November Cellar Reviews

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by UCLABrewN84, Nov 3, 2013.

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  1. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,199) Mar 18, 2010 California

    I'll get this started for the month.

    2010 Abyss

    Best after 11/1/11.

    Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that fades to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, char, fudge, and cookie dough aromas. Taste is much the same with cookie dough, cocoa powder, and slight soy sauce flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this has aged pretty well since its release but it has definitely not as good at is once was. Also, the alcohol is still present and quite noticeable with each sip. I would probably score this a 4/5 overall at this point.
  2. mikehblack

    mikehblack Initiate (117) Feb 10, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Totally agree on the 2010. Did a blind next to an 08 and picked the 08 over the 10. A year ago it was unbelievable but seems to have dropped off quite a bit since then.
  3. Hophead717

    Hophead717 Zealot (572) Oct 21, 2011 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Had the 2010 within the last 10 days. Thought it was awesome--as good as when I had it 1.5 years ago. If I had another, I'd drink it now because it's top-notch. No sign of falling off IMO.
    tronto likes this.
  4. Stevedore

    Stevedore Poo-Bah (3,793) Nov 16, 2012 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    Bourbon County Vanilla is drinking really well right now. More raw vanilla flavour than I remember 4 months ago, just as creamy and decadent.
    BlastBeats likes this.
  5. mdfb79

    mdfb79 Poo-Bah (4,861) Jan 11, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    I drank a bottle of Cuir last night. I thought the alcohol has definitely faded a bit since it was fresh, making it more drinkable, and it still has a lot of sweet dark fruits.

    While it is a little bit better, it is no where near as good as the 100% BBA Cuir, Fruet, and Bois/Bois variants. I have one bottle of Cuir left I will either hold onto for another 1-2 years, or look to trade if there is interest since I like the newer versions better.
  6. ManforallSaisons

    ManforallSaisons Disciple (389) Mar 20, 2008 Belgium

    I made a mistake. (Oh, wait, first I was supposed to say that I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but not sure where else to "share" so hope 'sokay.) I specialist shop owner that I semi-trust (has led me well quite often, sometimes I have to indulge him a bit) suggested a Chimay red from 2010. I know, not the pick of the litter for aging, and the brewery suggests drinking within the year (but labels it with a four-year best-by date). It started great -- still lively with carbonation, color perhaps lightened slightly from the fresh version (had one a few nights prior), say from amber to brass, but with lots more sediment. It was looking a 3.5, mainly brought down by the sediment. Then the nose was fabulous -- port, cream sherry, oak aromas, grapes, raisins -- I'd call it 4.0 though it blew off and diminished as I drank. But then the taste was depressingly tamped down, little hop remaining but some herbal notes, flavors of white grapes, some caramel, a bit of yellow fruits like apricot and key lime, but oddly flat on the palate. A sacrilegious (but generous) 2.75. Good creamy feel remained, neither drying or cloying, call it a 3.0 for that and, generously, overall.
  7. atypic

    atypic Initiate (0) Apr 8, 2011 North Carolina

    1 year old HotD Adam and Fred - both were awesome, both slightly improved.

    6 month old Lost Abbey Sede Vacante - so friggin amazing right now.

    1 year old Old Schoolhouse Imperial Stout - hadn't had this fresh (it said best after a year), but it's really damn good right now. Super smooth thick mouthfeel, just right roasty stout flavor.
  8. ccrida

    ccrida Poo-Bah (3,033) May 26, 2006 Oregon

    2008 Speedway Stout
    Deliciously smooth, a bit phenolic, and a bit hot, as the malt fades. I'm looking for the coffee, and honestly I'm surprised to say I think's still there, a little caramel latte. Fairly firm bitterness lingers on the finish. Opened too early to really get much of a transformation (beyond what I would have expected after a year or 2). I've got another, this one was 5, I'll wait until the 10-20 range for the next one.
  9. brikelly

    brikelly Aspirant (269) Apr 11, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    2009 Rodenbach Grand Cru

