Who are the NC Beer Guys?

If you live in the great state of North Carolina, and you enjoy craft beer, then you really must familiarize yourself with Glenn and Dave aka The NC Beer Guys. The NC Beer Guys are the central hub of information for all things happening in the North Carolina craft beer scene. Glenn and Dave go to great lengths to keep you informed and educated about NC craft beer.

The NC Beer Guys’ website includes videos covering local breweries, brew pubs, bottle shops, and festivals. They also keep an extensive calendar of beer festivals, happenings, and “tap take overs” across the state. If you are into NC craft beer, you have to check these guys out!  You can find them at http://www.ncbeerguys.com  or on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

 

 



  More about cellaring beer

Cellaring beer is a term that refers to the practice of buying a beer that you purposely intend to put away for a specific amount of time. Hoarding beer, on the other hand, is when you buy a beer and then hold onto it for any reason other than cellaring it. Both are risky.

                          Breweries strive for freshness                                              

The majority of beer makers in todays market want you to drink their beer as fresh as possible. Breweries often go to great lengths to get their beers to consumers quickly. A large number of craft breweries even put a “drink before” date on the bottle.

They do not hide this fresh date, either. The first beer I pulled from my fridge was a lager from Blue Point Brewery . Looking at it for a brief second, I immediately see This beer will remain brewery fresh 180 days after the bottled on date.” Just below that it says, “Bottled on 19Oct16.”

Breweries keep the pressure on reps to keep fresh beers on store shelves, and discourage them from pushing the older beers to the back. Merchandisers typically just pull them off the shelf altogether so that you, the customer, can get the freshest beer possible. So if you look into your fridge and see a few beers in there that are past their fresh date, you might just be a beer hoarder. Hoarding can lead to off flavors in your beer. Flavors like wet cardboard, stale fruit, spoiled vase water, etc…you don’t want that, do you? Better get to work on that beer fridge.

 IPA’s have hops, doesn’t that mean they can sit for awhile??

Just because a beer is labeled as an IPA does not mean the beer has aging potential. Yes, the story of IPAs includes hopped beers that could withstand the long journey from England to India, but that doesn’t mean the beers were at their best by the time they got there.

Stone Brewery  has an IPA that they release every few months that states “Enjoy by…” and is 37 days from the bottled date. Stone even offers a way to report beers that are on the shelf past their “Enjoy by” date. https://www.stonebrewing.com/contact#ageGatePassed

So why would you ever cellar a beer?

Cellaring beer is becoming more popular as the craft beer movement continues to sky rocket. The reason is simple. We want to take it to the next level. Like the X games, a back flip on a dirt bike is just not enough anymore. We need to see them do it with no hands the next year, and with no pants the year after that. Craft beer is the same way: every year, the stakes get higher!

Cellaring beer brings another dimension to the beer drinking experience. A “vertical of beer” is a term that refers to the same beer but with different production years. For example, if you buy the 2013 Silent Night Imperial Stout, along with the 2014, 2015, and 2016, then you are looking at a vertical of beers.  If you taste them all in 2016 you will see a significant difference between the 2013 and 2016.

Is this change good? Did the beer get better with age? Therein lies the question, and the gamble. There are a few factors that play into determining if the beer survives its slumber or not. First, the beer must be made in the brewery in a specific way to have aging potential. Second, the beer must be packaged appropriately. And third, you must store it correctly.

What Beers are made to be aged?

There is no specific answer to which particular style of beer that you should cellar, but there are select types of beer that you can cellar. Some breweries do create beers that are made specifically for cellaring, and it will almost always be noted clearly on the bottle. Choosing one of these beers is your safest bet when deciding on what beer to cellar.

A word to the wise: Aging even those certain types of beer do not necessarily mean they are going to get better–that is entirely in the eyes of the beer holder. But, it does mean that the beers are going to change…

Beers that will definitely change while cellared:

 1. Bottled Conditioned Beer

Bottle conditioning simply means that sugar was added to the beer prior to the bottle being sealed. This allows the yeast to continue to chow down on the sugar, producing CO2 or BUBBLES! This is a natural way of creating carbonation in contrast to the typical method of forced carbonation.

These beers are great for cellaring because the yeast is alive in the bottle. As the beer cellars, the yeast continues to eat the sugars. This continues to change the beer slowly, but distinctly.

2. Barrel Aged Beer 

These beers have already began to age before they even leave the brewery. As the beer sits inside the barrels they absorb compounds and flavors from the oak. They can take on hints of spices like clove and cinnamon. They can add extract characteristics or sugary characteristics like vanilla or caramel.

