Do Imperial IPAs turn into a Barleywine-esq beverage?

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by TheRougeBastard, Jul 11, 2021.

  1. TheRougeBastard

    TheRougeBastard Savant (942) Aug 22, 2011 North Carolina
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    Been wondering this for a minute...IMHO high abv% Imperial IPA's have a shorter shelf life and thus once that mystical time has past, the resulting brew turns into a Barleywine-esq beverage. Am I wrong?
     
  2. TheRougeBastard

    TheRougeBastard Savant (942) Aug 22, 2011 North Carolina
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    Reason I ask is...I'm enjoying a Waldo's Special ale which was released in April...it's now July. I had a few in Apr/ May and they were true to style.it's now much sweeter...aka Barleywine-esq IMHO, Thus the question....seems same for older Dogfish's 120 min IIPA..again IMHO
     
  3. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,802) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    No.

    There is no magical portal that a beer passes through that makes it a whole different style.

    An old IPA just tastes like an old IPA.
     
  4. TheRougeBastard

    TheRougeBastard Savant (942) Aug 22, 2011 North Carolina
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    That might be true for a standard IPA (7% or less), but I'm specifically directing this to the Imperial styles, i.e. those above 10%.
     
  5. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,802) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Still no.
     
  6. 57md

    57md Poo-Bah (3,409) Aug 22, 2011 Pennsylvania
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    I'd stay away from the terms "turns into" and go with something on the order of "tastes like."

    I think that, when aged, certain malt heavy, high abv IPAs end up tasting like hop-forward barley wines.

    The quintessential example is DFH 120.

    In the past, I have aged these types of IPAs as well as hop-forward barley wines, like Bigfoot. For me, most of the time, I get a distinct stale taste that I'm not fond of.

    DFH 120 and Founders Doom are really the only two that I actually like when aged.
     
  7. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,756) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    What makes you think that a 10%+ IPA isn’t already a barley wine when fresh?
     
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  8. WCKDVBZ

    WCKDVBZ Meyvn (1,453) May 9, 2014 South Carolina

    Sometimes. For example: Founders Devil Dancer - https://untappd.com/b/founders-brewing-co-devil-dancer-2015/1083021


    But most of those beers that become Barlewine-esq, should be classified as American Strong Ales in the first place.
     
  9. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (2,188) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
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    I would say it depends on the beer. I have had several "Imperial" IPA's that have had a good malt presence that helps them age with a little more grace. It may be one thing when it is fresh, but after a few months it drinks almost like a barley wine
     
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  10. Fordcoyote15

    Fordcoyote15 Meyvn (1,195) Nov 19, 2011 Pennsylvania
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    Why would an imperial ipa have a shorter shelf life than an ipa?

    To answer your question - there's a fine line between a really malty DIPA and a really hoppy American barleywine. A brewer could classify a beer like waldos as either and nobody would bat an idea.

    Tbh, and this is specifically related to DIPA's or barleywines, I find it remarkable how often smaller breweries call certain beers certain styles when they're really much more aligned with another style.
     
  11. TheRougeBastard

    TheRougeBastard Savant (942) Aug 22, 2011 North Carolina
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    The entire reason for this post is my recent experience with Waldo's Special Ale (11.7%)...I scored a 4pk in April that was less than two weeks old (bottled date), it was true to style, hoppy and resinous. Forward to yesterday, local joint still had a couple of cases, so another 4pk makes it home and now it's so much sweeter, which reminds me of barleywines...another poster had a good point, so instead of "turning into", it "tastes like" a barleywine...to me.
     
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  12. TheRougeBastard

    TheRougeBastard Savant (942) Aug 22, 2011 North Carolina
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    Good question...no idea, but it seems to me the higher the abv%, the less shelf life...120 days maximum.
     
  13. MrOH

    MrOH Poo-Bah (1,990) Jul 5, 2010 Malta
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    I'm of the opinion that a lot of the big DIPAs or TIPAs or whatever folks want to call them that have a decent malt presence are just American Barleywines with another label.
     
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  14. ilikebeer03

    ilikebeer03 Poo-Bah (1,827) Oct 17, 2012 Texas
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    In my experience, definitely not. They just taste like old IPAs.
     
  15. tobelerone

    tobelerone Poo-Bah (3,003) Dec 1, 2010 New Jersey
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    As a person whose favorite style is Barleywine this subject has bugged me forEVER. yes there’s that “American strong ale” lane and certainly something like Bigfoot isn’t far from hoppy American barleywines. But still it ain’t the same thing.
     
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  16. billandsuz

    billandsuz Zealot (502) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Do you mean hop aroma and bitterness has faded while hot alcohol and sweet malt has taken over, perhaps a bit of oxidation?

    Yeah, your beer is stale. But it did not become a different style. Just different. Perhaps enjoyable.

    This is why I drink Pils regularly.

    Cheers
     
  17. TheRougeBastard

    TheRougeBastard Savant (942) Aug 22, 2011 North Carolina
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    They seem sweeter...less resinous as they age. Maybe my tastebuds are jacked-up!
     
  18. billandsuz

    billandsuz Zealot (502) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Bitter and sweet are inverse. How we perceive both is dependent on the relative amount of the other.
    As these beers age the bitterness does decline, sometimes markedly. Malt sweetness not so much. Decrease bitterness and the remaining malt is going to move to the front of the stage. So yes, your beer will seem sweet.

    Same is true of CO2. If the amount of CO2 is low the beer will be sweet tasting. CO2 produces carbon acid. Flat beer, or flat anything will be perceived as more sweet than if the carbonation were present (leave a glass of Coke or whatever in the fridge and try it tomorrow. You know the taste). Many big beers suffer from low dissolved CO2 either intentionally or if bottle conditioned the brewer could not get the yeast to fully attenuate.

    Cheers
     
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  19. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (471) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I would not say all or most turn into BWs. There are a few, like Devil Dancer as mentioned earlier, and Dogfish Head's 120 Minute. But those are exceptions, rather than the rule. Overall, the ones that are maltier to start with have a better chance of morphing into something drinkable in a different way. Those that are hop bombs with not much else will not stay enjoyable long.