    Not sure why I aged this. Improved maybe 1%. Meh, just as good fresh.
  10. will1256

    will1256 Disciple (369) Dec 4, 2010 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    2011 Plead the 5th

    I enjoy this beer fresh, but holy sh*t do I love it with a few years on it. Pours like motor oil, with a minimal dark tan head. Beautiful lacing - really sticks to the glass when I give it a good swirl. Nose is predominantly dark fruit (tart cherry?) with some roast and bitter chocolate as well. Taste starts with the dark fruits but quickly shifts to baker's chocolate and vanilla. Really thick and chewy, with a lingering, sweet, fudge-y finish.

    Two more in the cellar - opinions on life expectancy?
  11. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (3,547) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Interesting. I love Plead the 5th fresh, it's really good with one year on it. We did a three year vertical last year & the 2 year old was fading IMHO & the 3 year old beer was just done, thin, ashy. Interesting you liked it with two years on it, I won't keep any around even that long anymore.
    OnWisconsin likes this.
  12. will1256

    will1256 Disciple (369) Dec 4, 2010 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I wonder how much of our differing experiences are personal preference vs. year-to-year batch variation? If your vertical was last year, the 1-year old bottle you liked would have been the 2011 then? Could be that the 2011 was just a good year? Either way, I'll probably drink the remaining two sooner than later, although I'd be interested to see if the 2011 does hold up for another year...cellaring is all about experimenting, right? And hey, we're in the same town, I'd be happy to share...
  13. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (3,547) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I believe cellaring has a ton to do with personal preference; for example, there are very few barleywines I cellar because oxidation makes me want to scrub my tongue with steel wool, & that style seems to invite it faster than others I've put down. I've never noted any year-to-year variation fresh in Plead the 5th, but it's certainly possible. And I'm always up for drinking!

    After a number of years of cellaring I'm squarely in the middle of the debate: there are a bunch of beers I felt went downhill, several that maintain, & some that get better. I've winnowed what I have to the latter & watch happily as my cellar has started to shrink...very slowly.
    will1256 likes this.
  14. atypic

    atypic Initiate (0) Apr 8, 2011 North Carolina

    Couple of new ones:

    2 year old Orval - compared to a (relatively) fresh bottle. Still quite heady, but not as obnoxious as the fresh. Pretty different taste. More watery, more tea taste. Less brett. Overall about the same quality.

    1 year old Old Viscosity - surprisingly, this one didn't seem to hold up too well. I wasn't in love with it fresh, but it seemed to have gone downhill a bit in a year.
  15. Davl22

    Davl22 Disciple (369) Sep 27, 2011 New Hampshire
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    2011 DF Burton Baton......10/18/11 bottle date, was noticeably infected with brett by accident. Cracked a bottle last year from the same 4 pack that was similar. Surprisingly it drank great! More complexities, funk complimented the oak aged IPA. This would be a sweet variation....Brett Baton. Drink now if you have a bottle with the same date.
  16. Shallow_Gravy

    Shallow_Gravy Initiate (0) Oct 12, 2013 California

    Had a Firestone XVI last night. The coconut notes that were once there are almost all gone, but so is the little bit of heat there was when fresh. Smoothed out really nicely. Still lots of barrel character. Looking forward to where this one goes in another year.
  17. kojevergas

    kojevergas Poo-Bah (7,283) Aug 15, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I don't usually post here, lads, but I chanced across a 2005 Anchor Old Foghorn at a local bottle shop earlier today and figured I'd post the bulk of my review here:

    A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

    Pours a half finger khaki colour headd of above average thickness. Recedes to a ring within 20 seconds, but the ring is strong and thick and holds for an additional 3 minutes - not too shabby for a beer with nearly 9 years on it. Good consistency and complexion.

    Body colour is rich and dark; a very dark auburn or copper perhaps. Quasitranslucent if you count the reflection lighting on the bottom of the glass. Nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible.

