I plan on aging the Bourbon Barrel Porter for 9-12 months. Does it matter if it’s aged in the fridge or at room temp (70*)?
Room temp is fine, although 70º may be a wee bit on the high side. I’m aging mine for about 2 - 3 months at 65º I have a fermentation chamber I built from an old mini-fridge and use a small ceramic heater in the winter.
Until I get a new/used chest freezer, I don’t have too many options.
Elevated temps (70) speed up the aging process. Ideally cellar temps (unless you have no cellar in which case 70 is fine).
No cellar or basement; have to go with 70* indoor temp since the garage is around 20* right now.
I know the answer is going to be something like “of course, dummy!” but will letting that beer age for THAT long really make a difference?
I’m planning on doing a BBP … errr… Bourbon Barrel Porter and have it ready in time for next Christmas.
Going the extract route, what would you guys suggest?
I just transferred this to secondary myself. It’s gonna sit there for two weeks then I’m going to add the Bourbon and oak for another 2 weeks. I’m also thinking of adding a vanilla bean or two based on some other reviews. Then it is going in the keg. I also am planning on having this for a Christmas beer next year. I don’t know that it really NEEDS to age that long, but that’s my plan.
I would say it peaks around the 3 month time frame. I drank a bottle at the 4 month and 5 month time frame and they didn’t taste notably different. I have one bottle left and plan to drink it at the 1 year mark. Of course by that time I won’t remember what the others tasted like so I’ll have to brew another batch and compare
That’s exactly what I’m worried about- not remembering subtle taste differences from month-to-month.
I’ve read quite a few reviews of people having aged this (or planning on aging this) for a year. Of course, these could have been written after only 3-4 months of aging and them not realizing it had already peaked.
Whether it needs to age that long is a matter of individual preference.
But in addition to being traditional practice I’ve found that most big beers such as this do definitely benefit from a long aging. I always give my strong porter, Scotch ale, Burton/Barleywine/Old Ale, and IPA (traditional style as opposed to the drink 'em young “American” style) at least 8-12 months of aging @ an ambient temp of 60°F.
My palate tells me there is a very beneficial difference and that the improvement is well worth the wait.
But of course, that’s a judgement everyone must make for themselves.
To paraphrase Denny The Wise, a beer is ready to drink when your palate tells you it’s ready.
Agreed with The Professor. There is no right or wrong answer but I noticed very little discernible difference after 3 months. With bigger beers you definitely want to wait 6+ months but this beer really isn’t too strong (usually around 5.5% ABV) compared to other styles like barleywines and RIS’s which pretty much require long term aging to get the desired results.
The reason you see a lot of people aging this i think is because it’s just a lot of flavor from the oak and the bourbon and when drank young this beer kinda tastes like sucking on a piece of burnt oak. It takes a while for that oak flavor and the bourbon to mellow out a bit and get to a point where they all play nicely together. This of course is going to be different for each person.