DOGFISH HEAD 120 MINUTE IPA - VINTAGE 2011
Another IPA in the debate of aging, but this particular beer actually states from the brewery, right on the label, that it ages well. Again with hops acting as a preservative and the ABV sitting in the range of 15-20% (depending on batch) it isn't beyond belief that these bottles could sit for years.
When I had my first 120 Minute IPA years ago, it was on draft and it was like nothing I had ever tasted before. It was a hot, sticky, bitter mess and it took me close to an hour and a half to finish it. Since then my palate has changed and the way I accept this beer fresh is completely different. It still packs a punch and is a wallop of hops and malt, but the depth of this beer is now easier to understand.
Coming on 3 years old, it is evident that this beer ages dramatically from year to year. The aroma is rich with resin from the hops, fig, some grapefruit and a decent amount of alcohol. As it continues to open up, the alcohol and resin grow in intensity.
The taste is much departed from the nose. The flavor is sweet through and through. The pungent bitterness of the hops almost evade and diminish before detection. Mixed with the alcohol, the hops seem to have kept the candied sugar content form the malts intact. Notes of mandarin oranges, green grape and some pineapple play in to the mix from the hops as they pair with the sweetness. The initial heat from the alcohol is gone and heavily masked by the residual sugars.
It would almost seem that this has become a bit of a malt bomb, but the combination of the aggressive hopping and the large bill of fermentable ingredients seem to play nice together. Where this beer sits after 3 years is almost a 180 turn from how it is fresh. It will be interesting to revisit this after another year so see what else might have changed over that time.
WHAT IS CELLARED?
Our CELLARED series aims to explore the world of aging beer and sharing the effects of time in the bottle. Bottles have been kept away from light and at temperatures between 44-60 degrees. Individual experiences may vary depending on storage environments.