Aged beers
BE Aged beers

Most of the beers that we can find are made to be tasted fresh.

So why do we see people aging beer in cellars for years?

Because some beers, like wines, can improve with age, developing some new characteristics and enhancing some subtle notes that were on the background before. But you need to find the right beer styles to benefit from this process.

For example, IPA’s shouldn’t be your choices at all! These beers are made to be consumed as fresh as you can because normally hops fade away with time.

The best styles are divided into two groups: the wild beers, such as Lambics, Gueuzes and Saisons; and the high alcohol beers, with over 10% ABV, such as Barleywines, Imperial Stouts and Robust Porters.

A lot is happening inside the bottle during the aging process to change the flavors. The main factor is oxygen. You will need a slow oxidations process (because you are always going to have at least a little bit) to get the better flavor notes.

Normally, in the aged beers, the citrus, bitter and floral notes go away along with that alcohol burn sensation and the more subtle notes of malt and fruit will step forward and the beer will change forever!

But you need to take some precautions when you choose the place to stash your beer.

Where?

You need to find a place with low light and steady temperature around 60°F, to help to slow the oxidation process and to allow the interesting flavors to develop.

Light and high temperatures can jeopardize the quality of your beer over the time and you will have a not so pleasant surprise when you open that 2-year-old bottle.

How?

If your bottles have metal cap, you should store then upright.

If the bottle is stored on its side, the beer will eat the plastic lining inside the cap over time and you probably will have contamination that will destroy your beer.

If the bottle has corks there is no problem. Just keep in mind that the sediment will rest on the side of the bottle and it will create a more cloudy beer when you open.

If you want a clean service, you should leave them upright.

For how long?

The hardest point is when to drink the beer. Is one year enough? Maybe 5 years?

What if it is too late and I lost all those nice flavors?

Since aging beer is not science because taste can be very subjective, experimentation is the key. Buy few bottles of the same beer, taste one fresh and put the others to rest.

In six months, open one bottle and check what happened with your beer. Some of the flavors will start to fade away and some others will become more pronounced. Is this mix going into a direction that you enjoy?

Do that six months later. That will give you a good idea of what can happen with your beers over the time.

It is important to take notes to keep up a taste score so you can discover in time what are the beers you like the most aged and for how long you should leave them “sleeping”.

Of course you can use the Internet to speed up your knowledge process, but there is nothing better than your own experience. And once the beer is new, no one can precise what is going to happen over time. Wouldn’t that exciting to do your own tests and figure it out for yourself?

So take your time, find a cozy place in your house and enjoy!

1
Comments:
Date:
17/02/2015 16:35:55
Name:
Mike
Comment:
Do you happen to know, when a beer gets too cold and the yeast goes dormant, can it be brought back to life through this aging process?
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