Aging Brews! Here we go

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by LouDogg114, Jan 8, 2013.

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  1. LouDogg114

    LouDogg114 Aspirant (283) Jan 1, 2012 Georgia

    So i've decided to pop my brew aging cherry today. I put aside a Terrapin WnB, Brooklyn Black Chocolate and GD Yeti to age for, i'm thinking about 6-12 months. Pretty excited to taste the end results as i know what they all taste like fresh. I seriously feel like i can hear the beers calling my name tho, haha.
    Any suggestions from previous experience on other good brews to age?
  2. Oneinchaway

    Oneinchaway Initiate (120) Jun 12, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    Dogfish 120 for sure.
  3. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (4,793) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

  4. Dtrain4

    Dtrain4 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2012 New York

    Most barrel aged, high ABVs are very good to age
  5. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    Hopslam and Celebration.
    Providence likes this.
  6. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    Honestly, very few beers improve with age. A small amount maintain their quality while simply changing a bit. There will be a few that will drop off slightly but are still very enjoyable. The majority of beers will decline greatly, they may still be worth drinking but they will never measure up to what they once were.

    Give me Expedition and Third Coast Old Ale any day. Samichlaus and Bigfoot are champs too. There are others but my personal list of cellarable beers is very slim.
  7. PsilohsaiBiN

    PsilohsaiBiN Defender (614) Aug 10, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    Heineken and Stella, just the bottles though.
    brewtus likes this.
  8. UshertheravenIPA

    UshertheravenIPA Initiate (0) Dec 1, 2010 New Jersey

    Stone RIS is a champion along with some other imperials 8% or higher. IPAs aren't great with age as the hops drop out fast. 120 is an exception as it's built for aging.
  9. Brunite

    Brunite Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2009 Illinois

    Pliny the Grandparent? stated earlier above...high abv Imperial Stouts are my choice. Sitting on a nice stash of BCBS for future tastings.
    beertunes likes this.
  10. TKEbeerman

    TKEbeerman Zealot (544) Jun 6, 2009 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I dont think this is an accurate statement at all. There are many beers that can improve with age. Can you clarify if you meant beers, or beer styles?
  11. LouDogg114

    LouDogg114 Aspirant (283) Jan 1, 2012 Georgia

    I've read that hop heavy beers don't age well. That's why I stuck with the higher ABV stouts. Usually when its cold I tend to drink a lot more stouts, so there are more in my beer fridge. I'll start getting back into my Dipa when it warms up a little more. Although I do have a Hopslam sixer on reserve at my local beer spot. Can't wait for that one.
    I've been trying to get my hands on a Pliny or anything from FFF, but they are just not available in Georgia. Is there anyway for me to find out what areas Russian River or FFF are available?
  12. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (4,793) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I agree with Kzoobrew. They change, certainly, and the changes can be interesting, but I find they seldom actually improve. It does happen though, and there's nothing wrong with aging some stuff. Grab some North Coast Old Stock Ale, that beer ages very nicely indeed. I still prefer them fresh, but it's fun to do side by side tastings sometimes.
  13. PsilohsaiBiN

    PsilohsaiBiN Defender (614) Aug 10, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    120, Fort, Olde School and Immort
    oh yea and WWS
    dogphishead likes this.
  14. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    I meant exactly what I said. Even with "cellarable" styles, very few beers honestly improve. The percentage of beers worth cellaring in these styles is rather small. A hell of a lot of Imperial Stouts, Barleywines, Quads and so on drop off and never get better. Aging by style may be a decent rule of thumb but it is terribly misleading.

    Let's not confuse changing with improving. All beers change, very few improve. Do not fall into the trap of romanticizing cellaring.
  15. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poo-Bah (1,807) Feb 23, 2012 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    [quote="LouDogg114, post: 810886,] I put aside a Terrapin WnB, Brooklyn Black Chocolate and GD Yeti to age for, i'm thinking about 6-12 months.?[/quote]

    6-12 months?
    I don't call that aging. I call that buying 2 cases so I can drink it all year long.
    LouDogg114 likes this.
  16. fujindemon74

    fujindemon74 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I said this the other day in a BCBS thread...

    Time does not guarantee improvement, just difference.
    Those differences can often, but not universally, be described as improvements.
    beertunes likes this.
  17. ShogoKawada

    ShogoKawada Meyvn (1,247) May 31, 2009 Pennsylvania


    age these beers.

    Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
    Anchor Old Foghorn
    North Coast Old Stock
    Dogfish Head World Wide Stout (5 years plz)

    other protip: put aside a good amount of whatever you choose and drink as you go. No sense aging one bottle 3 years if it peaks at 2 or 6 or whatever. Drink one every 6 months. Find a few aged favorites and invest heavily. Cellars with one-offs aren't any fun.
    mcritchi likes this.
  18. SteelersX

    SteelersX Disciple (374) Jan 30, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    I agree 100% many many beers improve. Some beers are just bad fresh and need to age. (Bolt Cutter)
    And the OP didn't ask for opinions on whether or not to age but what to age.

    Yeti is a decent choice
    Founders imp stout is amazing and old curmudgeon gets better with every passing year.
    fujindemon74 likes this.
  19. SteelersX

    SteelersX Disciple (374) Jan 30, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    Or lateral but equally enjoyable changes. This is part of the fun of aging.
  20. LouDogg114

    LouDogg114 Aspirant (283) Jan 1, 2012 Georgia

    Thanks for the tips! I've been drinking craft/specialty beers for a good bit now and love it. I keep reading about people aging these lovely brews in the forums and thought it would be a fun experiment. Honestly I have no problem with continuing to just enjoy them fresh!
  21. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    The OP did ask for suggestions from previous experiences, that is what I gave. I do think there is value to aging for curiosity sake, this is how you learn, grow and develop. I just don't feel it is doing a service to anyone to talk about aging in the overly romanticized fashion many people speak of it. Many, many beers age well but they are still a very small percentage of what people try to age. This is not gospel, just my opinion.
    Thorpe429 and beertunes like this.
  22. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Initiate (0) Nov 21, 2012 Oregon

    It all depends on the reason you're aging. I disagree that very few beers will get better with age. Sure if you take into account all beers than yes it is a very small minority, but if you follow some pretty basic guidelines and only age beers that fit those guidelines than you can be pretty safe. It's not just about style and ABV though, you need to know more about beer if you plan on being relatively successful with your aging program. So for instance a good reason to age something may be that fresh it has an overwhelming bozzieness that you may want to attempt to mellow out, or maybe you want the hop character to fade out, or maybe there is a flavor that is overwhelming some of the more subtle notes in the beer that you want to give the beer time to mature and highlight a more complex flavor profile. Taste is extremely subjective so to say a beer didn't improve with age is simply a matter of opinion. Age for a reason and you'll have a really good chance that you'll be happy with your decision.
    beercanman and LouDogg114 like this.
  23. founder26

    founder26 Initiate (0) Sep 9, 2009 Michigan

  24. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    I support your assessment here and feel it offers some valuable insight. I guess I will play devils advocate again and offer a counter point.

    For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. -Bal Barleywines come to mind. Many people like to age them to help settle the heat and bozziness. While time will help the heat, you often lose some of the other very enjoyable qualities of the beer. The warm malt qualities will tend to meld together, creating something enjoyable but not nearly as interesting.

    Aging does come down to personal preference. Realize there will be disappointment possibly more often than success. Take each experience as a learning opportunity and develop your own opinion from there.
    beertunes and AxesandAnchors like this.
  25. SteelersX

    SteelersX Disciple (374) Jan 30, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    I think that many people "romanticize" about it because it is enjoyable and eye opening. In fact, more fun than running down to the local pub and ticking every beer on the taplist. The fact that so many think it is a great way to enjoy the hobby and so few people constantly point out that aging is not beneficial speaks for itself.

    fujindemon74 likes this.
  26. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Initiate (154) Jun 7, 2005 New York

    Is that so?

    So it's ready to drink now that it's been out for all of two months?

    I think that most would argue this point. Do you realize how many beer goons immediately throw bottles in their cellar that they've never even tried before? Imagine all of those singular King Henry's languishing in countless "cellars" because they don't have the -bals to open up their one and only. Imagine the disappointment.

    Is that type of experience really all that more fun than opening yourself to the opportunity of sampling countless beers within a limitless spectrum of styles in a setting where they're intended to be enjoyed right this very moment? I don't think there's anything even remotely exciting about waiting.

