Brasserie Duyck says:
“Created in 2005, Jenlain Blonde, the worthy sibling of the illustrious Jenlain Ambrée, is a full-bodied beer in the great tradition of special blond beers.
Left to rest in the vat for several weeks, it matures slowly to release its full aroma and develop a fine and long-lasting head. Once filtered, it takes on a sparkling, golden hue and is best enjoyed chilled to between 6 and 8°C.”
Brasserie Duyck Jenlain Blonde
Biere de Garde, 7.5% ABV
*This beer was provided by the brewer for the purpose of a review.
Karl: I love surprises more than anything when it comes to beer, and this was one of the better surprises I’ve had it a long time. The French do so many good things with fermentation when it comes to grapes, so I had no reason not to suspect that this French brewery just spitting distance from Belgium wouldn’t do great things, but I just didn’t know what I was in for here. Straight from the twist of the cap, this beer was a fun one. Continue reading
“When you dance with the Devil the Devil don’t change. You do. Massive in complexity, the huge malt character balances the insane amount of alphas used to create it. At an incredible 112 IBU’s it’s dry-hopped with a combination of ten hop varieties. This one can age with the best of them.”
Founders Devil Dancer
Imperial IPA, 12% ABV
(Editors Note: We here it Guys Drinking Beer occasionally like to push the envelope of beer cellaring. IPA’s aren’t traditionally good candidates for the cellar. They are brewed to be puckeringly hoppy and, thus, designed to be enjoyed that way. But we thought it would be a fun experiment to see what happens to an overly hopped, high alcohol content Double IPA when it sits in the cellar for a year or more. Below are the tasting notes for Founders Devil Dancer after one year, two years, three years and four years in the cellar.)
Andrew: As you undoubtedly saw in our Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree side-by-side we like to take a somewhat unconventional approach by cellaring beers that aren’t typically cellared. In this installment we pit the 2009 Founder’s Devil Dancer up against the 2010 Founder’s Devil Dancer. Continue reading
One of the other highlights of our visit to 4 Paws Brewing last month — beyond the tour, talking shop, drinking tank beer and splitting a five-year vertical of Stone Imperial Russian Stout — was drinking this beer. And I couldn’t be any less excited about it.
Dark Horse Says:
Have you read the description for the regular Crooked Tree yet? Well this beer is almost the same just double the flavor and alcohol. We actually took the Crooked Tree recipe and doubled all of the ingredients except the water, just the way a DOUBLE should be made.
Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA
Double IPA, 13.6% ABV
(Editors Note: We here it Guys Drinking Beer occasionally like to push the envelope of beer cellaring. IPA’s aren’t traditionally good candidates for the cellar. They are brewed to be puckeringly hoppy and, thus, designed to be enjoyed that way. But we thought it would be a fun experiment to see what happens to an overly hopped, high alcohol content Double IPA when it sits in the cellar for a year or more. Below are the tasting notes for Dark Horse’s Double Crooked Tree after one year, two years, three years and four years in the cellar.)
Just for fun, prior to the epic Kentucky Breakfast Stout Breakdown, we decided to take a quick look at how the aging process affects one of the most gargantuan DIPA’s we’ve ever encountered.
The whopping 13.6% ABV catches up quick, meaning that you’ve only got a few scant moments before this monster of a beer kicks your brain out of its moorings and starts in on your liver. Thankfully we kept each sample to four ounces per bottle a piece due to distribution, so we think our brains were clear enough to get our notes straight.
Knowing of what they speak, Dark Horse even adds some cellaring notes to their own page, saying “Although this beer is as cool as “The Fonz” when first purchased, it gets really mellow and smooth with some age…you’ll notice the heavy caramel and malt flavors are trying to sneak past the hops.” That’s what they’ve found. But what about us? What do lowly beer tasters like us uncover? Here’s what: Continue reading
While we were hanging out with the folks at 4 Paws (which you can read more about here), we thought we’d take the opportunity to crack into something fun from the cellar.
Something like five bottles of Stone Imperial Russian Stout:
Ryan had a few bottles of this high-powered beer from Stone that had been burning a hole in his pocket. See what happens after a full 5 years in the cellar:
New Glarus says:
“A bold rich smoky nose is created naturally with a blend of smoked malts from Bamberg, Germany and Chilton, Wisconsin as well as robust Wisconsin Rye. Special Ale yeast ferments this hazy deep amber brew in the bottle. This is a big smoked beer fermented with Turbinado sugar and appropriate for sipping slowly today.”
New Glarus Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale
Smoked Beer, 8.5% ABV
(Editors note: We took a chance in cellaring the New Glarus Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale. Feel free to read through from fresh to the most recent review but if you’d like to jump around, be our guest, to read more about New Glarus’ Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale after one year and two years in the cellar.)
Ryan: You may notice that we have categorized this as a “Cellared Beer Review” and tagged it as a “Cellar Review.” And if you didn’t notice, well, now you know. Normally I would protest cellaring a smoked beer because I’d expect the smokiness to simply fade off leaving much of nothing behind. But I thought, with the addition of the Ale yeast and the sugar used in the brew, it might be worth the experiment.
