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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: liquidbrewing on November 26, 2012, 11:20:54 PM

Title: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: liquidbrewing on November 26, 2012, 11:20:54 PM
I just wanted to briefly post this.  To anyone that thinks you can age IPA's.  I recently purchased some Two Hearted Ale, that was bottled in July.  It did not taste like the Two Hearted I know.  I know all about drinking IPA's fresh, this info is mainly for newer brewers and whoever else would like to know...

At a club function recently a friend and fellow brewer brought a bottle of Hopslam that he had left.  Nothing like the Hopslam I had in January.

Plus, the last 120 Minute I had was so cloyingly sweet, I vowed never to pay the $10 / bottle again for this reason.  I assume this was not a bottle from this year.

Lastly, this sounds like sacrilege, another friend invited us over for dinner and had a bottle of Pliny, that had been bottled about 9-10 months prior.  Honestly, nothing if not terrible, knowing how it should taste, that is.

The main reason I wanted to share this with everyone is to spread the word, Drink your IPA's fresh!  I consider all the above beers in my favorite IPA's category, but time is only detrimental to them and other IPA's.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: euge on November 26, 2012, 11:39:09 PM
I agree!

There is a notion that one must age their "IPA's" to mimic the "conditions" faced on a long voyage to India... If so slosh your beers constantly for a couple months too.

Hops and higher levels of alcohol definitely have an antiseptic effect on beer however one is gonna lose that particular hop quality over time. In fact I think it is inversely proportional like so many other things in this universe. Age for two months and your beer is 1/4 as hoppy as it was at one month. At the very least it has lost 1/2 of it's hoppy character. Extrapolate this over the course of a year and beyond.

I like fresh unpasteurized beer. IMO the hop quality reveals itself magnificently as early as 2 weeks and most certainly at one month.

On the flipside beers with a darkly roasted malt character seem to benefit from some extended conditioning. So balancing the two is idiosyncratic but this is part of the art of brewing and cellaring.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: udubdawg on November 27, 2012, 12:23:49 AM
I love IPA like few other things in this world.  However I don't brew it as often as this level of passion would indicate.  I simply hate losing my hop aroma when the batch is half gone.

made an exception this year, and brewed 4 IPAs at once.  Entered best two in FOAM Cup; each took Silver in 14B and 14C.  Now I'm just frantically drinking them before they fade.  woe is me.   ;D

cheers--
--Michael
Title: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: In The Sand on November 27, 2012, 01:23:13 AM
I love IPA like few other things in this world.  However I don't brew it as often as this level of passion would indicate.  I simply hate losing my hop aroma when the batch is half gone.

made an exception this year, and brewed 4 IPAs at once.  Entered best two in FOAM Cup; each took Silver in 14B and 14C.  Now I'm just frantically drinking them before they fade.  woe is me.   ;D

cheers--
--Michael

You can send me some if you need help.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 27, 2012, 01:49:23 AM
I agree that American IPAs need to be consumed fresh.

If you brew a British IPA with a large charge of EKG (at least a pound for 10 gallons), Maris Otter, highly sulfate water, and British Ale yeast, it is harsh and unpleasant when young. Let it sit in the cellar for 6 to 10 months and it becomes a thing of beauty. You can then dry hop to get the fresh hop aroma. It has become something I do every year now.


Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: redbeerman on November 27, 2012, 12:39:47 PM
I agree that American IPAs need to be consumed fresh.

If you brew a British IPA with a large charge of EKG (at least a pound for 10 gallons), Maris Otter, highly sulfate water, and British Ale yeast, it is harsh and unpleasant when young. Let it sit in the cellar for 6 to 10 months and it becomes a thing of beauty. You can then dry hop to get the fresh hop aroma. It has become something I do every year now.

+1
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: davidgzach on November 27, 2012, 01:05:55 PM
I agree that American IPAs need to be consumed fresh.

If you brew a British IPA with a large charge of EKG (at least a pound for 10 gallons), Maris Otter, highly sulfate water, and British Ale yeast, it is harsh and unpleasant when young. Let it sit in the cellar for 6 to 10 months and it becomes a thing of beauty. You can then dry hop to get the fresh hop aroma. It has become something I do every year now.

