When the new batch of Founders Breakfast Stout came out recently, I knew it was time to hit the cellar and pull out a couple of older bottles to try alongside the new kid on the block. Derek was kind enough to join me for a tasting of FBS bottled in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Yum.
We cracked each of the bottles and took a quick sniff of each before decanting into an assortment of glasses. We were able to keep there pedigree hidden from view and instead looked at them as A, B and C (left to right).
Note: We apologize for the photo quality. In our haste to start tasting we forget to line them up and I might have been a little shaky by the time we decided we needed this shot.
Our notes, as we uttered them during the tasting.
A – Smelled great, the most prominent bouquet of them all. Smelled boozy. Burnt caramel. Small bubble carbonation, dances on your tongue. Smooth. Clean finish.
B – Minimal bouquet. Hint of milk on the nose. Faint barnyard on the nose. Less carbonation than A. Wet hay. Nutty. Not as complex as A.
C – Smelled the funkiest. Thought it might have turned. Tar-like smell. Great mouthfeel. Chewy. Dark chocolate.
We thought A definitely smelled the best of the three, while C earned our choice for best taste. We were unanimous in deciding that A was the 2012, B was the 2010 and C was the 2011.
When we unveiled their ages we found that we’d only gotten one right!!
After we got past that fact that we’d thought the youngest was the oldest and vice versa, we settled in to explore why. The complexity of the bouquet of A really through us for a loop. When contrasted it with B, which seemed like it had lost a lot, we were sure A was the rookie.
The 2010 (A) was the best cold, but it lost it’s luster as it warmed, to the point of almost being undrinkable.
Our recommendation? Drink it fresh or possibly one year old. Hold Founders Breakfast Stout for longer that 12 months at your peril.
We’re getting smarter about cellaring beer.
Notes about the cellar: The beers were kept horizontal on a wine rack in my basement, which rarely rises about 65F. They were transferred to my beer fridge several days before the tasting and placed upright in the fridge. We did not notice significant yeast or other sediment in the bottles during the tasting.