What's "too fresh" for hoppy beers?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Damian, Feb 3, 2016.

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  1. Damian

    Damian Poo-Bah (3,396) Jun 1, 2006 Massachusetts
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    With many people around the country now having regular access to hyper-local breweries, many of whom brew some incredible hoppy beers (IPAs, DIPAs, PAs, etc.), the discussion has come up as to "how fresh is too fresh?" I'm fortunate enough to get cans and bottles of Tree House and Trillium beers, which are often sold the same day they are canned/bottled. While standing in line, I've heard people around me say that they like to wait at least a few days to drink their beers so that the hops "settle down" and the beers aren't "liquid hop water."

    Just curious as to what you all think is the "sweet spot" for popping hoppy beers?
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  2. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (8,420) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    For me it's 3 to 4 weeks, not a fan of ultra green (young) beer..
  3. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Depends on the beer. For the Nugget Nectar I'm having right now my sweet spot is between 2 and 6 weeks. Before 2 weeks it has a harshness to the bitterness that isnt' tempered by the malt. After 6 weeks the hops start to fade. It is still enjoyable but not quite so much as during that time between 2 and 6 weeks when everything--the aromas and flavors--is spot on for me.
    #3 drtth, Feb 3, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
  4. lester619

    lester619 Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin

    Fresh as possible. I want hop water. I would like to take a wad of fresh hops and stick it in my lip like a dip of tobacco.
  5. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (526) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina

    Fresh Hop Drop and Roll one day old can be a bit "hot." I think they are all different.

    Two day old Pliny flown in from SF was magic.
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  6. jakemn91

    jakemn91 Crusader (776) Jun 14, 2013 New Mexico

    Put me in the "as fresh as possible" crowd. I've never had an IPA that I thought would be better mellowed out
  7. TheBungyo

    TheBungyo Champion (836) Dec 1, 2004 Washington

    Fresh is always better in my experience. I loved getting day old cans of Top Cutter or Cowiche.
  8. Shroud0fdoom

    Shroud0fdoom Initiate (0) Oct 31, 2013 Maryland

    That would burn! I have chewed on a Hop Cone....17% AA...it was not a pretty experience.
  9. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Poo-Bah (1,868) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa
    Society Trader

    As fresh as possible
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  10. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    I like freshly canned beer too. I don't think any hoppy beer gets better with time on it, but lots of things influence taste besides time. Dark and cool extend the age, cans extend the age factor a bit too.
  11. lester619

    lester619 Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin

    Yeah, I'd have to be pretty ripped and have someone question my manhood to actually go through with it.
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  12. rossracing

    rossracing Initiate (0) Mar 30, 2013 Illinois

    now now now drink as fresh as possible
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  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,820) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    For my homebrewed IPAs about 4 weeks after bottling.

    Something I posted this in a previous thread:

    “I had a recent experience with a 6-pack of Union Jack IPA in cans. I purchased that 6-pack fresh (couple of weeks after canning). I placed that 6-pack into my refrigerator and started drinking one within a day of purchase. I was really disappointed in the first 3 cans from that 6-pack. 'Evil' thoughts like "they must have changed the recipe" popped into my mind. About a month later I drank the 4th can that beer was wonderful. It took about 6 weeks after canning (and cold storage) for that beer to reach its peak. A very strange experience indeed.


    Edit: David Walker of Firestone Walker seems to agree with me:

    “Walker, upon taking his first sip of Union Jack in a can, noted that despite the “freshness craze” going around, he thought the beer was “a little young,” and when pressed noted that he likes his Union Jack, “aged about 45 days. It let’s the malt catch up a bit.”


  14. Shroud0fdoom

    Shroud0fdoom Initiate (0) Oct 31, 2013 Maryland

    That's usually how all my best mistakes happen...:rolling_eyes:
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  15. Shroud0fdoom

    Shroud0fdoom Initiate (0) Oct 31, 2013 Maryland

    Similar with my experiences with Maine Beer Company's MO. I had one bottle that was about 5 days old. The hops didn't quite "sing" at that age. I drank one (now at two weeks old) the tropical hop profile settled in.
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  16. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (3,001) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    Oh, they definitely have a sweet spot. Did you ever have Weyerbacher's Viridis Lupulis a few years back? That one was released with too much vegetal raw hop quality to it. It wasn't until it had several weeks in the bottle that it started to develop more recognizable aromas and flavors. I'm sure that many homebrewers have noticed a similar effect with their own beers.
  17. Minnesota_beer_guy

    Minnesota_beer_guy Disciple (303) Feb 15, 2014 Minnesota

    Lagunitas Born Yesterday was a much better beer 3-4 weeks old compared to the first couple bottles I had about a week after bottling
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  18. Eddiehop

