Cellar Reviews (2020)

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by TheGent, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,167) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    First cellar review of the year and I'm not optimistic. Bamburana from Cigar City and Oscar Blues, canned in january of '19 so a couple weeks past 1 year old. I loved this thing fresh, wished I had grabbed more cans, then came across cans last summer and bought a 4-pack. Unfortunately this one seemed to fall off fast so I set this last can aside since I was already not enjoying the beer and figured I'd give it to the one year mark and reassess. And, well, here we are;
    On the pour it as lovely as ever, dark brown liquid holds a lovely cocoa colored head one or two fingers high that has tremendous staying power and leaves sticky lacing behind.
    The spiced and boozy aroma exploded into the room on the pour as well. Upon closer inspection I get chocolate and nutmeg as well as some bourbon spiked coffee. There is a slight stale/wet cardboard note lurking in the background but the aroma is still quite nice and quite similar to what I noted in my original review.
    Taste reveals that the collapse of earlier months wasn't just in my mind. A thin cinnamon note predominates over top of a chalky chocolate note like an old chocolate bar. Much of the complex spice and fruit character I adored in the fresh example has collapsed into a crass sort of cinnamon-y raisin thing.
    Mouthfeel is still there, nice and rich, hasn't thinned any.
    Overall it hasn't gotten any worse, and from my memory doesn't seem AS bad as I remember the last one being. I would put it at something like a 3.5 or 3.25 now. That's quite a fall from being one of my highest rated beers a year ago and one that I would have quickly named in my favorite beers of the year. Thus is the joy of aging though

    As an aside, I suspect that amburana is a tricky wood to work with for aging purposes. It can impart strong cinnamon like flavors that don't seem to fade well. However, I have also experienced a beer that it was incorporated into where they were able to pull crazy toasted coconut flavors out of the interaction of the malt and this wood so I do hope that it expands it's presence and we get to see more brewers play with it
    Glider, argock, DIM and 5 others like this.
  2. BalancingBrooms

    BalancingBrooms Champion (879) Aug 22, 2013 Illinois

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    Found this one in the back of the shelf of a small liquor store covered in dust last month.

    9/22/16 WWW. Poured jet black with minimal head. Nose is pretty hot with some plum mixed in there. Taste is vodka soaked plums up front that floats into a bit of roast and dark chocolate that ends with a hot chocolate cocoa. Ends with an alcohol warmth in the chest. Mouthfeel is medium. Never had this fresh so cant compare. Was a pretty cool beer for #1000, but honestly ive had better imperial stouts. Was a fun one though, glad i got to try it
  3. kemoarps

    kemoarps Poo-Bah (1,782) Apr 30, 2008 Washington
    Society Trader

    Drinking a trio of Fremont Dark Stars: '17, '18, '19.

    I really like Dark Star at baseline. Fresh I think it's a very very good basic oatmeal stout (a style of which I am quite fond). I'd always figured it would age quite gracefully, and today I am putting that to the test.

    (added bonus: I can see exactly when Fremont made their aesthetic switch. Personally I prefer the older style approach, but I certainly don't dislike the current approach, in fact I think in the absence of familiarity with the older style I'd still rate it quite highly. I just personally like the framed, more classic look of the 2017 and older better. Of course, as always with subjective matters, YMMV)

    Fresh, Dark Star is lush and chocolate and coffee. Basic oatmeal stout goodness, but the emphasis there should be on the goodness, not the basic. Stepping backwards in time, the chocolate and the coffee are less pronounced, and in creep more molasses and the licorice-like flavours. It also gets a little less pillowy and lush and gets a little more oily and thin. Additionally, the 2017 vintage (canned in January of 2017, so just over three years old), is juuuuust starting to show the very faintest signs of oxidation. Still tasty, still not crazy, but just a touch of it is there.
    I still like this at age, but similar to the Grandfather Raven and the Ten Fidy with which I did side by sides last month, I think my favourite out of the comparison group was the freshest.
    So in conclusion: I would gladly drink and enjoy Dark Star at any of these ages, but I don't think I'll be intentionally setting any more (I think I still have one or two cans of the older vintages) aside specifically with the intent of aging them. I could foresee myself grabbing a six pack and having a couple that lingered in the back of the fridge for quite some time as I was prioritizing other things and I think that sounds like a great aging plan for this, but I do think it is at its best early in its lifecycle.
  4. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,167) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    '17 vintage bottle of Parabola. Just hit 3 years old and poured at beer cellar fridge temp around 50F into a snifter.
    Pours deep and dark with small active cafe con leche colored head that quickly recedes to a thin collar and some sparse haze across the top
    Nose is richly roasty with faint hints of coffee, bits of chocolate, deep port/dessert wine hints. faint oily/nutty hints as well
    Taste has similar characteristics but chocolate, nuts, and dessert wine are more prominent and there are dark fruit notes showing up as well. rich boozy, molasses, and cocoa rise up as the brew warms. The heat this one packs for me when fresh has calmed down considerably.
    Mouthfeel is stellar as usual on this one.
    This is about my prime time (at least as far as I've gone I suppose) with this one. It's way to hot/boozy for me fresh but around 2 years it settles into it's own and at 3 years it is only getting better.

