Wine Talk

Snooth User: Charles Emilio

Can beer improve with age like wine?

Posted by Charles Emilio, Apr 16, 2010.

Excuse me if this comes across ignorant, I dont know much about beer elaboration.

ANyway I was wondering are there any types of beer that will improve with age ?

 

cheers

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Replies

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Reply by Brad Borneaux, Apr 16, 2010.

Don't know a lot about beer.  I do recall James May's impression of tasting a 139 year old beer though, it wasn't pretty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAScQrRiJsM#t=4m29s

 

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 16, 2010.

Charles, none that I've yet encountered. And 'age' is a much-shortened concept with that beverage. I once did a series of experiments with my mates regarding beer with 3 vx. 6 vs. 9 vs. 12 or more months of bottle age. The older the nastier in ever single case. ;-(

And thanks for the excellent entertainment, brizzad, on a drizzly Saturday morning over here. ;-)

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 16, 2010.

Oh yes, pun intended, though I left out a y in every.

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Reply by Charles Emilio, Apr 16, 2010.

I suppose there are many styles of beers

I know lager is made with the intention of drinking young and chilled, but what about Ales, especially those gorgeous British ones?

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Reply by zufrieden, Apr 16, 2010.

There are some attempts at oak-aging for beer - and I am sure that respondents to this thread are aware of this trend (I'm thinking of such beers as Innis & Gunn from the UK).  However, in general, the freshness and uniqueness of top-fermented English beers and ales are best enjoyed within a few months of the brewing date.  Oxidation is a death knell for these delicious beverages.  My love for these beers runs deep and was cemented during a stint as a student in England. English weather may leave much to be desired, but the beer is grand.

Have a Newcastle Brown on me, kids!

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Reply by GregT, Apr 16, 2010.

I've never heard of a beer that gains complexity with age.  With wine you've got things to soak up oxygen like tannins, etc. But with beer, what do you have?  I guess the question would be - what do you expect to gain from aging beer? 

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Reply by roan of leah, Apr 16, 2010.

Beers do gain complexity with age.  Of that there is no doubt.  Look to the Abbey beers of Belgium, or some of the really good beer coming of out Unibroue in Quebec, Canada.  The beers offered in the 750mL format that are bottled on the yeast have the capacity to develop over 10years.  Really cool and interesting flavours coming through. Great complexity.  Much like wine a higher alcohol content and a higher extraction will give these beers the capability to age and develop.

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Reply by Degrandcru, Apr 16, 2010.

Usually beer is good for about 12 months. In Germany it has an experation date printed on it, don't know about the US. It is still drinkable after 12 months, but taste worsens quickly, usually it gets a weird "bready taste". It certainly doesn't get better with age. General rule for beer, the fresher, the better.

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Reply by roan of leah, Apr 16, 2010.

Really, it does depend upon the beer.  Most beers are ment to be consumed in their youth.  However, some have the capability to age and a age rather well.

Much like a Novice wine drinker who does not understand an aged wine and what the territary reductive properties bring to the consumer, the novice beer drinker is similar.  With experience they learn.  Some wines as well as some beers age well and are ment to do so.  The vast majority are destined to be drunk while young and fresh.

 

 

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Reply by Degrandcru, Apr 16, 2010.

Roan, could you name some examples of beers that should age, how long they should age and how their taste should develop? I am willing to try.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 16, 2010.

Think your comparison with wine, roan, is not only overboard but foolish in this company. It can only show the limits of your knowledge about wine, if anything. You are talking to a number of people hear who, aside from their passion for wine, may have had as much beer as you over the years from as many sources, perhaps more. You'd get more mileage out of sticking to specifics, and telling us more about the exact beers that you think age well, and why they do. I, for one, would be very interested in hearing that.

Cheers

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Reply by roan of leah, Apr 16, 2010.

The beers from Unibroue in Quebec as mentioned before.  Specifically  Maudite, La Fin du Monde, Trois Pistoles, Don de Dieu, Seigneuriale, Chambly NoireThey can all age out a minimum 2- 3 years with the Maudite and La Fin 5 or more.

