Fresh IPAs...Does it really matter?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by wcu80, Jul 14, 2015.

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  1. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Meyvn (1,376) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa
    Trader

    Yes it matters. Fresh is best, but I think a lot of people are too anal about it. An ipa should still be good 2-3 months out.
     
  2. jlsims04

    jlsims04 Devotee (489) Jul 14, 2013 Illinois
    Trader

    Care to elaborate on what you mean?
     
  3. russpowell

    russpowell Poo-Bah (9,262) May 24, 2005 Arkansas
    Trader

    Of course it matters. I realize that it is not cask beer, but flavor profiles are very sensitive to time & the care & feeding of said ale. If you don't think this applies to all beer I think you may is the connection to the fact at one time all beers are living & breathing. It make take longer to pronounce effects on flavor, but they are there.
    Now do I think it is more important than the storage & care of beer? Perhaps not. I do think incorrect temperature plays a negative role on flavor as well.
    Some beers seem to hold up great: I think Deschutes Fresh Squeezed is my hero, hold up great be it in the fridge or on the shelf. Seems to hang in there well very close to the BBD date. Stones does good as well & Lagunitas.

    Ones that seem to fare not so well: Pliny the only bottles that drank great were less than 10 days old. Schlaflys, wont' touch any of their hoppy stuff after 6 weeks, Firestone Walker the same.

    German was so great fresh ( spent 3 years over there ), very little of that seems to come close here.

    I do think temperature is also critical, but have no idea of how any of my beer gets from factory to my glass, so I can't really use that as a discriminator. I do see the effects on a lot of beer here, as out dumb ass laws prevent cold storage of any beer other than watered down shite, known as 3.2 beer.

    I no long trade, but refused to trade from June to Labor day once I wised up. So there you go.
     
  4. Greywulfken

    Greywulfken Poo-Bah (4,721) Aug 25, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    We all know freshness makes a difference in the taste and smell of the beer, but it still depends on how much that matters to the drinker. For me, I've become more geeky about it as time has passed and my palate developed.
     
  5. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Could be. Thats reportedly one of the benefits of a properly operating canning line.
     
  6. Davidstan

    Davidstan Aspirant (272) May 24, 2014 Alabama

    X2 ^
    Had a 90 day old Jai Alai the other nite and very underwhelming. Before that had a 30 day old one and wow it was wonderful! Torpedo from SN doesn't seem to fall off much.
     
  7. BAMF

    BAMF Initiate (122) Jul 11, 2007 Massachusetts

    I saw these quotes and thought they reeked of urban legend, but I found the video they came from pretty quick. While the quote is accurate, I think he was much less definitive than that part in isolation makes it sound. Here's a part of what he says:

    "Sometimes I don't really love it until it has been in the can at least 3 or 4 days. Other times ... I can remember back in the days of the pub, I had written on a recipe sheet '10 weeks' because I tried it every day for 10 weeks and I felt that Heady Topper was at its best at 10 weeks old. [...] So you be the judge, you can drink it anywhere in there. If you keep it in the fridge it can last a long time."

     
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  8. ianous

    ianous Initiate (79) Oct 26, 2013 Connecticut

    I prefer it be fresh, just to be safe. I do notice a difference.
     
  9. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,604) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Trader

    I like them so they give you an in your face belt of aroma as you drink. I like them where you open it and the aroma enters the room, and folks feet away turn and sniff with a smile. I like it when I can really taste all the fruity nuances of modern hops brightly. In a word, fresh, the fresher the better.
     
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  10. utopiajane

    utopiajane Poo-Bah (2,556) Jun 11, 2013 New York


    I do too! It's like they explode on the nose and on the palate. Just like fruit does. Also fresh fruit/fruit peel on the IPA is like dew on grass. It's that kind of daily excitement!
     
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  11. LuskusDelph

    LuskusDelph Aspirant (255) May 1, 2008 New Jersey

    Tricky question, since modern "American IPA" is so radically different from traditional IPA which was always a long aged product ...and not just because of the storied long trips by boat from Blighty to India (there are indications that the Ales and Porters that went to India were usually already quite well aged even before they made the long ocean journey...and that far more Porter than Pale Ale actually made that trip).

    Of course, over time tastes change and evolve, and economics factor in is as well: properly aging large amounts of beer, ale, or porter ties up space and time and both of those factors =money. Most small brewers don't have the time or inclination to long age most of their products (especially IPA, the market for which has radically expanded in the last 20 years). In the past, long aged brews sold at premium prices. Nowadays brewers (especially smaller ones) are more interested in getting product out the door as quickly as possible.

    I think that a truly well brewed and properly aged IPA would be a real revelation to many modern drinkers of the style.
     
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  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,176) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I have no doubt that some craft beer drinkers would appreciate this beer you described.