The barrel aging adds body to the beer as well. The brew picks up lactones (think lactose) from the wood. The beer can also become smoky or wood chippy. Much of this depends on the type of oak and the charring that is done to the inside of it.

Take note: When you cellar a barrel aged beer, you may enjoy a softening of certain characteristics over time. Then again, sometimes those same characteristics are what make the beer exciting and so softening them ends up taking away from the beer–again, it is in the eye of the beer holder. Keep in mind:

  • How bitter the beer is before it is cellared. This bitterness will decrease over time. This will pave the way for less acidic flavor components to show themselves.
  • How boozy the beer is before it is cellared. High alcohol content beers can often come across as boozy. Cellaring these beers help to soften the “boozy-ness”.
  • How smoky the beer is before it is cellared. Smokiness and charring characteristics will soften over time, while also helping to preserve the beer.

3. Dark, malty beer 

Dark beers with heavy malt have a molasses-like sweetness to them. This sweetness will mellow and the beer may become more savory as it ages. These beers may go from having caramelized sugar characteristics to having a soy sauce or bacon fat-like character. Again keep in mind:

  • How bitter the beer is before it is cellared. This bitterness will decrease over time. This will pave the way for less acidic flavor components to show themselves.
  • How boozy the beer is before it is cellared. High alcohol content beers can often come across as boozy. Cellaring these beers help to soften the “boozy-ness”.

4. High alcohol content beer

These beers typically do well when it comes to cellaring. The Alcohol acts as a preservative. As you cellar the beer the alcohol will soften, allowing some of the fruiter or malty-er characteristics to shine. Keep in mind:

  • How bitter the beer is before it is cellared. This bitterness will decrease over time. This will pave the way for less acidic flavor components to show themselves.
  • How boozy the beer is before it is cellared. High alcohol content beers can often come across as boozy. Cellaring these beers help to soften the “boozy-ness”.
  • How smoky the beer is before it is cellared. Smokiness and charring characteristics will soften over time, while also helping to preserve the beer.

It is important to do your research before choosing a beer to cellar. If you ever have any questions about a beer you want to cellar, you can contact us anytime. Anytime! Email us, call us, hit us up on Facebook or even Snap Chat. Contact info is at the bottom of the post.

How to Cellar Beer

As I mentioned before, a lot of factors play into cellaring beer. After you have determined it is worth cellaring the beer, it’s time to get boring.

  1. Cellaring beer is much like cellaring wine: the beer needs to be cool. Chill the beer between 45°F and 55°F.
  2. Keep the beer in a dark space. They put beer and wine in dark bottles for a reason. Light causes a  photochemical reaction to take place when it hits the beer. This reaction causes certain acids to break down, producing off flavors in the beer.
  3. Make sure the beer is away from vibrations or loud noises that may cause vibrations. Remember, I said it was gonna be boring. The best place to store beer is in that closest that you never go in. Yes, I know that isn’t sexy and it’s hard to show off you collection in a closet, but it’s the safest place.  No one outranks General Safety.
  4. Stand the beer up if you can. Wine lays on its side because the cork needs to remain moist. Beer is typically capped so there is no need to keep the metal cap moist. Laying a beer on its side keeps all the sediment suspended into the beer. When a beer is standing up, the sediment can rest on the bottom of the bottle. Sometimes small beer fridges do not allow for standing beer so if you do not have a fridge yet…Do your research.

KingsBottle Wine & Beverage Fridges


Styles to look for when thinking about cellaring beer:

  1. Barley wines
  2. Imperial Stouts, Porters,  and Ales
  3. Belgian Strong Ales
  4. Baltic Porters
  5. Bourbon barrel aged beers
  6. Old Ale
  7. Lambics
  8. Red Flanders
  9. Scotch Ales
  10. Wee Heavies

How long do you cellar beer?

This is the gamble. So, imagine me as you bookie. I am just advising you on what I think will be a winner. I do not know the exact answer, I can only give you the facts you need to make your own educated guess.

Oftentimes the brewery will spell it out for you on the back of the bottle. If not, then you will have to experiment. Start by buying six bottles of the same beer you aim to cellar. Open a bottle every couple of months to see how it changes.

It is important to make notes each time you try the beer. This will help you keep up with the subtle changes that occur over time. Remember to be detailed in your note-taking.

Have fun with it!

Enjoying a vertical of beer is a fun and exiting experience. When done correctly, it can lead to an entirely new experience in your craft beer journey. So find your inner Dora and get exploring. We would love to share the journey with you.

Hit us up at Tansey.eric@gmail.com . Text us at 774-473-8439. Facebook Tansey Reviews. Instagram Tanseyreviews. Snap Chat tansey_reviews.