Author Topic: Green vs Aged Beers  (Read 5651 times)

Offline Wildrover

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 480
Green vs Aged Beers
« on: October 24, 2008, 08:48:44 PM »
Probably a topic that has been debated exhaustively but I want to ask some questions about how fast a beer is ready.   I recently attended a beer fest here in St. Petersburg Florida where the Tampa Bay Brewing Company (I think one of only two brewpubs in the entire metro area, including Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa, what a shame) was showcasing some of its beers. 

One of the the brewers was there so we got to talking.  He, like a lot of brew pub brewers, got his start as a home brewer.  I asked him why there seems to be such a disparity between how long homebrewers age there beers and how long commercial brewers age their beers.  His answer was interesting.  He said that most of the beers served at TBBC are green beers.  Green in that they are very new.  He says that aging gives flavors a chance the mellow and blend.  However, most of the craft beers they serve have specific flavor profiles that they are trying to extenuate.  In other words, at least if I understood him right (I was getting a little tipsy at this point)  part of what makes a craft beer a craft beer is the different, unique flavors.  Allowing them to age, though it will mellow a beer really takes away from the "freshness" of the beer or the distinct flavor profile that makes a craft beer what it is.  When i asked him if this logic also applies to homebrews he said its the same thing.  The newer the fresher the beer the more the distinct flavors will stand out.  The older, the more these flavors will have blended and mellowed. 

What say you?   

Grinder12000

  • Guest
Re: Green vs Aged Beers
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2008, 06:28:08 PM »
I'm not sure I agree with it but I can see how/why he would say that.  I believe SOME beers (maybe his) do need to be drunk young.  Many Stouts taste SO much better aged for a few months.  I know mine do.

The problem is cost I feel and is why I FEEL that a home brewer can make a better beer then a microbrewery or brewpub.  We can wait (like that happens LOL) and do not have a space problem.

Another problem is that for a microbrew to taste the same batch after batch they have to be drunken at the same time or have yeast filtered out.

Look at fat Tire.  So many people loved it when they were young and new but now people say that while it tastes BASICALLY the same - it's missing something. 


Offline Wildrover

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 480
Re: Green vs Aged Beers
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2008, 08:11:59 PM »
how long do you wait, would you say for an average ale, say a pale ale, amber or something like that?

Offline UselessBrewing

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1115
  • Useless Brewing
    • Useless Brewing
Re: Green vs Aged Beers
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2008, 08:54:36 AM »
how long do you wait, would you say for an average ale, say a pale ale, amber or something like that?
I usually age for 30-60 days after bottling/kegging. I have a 120 schilling Scotch Ale that I have been sitting on for 6 months. Usually the bigger beers need more time than the smaller ones, and Lagers, they usually sit for 3 months or longer before they are ready.

I have also spoken to some pub brewers and they also have told me that their beers are green. Not that is a bad thing, for them it is supply and demand. Good beers get consumed quickly and the rest get aged, in order to mellow them out. I have noticed that very few of them make Lagers or Pilsners because of the time involved.

I don't think there is a hard and fast rule, so I open/pour one and see how it is. I try to keep enough in rotation so that I am always drinking something tho. Currently I have 3 corneys filled / 2 drinking / 1 Aging, and about 4 cases bottled and one batch in secondary ready to keg. This keeps me from drinking green beer and give me a variety to choose from.

Cheers
Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline Wildrover

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 480
Re: Green vs Aged Beers
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2008, 09:45:05 PM »
Right now I strictly keg and typically give my beers around a month.  Its an interesting debate as I've recently read in Ashton Lewis' Homebrew Answer Book from BYO that most beers don't benefit from extended aging.  So far as I can tell he suggests the 3-4  weeks before drinking.  With, of course, the big beer exception where they will benefit from longer times in the secondary but he does make that point that beer is not like wine (for the most part) where it gets better with age. 
« Last Edit: November 01, 2008, 10:31:03 AM by Wildrover »

goose on fire

  • Guest
Re: Green vs Aged Beers
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2008, 11:52:06 AM »
To be fair, most wines don't really benefit from extended aging, either.  From "Complete Wine Course," (Zraly 2006):
Quote
Are all wines meant to be aged?

No.  It's a common misconception that all wines improve with age.  In fact, more than 90 percent of all the wines made in the world are meant to be consumed within one year, and less than 1 percent of the world's wines are meant to be aged for more than five years.  Wines change with age.  Some get better, but most do not.
There's some additional discussion about the age of the vines themselves, with some people feeling that old vines (75 years and more) produce better grapes (and therefore wine) than young (less than 15 years old) vines.


As for my beer, I'll go with the flow and say, "It depends."  For example, one of the obvious things that happens is that hop flavors mellow.  Sometimes that's good, but if I've just brewed a big ol' beer in which I want aggressive hop character, I'm obviously not going to wait six months for it to mellow out.  But that's a pretty rare case, most of the time the beer tastes good after a few weeks, and is gone a few weeks after that...