When I first starting buying craft beer to put away it was because I was intrigued by the possibility. Sure, I’d bought wine to set aside for years (I still have a bottle of Anderson’s Conn Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from 1997 down there – it was an epic year), but I’d never considered beer as cellar-worthy.
That changed when I got my hands on the big beers from Founders Brewing. I think the first beer I put down in the cellar with a goal of getting it to mellow was Founder’s Backwoods Bastard (it’s still down there). The fresh bottle was a little too fiery for me, something I thought would mellow with age.
As I talked with friends about aging beers, it became clear there are a lot of folks doing it. So I started putting away a few every once in a while and have built up a pretty sizable collection. I imagine there will be some misses, but also expect more than a few hits. Tonight’s selection is one I hope survived the journey.
I loved Pretty Things KK the first time I gave it a try. Loved it. The combination of the dark malt and smooth hops were perfect. It was a great beer to have on a cool Fall day. Since it sounded like it would be a limited release, I went out the next day and found a few more bottles to enjoy. I took two and put them in my cellar.
Tonight I opened the first of those two. No off smells as I open the bottle… let’s see what it looks/tastes like.
It pours dark brown with an ample head. I’m not getting a lot from smelling it though… maybe a bit of molasses. The first taste is interesting. The hops have faded (not surprisingly) and the malt is soft and chewy with hints of vanilla. The finish has a bit of black licorice, which I don’t remember when drinking it young. The carbonation is fine, but not overpowering… it’s great how it coats my mouth with the flavors of vanilla, molasses and liquorice.
Cellaring a hoppy ale, even a black ale that’s 7.8% ABV, probably is a questionable call, but I consider this a success. I’d love to have a fresh KK to try alongside it, but I’m not sure whether they’ll brew it again (What do you say Dann and Martha?). If they do, I’ll be sure to try a fresh one alongside cellared KK #2.
Vital Stats: Served at 45F in my trusty tulip. 7.8% ABV
Taste: B+. Smooth and delicious, if not unexpected.
Drinkability: B. Finishing a bomber is making me a bit woozy.
Packaging: A. Everything’s here and then some.
Value: A. $7.25 two years ago for a bomber!??!? That must be like $7.15 today!!
I haven’t decided what’s up next for “Adventures in cellaring” – let me know in the comments if you want me to try the Backwoods Bastard. 🙂