I'm still learning what to do with my beer and at what times, so I think I've been a little early on some steps. I've been tasting my beer at different points just to get an idea of what's happening with it (my first batch ever). I opened a bottle of my kit pale ale three days after bottling just to see what it was doing (I know this was too early, just a test), and of course it was off. Too sweet, almost like malt liquor. Blech.
I then chilled a couple bottles and opened drank them with a friend eight days after bottling, and it was great! It had a little chill haze, but wow! Yummy! Lots of hop flavor, fairly bitter the way I like it, and nice and crisp! Great!
So last night I had some more friends over and I chilled a few more for us, and it still tasted pretty good, but the bitter bite had mellowed out considerably (This was 12 days after bottling). I even asked the guy who had the eight day beer with me, and with no prompting he immediately said it was far less hoppy. I don't think this is because of differences in bottles since we all sampled a few last night, and the batch seems to have a consistent flavor from bottle to bottle.
It's still a pretty tasty beer, but will any of that bitterness come back? Anything I can do with my next batch to prevent this? Is this even a problem? Why did I lose so much flavor after 4 days?