    The majority of craft beer drinkers that enjoy drinking American style IPAs appreciate the wonderful hop aroma/flavor of modern day hops like Centennial, Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo, etc. These sorts of beers are best consumed very fresh before the hop aroma/flavor fades.

    Cheers!
     
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  13. LCB_Hostage

    LCB_Hostage Initiate (156) Jan 30, 2013 Pennsylvania

    True enough, Jack. Wholesale and Retail distributors do operate independently, but I also have a wholesaler a half mile from my house and whenever I drive by, the big bay doors are open and you can see kegs and palettes of cases and sitting out on the floor. I'm gonna guess that space isn't refrigerated, given that the doors are almost always open during business hours. I'm sure you're right that some brewers have enough clout to insist that their beer remains refrigerated (or at least they're told that it is). But I still say that even if the wholesalers keep it chilled, it then needs to move through the chain to buyers, and that same level of care is not shown at the retail level.
     
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  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,176) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I agree 100% that the same level of care is not conducted at the retail level. There is an old saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

    Cheers!
     
  15. Techichi

    Techichi Devotee (483) Sep 25, 2012 Texas

    *sips 2 week old Community Mosaic*

    ahhhh...you ain't kiddin!
     
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  16. fearfactory

    fearfactory Aspirant (296) Aug 12, 2012 Massachusetts

    Not saying it's a golden rule, not saying anything old is worthless, not saying you're a fool to think otherwise, but in most cases, a 1-2 week old ipa is a thing of beauty. Last nights 11 day old Wormtown Be Hoppy only confirmed this.
     
  17. WingsAndBeer72

    WingsAndBeer72 Initiate (91) Jul 27, 2014 Colorado

    I notice a big difference in freshness with Lagunitas Sucks. It loses a lot of hop bite when it's not fresh. I tested one that was about 30 days old vs one that was about 90 days old.
     
  18. WingsAndBeer72

    WingsAndBeer72 Initiate (91) Jul 27, 2014 Colorado

    I had a beer brewed out of LA called Heal The Bay. My friend bought a 6 pack the day it was canned and I drank it that night during a visit. It was a thing of beauty indeed.
     
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  19. JOrtt

    JOrtt Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2012 North Carolina

    Just because the brewery suggests one thing, everyones taste is different. Try the beer and make up your own mind. Don't rely on others to make it up for you.
     
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  20. Kappakoosh

    Kappakoosh Disciple (314) Dec 26, 2013 Texas

    I would agree with many that there is a difference in fresh vs. less fresh...months and months old is a different story. But being less fresh that isn't always a bad thing...some beers mellow out and balance better. It's all in the eye of the beholder.
     
  21. ZachDow7

    ZachDow7 Initiate (0) Aug 12, 2014 Michigan

    Yes, yes, and yes all around!! The fresher the better!!
     
  22. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,374) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    If i'm going to spend $40-$60 or more a case the distibuters could at least have that beer on the block fast. Don't be lazy. Over a month and you fail at first.
     
  23. DrMindbender

    DrMindbender Savant (923) Jul 13, 2014 South Carolina

    As a homebrewer that brews a different IPA almost every week, I can say without a doubt that freshness matters! My IPAs are awesome and juicy when kegged around 2-3 weeks after brewing, but fall off quickly starting at around 3 weeks. At 6 weeks, an IPA is a shell of its former hoppy self and at 3 months, many of them start to take on that crappy sweet feed and indistinguishable hop bitterness that most commercial beers get around the same age. The nose from the dry hops fades faster than the flavor hop additions, and as mentioned, at extended age most hops start to take on a uniform flavor and bitterness that isn't tasty to me. If I ever have an IPA go past its prime, I tend to growler it up and give it to my less discriminating friends.
     
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  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,176) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I bottle my IPAs and I obtain a bit longer shelf life than you. At 6 weeks post the bottling date my IPAs still have a prominent hop aroma/flavor. My IPAs do significantly 'fall off' between 2.5 - 3 months after the bottling date. I make it a point to consume all of my IPA beers within the 3 month timeframe.

    Cheers!
     
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  25. laketang

    laketang Meyvn (1,156) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois
    Society

    this is almost an oxy moron, because IPAs were invented by the british to hold up better for the long journeys to the indian trading routes, or am I just dreaming, im definitely drinking!
     
  26. DrMindbender

    DrMindbender Savant (923) Jul 13, 2014 South Carolina

    This is more of a myth than the reality of the "invention" of the IPA.
     
  27. 31Sam13

    31Sam13 Initiate (0) Sep 29, 2014 New Hampshire

    It seems to stand the test of time...
     
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  28. laketang

    laketang Meyvn (1,156) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois
    Society

    you could be right
     
  29. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,098) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Has anyone blind taste tested the same IPA at different ages? (other than Sixpoint)

    1 week, 1 month, 3 months...etc.? Properly stored of course, in the fridge. I might try this with beer I purchase from a local brewery (to ensure proper storage the entire time). I'm curious if I'd notice/what my preferences are.
     
