Bitter Old Man Tasting Notes

Original Post: Bitter Old Man
Style: 14C. Imperial IPA
Brew Date: May, 2012
Tasting Date: June 24, 2014
ABV: 8.8%
The first thing I notice is that this bottle is full almost to the brim. I’m immediately afraid of what is going to happen when I pop the cap. Homebrew this old tends to be over carbonated in my experience, being so full seems like an invitation for trouble. Opening it… nope. Perfect carbonation. It pours with a nice, bright white head. It is not as clear as I’d expect from a beer this old, but the color is very nice. It is tan and orange and pretty.

The aroma is immediately memorable. I loved this beer. I remember it having a nice Amarillo hop aroma along with a complex array of malts. The hops are gone but those malts have stood the test of time. Taking a sip, the malt promised in the nose is delivered with a bit of the notorious old homebrew cardboard character. The cardboard comes in late and definitely takes away from the beer, but when it first hits my tongue, it is very nice.

There is, of course, no trace of the hops. I expected the subtle flavor and aroma to be gone, but I remember this beer having a nice bitterness, too and there is none of that. This is all malt and age. I guess it is balanced okay, but I don’t specifically detect bitterness.

I keep mentioning the malt complexity, I guess I need to try to explain it, though I don’t know that I can do it justice. It starts biscuity and then gets a sourdough character and transitions into some general graininess. Victory and Biscuit Malts are often compared and said to be so close as to be interchangeable but I really think including them both here lends some indescribable complexity that could not be achieved otherwise.

Both malts are said to be “biscuit” accented, but they are subtly different and combining them adds something that is really unique and I think it is the hallmark of this beer. And while it probably shouldn’t be aged for two plus years, I love this beer.

It is a time capsule that takes me back to an exciting time. I won’t go into the details of the Summer of 2012, but this beer brings them to the front of my mind and I am very grateful for this glimpse into my own past.

I’m not finished with the beer, but I don’t want to rush it. I’m going to break my own rules and cut off my tasting notes here so that I can enjoy the last few ounces and, in the immortal words of Charlie Papazian, “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew.”


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