    Overall, it's looking pretty standard for the style and quite good for its age. It's impressive it's held up this well; if I didn't know in advance it wasn't fresh I doubt I'd suspect anything based on the appearance alone.


    Sm: The powerful aromatics were the first thing I noticed upon opening. The aroma fills the room - wonderfully rich toffee and caramel notes, plentiful residual sugars, and an indistinct fruitiness. When I bring the glass a bit closer, I pick up faint traces of the beginnings of oxidation - a hint of cardboard and a dab of stale malts. Somewhat tannic. A kiss of port wine. There's still plenty of sweetness too - I get a lot of English brown malt and biscuit malt. Toasty character. Faded brown sugar. Any hop profile has melded into the malts. The fruit is half exquisite, half muted. Faint cherries, grape, and hints of stonefruit. Sticky rum. Sugarcane. Bread crust and bready malts.

    No yeast character is detectable. Some alcohol warmth is noticeable.

    It's a good aroma for a barleywine, but I fear oxidation may hold it back. I also suspect the balance has fallen apart a bit. It seems a bit off-peak, but I'll find out once I taste it. Certainly English in character.

    An inoffensive, rich aroma of deceptively high strength.


    T: Hm. Oxidation has definitely begun, but it hasn't deteriorated all that much - especially compared to other barleywines I've had at or around this age (see my reviews for Sierra Nevada Bigfoot). It has come apart a bit, but it's still fairly approachable for an aged barleywine. Faint hints of wet cardboard and stale malts are present throughout.

    It's got a syrupy brown malt body with lots of sweet English biscuit malt. Toffee and caramel are strong here. Bready malts. Crust. Vague fruit - stonefruit, depleted cherry, over-fermented plum skin. Some light sugarcane/rum notes. A bit of marshmallow. Molasses. Raisin. Brandy notes.

    No (dead) yeast character or hop character comes through. Alcohol is noticeable but not distracting.

    No, the balance isn't ideal. It's a bit past-peak, but still enjoyable. Not cloying, but too sweet. Good depth of flavour. Above average duration and intensity of flavour. Once this warms up a bit, its nuance really emerges. Nice complexity and some pretty good subtlety. A cohesive build, but not a gestalt one.


    Mf: The mouthfeel of an aged barleywine can ruin it. Luckily, this isn't too syrupy, dry, stale, rough, or astringent. It is a bit too thick, and is slightly rubbery on the backend. Good carbonation - especially for its age. Thank God it's not flat. A bit dry to style. Good smoothness/coarseness. Has some alcohol warmth. It's done well with time.

    Not oily, gushed, or boozy.


    Dr: I stand by my general rule of not aging a beer more than 5 years, but this was a nice treat for the night. I won't go back to the store for the 3 or 4 other bottles they have at $2.99, but I'm glad I tried this once. I'd like to try it fresh, and I do think I'd like it better fresh. I'm not sure what that says about aging it. In any case, I definitely prefer it to Bigfoot and I'd like to try it with less than 5 years on it - ideally 3. Anchor's brought out an interesting barleywine with a build that is now seemingly the standard. Definitely a heavy brew to bring out during the cold winter months. This sipper will take some time for me to take down alone. I certainly wouldn't want a second in the same night (or even the same week) - it's an acquired taste. Barleywine newcomers should look elsewhere for an introduction to the style.

    This really develops once it gets a bit warmer. Serve chilled and let warm.

    The soaky rum was a standout note for me, and the marshmallow was a pleasant surprise.

    Drinks quite well from a whisky tumbler.


    High C+ cold. Low B- at room temperature.

