Barley Mowat 

Cellaring Update

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I have a cellar, and it’s full of beer. Simply having a beer cellar isn’t enough, though, as I like to dive into it from time to time and see how my lovelies are progressing. This is why, when I buy a beer to put down for a while, I tend to buy a lot of it.

Very few breweries or beer review sites provide any information on how their beers are developing in the cellar. Heck, even the major beer review sites like Rate Beer or BeerAdvocate don’t even separate out different vintages into separate reviews, while any semi-decent wine site wouldn’t be caught dead reviewing a ’07 Cab Sauv as if it were the ’06! Imagine the confusion and chaos that might result!

About the best you can hope for is a vintage guide, for determining when that beer you’re holding was brewed and bottled. Handy, for sure, but not too enlightening as to whether you should open the damned thing and drink it now (hint: the answer is usually yes). So, in a half-assed effort to correct this problem, here is my first periodic update on how the contents of my cellar are changing with time.

Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller 2010
Cellared October/November 2010
Sampled December 2010
Now: 8/10 — Potential: 9/10
Notes: Hasn’t really started to age, but is absolutely worth drinking now, especially since it is–somewhat remarkably–still widely available.

Driftwood Singularity 2011
Cellared January 2011
Sampled February 2011
Now: 7/10 — Potential: 9/10
Notes: I’m conflicted by this beer. Absolutely the alcohol and hops are hiding the bourbon characteristics, and absolutely the stronger flavours (coffee/chocolate) need substantial time to mellow, but sweet baby Jebus is this beer good right now. I’d say hold on, though, as retail supplies are getting harder and harder to find for replenishment.

Lagunitas Imperial Stout (unknown vintage)
Cellared: October/November 2010
Sampled: December 2010

Now: 6/10 — Potential: 7/10
Results: No noticeable change from Cellaring, but who knows how old it was when I bought it?

Upright Late Harvest 2010 Batch 1
Cellared: August/September 2010
Sampled: December 2010

Now: 7/10 — Potential: 7/10
Results: Definitely matured and lovely, not sure how much further this one will go.

Deschutes Jubel 2010
Cellared: November 2010
Sampled: November 2010

Now: 6/10 — Potential: 8/10
Results: Haven’t tried it since I put it down, but even then it was obvious this beer had legs. Needs time for the hops to mellow though.

Deschutes Abyss 2010
Cellared: January 2011
Sampled: February 2011

Now: 7/10 — Potential: 9/10
Results: Definitely too hoppy now, but by the end of the bottle the other flavour have had time to build up on your tongue. This versus Singularity in late 2011 will be an interesting battle, but right now I give Abyss the edge.

Vancouver Island Hermanator 2010
Cellared: October 2010
Sampled: February 2011

Now: 8/10 — Potential: 8/10
Results: Not a beer for cellaring, I know, but I cached two cases of this for savouring over the whole of winter (as opposed to a late fall/Xmas drinking spree… okay, in addition to), and the strong alcohol flavour has absolutely subsided on this, creating an absolute delight to sip away at on a cold night. A viable alternative to Singularity if don’t want to deplete your reserves or get all punchy (not sure why, but Singularity does that).

Written by chuck

February 7th, 2011 at 10:31 am

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Van Isle Brewery, Chuck Hallett. Chuck Hallett said: New Post: Cellaring Update @DeschutesBeer @driftwoodbeer @VanIsleBrewery […]

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