A brew to age for 18 years

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royger

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Hello,

I would like to brew a beer that I could age for 18 years. It's obviously going to be bottled. I usually keg but I don't have a counter flow bottle filler, so I was planning to fill using a simple bottling wand. Does anyone has suggestions for which style to brew that could be aged for so long, or even better, a recipe?

My main options where a barley wine, some kind of imperial stout or baltic porter, or maybe a strong belgian ale?

Thanks.
 

thehaze

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Hello.

I am not sure which style would age well for 18 years. Of course, the obvious options you have already pinned down. You could possibly add to the list a high ABV Doppelbock ( lager ), a Belgian Quad/Dark Strong Ale, maybe a Lambic/Gueuze, which in itself is a longer term commitment. How about mead?

As for recipes, you can easily find well documented recipes here on this forum. You can also create your own recipe, by researching, again, this forum and many other ressources available on the Internet, along with experience from other brewers, regarding the choice of yeast, malt, hops, water treatment, adjuncts, etc.

For me, one thing that comes in mind if I were to age a beer for such an extended time, would be: how will that beer hold up over time? Most likely it will oxidise a bit ( not really a dealbreaking issue for a big, aged beer - unless it is fairly extreme ). That's fine. Will it still be pleasent to drink after 18 years? If that is not an important factor, then that's OK - I would surely not be bothered if my 18 years old brew was not as good as in the first few years. In short, what's the purpose of this undertaking?

Another thing is: if I were to brew such a beer, I would try to do everything right, so the beer comes out stellar - every aspect from recipe, to water treatment, pH, minimising O2 pickup at every step, should be taken into consideration and given extra care for this particular brew. The thought behind it is the more I do right now, the less will time have impacted the beer by the time I will be drinking it.

Sorry for the long reply. Hopefully, you can find something useful in it. Cheers!
 

VikeMan

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You mention "filling" with a bottling wand rather than a counter flow pressure bottle filler. Hopefully, you mean to fill immediately after fermentation and bottle carbonate, rather than fill from the keg. That way, you'll get some of the O2 taken up by yeast.

After carbonation, I would keep the bottles as cold as possible without freezing. 18 years is a long time, and chemical reactions (like the ones involved in staling) tend to happen at about double to three times the rate for each 10 degrees Celcius of temperature increase.

18 years is oddly specific. Out of curiosity...Is this beer intended to be for someone who will be reaching drinking age in 18 years?
 

Vale71

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My guess would be someone just became a proud daddy...

I think the only beer that would age for that long is some sort of lambic but on the other hand it wouldn't necessarily meet everybody's taste preference. Regular beers would invariably become a totally oxidized, skunky, uncarbonated mess even if stored in a dark cellar all the time.
 

duncan.brown

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I would agree with @Vale71 that beer isn't really a beverage that you want to age for extended periods. However, there's a recipe on the maltose falcon's web site for a barley wine that is being aged for 30 years:



The article states that the brewer is opening a bottle a year, so there may be tasting notes from Drew Beechum for beer at least a decade old.
 

Miraculix

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Maybe a high abv braggot without hops would meet the criteria?
 

ajm163

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18 years is a very long time. I've done a few beers that i have aged between 5-10 years

A crazy RIS 18.4 ABV. This was aged for 6 years. it probably could have aged longer but it was so damn good i ran out of bottles at the 6 year mark.
A barlywine 10% ABV Aged for 5 years. was really good at 2-3 years but as the hops faded more and more became too sweet for my liking
A Braggot Aged for 10 years - it was OK but Im not sure it was the aging

what i have found is if you plan to age a beer for years you really have to taylor the recipe to that goal. you need to think about the hops fading and ether choose a style with minimal hops (like a quad) or go insane with hops on brew day. For example I believe the calculation on my BIG RIS was almost 200IBU.
 

khannon

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You might also want to consider sealing the caps in some way or even corking and capping? I have heard contradictory stories on the efficacy of wax sealing the caps..
 

