Freshness of double/imperial IPA question

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Winkdaddy, Dec 20, 2012.

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  1. Winkdaddy

    Winkdaddy Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2009 New York

    Everyone always says to drink IPAs within 3 months of the bottled date. Does the same generally apply to double/imperial IPAs that have higher alcohol content, or can those sit on the shelf longer?

    Sidebar: I just bought a 4-pack of Firestown Walker Double IPA and noticed after the fact the bottled date is July 2012..,it doesnt taste off but I have no frame of reference since its the first time I tried it. I also noticed the bombers have no date posted on the bottles..odd
  2. mattsander

    mattsander Zealot (558) Feb 3, 2010 Alberta (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    The higher alcohol content of a DIPA doesn't prevent those precious hop aromatics/flavor from dissipating, unfortunately. For me, freshness is more critical with DIPA than it is for IPA since a double is more of a showcase for delicate hop character.
    InVinoVeritas likes this.
  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,105) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It is only a matter of time before Pliny the Elder (a DIPA from Russian River) aficionados chime in; they think that if Pliny the Elder is more than a few weeks old it is too old.

    Bubbles likes this.
  4. RutgersBeerGuy

    RutgersBeerGuy Aspirant (252) Jan 16, 2007 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I had some FW Double Jack last week that was bottled in late August, and it was still fantastic.
  5. TheMonkfish

    TheMonkfish Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 Chad

    I think if you had a five month old Union Jack and a fresh one they'd come across as totally different beers. I love UJ, but once it has some age on it the Munich malt (which is liberally used in the recipe) totally take over. It's still tasty but not at all like a fresh batch.

    Firestone Walker does date their bombers, but it's in black ink on the neck of the bottle and can be nearly impossible to see unless you hold the bottle at just the right angle. I swear they are messing with me and only dating every other bottle, because often I can't see the date at all until the bottle is empty. :slight_smile:
    Auror likes this.
  6. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    FW recommends 120 days from bottling for their beers.
    I personally recommend no more than 60 days from bottling for any hop forward beer.

    You can report old beer on FW's website and they'll replace the stuff on the shelves.
  7. Momar42

    Momar42 Initiate (0) Sep 19, 2010 Maryland

    My $.02 is that typically with DIPAs they are more highly malted to balance the more robust hop presence. If they are too old, the abundance of malt totally takes over. The beers are still "good" just different honestly. Dark horse for example says that their Double Crooked Tree "ages well" on the label. Bottom line. Drink one as fresh as possible so you have a good baseline. You might prefer one with a little "age" on it.

    Bring on the PtE trolls :grinning:.
    MIA4IPA likes this.
  8. jrnyc

    jrnyc Savant (942) Mar 21, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    23 hours :slight_smile:
  9. kevanb

    kevanb Poo-Bah (1,734) Apr 4, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    All IPAs fall off immediately up leaving the fermenter. The optimum freshness period is before the beer is even brewed.
  10. InVinoVeritas

    InVinoVeritas Zealot (568) Apr 16, 2012 Wisconsin
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I agree wholeheartedly. I don't have the decerning palate that some have on here. I know what I like and what I don't; but I don't necessarily pick up as well as others on the details of a flavor complexity. However, where I do notice is the flavor drop off of DIPA in particular. Examples being getting Heady by trade twice with the second being much fresher and another being Abrasive, where I got a 4-pack within a week of can date, tried it that night and in the 2 weeks that passed before the last was drank, I could clearly taste a difference.
  11. InVinoVeritas

    InVinoVeritas Zealot (568) Apr 16, 2012 Wisconsin
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    One additional thought. Since hops is what fades, it stands to reason that hoppier beers where the hops are more at the forefront of the flavor will comparatively experiences a more profound impact to the overall characteristic of beer over time.
  12. jhartley

    jhartley Poo-Bah (2,400) Aug 22, 2010 Florida
    Beer Trader

    The sooner the better when talking about IPA's/DIPA's. I don't pick up on all of the complexities of flavors like others here either, however if you want to enjoy the style as it is intended, drink sooner than later.
    InVinoVeritas likes this.
  13. Winkdaddy

