Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Long Aged Homebrews

As I'm finishing up chilling my cream ale wort, I found my last bottle of amber saison I made about 1.5 years ago. It's actually pretty high in abv (7-8% IIRC), so it's certainly age worthy. I used 3724 (Dupont) for yeast, which is known to be very finicky though I did get very good attenuation (recipe is lost however due to my previous pc crashing). The beer is definitely showing some oxidation, and the rich thick maltiness is coming out. Near sherry like notes dominate while the spicy, earthy saison yeast has subsided. I can't say it's in an improved state, but it's an interesting one to taste; obviously better than how the Pliny clone aged though! Anyone else have good/bad results with an aged beer, hopefully something over a year or so?
(as an aside to photog snobs, I know the white balance is off, but I really like the strong blue tint I got to this shot)


  1. I made a bourbon-oaked vanilla stout around a year ago, so it's not as old as yours yet. I used a couple oz of medium toast french oak cubes soaked in bourbon, and a couple vanilla beans, cut open in the secondary. It got kegged and, though good at the time, we somehow never managed to finish it while it was on tap last summer and the keg, including the last portion of beer, got rotated out. Over the winter we bought a new house, moved, etc. I just remembered it was in the back of the cellar a few weeks ago and filled a growler to take to the local homebrew club meeting out of curiousity.

    The vanilla has backed way off. The really interesting thing though was that the oakiness somehow melded with the vanilla and changed into a very strong clove flavor. Knowing the components that went into it, we could still pick them out a bit, but it really was close enough to true cloves that at this point they were seriously trying to convince me to enter it in a comp at some point under the herb & vegetable category as a clove beer! (The clove is only in the flavor. The aroma is still what you might expect from a tasty bourbon/oak/vanilla stout.)

    The beer I'm really anxious to try as it ages further though is an all-brett C beer I brewed in October. It started off just tart & slightly sweet, although the acidity balanced it out nicely. Over the last 3 months or so, the brett character is really starting to blossom. I'm trying hard to ration the last 10 or so at maybe 1 per month! (but it's sooo delicious!)

  2. Jaymo, I'm curious whether the clove came from a brett infection? I believe it can be a common aroma produced by some strains.
    What was the base to your all Brett beer? I really like how mine turned out and I saw that Wyeast has rereleased Brett C for the next few months.

  3. I'm confident that the "Photog snob" comment was aimed at me, among others. FWIW, just set the camera to "Cloudy" skies or "Shade", and you'll do better on your windowsill pics. It'll also be easier for viewers to assess the true color of your brews. Cheers --

  4. I don't think the clove came from brett. I've done quite a few brett beers (which most would argue makes it *more* likely to be brett) and this clove was different. Knowing what the beer tasted like months ago, the separate flavor components could be picked out. They just really mellowed and melded into a more cohesive flavor, rather than separate oak, spices, etc.

    (Also, the clove was completely in the flavor realm. The aroma really hadn't changed much and still resembled the nose when it was younger.)

    The brett-C beer I mentioned was:

    9.75 lbs 2-row
    1 lb CaraPils
    1 lb flaked oats
    1 lb 2 oz Munich malt

    10 IBUs Magnum - 60 minutes

    I built up a (just under) 1 liter starter from a vial of White Labs brett C and pitched the entire thing. It finished with a FG of 1.016.

  5. Not a sour beer, but I've got one precious bomber left of an Old Ale (8% abv) I brewed 2.5 yrs ago when I started homebrewing (this was my second batch) and it has aged fantastically. Deep, round malt character a oxidative notes give it a sherry\port-like quality. All signs of roast (from some kilned coffee malt), and hops are gone. This is a beer I have started brewing annually at Christmas time for opening the next Christmas (and however many years that vintage stay around).

    Nice write-up - enjoy the blog!