+1.  That makes a lot of sense.  I also like to drink my APA's within a few weeks.  There is definitely something about it.  But I like the aging of the British IPA's.  Making one shortly....

Dave
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 27, 2012, 02:21:02 PM
If you read through the Mitch Steele book IPA, one can find that the British IPAs were 6 months to a year old when they were put on the ship to India, then they went for another 6 months.

One thing though, British IPA that has been aged and then dry hopped (or not) will not be confused with a fresh American IPA when you drink it. I do like both styles.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: liquidbrewing on November 27, 2012, 08:25:02 PM
Thanks for all the comments.  I agree about dark malts tasting better with a little age.

I only brew American style IPA's, so I never use British yeast or hops in them.  But I do understand about the whole British IPA thing and how they were traditionally brewed and consumed.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: gman23 on November 27, 2012, 08:30:18 PM
What is everyone's definition of fresh?

I am just curious. I prefer slightly complex and maltier grain bills for my IPAs. It seems to take some time for the flavors to come together. Mine seems to be the best after a month in the keg or bottle although I would assume some of hop character get subdued.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: liquidbrewing on November 27, 2012, 08:37:05 PM
Well my IPA schedule usually goes like this.  Brew, leave in primary for 2 - 3 three weeks, dry hop for 7-10 days, cold crash for a day or two, then keg, usually carbed up nice in about 6 days.  So from brewing through dry hopping I'm drinking it in as little as 4 weeks.  But I've seen a few people on here that can get an IPA done in just two weeks, even with dry hopping.

This is just how I do it and is usually dependent on when I need the beer.

I mainly use a simple grain bill.  Usually 95% base and as little as 5% character malt.  I normally use caramel 40, 80, or munich.  I've been known to do all 2-row ipas and all maris otter.  They always turn out good.  One of the best IPA's I can remember making, I was drinking it after three weeks.  I noticed the aroma hops fading after one week in the keg.  I normally only brew IPA's and stouts, I drink the IPA's up and let the stouts age while I'm pounding IPA's.   8)
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: gman23 on November 27, 2012, 08:45:36 PM
yeah I would say most of my beer including IPAs are best 6-7 week after brewing. I personally like that the bitterness mellows out a bit in my IPAs. I say this knowing that I probably prefer IPAs that are more balanced and have less bitterness than most. Because of this, the whole "freshness" notion may not apply as much.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: Jimmy K on November 27, 2012, 08:54:36 PM
Funny, the wife and I were just talking about this last weekend.  It seems that aging beer is being pushed by some breweries/beer geeks and though it is fine for some - it is decidedly not good for IPA's. In some cases I think it has gone too far.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: DrewG on November 28, 2012, 02:06:17 PM
Quote
Two Hearted Ale, that was bottled in July.  It did not taste like the Two Hearted I know.

Had one like that a month ago, totally agree. Which is why I love that both Founders and Bells date stamp their bottles. I won't buy any (IPA's) from either brewery that are more than 3 months past the bottling date.

Which brings me to the point: Why don't all breweries date stamp their bottles? Why would you want some nasty old oxidized beer out there? Anyone unfamiliar (or uneducated) with that beer is going think poorly of it. I think it's Goose Island that goes so far as to put an actual "best by" date on their bottles. As a consumer, I really appreciate that.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: redbeerman on November 28, 2012, 02:23:34 PM
Quote
Two Hearted Ale, that was bottled in July.  It did not taste like the Two Hearted I know.

Had one like that a month ago, totally agree. Which is why I love that both Founders and Bells date stamp their bottles. I won't buy any (IPA's) from either brewery that are more than 3 months past the bottling date.

Which brings me to the point: Why don't all breweries date stamp their bottles? Why would you want some nasty old oxidized beer out there? Anyone unfamiliar (or uneducated) with that beer is going think poorly of it. I think it's Goose Island that goes so far as to put an actual "best by" date on their bottles. As a consumer, I really appreciate that.

