The question has been coming up frequently recently. “Can I age an IPA? What about a double or imperial IPA?” Here’s the answer.
Age An IPA?
So you want to know, can you age an IPA? The answer is yes, you can. But just like jumping off a bridge, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
What makes hoppy beers wonderful is the hops! They bring awesome aromas and delicious flavors. Sadly, the compounds that add these great things to beers break down with time. Fairly quickly in fact.
Try many hoppy beers now, then even in a week and you may find subtle changes in flavor.
While there are a number of things that can be done to keep hoppy beers hoppy for longer (such as refrigeration and/or filtration, along with container-type) these flavors eventually fade as the hop compounds break down and oxidize.
While it’s entirely up to you, the consumer, to drink these beers how you like them and hold on to them as long as you choose, please try them as fresh as possible. Brewers don’t make IPAs with the intention of having them aged. They want you to drink them fresh and experience them as they were created. You’re welcome to age them if you like, but at least do so after enjoying them as fresh as can be.
Fresh Is Best
Though everyone has their own personal tastes and the right to enjoy beer the way they please, IPAs and double IPAs are a beverage best enjoyed fresh. IPAs fade to a bit like an amber, while imperial IPAs turn to something like a barleywine with time. Had the brewer meant to create those beers, they would have done so from the beginning.
Here’s to fresh beer and enjoying IPAs as soon as possible. Don’t let them age.