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Old 06-14-2007, 03:52 AM   #1
Kai
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Default An old Westmalle.

I found a much older bottle of Westmalle Tripel among the more recent ones at the beer store. It has no date of production on it, but it has the older, rectangular label (instead of the current diamond-shaped one).

The 'best-before' date on the older bottle is for April 2006, so it is at least three years older than the one I bought last week dated best-before January 2009. Anyone have any idea when this one was made?

I'm going to buy a more recent bottle to do a side-by-side and see how it has changed with age. Anyone know what I should be looking for? While I love Belgian beer, I don't know a lot about how they age. I'll post my impressions here.

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Old 06-14-2007, 04:29 AM   #2
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I would think fresher would be better; Its not wine or mead.

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Old 06-14-2007, 05:38 AM   #3
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Westmalle Tripel should age very well. please post your tasting notes for your side by side comparison.

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Old 06-14-2007, 06:01 AM   #4
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Trappists have been aged like wines. Some for a decade or longer.

Beer bottled on the lees can age for a long time. (so much to the whole autolsyis fear). In fact the yeast in the bottle eat any o2 at bottling.

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Old 06-14-2007, 05:28 PM   #5
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Yeah but in my stores aging is done on a warm shelf in 24 hrs 7 days/week of bright light.

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Old 06-14-2007, 06:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivan Lendl
Yeah but in my stores aging is done on a warm shelf in 24 hrs 7 days/week of bright light.

Remind not to shop there if I'm er in..uh.. where ever that store is.
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Old 06-15-2007, 04:20 AM   #7
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I'm not a great beer-describer, but I'll do my best. From their website, I understand that the best-before date is three years after the brew date, so they are one and four years old respectively.

I don't have two identical glasses, so the younger beer was in a Leffe glass and the older was in my dear Duvel glass. Served at about 5 degrees - 45 for yanks - and allowed to warm up to more civilised temperatures as we went.

Younger:
Appearance:
sparkly, thick smooth head, small bubbles. yellow-gold, nice lacing
aroma: peppery, fruity, yeasty notes. good. as it warms, grassy hops coming out mildly - saaz? becomes sweeter and even spicier; becomes less balanced, but richer
flavour: light, peppery, balanced yeast notes. flavour develops well as it warms.
mouthfeel: light, sparkly effervescent

Older:
Appearance:
Darker, amber-gold, practically no head, thicker, cloudier. soapy film of head would disappear if not for etching in the duvel glass. no lacing
aroma: heavy, floral, almost cloying. not as nice as the new bottle. as it warms, syrup and floral, candied, gaining a hint of peppery phenolics, nice balance, port-ish now. less cloying than when it was cold. the hops come out more now that its warm, very mellowed, not grassy at all. english?
flavour: sweeter, thicker. not as peppery or sparkly. the fresh-fruitness of the first has become heavier, brandied, syrup. like a nicely aged cream sherry. opens up as it warms. black pepper notes. yeastier. alcohol comes through.
mouthfeel: thicker, heavier, chewy.

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Bubbling: Belgian Summer Bitter, Vienna Steam Beer
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Bottle Conditioning:
Drinking: Saison Bâtard

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