Sour IPA's-drink them fresh or does it matter?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Franziskaner, Feb 14, 2015.

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  1. Franziskaner

    Franziskaner Poo-Bah (4,341) May 27, 2005 Missouri

    I know everyone agrees to drink IPA's right away. Sour beers can be cellared. What about IPA's that have been soured? I would think the sooner the better,but I can't say I know it matters for a fact. Thoughts?
    PlinyRyan likes this.
  2. NCMonte

    NCMonte Aspirant (248) Jan 28, 2014 North Carolina

    Good question, never had one last longer than 2 evenings, so I'm no help. Btw, a Sour IPA is the only way I can drink an IPA.... Odd right.
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  3. Franziskaner

    Franziskaner Poo-Bah (4,341) May 27, 2005 Missouri

    The inspiration was having Anchorage / Mikkeller Invasion Farmhouse IPA and despite it hitting my area in September I see it is listed as "retired". I assure you it seems to be fine,but I didn't try it several months ago as a comparison.
  4. stereosforgeeks

    stereosforgeeks Savant (939) Jul 10, 2005 Virginia

    Ideally drink one now and age one to see how the wild/sour yeast changes it.
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  5. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,173) Oct 11, 2010 Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands
    Society Trader

    The hops are still subject to fading. I'd still drink it fresh to get the full hop effect, but I doubt it would be as noticeable as a regular IPA if you aged it though. Only way to know is to experiment for yourself.
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  6. raynmoon

    raynmoon Champion (804) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado

    Usually sours are alive/ bottle conditioned so they will change. Depending on their bacteria and yeast composition, I'd say they tend to become more tart over time.

    Some breweries like to release sours when they Aren't ready (almanac... Ahem), I'd let them sit in the bottle for a good 4-6 months and see how they change.

    Some release sours that are perfect as is (Sante Adairius).

    That's rare though.
  7. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (431) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I would say both and either.
    Obviously as the beer ages, the hops will fade out, but in that time, the souring bugs will take hold and start to do their thing. There may be a time, depending on the beer, that both are happening at once, (hoppy and sour) or there is a time there is neither (hops faded, sour not yet pronounced)
    This is a time that I would really say to buy a few bottles, drink one fresh, one in 6 months or so, and another a year + out.
    machalel likes this.
  8. LehighAce06

    LehighAce06 Champion (815) Jul 31, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Depends on what you're looking for out of them. Sour beers have a natural resistance to oxidation of malts, so the beer will "last" a long time, and may develop a bit as the souring bacteria do their work. However, if it's listed as an IPA style it's likely that there's a large amount of hops in play, and those hops will degrade rather quickly. So if you're looking for a hoppy brew with some sourness, drink it fresh; if you're looking for a developed sour beer that may or may not have a hop character in the background, let it sit a while.

    For what it's worth, odds are the brewer intends you to drink it fresh while the hops are still around, otherwise they wouldn't have used so much of them in the brew and would instead of made a sour beer that did not entail using as much hops.

    Same advice goes for barrel aged IPAs, to withstand the time spent in a barrel it's highly likely it's a high abv brew, which also resists spoilage, however the hops will fade quickly.

    I'm curious, which beer(s) are you asking about, specifically?
    Franziskaner and 2beerdogs like this.
  9. Kurmaraja

    Kurmaraja Poo-Bah (2,805) May 21, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Not that one person's opinion is definitive, but the brewer at De Garde has stated in a Facebook post that his hoppy beers should be treated like IPAs. I'm not one of these believers that IPAs when stored properly don't last 3 - 4 months and I've had the De Garde hoppy sours at 3 - 4 months and they've been great. But I can't really see why you'd want to take a beer that empasizes, say, Nelson hops and age it until all the aromatics are faded.