    Winkdaddy Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2009 New York

    Thanks guys! Very helpful info
  14. RBassSFHOPit2ME

    RBassSFHOPit2ME Meyvn (1,126) Mar 1, 2009 California

    Sounds like a malt bomb to me... ;-)
  15. Siriusfisherman

    Siriusfisherman Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2011 Colorado

    A DIPA can still be very tasty after four months in many cases. But there is no denying that something less than a month old is going to be in tip-top shape.
    Bubbles likes this.
  16. Bubbles

    Bubbles Initiate (0) Sep 16, 2012 California

    It is. I would keep it in a dark, cool place. Chill when you're about to drink it. Those sorts of beers hate light.
    getinked likes this.
  17. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,204) Mar 18, 2010 California

    As soon as the hops are cut off the bine, it turns to shit.
    Boblemo, Zach136 and JrGtr like this.
  18. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poo-Bah (1,800) Feb 23, 2012 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    A few weeks?
    once it gets 10 blocks from the brewery it is too old!
  19. fredmugs

    fredmugs Poo-Bah (1,530) Aug 11, 2012 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    I recently did a side by side with a 6 month old a Dreadnaught and a just pourchased one and the older one smalled and tasted better. Here in Indiana Dreadnaughts don't stay on the shelf.
  20. erway

    erway Initiate (142) Jul 28, 2006 New Mexico

    Depends on what you're buying it for. If you're a hophead and what it to be bright and bitter, drink as fresh as possible. If you like what happens to hops as they fade, become less obnoxious and the alcohol melds more with the malts, then age it.

    I personally like pilsners because they're pilsners, barrel-aged RIS for being just that, and DIPAs for being DIPAs. If I want an old hoppy beer I'll pop open some 2008 bigfoot or the like.
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  21. jzeilinger

    jzeilinger Poo-Bah (5,070) Dec 4, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    From the brewer's stand point - bottle purchased, bottle consumed..."mission accomplished"!
  22. raynmoon

    raynmoon Crusader (728) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    That beer tastes awesome with a few months on it.
  23. kevanb

    kevanb Poo-Bah (1,734) Apr 4, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    As soon as they are planted
  24. skinsfan

    skinsfan Zealot (583) May 24, 2005 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    For me, once you have had a specific IPA/DIPA very fresh, it changes your perception of the beer from that point on. Perfect example, when my local Total Wine first got in Troegs Perpetual IPA it was 8 days after the bottling date and was fantastic. I have since had bottles that are 2 or 3 months after bottling date, and its not the same for me. Is it still good? Of course it is, but I still remember what it tasted like super fresh and that will never go away. That's just me though.
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  25. pdbader

    pdbader Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2012 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    What about a 120min where they say it is meant to age? I understand the high alcohol helps to age but the hop characteristic are still going to fall off like crazy. Does a high ABV like that cause the hop characteristic to fall off quicker?
  26. Kino

    Kino Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2012 Arizona

    Hey pdbader what's up bro to tell you the truth this years PTE is not as good as other years I think they're slacking off but that just me and as far fresh vs old I've yet to have any IPA you her than two weeks old and light does ruin them along with 60 degress and above
  27. hctap00

    hctap00 Initiate (0) Nov 2, 2012 Maryland

    Yesterday I bought Stone Ruination with an enjoy by date of 1/15/2013. While it was not peak freshness, I was ok with it. I had one last night and it was not the Ruination I remember. The floral, piney aromas were not bursting out of the bottle, the hops were rather dull, and overall it tasted stale. Going to have another one tonight and hope this was an aberration.

    Was I wrong to assume that < 3 months old Ruination would still be enjoyable?
  28. Gus_13

    Gus_13 Aspirant (245) Jul 2, 2012 Mississippi
    Beer Trader

    I have had a few of the "holy grail" hop brews past their freshness. While they were still good there is a difference. One single IPA for instance was a Two Hearted. I had one that was 5 months old and one that was a month old. I tasted them side by side. Their was a difference. I've also had Pliny at 4 different release intervals at the same time. There is a difference. No matter what anyone wants to say it does change. It doesn't make the beer bad but it does change.

