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Jim Keaveney
10/28/05 03:07 PM  
Aging Belgian Blond & Strong Golden
I dont usually age things 6% or less but I had a pair of Belgian blondes (no, not that kind) - a split batch using the Unibroue strain on one and the Ardennes/LaChouffe on the other. Then I made a strong golden with the yeast cakes. I tapped them all probably after only a couple months to compare them. Very interesting and pretty good, but in all honesty, I was not crazy about any of them. I put them aside and put 5 german beers on tap for the oktoberfest party/season. I re-tapped the unibroue yeast ones saturday and was very impressed with both the blonde (6%) and the strong golden (10%). Can't say I am much surprised on the SG but the Blonde WAS really something. Big difference from what I remember. A few people stopped by during the day and the keg was kicked. I will be putting the Ardennes versions on tomorrow. Hope I don't have as many surprise guests ;)
SteveG
10/28/05 08:03 PM  
Re: Aging Belgian Blond & Strong Golden
I've happily aged draft triples. Course I never post something like that unless I don't have one going at the time, cuts down on the surprise guests!
SteveG
11/02/05 02:58 PM  
Re: Aging Belgian Blond & Strong Golden
Jim, Don Fienburg once told me something that I have often found to be true and that is topical to your post. The first time I ever saw this was with an ESB that was 6ish%, maybe a hair less. The first time I made this beer it was for a party 19 days away. The 19 day old beer was a delight, exactly what I wanted. So I made another batch a while later that sat there. After a couple months it went from the terrific fresh brew I had enjoyed to a pretty boring brown ale. It was reserved for a party but I knew I could not serve it. So I made another just in the nick of time and everything went fine.

Some time later, a couple months maybe, I tasted the boring beer again. It totally changed, reflecting really cool peppery, liqorishy notes.

Shortly thereafter Don was telling me about his early attempts to age Hennepin, saying "you know how a beer can be great when you make it, then it goes down hill after a few months, but a little while later it can be great again" (oh, this wasn't really a quote, but that was the jist of his point). I was in a great position to say "yep"!

Jim Keaveney
11/04/05 12:54 PM  
Re: Aging Belgian Blond & Strong Golden
Wish I took notes because I cant say exactly why the blondes were not quite to my satisfaction. All I remember is that the yeast character on both was a little "rough". It actually prompted me to go back to WY 3787 for my most recent BSG after tooling around with those other strains for a spell.

In any event, the additional time seems to have rounded out the yeast character. Probably a simple matter of less yeast in suspension. I guess you could say it got "cleaner" but not too clean. This was a very simple recipe that depends on the yeast contribution to provide much of its character.

 
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