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Cellaring alcohol is no longer the exclusive right of the wine lover. The ever-increasing masses of beer enthusiasts are dedicating more and more room in the backs of their closets for aging cherished bottles.
But as with wine, not all beers were built to store. If you're curious to taste the benefits of aging for certain craft beers, "Dr." Bill Sysak is a resource worth consulting. As Stone Brewing Co.'s craft beer ambassador, Sysak can be most often found at festivals and events around Southern California sharing his wide knowledge. He's also the proud owner of one of the most comprehensive beer cellars on the planet: upwards of 2,500 bottles, some extending back half a century.

So how do you decide which beers are worth cellaring and which ones should be drunk now?

"You want to look for beers that are 8 percent ABV or stronger, preferably bottle-conditioned, the darker the better," says Sysak. "There are exceptions, of course. Unique sour beers, for example, are fabulous [for aging]."
Belgians have been producing bottle-conditioned offerings for as long as beer has been bottled, taking already complex beers and finishing them off with an additional round of yeast and sugar before sealing. Both sweet and sour Belgian-style ales are designed to evolve as they age.

West Coast IPAs, on the other hand, are one beer style that should never be aged. Stuffed with bitter acids that begin disintegrating immediately upon bottling, the very characteristics that make these beers great fade quickly. IPAs, as well as pale ales, pilsners and most other common styles, should be consumed in short order.

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