So, my wife and I played 'forgotten beer roulette' last night.
As a home brewer, when I experiment with something big or different, I like to put a bottle aside for 'future me'. Well I have a bunch, mostly 5-7 years old that were not only forgotten in a corner, but my crude labels fell off. What could they possibly be? About a year ago, I found them and moved them to the beer fridge thinking an occasion would arise to sort it out. That occasion was last night.
We grabbed six unlabeled samples and went to work. In the interest of personal safety and domestic behavior, I opened them over the sink. Good news, no bottle bombs. Actually, surprisingly no bombs, since I don't recall being all that good at packaging bio control when I set them aside.
I roughly knew what beers they were, just not what was in each bottle, so the sport was to figure it out.
The first sample was not too hard to identify. It was clearly a 2013 cranberry stout. Oddly the original tartness I noted back then was subdued and now the cranberry aroma came way forward. Not something I expected. The beer was still really dry as it was back then and still clean and balanced otherwise.
The next couple were hard to figure out. We knew there were some stouts, porters and a dopplebock in the basket, but it was hard to figure out what they were when comparing to my original notes. What did stand out was how good they were (again given my amateur original processing). They had basically gotten dryer and mellower. None had taken on any unwelcome flavors or aromas, but they had lost body a bit and were very hard to distinguish from each other. This is kind of confusing to me too from what I understand of aging.
Finally, we came to another recognizable one, which was a 2011 Eisbock. This was quite the revelation. I knew what it was because it poured like syrup. When I first made it and lagered it, it was problematic with a bit of unwanted piney and turpentine notes. Six plus years somehow cleaned those up. Again, none of this matches what I know of brewing science, but there it was, a beer I could finally be proud of if I hadn't just finished the last of it before presenting to to a BJCP adjudicator...
Brands are for cattle.
Fans are cash cows.
The herd will consume until consumed.