I have always been interested in aging beers.  Beers are not generally designed to age.  The flavors tend to breakdown over time, the carbonation goes flat, and things are growing in your beer that give them off flavors that amplify over time.  But every now and then a beer is made that can stand to the rigors of aging.

This year I got my hands on a 2014 Bottle of Indeed’s Old Friend Holiday Ale! And in my trusty and faithful Brewbicle I had aging a bottle of 2013.

Now let’s take a moment to review the 2014 “correct” version of this beer to help acclimate us to what it is supposed to taste like:

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This beer poured a clear deep amber red, with a nice foamy tan head.  The aroma was of a strong fresh ginger aroma.  The smell hit my nose well before the glass did.  Now this is not the “spiced ginger” aroma you would normally associate with the holidays, but the sharp ginger one often finds in various Asian cuisine.  The first taste hits you with that same ginger flavor, but quickly washes back into a very heavy sweetness, with multiple layers of maltiness.  There is very little bitterness to this beer, this is a malt lovers beer.  The people drinking with me quickly agreed, this was a beer for sipping around the fireplace.  It should also be noted that for a 7% beer, the alcohol flavors were very well disguised.

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Upon cracking open the bottle of 2013, we were again inundated with the ginger aroma.  The beer poured the same ruby red, but we noticed it was much more hazy compared to 2014.  The head also showed a darker shade of tan.  The taste was very familiar, but there were some notable differences.  The first was that some of the maltiness had mellowed out of the beer. This left it with a slightly more mulled taste.  But this in turn brought more attention to the honey and ginger flavors of the beer.  The sticky sweetness of honey, and that sharp crisp ginger flavor lingered on the pallet just a little longer.

Overall, I found both beers quite enjoyable.  If forced to pick one it would be the 2014 version, but I would have been happy to drink either.  I just felt the 2014 version tasted more complex, and the malts balanced the honey, just a little.  If you are a fan of fresh ginger or malty beers I highly recommend you pick this one up in 2015!

Share with us in the comments about your experiments with again beer!