As a good beer drinker (to be interpreted as drinking good beer rather than well mannered) I have had an interest in aging beer. To many there is a notion that all beer gets better with age, so, therefore, set some aside, say a silent prayer and let's hope for the best. After an experiment or two you soon realize that is often not the case. Okay, so there must be some laws of nature that we can follow to gain better results. Of course, there are.
It was my stumbling on Patrick Dawson's book Vintage Beer that changed that for me. I've written about this book before and have since recommended it many times to fellow good beer drinkers.
While reading Vintage Beer: A Taster's Guide to Brews That Improve Over Time, I reached out to Patrick about his journaling of beers he has cellared. Some of the apps he had referenced in his book either did not suit my needs or had been abandoned by their creators. He told me he used the tried and true Excel spreadsheet method. Seeing no better option, I began to do the same. And while you can never go wrong with analog journaling — quick aside, I've been a dedicated all-things-digital person and have recently discovered the joy of a book style quarterly planner — the spreadsheet method just didn't capture my fancy. Too many times I needed access while in a bottle shop making critical purchase decisions and it proved simply too cumbersome.
Then while exploring deeper into the ubiquitous Untappd app, I discovered a grand feature that was either new or I simply overlooked — Lists. Untappd is an app that is widely used among beer enthusiasts and often my me, but the features continue to grow and those useful extensions somehow seem to slide by without my noticing. So while I was creating a list of beers in Untappd I wanted to explore while in Salt Lake City UT on a 2017 vacation, I had a revelation. I wondered if I could use this feature as a cellaring journal. Let me demonstrate through the steps below.
From your Untappd Profile page you will find Photos, Lists, Badges and Recent Activity. Along the right margin you will see NEW LIST. Choose this to begin setting up your Cellar List.
Create a New List
Here is a blank page to begin setting up your new list. Give it a name like Cellar or something memorable. You can decide if it can be viewed by the Public or made Private. Enter a Description if you like. Also, you have the option for additional items such as notes, photos, quantities, serving styles, etc. I have found these options to be very useful. You will learn why later. A great feature you may consider is to remove a beer from your list if you Check-it with it (aka drink it).
List of Lists
You can now see your new list among others that you have created. Here, you can see that I've created lists for certain beer styles, locations, a wish list, plus the Cellar list. I find the Wish List useful when exploring the beer shelves of a favorite bottle shop. I've found the location based List useful when planning a trip to a new city.
Add a Photo
You can add a photo of the beer to your List. I find this particularly useful if you have a large list of cellared beers over a number of years. Plus it just looks good.
After you have added a beer to your cellar list, tapping on an entry will display a wide range of information about your beer. Of course, the more information you enter for each beer, the more you have available for sorting and viewing when you need it.
Viewing a List
You can scroll through your Cellar beer list and perform a search using filters.
You can search/review you list by a variety of variables such as brewery, style, and country. Sort by Style and you can see how many of each style you have in your cellar. There are a number of permutations available. Play with it to discover your favorite.
As you drink beers in your Cellar List you can make notes on how the beer tasted and how well it developed during it’s cellaring time.
When you log a beer that is in your Cellar List, you will have the option to remove it. This keeps your Cellar List inventory current.
As long as Untappd is alive I believe I have my solution to keeping a viable cellaring journal. And the fact that it is housed within an application I use nearly everyday, that I can access from my pocket or desktop makes it better still. I will need to pay closer attention to Untappd revisions to keep a closer watch on how it’s utility progresses. If you are not familiar with Untappd list option, give it a shot. These are just some ways I've found useful. You may or have, already discovered other or similar methods to use this feature or a similar method to journal the beers you age. Give it a try!
So for now I’ve got to get back to logging in more of the beers I’ve put away for a better beer future. Cheers!