To celebrate this my forty-first birthday, and also a non-diet day, I opened a few beers. And the audience was amazed. The core of this tasting is actually the same as I did a few years back (but apparently didn’t blog about): Bötet, Bigfoot and Old Stock Ale. The last time the bottles were about 1 year old each. This time I’m tasting bottles from 2011 which might change the ranking around. In the last tasting Bötet was lagging behind and Old Stock Ale took the throne by a wide margin. Let’s see if it holds shall we?
Warm-up: Own Brew, Greybeard
A 7.8% Old Ale from my own kitchen. Pours a clear red-brown color, looks lovely. A finger high off-white frizzy head that leaves no residues. Nose is peppery and malty, with toffe and something roasted in the background. Tastes like a really good juniper beer, however there are no junipers in the recipe (I double checked). A thick trace of sweet, old raisins wanders through the palate. Surprisingly light body. Frizzy bubbles. A really nice, lingering semi-bitter end, with more of those uncalled-for (but not unwelcome) juniper notes. Rating: aroma 7/10, appearance 5/5, taste 7/10, palate 4/5, overall 14/20.
Nynäshamn Bötet Barley Wine 2011
9.1%. Small off-white head that dissipates, leaving some small residues. Dark amber, polished color. Nose is strong sweet malts with toffe, caramel, raisin and some vanilla. Taste is sweet and well rounded. A small alcohol edge, but it only makes the balance better. Medium-heavy body with light carbonation. Long bitter-sweet ending. This 4 year old bottle is easily the best Bötet I’ve had. Excellent! Rating: 4.1
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2011
9.6%. Reddish, somewhat hazy, brown with a huge off-white head. Caramel, toffee and nuts in the nose, with no hops surviving. Oily, medium body with light carbonation. Some hoppy bitterness in the palate helps balancing a rather aggressive sweetness. Semi-long semi-bitter finish, which doesn’t really “connect” to the rest of the beer – it feels strange. Compared to a one year old bottle, this is better but not much so, I was expecting more. Rating: 3.8
North Coast Old Stock Ale 2011
11.9%. Muddy red color with almost no head at all. Less of a looker at this age. Bread and malt in the nose, with some background sweetness. The wooden touch is still there but the dried fruits have, er… dried out. The taste is sweet raisins, with some roasted hints and some bitterness. Medium body with light carbonation. I believe this is actually showing its age, it is slightly flatter than I remember it. Rating: 4
Postlude: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout 2011
15%. Pours black-brown with a small head, leaving fine residues on the glass. Licorice, caramel and roasted, almost smoky, tones in the nose. The taste is all bitter almonds, dried fruits, oak and vanilla. Fantastic. Oily, smooth and just a little bit of carbonation left. Not the best Bourbon County I’ve had. Still very, very good. Rating: 4.1
And that’s it! Happy birthday to me! Surprisingly enough, Bötet is the beer that aged best, and my own Greybeard, although not as old as the other bottles, stood up fairly well – I’m a happy brewer. The one Ale I’m disappointed in is Old Stock Ale. It is a favorite of mine, but it appears 4 years on the shelf is too much for it. I better clean out those remaining bottles quickly then…