It's #FloridaBeerFriday, where we take a look at a beer brewed in the Sunshine State, giving analysis to the burgeoning craft-beer movement of Florida.
Aging a beer can be tricky business. On the one hand, there's the opportunity to drink an awesomely strong and flavorful beer RIGHT NOW and enjoy it. On the other hand, there's the possibility of aging a beer in the appropriate environment to see if there is any improvement in flavor.
This week, we're taking the step of experimenting with an aged beer.
Now, like previously mentioned, aging a beer can be tough. There are a few guidelines that are usually looked at to determine if a beer is a good candidate for aging. Rebecca Newman, Head Quality Control Manager of Dogfish Head Brewing shares, as a starting point, "Typically there's some protection in high-alcohol beers and in beers that have big, dark malt... "
In addition, "[Beer] doesn't go bad on the shelf. It'll never make you sick. It might not be the flavor that you remember, but it might be a flavor that you like even more." So no worries on that front.
Last September we reviewed the Panic Attack by Holy Mackerel Brewing, and while doing so noted that the beers were vintage dated. We stashed a bottle in the beer fridge (which is kept at a constant 56 degrees Fahrenheit) to await its fate.
This beer is a 10% abv Belgian styled "trippel and saison fusion" made from Canadian malted barley, Goldings hops, and "a unique flavorful Belgian yeast strain". It's brewed under the Holy Mackerel label which owns a nanobrewery in Davie specializing in small batch creations.
Luckily, the color has remained the same (who knows what changes would have occurred if that were not the case) and brings a large nose of candied sugar, Swedish fish (oh yes), some mild latex, and candied orange. The flavor brings to mind a dry, candied lingering that coats the palate and lingers for minutes. The booziness that was present in the fresh beer has seemingly disappeared.
Did this beer work aged? Unfortunately here, the experiment proved that this particular beer lost a lot of the fruity plum flavors and immediate alcohol heat, and instead is sharing more flavored candy character. Perhaps this will require more than a year to age properly, as can be seen in Fuller's Vintage Ale series in which a 15 year vertical tasting showed a diverse range of flavors over the years.
Find a bottle of something dark and strong and cellar it away for a year or two just to see. Sometimes a beer experiment is all that's needed to spice things up for your palate.
Follow #FloridaBeerFriday for more reviews of Sunshine State brews.
Get out there and #DrinkLocal.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.