    I'm sort of inclined to make a distinction between hoppy sours that are dry hopped to really highlight a hop profile - see the De Garde Hose, Nelson Hose, Petit Mosaic, Petit Azacca, Rojo Uno and Rojo Dos ... Prairie's Funky Gold beers - and sours that are hopped with aged hops or with more of an intention to add funkiness / bitterness without really focusing on the hop itself. Iris and Cuvee Saint Gilloise come to mind but I think JK is doing experiments with aged hops. Le Terroir doesn't seem as critical to drink fresh either.
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  10. 2beerdogs

    2beerdogs Poo-Bah (2,470) Jan 31, 2005 California
    Society Trader

    I agree. If the brewer is doing an IPA, the hops are obciously an intended focus of the profile, and as such the drop off of the hops would be seriously changed with age.
  11. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,938) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    My personal experience has been to prefer them fresh.
  12. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,938) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Considering New Belgium pasteurizes their wild ales, I'd argue the opposite. You gain nothing from aging it, but lose the hops. I say this having only tried Le Terror fresh, FWIW.
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  13. Kurmaraja

    Kurmaraja Poo-Bah (2,805) May 21, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Sorry, didn't mean to imply it would develop or change in the bottle ... just meant that though it's dry hopped I haven't found it to really focused on the hops, more the interplay of the earthiness and peachy notes. Perhaps I just haven't had it fresh enough for the hops to pop (I know it's amarillo and citra). Makes me feel like I need to try and seek it out as fresh as possible now to validate.

    Maybe a bad example, but I think the idea of the beers using aged hops being less volatile / more ageable is solid.
  14. LehighAce06

    LehighAce06 Champion (815) Jul 31, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Good point about Nelson; newer hop varieties have much shorter shelf-life and fade much more rapidly, so even if you're focusing on the hops but it's an older one like Columbus it's not super critical, whereas Nelson or another "new" hop is crucial that it's as fresh as possible before it's gone. Aged hops are sort of the extreme example where there's very little to lose letting it sit around a while, whether there's a benefit (bottle conditioned) or not (pasteurized like New Belgium).
    Kurmaraja likes this.
  15. StLeasy

    StLeasy Initiate (0) Sep 8, 2013 Illinois

    Same here, and I prefer brett and Belgian IPA's fresh too. Definitely nicer aged than a regular IPA, but the aromatic dry hop flavors go very well with the yeast flavors to me.
  16. Geuzedad

    Geuzedad Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2010 Arizona

    As a novice when it comes to brewing, is there a beer out there that has been produced as a sour, allowed to age for a time period to develop the sour character, the been hopped after the fact? To me that would be a true hoppy sour, having let the yeast do its thing first to sour the beer, then hop it up at the end. Couldn't you let the beer sit on fresh hops in a tank for a bit then bottle it? Has this ever been done?
  17. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Champion (863) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia

    It's done quite often for the style.

    Le Terrior does this.. Sour blonde base, then they dryhop it with Amarillo and Citra.

    Amarous from Wicked Weed is the same deal, a sour base, aged in wine barrels, and then dryhopped with Mosaic, Centennial and Amarillo.

    You have to have low level of alpha acids to allow the bacteria to sour the beer to begin with, the hoppy goodness is added purely by dryhopping.
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  18. Franziskaner

    Franziskaner Poo-Bah (4,341) May 27, 2005 Missouri

    Anchorage/Mikkeller Invasion Farmhouse IPA
    Victory Wild Devil

    Fatc1ty I am with you on the dry hopped beers. I know that dry hop flavor seems to fade quickly so I crack those right away.

    Other good examples were Prairie Funky Gold Amarillo & Prairie Funky Gold Mosaic. Le Terrior was my first soured IPA and it was so good that I still remember it as a sort of epiphany. Sour and hoppy when done right is amazing.
  19. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Defender (634) May 29, 2011 Florida

    It depends on how it's produced. Some sour pale & sour IPA are soured by lactobacillus on the hot side of the process and boiled to kill bacteria. Aging these won't do you anything but fade the hops. Some are pasteurized, like New Belgium. Others that aren't pasteurized and see bacteria and wild yeast in the bottle will benefit from age for the flora, but the hops will fade.
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