Chimay Blue (the gand Cru in the 750ml format on the lees)  Cimay Red (again 750ml and not the 330ml format on lees)

 

Start with thoes and I can give you more later.

These beers can take on a port like quality after 10 years (Maudite and Chimay Blue)

 

Go to there prespective web sites for more information.

Cheers!

 

 

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Reply by Degrandcru, Apr 16, 2010.

 

Still sounds strange to me. Unibroue state on their website:
 "Unibroue¹s brewing methods were inspired by the great European brewing traditions and, in this respect, are one of a kind in North America. Our brewing methods are time consuming and costly. Given that the beers contain no chemical additives or preservatives, they require strict quality control. This all-natural brewing process is also why our beers are higher in alcohol content and can provide a rich flavour without the bitter aftertaste ofconventionalbeers."
Germany is known for having the strictest beer laws in their world with their highly conservative "Reinheitsgebot". Still, having lived in Germany most of my life, I've never heard about the idea of "aging a beer". Second, the "bitter aftertaste of conventional beers" is a highly sought after attribute of northern German beers. Do you know any well known European brands, that one should age?
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Reply by dmcker, Apr 17, 2010.

Thanks for the pointer, Roan. What are the taste profiles and how do they evolve over time? And any other you're aware of? I'm in Tokyo right now and don't know what I might be able to chase down, so the more candidates the merrier....

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Reply by roan of leah, Apr 17, 2010.

dmcker, since you are in Tokyo, lok for Hitachino Celebration Ale, a Japanese ale that is vintage dated.  The 04 should be around.  It will taste like Christmas.

The alcohol and hops in beer, which are both preservatives, when high will allow a beer to age.  Hence look to beers like Barley Wine (a specific type of beer)  Imperial stouts, high gravity true IPA's basicaly any high alcohol beer or lager or ones with massive amounts IBU's (hop content).

In the united states athere are many brewerys making beer worthy of aging. Dog Fish Head, Sierra Nevada, Stone, Laguinitas are but a few.

English ales Like Thomas Hardy's Ale are highly sought after. (this one will age out 15 years or more - easy)  sherry like (oloroso) with molasses, caramel, pear, apples, buterscotch, pastry, nuts, woody oak, earthy - very robust and..... yummy.

If you live in NYC there is a place you should spend the weekend tasting and falling in love - Gramercy Tavern.  And I am not talking for just the Vintage Beers and Ciders.  The food is Incerdible.  Here is a list of what they are curently stocking for their VINTAGE Beers and ciders (let alone what is on tap and by bottle under normal condition)  - prices follow listings

North America

  • Unibroue, Edition 2004, Quebec (750ml)  29
  • Victory Golden Moneky Tripel, 2005, Pennsylvanin (750ml)  28
  • Ommengang Hennepin, Cave Aged, 2007, New York (750ml) 27
  • Ommengang Abbey Ale, Cave Aged, 2007, New York (750ml)  27
  • Anchor Christmas Ale, 1999, California   15
  • Anchor Christmas Ale, 2001, California   15
  • Brookly Monster Ale, 2005, New York   18
  • Rogue Old Crustacean, 1998, Oregon (7oz)  14
  • Rogue Old Crustacean, 2000, Oregon (7oz)  14
  • Stone Old Guardian, 2007, California   23
  • Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, 2006, New York  16
  • Stone Imperial Russian stout, 2007, California (22oz)  22
  • Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, 2006, Delaware   20

Europe and Japan

  • Cantillon Gueuze, Lou Pepe, Kriek, 2005, Belgium (750ml)  47
  • Cantillon Gueuze, Lou Pepe, Framboise, 2005, Belgium (750ml)   47
  • Schneider Aventinus, 2003, Germany    18
  • Hitachino Celebration Ale, 2004, Japan   15
  • J.W. Lees Harvest Ale, 2000, England   17
  • J.W. Lees Harvest Ale, Sherry Cask Matured, 2005, England   19
  • George Gale & Co., Prize Old Ale, 1999, England   18
  • Samichlaus, 2008, Austria   18
  • Harvey & Son Imperial Extra Double Stout, A. Le Coq, 2000, England   17