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  30. Rav4pudge

    Rav4pudge Initiate (0) Apr 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    you really can taste a difference but for most its not that big of a difference. obviously if its skunked then yes
     
  31. LuskusDelph

    LuskusDelph Aspirant (255) May 1, 2008 New Jersey

    Correct. IPA wasn't 'invented' for the trip to India..that is myth.
    Hops were already long recognized at the time as a kind of preservative, and besides, most of the pale ale which went over to India (along with far greater amounts of porter) were already aged for considerable lengths of time. And significantly, they weren't necessarily brewed to be any stronger than the normal vatted ales of the day.

    As far as freshness...it's fine for the bastard versions of IPA (ie., American IPA). The IPA I've brewed at home since the early '80s is brewed to be cold aged and to reach prime at 8-12 months. The only modern concession I make is to dry hop it and dose it with some aromatic fraction hop oil about a month before tapping it, for the sake of aroma.
     
    #151 LuskusDelph, Jul 19, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
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  32. Kadonny

    Kadonny Meyvn (1,362) Sep 5, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    Freshness can be that big of a difference....it can be a huge diffence. I can mention tons of examples where freshness dramatically changed the flavor of a beer.

    For me, freshness is king, no questions asked.
     
  33. WesMantooth

    WesMantooth Poo-Bah (2,657) Jan 8, 2014 Ohio
    Trader

    Even though it has all been addressed, I would say fresher is better the majority of the time, but "freshness" varies widely from beer to beer. Some are fine for 3-4 months. Some taste drastically different in 3-4 weeks
     
  34. Hopdaemon39

    Hopdaemon39 Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2011 New York

    You hit the nail on the head in terms of light/heat degradation. Cold cans stay much better than room temp bottles.
     
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  35. Hopdaemon39

    Hopdaemon39 Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2011 New York

    Maybe I'm crazy/spoiled but I think you're mind is NOT playing tricks on you and that IPAs should be drank within a month of packaging. Canned FW Union Jack is great but it does fade after a month, even when refrigerated.
     
  36. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,966) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Trader

    Really questioning whether a fresh IPA is better than an old one is really getting bizarre. Try for yourself , it really is that simple.
     
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  37. KSOZE

    KSOZE Disciple (349) Feb 10, 2015 Ohio

    Answer to this is every palate is different. Do a blind taste test with your favorite go-to's at different intervals and the same storage conditions/different storage conditions. Some beers hold up better than others. Take a mental note.

    Next time you go to the store, buy what held up best as fresh as possible if you're in no hurry to drink it. Fresher is always, always, always better if you've never tried it before or if you plan on having it sit in your fridge. If it's a go-to, find out what stands up better in your eyes. I absolutely love Fat Head's Head Hunter. If it's not refrigerated in the store (usually takes a week or 2 to GET to the store - and I'm guessing it's warm in transport/warehouse stored), I find my palate says "no thank you" after a month. If it's refrigerated, add a month.

    However, Bell's Two Hearted - if it's in a grocery store fridge under the bright fluorescent lights, I can't tell the difference between 1 month or 2.5. That's my go-to now if I'm at a place with bad selection because of taste tests I've conducted under different conditions.

    Do some experimenting with your favorites - you'll be shocked at how resilient these beers are, and you'll learn something for future buying preferences.
     
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  38. KSOZE

    KSOZE Disciple (349) Feb 10, 2015 Ohio

    Yes. And I encourage others to do the same. It sounds like the freshness fanatics have NOT, and are going on anecdotal evidence to convince themselves it's extremely important. Different palates, different beers, different conditions = different results. Try for yourself (BLIND), and be shocked. In both directions. Some beers hold up better than others, and some don't. Buy cold when you can, buy cold and dark when you can - that's not always an option. Also, you never know how it was treated in transport.
     
  39. M0nasty

    M0nasty Initiate (69) Mar 13, 2014 Rhode Island
    Trader

    Obviously a matter of preference. But i can appreciate the John Kimmich video earlier in this thread. I work at a bottle shop and what irks me is when certain customers will turn their nose up at beer if it was canned more than a month prior. If you want really fresh hops you are best going to the source. Someone recently told he had been drain pouring ipas that were more than a month old and I'm was like cmon man. There is something to be said for freshness, but don't go too crazy over it
     
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  40. Brolo75

    Brolo75 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2013 California

    Yes, fresh IPAs do matter. Freshest IPA I've ever had is Pliny the Elder about a week after bottling. Really good, lots of pop on the flavors. IPAs, writing from experience, do fade pretty quick, I'm talking 2-3 months can make a real difference. The fresher the better.
     
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