MuntonsJasonC

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Only one right answer here: Let's brew Wednesday - 1967 Eldridge Pope Hardy Ale

There are still bottles of Thomas Hardy Ale floating around from the 90s on the secondary market. I brewed an Extract version a few years ago:

Malts (1 lb)
1 lb (5.8%) — Muntons Crystal 150 — Grain — 60 °L
Other (16 lb 3.2 oz)
6 lb 9.6 oz (38.4%) — Muntons Maris Otter Extract — Liquid Extract — 3.9 °L
3 lb 4.8 oz (19.2%) — Muntons Extra Light Malt Extract — Liquid Extract — 2.8 °L
3 lb 4.8 oz (19.2%) — Muntons Maris Otter Extract — Liquid Extract — 3.9 °L — Flameout
2 lb (11.6%) — Muntons Spraymalt Wheat — Dry Extract — 6.2 °L — Flameout
1 lb (5.8%) — Corn Sugar (Dextrose) — Sugar — — Flameout

Hops (3.5 oz)
1.75 oz (52 IBU) — Nugget 13% — Boil — 90 min
1.75 oz (12 IBU) — Liberty 4.3% — Boil — 30 min
 

bwible

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Randy Mosher’s book “Extreme Brewing” talks about a style called “Double Double”. Its a double mash beer. You make the first mash then take the runoff and reheat it to strike temp and mash it in again on a second fresh grain bed.

These beers go in excess of 1.120 and he says these beers were brewed at the birth of a child to be savored when the child reached majority age. If you can get hold of a copy of that.

 
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royger

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Thanks for all the replies, and sorry for not getting back earlier, as already noticed I become a dad :).

I have experience with brewing, so I will definitely try to make the best possible. I'm already used to water treatment and oxidation prevention. I usually keg, but this time I will have to go for natural carbonation on the bottle using carbonation drops.

I think I will go for a Barleywine or something Belgian, as it seems like the easiest ones. While I really enjoy porters or stouts, I'm worried about how the roasted flavours will evolve over time, does it get bitter again after mellowing out? And it's also not a style everyone likes around here, although maybe that will change in 18 years.

Does someone know how the Belgian yeast flavour profile evolves over time, does it fade?

Overall maybe a Barleywine is the easiest one and likely more forgiving? (as to get something drinkable after 18 years)
 

ajm163

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A triple might be a good choice. personally i would not bottle carb it. i would ether over carb it in a keg and then bottle from the keg (over years i have noticed you will loose some carbonation. or even better store it in a keg with (purge with CO2) then carb it perfectly in 18 years. A long time to tie up a keg but it is an important beer :)
 

ajm163

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thats what i did with my braggot. it sat in a carboy for 10 years then i keged and carbed it
 

VikeMan

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Does someone know how the Belgian yeast flavour profile evolves over time, does it fade?
Which "Belgian" flavor(s) do you have in mind?

(One of my pet peeves... there's no such thing as "Belgiany," contrary to what Untappd's suggested descriptors would like us to believe. Belgium is a country (not a style), with (arguably) the most diverse range of beer styles and flavors.)
 
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royger

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Which "Belgian" flavor(s) do you have in mind?
Kind of phenolic flavours, clove-like. But agree, there are many different kind of Belgian beers, so it's my fault for associating with a specific flavour.
 

VikeMan

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Kind of phenolic flavours, clove-like.
In my experience, phenolic flavors don't tend to fade much with time, at least compared to, say, esters. Though I admit I'm talking about months and not many years.
 
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royger

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A triple might be a good choice. personally i would not bottle carb it. i would ether over carb it in a keg and then bottle from the keg (over years i have noticed you will loose some carbonation. or even better store it in a keg with (purge with CO2) then carb it perfectly in 18 years. A long time to tie up a keg but it is an important beer :)
I would be worry about the keg o-rings holding for such a long time without any replacements. My plan was to bottle in thick champagne bottles and wax the cap/neck of the bottle.

I've gone for an English Barleywine, mostly a clone of Hardy Ale, this is was I have so far:


I'm afraid Brewfather doesn't (yet) have a way to dump a recipe into plaintext so that I can just paste it here - sorry for the link.

