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LCBO Winter Craft Beer Ruminations

Postby Belgian » Fri Nov 04, 2016 6:34 pm

Some beers (SB12, Roche 10) seem to 'finish' their maturation fairly soon in a year or two before they might hit diminishing returns (or start to be less good.) More aging is not always better.

I like that bottle-conditioned / high-ABV beers (Dupont / Peche) tend to be shelf-stable because in bottle fermentation they consume any residual oxygen. Even Blanche de Chambly keeps very well and it's medium gravity.

Rodenbach I'm not sure - there's no live biological activity in the bottle for sure (they pasteurize it) but perhaps there's still some biochemical degradation (aging) going on.
I also wonder if all beers and wines suffer 'bottle shock' from being packaged and shipped, and some are meant to be 'rested' for a few months before being consumed.
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby El Pinguino » Fri Nov 04, 2016 7:37 pm

atomeyes wrote:
Masterplan wrote:
Blasphomet wrote:I don't know what it is, but over the past couple three years, Sami just doesn't interest me. I've stopped cellaring any beer, because I so rarely found it worth it. It gets expensive and had little to no benefit for me except for a few situations (Nickel Brook Cuvee and FM's Paranormal Imperial Pumpkin Ale are a couple I find rad after a year or two). My taste for quads and dubbels has dwindled lately... it's like all I ever want to drink are delicious IPAs, saisons, goses, porters and stouts of all kind... not sure what it is. Even had a Chimay Blue recently and just wanted something else. Maybe it's the fact that St Bernardus, Rochefort, and Chimay Blue are so readily available now... I dunno. Help me? Lol. :D

It used to be that good beers only came to the LCBO every blue moon, so cellaring for me was to ensure year round availability. So I agree I cellar less now that something decent is now generally available, and only cellar stuff that are one offs or occasionals.


but...that's not how cellaring works.
same as cellaring wine. you shouldn't drink a bottle of wine that fares better with age.
you don't buy a 2013 barolo and drink it in 2016. you drink it in 2023.
cellaring something because it's rare or one-off isn't the best way to maximize your cellar dollars or the beer's flavour. cellaring a beer that improves with age (Orval being a good example, 17 and Terrible also being good examples) gets you a better tasting beer.


I think many people confuse cellaring and hoarding.

There are people buying cases of IPAs, and drinking them over many months....or other "can't get of the enough" beers over the course of years, including some basic stouts that likely don't transform or improve at all. You buy them and can't drink them fast enough...so they become "cellared". I'd consider that hoarding.

Cellaring I think you go in with the intentions of the beers improving with age. At least that is the hope. Sometimes beer surprise you for better or worse.

Then of course there is simple cellar management...beers you intend to age, but end up aging much longer than you planned, so you end up defeating your own intentions....ahhh, I've done that.
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby skaghevn » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:29 pm

El Pinguino wrote:[beers you intend to age, but end up aging much longer than you planned, so you end up defeating your own intentions...

:o How did you know I was trying to finish off an '06 Doggie Claws? :cry:
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby sofakingdrunk » Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:12 pm

Just had a 2013 unibroue 17 over the course of last night(2/3) and tonight(1/3). I have to say, I wasn't loving it. He second night I enjoyed it more, the carbonation had died down and it had opened up a bit. I had a 2013 last year about this time and loved it....so for me that seems to be the sweet spot as far as that beer is concerned. In recent months I've pulled out a few things with a coup,e years on them. Saison DuPont, for me holds up the best. Every time I grab one out its great, and slightly different as it ages. Had a 2012(I think) van de kaizer blauw that was off the charts good. A goose island sofie with 2 years on it that I loved.....fresh I almost find it a touch sweet, but strangely enough this one rounded out and really had some Sauvignon blanc qualities to it. Had a peche from summer 2014 that was beautiful, and luckily I've got 3 more. A 2012 750ml fin du monde was a huge disappointment for me that made it seem like a complete waste of time holding on to it. I've got a 2012 St berny12 that I'll have to get into shortly. Also have to get into the 2013 tempest
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby beerstodiscover » Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:56 am

atomeyes wrote:curious as to the beer you've cellared and the temp of your cellar.

