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:

News

​Man and the moon

by C.S. Hagen

VALLEY CITY – Lowell Busching shuffled into The Vault, pointed to the staff-less counter featuring self-serve sandwiches, Kuchen, and coffee before launching into a history of the building, once a bank. Books and magazines are…

You probably won’t be connecting an Ethernet cable to your smartphone anytime soon. But it’s usually worth running Ethernet cables to the devices that matter, if you can—gaming and media PCs (or consoles), backup devices, and…

Thursday, July 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m.Zandbroz, 420 N Broadway, FargoAuthor Sarah Coomber will be making an appearance at Zandbroz for a reading and signing of her recently released memoir, "The Same Moon." Recently wed and soon…

It’s no secret Theodore Roosevelt loved North Dakota. It’s also no secret North Dakotans love Teddy. He left us with a legendary legacy and it’s no wonder that the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library will be in the…

Gadfly

​Freedom???

by Ed Raymond

There Seems To Be A Lot Of Confusion About What Freedom Is!At a recent conference of the evangelical Christian’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Chairman Ralph Reed, long a hard worker for the Moral Majority’s Jerry Falwell, had…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

By Teresa Farrelltara.Ekren@essentiahealth.orgLove it or hate it, it’s rhubarb season! Rhubarb brings back good memories for me.Growing up on the family farm, my siblings and I would head outside with a bowl of sugar, snap off…

High Plains Reader had the opportunity to catch up with Sarah Shook, front woman of the North Carolina based punk country band Sarah Shook and the Disarmers. We had a chance to talk about life and love from the road, where she…

Legendary British skipper Tracy Edwards, who in 1989 led the first all-female crew of sailors to compete in the tough-as-nails, 33,000-mile Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, makes for a convincing heroine in filmmaker Alex…

Arts

‘Local American epics’

by Sabrina Hornung

The US Postal Service recently released a set of stamps celebrating the New Deal era post office murals that were federally commissioned during the Roosevelt administration, though the mural that graces the walls of the New…

The annual mainstage summer musical, produced by Trollwood Performing Arts School and sponsored by Bell Bank, opens Thursday, July 11. This year’s performance is Disney’s “Freaky Friday.” Trollwood Performing Arts…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

If you’re from the region you may have sipped, sampled or caught word of a libation often referred to as “red eye” or “wedding whiskey” at some point. In fact some of our friends of German Russia descent swear by it. If…

Wellness

Yoga on the Farm

by Ryan Janke

Every Thursday evening during the month of June, Mara Solberg is inviting people to come out and try Yoga on the Farm. It is a unique yoga experience that was born from an idea that was proposed to Solberg.“I’ve been with Red…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

Woman is born free and lives equal to man in her rights…The purpose of any political association is the conservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of woman and man; these rights are liberty, property, security, and…