    I love how people instantly jump on to "hate" on people without putting anything remotely relevant to the topic. LOL
  29. ShameAndFailure

    ShameAndFailure Initiate (0) Mar 26, 2009 Texas

    Could have been a lot of factors besides bottling date. Light, temp, or even handling by distributor/store in transit. Or, could have been you. Did you have anything before to throw the taste off? Have you been overloading your taste buds lately? I find if I take a break from hops (and beer in general) and then come back to an IPA/DIPA I appreciate it more.

    In general, if you're consuming by Stone's date it should not be stale.
  30. jbeezification

    jbeezification Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2012 Texas

    I had a 6 month old Hoptimum and I freaking loved it. It was different from the fresh bottle but a different beast
  31. TheMonkfish

    TheMonkfish Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 Chad

    I'm not sure that would be Brynildson's (sp?) take on it. FW now has a "report old beer" page on their site.
  32. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,284) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    I think folks need to self examine themselves enough to know if they are:

    !. Hopheads who go crazy for the aromas of dry hopping, and the subtle hop flavors of melon, mango, other tropical fruits, and the sweetness of citrus.
    2. Beer drinkers with a palate able to distinguish and enjoy these flavors.

    If you answered yes to both, or even one, of these, than I guarantee you will notice the difference, and enjoy less, any hoppy IPA that is more than a month old.

    For those who answered no to these questions, don't even bother looking at the date on IPA's. All the bitterness and pine that is probably all you taste anyway will still be in there and you will enjoy them just fine.
  33. getinked

    getinked Initiate (0) Feb 21, 2012 Ukraine

    All beer will age differently plain and simple! Can vs bottle. Temp stored. Amount of travel to it's location. Type of bottling facility. Blah blah. All these things can affect "freshness"

    The only recommendation I can make is to try them at different stages and see what works best for your palette.

    If you have a beer for the first time and have no clue what it taste like fresh you won't have anything to compare it to anyways.

    Cheers and happy drinking!
  34. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,204) Mar 18, 2010 California

    I had a pour of a 2 year old Pliny last night and it was still fairly hoppy and surprisingly tasty.
    sukwonee and Beerandraiderfan like this.
  35. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (1,787) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    To my knowledge alcohol content wont affect how long hop characters last, so in that sense, yes you would want to drink DIPAs soon after bottling. However, many DIPAs are very malt forward, even fresh, so the degree to which they change over time wont be as affected as the hoppy DIPAs or the standard IPAs which generally are less malty.
  36. ste5venla

    ste5venla Devotee (474) Oct 25, 2010 California

    I am currently conducting an experiment with Ballast Point Sculpin bottles. I bought a case of bombers in 2010 and crack one every 3-6 months. The flavors have slowly gone from bright and floral and clean citrus fruits to malty, muddled, and tropical fruits. Not a bad beer now, but not amazing like it was fresh.
  37. pdbader

    pdbader Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2012 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    My biggest thought though was the original purpose of adding more and more hops to a beer which was to preserve the beer for long voyages back in the day. Was a fresh IPA or pale ale back in the day considered to be off or was that what they were trying to preserve by adding and adding hops. Just a thought to provoke thought
  38. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Devotee (400) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Beer Trader

    It depends on the beers hop profile. Some will be good for three months, but for many with "brighter" hop character you are really pushing it after 6 weeks. Some danker resiny IIPAs will transform into very acceptable American style barlywines as even more time passes.

    Yes indeed.
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  39. VncentLIFE

    VncentLIFE Meyvn (1,417) Feb 16, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I had a bottle of NoDa Pacific Reign that was at least two and a half months old that was still mighty tasty.
  40. grandmeaulnes

    grandmeaulnes Initiate (0) Oct 18, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    The fresher the better with hop-forward beers. End of story.

    Also, PtE IS a radically different beer after 3 weeks. It doesn't become a bad beer, of course, but I'd challenge anyone with tastebuds to deny that 4-day old bottle is different than a 4-week old one.
    cavedave and Beerandraiderfan like this.
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