Tracker Pixel for Entry

Surly dip into their cellar, I do the same

by Chris Larson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Beer Snob | October 4th, 2017

Dipping into your cellar to pull out a special bottle is something that used to be fairly exclusive, wine connoisseurs only. These days, cellaring is gaining more and more traction among hardcore craft beer consumers, who continue to revolutionize the industry.

If you are of the belief that every self-respecting beer nerd should have a few beers stored and aging in a cool, dark location at home, then you will certainly be excited about a special re-release from Surly Brewing company. I found it exciting enough to dip into my own cellar and pull out some bottles I had been aging, including the special re-release.

Leading up to this year’s Darkness Days, Surly Brewing Company has dropped a small allocation of their 2016 Darkness, an annual high-alcohol Russian Imperial Stout that is always loaded with huge chocolate and roast flavors but is nuanced differently every year.

When I first tried this 10.3% abv beer when it was released last October, the first thing to hit me was chocolate and roast but it was immediately followed by a huge blast of alcohol. I also remember it pouring a rather large head that seemed somewhat over-carbonated. I immediately noticed that cellaring really did a lot to this beer, in my opinion, starting with the more reasonable head and subdued carbonation.

The alcohol also fades dangerously into the background and the burnt toffee, tobacco, cherry, and even hints of orange are pulled forward to play with the strong notes of bitter chocolate and roasted malt and coffee. The body also seemed to thin out a bit but it still comes across as fairly creamy for such a bitter, no lactose, no oat stout.

To me, when cellared for a year it seems to come even more in balance; and in my opinion, the only thing that could make this beer better is a bourbon barrel. I am now even more excited, so much so that I am currently cellaring the loan barrel aged Darkness I purchased this year.

Since I was already thinning out my cellar, I decided to reach for a 2016 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year by Anchor Brewing of San Francisco. This is always one of my favorite winter warmers and the 2016 is the first one I have ever cellared.

Even after spending 10 months in my cellar, it still delivered an abundance of toasty blend of roasted malts, chocolate, spices and dried fruit like raisin and prune with slight hints of pine. I remember the pine being a bit more present when poured fresh, but the spices now come through more in a way that somewhat resembles a Mexican spice cake. At 6.5% abv this is a cellar selection that you don’t need to share or sip super slowly.

While I was depleting my resources, I decided it was also a great time to pop open one of my favorite beers that, in my opinion, is only slightly cellarable. While I do love Founders KBS, a bourbon barrel-aged stout that is released every March, something about the beer doesn’t really hold up that well in a cellar.

Throughout the last couple of years I have been experimenting with aging this brew and personally enjoy it most either fresh or after six to eight months age -- so I’d better drink it before it goes bad, right?

Full of charred oak, chocolate and roasted coffee, when aged for this amount of time, the booziness of the whiskey barrel fades considerably; which again means you must remind yourself that it is 11.8% abv and not just a delicious chocolate and whiskey-flavored treat, which it very much also is.

Finally, I finished off my weekend cellar adventure by sailing the seas of beer to Colorado’s Odell Brewing with their Jolly Russian as my captain. This huge Russian Imperial Stout delivers a whole bunch of yo ho ho and a barrel of rum that fired a warning shot across the bow.

When the first sip slid down my throat and was followed by a warming that started in my belly, I had to grab the bottle and check the abv to be reminded that it clocks in at a whopping 13.3% abv.

Cocoa and roasted coffee is rounded out well by just the right amount of rum barrel flavors like vanilla and spiced molasses. Hints of botanical hops and dark fruit notes come into play in the finish which also sees the return of the wood and booze from the rum barrel.

I hope you enjoyed following my weekend adventure into my beer cellar and I encourage you to find some beers to age at home in a dry, dark location that is temperature-controlled to be consistent, if not cooled.

Perhaps our next cellar adventure will be all about sours, but until then, cheers to good beer!

Recently in:

FARGO – Kilbourne’s long-term dreams of a Dakota high-rise stirred resentment on Tuesday when the real estate company announced construction on Block 9 will begin next month, and could soon block Prairie Public’s broadcasting…

The 45th Annual Downtown Fargo Street Fair has been making efforts to increase the number of local vendors. The Local Block will be located at the north end of the 300 block on Broadway, near the Fargo Theatre.The High Plains…

Thursday, July 26 at 5 p.m.-midnightFargo Brewing Company, 610 N University, FargoHip hop artist, community activist, and member of Rhymesayers, Brother Ali will appear with Nooky Jones at The Fargo Brewing Company. Nooky Jones was…

With all of the excitement surrounding the legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana, why aren’t we discussing the possibilities of industrial hemp? You might not catch a buzz from it but there’s all kinds of other…

“Hi Ho, Hi Ho! It’s Off To Work We Go!”How many undocumented workers are in the United States? Estimates range from 11 to 25 million. We need some history to understand why our immigration laws are in such a mess. The most…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

All About Food

​Food truck fever

by HPR Contributor

By Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comHave you all been to Taco Brothers Taco Truck yet? Or how about Poke Bowl Food Truck? Have you tried the Walleye Wrap at Chef Mobile? There may have been a few mobile food establishments in decades…

We had a chance to chat with Duluth native Gaelynn Lea at Winnipeg Folk Festival. Not only did she tell us how she developed her sound she told us about her experience winning the NPR Tiny Desk Concert and the trials and…

Boots Riley hallucinates a wildly funny feature debut with “Sorry to Bother You,” a sharp-fanged social satire that mashes up the innovative handmade aesthetics of Michel Gondry with the fierce truth-to-power consciousness of…

Arts

Dan Mihuta: The Art Maker

by HPR Contributor

By Rod Hadland rodanthonyhadland@gmail.comThe name Mr. Mihuta may not be familiar, but for most of my life, I’ve known that name. There was a television show where Mr. Mihuta taught art projects, in various mediums, that I…

Theatre

Xanadu: The Musical

by HPR Contributor

By Tayler Klimektklimek@cord.eduGet ready to dive into a world full of demi-gods, mythological creatures, and plenty of disco balls when you see Fargo-Moorhead Community Theater’s exciting first show of its 72nd season:…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

Once a year, fans of beer in the FM area have access to what their heart desires... bragging rights. The Rare Beer Picnic grants beer aficionados the ability to taste whatever their heart desires from their favorite beer…

Best Local CelebrityCarson WentzBest Stylist / BarberJed Felix, Everett’s BarbershopBest Salon / Barber ShopEverett’s BarbershopBest Tattoo Parlor46 & 2 TattooBest Tattoo ArtistMeg Felix, No Coast TattooBest Gift ShopZandbroz…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

By Gary Olsonolsong@moravian.edu Recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.- The United Nations…