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Old 11-19-2012, 11:32 PM   #1
PaddyPotatoes
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Went to a friend's house to discover he had an IPA I made about 9 months ago still in his fridge. It was a black IPA, not too crazy on the hops and with a generous amount of roasted barley. We drank it to find it resembled more of a brown ale with just a pleasant hint of hoppy after taste.

Aging is almost an obsession with me--do you or don't, when and with what? Naturally it depends greatly on the style (my 3 month bottle conditioned Scottish ales didn't fare so well), some beers just being better when they are drank fresh. Especially when you lack methods like pasteurization, preservatives, etc., that the big brewers use.

So I'm wondering who out there has had good or bad experiences with aging their beers. What sort of results did you find? Did the style change drastically? Did certain flavors diminish or improve? Was age kind to your beer, or did it ruin the experience?

Thanks!

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Old 11-19-2012, 11:47 PM   #2
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In general, big beers age better, and malty beers better than hoppy beers. After a month or two, there is already a huge reduction in the hop flavor and aroma of pale ales and IPAs. Low gravity beers and hoppy beers are better fresh wheats, hefs, and light lagers. Barleywines, big RISs and doppelbocks age very well, and most need plenty of time to really get good anyway.

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Old 11-20-2012, 12:01 AM   #3
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Any barrel-aged beer will age phenomenal. Hot flavors will mellow and other flavors will marry. Creating new and complex flavors the more it ages
Any Beer on "lees" or Bottle conditioned (Yeast in bottle) will also age great depending on style up to about 3-4 years.
Usually IMHO any bottle with a cork and cage. I Find them to be almost 100% bottle conditioned (and im a huge carbonation fan)
Any beer over 9-10% like mentioned above, if hot flavors are detected age will help these mellow.

Anything beer that you say "HOLY SH!T wish i had more of this"
Ive found myself stocking my celler with stouts, porters, warmers just as winter comes to see how commercial brands that i really enjoy age over the season say 3-4 months. Founders BS for example, now in november its slightly bitter and much of the coffee, choc sits in the back but in Jan-Feb they take center stage and the whole profile smooths out.

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Old 11-20-2012, 01:03 AM   #4
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I brewed an imperial stout 3 weeks ago and I'm going to age it until December or January before I bottle it and let it age another few months.
I brewed a Centennial pale ale on Saturday, and I'll probably keg it this weekend and have it on tap by the end of next week.

I generally brew small session beers that are pretty generous on the hops, so I tend to enjoy my beers fresh. I've been trying to do a big beer every few batches, just to teach myself some patience when it comes to aging.

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Old 11-20-2012, 01:50 AM   #5
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I have an extract hefewiezen from May that tastes like crap now. It's was pretty good in June and July.

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Old 11-20-2012, 02:29 AM   #6
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My hoppy beers start falling off and losing their magic after about 6 weeks in bottles, my more complex and higher ABV beers just get better with time. My 8%abv Baltic Porter was bottled the beginning of May is really starting to get amazing but I lacked the patience to age the whole batch and don't have much left. My general rule: lighter, hoppy beers should be enjoyed fresh; dark, high abv, complex beers should be given time to allow all the flavors to meld and show themselves.

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Old 11-20-2012, 06:22 AM   #7
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My last IPA ended up being two entirely different beers. The first one before 5 weeks in bottles and the second one after that. Practically every component changed. On the other hand, an EPA of mine was simply amazing after two months. My Dark Mild did not get better with age, but my most recent porter definitely did. In my experience, darks always age better, except for the dark mild. I've never had a good and old IPA, even IIPA/DIPAs. But the EPA was interesting. Used EKG hops, and aged extremely smoothly. My APAs stagnate, some turn worse, others stay the same.

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Old 11-20-2012, 01:43 PM   #8
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As stated above I only tend to purposely age dark or high ABV beers. Others get aged on occasion when i get to lazy for bottling. Just bottled a Leffe clone that was brewed in late august last week. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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Old 11-20-2012, 05:17 PM   #9
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My IPA/IIPA's I drink very quickly. My RIS has been in the bottles for 4 months. They are gettting really good, but I'll try them after 6 months, a year, then (if I can wait that long) a year and a half/ 2 years. I need to make another to let it age for next year.
It depends on the beer, like other have said. My hefe didn't last long at all at our family vacation for not even a week.

Porters, stouts, barelywines.. just about Imperial anything (besides IPA's) should be fine to age.

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Old 11-20-2012, 08:22 PM   #10
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I found a three year old Pliny clone in my fridge. It had lost most hop flavor/aroma but it still had descent bitterness. It's been a while but I remember it being similar to some barley wines I've had...maybe closer to an old ale since the abv was around 8%. It wasn't a Pliny anymore, but it was still really good.

Another one that has really surprised me is a watermelon wheat I made about 15 months ago. It's aged great especially considering the style. The bitterness has diminished so it seems sweeter than it used to, but the watermelon flavor (8 pound melon in a 5 gallon batch) has stood up really well.

Like a couple other posters have mentioned, I had a hefe start going south after only a few months, so it really can vary and sometimes you can be surprised that something ages well that really shouldn't (like my watermelon).

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