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Old 02-02-2013, 12:48 AM   #1
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Default Weird how sometimes age makes homebrew better

Two weeks ago i was gung-ho about rotating out a few beers in my keezer, and was dreading the "bottle-off" process. I didn't get around to it.

One of the beers I was going to give away was a "Black English Bitter." What makes it a black bitter? I took my standard pseudo-clone of Fullers ESB and made it with 4 oz of black patent (vs. 1/4 oz). It wasn't the black malt per se - but something was off with the beer - fermentation temperature, weird additives, etc.

So on a whim, I decided to pull a pint while I wrap up some work at home. The head retention is pretty bad (just a sad little ring around the edge of the glass), but the beer is surprisingly good. As in "I would try a buddies and order some of my own" good. It's also crystal clear.

Conventional wisdom says that aging is meant for Barley Wine, Sours, and the like. The special flavors of beers (e.g. spicyness of Saison and Wit Bier, the punch of a DIPA) tend to fade with age, and the beer loses character. However I've found that unless I had sanitation issues, many of my "bad beers" are pretty damn drinkable after a year or two. Even the ones that were awesome 8 months ago and technically past their prime (like my Weihenstephaner clone) are pretty darn good. Not in the same way as they were originally, but they have character that wasn't there before.

Go figure.

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