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IPAs/DIPAs with decent shelf life

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by LCB_Hostage, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. I'm definitely not a zealot when it comes to having to drink beer with 30 seconds of it rolling off the bottling line, but I will concede that IPAs in particular can suffer over time. That said, I have a case of Racer 5 I've been working my way through for 3-4 months now. With all the other great IPAs in my fridge, it's taking me longer than I'd anticipated, but I have to say, time doesn't seem to have caught up to these beers yet. I opened one last night and it was still fresh, tasty and refreshing. I've noticed that Bear Republic's Hop Rod Rye seems to hold up well, also. Other IPAs/DIPAs that seem to stand the test of time (IMO), including Smuttynose Finest Kind, Stone's Ruination, Green Flash West Coast IPA and Palate Wrecker, Victory Hopwallop and Lagunitas Maximus.

    On the other side of the ledger, from my experience, are Flower Power, Union Jack and Double Jack, SN Torpedo and especially Hoptimum, Centenial, Sculpan and Deviant Dales (probably the most noticeable drop off of any I've listed).

    Anyone else want to offer their personal observations? Any explanations (different types of hops, brewing process, etc.)
     
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  2. Momar42

    Momar42 Savant (360) Maryland Sep 19, 2010

    Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree is fantastic with over a year on it. Becomes a DIPA/BW liquid delight.
     
    DyingBreed likes this.
  3. In your post I definitely agree that Flower Power, Union Jack and Sculpin ‘fall of the cliff’ in a relatively short period of time.

    In my opinion, several of the Sierra Nevada hoppy beers seem to hold up well. In particular, I think that SNPA and Celebration Ale are still fairly tasty beers even with 3-5 months of age on them (I don’t have much experience with Torpedo in this regard).

    It was asked: “Any explanations (different types of hops, brewing process, etc.)” I have a theory that IPAs/DIPAs who rely on dry hopping to ‘define’ their flavors are the beers that experience the most hop fade in the shortest period of time.

    The other aspect that effects how long a hoppy beer like an IPA/DIPA holds up is how well the beer is packaged; you want minimal oxygen ingress during the bottling or canning operation. Part of hop fading is an oxidation process so if the brewery has a ‘top of the line’ canning/bottling line, which introduces minimal oxygen into the package, the slower the oxidation processes will occur and slower hop fade.

    Cheers!
     
    rgfellow likes this.
  4. Yeah, I've really noticed that Hop Wallop does a good job of not deteriorating into nothing after a length of time. Not sure it can go a year and still be good, but I've had a 6 month bottle that I really liked.

    Hop Wallop is bottle conditioned - maybe that has something to do with it?
     
    GardenWaters likes this.
  5. ChanChan

    ChanChan Advocate (565) California Dec 12, 2009

    Kern River Citra is King for me with 5+ months on it! I have yet to have one I didn't truly enjoy!!
    Lagunitas Sucks. Has held up pretty well for the past 3-4 months, I still find it tastier than most other IPA's!!
     
    2Xmd likes this.
  6. Thanks Jack. Both of your points make a lot of sense. We'd all like to believe that every brewer has the resources and the know-how to execute something like their bottling operation flawlessly, but the truth is probably far different. And I agree that the nose on dry-hopped beers definitely tends to fade quickly, which of course has a noticeable effect on the beer in general.
     
  7. I did not realize that Hop Wallop was bottle conditioned. Bottle Conditioning does indeed help a beer resist staling. The presence of the yeast in the bottle scavenges oxygen as part of the bottle conditioning process. Less oxygen present means that oxidation is minimized and consequently hop fading is minimized.

    Cheers!
     
    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  8. Mikecap

    Mikecap Advocate (715) Rhode Island May 18, 2012

    I definitely agree that Smutty and Ruination (two of my favorites) can withstand a few months without losing any of their great taste. I often buy way too much torpedo when and goes on sale and find that it can hold up pretty well too. 90 minute and Southern Tier 2X IPA hold up pretty well also.
     
