Having the new batch of Bean Gene at this recent Darkside event drew question as to how it would age. Barrel aged beers generally have the sense of time already on their side so upon bottling, they are ready to drink. Especially beers that have additions such as coffee, which is notorious for falling off in flavor relatively quickly, it isn't usually the type you want to sit on for a while. This specific bottle had a date of 3.8.13, so it is just a few days over a year old.

The nose has actually kept up a lot. Sweet bourbon soaked charred wood, some vanilla, a good amount of cocoa notes, and a fair amount of roasted grains are all detectable while still being dominated by the coffee. The bitterness of the coffee as well as the robust roast that comes along with the bean plays well with the sweetness of the bourbon giving it a unique aroma.

The taste follows the line that the nose had set up. Caramel with a hint of vanilla up front followed by a mix of chocolate, coffee and some bourbon. Almost as if it were a cup of coffee brewed into a mug that was used for hot cocoa that had a bit left in the bottom of it while adding a few drops of bourbon, just to get your morning started off right. It changes so much as the taste rolls over your palate. Sticky sweetness that mellows out into a toasted mixture of wood and grain and leaves you with a cocoa coffee aftertaste.

The body remains on the medium (with a nod to full) side but almost seems like a thinner stout. This is a hearty beer and the added coffee still sits around like it owns the place. It's really good to see the lasting power of the coffee notes in this beer as it is usually the first to go. Maybe things will change over the course of another year, but as for right now, it seams like this beer can hang around for a while. Well, at least a year...


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.

Posted on March 14, 2014 .