I’m still learning and brewing small batches, so the question of aging has never been an issue. However, I want to brew some Bomber Barleywine and Bourbon Barrel Porter and leave them alone until next winter. Will these age well? Is there a rule about which beers age well and which don’t?
yes, those will age well. A rule of thumb is high gravity beers (above 8%) should age well. Hoppy beers are usually preferred fresh as the hop flavor tends to fade.
They do, but on the other hand the hops help preserve the beer. I always hop a beer that is going to be aged high enough so that it will be just right after a year or so.
One thing I always do for long term beers is use oxygen barrier caps if bottling. Just me.
+1 And be extra careful not to introduce oxygen at bottling time. If you can, flush your bottling bucket with CO2 ahead of time.
Temperature is also a concern. I have made some fantastic strong beers that were crap after spending the summer in a 78 degree closet. I don’t like oxidation even when it is sherry rather than cardboard. The same beers that managed to get into my beer storage fridge were fine even after two years. You should try to age them below 65 degrees if you can.
This post by Martyn Cornell is good, reflects what others have said above, with some interesting history thrown in;
I’m making the same two recipes this winter for next winter’s enjoyment. I have the barleywine in the fermenter now. As soon as it comes out in a couple of days I’ll brew the porter.
So how did yours come out, anything interesting to report? And what bourbon did you use?
Hop flavor may fade somewhat, but in my own experience I’ve found that hop bitterness hangs in there pretty well after aging, provided that the proposed aging in factored into the original recipe.
Personally, I still routinely age my IPAs for anywhere from 8 months to a year…which is, of course, traditional to the style. And they’re plenty bitter after that period of aging.
Different strokes, as they say…
I make a Bell’s Hopslam clone every year and age some of it for up to a year. We just finished the last 750ml bottle and it held up very well. It was 11 months old. ABV was 11.8% and the IBU was 117.
Each year, I also make a big 20 gallon batch of a BIG beer and put most of it in my BierKeller
for aging. It makes a nice conversation piece in the basement pub as well.
I brewed the Bourbon Barrel Porter in February of last year. I kegged it at the end of March and let it sit as I was planning on having it as my Christmas beer this year. I popped it into kegerator second week of November as I couldn’t wait any more. :lol: It turned out to be fantastic. It only came out at 5.5% ABV so technically it probably didn’t need to age this long but it worked out really well for me.
I am planning on trying a RIS January or February that I plan to age a long time. That one is targeted over 10% ABV. I am thinking I will keg it to carbonate it to where I would like then bottle it because having a 10+% beer on tap seems a bit dangerous. I am hoping to get my fermentation chamber set up under my steps like Mullerbrau’s with an A/C unit this winter so I am planning on keeping the bottles in there until next winter to try.
I’ve done side-by-side tastings of beers (biere de garde and a braggot) aged 1.5 years + with and without O2-absorbing crowns. There is indeed a significant difference. I found the ones aged with standard crowns to have a much more aggressive sherry flavor, where the ones with the O2-absorbing crowns were more malt-pronounced, with some subtle sherry/dried fruit in the background. Yum.
Just a note as well: some will say that the O2-absorbing crowns will ‘absorb’ hop aroma as well. This is a crock of mularky. The crowns don’t ‘suck up’ the aromatic compounds. They have a compound in the liner, activated by water that binds to oxygen. The aromas should stay in the beer, but as some have said, hop aroma MAY fade (though I think this is overblown as well by Born-On Nazis).
Aging good beer is awesome.