I've set my mash efficiency to 65% (I would usually get between 70-75%) but I'm not sure that's low enough for such a big beer. Does anyone has a reference mash efficiency when doing such big beers with BIAB? Will keep some light DME around also in case I need to bump the gravity at the end of the boil.

I also gone with Hornindal Kveik because it seems to tolerate very high ABV, so I thought it would be able to dry this beer as much as possible. I'm not sure I believe the expected FG of 1.023 reported by Brewfather, I would expect it to the higher. The flavour profile from Hornindal seems to be fine for a Barleywine, I've read on the Internet other people seems to have success using it for the style.

Anyway, I'm open to feedback - and thanks for the help so far.
 

ajm163

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i would ditch the 30 min hop addition. aging this long all you need is early bittering everything else will be lost.
 

stealthfixr

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I'd go very high gravity & a ton of hops, and a secondary that would last awhile (6-12 months), then use wine bottles with wax sealed tops. Keep the corks wet in storage, just like a wine bottle Sounds like a high-end Barleywine to me.
 

AMessenger

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Anyway, I'm open to feedback - and thanks for the help so far.
You’ve made a very good choice with that recipe. I’ve brewed it twice for aging and, although I can’t say how it does with 18 years age on it, it is wonderful at 1-2 years age.

The yeast ester is a major component in the flavor profile. I used Nottingham for the first attempt and the WLP099 Super High Gravity yeast (which is supposed to be the Eldridge Pope strain) the second. I followed the high fermentation temperature guidance from the recipe as well. I haven’t used the Kveik yeast myself but for a beer that is requiring so much time and effort to make I wouldn't go with an ingredient that just “seems to be fine for a Barleywine”.
 

Lefou

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I've never had a beer that long, but late last year finished the last of a batch of cherry mead that I brewed in 2002.
The brewing adventure in my house started with cider and mead but it was impatience that happily led to beer. The oldest beer I made was a partial mash mild amber ale near 6.6% ABV. It aged just over a year in capped brown bottles and didn't survive more than a few weeks of drinking. The foam head was absolutely amazing at room temperature and the taste reminded me of a mild bock.
Just for kicks I bought two or three Belgian Chimay Blues. They are corked in heavy bottles. I liked the flavor of an aged 9% beer but not the price. :)
 
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royger

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The yeast ester is a major component in the flavor profile. I used Nottingham for the first attempt and the WLP099 Super High Gravity yeast (which is supposed to be the Eldridge Pope strain) the second. I followed the high fermentation temperature guidance from the recipe as well. I haven’t used the Kveik yeast myself but for a beer that is requiring so much time and effort to make I wouldn't go with an ingredient that just “seems to be fine for a Barleywine”.
I've brewed with Hornindal in the past and liked the result, but those where IPAs. I was thinking of using it because it seems kveik yeast are very forgiving and I really don't have experience brewing something with such high OG.

Regarding Nottingham and WLP099, which one did you prefer flavour wise? Did you get different attenuation? WLP099 is STA1 positive so I guess you got a lower FG?

Thanks!
 

maxr

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I drank a bottle of Drie Fonteinen gueuze recently and the best by date is 20 years from the packaging date. They use a cork and cage on a very heavy glass bottle...
 

AMessenger

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Regarding Nottingham and WLP099, which one did you prefer flavour wise? Did you get different attenuation? WLP099 is STA1 positive so I guess you got a lower FG?
Nottingham took the beer from 1.105 to 1.030 and WLP099 took it from 1.120 to 1.010 (~16% ABV) - target had been OG=1.110 and FG=1.030. Both are very good but I preferred the Nottingham slightly in my last side by side tasting.

Age was maybe the deciding factor - Nottingham version was made 2018 and WLP099 was 2019 in a 2020 tasting - different hop presence
 
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jrgtr42

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I may be a bit late to this party, but I'd personally say to go for a big Quad, (Strong Dark Ale) rather than a tripel.
IMO tripels don't last as long as the darker ones; the estrs from the yeasts tend to fade off rather quickly, whereas a big quad can (not will) get better over time.
 
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