Beer has changed over there years from buying the beer and drinking it on the spot to having massively flavored beers that need time to age for all the flavors to come into fruition. Avery Brewing Company out Boulder, Co. is a prime example of a brewery that makes very powerful beer that can be aged for 1 to 25 years. Must you age big massive beers? Of course not! However, by aging beer you’ll be drinking the beverage the brewers intended upon.
Beer does not have the shelf life of wine and that should be noted. While certain wines can be aged for 20 to 40 years, beer typically becomes oxidized (oxygen has now affected the flavor of the beer negatively) quite quickly. The average shelf life of a basic beer (5 – 6% alcohol by volume -abv-) has no more than 6 to 8 months. The higher the abv the longer you can age a beer. Some beers can be aged up to 25 years and still taste amazing! These same beers after 2 to 5 years start to take on the flavors intended by the brewers; these beers are meant to be aged! Some brewers have no idea what will come of their beer down the road while others have a very good idea; this is half the fun of aging beer.
Beer should be stored upright, not on the side of the bottle such as wine. There are several reasons behind it I’ll touch on just a few. One is yeast. Yeast settles at the bottom of bottles and by laying a bottle on its side, two things happen: A yeast ring (or watermark) will happen against the side of the bottle making it very difficult to control the yeast as you pour the beer. Beer bottles have their humidity (inside) that will allow the cork not to dry out (even after 10+ years!) so there is no need for the beer to touch the cork to prevent drying out. Remember corks are no sponges and are almost impermeable to water so having the beer touch the cork does nothing for the beer. Always store your beer upright!
The most convenient place to store your beer would be a refrigerator. A fridge has ample space to hold enough beer as well as forcing you to keep the beer upright. As much as I would love to say go out and get a self-contained – temperature-controlled unit for aging your beer, they almost always force the bottles on their sides; they are meant for wine, not beer. With the long-term aging of beers (years) a fridge is not ideal. A fridge is meant to keep food dry and drying out the cork will become an issue. For beers, you wish to age for longer than a year a cellar is much more appropriate. A caller will be in a room with temperature control and humidified and away from sunlight and environmental changes. This is the most ideal space to age beer long-term.
Another thing to note about aging beer is light. Natural sunlight (UV) will destroy your beer. It will lead to what the industry refers to as “sunky or sunk’d beer”. While there is no danger in drinking a sunk’d beer why in the world would you want to? While cans can impart different flavors to beer (it’s aluminum mind you), glass imparts no flavors and is ideal for most beer. While cans allow for zero light to get through (never having skunk’d beer) bottles on the other hand have to worry about light. Having bottles in the fridge unexposed to light will ensure a beer that can fully age. If you are very worried about light wrap the bottle in a brown paperback. Brewdogs from Scotland wrap their high-end beer (32% and 41% abv running $85 – $100 a bottle) in brown paper bags from the brewery to where the beer has been allocated to ensure zero exposure to light.
Make sure when buying beer you buy two bottles of each type. One for drinking and one to come back to in a year or more to see the age difference of the bottle. If you’re buying a limited release that can be very highly allocated and beyond difficult to track down, buy more than just two bottles; get 6! That will give you one to drink now and 5 more to age that you can open every year to enjoy and see the difference in beer.
Lastly know that the hardest thing to control when aging beer is yourself. You will almost always have a little voice creep in your head saying “drink me”. Don’t listen to him. It’s so difficult to have this amazing bottle of beer sitting in your fridge with only one purpose, to be drunk. To age beer is to feel as if you’re doing something wrong! You’re going against every grain of willpower not to drink this beer. It’s very similar to knowing where your loved ones hid your Christmas presents and not peaking. Master the ability not to touch a beer you’re aging and you’ll have come quite farther than most anyone else in the world of beer.