My cellar is just a low shelf in the basement. It probably ranges from 10-18 degrees throughout the year. A bit on the warm side I guess. I've done verticals of Unibroue 17, La Trappe quad and tripel, Rochefort 10, Chimay Blue and Red. All were less than 4 years old and the freshest usually about a year old. I always prefer the fresher bottles. Older ones taste more bready to me, no hop bite. Still delicious though.
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby Masterplan » Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:49 pm

El Pinguino wrote:
atomeyes wrote:
Masterplan wrote:[quote="Blasphomet"I don't know what it is, but over the past couple three years, Sami just doesn't interest me. I've stopped cellaring any beer, because I so rarely found it worth it. It gets expensive and had little to no benefit for me except for a few situations (Nickel Brook Cuvee and FM's Paranormal Imperial Pumpkin Ale are a couple I find rad after a year or two). My taste for quads and dubbels has dwindled lately... it's like all I ever want to drink are delicious IPAs, saisons, goses, porters and stouts of all kind... not sure what it is. Even had a Chimay Blue recently and just wanted something else. Maybe it's the fact that St Bernardus, Rochefort, and Chimay Blue are so readily available now... I dunno. Help me? Lol. :D

It used to be that good beers only came to the LCBO every blue moon, so cellaring for me was to ensure year round availability. So I agree I cellar less now that something decent is now generally available, and only cellar stuff that are one offs or occasionals.


but...that's not how cellaring works.
same as cellaring wine. you shouldn't drink a bottle of wine that fares better with age.
you don't buy a 2013 barolo and drink it in 2016. you drink it in 2023.
cellaring something because it's rare or one-off isn't the best way to maximize your cellar dollars or the beer's flavour. cellaring a beer that improves with age (Orval being a good example, 17 and Terrible also being good examples) gets you a better tasting beer.


I think many people confuse cellaring and hoarding.

There are people buying cases of IPAs, and drinking them over many months....or other "can't get of the enough" beers over the course of years, including some basic stouts that likely don't transform or improve at all. You buy them and can't drink them fast enough...so they become "cellared". I'd consider that hoarding.

Cellaring I think you go in with the intentions of the beers improving with age. At least that is the hope. Sometimes beer surprise you for better or worse.

Then of course there is simple cellar management...beers you intend to age, but end up aging much longer than you planned, so you end up defeating your own intentions....ahhh, I've done that.

Potato, Pot-tat-o. Cellaring by definition is to store in a cellar. Whether one cellars to improve quality or cellars to maintain quality is really irrelevant, as both are reasonable endeavours.

Hoarding is an inappropriate term unless you are in fact buying beer without the intention of ever drinking or parting with it.
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby Belgian » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:34 pm

sofakingdrunk wrote:Just had a 2013 unibroue 17 over the course of last night(2/3) and tonight(1/3). I have to say, I wasn't loving it. He second night I enjoyed it more, the carbonation had died down and it had opened up a bit. I had a 2013 last year about this time and loved it....so for me that seems to be the sweet spot as far as that beer is concerned. In recent months I've pulled out a few things with a coup,e years on them. Saison DuPont, for me holds up the best. Every time I grab one out its great, and slightly different as it ages. Had a 2012(I think) van de kaizer blauw that was off the charts good. A goose island sofie with 2 years on it that I loved.....fresh I almost find it a touch sweet, but strangely enough this one rounded out and really had some Sauvignon blanc qualities to it. Had a peche from summer 2014 that was beautiful, and luckily I've got 3 more. A 2012 750ml fin du monde was a huge disappointment for me that made it seem like a complete waste of time holding on to it. I've got a 2012 St berny12 that I'll have to get into shortly. Also have to get into the 2013 tempest

^ You me and Atom share a brain in some of these posts. I was going to say some bottle-conditioned ales like Duvel 750ml aged for years get a sav blanc-like winey quality.