    (3.26 Overall)
  18. GrapesofWrath

    GrapesofWrath Initiate (0) Oct 13, 2013 Georgia

    2009 North Coast Old Rasputin XII Barrel Aged Stout

    Opens with lower carbonation than the XV I had a few weeks ago. Black and maybe 1/4" tan head. No lacing. 4.25/5

    Smell is dark fruit, sherry, high proof brandy, tons of booze. 4.75/5

    Taste is very oxidized sherry and watery stout. the bourbon is lost and hints of apple, dates, figs, apricots, and raisins overwhelm the senses. Very dry. 3.25/5

    Mouthfeel is watery and quite thin. The carbonation is present, but barely- not much different mouthfeel from the 1955 Orval I opened with friends. I think once you get to this oxidation level, the carbonation can't save you. 2.5/5

    Overall, It kind of warms on you. Not nearly as balanced or delicious as fresh, but different in an equally intriguing way- the smell is intoxicating with fermented fruits, brandy, and tawny port. The flavor declines as the complexity increases. For pouring by yourself, fresher is better. For pouring with friends, the book is still out.

  19. corby112

    corby112 Poo-Bah (3,908) Nov 19, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Damn, I need to start reading your reviews. Also, you should definitely continue to contribute to these cellar review threads.
  20. mikehblack

    mikehblack Initiate (117) Feb 10, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Whoa! Any notes on this one?
  21. GrapesofWrath

    GrapesofWrath Initiate (0) Oct 13, 2013 Georgia

    The brett had dried it out so far that was actually difficult to drink. The smell was amazing- sherry, port, fresh sliced apples, wood, caramel, toffee. The taste was sherry and cardboard. It didn't hold up well at all.
  22. AngusOg

    AngusOg Meyvn (1,016) Apr 23, 2010 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    2012 Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin
    Had one from last fall I didn't get around to drinking, so decided to crack it last week. I didn't have this years version, but had a couple last year, and remember thinking that the bourbon character masked the pumpkin pie spice character a bit. This time around it seems the bourbon character had really faded, and the pumpkin spice really shined through, perhaps a bit too much. It would have been nice a bit more balance between the two. Maybe the sweet spot for this brew is around 6 months? Of course that means drinking a pumpkin beer in May, but hey, whatever. Still an enjoyable brew while grilling on the deck on a breezy November evening.
  23. atypic

    atypic Initiate (0) Apr 8, 2011 North Carolina

    2.5 year old Ommegang Abbey Ale - we gave it the same score as 1.5 year old version. Plenty of head, sweeter smell, less grapey metallic finish. It's good stuff and worth aging, but I doubt it should go much past 3 years.
  24. HopNuggets

    HopNuggets Disciple (306) Oct 8, 2009 Connecticut

    2008 WWS is drinking amazing right now. Had it on International Stout Day. 5 years has done wonders for this big boy. It has mellowed out very nicely. Fresh it was a must split but aged I took down the 12oz to myself... ha-ha.
    corby112 likes this.
  25. ccrida

    ccrida Poo-Bah (3,033) May 26, 2006 Oregon

    2007 Gonzo Imperial Porter
    Lots of phenols here, plasticy smelll. Taste is still pretty heavy caramel (form a fuzzy memory of not having had this in 5+ years), nice acridness cuts it on the bitter finish. Oxidation softens the mouthfeel greatly, and while the taste is smooth and a little old, it's still very robust. First sip tasted too oxidized. After adjusting, I'm really liking this. Have another, will age for fun, not really sure this one has it for the long haul, we'll see...
  26. garymuchow

    garymuchow Poo-Bah (2,849) Aug 31, 2001 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    2008 Central Waters Satin Solstice

    I've aged these before and they change remarkably little with time and this one is the same. A little bourbon in the aroma now and taking on a bit of soy sauce. Still a thin dark head that continues to lace quite a bit.
    Flavor still holds a rich malt bite. Hints of bourbon (this is not the barrel aged one) and a growing soy sauce, which really isn't too much, but in time might be.
    Body is thinning a bit, but is still smooth enough with the dying carbonation.
    This is still pretty good. It was never a great beer, but a solid drinker and it remains so now.
  27. mdfb79

    mdfb79 Poo-Bah (4,861) Jan 11, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    I cracked a 2008 Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout this past weekend. Originally I had this vintage in December 2010 and thought it was very good. Last time I had a bottle was September 2012 and thought it had gotten even better.