Ciders

  • Apple, Etienne Dupont, Cuvee Colette, 2004, France (750ml)  50
  • Apple, Etienne Dupont, 2008, France (375ml)   13
  • Apple, Etienne Dupont, 2005, France (375ml)   15
  • Pommeau, Famille Dupont, Pome, 1998, France (375ml)  48
  • Apple Ice Cider, Etienne Dupont, Cider de Gicre, 2006, France (375ml)  39
  • Apple Ice Cider, Eden, 2008, Vermont (375ml)  60
  • Pear, Eric Bordelet, Authentique, 2008, France (750ml)  32

I do hope you guys find this helpfull

 

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Reply by Charles Emilio, Apr 17, 2010.

Very Helpful in deed. Many thanks.

I remember when I was in England a few years ago CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) was promoting beer with food. I went to one session and I must admit I was really impressed at how well some of the beers went with food

Here is a link to their food & beer pairings:

http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=181004

 

I know a lot of small wineries in Australia are now brewing their own Ales as side projects. The use of used Frecnh barriques which previously contained Pinot Noir certainly add some complexity to them. A few of them I tried were spectacular.

Are any US wineries also starting to do this as well?

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 17, 2010.

Have been to Gramercy Tavern several times. And the cidre from Brittany is a bit of a different animal. I don't really like British cider as served on tap at pubs, but the cidre, usually apple but often pear, from that part of France is something special. Some savory crepes and a bottle of that stuff is, to me, an excellent lunch, whether eaten in Bretagne, Geneve or Tokyo.

I think we're still going to have to agree to disagree on the overall ageability by most beers, even IPAs (there is a history behind their naming, a bit parallel to that of Madeira's popularization back when). And I've had several you mention (a lot of Sierra Nevada, Anchor, Laguinitas and even some Thomas Hardy and Hitachino). Unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of most Christmas beers I've encountered. But I'll try to chase down those others you've recommended, and thanks for the post and well-detailed listing.

I assume from your visits to this site that you're a fan of wine, too? What kinds of wine do you like, and what older bottles have you drunk?

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Reply by roan of leah, Apr 17, 2010.

I will agreee that most beer do not age well, of that there is no question.  My point is to say that to dismiss all beers and tere ageability on the premiss that most do not is foolhardy.  There are wonderful examples and yes do take some patience.  But, if like me, you are a fan of all things alcohol especially grape and grain, then you should give them a chance, open your mind and let them speak for them selves.  Not all of these are christmas ales, by no means.  And, to be certain, a few christmas ales I have tried are abysmal.  Cough syurp wannbes.

Yes, as you have noted I am a fan of wine.  I am a judge and sit on the board of directors for a very respectable group.  As for my favourties..... really it depends upon my mood, if I am eating, who I with, the season..... I wil say this.  When tasting, any wine I have I let my kids try.  From a faulted and wretchedly nasty bottle, to a 29 Latour.  They taste it all.  I must say that my youngest, she is turning 13 shortly, has a better nose than a the vast majority of the master judges.  I point of pride I must say.

Tough questions.... for whites - I would say Riesling.  They match to food so well.  From bone dry to ultra sweet and everything in between.  just beautiful stuff.  Reds - Pinot Noir or Syrah...  then again there is Burnello... I just love wine.   Sherry has a private little spot in my heart as does Salon for Champange.

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Reply by roan of leah, Apr 17, 2010.

Oh for the US brewers question.   Many of the knobish really cool brewers are using wine, sherry, scotch and burbon barrels.  Not to mention rum and a few with tequlia (not a big fan)

 

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Reply by roan of leah, Apr 17, 2010.

Thanks for the link the the CAMRA.  I have visited their website before and attended a couple of events.  You are correct, there REALLY is some cool beers out there.  An ever greater appreciation comes when you actually try your hand at Brewing or Oenology.  Kudos to the masters of their craft.

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