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Old 05-21-2011, 06:52 AM   #1
scrambledegg81
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Default Woof...HUGE difference with "fresh" vs "not-so-fresh" commercial brew

So with a part-time job helping expand a local a local convenience store into a bottle shop, I've had my fair share of quality "rarities" over the last month or 2. I brought home a sixer of Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down ale a few days ago & loved the living hell out of it. So when that pack ran out, I snagged another from a shipment that arrived earlier today, and all I can say is WOW. Granted, I didn't check the dates on the first sixer, but here's some of the differences I noticed:

Older sixer: heavy/sweet malt flavor, almost a toasted bread-like nose, noticeably thick mouthfeel, head retention was quite good.

Newer sixer: hops are insanely more prominent, huge floral nose and definitely some Simcoe going on in there (it's that noticeable), much more thinner mouthfeel & head died down much faster compared to the older one.

So what I'm wondering is if anyone else has had an experience like this? I didn't notice anything particularly "wrong" with either brew (on the contrary, they're both excellent!). Considering the difference between the two, I can only surmise that the first sixer had to have been near or past it's shelf life, or Lagunitas really screwed up one of the batches.



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Old 05-21-2011, 10:43 AM   #2
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Not quite as dramatic. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is one of my favorites. It's consistently good in bottle from the local grocery. I recently had the rare chance to try a glass of the same brew on tap. It was a clear notch up in freshness, hop aroma and flavor from what I drink in bottle. The stuff in bottle is great. The stuff on tap was darned near a spiritual experience.



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Old 05-21-2011, 11:19 AM   #3
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I know that hops fade over time. So maybe that's what's with the difference. I don't know about the rest though.

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Old 05-21-2011, 11:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2wide
Not quite as dramatic. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is one of my favorites. It's consistently good in bottle from the local grocery. I recently had the rare chance to try a glass of the same brew on tap. It was a clear notch up in freshness, hop aroma and flavor from what I drink in bottle. The stuff in bottle is great. The stuff on tap was darned near a spiritual experience.
Keep in mind that SNPA on tap is a decidedly different beer. Lighter, dryer but similar balance. I think on tap it is about 5.0, in the bottle 5.6%. On tap definitely comes off more grassy and fresh, less earthy from the pearle, more cascades.
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:23 PM   #5
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I had a similar experience with my Summer Pale ale. At 3 weeks in the bottle,6 days in the fridge,it was great. Buiscotti-like sweetness,with a fruity earthiness. Under that,lemon grass,floral,spicy qualities.
Then,at 7-8 weeks in,it was more like a smoother Salvator doppel bock. Same color,a light to medium toasty quality. The hops had gone down to a sort of brightness & light bittering at the end. Some earthiness remained towards "the middle of the taste".
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is one of my favorites.
I used to live on the east coast, and always thought SNPA was trash. When I moved out to CA I had it again and it was a much, MUCH better beer. With SNPA, I think the beer is just a vector for delivering those hops to your senses. Let them fade (which they will), and there's not much left to enjoy.

I think this is one of the real rewards of being a homebrewer, because unless you regularly visit a brewery or brew pub, you simply aren't going to have fresh beer.
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:28 PM   #7
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Anything hoppy is 1000% better fresh. APAs, IPAs, IIPAs, are all much better in the first couple months, and all better if they are kept cold.

Freshness isn't as big of a deal for malty beers, but ya, freshness makes a big difference.

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Old 08-18-2011, 07:02 PM   #8
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Tried myself a Greene King IPA (English brew) about 2 weeks ago at a bar. The weak 3.6% alcohol aside, it honestly tasted like I was drinking wheatgrass juice. Don't think the bottle enjoyed the trip over to CA very much...

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Old 08-18-2011, 07:27 PM   #9
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My SWMBO and I recently found some bottles of XX Sweetgrass DIPA from Grand Teton that were bottled in 2008. There was little to no hop flavor left, but kept the big malt sweetness. The beer was cloudy and creamy and almost tasted like a mild barley wine. We liked the 'style' enough to grab a second bottle and the liter swing-top bottle it comes in is a nice addition.

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Old 08-18-2011, 09:35 PM   #10
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I noticed the same with Pursuit of Hoppiness (also Grand Teton). Think it was about a year old when I had it, but it resembled more of a red ale than an IPA.



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Originally Posted by beerandloathinginaustin View Post
It's yeast ejaculate. Just try not to get it on your face.
Primary: Zilch
Secondary: Nada
Bottled/Fridge: Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shutdown
Bombers/Growlers/Aging: Firestone Sucaba Barleywine
Kegerator: Just kicked (dammit all!)
Coming Up: Revision of my Belgian Strong
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