Recognizing Good/bad aging in Stout/Porter?

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Murrayatuptown

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I still have some bottles of an out-of-ABV-range Baltic Porter bottled 1/21. Bottle-conditioned 9 months, carbonation remains a little low. ABV was 12.34%. Was a 9.5-10.5% extract kit I added 1% corn sugar boost pack to, then erred a little in LME (+5.4% weight error). Aeration, 2 sachets of S-189, 1 can NB Fast Pitch & 63-66 F from fermentation onward with a few weeks 71-75 F to try to encourage carbonation were the basement conditions.

I am still getting very favorable comments when I share it. I invite negative & positive feedback.

But I personally am finding it harder to drink. I can't identify a bad taste, but it reminds me of how I respond to drinking dry red wine. I don't care for it, and I 'judge' it by how inoffensive it seems.

It seems so much different than at 3 months, it seems unfamiliar. It already should have been a sipping beer, but that feels like a necessary approach now. I don't think of it as 'refreshing'. I've tried right out of refrigerator and warmed for an hour. I find myself wondering if it fully fermented, but oh, yeah, no doubt it did. But it almost seems TOO rich in flavor now...for me.

It feels like it has less body now, apparently a normal change.

I am not sure staleness or oxidization would be as noticeable (as negatives) as in much lighter beer.

I'm wondering whether I am not liking deterioration or not appreciating what it's becoming.

Someone asked me a month ago if I still had enough to make a six-pack available, saying it was well done & obviously had no sanitation issues (in a complimentary way) but personally I'm questioning whether to make changes before repeating a batch, or be sure to consume within 6 months. 9 doesn't seem too old, certainly not for a commercial brew of this style.

This week I learned pitching yeast at bottling time is easier & more controllable than I realized. That's one possible change moving forward.

Locally, I'm relying on opinions from people who are either big fans of Baltic Porter or have brewing experience opinions.

If you've read this far, thank you, and also for any clues you could offer as to what are good and bad aging characteristics of a lager-yeast Baltic Porter. I know what a skunky Pilsner/lager is like, but not a lot of experience with aging dark beers.
 

Transamguy77

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I think your process sounds solid, it may just be your recipe, or the one provided to you.

I’ve had beers that I’ve aged that were great and some that I wish I just either dumped or drink sooner. If people are asking for a six pack it can’t be that bad, we are our own worst critics and stuff we think is bad to us is delicious to others. We have an expectation of what a beer should taste like and when it doesn’t we think it’s bad.
 
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Murrayatuptown

Murrayatuptown

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Thank you.

I am definitely my own worst critic. I give away WAY too much of my brewing and infusion efforts looking for intelligent feedback. At 3 months, it was phenomenal...my best brew yet...do I thought aging would = phenomenal plus.

I am going to try 12 oz. + 4 oz club soda which will bring ABV down to 9.5% & give some experimental carbonation...I would not have wasted one at the 3 month point, but am willing to see what happens now. I'd prefer some snooty mineral water but there is club soda handy.
 
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Murrayatuptown

Murrayatuptown

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o_O...I was considering the 'old ale' legend of blending really old with new for oldish ale. But I only have 9 bottles left.

I did do the +4 oz H2O tonight to make a pint of slightly weaker beer. Didn't do anything obvious for the carbonation, but it tastes familiar again...a slight tanginess a friend calls a tobacco-like essence that he expects in a Baltic Porter is back. The 'undoneness' I feel may be that it's 'concentrated'. I boiled 75 minutes instead of 60 because I forgot to sanitize the wort chiller & waited for that.

I find myself drinking my watered down beer without wincing and analyzing and not minding it's a bit flat. I even feel like doing a double batch or two the same day is still on the table. I was near pulling the plug on that.
 

Miraculix

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I think good aging means it tastes better and bad aging tastes worse.

I brewed quite some stouts, but none in the higher abv range. What I have noticed with these is that after a few months, everything was blending together in a better way. The roast didn't peak out as much as it was before but it was still there. Everything was just rounder, fitting together in a better way than when being young.

What I would do is put 10 bottles somewhere else and have one every three months. I've heard that meads can go from bad to good to bad to really good, meaning maybe yours might be not at it's peak right now. Maybe it's just going through a wired phase.
 