    Eddiehop Defender (651) Jun 28, 2014 Texas

    Too fresh?!?! Is there such a thing? I want my face in the bottling line, with my mouth wide open...
  19. stickboy1125

    stickboy1125 Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2012 Virginia

    I've yet to have a hoppy beer that I thought was too fresh. I will say I've had some very fresh cans of OTWOA that I thought improved slightly after 7-10 days. On the other hand, I've had many hoppy beers that changed for the worse after a couple weeks. I prefer to err on the side of drinking beers as fresh as possible.
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  20. lester619

    lester619 Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin

    Someone dared my idiot brother to eat a ghost pepper last Memorial Day when we were camping. At first I tried to talk him out of it then I realized he deserved whatever he got and laughed at his pain. It was a harsh scene.
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  21. chavinparty

    chavinparty Initiate (121) Jan 4, 2015 New Hampshire

    IPAs 6 weeks from brewing to glass is my sweet spot. Pale ales I look at 4 weeks. 2 weeks fermentation in both scenarios. Commercially in the bright tank I would think they can bottle at peak?
  22. Sweatshirt

    Sweatshirt Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2014 New Hampshire

    Depends on the beer. Some are released too green and vegetal. Some aren't.
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  23. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    I'll have to try this. My fear with hoppy beers is in "the when the malt catches up" part. I don't like when the malt equally catches up to the hops.
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  24. Grodd87

    Grodd87 Initiate (0) Jul 30, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Maybe just eating hops but that is about it
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,820) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Michael, no I didn't.

  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,820) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Dale, FWIW I personally do not ascribe to the verbiage of "when the malt catches up". For me it was more that the hop aroma/flavor was unpleasant initially and after some age I preferred the hop aroma/flavor. I suppose this could be a semantics issue but I wanted to provide my view that it was not that the beer became "malty" but more so that the hop aroma/flavor became 'better'.

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  27. scxcrunner

    scxcrunner Zealot (569) Aug 24, 2013 Massachusetts

    no such thing as too fresh to me. With Tree House i don't notice much of a change in taste until week 2 but the fresher the better IMO.
  28. CJNAPS

    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

    I'm with you, nothing beats Pliny day 1 of bottling or on draft.
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  29. Ipaupaweallpa

    Ipaupaweallpa Initiate (0) Dec 26, 2014 Alabama

    Most beers I like about one month old exactly. I like to find them fresher though, so I know they haven't been through a lot, and they can safely age to a month in my fridge.
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  30. IroquoisPlisken

    IroquoisPlisken Initiate (0) May 21, 2013 Ohio

    Hoof Hearted beers all need a week or more to further condition after they have been canned. My friend and I cracked a can from the last batch of konkey dong the day it was canned and it was so bitter. After nearly five weeks we opened the last can and it was unbelievable. Pure pineapple juice.
  31. tbryan5

    tbryan5 Meyvn (1,209) Sep 22, 2012 Louisiana

    Hops still on the vine= too fresh
  32. chavinparty

    chavinparty Initiate (121) Jan 4, 2015 New Hampshire

    That's rediculous. Fresh hops are the best they just need 6 weeks before you drink them
  33. lambpasty

    lambpasty Initiate (0) May 3, 2013 New Hampshire

    I actually prefer to drink my beer before it's even brewed.
  34. OTB

    OTB Zealot (513) Sep 2, 2011 California

    I think this is really valid discussion and find these posts really interesting. I am a IPA/DIPA fresh freak for the most part, however I do believe that quite a few of these beers do get better with some can/bottle age, by that I mean a week to a couple weeks depending on the hops used as well as a few other factors. I recently have noticed after picking up growlers and bottles of just hours old beers that for the most part they were much better a couple days/weeks later.

  35. ClavisAurea

    ClavisAurea Initiate (0) Jul 4, 2008 New York

    Heady at Day 1 is very good. Wait a few weeks and it becomes sublime. Even the head brewer prefers it aged a little.
  36. CNoj012

    CNoj012 Meyvn (1,300) Dec 7, 2014 New York

    Some of the freshest beers I've ever had are Congress Street the day it was bottled and a one day old Vicinity, both by Trillium, and I was absolutely blown away. Can't speak for other breweries, but as far as Trillium goes fresh is best.
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  37. WesMantooth

    WesMantooth Poo-Bah (3,197) Jan 8, 2014 Ohio
    Society Trader

    Varies too much from beer to beer. I have had plenty that are too green for a few days to a few weeks.
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  38. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    I believe John Klimmish cans Heady at 8 weeks old if I'm not mistaken.
  39. CGuil220

    CGuil220 Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2015 New Hampshire

    As many have said, I think it depends. I know that with Fiddlehead in VT, if you drink their beers (at least their original Fiddlehead IPA) within the first few days of it being canned or put in a keg, the flavors are so much more prominent. I mean crazy flowery and fruity!
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  40. scottakelly

    scottakelly Zealot (525) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    From my homebrewing experience I'm stymied by the sentiment that consuming ipas immediately are better than when some age is added to the mix. I've never had a bottle conditioned beer peak sooner than three weeks from bottling. Forced carbed kegs take at least a week to round out.
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