    I shall recommit myself to get at least one of the few I have from 2019 to go to the 4 year mark. This is definitely a prime candidate for aging
    Glider, jrnyc, SiepJones and 6 others like this.

    SABERG Poo-Bah (2,230) Sep 16, 2007 Massachusetts

    2011 Night Stalker, drinking so velvety smooth, wish I had bought 2 back in the day.
    Cheers all

    Night Stalker

    Goose Island Beer Co.
    American Imperial Stout | 11.7% ABV

    4.34/5 rDev +4.8% | Average: 4.14
    look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

    Poured from a 22 oz bottle dated 02/06/2011 into the test glass
    A - Dark as chalkboard, Gentle carbonataion leaves a thin mocha ring clinging to the glass wall. 7 charachters in search of an exit style.
    S - Burnt dark chocolate brownie, just the crusty part, cocoa, a hint of coffee, vanila and some tannins. mature port and a hint of tobacco, and oddly some orange liquer
    T - Dark choclate, some black pepper, anise, hints of vanilla, cigar wrap tobacco, mollases, and the slightest bit of smoked wood
    M - Silky, delightful on the palate, sweet start, velvety cocoa, a nice wash of bitter, then only memories.
    O - Spectacular, the cellaring has treated this well. So soft on the palate, with that delightful orange liquer and cocoa element. If I was smart I would have bought 2 back in 2011
  6. argock

    argock Poo-Bah (3,316) Dec 30, 2006 Virginia

    Stone Stochasticity QuadroTriticale

    Bottled on 06/02/14 on bottleneck. Cellared at 60-65F for 3 years then moved to a 40F fridge for the last 2.5+ years.Decanted into a Chimay goblet.

    A: Slightly hazy chestnut/dark amber with short-lived off-white head with no lacing.

    S: Delicious aroma of figs, dates, medium caramel, rum raisin, and some banana.

    T: Tasty albeit sweet with dark dried fruit flavors of dates, rum raisin, prunes, and a bit of banana finished with some pepperiness and clove in the finish. Hint of oxidation in the aftertaste but not unpleasant or overbearing. No alcohol at all but a lot of bitterness has dropped out.

    M: Very smooth with medium body and low carbonation to lend a very silky feel to this beer.

    O: Thoroughly enjoyed this cellared quad which has stood up very well over time.
  7. argock

    argock Poo-Bah (3,316) Dec 30, 2006 Virginia

    2018 Firestone Walker Stickee Monkee
    Barrel-Aged Quad

    Aroma has a nut and prune with burnt caramel quality.

    Flavor is much bigger than the aroma with toffee, date, prune, rum raisin, and burnt caramel all mingling with a melanoidin rich malty background.

    Feel is velvety smooth with rich medium-full body and low carbonation.

    Delicious sweet without cloying BA beer. The “quad” notes are a bit faint, but the barrel treatment is really what pushes this beer.
  8. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (6,458) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    2009 Nøgne Ø #100 Barleywine

    pours very dark brown, light gets through only on the edges. thin tan head that fades to just a ring around the edge of the glass. aroma is rich and malty - molasses, fig, leather, tobacco, raisin. similar flavors in the taste, but not overly sweet, there is an earthy finish that keeps it somewhat balanced. medium bodied, lower carbonation, very smooth feel.
  9. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (6,458) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    2013 Stone IRS

    pours jet black with thin tan colored head. very good head retention for this aged of a beer. pleasant aroma of bitter cocoa, smoke, a little pipe tobacco and earthiness too. taste is super smooth, similar flavors, very dry finish. a bit of dark fruit in there. mouthfeel is silky smooth and fairly thick.

    Overall I have stopped cellaring most stouts this long, but still have a few old bottles of Stone and Bells Expedition to finish off the experimenting.
    Glider, Eddiehop, SiepJones and 9 others like this.
  10. not2quick

    not2quick Devotee (473) Dec 1, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    Not going to go into full detail, but I cracked a couple old beers recently that turned out fantastic.