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madscientist451

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Brewing with extract is fun, fast and easier than grain, but there's just something about the LME extract taste that I really don't care for. Is that what you are tasting? I've experimented with LME and the only brews that were acceptable to me had a large amount of hops that obscured that extract taste. If you only have 9 bottles left, just lay 'em back and come back to it once a year for the next 9 years. Meanwhile, skip the kits, get some grain and a BIAB bag and brew on.
:mug:
 
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Murrayatuptown

Murrayatuptown

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I took a look at BIAB. Maybe some day. I read first before jumping in with both feet. Like doing first 5-gallon LME after only doing 1 & 2-gallon DME. Significant change in gear (propane outdoors vs. electric stove indoors, wort chiller vs. ice around small pot in sink, etc.​
Seems like all-grain has another learning curve. Terminology to start with...Maybe BIAB doesn't have crushed grain particle size issues since all is contained in a bag and there is unlikely any opportunity to clog plumbing. But my brew pot has no plumbing, and neither do carboys (but that narrow neck). I don't have temperature control other than thermometer and hand on the propane knob. Kind of a 'transient' brewer...pull everything out of storage, set up in work space hastily created amid other project space, do procedure, stow away gear and use cleared space for bottle storage.​
I bought fresh LME the day we brewed after trashing the 18-month-old stuff from the kit (master procrastinator) the night before. I asked if they had DME, but only did for one of the two types (only local store open Sunday AM). Wasn't prepared to rationalize partial improvement of eliminating one LME, so just stayed with recipe as planned.​
All my beer stress has been over difficulty achieving fermentation with the basement temperature. I think I figured that out for this recipe by comparing temperature of space vs. yeast data sheets.​
I have only compared extract vs. all-grain so far from the perspectives of cost saving, but increase in time and # of procedures to perform accurately. People say AG tastes better, but others say if LME tastes odd it's not fresh.​
Looked at Brewer's Edge electric system, but that's getting ahead of myself. I've only done one 5-gallon with propane so far. I should acquire some skill at each stage before changing gear and technique with each brew or I won't know enough about each technique to say why I liked/didn't :O).​
Thanks for input.​
 
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Murrayatuptown

Murrayatuptown

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I read other people's success & failure stories for education. I dread the possibility of dumping a 5-gallon batch. Someone else told me about theirs...putting a 5-gallon carboy with hot wort into a snowdrift to cool it ;O).
 

Teufelhunde

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I read other people's success & failure stories for education. I dread the possibility of dumping a 5-gallon batch. Someone else told me about theirs...putting a 5-gallon carboy with hot wort into a snowdrift to cool it ;O).
I'd be interested in hearing about that. In my cold weather survival training we learned (and experienced) that snow all around you is a fantastic insulator. Bet that wort took it's sweet a$$ time cooling down.....
 
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Murrayatuptown

Murrayatuptown

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It was their biggest mistake ever...the glass carboy shattered from the thermal shock, and the wort immediately drained into the snow and grass! :eek::eek:.

I don't recall, but think they decided that was the end of their brewing adventure!
 
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In HG stouts, the flavor notes I look for in determining when it's hitting it's stride in age are something like dried dates and subtle oxidation, the result I'd describe as somewhat similar to the flavor of a Dum Dum rootbeer sucker that has been lying around for awhile and gotten a bit chewy. Specifically, the mild hint of wintergreen. To my palate, that is the characteristic flavor of noble rot in heavier bodied red wines like Barolo. As that spice profile starts declining in complexity, it signals to me that the beer (or wine) is past its prime.
 

davidabcd

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Bottle-conditioned 9 months, carbonation remains a little low. ABV was 12.34%. Was a 9.5-10.5% extract kit I added 1% corn sugar
The low carbonation is due to accidentally or otherwise boosting the ABV out of the yeast's range. My experience with extracts of that style is slow carbonation but will fully carb after a couple of months.
 

Teufelhunde

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It was their biggest mistake ever...the glass carboy shattered from the thermal shock, and the wort immediately drained into the snow and grass! :eek::eek:.

I don't recall, but think they decided that was the end of their brewing adventure!
LOL
 

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