Ageing Westvleteren 12?

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by BogBoyJD, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. BogBoyJD

    BogBoyJD Savant (365) Ireland Feb 1, 2012

    Got a couple of "brick" packs when they were out. One was going to be for my son's high school graduation. He's 6 months old. Am I a fool? Will it make it that long without flavour deterioration? Should I just drink away? Any thoughts, advice?
     
  2. Hanzo

    Hanzo Champion (965) Virginia Feb 27, 2012

    If properly stored I think Westy 12 would be quite drinkable that many years from now.
     
  3. BogBoyJD

    BogBoyJD Savant (365) Ireland Feb 1, 2012

    But will it last 17 and a half years?
     
  4. Hanzo

    Hanzo Champion (965) Virginia Feb 27, 2012

  5. Ol_Johnny_Skippelwicky

    Ol_Johnny_Skippelwicky Advocate (580) Minnesota Feb 13, 2013 Verified

    Just be one of those overbearing parents who pushes their kid way too hard and accepts nothing less than perfection, that way he'll graduate early and you won't have to worry about your beer being too old!
     
  6. tinypyramids

    tinypyramids Savant (490) Illinois Jul 19, 2012

    i had a little bit of a 1998 not too long ago. it was phenomenal.
     
    digita7693 likes this.
  7. I read somewhere that 15 years is it's sweet spot. I would absolutely age it for him. Good on you getting a few bricks. It took me all day on the phone and a few friends to get 2 in 2 different states. Everytime another mule got out it was gone.
    They've been brewing that stuff for DECADES. Google a bit, there's a lot out there.
     
  8. GRG1313

    GRG1313 Champion (985) California Jan 15, 2009 Verified Subscriber

    Chateau Lafite Rothschild; Chateau Mouton Rothschild; Chateau Haut-Brion; Chateau LaTour; Chateau Margaux;
    You might also want to consider Chateau Petrus and Chateau Cheval Blanc, among several others. (And, those are just the very tip of the Bordeaux ice-berg; we've not broached Burgundy, Rhones, Austrailians, Italians (I'd go with Gaja, Giacosa Reserva and some Rinaldi, but that's just me); and, a host of others! Again, this does not even consider the cult wines of California or the great wines of several other countries. THOSE, all of the above, are what one might want to purchase and put away for an infant.

    Beer? Great idea. Few people are more of a beer geek than me. However, I was actually just thinking about starting a thread that we should not try to make beer wine. Different animal completely, despite our desires to be collectors and hoarders and our wishes that aging beer will make it "better" and not just (as I believe) "different."

    I love beer and suspect that I've got a cellar larger than most. However, I just found two weeks ago that I'm going to be a grandfather for the first time. (Damn! How is that possible!!?? I'm going to make the kid call me "uncle!") I'd love to save him/her bottles of my desireable bottles of beer. I'll put aside some Duck Duck Gooze, some Isabelle, Cable Car, Russian Rivers, Cantillons, Fantomes, 3Fs, perhaps a few Black Tuesdays, etc. etc.

    No, respectfully, the immediate foregoing just aren't going to work. A reasonable person could only conclude that most, if not all, will be way over the hill and certainly not what the brewer intended. HOWEVER, perhaps in the case of the above mentioned wines, it will not only be a very interesting and different story in the drinking, but if the kid isn't a drinker I suspect it would be better than putting money in the bank at the current rates of interest!

    Just a summary of what could be a very long discussion! I'm sure others will provide most meaningful responses. Just my opinion.
     
    CowsandBeer likes this.
  9. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    This is fortuitous timing, just last night I opened a 1997 Westvleteren 12 and it was delicious. It was 11/19/00, so only about 15.5 years, but I can't see any reason it wouldn't go longer. There was some oxidation and mustiness, but it served more to compliment the dark fruit flavors than detract. This is obviously not the same as aging your bottle for so long, but it's indicative. That bottle spent most of its life in a Belgian cellar, then the rest in my temperature-controlled wine fridge, and I'd definitely recommend going that route (rather than a closet, etc) if you want to age for 17 years.

    Most of those, will probably be over the hill, yeah, but I think 3F can go the distance as long as the cork holds up (which it should). I wouldn't be shocked if BT can do it too, but that obviously has less track record.

    Of course, you're right that the wines are proven to hold up that long.

    (Oh, and congrats on being a grandfather!)
     
