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Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

Archive for the day “December 17, 2012”

Leapbeer Reports – Cellaring Beer

There have been several blog posts about cellaring beer in the craft beer crew, so what can I hope to add another to the mix. Beeradvocate gave us a very thorough explanation about how to store beer, and which beers are good for it. Vancouver based beer blogger, Barley Mowat, has done something extrememly similar (but he adds pictures). Vancouver Island beer blogger allum (although I grimace as I say that, I’m not even in his league let alone the same court) Ian Lloyd, aka Left4Beer took his kick at this same can too. (Note: To view these posts I’m referring to please click the links embedded in their names)

The reason I chose to toss my hat into this ring was because it was a completely unheard of concept to me one year ago. I, like many out there, thought old beer = bad beer. I mean obviously beer is meant to be drank as soon as humanly possible (unless of course you think I’m encouraging drinking in the store or in your car on the way home. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!) I should say, consumed as soon as reasonably possible.

Not quite what I mean by aging your beer (photo from agefotostock.com)

Why do beer geeks the world over choose to shell out top dollar for “fancy-pants brews” (pending TM) just to let them sit in a cellar until they can’t hold out any longer. Quite simply put, because it *can* make them better. I say can, because generally cellaring beer is saved for many styles, but not for others. Something like a fresh hopped beer is best consumed fresh. Even any dry hopped beer should be consumed as soon as possible, as those hop characteristics really diminish with time. Where aging beer really shines (in my limited opinion) is when it comes to high test stouts, bocks and sours. The rule of thumb I’ve heard is ‘If it’s at or over 9% ABV, it will age well”. I’ve spent some of this year collecting different beers and adding them to my cellar. Some of which I’ve tasted during the course of this year, but most of which I haven’t.

Another interesting ‘journey’ beer lovers are known to do is what is called a ‘Vertical Tasting’. As you may have guessed you have the various years of one beer and taste them to examine the nuances, changes and journey the beers have gone through. Recently left4beer and Jeff Kendrew did a three year vertical tasting of the same beer I chose to examine cellaring.

I devised a test to examine what cellaring beers actually does. I took two bottles of Hermannator Ice Bock by Vancouver Island Brewery, one from 2011 (a gift from a co worker Michelle, Thanks!) and one from 2012. The 2011 bottle has been aging in my ‘cellar’ (aka a stack of beer boxes in my downstairs closet) over the course of the hear. Hopefully this 9.5% ABV eisbock (or Ice Bock) style beer will have changed some. I’m going to use similar styled glassware (tulip/snifter) with a similar approximate six ounce pour.  I’ve got three criteria I’m going to be judging these beers on, Appearance, Aroma and Taste. Then I’ll divulge my overall thoughts of these two beers. Bear in mind that the batches may have some differences in the brew, but the recipe is very close from year to year. I served these beers directly from my cellar, meaning they’re between 10-12 degrees Celsius. Here’s the combatants.

2011 (left) & 2012 (right) Hermannator Ice Bock by Vancouver Island Brewery

2011 (left) & 2012 (right) Hermannator Ice Bock by Vancouver Island Brewery

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Leapbeer Reviews #311 & 312 Uncharted Belgian IPA & Siren Imperial Red by Lighthouse

This next post is me catching up on the latest from Lighthouse Brewing Companies ‘Big Flavour’ series. These bombers have been quite well received up til now, and, as you will read, the trend continues. The latest two are Uncharted Belgian IPA, released late October of this year, and Siren Imperial Red Ale released December the 3rd.

Lighthouse Brewing Companies Latest Big Flavour Series BombersSiren Imperial Red and Uncharted Belgian IPA

Lighthouse Brewing Companies Latest Big Flavour Series Bombers
Siren Imperial Red and Uncharted Belgian IPA

First of these I’m covering is the Uncharted Belgian IPA. I wasn’t able to try last years version of this beer. According to one source the last years version was a blend of two beers by two different brewers. This years version was not. It is a 100% Dean McLeod production, and it’s delicious. It pours to a clear goldy amber colour with a lovely off white head that really sticks around. The bouquet off this beer is lovely. Floral and citric hops notes bring up thoughts of passion fruit and apricots (yes I know there’s no passion fruit or apricots in this beer). That’s kind of how the tasting starts with this beer as well. It is initially fruity but then a nice bitter washes over you from it. This is a beer meant for savoring, not lending itself to quick mass consumption. I did notice that the bottle I had recently didn’t have as strong a hops aroma as the one I shared with @eskimodave closer to the release of this beer. But when I gave the glass a swirl the bouquet opened up  again. A very solid and tasty beer from my friends at Lighthouse Brewing Company.

Leapbeer #311 is Uncharted Belgian IPA

Uncharted Belgian IPA by Lighthouse Brewing Company

Uncharted Belgian IPA by Lighthouse Brewing Company

After drinking Uncharted I thought there was no way to top it. I knew Lighthouse was planning to release an Imperial Red Ale, as they included it as their beer for Winterbrau at Canoe Brewpub. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this beer when I initially heard about its release. I figured it would be good, but I was outright WRONG. This beer is a tour de force of hoppy goodness. It is an all out assault on your olfactory glands and taste buds, in a very very good way. It is a deep reddish amber beer with a thick fluffy tan coloured head on top. The aroma from this beer is like an intoxicating blend of piney hops. The kind of melange meant to ensnare a hop head like me. No wonder it’s called Siren. This beer is enough to make me steer my ship into the rocks, its that good. Even before a drop hits my lips I’m sold on this product. And then when you drink it you get blasted by this unapologetic uber hop monster of a beer. The complex malt framework can on just support the massive hop injection provided from this libation. I love this beer.

Leapbeer #312 is Siren Imperial Red

Siren Imperial Red by Lighthouse Brewing Company

Siren Imperial Red by Lighthouse Brewing Company

Brewery: Lighthouse Brewing Company of Victoria, BC
Released: Late October 2012 (Uncharted), December 3rd, 2012 (Siren)
Size/ABV/IBU: 650ml Bottle/7.5% (Uncharted) 8.0% (Siren)ABV/
Availability: Limited
Purchased @: Merecroft Village Liquor Store & Cascadia Liquor Comox
Webpage:
http://www.lighthousebrewing.com/products/big-flavour-series

Truly these beers deserve their own platform for review. Unfortunately I have to keep compressing posts to hit my Leapbeer deadline of December 31st. If these products are available in your area try them immediately. Especially the Siren, since it’s aroma hops will only dissipate with time. A big Kudos to Lighthouse and their team for these amazing beers.

Thanks for reading

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