The art of aging beer is something for which I have very little patience. Jim and I make no bones about the fact that we don’t really age beers and that we think if beer is supposed to be aged that the brewers ought to age it before releasing them. Some do, most do not. That said we “accidentally” age beers sometimes. It’s kind of like accidentally on purpose for me. I just put them in the bunker and sometimes they make their way to the back of it and I know they are there, but there is other stuff I want to drink instead so there they sit. I have a few brews like this, and this weekend I cracked into one. My first “self aged” beer.
I’ve had aged beer on occasion before. I had a 2005 Schlafly something or other which tasted ok, but had an olive aftertaste that to me says it was over aged. And I’m sure Jim and I hit some aged stuff at the Rare Beer Tasting at GABF last year. So I get it, aging can smooth out some rough edges on a brew. So what was my first self aged beer?…
I had an ’09 Flying Dog K-9 Criuser Winter Ale. As you can see from the picture I also enjoyed it with an Alec Bradley Tempest Cigar. One reason I aged this beer was because I was afraid of it. First of all Scott reviewed it over at the Brew Club and didn’t really like it too much. He said it confused him and that he couldn’t really wrap his mind around what it said on the bottle and the web site vs what he was tasting in the glass. So Based on this review, and several others I read online I just kept passing it over.
Well then it was out of season and I didn’t want a Winter beer in the summer, so there it sat. Once this winter rolled around, I got really worried that it had skunked as it sat in my garage all summer. Lots of 80 and 90 degree days. So it sat some more, until about a month ago I brought it inside and put it in the fridge. Finally I mustered the courage to crack it open and try it a full 18 months after I purchased it.
It poured alright, no excessive carbonation that can be a sure sign of infection. It smelled ok, kind of malty, and very sweet raisiny scent. So far so good. Then I tasted it and…it was wonderful!
Roasty and full of sweet fruitiness, Plumbs, Raisins, hint of pineapple, and the over hopped flavor was gone, just a little pinyness on the finish. It was great. Nothing to be afraid of. So I am now a believer that aging beer is a good thing. It can really take an average brew to great places, if it is the right beer. Sorry no Hefs, Pils or IPAs allowed in the aged club! But a winter ale that is 18 months old?…I’m all in. My next accidentally aged beer will be my 2007 Pannepot Belgian Quad. Can’t wait!