  9. Bonis

    Bonis Savant (410) Ohio Jul 28, 2010

    Columbus IPA

    I believe the malt bill plays a role in addition to hop additions and bottle conditioning. I think IPAs which rely on added sugars to boost alcohol levels will not hold up as well as IPAs which are all malt. Just a personal theory. I would also think that higher doses of flavor hops will help an IPA's shelf life as well, but this may also contribute to vegetal flavors in the long run.
     
  10. Def 90 min.
     
  11. “ …know-how to execute something like their bottling operation flawlessly…” Well, it is often a matter of economics vs. knowledge. For example, Victory made a business decision to buy a state of the art Krones bottling line which has the feature that it performs a double evacuation of the bottles with CO2. Purging the bottles twice with CO2 greatly displaces the air (oxygen) so the next result is a very small amount of residual oxygen in the bottles.

    Even with this super-duper bottling line, Victory has a fairly short best by timeframe for their core beers: 5 months for Prima Pils, Lager, HopDevil. Headwaters, etc.

    I am not in the beer industry but I am sure that the Krones bottling line that Victory purchased costs a ‘pretty penny’. Other breweries may not have the money to purchase a bottling line like that or they simply make the business decision that it is not worth it to them.

    Brewing is a business at the end of the day.

    Cheers!
     
  12. Right. Which is why I specified "resources and know-how." I fully recognize that many smaller breweries are operating on a shoestring as they struggle to grow. As, such I'm prepared to cut them some slack, particularly when they provide the service of adding "best by" dates to their products. Brewers who take that step, knowing that it might cost them sales and result in returned product, earn my respect. They're taking a long-term approach of attempting to keep customers happy with their products instead of trying to sell every bottle that rolls off the line, even if it's past its prime. That, to me, is good business.
     
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  13. DaKur

    DaKur Savant (400) Rhode Island Nov 15, 2012

    Hoptimum tasted awesome at 1 year old.
     
    DrDaves49 and Cubatobaco like this.
  14. claaark13

    claaark13 Advocate (645) Indiana Nov 29, 2007

    Out of the bottle, I actually think Two Hearted is best around the 1-month mark, and can last with good flavors at/beyond month #2. I'm very critical about my IPAs being fresh, so I'm always surprised that it seems to hold up so well. I've probably bought Bell's their entire Black Note barrel supply through Two Hearted sales over the past couple years.
     
    tectactoe likes this.
  15. legend8706

    legend8706 Savant (335) Virginia Oct 31, 2012

    Abrasive for sure. Had one recently that was canned in February and with 4+ months on it, it was still superb!
     
  16. 2Xmd

    2Xmd Advocate (570) New York Apr 19, 2013

    Just had a Sucks from January and it was just as good as I remembered.
     
    ChanChan likes this.
  17. PlayaPlaya

    PlayaPlaya Savant (285) Illinois Sep 19, 2012

    Lake Eerie Monster - First time I had it, I thought the "Best By" date on the bottle was the bottling date....
    I took it home, popped it open and thought it was one of the best beers I've ever had...I then carefully read the label to see the "Best By" date passed nearly 2 months ago......

    It is also bottle conditioned, which probably is quite a good chunk of the reason it holds up so well.....
     
  18. Are you aware that Bell’s states that Two Hearted has a best by timeframe of 6 months?

    Cheers!
     
  19. I agree Double Jack drops off. I had one recently that was bottled in march and thought it was ok. Felt like it lost a little something. Jai Alai also loses some of its hop bite after a couple months.
     
  20. claaark13

    claaark13 Advocate (645) Indiana Nov 29, 2007

    I'm not, but I am aware that it tastes sorta shitty after 4-5 months compared to 1-2.
     
  21. A BIG +1 to: “I am aware that it tastes sorta shitty after 4-5 months compared to 1-2.”

    Why Bell’s lists a best by timeframe of 6 months for Two Hearted is a travesty.

    Cheers!
     
  22. Torpedo
     
    Dools9 and checktherhyme like this.
  23. aging hoppy beers is a rookie mistake.
     
    Geuzedad likes this.
  24. Thanks, coach! I guess I go take a couple laps. then I'll go home and binge drink the 50+ or so IPAs in my fridge tonight.
     