    Aging is only beneficial if you're looking for a very specific quality and outcome....and these respective environments aren't so meticulously controlled that you could effectively guarantee any sort of positive outcome. Cellaring is a clumsy component of an otherwise simple "hobby".
  27. Thickfreakness

    Thickfreakness Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2010 New York

    DFH WWS/120/Palo Santo/Burton Baton/Olde School/Hellhound (I couldn't believe it either)
    GD Yeti/Old Ruffian
    Southern Tier Choklat/Oat/Backburner
    Weyerbacher Insanity/Tiny/Blithering Idiot
    Brooklyn BCS/Monster
    Founders Backwoods Bastard/Imperial Stout
    J.W. Lee's
    Love some Saisons with a couple years on them.
  28. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (3,612) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    These are the beers that I seek out every year specifically to stick in the cellar. Most of these are beers that I enjoy fresh, but turn into something fine & elegant in time:

    The Abyss
    Black Butte Anniversary Beers
    Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
    Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout
    Hunahpu's (yes, haters, Huna!)
    Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout
    Plead the 5th
    Surly Five (one off, obviously)
    Weyerbacher Anniversary Beers (XII & XII were amazing with time, I have similar hopes for XVI)
    Mother of All Storms

    Some experiments that have NOT turned out well for me:

    Expedition Stout (although I know a lot of people like to age this one, turned too fruity for me)
    Bigfoot (blech, just blech, although again I'm sure I'm in the minority)
    FiftyFifty Barrel-Aged Eclipse (the special qualities really fade)
    Kuhnhenn BBBW (amazing fresh, oxidizes quickly)

    Don't listen to the "do not cellar" crowd. If you have the time, money, & patience, it is fun to stick beers in the cellar & see what develops.

    The key is discipline. Don't just start stockpiling things because you're trading or buying faster than you can drink. After a year or two, start popping bottles & find out what's working for you or not...for example, I've found that I'm extraordinarily sensitive to oxidation, so any beer that starts to oxidize (like Bigfoot) gets that beer instantly banished from my cellar.

    If you can be disciplined & keep good track, either in your head or written down, of what you dig & why, in a couple years you'll have a good idea of what you want to buy every year to consume & what you want to stick in the cellar.

    Good luck!
  29. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Initiate (154) Jun 7, 2005 New York

    I've had quite the opposite experience with these. Depending on the vintage, I've found that most bottles I've opened have almost been frozen in time (save for the 2005 which suffered infection issues...but that vintage was an aberration anyway).

    My tasting group has been opening at least one bottle every month for the past 3 years and have found older vintages (i.e. the 2008 and 2009) to be consistently enjoyable and highly preferable over the 2011 and to a lesser degree, 2010 (several full vertical results would back this up).

    I stand by the assertion that the 2009 vintage remains to be one of the most remarkable barrel-aged barleywines...regardless of age.

    Now, I don't expect it to remain that way forever.....but to me, it's shown no signs of going downhill anytime soon.
  30. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (3,612) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Interesting. I just popped open my last 2010 this weekend & it was a sad shell of its former self. Still good, but not the mind-blowing experience that they were fresh. I've heard second-hand stories about how Kuhnhenn bottles their beers, & have had massive bottle variation myself in their perhaps I was just unlucky.

    On the positive side, I have one more 2009, so I'll be looking forward to that!
  31. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Initiate (154) Jun 7, 2005 New York

    Without hesitation, I will definitely agree that 2010 is not as good as it once was. Though, I've always found it to be the exception for whatever reason (bumped-up ABV, thinner body, etc). Not that I'd throw it out of bed or anything.....I would instantly choose it over just about another other barleywine that I can think of.

    Glad to hear there's at least one 2009 still out there!
  32. SteelersX

    SteelersX Disciple (374) Jan 30, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    These are not good arguments

    A. There is a difference between a collector and someone who ages the beer to drink. I age the beer and make comparisons. 10 years from now King Henry will be sought out by many and I am willing to bet that it will still be a very enjoyable drink. In fact I'm sure I will see the word "sublime" thrown around. Only time will tell, not speculation.

    B. For me, there is no waiting. I can go into my cellar and try something anytime, any night of the week, any day of the year. I have multiple bottles of countless beers from many breweries. There is a place for ticking and if that is your hobby then more power to you. I just don't get the 1 oz sample then post to twitter. then another 1 oz sample and another post to twitter and so on and on and on and on. Certain people on this site will have so many posts to twitter in one day I wonder how they are still alive after all the beer they just drank. Again, If thats your thing, then have at it.

