Author Topic: Extended aging questions  (Read 1540 times)

Offline nateo

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Extended aging questions
« on: May 26, 2021, 08:40:56 am »
Hi all,
I finally have a lot of room these days so thinking of doing some 10+ year aging. Any recommendations?

For storage, is it better to store in a keg the whole time or to store in bottles? Does it matter if I age them flat? Does it matter when I carb them?

For styles, something like an RIS seems obvious, or a BDS, but are there other styles I should consider? I'd like to have 2 or 3 kinds to try once a year or so.

Thank you!
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2021, 11:11:22 am »
Old Ales and bretts are also candidates for aging.

Generally you get less oxidation when aging in bulk. I would assume this to be true for kegs too.

When you carbonate to me is not an important variable generally other than you should force carb before bottling or natural carb upon bottling unless you are dealing perhaps with Brett.  Pressure could stress the Brett and affect flavor development positively or negatively.

Offline RC

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2021, 07:08:03 pm »
Aging homebrew for 10 years? Is there any way I can talk you out of trying this?

Offline majorvices

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2021, 07:19:43 pm »
I have aged some homebrews for 10 years. Some were surprisingly drinkable! Some were not. All were past their prime. Barleywines and RIS were the ones that stood up the best and one old ale that was kept in keg at basement temp.

There were also some Begians ...None of them survived to anything worth drinking (tripel, dubbel and quad)

For the most part kegs will give you the best long term storage. If you can stand to keep a keg held up that long.

Offline nateo

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2021, 09:04:32 pm »
I've aged a few for a few years but they kept getting better. The best one was the mephistopheles clone. I'm sure there's a point of diminishing returns but I haven't found it yet.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2021, 05:49:03 am »
I've aged a few for a few years but they kept getting better. The best one was the mephistopheles clone. I'm sure there's a point of diminishing returns but I haven't found it yet.

Well, you will, and it is sometime long before 10 years. ;) Like I said, I have had a few batches that I was really impressed held up after 10 years but they had reached their peak years before that.

I graduated High School in 1988 and I found a J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (I believe that is what it was) that I saved and opened in 2008. IT was pretty darn good after 20 years. But just a shadow of what it would have been in 1990, or 1993.

Maybe you just enjoy oxidized flavors? I don't find a lot of enjoyment in them.

Another thing you might look at is beers that change over time like brett beers or sours.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2021, 06:21:30 am »
Aging homebrew for 10 years? Is there any way I can talk you out of trying this?

I'm with RC on this, for the most part.  But you can try it, and learn from it too.  Or learn from those of us who've done this.  Or both.

I mean, I have 6 or 7 cases of beers been sitting in my cellar, with several bottles I've had on hand for up to 5 or 6 years.  I often save a couple bottles for aging just to see what happens.  In truth, the oldest ones are all past their prime, except for one Scottish 70/- that for whatever reason still tastes as good or better 4 years later than the month I brewed it.  So I know we can get lucky once in a while.  But that one outlived my barleywine which was good for a couple years but tasting quite stale now, I still have one or two bottles of that left.  I've consumed, or dumped, many many dozens of aged beers over the years.  Most of them were not great, and many barely hanging on for dear life.  I wouldn't dare age anything for 10 years.  It will be a dumper within 5 or 6 years most likely.

I've only ever bottled so I cannot comment much on long term kegging.  Seems a waste of a good keg to age in there that long.  Bottles you can sample one easily once in a while to see how it's progressing.

However long you want to age your beer... good luck, and happy learning, for years to come.  Cheers.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2021, 06:24:39 am by dmtaylor »
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2021, 06:47:25 am »
I like the aging aspect for the novelty of it. It can really impress people when you go pulling out a 10 year old barley wine, especially if it held up. Definitely fun for an experiment, at the very least.

The last aged beer I had was in 2016 and that was a 10 year old BW kept it basement temps. It surprised a few beer connoisseurs at a beer tasting. Everyone was eager to try it. But it was still past its prime.

Offline nateo

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2021, 06:56:19 am »
This is what got me thinking about it: https://www.themadfermentationist.com/2018/01/10-year-old-courage-ris-clone.html?m=1

He used meta to kill the brett so that seems to have helped with oxidation. My meph clone was pushing 16% abv so seems like it should have some potential for longer aging.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2021, 08:18:44 am »
OK, you get up to a 16% abv beer and I can see the need for extended aging. I generally don't enjoy many beers much over 10% (with a few exceptions) so that would need to age out for sure.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2021, 08:37:11 am »
I have taken Meads out 10 years, but only about 10.  I have had Tripels and Dubbels last pretty well into a five year term (wax dipped), but then slide off in terms of flavor.  Kegging may prove to be fully air tight and perhaps the oxidation will be kept at bay.  16% is in rare air for beers, so maybe it will work out well for you.  I would bottle some off the keg periodically over time and then do vertical tastings between the bottled and kegged!  Cheers with your project.

FWIW, I have a 15 year old Solera in a 5 gallon wooden barrel that I take from and add to every couple years.  That is a unique beer style situation and has the full complement of bugs going - fully soured, indeed.
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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2021, 08:38:28 am »
A couple of years ago I had the last bottle of a batch of 18 year old mead that was really good.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2021, 09:22:20 am »
I was picturing brewing a batch every year or two and doing verticals. So hopefully I'll have more than one bottle left by the time it peaks.

Maybe do a year of bulk aging then do bottles for long storage.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2021, 09:47:23 am »
I have several barleywines aging right now ranging from 5 to 10 years old. All of them are past their prime, but I'm just too lazy to dump them. My biggest one was 16-18%, depending on which calculator you use. It needed about 6 months before it was even enjoyable, and it peaked about 2 years out. It's still enjoyable now, but it is definitely over the hill.

This thread reminds me that I should probably drink my bottles of Thomas Hardy from the early 2000s rather soon. I usually save them for World Series or Super Bowl celebrations, so the Sox better keep surprising me this season

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Offline denny

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Re: Extended aging questions
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2021, 10:03:06 am »
The most major award I've ever won was for a 5 year old Am. BW. Some beers can age well for years, but I wouldn't count on it.
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