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On cellaring, a polite way of saying “forgetting”

Last month, as I prepared to host Dungeons & Dragons, I sent Alex a text: “Other beer I’ve forgotten I have”, with an accompanying image (right). We had talked earlier about how I still have something like half a case of 16 oz bottles of mead I made in 2008 in my basement, because I just forget they’re there.

Some people have a beer cellar. I have a place beer goes to die, to be forgotten, an attic full of toys with a skin horse — creepiest of all horses — preaching about becoming Real.

I didn't plan on using this in a blog post, hence the flash: it's illustrative rather than artistic

I didn’t plan on using this in a blog post, hence the flash: it’s illustrative rather than artistic

On Saturday Erik came over — yes, the Erik from Kingdom Builder who holds responsibility for my pinup pose being in the Beer Week magazine — and I brought up the Box of Belgians box that has been residing on my basement floor, inviting him to have at it. Only I had recently reorganized, finally giving up the ghost on homebrewing and taking two shopping carts worth of bottles to Wegmans — $7.75 total, plus 1/3 a home recycling bin worth of unreturnables — so I had condensed things a bit. He came into the dining room holding a bottle of Stone Levitation.

“Oh,” I said. “Uh. You’re welcome to drink that, but it’s from Risk.” You know, a year and a half ago. He tried it and promptly dumped it1. He grabbed Urthel Saisonniere next: “Um. That’s also from Risk” (and even older, it turns out). That one held up better, though, or maybe he had just wanted to spare my feelings.

I know I am a monster, Erik. It is okay.

After the last 33 Beers post I realized those posts suck. I probably won’t do any more of them, though I will keep recording my drinking habits, because they don’t say anything. This list, however, has a point. For one, to publicly shame me and point out that you probably shouldn’t give me any beer because I will waste it like some sort of cave troll.

As I sorted through this morning, tapping names into my phone and swearing at SwiftKey because seriously, “hve11telegravertical”? What in the hell?, I found some gems. Some things I actually had meant to cellar, some I had meant to cellar and then forgotten about, and some which will meet a swift end down the drain tonight. Think of this as an episode of Storage Wars, I say only having seen half an episode of Storage Wars.

An annotated list of the beer in my house, with identifying information and provenance, where available

A fridge

  • Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro (from D&D)
  • Allagash Saison (from Kingdom Builder)
  • Fuller’s London Pride
  • Publican High Noon
  • Stack Valley Girl
  • Lindemans Peche (from my mom: we really should drink this, since you gave it to me under the assumption that you wouldn’t any time soon, and now here we are)

A fridge which does not work

  • Ithaca Laissez-Faire (2)
  • Ithaca Fleur De Belgique
  • Stone Vertical Epic 11-11-11
  • Telegraph Buellton Silent Partner (which will become a Music Box post in the future)
  • Urthel Saisonniere (see introduction)
  • Lindemans Framboise (oh dear god2)
  • Duclaw Sweet Baby Jesus (very nicely given to me by Buffalo Beer League‘s Scott. I really need to drink this.)
  • Allagash Saison (older than the one Alex brought)
  • Sierra Nevada Torpedo (3) (bought this summer)
  • Ellicottville Mowmaster (ibid)
My car, loaded with five years' worth of empty bottles

My car, loaded with five years’ worth of empty bottles

The cabinet of all lost souls

  • Flying Bison Herc 2014 (I knew I had this! I haven’t opened it on purpose!)
  • Founders KBS (ibid!)
  • Botswain Chocolate Stout (oh right, I did go to Trader Joe’s a while ago)
  • Boulevard Tank 7 (not incredibly old)
  • Ommegang Aphrodite (3-4) (purposefully cellared, or at least not opened, because I keep waiting for the brett to take over)
  • Southern Tier 2XMas (2) (remember a year ago when we did a podcast?…)
  • Mother Superior (22 oz)3
  • Mother Superior (12 oz) (4)
  • A bottle labeled #4, which means the fourth all grain batch of beer I made. I think it might be an ESB titled “I’m So Bored With the USA” (I was big into naming beers into Clash songs back then), which was not good at the time. It would also be about six years old at this point.
  • The Snow (2012) (6) (I thought I had taken some of this home! Yes, Rudy bottled some.)
  • Stone Vertical Epic 11-11-11
  • Stone Vertical Epic 10-10-10
  • Stone Vertical Epic 07-07-07 (the only time I’ve tried to cellar a vertical tasting, and I drank all of 08, 09 and 12)
  • Steinbier (5) (I didn’t even brew this! I just ended up with a six pack of the NAH collaboration beer from ~5 years ago, and I don’t think anyone involved will take offense when I say it did not taste particularly good at the time)
  • Great Lakes Conways Irish Stout (3) (left at my house after a NAH meeting in 2010(!))
  • Raspberry Mead (from Ethan, cellared for some astounding amount of time! I should bring it to CBW so we can try it together.)
  • Flying Dog Horn Dog (2008) (legitimately excited about this)
  • North Coast Old Rasputin (4) (from the start of Risk!)
  • English IPA (homebrewed in collaboration with two NAH members in maybe 2010? either way Instagram was new as it’s when I took the picture they still use as their Twitter avatar)

The conclusion I’ve drawn: I need to drink this beer. Pretty much all of it. Right the hell now.

The problem, or I suppose “problem”, is that I don’t drink very much. I like not being an alcoholic! But, much like my reading list, which has grown by at least two or three books that I’ve purchased since I started the book at the top, I need to clear out my damn backlog.

If I can find a way to make it interesting a followup will ensue. Otherwise, well, assume I took care of it. And drink the beer you have.

  1. I tried the other remaining bottle of it last night, just to see, and, well, yes. Not good. 

  2. My brother in law bought this, then left it in the fridge of my sister in law when he moved to Oneonta. Then he moved to Cooperstown. Then at least two years have passed with him in Cooperstown. In case you wondered how old a bottle of Framboise could get. 

  3. I brewed this in summer of 2009 as a clone of Westvleteren Quad for a mini competition. Except I somehow forgot to repitch yeast when bottling it so it ended up still. I’ve only had a few bottles of it, and liked it, except it came out still. I made it the summer before my son was born and wanted to age some for him, so, y’know.