  25. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (835) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    After the DIPA's fall off, just leave them a while and they'll turn into barleywine.
     
    highdesertdrinker and Geuzedad like this.
  26. I had the opposite experience. Bottles I picked up a 2-3 weeks ago have already lost a lot of hop aroma. They still taste pretty good, but it's not the full experience. I was kind of surprised how quickly they started to tail off. (All are still well within their drink-by dates)
     
    cfaulman likes this.
  27. I suspect that you are experiencing the hop fade of the dry hops. Below is from the Sierra Nevada website for Hoptimum:

    “Hoptimum® Imperial IPA

    A whole-cone hurricane of flavor.

    Hoptimum is a hurricane of whole-cone hop flavor. Hopped, dry hopped and torpedoed for incredible hop flavor and complexity, Hoptimum is the pinnacle of whole-cone hoppiness and the biggest Imperial IPA we have ever produced. It features resinous hop varieties: Magnum, Chinook, Simcoe and a new experimental hop variety exclusive to Sierra Nevada. With intense hop flavors and aromas of grapefruit rind, pine, herbs and tropical fruit, Hoptimum is an aggressive drinking experience. Originally created as part of our Beer Camp program, Hoptimum throws down the gauntlet to all other IPAs.

    Dry Hops

    We work hard to get strong hop flavors into our beers and one of the ways we do that is through dry hopping. Dry hopping refers to the addition of whole-cone hops to the fermentation tanks. The addition of hops to cold beer allows the aromatic oils and resins to infuse the beer with flavor and aroma without adding any additional bitterness.”

    Cheers!
     
  28. I had a Port Mongo that was a year and a half old. It had been refrigerated for at least part of that time, but still, it tasted like it was maybe a month old tops.
     
    Geuzedad likes this.
  29. hey, at least they're in the fridge.lol.
     
  30. beercanman

    beercanman Savant (485) Ohio Dec 17, 2012

    Sierra Nevada beers hold up well. I actually age celebration. Spectacular with a year on it
     
    chimneyjim and DrDaves49 like this.
  31. Geuzedad

    Geuzedad Savant (485) Arizona Nov 14, 2010

    I will admit Celebration did hold up well. I found one that had gotten shoved to the back of the fridge in April and it still tasted rather good although it did not have the same hop profile it did fresh. But with that being said it was definitely not a Malt bomb.
     
    DrDaves49 likes this.
  32. Dupage25

    Dupage25 Savant (355) Antarctica Jul 4, 2013

    Every single Sierra Nevada beer I have had at one year old has tasted almost exactly the same as it did fresh. These beers are Bigfoot (let's be honest, it's a DIPA when fresh), XXX Jack and Ken's Black Barleywine, and XXX Grand Cru. In the case of the Grand Cru, it didn't taste almost the same: it looked, smelled, tasted, and felt the exact same. Certain sections of my cellar notes turned out to be verbatim to my fresh notes when I compared them afterward. I've had bottles of Bigfoot that tasted a bit "off" around that time frame, but these were bottles whose storage conditions I could not account for. And every once in a while, there will be someone in the cellar forum who makes a comment like "I just had a 3/5/10 year old Bigfoot and it still tasted hoppy."

    I have no clue how to read Sierra's bottle dates, I only know those ones above because they are/were seasonal or one-offs. That being said, in the six years of solely craft and eight years of mostly craft that I have been drinking beer, I have never had a "stale" bottle of anything from Sierra Nevada, ever. Not the Pale, not the Stout, not the Porter, not the Kellerweis, not the Torpedo. I've had bottles of the Pale that were in the middle of the town of Furnace Creek, Death Valley, at the incredible price of $15 a six-pack---due to the remoteness of the place. At that price, and in that location, it's unlikely they were fresh---and if they weren't stored in a fridge the whole time, they likely endured at least a few weeks of valley's 110F-plus temperatures. I have had bottles of the Pale that sat in my parent's garage throughout the entirety of a hot summer with daily average temperatures of 90F. Different? Maybe a little. Still hoppy? Yes.