You’ve given your beer a good swirl and some great sniffs and you have an idea of what’s in store. Now chances are you have a virgin palate and that’s a great thing. You will be tasting a lot of beer from this point on (you’re going to keep throwing amazing beer parties right?) and with that, you’re going to come across a lot of flavors that may seem familiar. Do not be shy in calling them out! If the beer tastes like a green jolly rancher then say so! If it tastes like a cupcake or caramel or even toffee don’t be shy! There is no wrong answer when it comes to flavors of beer so don’t be afraid to say what you think it tastes like. On that note, as you drink, some flavors might come across as familiar or even foreign and you won’t know what you tasting; don’t worry this is common. By tasting more and more beer you’ll get down certain flavors as they come.
So how do you taste beer? Well after you give your beer a good sniff take a sip. You’ll want to take in just under a mouthful and swirl it around your mouth. Feel how the beer weighs on your palate. Is it heavy, soft, weak, thick, or rich? Swallow. Does the finish linger, is it fleeting, is it flavorful, is it boozy, is it dry, is it sweet?
When tasting beer you’ll want to look for the four senses your palate will pick up. Bitter, sour, salty, or sweet. Sweet is on the front of the tongue, salty on the front sides, sour on the backsides, and bitter on the back of the tongue. Each time you sip a beer you want to try to pinpoint one of these flavors, not all, just one. The first sip should be to take in the entire beer; each sip after should be to break down the flavors of the beer specifically.
You want to narrow what you perceive so you can pinpoint each flavor versus trying to take it all in at once. After you have found each flavor point, relax; now you can sit back and enjoy the beer. Don’t be afraid to talk about the beer with everyone else. Get their perspectives of what they taste and share yours. It’s a party, isn’t it?
Let’s take a moment and talk about palate cleansing. This is the key if you’re going to taste a fair amount of beer. First, keep some water on hand and sip it between beers to cleanse the flavors and start fresh. Have bread or crackers, they will reduce your palate to neutral and allow you to begin fresh. Having ginger (think the sliced ginger you get with sushi) on hand will work for cleansing as well.
Brewing equipment kits tend to suffer from a reputation they don’t deserve. Many home brewers simply assume that they produce boring beer that’s lackluster at best and completely undrinkable at worst. Others feel that all-in-one brewing equipment kits are only for beginners and have nothing to offer the more seasoned home brewer. However, nothing could be further from the truth!
Today’s ready-made brew kits are better and more comprehensive than ever before. Not only do they continue to be favorites with brewers just starting, but seasoned veterans are finding out just how versatile they are for their own needs as well.
Brewing equipment kits are convenient.
The modern homebrewer is typically very busy. He or she just doesn’t have a lot of extra time to spend fine-tuning every detail of their home brewing routine, but they certainly don’t want to cut any corners when it comes to quality either. Thankfully, more and more of today’s top names in homebrew supply (such as the famous Cooper’s) are coming up with premium brew kit options that are capable of producing palate-pleasing beer to suit even the most discriminating beer lover. They shave hours off your prep time and days off of your actual brewing time as well, meaning you get to enjoy your beer that much more quickly and easily.
Brewing equipment kits are affordable.
The other commodity modern homebrewers simply don’t have enough of in these trying times is disposable cash. Many can’t afford to spend a fortune on homebrew equipment and others simply don’t want to. However, today’s all-in-one kits offer would-be beer makers everything they need in one simple package. They’re a great way to get started or inject novelty and ease of use into an established homebrew routine. They make great gifts as well.
Brewing equipment kits offer incredible variety.
Gone are the days when choosing a prepared beer-making kit meant settling for only being able to make one generic, lackluster type of beer. Today’s brewing equipment kits now allow you to create every sort of beer you can think of in the comfort of your own home, including stout, lager, ale, and a wide selection of beers from around the world.
Brewing equipment kits offer impeccable quality.
Today’s beer lover isn’t just getting more frugal as economic times get tougher. He’s also getting more discriminating and is unwilling to settle for less just because he’s on a budget. Today’s cutting-edge brewing breakthroughs mean he doesn’t have to! Top names like Cooper’s have been producing brewing equipment kits for years that are capable of producing homebrew of the very highest quality that consumers can be proud to drink and to serve to their friends to boot.
Whether you just got the idea to get into home brewing yesterday or have been making your beer at home for 20 years, you owe it to yourself to see why all-in-one brew kits are all the rage these days. You’re guaranteed to wind up wondering where they’ve been all your life!