Verticals and Cellaring
Posted 18 May 2004 - 09:17 AM
I'm sort of a casual enthusiast, so applying these same concepts from wine to beer is sort of a new to grasp and piques my curiosity.
I know that Alaskan Brewing Company does occasional vertical tastings of their Smoked Porter and it has always intriqued me with the whole idea of sampling and comparing different brew vintages. Have you been to any such tastings? If so, who else is doing these? And, how exciting is it to see the various nuances and subtle flavours change, soften or develop?
Thoughts on cellaring?
Posted 18 May 2004 - 02:27 PM
I have, however, come to the conclusion that highly hopped beers are not the best candidates regardless of gravity. If you liked the beer initially because of the hop aroma and taste, you're likely to become disappointed as these characteristics mellow.
Small breweries (which are the ones that tend to brew beers suitable for cellaring) generally do not have the facility to store/age beers prior to release. They rely on the consumer to decide when to break one open.
We have been party to the occasional vertical tasting. It is quite fun to see the differences and share thoughts with others.
A few beers that I know folks have used in vertical tastings are vintages of Thomas Hardy, Fuller's Vintage Ale, George Gale's Prize Old Ale, Victory Old Horizontal Barleywine, Victory Storm King Stout, Anchor Our Special Ale, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine, and Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. Most of these (if not all) are seasonally released so one can track their age. Other beer styles that have been successfully cellared are lambics and gueuzes.
On a personal note, we've really decided that cellaring isn't our thing and have begun "clearing out".