I've noticed this most with imports.  Almost always at least a hint of oxidation and sometimes it's so bad the beer is barely drinkable.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: erockrph on November 28, 2012, 03:02:36 PM
There are a lot of stores in my area that have built up a huge craft beer section. The problem is that the stock just doesn't get turned over. I've stopped buying APA's/IPA's unless they have a "born on" date within 2-3 months, or they are a current seasonal release. I actually have better luck at stores with a small selection because I know that the common stuff like Harpoon IPA, SNPA, etc. gets turned around pretty quick.

It wasn't until I started brewing my own beer that I realized the stuff I've been buying is generally no good. Nothing beats a good fresh IPA.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: DrewG on November 28, 2012, 03:18:20 PM
Quote
There are a lot of stores in my area that have built up a huge craft beer section. The problem is that the stock just doesn't get turned over. I've stopped buying APA's/IPA's unless they have a "born on" date within 2-3 months, or they are a current seasonal release. I actually have better luck at stores with a small selection because I know that the common stuff like Harpoon IPA, SNPA, etc. gets turned around pretty quick.

I had the same issue with my local beer store, to the point that I won't buy ANY beer from them unless its date stamped. They have a huge selection, and a great staff, but it seems that nothing ever gets tossed. They were kind enough to order me a Stone beer I had brewed a clone of a while back that isn't available in our area. I went in and picked it up, and it was a year past the "best by". Huge chunks of proteins floating around in it, really nasty.  So in that case it's not just the store, but the distributor as well. They did refund my money, however. "Meijer", which is a Midwestern mega-grocery store chain out here, now has an entire MI/Craft beer section with a high turnover of product, and as much as I want to spend my $ with the little guys it's hard to turn down fresh beer at a better price.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: kramerog on November 28, 2012, 03:40:09 PM
I only buy IPAs from a tap or in cans.  Bottles are too much of a crap shoot.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: Jimmy K on November 28, 2012, 04:13:45 PM
I only buy IPAs from a tap or in cans.  Bottles are too much of a crap shoot.
I had an IPA on draft at a brewery that was great. Bought a sixpack of cans and it was crap - I presume it wasn't as fresh (no date). I don't think there is anything about cans that will preserve hop character.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: bwana on November 28, 2012, 04:29:31 PM
I also enjoy fresh IPA's although I also like the maturity of my homebrew after 8 weeks. It is all about your style of balance.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: Pinski on November 28, 2012, 05:12:56 PM
I only buy IPAs from a tap or in cans.  Bottles are too much of a crap shoot.
I had an IPA on draft at a brewery that was great. Bought a sixpack of cans and it was crap - I presume it wasn't as fresh (no date). I don't think there is anything about cans that will preserve hop character.

They'll prevent light strike.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: Jimmy K on November 28, 2012, 07:09:15 PM
I only buy IPAs from a tap or in cans.  Bottles are too much of a crap shoot.
I had an IPA on draft at a brewery that was great. Bought a sixpack of cans and it was crap - I presume it wasn't as fresh (no date). I don't think there is anything about cans that will preserve hop character.
They'll prevent light strike.
Definately true, but I guess I'd consider that a separate problem.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: BrewingRover on December 01, 2012, 02:39:45 PM
Which brings me to the point: Why don't all breweries date stamp their bottles? Why would you want some nasty old oxidized beer out there? Anyone unfamiliar (or uneducated) with that beer is going think poorly of it. I think it's Goose Island that goes so far as to put an actual "best by" date on their bottles. As a consumer, I really appreciate that.
The trouble with "best by" is it doesn't tell you when it was bottled. Fuller's beers have a "best before" date, but it must be a year or more after bottling. The last time I bought their ESB, it was oxidized and nothing like the beer I've had in England.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: alcaponejunior on December 04, 2012, 11:35:23 PM
I had a 120 minute IPA that was over four years old.  Cloyingly sweet, but then it's pretty damn cloyingly sweet when it's fresh too.  I've had about ten bottles of it ranging from 4+ years old to as fresh as it gets.  I can't say I have a preference in that one, TBH.

I had a one year old bigfoot ale that was still damn delicious.  It's very hoppy fresh, and was still pretty hoppy after a year.  But that's barleywine. 

