matter, but if it the beer appears to be no different — or even beginning to taste worse — the best thing to do is drink them as soon as possible, otherwise they may spoil and it’ll prove an expensive lesson.
Beers do not get better with age, just different. Once a brewery’s ‘best before’ or ‘consume by’ date of has elapsed, the beer will certainly start to change. Some flavours may recede to highlight other more prominent flavours, or chemical changes that accompany the aging process may introduce ‘off flavours’ that some drinkers may feel contribute to the overall drinking experience. Not everybody will have the same reaction, of course.
The best approach is to take some cues from people already cellaring, and most importantly, keep track of which beers you have, together with their age, location and perhaps a rough idea of when is the peak drinking time.
Kaeru Beer recently met with BeerCellarList and learnt a little more about their multi-platform, low-cost Cellar Management application, something that could be utilised by both professional or amateur, expert or beginner. BeerCellarList allows beer-cellarers to maintain, centralise and share all the salient information relating to the beers, their age, their location and suchlike — all driven by a fairly comprehensive beer database behind the scenes.
If Beer Cellaring is your thing, or you’re keen to give it a go, BeerCellarList could be the perfect starting point.