Will Big Stout with Hops Age OK?

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by TheMiddleTeton, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. TheMiddleTeton

    TheMiddleTeton Initiate (44) Aug 10, 2017 Illinois

    I got a stout recently (BA Vlad by Hailstorm in Chicago) and the label says it has a whole bunch of different hops, which I know don’t typically age well after a few months. It also has lots of berries in it. It’s 14%.

    How long would you be comfortable with holding onto it, before worrying it might go bad?

    Have you noticed issues or off-flavors with other hopped “big stouts”? Do hops age differently when they’re in a high ABV beer vs. a pale ale or IPA?

    Thanks beeradvocate members!
  2. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (326) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    I believe additive flavors would also fade with time. I'd probably drink it within 6 months to avoid that if you want strong berry flavor.
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  3. Sabtos

    Sabtos Poo-Bah (4,953) Dec 15, 2015 Ohio

    If they're calling it a Stout, the hops shouldn't be the defining characteristic. While I've known plenty of hoppy stouts in my day, I've not noticed them turn to an undesirable flavor or aroma unless the underlying stout itself was not well made.

    However, in the case of Black IPAs or Black Ales, I have noticed that if I like one at all, I like it much better fresh--the ones I've had have gotten much more harsh, sharp, piney and fusile the longer I sat on them.

    But I've not had a stout where the hops became ruggy, catty, musty, or pungently stale that you might see in an aging IPA. The stouts I've had that have aged poorly have had metallic notes and oxygenated notes of too much molasses and what not, even the hoppy ones.
  4. ilikebeer03

    ilikebeer03 Champion (819) Oct 17, 2012 Texas

    Most imperial stouts have a lot of hops. The high bitterness is needed to balance out the massive sweetness that comes from the amount of grain needed to produce high alcohol beers.
    These beers typically do not come off as bitter or 'hoppy' because, again, the hop bitterness and the malt sweetness balance each other out.

    That said I'm sure you're fine. Certainly fine for 'a few months'
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  5. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (804) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    If it's already barrel-aged, I wouldn't age it at all. Unless you actually want it to taste like soy sauce, that is.
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  6. TheMiddleTeton

    TheMiddleTeton Initiate (44) Aug 10, 2017 Illinois

    Awesome, thank you, Sabtos, for the informative reply!
  7. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,108) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Trader

    Soy sauce is not something that I have have ever found in any barrel aged beer I've had. Please provide examples of ones that you found that to be true of.
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  8. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (804) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I've only had it in stouts, as the oxidation of the compounds in highly kilned malts are thought to be the cause. Dark Lord, The Abyss, XXX Warlock, World Wide Stout, and, of course, SA Triple Bock. I could name more, if I really had a chance to think about it, but you get the gist.
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  9. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,108) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Trader

    The only one that I experienced any soy was in the Sam Adams and that, luckily for me, was in the rarity.
  10. TheMiddleTeton

    TheMiddleTeton Initiate (44) Aug 10, 2017 Illinois

    I’ve read about soy flavors in Darklord before. Thanks for the replies everybody :slight_smile:

  11. oldbean

    oldbean Aspirant (270) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    My experience with beers of this type is that they're generally best six to twelve months after bottling. Long enough to take the edge off any really strong flavors from the flavor adjuncts and let everything come into harmony, but not so long that you're losing the intended character of the beer. Stouts don't take infinite age anyway, particularly when they've already spent time in a barrel, so I wouldn't want to take it much longer than that without trying it first.

    In other words, try it fresh first, but understand that "fresh" for a 14% stout is not the same as "fresh" for an IPA and that they usually benefit (at least in my dumb opinion) from a bit of an extended conditioning period.