Now aged pliny would be a sacrilege...  :(

Two-hearted and hopslam would be wrong to age, although again, aging pliny would be a crime against humanity.

As a general rule, I agree that IPAs should be fresh. 
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: weithman5 on December 04, 2012, 11:57:19 PM
fundamentally, i am sick of ipa's. it seems that the places around here carry 4-5 different brewers of ipa and they all taste like old asparagus.  Apparently the good Lord has forbid them from carrying a bock, or dunkel, or  even much in the way of amber ales, porters etc
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: DrewG on December 07, 2012, 03:01:43 PM
Quote
The trouble with "best by" is it doesn't tell you when it was bottled. Fuller's beers have a "best before" date, but it must be a year or more after bottling. The last time I bought their ESB, it was oxidized and nothing like the beer I've had in England.

Founders has "bottled on" dates, which is nice. I'm with you on the Fullers beers, though

Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: Jimmy K on December 07, 2012, 04:04:38 PM
The trouble with "best by" is it doesn't tell you when it was bottled. Fuller's beers have a "best before" date, but it must be a year or more after bottling. The last time I bought their ESB, it was oxidized and nothing like the beer I've had in England.
And really, no brewery is going to print a best buy date that is within a month or 2, or even 4, of production, which is what's needed. It would kill them.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: repo on December 07, 2012, 05:05:25 PM
The trouble with "best by" is it doesn't tell you when it was bottled. Fuller's beers have a "best before" date, but it must be a year or more after bottling. The last time I bought their ESB, it was oxidized and nothing like the beer I've had in England.
And really, no brewery is going to print a best buy date that is within a month or 2, or even 4, of production, which is what's needed. It would kill them.

Well that is just not true, Stone has it at 90  days on some beers and 120 days on some other beers. They are in the process of opening the largest restaurant in San Diego. Here is a link, I'm sure you will find more breweries that do it also.  https://sites.google.com/site/freshbeeronly/u-s-breweries

Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: euge on December 07, 2012, 08:22:32 PM
Budweiser has been doing it for at least 14 years. And they will pull out of date stock.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: timmyt on December 07, 2012, 09:59:00 PM
Many breweries stamp a number on the can or bottle that signifies the day number of the year, some are 5 digit numbers with the last 3 digits being the numerical day of the year that it was bottled! for instance 19324, meaning that it was bottled on the 324th day of the year! So there is a reference as to how old or how fresh the beer is! Firestone Walker stamps bottled on dates right at the start of the neck on their bottles and is very hard to see unless you hold it up to the light but it is there and many other breweries do this as well! The problem is that the print is so small and hard to see that many of us never know that its there!
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: Jimmy K on December 08, 2012, 02:06:07 PM
And really, no brewery is going to print a best buy date that is within a month or 2, or even 4, of production, which is what's needed. It would kill them.

Well that is just not true, Stone has it at 90  days on some beers and 120 days on some other beers. They are in the process of opening the largest restaurant in San Diego. Here is a link, I'm sure you will find more breweries that do it also.  https://sites.google.com/site/freshbeeronly/u-s-breweries
Wow! Good for them!
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: erockrph on December 08, 2012, 04:50:01 PM
The trouble with "best by" is it doesn't tell you when it was bottled. Fuller's beers have a "best before" date, but it must be a year or more after bottling. The last time I bought their ESB, it was oxidized and nothing like the beer I've had in England.
And really, no brewery is going to print a best buy date that is within a month or 2, or even 4, of production, which is what's needed. It would kill them.

Well that is just not true, Stone has it at 90  days on some beers and 120 days on some other beers. They are in the process of opening the largest restaurant in San Diego. Here is a link, I'm sure you will find more breweries that do it also.  https://sites.google.com/site/freshbeeronly/u-s-breweries

Good for them, but keep in mind that they move the kind of volume where you can get away with this. A much smaller brewery may not be able to pull this off.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: Jimmy K on December 10, 2012, 03:16:25 PM
And really, no brewery is going to print a best buy date that is within a month or 2, or even 4, of production, which is what's needed. It would kill them.

