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Old 12-06-2010, 01:17 PM   #1
bknifefight
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Default Tasting my Year Old Homebrew

A little over a year ago I decided it would be fun to set aside a bottle or two of each batch of homebrew and see how it held up after a year in the bottle.

I tried my first one last week, an IPA. Of course it hadn't held on to any of the hop flavor or aroma but it was alright. It was a pretty heavy beer to begin with and came through very sweet after a year.

The other day had been one year for the next brew, a Brown Ale. I poured half of the bomber into a glass with moderate head and took a big whiff. It smelled excellent with nice roasty and chocolate notes. The first few sips were good but after that the same sweetness came through and the rest wasn't too enjoyable.

All of these beers are kept tucked away in my basement which doesn't have any huge temperature swings. In the winter we heat the basement to 68 (I ferment there too) and in the summer I doubt it ever goes lower than 64-62.

Being the first two beers I did after a long hiatus, I know that I had used Muntons dry yeast for both of these beers. They were good (enough) when fresh. Does anyone have any idea what this sweetness could be from? If all of my year old beer comes out like this, I question if I should keep up the habit.

Thanks!

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Old 12-06-2010, 01:22 PM   #2
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the sweetness is coming from the fact that the hop presence has faded, and now the beer is out of balance.

i don't see any reason to age any regular strength beer for extended periods of time.

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Old 12-06-2010, 01:40 PM   #3
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What about the Brown Ale? It had no real hop flavor to begin with, all the hops were in bitterness. It didn't even retain it's roasty and chocolate notes after the first few sips. This is not explained by lack of hop presence.

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Old 12-06-2010, 02:35 PM   #4
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Oxidation.

A pretty good way to illustrate this is to drink imported German/English beers for a while and then vacation to those countries and drink them fresh.

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Old 12-06-2010, 02:40 PM   #5
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The bottom line is that some beers benefit from extended aging and others do not. If you had a high gravity beer with lots of alcohol heat, or something that the flavors just didn't mesh in, I would say it probably would benefit from aging. Something like an IPA or Pale Ale would not. It's not really an accurate description, but I would say after a certain point, beers start to get "syrupy".

As far as continuing the habit, I do the same thing regardless of the beer. I figure not drinking one bottle isn't really a sacrifice, and if it turns out to not be good, no big loss. It is nice to have a little reminder of what you've done and what it tasted like. If it's a beer that I expect to age well, I might save more than one bottle.

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Old 12-06-2010, 02:53 PM   #6
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I don't really think it's oxidation. From what I've read, it's a stale cardboardy flavor that I am not getting here. Syrupy may be a better description.

I understand many low ABV beers will only get worse with time, and I do have many high ABV aging as well. This is more of an experiment to see how things hold up rather than hoping that they come through as amazing beer.

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Old 12-06-2010, 03:13 PM   #7
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i put a 1.033 ordinary bitter away for a year.

it was ok, but no hop at all. like drinking barley-water, lol.

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Old 12-06-2010, 03:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bknifefight View Post
I don't really think it's oxidation. From what I've read, it's a stale cardboardy flavor that I am not getting here. Syrupy may be a better description.
It tastes like cardboard in extreme cases. In milder cases it comes through as a sherry-like sweetness.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BrookdaleBrew View Post
It tastes like cardboard in extreme cases. In milder cases it comes through as a sherry-like sweetness.
That may be the culprit then. I'll see how things are when I get up to the beers where I started using the oxygen absorbing caps.
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