I have been an extremely lazy blogger, but quite frankly, I also haven’t been drinking much beer over the last few months. You’d think, “OK, it’s summer, the guy will actually drink some beer” but I haven’t been drinking much to start with, and what I have been drinking seems to mostly be rum for some reason. In any case, I am still working through some old stuff in my “cellar” and wanted to revisit a couple beers that I’ve had the past two days.
The first is Big Sky Brewing’s limited release stout, Slow Elk, which I originally reviewed here. That review was from December 2009, so the beer has some age now. This time around, comparing my previous tasting notes, I am still getting an astringency, way, WAY back in the aftertaste (like if I wait a minute or so between sips). I think the oatmeal “slickness” is a little more evident, giving it a more pleasant body than I previously thought and while no chocolate or coffee notes really appeared out of thin air, the roasty flavors are still nice. I think this would actually be a good complement to some lighter fare that you don’t generally pair with a stout, maybe even like a blackened fish or chicken dish. I think I get a little cherry in the flavor, too, which could be a component of some oxidation in the beer, which isn’t always a bad thing especially on dark beers. So, for the Slow Elk, I think some age definitely did it some good.
The beer I had yesterday was the Breckenridge 471 double IPA, which I reviewed originally here, and then revisited once here. Well, I’m back again! I’m not exactly sure how old this beer is now, other than these bottles were given to me in March 2010. The beer still has all the alcohol, of course, still pretty well-hidden (flavor-wise. Buzz-wise, it’s about as subtle as dropping a sack of bricks on your foot). The hops have diminished a bit, but I’ll bet I could appreciate this effect a LOT more if I had a fresh bottle to do a side-by-side comparison tasting with. The hops seemed to take on a little bit of a cat-pee aroma and flavor, which isn’t all that unusual for hops, actually, as bad as it sounds! It was still plenty good to drink, but, no big surprise for a highly-hopped beer, this one is better fresher.
So, there you have it, by coincidence we have one beer that seems better with age and one that doesn’t. As a general rule of thumb, IPA’s and other high hopped beers are best drunk fresh while darker beers, in GENERAL, tend to age more gracefully. Certainly true in this case.