To Age Or Not To Age…

I’ve got a few bottles of beer ‘laid down’. But I’m not really sure why. I’m not really sure what I’m hoping to achieve. So why bother? Is there anything to be gained from such an endeavour? I suppose if a beer with a hefty ABV is a bit rough around the edges when it’s only been in the bottle for a few weeks or months there’s a chance it’ll develop and improve if given a bit of time. As a famous poet once told me: a beer needs a week in the bottle for every per cent of ABV. And if an expensive beer is shit you could lay it down in the hope that something delicious will occur and your money won’t be wasted. But what if you’ve bought a beer and find it’s ace the first time you crack it open? Is there any point having it hanging around only to be consumed later when it might not be as good as it once was? And if you’ve only had a beer once or twice can you really say if it tastes better when you have it two or more years later? If you have a dozen or so bottles of a beer you could track it’s progress over time and then you’d build up a solid picture of the beer’s overall quality and have a good idea if you should polish them off or keep going. But this would require a decent chunk of cash – cash that I’m not sure I want to commit to such an undertaking.

And there are other problems with laying down beer. I keep my beer in the garage and I do have a fear that one night some bawbag will break in and make off with my bike and then come back for my beer. Having my beer stolen is bad enough but I’m pretty certain that most people who choose breaking into garages as a career aren’t going to be overly impressed by my taste in beer and will consequently pour most of it down the sink. Another problem I have is finding the right moment to decide enough is enough and unleash the bottle opener. The longer a beer hangs around the more reluctant I am to open it as I’m scared that it’s going to be a huge anti-climax. As the old travel mantra goes: when you get there, there’s no there. A third problem is that it makes you look like a bit of an attention-seeking show-off nobend. Loads of time on Twitter I’ve heard somebody mention a beer and then someone else has joined in by saying that they have 10 bottles of the 2005 version laid down, or something similar. Such tweets always make me think, even when it’s people I know and like, of the immortal Leonard Cohen line ‘you don’t really care for beer, do ya? You just like looking cool’. And I’ve sent such tweets myself. On more than one occasion. I am an attention-seeking show-off nobend but I’m trying to mend my ways, which is why I’m getting rid of my stash (well, most of it).

Party Time-ah

Party Time-ah

Here’s what I’ve got in my stash and what I’m planning to do with them..


I’ll drink these one evening close to my 40th birthday (May 2013). The experience will be recorded as a Pub Crawl blog post

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I’ll drink this in Abney Park Cemetery with Matthew of Total Ales – straight from the bottle

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I plan to share this with Stephen Powell of Blue Giant Beer and Ned Clarke of BrewDog Bristol

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I’m hoping to make it back to Denver at the end of this year for the Auto Club‘s NYE shows at The Oriental Theater and if I do I’ll possibly take these with me… unless you have a better idea?

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This beer was recently given to me by Andrew Mitchell of Oh Beery Me and Tyne & Beer Metro fame. As I’m 40 in the year it was given to me I’ve decided to keep it until it’s 40

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FULLERS – VINTAGE 2012 [8.5%]
BATEMANS – VINTAGE 2012 [7.5%]

Wandering Woodwose was one of my fav beers of 2012 – although, it must be said, some of the bottles were less impressive than others. Both of the Vintages were acceptable but unremarkable. So I’ve chucked two of each in an old Badger Beer box and I’ll drink them in seven years time alongside the Tennent’s Centenary… perhaps the aforementioned Andrew Mitchell will care to join me?

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Twitter follows…








~ by landells on March 16, 2013.

7 Responses to “To Age Or Not To Age…”

  1. Funny you’ve got a bottle of 2011 Bourbon County Stout. I kept one for a year and had it on Christmas day 2012. It still tasted far too boozy for me, be interesting to find out if another 6 months or year has any effect on it. Other than that, I’m far too weak willed to age beer.

    • I know someone else who had a bottle of BCS around xmas time and they also thought it was still a bit to rough & boozy. Some people keep them for years – mine will be gone once the weather gets a bit warmer

  2. My names is Phil and I am an agerist, phew, that was tough!

    I know where you’re coming from here, I’ve managed to accumulate two & a half boxes of “decent stuff” to age. I had a little rummage recently and laughed at some of the early bottles I’d stashed. They got drunk….

    Some I’m ageing for fun, some as advised and some I’ve even thought of buying as an investment, but ask myself “could you really see yourself selling them in ten years time?”

    As for when is too long too long, I’m not sure about that either. I have some Fullers Vintage that are over ten years old, should they be drunk or should I leave them longer still, in truth I have n idea….

    Nice post, one improvement suggestion though, you seem to have missed, “I’m going to drink this with Phil Hardy from Beersay blog”? 😉


  3. Slightly tangential: Way back the guys on the craft beer radio podcast said they’d started ecs use they were sick of hearing similar from too many people that didn’t know what they were talking about. I remember thinking this was a bit arrogant. I had subscribed to another that just posted something for the first time since. It featured a fruitless search of Wikipedia for what exactly is meant by “single hopped” and a discussion on how beer wasn’t like wine “aged beer doesn’t sound like a good idea”. I rather enjoyed it. Nice changed from the beer talk I’m usually privy to.

    I definitely buy too many beers that need a bit of shelving. It’s nice to have a few older things sitting there. I’d love to be able to afford endless cellaring. And, yes, I would be tedious about it

    • The idea of aging beer still greatly interests me and if I had loads of cash, a proper cellar and actually had an idea of what I was doing then I reckon I could go quite mental for it. But, until then, the only beer that’s gonna hang around are ones that need some time on the shelf cos the breweries punt them out (perhaps understandably) before they’ve had enough time in the bottle.

      What was the other podcast?

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