Are you a fan of quality beers with rich, complex flavor profiles? Good news: proper aging can enhance the character of your favorite brews. Here’s how to best store them.
Upright: Unlike wine bottles, beer bottles — even those with corks — should be kept upright to age. This prevents prolonged contact between the liquid and cap and minimizes the surface area of beer that’s exposed to air.
Dark: Light is your aging beers’ worst enemy. Store your stash in a dark room or wrap the bottles with paper bags to prevent their contents from developing an unpleasant skunky scent.
Cool: Store your bottles a good distance away from any heat source. Keep them somewhere the temperature is both cool and consistent (around 59 degrees is ideal). A small, infrequently used room in the basement would be a good choice.
Damp: Craft beers age best in a damp environment — around 65 percent relative humidity is the sweet spot. To maximize your chances of success, consider purchasing a beer cellar that you can program to maintain optimal storage conditions.
Keep in mind that beers with a higher alcohol content age best. Experiment with imperial stouts, barley wines or strong Belgian ales, for example. Furthermore, while there are some exceptions, it’s better to avoid aging beers that are particularly hoppy — these are best enjoyed fresh. Don’t hesitate to ask a local expert for advice.