For some amazing scientific reason that I don’t fully understand, aging alcohol at home is alleged to enhance the flavor and character of the drink. Wine and whiskey connoisseurs have long known this, and now craft beer is eager to join the party.
My personal experience is probably best summed up via an evening with friends in which we tasted 3 separate years of Firestone-Walker’s famed Parabola. Again, allegedly these beers will improve with age (I think they even suggest it on the box). What we found was that the most recent vintage was the best overall. Not that the older bottles were bad, just noticeably not as good as the younger.
It just so it happened that my wife was gifted a magnum of Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale in 2010. If you’ve ever had a magnum of beer, you may find it challenging to pick an appropriate occasion on which to open it. And so it was that our bottle sat in a closet for nearly 5 years.
Anchor’s Christmas Ale is decent in it’s own right, but certainly not amazing. But I got tired of looking at it (and I was thirsty) so I recently chilled the damn thing and proposed we drink it.
The results? Assuming that there are only minor (if any) variations in this beer’s recipe from year to year, I’d call this aging a minor success. It did seem to be a slight improvement. But 5 years is a long time to sit on a bottle of merely “decently good” beer. I say drink it if you’ve got it.
Anchor Steam Merry Christmas 2010, aged almost 5 years: 3.5 out of 5.