    CowsandBeer likes this.
  10. I wonder if Westvleteren's will be available world-wide at some point in the next 17.5 years. I wouldn't be surprised. Also - you can get anytime, but it's just a little trickier.

    While I think the consensus is yes it is possible, I still think it's a risky move - especially to save a full six. I would save a pair perhaps, and drink the other four in intervals over that time. Westy is awesome but there are lots of options you can pick up a few years before graduation so they can be cellared to target ages.

    There are two other things to consider:
    - Westy's might not be the style of beer your son ends up liking best. Maybe he'll be more of an IPA guy, or sour guy, or Lambic guy. Or maybe he'll prefer a different spirit.
    - If he's just coming of age to drink, provided he didn't get into it "early" his palate is unlikely to react favourably to Westy 12. It's usually something people have to aquire a taste for through making their way up. This could add more years to the age of the beer by the time he's ready for them.

    I would save two, and then add in a couple other styles earmarked the cellar maybe once he's 10 or 12. Then you get a spread of styles and a spread of ages.
     
    RaphaelSC likes this.
  11. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    I have to imagine that this wouldn't be the kid's first drop of beer. I'd warrant that the children of BA's will have more sophisticated palates by the time they're 12 than most people ever develop.
     
    tx_beer_man likes this.
  12. Earlycsquid

    Earlycsquid Savant (410) California Jan 7, 2013 Verified

    nothing like encouraging drinking in minors for the sake of sophisticating their palate.
     
    RaphaelSC and CowsandBeer like this.
  13. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    It's perfectly legal (and in most societies, perfectly normal) for parents to give their kids alcohol in small amounts.
     
  14. tinypyramids

    tinypyramids Savant (490) Illinois Jul 19, 2012

    seriously, this. if/when i have a kid, i'll be the one to decide when said kid gets to drink, not some government bureaucrat.

    edit: hell, in many states, it's legal for under-21s to drink with their parents' permission in a private home. some states are even more liberal.
     
  15. Westvleteren 12 is usually best at two years.
     
    hooliganlife likes this.
  16. tx_beer_man

    tx_beer_man Savant (345) Texas Jan 22, 2013

    Oh he'll drink it...or else!
     
  17. I love the big W and love aging it but I guess it probably peaks around 5-6 years or so under fairly basic cellar conditions. (I would be more vague if I could fit more qualifiers into that sentence.) I had the end of a case get to up around 9 years and it was still rich and great, but not as complex or full-spectrum as a couple years before. And it appeared to have physically deteriorated a bit, with dark stuff precipitating out so it looked less like a brown beer and more like a pale beer darkened by a snow globe's worth of brown flakes. ALL THAT SAID, it can't hurt to keep one around for some milestone.

    I'd also add, let's not overdo the history. The beer as we know it today has been around only a couple decades -- my understanding is that the current brewery really only dates to when they took production back from St. Bernardus in the early '90s. So we actually have no really comparable experience, unlike the great premiers crus.
     
  18. HighLowJack

    HighLowJack Advocate (500) Massachusetts Jun 5, 2013 Verified

    I think OP is trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Perhaps try a Cantillon Gueze or better yet a fine wine intending to be aged for that long
     
    CowsandBeer and tx_beer_man like this.
  19. hooliganlife

    hooliganlife Advocate (665) Missouri Apr 12, 2007 Verified

    i had a 10 year old bottle from a proper cellar, it was garbage. absolutely disgusting.
     
  20. semibaked

    semibaked Advocate (720) Kentucky Mar 27, 2007 Verified

    I had a 15 year old bottle once, it was absolutely amazing.
     
  21. Agreed that there are better beers to take to 18-20 years, such as a good quality gueuze. There are some old ales which are known to go the distance, for instance HOTD Adam is drinking fantastically from the mid-90's right now.
     
  22. kojevergas

    kojevergas Champion (925) Finland Aug 15, 2010

    I drank a 1994 vintage Westvleteren 6 (i.e. not Westvleteren Blonde) in 2011 and that tasted like it was about 5 years past its peak. I think Westvleteren 12 could last (and improve) with 17 years or so on it. I wouldn't push 20, though.
     
  23. I'm not so sure on the BT. Aside from the fact that any barrel notes will be gone after that long, its only real analog that does have a track record is World Wide Stout. I've had one at 7 years that was noticeably oxidized. It was phenomenal in spite of that, but I don't picture those bottles being very drinkable after another decade. That's not to say BT can't go the distance, but I'd say it's iffy.