Author Topic: Question on aging stouts  (Read 936 times)

Offline syncopadence

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Question on aging stouts
« on: November 16, 2016, 01:56:41 AM »
As far as flavor for an average strength stout, does it benefit from aging? I made an oatmeal stout that just seems.... flavorless... The recipe seems fine, and the only problem I had was that it was underattenuated.  I've heard that aging brings out more stout-y flavors. It's been kegged for a few weeks now.

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4344
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2016, 02:21:36 AM »
Average strength I'd say no.  Imperial, yes.  But I cracked a 2013 Bell's Expedition Stout the other day and felt that aging did not benefit it, so it depends...
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9607
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2016, 12:28:34 PM »
I don't see any real gain from aging a average gravity stout. That said, stouts do seem to have longer shelf life than a lot of other beers. I believe I remember reading once that dark malts can act as anti oxidants.

Offline 802Chris

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 149
    • View Profile
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2016, 12:55:38 PM »
Well, based on the evidence you have given, this beer is lacking something. Aging a bit can't hurt as long as you have a moderate ABV and are sure you have purged any oxygen. I have certainly had beers, actually often stouts, that mellow/meld/whatever over a month or two and really shine.

Offline mbbransc

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 25
    • View Profile
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2016, 04:50:38 PM »
Average strength I'd say no.  Imperial, yes.  But I cracked a 2013 Bell's Expedition Stout the other day and felt that aging did not benefit it, so it depends...
Should have waited one more year!  2012 Expedition just took gold at GABF for aged stout.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2016, 04:53:42 PM »
Aging won't 'bring out flavors' in an average (non-RIS) strength stout. As Keith said, stouts tend to have a little longer shelf life IMO, as dark malts are supposedly higher in antioxidant content.
Jon H.

Big Monk

  • Guest
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2016, 05:55:07 PM »
I have always been perplexed by the idea of aging beers.

Given that aging is a passive process, i.e. flavor and aroma compounds are lost, it would seem that if undesirable flavors take age to mellow out, or that a beer degrades to a desirable state by aging, that you would alter the recipe to accommodate and get a better beer at the outset.

Whether this means lower alcohol or different Malts, etc. I'm not sure. I've never been enamored with aged beers. Not a dig on anyone I just have never understood the appeal of aging. Although with commercial beers it makes sense because you don't control the inputs.

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4344
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2016, 07:09:51 PM »
Average strength I'd say no.  Imperial, yes.  But I cracked a 2013 Bell's Expedition Stout the other day and felt that aging did not benefit it, so it depends...
Should have waited one more year!  2012 Expedition just took gold at GABF for aged stout.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I've still got a few bottles in the cellar.  Along with some Third Coast Old Ale.  Again, didn't age as well as I had hoped when I had one in the last month or so. 
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline Phil_M

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1689
  • Southern Maryland
    • View Profile
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2016, 07:54:25 PM »
I have always been perplexed by the idea of aging beers.

Given that aging is a passive process, i.e. flavor and aroma compounds are lost, it would seem that if undesirable flavors take age to mellow out, or that a beer degrades to a desirable state by aging, that you would alter the recipe to accommodate and get a better beer at the outset.

Whether this means lower alcohol or different Malts, etc. I'm not sure. I've never been enamored with aged beers. Not a dig on anyone I just have never understood the appeal of aging. Although with commercial beers it makes sense because you don't control the inputs.

I think aging homebrew is fun partly because of how much the beer changes over time. Take the Saison I brewed over the summer, that ended up being more of a Belgian Golden Strong ale. I dosed it with 5 oz. of EKG for several weeks before bottling in cork-top bottles. Over the months those hops faded, yielding a more "traditional" brew. Now the hops are starting to creep back, but with a very different flavor. The beer has lost a little of it's sweet edge as well. 

Yes, these are all things that could be controlled via the recipe/process, but it's like playing Myst, the journey is the reward.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline brewinhard

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3217
    • View Profile
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2016, 09:32:18 PM »
I have always been perplexed by the idea of aging beers.

Given that aging is a passive process, i.e. flavor and aroma compounds are lost, it would seem that if undesirable flavors take age to mellow out, or that a beer degrades to a desirable state by aging, that you would alter the recipe to accommodate and get a better beer at the outset.

Whether this means lower alcohol or different Malts, etc. I'm not sure. I've never been enamored with aged beers. Not a dig on anyone I just have never understood the appeal of aging. Although with commercial beers it makes sense because you don't control the inputs.

I think even with proper temperature control and yeast pitch, in a bigger beer one can get some higher alcohol production that can present itself as somewhat harsh in early conditioning phases of a beer. Aging some of these stronger beer styles can allow the alcohol to mellow a tiny bit and meld better with the malts. At least, that is what I have observed.
Not saying that every big beer needs a long aging period though. A lot of it is recipe dependent as you stated.

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2016, 10:53:14 PM »
Some fusels will breakdown into better tasting esters with age. I see this all the time with my bottle conditioned saisons. I ferment them very warm and they are harsh and hot at first. Six months down the line they have a crazy level of complexity and way lower heat.

Offline BrewBama

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1414
    • View Profile
Question on aging stouts
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2016, 01:15:36 AM »
I can't handle aging for long before I need the beer in the rotation. I brew 5 gal batches with one fermenter and three kegs. One brew in the fermenter, one keg cold conditioning, one keg carbonating, and one keg tapped. Even when I drink slow my pipeline requires a six to eight week turn.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: November 17, 2016, 01:18:40 AM by BrewBama »
Huntsville AL

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2016, 01:47:32 AM »
I'm with Bama. I can't age kegs long. Beers to be hoarded go into bottles.

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4344
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2016, 01:52:08 AM »
Sheeet.  I think I've got 20 kegs.  And no time to brew.

Really.  No time at all.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3135
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: Question on aging stouts
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2016, 05:22:44 PM »
I wouldn't be opposed to intentionally aging a mid-strength stout but I wouldn't have high hopes that a beer lacking in flavor is going to develop into something interesting with time. I'd consider it a decent candidate for making black and tans or sacrificing to brett (if that's your thing).

When I think of an underattenuated beer I don't consider it flavorless as much as clunky because it's too sweet and the sweeter malt flavors oppress everything else. It works in an imperial stout where the high ABV cuts the sweetness somewhat but in a smaller beer lacks any offsetting element. That may be what you mean though. If this is the case then aging out the beer could develop the sweetness into more interesting flavors but it will probably always be too sweet for its own good.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing