The Perfect Age

Posted on 10.22.08 9:25PM under Bottle Conditioning, Brewing, Hops, IPA, Kegging, Tasting

I made an IPA on September 2nd. As usual, it didn’t last long, and now I have about six bottles left. Make that five. I had one tonight. I found that this beer was the best it’s been yet. It’s amazing how a beer changes with time, especially when it’s young. Even more amazing to me is that an IPA is better after a little time.

I always thought of hop flavor and aroma as fading as soon as the wort stops boiling. But it is not the case. This one is full of late hops, as an IPA should be, and I thought that the hoppiness it had on bottling day was as far as it was going to go. Then I was sort of disappointed as this hoppy goodness seemed to fade pretty quickly after it was bottled and conditioned.

I figured it was all downhill from there. After all, everyone always says that hops decline with time. I guess that it’s not just linear from day one, but rather it peaks sometime after packaging before it begins to decline. I think now, based on tonight’s tasting, that the peak for this IPA is falling somewhere in the 6-8 week after brewing range. I’ll see if I can find some patience for the next IPA I make.

Read Comments

  1. Posted by E.S. Delia on 10.23.08 9:07 AM

    Well, it seems like Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale goes through some interesting changes in a similar fashion. I had a vertical of 2000-2007 foisted upon me last year at a gigantic beer tasting, and noticed that every other year, the Celebration would either feature the hops or the mellow spice-malt traits more. It may be done intentionally by Sierra Nevada, but it could also mirror how wines age and when the best time to open a certain vintage would be.

  2. Posted by Keith Brainard on 10.23.08 6:49 PM

    Oh, you and your wine talk ;)

    Are you saying that the character will sort of oscillate between hoppy and malty as time goes on? That sounds pretty cool!