    So yeah, my bet: anything from Sierra Nevada. ANYTHING.
     
    DrDaves49 likes this.
  33. what did I tell you people. aging or waiting to drink hop forward beers is a mistake. a rookie mistake. celebration is a fresh hop ale. FRESH HOP. not put in the cellar and age. c'mon people. lol.
     
  34. Dupage25

    Dupage25 Savant (355) Antarctica Jul 4, 2013


    Except that particular beer is mentioned almost every winter as doing pretty well with a few years on it, by people with virtually the exact same opinion as you. I've never tried it, but it's mentioned all the time. There is more to the argument than simply "hops fade, drink now, always."

    Sierra has, if I'm not mistaken, a proprietary type of seal on the underside of their bottle caps. They also use nothing but whole-cone hops. They also probably have the best method and/or equipment for minimizing oxygen exposure, as even 20 year old bottles of Bigfoot (from before they used their current bottle caps) often have little to no bad oxidation. They've also been doing hoppy American beers on a larger scale for a longer time than any other brewery in the world, have a proprietary way of feeding hops into the beer (torpedoing), are more prone to early-boil hopping than most breweries, and also have a very particular water source that's seemingly a lot harder than most breweries. And from what I've been told, they also tend to ship their beer in refrigerated trucks.

    There's a lot of factors at play beyond the usual stale arguments about why hoppy beers are seriously degraded within minutes of getting off the bottling line.
     
  35. To re-enforce what Dupage25 posted about Sierra Nevada:

    · They do indeed use ‘special’ crown linings for their bottle caps to minimize the effects of oxidation (oxygen ingress under the cap liner)

    · I am sure that Sierra Nevada has a ‘top of the line’ bottling & canning lines to minimize dissolved oxygen in the bottles/cans.

    · For the majority of their beers they are not ‘dependent’ on dry hopping to achieve their flavor profiles

    Shipping beer cold is certainly a good practice but in the overall distribution chain of the beer the shipping aspect is minor; maybe the beers shipped to the east coast were in refrigerated trucks (or refrigerated train cars) for a week? Most breweries ‘request’ that the wholesale distributors store their beers cool (refrigerated); not all wholesale distributors have the ability/capacity to refrigerate all of the product they handle.

    I have no comment as regards whole hops vs. pellet hops and their water as regards to beers resisting going stale. I have never read anything that leads me to believe these are big factors in preserving beer (hop) flavor.

    Cheers!
     
    Dupage25 likes this.
  36. A trend I've noticed. The top IPA/double IPAs anecdotally "fall off a cliff" after 4 - 6 weeks, while the second tier of IPAs/double IPAs seem to hold their peak a bit longer, 3 - 5 months.

    Examples of top IPA/double IPAs: Sculpin, Heady Topper, Pliny the Elder, Enjoy By (Enjoy By is an easy one, I believe the best by date is 6 weeks out from bottling)

    Examles of the "second tier" IPAs/double IPAs: Celebration Ale, Racer 5, Stone Ruination (for comparison, Stone explains the reasoning for the "best by" mentioned above, and the reason Ruination is 3 months)
     
  37. Two-Hearted definitely falls off a cliff after about 3 months
     
  38. dar482

    dar482 Advocate (690) New York Mar 9, 2007

    I had the same batch. Freaking amazing stuff. Tasted super fresh to me.

    Just had a two month old Heady Topper, as a test. Tasted exactly the same, though looked a bit different.

    Green Flash Imperial IPA was phenomenal. Then realized it was from end of November last year. Tasted super fresh to me (though was fridged at the store as well).
     
  39. im not an advocate of older 2ipas but two that i had at about 80 days old that still tasted very good were
    DoubleTrouble
    Abrasive
     
  40. I picked up a bottle of torpedo in a mix/match last week. I think it was about 4/5 months old. I actually found it more enjoyable than a fresh bottle. I also have two bottles of Double Trouble left from a fresh 4pack that I have pushed to the back of the fridge for now . I'm thinking 6 months or until my palate recovers from the first two bottles. Total hopbomb for me.
     

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