How to Age Your Reserve Beers

Are you excited or what?

You just found that Reserve Series beer you’ve been looking for and after purchasing this high ABV (alcohol by volume) bottle, you get home, look at the label, and notice that it says: “Best After Date". You think to yourself: “WHAT?!?, I have to wait a year before I am able to drink this beer?” Then the conversation begins inside your own head, “Should I drink this now, or add it to my cellar?”

Well, if you did a little research on these strong ales before heading to the store you may have known to grab at least 2 bottles, one for now, and one to enjoy after it’s “best after” date. Or, if you're buying one of our newer reserve beers that come in 4-packs, so you can drink one, share one, cook with one, and cellar one! If there was only the one bottle left on the shelf and you had to wrestle Sasquatch to get it, then you have a decision to make. Enjoy now, or age for at least a year.

Our limited release beers like The Abyss, Black Butte, The Stoic, The Dissident and others with a high ABV are delicious right out of the gate, but if you have the patience and restraint to wait, flavors will smooth and blend over time giving the beer a more complex taste and aroma that you may not experience when the beer is fresh. If you decide to take the path of “most resistance” and age this beer, here is some advice from us on how to properly store these special beers.

How Should I Store My Beer?
Keep the bottle stored upright so the yeast will settle at the bottom rather than creating a “yeast ring” on the side of the bottle that will stick and not properly settle or mix back into the beer.

Where Should I Store My Beer?
Even though we use dark bottles to minimize the amount of light getting in, keep beer away from light by storing in a dark location like a basement, downstairs pantry, closet and in a closed box. Some of our high abv beers come in 22 ounce bottles so grab a wine box or the box that came with the beer and store it there out of sight and out of temptation :)

What Is The Proper Temperature For Aging?
Store in a cool, dry location. We understand that not everyone has a cellar where they can keep beer at a perfect 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so for high abv ales, we recommend somewhere under 65 degrees F as heat is not a friend of beer. Ideally, 50-55 degrees is best but we understand that some of you live in areas where it gets quite warm, so just monitor your indoor temperature and the beer should be happy.

How Long Should I Store My Beer?
We also recommend storing your beer for at least 1 year. We’ve found that 1-3 years is ideal but everyone’s storage temperatures are different. We’ve also done vertical flights/tastings of past vintages compared with recent vintages. With The Abyss, we’ve tasted years 2006-2014 side by side and all were still tasty but beer can definitely be “over the hill” just like wine. It’s all about experimentation and your flavor preference.

Can I Store My Beer In The Refrigerator?
Long term storage in the refrigerator is not recommended, as beer is a living thing. If the beer is too cold, the maturation or aging of the beer will slow or halt so that blending and smoothing of flavors will not occur. Although the beer will still taste good, it will not change much in complexity.

How Should I Serve My Beer When I’m Ready To Enjoy It?
When you are ready to enjoy your aged beer, you can serve it a couple of ways. If you were able to store it at 50 degrees F, then you can serve it at that temperature too. If you’d like it a bit cooler, pop it in the refrigerator for a few hours (or overnight) to chill a bit for serving, and pour into a snifter glass. Ideal serving temperature is a matter of preference. 45-50 degrees F works great and you can use your hand at the base of the snifter to warm the beer slightly. Be sure to get your nose in the glass and take large and small sniffs of the beer every time you take a sip and over the course of the sipping session. You will notice all sorts of aromas and flavors that may not have been present when the beer was fresh or even when the beer was just poured.

We hope this information helps. Keep in mind that this is for our Reserve Series beers and may not necessarily ring true for corked beer, lower abv beers, or other brands. So now you must decide…will you drink it now, or enjoy it later? Cheers!