Well that is just not true, Stone has it at 90  days on some beers and 120 days on some other beers. They are in the process of opening the largest restaurant in San Diego. Here is a link, I'm sure you will find more breweries that do it also.  https://sites.google.com/site/freshbeeronly/u-s-breweries (https://sites.google.com/site/freshbeeronly/u-s-breweries)

Good for them, but keep in mind that they move the kind of volume where you can get away with this. A much smaller brewery may not be able to pull this off.
Very true!
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: repo on December 10, 2012, 03:49:12 PM
And really, no brewery is going to print a best buy date that is within a month or 2, or even 4, of production, which is what's needed. It would kill them.

Well that is just not true, Stone has it at 90  days on some beers and 120 days on some other beers. They are in the process of opening the largest restaurant in San Diego. Here is a link, I'm sure you will find more breweries that do it also.  https://sites.google.com/site/freshbeeronly/u-s-breweries (https://sites.google.com/site/freshbeeronly/u-s-
breweries)

Good for them, but keep in mind that they move the kind of volume where you can get away with this. A much smaller brewery may not be able to pull this off.
Very true!

 I suggest again, you guys check the list. A good number of breweries Do " pull this off"
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: neemox on December 12, 2012, 08:54:14 PM
Interesting to read through that list and find out that while before this thread I had never looked at a best by date on a beer, all the breweries that I love most do include brew date info. Perhaps there is a link between breweries that are willing to provide this information and their mentality about producing (and selling) good quality beer.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: DrewG on December 13, 2012, 04:42:11 PM
Forgive my ignorance of the nuances of the 3 tier system, but does the distributor not purchase the beer from the brewery, then sell it to a retailer? So if the beer sits and goes out of date, one would assume that either the retailer or distributor would eat the cost (assuming they actually pull the product, which has not been my experience) instead of the brewer?

I'm not saying I know one way or the other, just making assumptions
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: ncoleman on December 13, 2012, 07:26:35 PM
yeah I would say most of my beer including IPAs are best 6-7 week after brewing. I personally like that the bitterness mellows out a bit in my IPAs. I say this knowing that I probably prefer IPAs that are more balanced and have less bitterness than most. Because of this, the whole "freshness" notion may not apply as much.

6 -7 week rule is about the same for me, probably with a little longer of a window. I find that IPAs in particular tend to get gradually better for 6-9 weeks, then start to degrade quickly thereafter.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: Jimmy K on December 20, 2012, 03:39:17 AM
Forgive my ignorance of the nuances of the 3 tier system, but does the distributor not purchase the beer from the brewery, then sell it to a retailer? So if the beer sits and goes out of date, one would assume that either the retailer or distributor would eat the cost (assuming they actually pull the product, which has not been my experience) instead of the brewer?

I'm not saying I know one way or the other, just making assumptions
Not sure about alcohol, but many distribution contracts for perishable products include clauses that say that if the product doesn't sell and goes out of date then the distributor doesn't have to pay for it. If not perishable, the distributor can often return the product later.  That, and the brewery will often end up paying because they care the most about maintaining freshness.
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: topher.bartos on December 26, 2012, 06:47:50 PM
Speaking of. All I wanted for Christmas was Stone's Enjoy By series which is supposed to be the freshest IPA you can get. I heard it was the best IPA ever tasted. But, how would I know? I didn't get a chance to taste it.

There is something to be said about making a high gravity phenol concoction and aging it overtime to reduce the fire flavor.

That said, when I brew an IPA, I drink it ASAP.
Title: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: In The Sand on December 31, 2012, 11:22:54 PM
If IPAs are better fresh, which I totally agree with, this Stoudts Double IPA should be great!

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/01/na7yhuja.jpg)
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: liquidbrewing on January 01, 2013, 08:23:33 PM
If IPAs are better fresh, which I totally agree with, this Stoudts Double IPA should be great!

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/01/na7yhuja.jpg)

Beer from the future!  Time travel is possible!
Title: Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
Post by: erockrph on January 01, 2013, 09:32:46 PM
Might want to give it some time. I don't think they picked the hops for this one yet.