Tag Archive | pivo

Hop Bombs Better With Age and Travel?

I’m travelling today so I don’t have time to really get into it, but Pivni Filosof posted this today:

Taking this [the faster maturation of beers due to heat variations as they cross the ocean] into consideration, could it be that American hop bombs taste “better”* on this side of the pond than at home? Has anyone had the chance to taste one of those beers “fresh” and after it had crossed the Atlantic?

I didn’t drink any American beers in Prague, but I did get to try BrewDog’s Hardcore IPA in Europe and over here in the States, and there’s no comparison: it’s much better when fresh. I’ve also had fresh hop bomb Stone beers both at the brewery and after a few months of age back here at home in Michigan, and those fresh hop flavors fade almost immediately.

Of course, this is all ultimately a palate issue, but I’d say the only hoppy beers that might actually improve with age would be those with a high level of bittering hop with low levels of hop flavor. The age would actually slightly de-bitter the beer, while giving the malt a chance to shine. In general, though, any brewer designing a beer with an emphasis on hops should be brewing beer to be consumed as soon as possible, and thus hoppy beers should be consumed fresh.

Of course, since we’re talking about Czech beer writer, it should go without saying that Pilsner Urquell tastes a thousand times better fresh and close to the source than it does after it’s crossed an ocean even in cans or kegs, let alone the fucking green bottles.

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Bell’s Octoberfest 2011

Bell’s Octoberfest 2011
Batch 10531 bottled 2011-08-12
Comstock, MI
5.8% ABV

I got off work early today, so I figured, what the hell — let’s do a quick beer review!


It’s Oktoberfest season, not necessarily my favorite time of year beer-wise but it’s nice to have a season devoted to brown malty lagers. I don’t like doing video reviews of these because so many of them are very similar, lots of malt with a bit of yeastiness and maybe some earthy hops with a clean malt finish. But text reviews are quick and easy and I figure I might as well do a few of them this year as I get around to them.

Sorry about the monitor glare -- my lamp is in use elsewhere at the moment.

Pours a bit lighter than expected, whether that’s my memory playing tricks with me or if the beer is really a bit lighter than last year I can’t say. Kind of a pale brown/orange or dark roasty yellow color. A twinge lighter than copper. Head is minimal and dissipates immediately. Smells grainy, sweet, slightly cardboardy. Somewhat “off,” in that nondescript way. Maybe a hint of chocolate and some earthiness.

Aroma’s a bit off, but flavor’s pretty solid. No graininess present, instead with some sweet caramel and fruity notes, a bit like a dopplebock. Somewhat creamy on the mouthfeel with a carbonation bite on the finish. Leaves a hint of breadiness on the aftertaste. Very smooth. I’ve got to say I was expecting this to be a disappointment based on aroma but it really made up for it in flavor. Not my favorite Oktoberfest/Marzen to be sure, but pretty solid, especially from an American micro.

Beyond the Pour grade: B