Beer and Time
At all times people have been worried about the mystery of Time. They tried to turn it back, stop it, or at least slow it down, but to no avail. Time is inexorable.
However, the river of time affects everyone differently. Couples living together for years often become even similar to each other in appearance. In most people, with time, their essence simply appears on their faces, time simply cuts off all the superfluous things.
Beer has been an integral part of our lives for several thousand years. Naturally, it is also subject to the inexorable influence of time. First of all, a little trip back in time. In the early days of my brewing career, I naively asked the brewer who was teaching us how to live our lives: what is the best beer? And I got the answer: local beer, because it is the freshest!
Everyone knows that the fresher the beer, the better it is. This is especially true of light beers. The fact is that even a minimal amount of oxygen, which gets into beer during its production, over time oxidizes it and gives it a specific flavor. Over time, and hops undergo the aging process and negatively affect the flavor of beer. Professional tasters even have a definition for this flavor disorder: Stale. Today it is not realistic to completely avoid oxygen in beer, although all breweries strive to do so.
However, time also affects beer in different ways. Strong brands are practically immune to aging. The presence of high alcohol (about 7% or more) simply prevents beer from spoiling. And not only does it not let it spoil, it also gives beer a roundness of flavor and aroma of dried fruits. I would like to point out that when stored properly, strong beer, especially if it is sealed with a real wine cork, simply becomes tastier.
Why am I writing this? Just recently we found in our brewery a bottle of Infinium beer with a strength of 10.5% bottled … a decade ago! We immediately gathered a quorum, cooled the beer a bit and simply lost speech from pleasure! The beer remained clear, got softness and roundness. Notes of raisins and prunes appeared in the flavor. Even the aroma was softer, but not constant, but kind of wavy. And yesterday I decided to repeat the experiment. I presented another, less strong light beer Leffe Blonde to my friends. It contained only 6.5% alcohol, but it was bottled at the same year. Although the beer was very old, it was the richness and softness of its flavor that got everyone excited.
I just threw the last “blue Tuborg” into a far corner of the cupboard and try in vain to “forget about it”, while the legendary strong lager Samichlaus with a strength of 14% has been in my cupboard for three years. By the way, the price of this beer depends on the age – the older the age, the more expensive it is. At the last presentation of this beer, a beer brewed in… 2001(!) was presented.
What should an ordinary beer lover do? Of course, look at the date of beer release and its storage conditions, but by no means neglect good strong beer, even if it is long overdue.