Beer year to year = vintage wine?

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by Trilogy31, Feb 17, 2013.

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  1. Trilogy31

    Trilogy31 Initiate (0) Jan 13, 2011 California

    I know its been touched on before yet I still don't know why all postings for a beer the maintains the same name yet varies year to year doesn't have seperate postings. For example, the bros reviewed Alpine's Pure Hoppiness in 03 (admitted the rdev is pretty spot on) but the beer they reviewed was contract brewed by Alesmith and was at 6.8% compared to the modern version brewed in Alpine and is at 8%abv. To me this is two distinctly different brews. Thoughts?
  2. Northlax3

    Northlax3 Initiate (85) Aug 19, 2012 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Yes, if batches are only produced once per year, there is a difference in taste in some brews that allow certain vintages to be better than others.

    Many things can influence a certain vintage, like growing season conditions for hops (like wine's grapes), changes to recipe, and even infections or slight variations in brewing technique (like temp of wort boil).
  3. erichall

    erichall Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2008 Kentucky

    I would say wine vintages are much more accurate. The weather throughout the year in certain regions gives winemakers a good idea on quality well before they pick the first grape.

    Until brewers are growing most of the ingredients, beer will be much more random.

    This is more good than bad. Brewers can make great beers no matter the year or growing conditions. If a certain hop has a bad year, don't use it.
  4. MasterCraft

    MasterCraft Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2012 Massachusetts

    I believe you mean mash temp. I think boiling temp for wort is going to be the same save for a few minor variances (sugar content, elevation, maybe mineral content in water?, etc..)
  5. MasterCraft

    MasterCraft Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2012 Massachusetts

    Generally speaking, grain and hops are much more consistent crops than wine grapes, and vinters are much more reliant on a good harvest for a good and somewhat consistant product. Wine is definitely the more 'random' of the two, for those reasons and more.

    Also, it doesn't make economic sense, nor is it realistic for craft brewers to be running farms as a side business.

    Regarding the OP's point: I agree, and I always appreciate when someone notes the vintage of the beer they're reviewing, as well as notes in the beer's profile that mention differences in the vintages.
    drtth likes this.
  6. IKR

    IKR Defender (613) May 25, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Deschutes Abyss is an example of a beer that for me should recognize vintages. 2010, and I believe almost all, if not all the previous years had at least 33% of the batch aged in Bourbon barrels with subsequent years having less than 10% barrel aged if I recall, and used other ingredients (cherry bark). Still tasty, but the difference is apparent and the change in brewing is noticeable to me. Noticeable brewing changes definitely need recognition of the vintage. Oh yeah, send all 2010 and before Abyss's to me for disposal :wink:
  7. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Aspirant (284) Jan 13, 2006 New Mexico

    Not only are grains more consistent but unless you grow it yourself your malt will be a blend of most growers in a region and whatever differences there may be in grain from different areas get averaged out. Wine grapes show tremendous variation in flavor and texture depending on the soils, sunshine, etc. In my wife's village in France the grapes grown on the hills have a more consistent water supply because of the soil and make lighter wines. The same grapes grown on the gravel slopes are water starved and make much more robust wine. Rainy years make lighter wines, dry years make heavier wines. The barley they grow in the area all goes into huge silos and is a mixture of everybody's grain.
    drtth likes this.
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