Barley Mowat 

Beers in my cellar (17 Sept 2014)

with 5 comments

Note: I am temporarily updating this list much less frequently than normal. I’m in the middle of a months-long move and, sadly, my cellar is not currently co-housed with me. Sad Chuck is sad. Hopefully, I’ll get a new house and a new giant cellar in 2015, and then I can get back to updating regularly.

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 how the contents of my cellar are changing with time, and I’ll try and update it fairly regularly.

Barley Wines

Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller 2010
Cellared October/November 2010
Sampled April 2014 — Next sample ~Fall 2014
Bottles left: 3
Now: 7/10 — Potential: 7/10
Notes: Drinking well right now. Smoothy and mellow. Caramel dominates the palate and hops are almost completely gone. From here on out it will just become a muddy mess. That’s all folks. Lowering potential.

Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller 2011
Cellared December 2011
Sampled April 2014 — Next sample ~Fall 2014
Bottles left: 8
Now: 8/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Definitely in a peak. Given how the ’10 went this might be the last one. Caramel/alcohol are the main notes, but the hops balance out the sweetness almost perfectly.

Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller 2012
Cellared December 2012
Sampled April 2014 — Next sample ~Fall 2014
Bottles left: 11
Now: 7/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Not drinking well now. All the flavours are out of sync. Leave it for six months.

Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller 2013
Cellared December 2013
Sampled April 2014 — Next sample ~Summer 2014
Bottles left: 9
Now: 5/10 — Potential: 7/10
Notes: Still now sure what to make of this one. It’s like a sweet IPA, but not in a good way.

Driftwood Old Barrel Dweller 2012
Cellared December 2012
Sampled March 2014 — Next sample ~Summer 2014
Bottles left: 3
Now: 7/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Sigh; that bourbon’s never going away is it? I suspect we’ll see a window come late summer/fall but this will always be a bit harsh.

Central City Thor’s Hammer 2011
Cellared December 2012
Sampled January 2014 — Next sample ~Spring 2014
Bottles left: 4
Now: 7/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Exiting a window. Hops/spice is declining. Look for some malt maturation in the next few months.

Howe Sound Woolly Bugger 2012
Cellared December 2012
Sampled March 2014 — Next sample ~Summer 2014
Bottles left: 3 (33cl)
Now: 5/10 — Potential: 7/10
Notes: Bit of a valley right now. Sweet caramel dominates, and the darker malt sugars are in hiding.

Granville Island Taphouse Barley Wine 2012
Cellared January 2013
Sampled October 2013 — Next sample ~Summer 2014
Bottles left: 2
Now: 7/10 — Potential: 7/10
Notes: Well balanced. The sweetness has ebbed but the strong caramel remains. Definitely in its first drinking window.

Granville Island Taphouse Barley Wine 2013
Cellared January 2013
Sampled January 2014 — Next sample ~Summer 2014
Bottles left: 2
Now: 7/10 — Potential: 7/10
Notes: Well balanced. The sweetness has ebbed but the strong caramel remains. Definitely in its first drinking window.

Imperial Stouts

Driftwood Singularity 2011
Cellared January 2011
Sampled April 2014 — Next sample Winter 2015
Bottles left: 3
Now: 8/10 — Potential: 9/10
Notes: Pretty great, to be honest. Alcohol is shining through more than I recall, but it enhances the chocolate and smooth sugar.

Driftwood Singularity 2012
Cellared January 2012
Sampled April 2014 — Next sample Winter 2015
Bottles left: 12
Now: 8/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Here we go. The darker fruits are coming through. Plums, raisins, you know the drill. Deep complexity is building.

Driftwood Singularity 2013
Cellared January 2013
Sampled December 2013 — Next sample Winter 2015
Bottles left: 20
Now: 6/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Acetaldehyde is there but reduced from a year ago. Smooth dark chocolate dominates after the post-apple front.

Driftwood Singularity 2014
Cellared March 2014
Sampled April 2014 — Next sample Winter 2015
Bottles left: 11
Now: 7/10 — Potential: 9/10
Notes: Needs time to mellow but the malt is definitely well structured for long term ageing.

Deschutes Abyss 2010
Cellared: January 2011
Sampled: December 2011 — Next sample ?

Bottles left: 1
Now: 8/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Hops nicely balanced with the brew now, but the whole didn’t pan out as great as I’d thought. Still an outstanding beer, tho.

Deschutes Abyss 2012
Cellared: December 2012
Sampled: December 2011 — Next sample ?

Bottles left: 1
Now: 8/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Great fresh version of Abyss. Should age marvellously.

Parallel 49 Russian Imperial Stout 2013
Cellared January 2013
Sampled April 2014 — Next sample ~Summer 2014
Bottles left: 3
Now: 7/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Mellower than the ’14 in a side by side. Probably has another year in it.

Parallel 49 Russian Imperial Stout 2014
Cellared January 2014
Sampled January 2014 — Next sample ~Spring 2014
Bottles left: 5
Now: 6/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Young, smooth barrel aged RIS. Look for it to only get smoother.

Parallel 49 From East Van With Love
Cellared March 2013
Sampled September 2013 — Next sample ~Summer 2014
Bottles left: 3
Now: 6/10 — Potential: 7/10
Notes: Smoothed out considerably from the last sample, but still not going to be amazing.

