Vintage Beer

Since becoming beer enthusiasts, Sarah and I have learned a bit about aging beer – which beers are best aged, which aren’t, etc. Naturally, we’ve tried to assemble our own beer collection. We have devoted one of the precious few cabinets in our apartment to storing beer (since we can’t actually have a proper beer cellar). Here’s what we’ve got:

2009 Brooklyn Brewery Monster Ale
2009 Harviestoun Ola Dubh
2010 Brooklyn Brewery Black Ops
2010 Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout
2010 Founders Nemesis
2010 Founders KBS (Four bottles. Oh. Yes.)
2010 Founders Old Curmudgeon
2010 Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Jack and Ken’s Ale
2010 Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout

Aging beer has been frustrating at times.  The most difficult thing to overcome is the urge to just go ahead and drink the beer. Imperial stouts are pretty hard to keep out of Sarah’s hands. We’ve adopted the tactic of trying to forget about the beer in the cabinet. Harder to do now that we’ve gone through and catalogued it all.

A couple of experiences have also made it easier to resist temptations. During my first year of homebrewing we attempted to brew a clone of Oaked Arrogant Bastard. At first the oak flavor was overpowering and we were a little disappointed. Two years later I found four bottles I had given my parents that had been sitting in the garage. When I tried them, the oak flavors had faded a bit and were more in balance with the rest of the beer.

Last week I noticed the shelf of vintage beers at Bierkraft and couldn’t resist. I picked up an ’06 Brooklyn Brewery Monster Ale and an ’06 Dogfish Head Olde School barleywine. (At some point we’ll do a comparison with our ’09 Monster Ales). Karl at Bierkraft told me that they have a selection of beers aging in their cellar just for this purpose. If you need some detailed advice on aging beers be sure to talk to Karl, he can get you started and give you some more information. It was a great way to improve our collection of aged beers. I will definitely be on the lookout for more aged beers at Bierkraft, especially imperial stouts for Sarah.

– Giancarlo


    • Depending on the beer style, there are varying amounts of time that you would want to age it. Some beers last for many years while leaving others for so long can make them undrinkable.

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