Storage Wars: How To Age Your Reserve Series Beer

Posted on: February 15th 2015

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) 22 ounce wax dipped bottle,  you think to yourself: “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 later. 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 Anniversary Series, The Stoic, The Dissident and others with a high ABV are all 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 brown 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. Most 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 2006-2016 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!

5 Responses to “Storage Wars: How To Age Your Reserve Series Beer”

  1. August 27, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    I can’t wait to crack open our Mirror Mirror for New Year’s eve 2016!

  2. Joe
    October 13, 2015 at 10:28 am

    I got gifted The Abyss 2014 Reserve and made the mistake of putting it in the fridge to store it till the recommended open date. Would it be a bad idea to let it sit out after being refrigerated for months?

  3. Brian
    May 3, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I typically age Reserve Series for 1-3 years in a mini fridge with temp range of 45-50 degrees. I do have an exception that I’m concerned about, after reading this article. I have a bottle of Dissident 2008 and 2010 that I’ve obviously sat on for a while, but always in temp controlled environment. Should expect this great beer to now be ruined or did they go from great to palatable?

    • Gina Schauland
      May 3, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Great job on being able to hold on to The Dissident for that long… it’s so delicious, it’s hard to wait! I’ve recently had the 2008 and 2010 versions and they are still tasting great but I would enjoy them sometime this year. There is a point where they do go from great to good and we haven’t seen that yet but it’s most likely coming soon. Refrigerating it slows the aging process down a bit so you should be fine… please let us know how they taste or maybe wait til this fall when we release the 2016 version so you can host a side by side. Cheers! – Gina from Deschutes

  4. Cole
    May 19, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Hi, I recently came across some “lost” beer while moving out of my home. The beer has all been stored in a dark basement. I have about a case of 2010 and 2011 Abyss, as well as some 2010 Dissident. What do you think? Still good?

    Thanks.

    Cole

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