The rule of thumb seems to be past a few years you're lucky if a beer is still AS good as it was, perhaps has signs of declining, or surely it has hit plateau (St. Bernie) and should be enjoyed without delay. Exceptions as noted.

I don't think my old 2012-2014 Tempest will gain any more, neither the Unibroue 17 will be that special past a year or two despite the website saying five years.
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semantically correct

Postby Belgian » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:57 pm

Masterplan wrote:Hoarding is an inappropriate term unless you are in fact buying beer without the intention of ever drinking or parting with it.

Hoarding in its literal sense implies a psychiatric or moral weakness, or at best is a rude way of calling out some (usually other) person's materialism / greed. It can sound judgmental unless it's said tongue-in-cheek, particularly of one's own collection. :D

As long as you are managing your consumables with diligence (spreadsheet or at least some basic oversight of what will expire, when) it doesn't matter the quantity or the scarcity or the value. People with out-of-control vast wine cellars (it's a worse mania) may be at a substantial economic liability if they let cases of some good-but-forgotten wines go soft and flabby. Hoppy beers are a much shorter time line but for a far smaller investment, which is why people stock up on the really good/scarce ones with the intention of having them soon (whether or not some of them fade, despite those best intentions.)

Beer has less outlay and less risk than say wine, making aging experiments very affordable. So in this case it's hard to worry that much. We should enjoy all experiments and learn from them what we like 'cellar.'

It's also very traditional to have supply rations of food tucked away. Biere de Garde / Vieille Provision are beer names that imply exactly this, and many stronger bottle-conditioned beers demand at least some maturation. This beer can't really ever go bad. You could actually survive on these 'bottled breads' in a short-term food shortage.
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby Masterplan » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:43 pm

You should see my bomb shelter beers... :wink:
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby CoolB » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:49 pm

Masterplan wrote:You should see my bomb shelter beers... :wink:

The thing is, I believe this :lol:
You know what I have in my cellar? Dust, I have dust in my cellar.
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby Craig » Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:23 pm

Tempest and double tempest is another beer I enjoyed a lot more closer to fresh. A year on it muted the heat nicely, from 2 on it just lost flavor and character.
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby Masterplan » Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:48 pm

We should probably break off a cellaring thread from thus one...

Cracked into a 2014 Peche Mortel because of this thread. It was excellent.
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby Blasphomet » Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:41 pm

atomeyes wrote:
Blasphomet wrote:I don't know what it is, but over the past couple three years, Sami just doesn't interest me. I've stopped cellaring any beer, because I so rarely found it worth it. It gets expensive and had little to no benefit for me except for a few situations (Nickel Brook Cuvee and FM's Paranormal Imperial Pumpkin Ale are a couple I find rad after a year or two). My taste for quads and dubbels has dwindled lately... it's like all I ever want to drink are delicious IPAs, saisons, goses, porters and stouts of all kind... not sure what it is. Even had a Chimay Blue recently and just wanted something else. Maybe it's the fact that St Bernardus, Rochefort, and Chimay Blue are so readily available now... I dunno. Help me? Lol. :D

those are 2 odd choices of beer to cellar.

st berny abt 12 picks up steam after 1 year. anything longer and i find nothing happens.
orval is infinitely better 2 years after bottling.
Chimay blue - i don't buy fresh. i cellar those and wait wait wait. goal's to have them 5-10 years old. had a 10 year old one once and it was amazing.
Rochefort - don't cellar. drink within a year (arguably. i know)
stouts soften with time. Old Rasputin will be cellared a bit, most likely.

but yeah. i get the feeling you're going about the cellaring thing all wrong.