    Overall I thought it was still a very good BA stout, but I think it has slightly peaked. It still has a lot of chocolate and roasted notes, but less caramel and I think the sweet bourbon has faded a little bit. From my experience this beer is very good fresh, and then ages into a fantastic beer in the 2-4 year range, but I wouldn't age it longer than that.

    I've got some 2010's of this and the BA barleywine and plan on opening them in the next 3-12 months.
  28. atypic

    atypic Initiate (0) Apr 8, 2011 North Carolina

    1.5 year old North Coast Otsuchi Old Ale 2012 - this one is aging well. Smoother, the aged grapey smell is coming out. I think this one has another 1.5 years to go at least, but it's very good now.
  29. ccrida

    ccrida Poo-Bah (3,033) May 26, 2006 Oregon

    2007 Abyss
    Whoa, rich, deep, intense. Softened, but so much vibrancy. Long way to go! 4.5+
    jedwards likes this.
  30. atypic

    atypic Initiate (0) Apr 8, 2011 North Carolina

    1 year old Backwoods Bastard - we preferred it fresh, although it's still very good.
  31. allforbetterbeer

    allforbetterbeer Savant (953) Sep 26, 2009 Colorado

    Just opened a 2010 Hibernation cellared at 50 degrees F since I bought it 3 years ago. This is one of the very few beers that I think age does favors for, especially when aged over a year. I have never had a bottle this old (I once tried a kegged version that was 4 years old and it was fantastic). Instead of the sweet, treacle/dark fruit flavors I expected (and found enhanced at 1 and 2 years) I taste a slightly harsh tannic-bitter tea quality that wasn't there a year ago. Almost lemony. I didn't expect this at all. It is very interesting but not as tasty as it was at 1 and 2 years of age (or when it was fresh). There is still plenty of life left though, with ample carbonation and a thick mouthfeel. All this being said it is still quite good but no longer an improvement on the fresh version. In 2 more years I will do a 5 year vertical and perhaps this will make it through this odd bitter stage and become something better. I will never forget how awesome that 4 year old kegged version tasted (much better than the fresh one tried side by side, which is saying a lot as this beer is quite tasty fresh).
  32. Davl22

    Davl22 Disciple (369) Sep 27, 2011 New Hampshire
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    2011 BCBS- Drinking FANTASTIC

    2012 TenFidy- Better fresh...
  33. barleywinefiend

    barleywinefiend Initiate (0) Nov 22, 2007 Washington

    2005 Deschutes Mirror Mirror.

    Held up extremely well but definitely primed. A moderate does of candy and some residual yet faded floral hops, no bitterness, smooth as can be. The ABV is distant. This is a just a smoothed out, sweet unINFECTED with very trace oxidation.

    PS...FW13 is primed, FW 14 is getting there 15 is MONEY and not as sweet as initial release and 16 is still going strong.

    2002 Bigfoots and 2003 Rudyards Rare are moving along nicely....
  34. 4DAloveofSTOUT

    4DAloveofSTOUT Poo-Bah (2,303) Nov 28, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Had a tasting held FOBAB weekend; finally posting my quick notes from the tasting-

    BCBS Rare still drinking so amazingly! Fudgy and barrel notes are so awesome right now! So smooth!

    King Henry is drinking just a flawlessly as BCBS Rare! It still has the wow factor if it has been properly cellared like this bottle was!

    Bramble BCBS still drinking fantastic! I swear this beer gets better everytime I drink it...

    CBS while it was way better than I expected it to be, it is starting to have some black licorice notes which I am not a huge fan of. Very sweet at this point. No roastiness or coffee flavors anymore.

