Craft beer is great. With so many options on the market, there is no shortage of fresh beer to choose from. But while fresh beer is great, aging or cellaring a beer for a while can change and even improve the flavor in wonderful ways. A couple months or even a couple years can allow the alcohol heat of big beers to mellow and the malt flavors to change while the hops fade out with time. This bottle of Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel! Solstice d’hiver sat in the cellar since 2003 and aged wonderfully in that time.
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel! makes a great selection of beers and their barleywine, Solstice d’hiver, is a tasty one too. After 10 years in the cellar is was still holding up well with just a hint of oxidation to it. It pours a brownish with a hint of red. The aroma has a slight hint of burnt carmel with light toffee. The flavor is much the same with notes of light toffee and caramel again. The carbonation is smooth and light. Medium malt body has thinned over time from the bigger malt presence when it was fresh. Smooth and malty with a very light hint of alcohol in the aftertaste. Light and creamy caramel and a touch of burnt sugar linger on in the aftertaste too. This one aged finely over time.
Fresh beer is always the goto and the fresher the better. But sometimes it’s fun to take a couple bottles and store them away to see how they change over time. Grab a few bottles of a bigger beer and try it fresh, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, etc. See how flavors change with time. The Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel! Solstice d’hiver barleywine is a wonderful beer fresh (they’re already aged it several months before bottling) but as this 10 year old bottle proves, it can hold up very well over time too. Grad a couple bottles for now and some for later. Let us know what you think of the changes time has on it.