    Black Tuesday 2010- It was soooo good. I feel black Tuesday holds up very well. Very little oxidation, chocolate and nice barrel

    BVDL 2013- Didn't have high hopes for this one but damn it did not disappoint. All my experiences with vintage DL has been phenomenal. I had an 09 last year and it was killer. I had the dump the last couple fingers since it was sludge though. The BVDL was all drinkable and still had a nice vanilla notes. Definitely probably better a few years ago, but drank real well.
  11. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (6,458) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    2013 North Coast Old Stock

    Pours dark amber in color, thin tan colored head that quickly fades. Aroma is a touch boozy, strong toffee and some plum and black cherry. Taste starts similar but finished a little woody a d not quite as sweet. Lower carbonation, medium bodied and a little sticky of a mouthfeel.
    Glider, Eddiehop, SiepJones and 9 others like this.
  12. tobelerone

    tobelerone Poo-Bah (2,763) Dec 1, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I had a 2013 BCBS from the cellar tonight and wow what a phenomenal beer. Carbonation was pretty low and there were some chunky floaties so I’m not sure additional aging would be beneficial. Nevertheless this was so balanced and nuanced, sweet and complex yet finishing without cloying. Really toeing the line between stout and vintage port. I would drink this as a nightcap well - nightly. I was thinking about putting together a 4-5 year vertical but the hell with it. I just drank it. Will see if there’s a significant difference between 2013, 14, and 15 over the coming nights.
    Glider, jrnyc, Bitterbill and 6 others like this.
  13. Davl22

    Davl22 Aspirant (263) Sep 27, 2011 New Hampshire


    2015 Cantillon Gueuze
    Drinking really nice. Funk and acidity has grown but still super drinkable. Looking forward to aging my other bottles longer.
    Glider, Budlum, Barettes and 5 others like this.
  14. rypkr

    rypkr Savant (902) Nov 19, 2011 Pennsylvania

    2013 dragons milk. The beer that introduced me to barrel aged beers. This beer/vintage is kind of special as it is the last from a case that was bought for me as a new homeowner gift 6 years ago.

    Look is dark Hershey chocolate brown. Thin and somewhat watery. Head is frothy with long lasting lacing.

    Smell is beyond muted. I get very little more than brown sugar and vanilla atop a Guinness like base.

    Taste has evolved. Still loads of oak and vanilla. Its chalky and very oxidized, but I like it. Theres an antique like bitterness now opposing the sweet vanilla and cream. It tastes woodier than fresh, much more raw oak (not necessarily bourbon) than fresh. Finishes with more roast than I recall this beer ever having.

    Feel is and will forever be thin, but not objectable.

    I find myself drinking this in much smaller sips and much more slowly than I would fresh. Fresh it's a shotgun of 3 or 4 distinctly discernable flavors. At 7 years its nuances are complicated. I'm not yet sure if for better or for worse but it's far more hard to name just 3 or 4 familiar descriptors.

    Overall entirely worth cellaring for the cost and availabitly. I wish I had more and going back further.

  15. Davl22

    Davl22 Aspirant (263) Sep 27, 2011 New Hampshire


    2015 Allagash Century Ale
    Surprised by the light carb on this but time has done it well otherwise. Their house yeast and Brett is amazing. Pie crust, tropical fruit, and wet hay. Funky and lightly tart on the finish makes it incredibly drinkable. Not sure I’d let this age any longer. Drink em if you’ve got em.
    Glider, Budlum, Bitterbill and 3 others like this.
  16. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (6,458) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    2017 Free Will Brewing - Olly

    Label notes that its a blend of up to 5 year old fodre and barrel aged beer. Bottled December 2017. pours a dark brown with ruby colored highlights. creamy smooth khaki colored head. great head retention. aroma is very pleasant - slightly sour fruit, earthy oak, black currant, plum. taste is starts off tart, puckers the cheeks a bit, then the finish mellows out. similar flavors of the aroma but more intense. very complex depth of flavor. thinner bodied, but smooth and creamy carbonation. overall this is excellent - it stands up to the Belgian classics.

    Glider, Bitterbill, bl00 and 2 others like this.
  17. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 Poo-Bah (2,284) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    2013 Bruery Bois - this one is aged in rye whiskey barrels. After seven years, this has an amazing amount of sweet toffee on the nose. Nothing suggests oxidation at all. The rye barrels comes through as well. As for taste, it's splendid. Some maple, candy, vanilla, rye, yeast, and rich toffee. Overall, a fantastic beer to age.

    Glider, jmdrpi, maximum12 and 4 others like this.
  18. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (6,458) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Bells Expedition Stout - Batch #10105, December 2010. So 9+ years old

    pours jet black like used motor oil. not much head. aroma is unsweetened baking chocolate, a touch of smoke, molasses, and soy sauce. taste is similar, definitely starting to develop some of those umami flavors. but it's still tasty. slick, oily mouthfeel, very thick. not much carbonation.
    Glider and unlikelyspiderperson like this.