    C. "Aging is only beneficial if you're looking for a very specific quality and outcome"
    If anyone had any idea of the outcome and knew exactly what was going to happen with every experiment, then what would be the point?? I'm sure you wouldn't be dissapointed to have a Dave pulled out of a cellar to share. It could end up tasting like a mix of soy sauce and swamp water but I bet you would enjoy finding out.
    Sure the hobby of drinking beer is simple if thats all you make of it. My hobby is a little more complex and enjoyable in my opinion.

    I think what bugs me the most is when people come out and state what is nothing more than one persons opinion as fact.
  33. SteelersX

    SteelersX Disciple (374) Jan 30, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    I think 2010 suffered from barrel/bottle variation,
    I still crack some that are bourbon bombs and others that have much less bourbon character.
    This one is a crap shoot but I'm not convinced that it was the aging that is the only variation here.
    I think there is a large bottle to bottle variation with this vintage.
  34. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Initiate (154) Jun 7, 2005 New York

    A phrase like "only time will tell" is absolutely teeming with speculation. 10 years isn't even really that old for a beer. Talk to me in 20 years then we can talk about how amazing King Henry was upon release. And what exactly are you going to compare this 10 year old King Henry to? A 9 year old King Henry? Makes no sense.

    Ticking is not my "thing", but suggesting, as you have, that the act of cellaring is more fun than simply trying new beers is incredibly misguided and entirely misses the point of the craft beer hobby. Cellaring is a niche within a niche, at best. Trying new beers is the soul of advocacy (I cringed while typing that last sentence, but I stand by it).

    Really? There's been no evidence up to this point of what could potentially happen to a beer over an extended period of time? Have we only just now reached the point where our technology is advanced enough that we can finally begin to properly understand the implications of allowing a beer to get old?

    And Dave? Really? That's the best you could do? Ask me if I would enjoy someone pulling out an old FBS that's been orphaned from their long-gone 4pk from 6 years ago. Yeah, I don't want that. There's nothing complex about putting beers in a room and ignoring them for an indeterminate amount of time.

    Also, the types of beers that are being thrown around the cellaring forum are all too new for us to truly understand the implications of extended aging. They're all amplified and exaggerated beyond their stylistic properties as it is....they aren't classic by any means and lack enough subtlety to appreciate what's underneath. Bolt Cutter is a great example. Everyone who thinks it's undrinkable now seems entirely convinced that a little time will make it significantly better. Garbage in, garbage out. Simple as that.

    The only old beers that I'm interested in are those that are well before my time and are enjoyed within an historical context. Sure, anyone new to the act of cellaring may see it as a new and exciting world, but that dies off pretty quickly once you realize that most of your favorite beers simply become shadows of their former selves after a while.
    LarryAppleton likes this.
  35. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Initiate (154) Jun 7, 2005 New York

    That may very well be the case.....and while I'm not one to put too much stock into Kuhnhenn's methods of measurement, the adjustment in ABV suggests a shift in the recipe/brewing process. The only thing that I've found particularly consistent about this vintage is that it has always paled in comparison to just about every other vintage in a vertical lineup.
  36. zipper8650

    zipper8650 Initiate (0) May 10, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    I am opening a 5 year Brooklyn vertical soon, I will let you know what I thought of how it ages.
  37. SteelersX

    SteelersX Disciple (374) Jan 30, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    There are only 2 comments in your long winded post are above that worth commenting on.

    You know from experience and from aging that FBS isnt good with time on it.
    We also learned that hops fade with age but in some beers that is not a bad thing. Expedition and Founders imperial stout come to mind. How do we know this?? through the experimantation and hobby of cellaring beers.
    Call it a niche - who cares.

    Bolt cutter is a great example. Horrible fresh. May or may not get better with age. You don't know.
    Garbage in, Garbage out?? Fresh Thomas Hardy's ale blows fresh. Now my 70s vintage bottles. Yum.

    I try all of my beers fresh and some never hit the cellar. Too damn good. but my Kuhnhenns Barrel aged solar eclipse are going down there for a few years at least. yes I drank a couple fresh.

    I'll end this here.
    After seeing all your other posts in all the other threads, I see you argue just for the sake of arguing.
    Isnt there an internet term for that? :astonished:
  38. SteelersX

    SteelersX Disciple (374) Jan 30, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    I for one would love to hear about the experience.
  39. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Initiate (154) Jun 7, 2005 New York

    There's no such thing as fresh Thomas Hardy's.....discredited.
  40. SteelersX

    SteelersX Disciple (374) Jan 30, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    Mine was fresh in 2008.
    I guess I have been doing this longer than you -
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