5 Tips For Aging Beer

Aging beer is a bit of beer geek activity that most people don’t bother with. You’re not going to age a lager from the local dépanneur but some of the bigger craft beers on the market start to receive nice nuanced changes in flavour over time. I enjoy experimenting on my homebrews to see how aging adds character and mellows out flaws in my beer. Aging normally mellows off flavours and hop flavours while enhancing malt flavours. Hard and fast, you want to age big alcoholic malty beers and not your IPA. Dogfish Head has a good article with a few tips for aging beer.

Beer won’t spoil.
Beer isn’t milk and it won’t go bad. The flavour just changes. You might not like the change in flavours (and it might change for the worst depending on style and aging conditions) but you don’t have to worry about getting sick off it. I wouldn’t open an old bottle of Molson Ex that has been in and out of the fridge though.

Storage matters.
Oxidation is to beer as the Joker is to Batman, archenemies. Oxidation will turn your beer tasting like last weeks edition of the newspaper. Light and heat speed up oxidation, so store beer in a cool, dark place. Keep the bottles upright in your basement or in a refrigerator set between 10°C and 13°C.

High-alcohol beers tend to age better.
Lie mentioned above, typically larger beers age better. Dogfish Head recommends beers that are 10% ABV and higher and have big dark malt profiles. Higher ABV beers will begin to mellow out and produce a velvety finish after aging.

Don’t underestimate fresh.
Some beers just don’t work with aging. IPA’s and fruit beers notably. Those flavours begin to fade into the background and lose their main characteristic. That being said, there are no rules so experimenting helps. Dogfish Head recommends their 120 Minute IPA which begins to develop sweet sherry and marmalade notes.

A little experimentation goes a long way.
Like mentioned above, you will need to experiment. Taste is subjective and your mileage will vary depending on a factor of conditions. Best thing to do is buy a few bottles and drink one fresh. Store the rest and pull them out at six month intervals. If you don’t like the direction aging takes your beer you can stop or if if you do you can age another six months. Part of the fun of drinking craft beer is that there isn’t no stringent rules to be followed. Go crazy with it and find out what you like.

Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA is a blend of their 60 Minute and 90 Minute. Bottle conditioned with Maple syrup in 750mL bottles. 90 Minute is one of my favourite beers and it introduced me to the world of the hoppy goodness that is american IPA. The below video review is the first I’ve heard of their 75 Minute but I immediately want to drink it. It just sounds amazing.

Dogfish Head Noble Rot: Bottled and Out The Door.

Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot is bottled and headed out the door today. Noble Rot is a saison-esque hybrid beer made with half of the fermentable sugars coming from pils and wheat malt with the other half made from two unique white wine grapes. Each 750ml bottle is about 9% ABV and will cost $12.00

The first addition is unfermented juice, known as must, from viognier grapes that have been infected with a benevolent fungus called botrytis. This “noble rot” reduces the water content in the grapes while magnifying their sweetness and complexity. The second is pinot gris must intensified by a process called “dropping fruit,” where large clusters of grapes are clipped to intensify the quality of those left behind.

Sounds Like Dogfish Head Will Bottle Their Google Beer: Urkontinent

Not long ago Dogfish Head and Google got together to brew a special beer together called Urkontinent. It is a Belgian dubbel styled beer with ingredients from around the world.

I post a lot about Dogfish Head around. It’s not secret that they brew some of my favorite beer and I just simply like their beer brewing attitude. But this beer brings two of my worlds together, tech and beer. It also sounds like it will be an amazing tasting beer. It even has Google Hive Plex honey in it.

Originally the beer was made for their brewpub. Apparently enough people liked it that the plan is to brew it even thought it is not on their schedule yet.

Check the video below to whet your appetite.

URKontinent is brewed in the style of a Belgian Dubbel. It begins with Pilsner, Munich and Chocolate Malts and Belgian Dark Candi syrup. Then we add unique ingredients from around the world. Wattleseed from Australia imparts a chocolate, coffee, and hazelnut taste to the beer. Toasted Amaranth from South America gives it an earthy, grainy flavor and a little additional roast flavor. Green Rooibos from Africa contributes a floral aroma and slight astringency. Myrica Gale from Europe supplements the bitterness from minimal hopping. Hive Plex Honey from California adds a subtle sweetness while maintaining the dry finish.The careful combination of all these ingredients creates a complex dark Belgian style ale with wonderful coffee and chocolate covered cherry flavors. The roastiness of the malt and wattleseed melds with the fruity esters from the yeast, the floral notes from the rooibos, and the malty yet dry signature of a Belgian Dubbel. Perfect to enjoy with friends as the weather begins to cool.

Sam Calagione Unimpressed With Negative Beer Geeks

Adding fanaticism and snobbery with the internet usually results in lots of negativity. Typical of the internet to be a breeding ground for those ‘over-rated’ type discussions.

Sam Calagione steps in to put some of the haters in check over at Beer Advocate.

One of these beers is on the sweeter side and one is more sour. Knowing each of your palettes is unique you will probably prefer one over the other. That doesn’t mean the one you didn’t prefer sucked. And the breweries you don’t prefer but are growing don’t suck either. Respect Beer. The below was my favorite post thus far

Honestly, any discussion (or more precisely, rant) about something being over-rated is pointless. It all comes down to taste and personal preference. Especially with beer. It is one thing to discuss and review beer but everyone’s palate is going to be different.

A Week in the Life of Dogfish Head’s Lead Brewer Ben Potts

There was an interesting article in the Huffington Post today that goes over the work-week diary of Ben Potts, Dogfish Head’s lead brewer at their Brewpub in Rehoboth. I’m a big fan of Dogfish Head beers so this is a interesting insight into the work life of a brewer.

Dogfish Head’s Lead Brewer Ben Potts: A Week In The Life (Food Informants)

Ben Potts, 28, is the lead brewer at Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats in Rehoboth Beach, De. After Ben discovered craft beer, there was no turning back. His first forays into this world were Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Bigfoot Barleywine, as well as Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch and 90 Minute IPA. Talk about full circle! When a friend started homebrewing, he thought, “Hey, I can do this,” and picked up his first kit. His first professional gig came about five years later. He was in art school studying to become a painter, but decided brewing might be a more achievable — but equally creative — career, so he dropped out and started volunteering at Dock Street Brewing Co. “I worked my ass off until they hired me as assistant brewer,” he says. “Then I took over as head brewer in October 2008.”

Dogfish Head releases gluten free seasonal.

Dogfish Head brewery is releasing a gluten free beer in late January 2012. Replacing the barley with a mild sorghum base. While this will allow beer drinkers who suffer from Celiac disease to enjoy delicious craft brew this actually sounds like something I would want to drink. Hints of molasses and pit-fruit balanced with strawberry notes. Yum.

“It seems as if lots of folks who have gluten- tolerance issues are pining for an interesting beer,” says Dogfish founder and president Sam Calagione. “While there are a few well-made examples that mirror traditional beer styles, there aren’t any off-centered offerings.”

Enter Dogfish’s fruit-forward Tweasonale.

For our first new 12-ounce 4-packs in nearly half a decade, we replaced the classic barley foundation of beer with a mild sorghum base. The hints of molasses and pit-fruit are balanced by vibrant strawberry notes and a unique complexity that comes with the addition of a malty buckwheat honey.

We believe health-conscious beer drinkers and the millions of Americans who suffer from Celiac disease can cut back on gluten while relishing the distinction and drinkability of this very special brew.

This is part of Dogfish Head’s new “Tweasonale” line of beers that will release four different seasonal “between the seasons”.