Sours

Deschutes Dissident 2012
Cellared December 2012
Sampled April 2014 — Next sample Summer 2014
Bottles left: 2
Now: 8/10 — Potential: 9/10
Notes: Light astringency dominates the palate. A vinous framework is there with definite oak tannins underneath. Good now, but will hold up for a while yet.

Driftwood Bird of Prey 2011
Cellared: November 2011
Sampled: July 2013 — Next sample Spring 2014
Bottles left: 1
Now: 6/10 — Potential: 7/10
Notes: Sour levels have finally come up. Drink ‘em up, I think we’re done here.

Driftwood Bird of Prey 2014
Cellared January 2014
Sampled January 2014 — Next sample Spring 2014
Bottles left: 4
Now: 6/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Tart but lacking on the acetic sourness. Hoping it ramps up with a bit of time.

Driftwood Lustrum 2013
Cellared November 2013
Sampled March 2014 — Next sample Spring 2014
Bottles left: 5
Now: 7/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Soured up a bit, and developed some interesting fruit undertones. I think we’re looking at a mid-late Spring peak.

Driftwood Mad Bruin 2012
Cellared October 2012
Sampled May 2014 — Next sample Summer 2014
Bottles left: 4
Now: 6/10 — Potential: 6/10
Notes: Balanced malt w/ sour. Drinking well right now.

Upright Late Harvest 2012 (Batch 4)
Cellared January 2013
Sampled November 2013 — Next sample ~Summer 2014
Bottles left: 1
Now: 5/10 — Potential: 7/10
Notes:Ugh. Not that great. Sour acid has thinned a bit since last time. I’ll leave this until summer and see if that saves my last bottle.

Belgians

Westlveren 12 2012
Cellared December 2012
Sampled December 2013 — Next sample ~Fall 2014
Bottles left: 4
Now: 9/10 — Potential: 10/10
Notes: Aging beautifully. Smoother and more mellow than last year, but just as complex.

Lighthouse Belgian Black 2013
Cellared: January 2013
Sampled: May 2014 — Next sample Summer 2014

Bottles left: 4
Now: 10/10 — Potential: 10/10
Notes: Nope. Not bottle to bottle. This last one was amazing. Right now this is one of the best beers I’ve ever had.

Unibroue Grand Reserve 17 2012
Cellared March 2013
Sampled October 2013 — Next sample ~August
Bottles left: 5
Now: 8/10 — Potential: 9/10
Notes: Improving slowly. This is a hard beer to leave alone.

Unibroue Grand Reserve 17 2013
Cellared November 2013
Sampled November 2013 — Next sample ~Winter 2014
Bottles left: 6
Now: 6/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: Not as good as the 2013, but still a corked, long term cellaring ale for an attractive price.

Misc

Four Winds Saison Brett 2013
Cellared November 2013
Sampled December 2013 — Next sample ~Spring 2014
Bottles left: 3
Now: 8/10 — Potential: 9/10
Notes: Balanced funk and sweetness. Not sure how this can get better, but one can hope.

Vancouver Island Hermannator 2012
Cellared October 2012
Sampled March 2014 — Next sample ~Spring 2014
Bottles left: 15 (33cl + 1 65cl)
Now: 8/10 — Potential: 9/10
Notes: Big beauty of a malt-heavy beer. That last bottle was smoothly amazing, but needs a bit more time for the deeper complexity to reassert itself.

Vancouver Island Hermannator 2013
Cellared October 2013
Sampled December 2013 — Next sample Summer 2014
Bottles left: 6
Now: 6/10 — Potential: 8/10
Notes: More malt-forward than the 2013. Time will tell how it ages compared to the 2012.

Hair of the Dog Adam
Cellared July 2013
Sampled August 2013 — Next sample ~Fall
Bottles left: 2
Now: 9/10 — Potential: 10/10
Notes: Perhaps the best beer I’ve ever had. I hear it cellars well, but frankly it’s far too good to leave alone.


Written by chuck

March 9th, 2011 at 12:49 pm

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5 Responses to 'Beers in my cellar (17 Sept 2014)'

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  1. […] log the contents of said cellar right here, and have recently updated the structure of that page to include much more information. New info […]

  2. […] go out of business I will do something violent… okay, I’ll just drink all the P49 beer in my cellar in one sitting… and get violently ill. That sorta counts, […]

  3. I agree that provisions for vintages would be nice on sites like BA. I only ever use the average rating as a guideline – best thing is to read some of the more in-depth reviews, where vintage ought to be mentioned.

    Wish I had more Belgian Black. Drank my last bottle just last week and it was marvelous. I am pretty happy with how With Love is drinking right now so gonna have to go ahead and disagree there – I have four more though so we’ll see what happens come the ‘best after’ date.

    Wish I had the space to have the bottle counts you have! I think the most I have of any one bottling is 4, and most of the cellar is singles.

    Oh, and I wish I had a cellar dedicated solely to Adam.

    Jason

    22 Oct 13 at 21:29

  4. I’m surprised there is no Brooklyn Black Ops in the cellar! It is simply an outstanding beer and certainly cellar worthy. It absolutely gives Westy 12 a run as one of the best beers around.

    Love the Blog.

    Doug

    27 Nov 13 at 21:58

  5. @Doug – Black Ops makes an occasional appearance, but it’s too pricey (here) to build up a strong vertical, and too tasty to buy one bottle and leave it for a long time.

    On a side note, I felt that the 2013 was not as strong as previous years. This also likely contributed to my decision to not include it this year.

    chuck

    28 Nov 13 at 09:55

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