“Black, dense, and rich, this is a great ale for the cellar.”
Bell’s Batch 9,000
American Strong Ale, 12.5% ABV
(Editors note: we’ve stockpiled enough Bell’s Batch 9,000 to review it every six months to a year to see how it is developing, aging and changing. Feel free to read through from the six month old tasting to the most recent review. However, if you’d like to jump around, be our guest, and read more about Bell’s Batch 9,000 after six months, one year, two years, two-and-a-half years, three years and three-and-a-half years in the cellar.) Continue reading
New Glarus says:
“Flemish monks brewed the first Abt. A voluptuous temptress they named for their Monastery Abbot. Belgian Dark Candi Sugar encourages the decadence of rum, raisin dark chocolate and sherry like fruit tones to conspire happily in almost 20° Plato. Rich and full-bodied this is one to lie down or if you are bold enjoy now, but take your time – linger. This beer cries to be sipped and enjoyed.”
New Glarus Unplugged abt
Dubbel, 9.75% ABV
(Editors note: we’ve squirreled away enough New Glarus Unplugged Abt from 2010 to review it every year or so to see how it is developing, aging and changing. Feel free to read through from fresh to the most recent review but if you’d like to jump around, be our guest, to read more about New Glarus’ Unplugged Abt after one year, two years and three years in the cellar.)
Karl: Last time we reviewed a New Glarus in the Unplugged series, I mentioned that it seems that we do fawn all over everything that NG puts out with red foil wrapping the neck. Without giving too much away, we’ll break that streak here. The Abt is not a terrible beer, it just suffers from the weight of raised expectations and isn’t quite as spot-on as other Unplugged efforts like the recently reviewed Enigma (which we…well, fawned over). Continue reading
New Holland says:
“Michigan pears fuel a second fermentation, providing subtle nuance between grain & fruit. A slumber on oak and local raspberries adds depth and tartness.”
New Holland Envious
Fruit Beer, 7.5% ABV
This is the first installment in New Holland’s Cellar Series and made up a trio of new beers released in 22 oz bottles for 2010 that included High Gravity Series additions El Mole Ocho and Beerhive Tripel. We were big fans of the latter two but weren’t exactly blown away by the Envious when it was fresh. I sampled it at Sheffield’s in Chicago shortly after its release and found it lacking in depth and tartness. It was strangely thick, but not syrupy, and was heavy on the pear juice. Sadly, a year in the cellar didn’t add much character to this beer – at least of a positive note.
Central Waters says:
“A barleywine ale aged for a full year on used bourbon barrels, this beer have flavors of dark fruit and wood, winner of the Gold Medal at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival.”
Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
American Barleywine, 11.5%
Sayeth the Guys:
You know you’ve been cellaring a beer for a while when the commercial description changes somewhat drastically from the first bottle in the series to the last. When we first encountered this bourbon barrel aged hop-demon of an American barleywine, Central Waters was trumpeting the aging of “Charlie” in bourbon barrels. Charlie was a nod to Kosmyk Charlies Y2K Catastrophe Ale, also a barleywine, and the base for the barrel aged version. Seeing as how we’re now over a decade removed from Y2K, Central Waters changed up the marketing some to tout the hardware this beer brought home from the ’08 GABF as opposed to a laughable fear of all the things that would happen once the calendar turned over to 2000. Yes, we’re old enough to remember that.
Photos of the descriptions are below.
When we first encountered this beer, fresh, in 2010 I wrote of a challenging sipper of an American barleywine that seemed to fade in and out between aggressive hoppiness to cloying sweetness. Years in the cellar has done this beer well. Very well, in fact.
Working from oldest to freshest:
- ’09: Highlighted by plums, dates, cherries and raisins this five-year old version was sweet, mellow and soothing. The hops have faded away leaving a pleasant, dry English-like barleywine. The bourbon is still present, but lingers in the periphery.
- ’10: There’s a bit of an edge still to this one, but overall it’s relatively smooth. Grapefruit rind steals the show, accentuated by a still effervescent carbonation. The bourbon is present and pleasant and there’s a nice dash of orange peel in the finish.
- ’11: This middle offering may be the most well-adjusted of the bunch. The hops are bright and citrusy, but not too abrasive. Dark fruits provide a nice balance and the flavors of oak and vanilla from the bourbon are just right. Perfection.
- ’12: Bourbon beats hops in this round. Sure, there are splashes of citrusy hops here and there but the bourbon is far more pronounced than previous sips. In fact, the bourbon seems to bury just about everything under its warming blanket of booze.
- ’13: If you like your American barleywines American-y, read explosively hoppy, then a fresh pour is for you. Orange peel, lemon rind and grapefruit lead the charge, warming brown sugar and pecans bring up the rear – all of the above are accentuated by deep flavors of bourbon and vanilla.
This was probably one of our best barleywine vertical tastings to date. We sometimes find ourselves disliking those middle years, when the hops haven’t completely faded away and the malts haven’t taken over, but each pour of Central Waters’ Bourbon Barrel Barleywine was stellar in its own right.