    2010 Upland Kiwi. This sour is holding up great. Still pretty sour and still tasting alot of kiwi.
  35. atypic

    atypic Initiate (0) Apr 8, 2011 North Carolina

    1 year old Bolt Cutter - I liked it better as it warmed up, but it's still a bit of a mess. Liked it a little better fresh; think it has a few years to go before peaking.

    Hmm, we just started aging a bunch of Ten Fidy. I hope this is not the general consensus...
  36. 4DAloveofSTOUT

    4DAloveofSTOUT Poo-Bah (2,303) Nov 28, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    BCBS bottled on 8/23/2012. So we are looking at a year and 3 months of age on this bottle.

    Not much has changed with the flavor profile of this beer when it was fresh. I wasnt enjoying this much right out of the fridge, but when it warmed up to room temperature...Oh my! Tastes like bourbony, vanilla, marshmellows, oak, char, tobacco! Mouthfeel is thick and oily. The beer is crazy smooth even at room temperature not even a hint of booziness. I really like this 2012 vintage right now, it reminds me alot of 2009 with 2 years on it. 2009 BCBS has been my favorite vintage of BCBS for a long time. I dont see more time aging this beer making it any better.
  37. RBlaszak

    RBlaszak Initiate (146) Jul 6, 2009 Michigan

    Side by side 2009 and 2011 Double Bastard.

    2011 was still the big burly beer I remember, though mellowed out significantly.
    2009 by comparison became a toffee and caramel treasure, rich and decadent, probably the closest I've had since my one dim memory of a Flying Mouflon as the peak of barley wine goodness.

    Wish I could get my hands on more Double Bastard to set aside for some years.
  38. Dupage25

    Dupage25 Aspirant (283) Jul 4, 2013 Antarctica

    Thanksgiving week = drink down my cellar a bit with the help of friends and family. Tonight:

    1. 2012 Bourbon County Stout. More specifically, the 9-06-2012 batch. Markedly less hot than the one from 9-20 that I had recently, though it still has apparent whiskey flavors. A bit of vanilla, certainly more than fresh (or at least less obstructed by the whiskey burn). Hershey's and marshmellows with an extremely generous dose if molasses. In fact, I would say the dominant flavor us molasses. Almost every time I have a cellared -bal stout I get more amazed that some people don't think they age well.

    2. 2011 and 2013 North Coast Old Stock. We had these side by side after finishing the Bourbon County, which probably wasn't a good idea. But we could still taste a surprising amount here. I thought notable flavors included caramel-dipped fruit and possibly toffee. 2011 was better but I thought the 2013 was surprisingly smooth for being less than a year old.

    Last night: September 2011 and April 2012 Bells Third Coast Old Ale side by side. I was neither impressed nor disappointed. 2011 was a bit less abrasively hoppy but I still think both were too hoppy. The primary malt flavor comes mostly from oxidation but even that was subtle compared to the hops. I think I'll stop buying this while I whittle down my remaining Third Coast's . Hopefully at some point I will find a sweet spot.
  39. mindswoop

    mindswoop Initiate (186) Dec 22, 2011 Texas

    Did a lot of drinking over Thanksgiving with family...

    Fullers vintage 08-11...08 was the best...the flavors finally started coming together...sweet, balanced, and complex.

    Did some Big Worse as well. 10 was a soy bomb. 11 red wine had nice barrel on the nose but it was an afterthought in the taste. 11 bourbon was delicious...drinking very well.

    11 Black Ops still boozy though not as much as fresh and the champagne carbonation kills the mouthfeel.

    SN 30th black barleywine is holding up alright.

    12 Big John was big, thick, and boozy.
  40. 4DAloveofSTOUT

    4DAloveofSTOUT Poo-Bah (2,303) Nov 28, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    2012 Sucaba is drinking perfectly right now! At room temp its not boozey at all. All the barrel notes are blending nicely with the rest of the beer. Really impressive right now!!!
    AdamP likes this.
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