question about beer aging

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by reowin, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. reowin

    reowin Initiate (27) Nov 24, 2017 Tennessee

    i bought a mixed 6 pack today and i got 4 sierra nevada bigfoot barley wine ale bottled on 01/16/18 i heard on youtube and here i think if they age they gain more alcohol or flavor? is that true and how long does it take?
    #1 reowin, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  2. scream

    scream Defender (631) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    I would say they will not gain more alcohol. The taste will change over time. How that happens depends on the original beer. Some beers have coffee added as an adjunct/flavoring. That tends to fade over time It's always hard to tell for me what has changed when I revisit a beer a year after 1st having it.

    I assume you are speaking of Narwahl ? I would expect that beer to be good for several years so I would not worry about it degrading/losing it's character. You might make some notes on your thoughts now and revisit that down the road w another btl. No need to save them all for that tho !!
  3. reowin

    reowin Initiate (27) Nov 24, 2017 Tennessee

    oh i meant the bigfoot barly wine i edited it now

  4. MoreBeer4me

    MoreBeer4me Aspirant (270) Aug 25, 2014 New Jersey

    You're likely talking about Bigfoot Barleywine? I have five bottles of that hanging out myself from earlier this year. Drank one fresh and wasn't exactly wowed. I've heard it mellows out after some time. We'll see.....I guess. I'm not 100% sold on aging.
  5. Hoos78

    Hoos78 Aspirant (214) Mar 3, 2015 Ohio

    Actually a lot to unpack with your question. I’ll keep it general at first before I address Bigfoot specifically.

    Beers do not gain alcohol content with age. The flavors will change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse depending on the beer. Some of that flavor change could result in the beer tasting/feeling “hotter” (more boozy). However, in many cases, aging will mellow out a high abv beer, reducing it’s perceived alcohol flavor.

    As a guide, higher abv beers are better to age. Imperial Stouts, Barleywines, and other beers that clock in at higher than 8-9% generally are thought to age best. There are a few exceptions to that rule. Hoppy beers, specifically IPAs and IIPAs generally suffer pretty severely with considerable age (with a few notable exceptions). The hops fade over time leaving a beer that does not taste ideal.

    Now, specifically your Sierra Nevada Barleywine, Bigfoot. It is an exceptionally hoppy Barleywine. I find it pretty hot, or boozy, too. It is a beer that I like to age to mellow out the hops a bit. Yours is going on 11 months which is a good start. The hops will have mellowed out some. I like it closer to 18 months - 2 years. Bigfoot can be really good with a lot more age than that. Others like it fresh with the notable hop bitterness/spiciness. It all depends how you like your Barleywines. I find Bigfoot with age is a bit sweeter, with a deeper malt depth. It’s still big and boozy, but the hops aren’t squashing that toffee, burnt sugar aspect that many look for in a Barleywine. Fresh it almost tastes like an uber-malty Imperial IPA.

    Now the caveat for aging is that it has been stored reasonably well (cool, dry, relatively consistent temp, etc.). Since you have four, you can drink one now, cellar the others and keep checking in over time.

    All of that said, the vast majority of beers are best when fresh. Check out the cellaring/aging forum for lots of good info.
    cavedave, Lahey and FBarber like this.
  6. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,451) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    The alcohol content will not change.
    The flavors will change - whether that is a good or bad thing is something that you can only know by tasting them. You have 4? Why not drink one now, take some notes, and then drink the other 3 each 6 months after the other taking notes to see how they change over time and whether you like it or not.
    scream likes this.
  7. scream

    scream Defender (631) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    My bad earlier. Narwahl is stout not barleywine. Double Duh !
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