I’ve been raiding my beer cellar recently because I’m moving in the not too distant future. Why move perfectly good beers when I could drink them, right? I’ve had mixed results with the beer in my cellar, which may be a byproduct of poor cellaring on my part. My beer cellar was originally just a dark, cool corner of my garage, but as the weather got warmer I had to invest in a beer fridge. I kept the fridge as warm as I could (ideal cellar temperature is about 8 degrees Celsius), but it sill might have been too cold in there. The temperature fluctuations from warm to cool might have produced the off flavors in my aged beers, but then who knows? That being said, it wasn’t all bad; I got some pretty good results too.
I had one of those ceramic bottles of Rogue Old Crustacean Barleywine from Christmas 2008. It was atrociously bad. It tasted extremely bitter and almost metallic. It was a high alcohol beer, so my only guess as to what happened is that the beer may have interacted poorly with the bottle? Anyway, this was a big waste of a beer; I wish I’d consumed this one fresh.
Another beer that didn’t age well was a Phillips The Hammer Imperial Stout from January 2009. It had the tangy, almost sour flavor of a beer containing a bacterial infection. I consumed both the 2009 and 2010 versions of this beer fresh and bother were tasty, so it’s a shame this one didn’t age well.
I saved a 2008 Fuller’s Vintage Ale and drank it along side the 2009 version. Fuller’s uses a new recipe every year, so the two aren’t really comparable, but it was fun to do anyway. I found the aged 2008 bottle to be far superior to the 2009 bottle, where both were good. Drinking the aged 2008 version was like taking a trip to flavortown. It had great apply, fruity, caramel flavors and I wish I had ten more of them, half to drink and half to cuddle.
I had another Phillips brew aging away in my garage, this one a Burley Barleywine from Christmas 2008. Unlike the imperial stout, this one aged wonderfully. There was none of the harshness of a young barleywine present, no detectable alcohol or hops whatsoever. What remained was a wonderful medley of caramel and molasses type flavors, with maybe a bit of fruit in there too. I’m glad I saved this one.
Erik and I took a trip to Portland this past weekend and, now that we’ve overcome our Olympic hangovers, we’ll have a lot to write about in the coming weeks.