Totally weird beers... and that's the point. 'Going about it all wrong' is a harsh description considering I've aged many different kind of beers and just don't pick up a noticeable difference. I'm not doing verticals with every beer, and I'm sure you aren't either. I just don't see the point anymore. And that's why I've quit. I find it expensive and unnecessary. Heresy. :)
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby sofakingdrunk » Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:31 am

Belgian wrote:
sofakingdrunk wrote:Just had a 2013 unibroue 17 over the course of last night(2/3) and tonight(1/3). I have to say, I wasn't loving it. He second night I enjoyed it more, the carbonation had died down and it had opened up a bit. I had a 2013 last year about this time and loved it....so for me that seems to be the sweet spot as far as that beer is concerned. In recent months I've pulled out a few things with a coup,e years on them. Saison DuPont, for me holds up the best. Every time I grab one out its great, and slightly different as it ages. Had a 2012(I think) van de kaizer blauw that was off the charts good. A goose island sofie with 2 years on it that I loved.....fresh I almost find it a touch sweet, but strangely enough this one rounded out and really had some Sauvignon blanc qualities to it. Had a peche from summer 2014 that was beautiful, and luckily I've got 3 more. A 2012 750ml fin du monde was a huge disappointment for me that made it seem like a complete waste of time holding on to it. I've got a 2012 St berny12 that I'll have to get into shortly. Also have to get into the 2013 tempest

^ You me and Atom share a brain in some of these posts. I was going to say some bottle-conditioned ales like Duvel 750ml aged for years get a sav blanc-like winey quality.

The rule of thumb seems to be past a few years you're lucky if a beer is still AS good as it was, perhaps has signs of declining, or surely it has hit plateau (St. Bernie) and should be enjoyed without delay. Exceptions as noted.

I don't think my old 2012-2014 Tempest will gain any more, neither the Unibroue 17 will be that special past a year or two despite the website saying five years.


As they say, great minds.....
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Re: LCBO Winter Craft Beer Release 2016

Postby atomeyes » Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:24 am

beerstodiscover wrote:
atomeyes wrote:curious as to the beer you've cellared and the temp of your cellar.

My cellar is just a low shelf in the basement. It probably ranges from 10-18 degrees throughout the year. A bit on the warm side I guess. I've done verticals of Unibroue 17, La Trappe quad and tripel, Rochefort 10, Chimay Blue and Red. All were less than 4 years old and the freshest usually about a year old. I always prefer the fresher bottles. Older ones taste more bready to me, no hop bite. Still delicious though.

those are all low-IBU beer :) so yeah, no hop bite.
again, i'd agree with you on Rochefort 10. i dig it fresh. think Belgian likes them aged (and then swirled so the yeast can enter your Gi tract and give you the shits).

as far as cellar temps go, sure, holding around 15 C is ideal. but none of us are likely building a wine and beer cellar that's climate and humidity controlled. i've talked to vintners about cellaring and as long as you're not getting insane fluctuations or temps dropping too low or too high (like, above 20 C) then you're fine.

one of the best bottles of wine i've had was a $50 bottle i splurged on back in 2001. i stored it in my apartment linen closet, bottom shelf. a year later, i moved to my house and it was in my basement in a non-heated closet. cellared it for 10 years. took it to Splendido one night when they dropped corkage. you can tell exactly what cellaring did. the mouthfeel was stupendous.

at home, i have a Struise Double Black. at 27% abv, you cellar that or else. and the last bottle i had was cellared for 3 years and goes down as one of the best beer i've ever had. i've also had it fresh and you can't compare cellared and fresh. a hot mess versus a melted fudge bomb.

Dieu du Ciel's Solstice d'hiver needs so much cellaring that the beer is borderline horrible fresh. i cracked a 3 year old bottle and it's finally coming around. the heat's mellowing out and you're getting lovely bottom notes. most barley wine (unless it's hopped) should do very well with cellaring.

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