Can beer get better with age?

Beer doesn't deepen or develop its flavor as it ages. What happens is that strong flavors tend to decrease and the more discrete flavors and characteristics of beer occur as the beer ages. This interesting production process is the exact antithesis of how wine ages. But there's absolutely room in the beer world for aging.

In fact, all beer can be “aged” (or really, stored) for a few months (more if kept under the right conditions). But some beers can age for, well, from many months to many years. Ageing beer is always a small gamble, a calculated risk that the structure and character of beer will not only stand the test of time, but will also improve. And just like with wine, there are a few factors that make a beer more suitable for aging.

Although beer aging is very complex, we know that some types of beer tend to age better than others. Strong beers tend to be more worthy of aging than low-alcohol beers. Beers that age well tend to have relatively high hop bitterness, but have more malt than hop aromas. The relatively high residual sugar content confers an advantage (barley wines, imperial dark beer, old beers), but some dry styles may work well.

Strong, dark Belgian beers, Trappists and Abbey beers, for example, tend to age well, despite their relative lack of residual sugar. Although it is not always true that darker beers age better than paler beers, this is often the case, with notable exceptions such as lambic beers and some Belgian triples. Pale beers tend to darken over time, but dark beers can turn slightly paler as their color compounds combine with other elements and settle. As is the case with wines worthy of aging, beers that are destined to be beautiful after 10 years or more of bottle-aging will tend to first experience a tough, expressionless and disconnected youth.

Beer can certainly get better as it ages. It can also go terribly wrong. First of all, let's talk about the commitment to the freshness of beer, which has largely overshadowed the search for fine, aged beer. Aging Your Beer Doesn't Necessarily Make It Better.

Instead, it changes the flavor profile of the beverage. Whether it's better or not is up to you. In general, beer containing hops loses its flavors when it ages and produces other distracting compounds. That said, let's take a look at the beers you should start with and where you should store them for the best results.

One of them is the Belgian range of lambic beers, complex and acidic wheat beers fermented entirely by wild yeasts and bacteria that live in and around the brewery. Most beers age best at “cellar” temperatures of approximately 11°C to 13°C (about 52°F to 55°F). As long as yeast stays alive, it can slowly synthesize new flavors and the flavors in beer can become deeper. Developing your palate and deciding what your preferences are is a great reward for experimenting with storing beer at home.

Craft beer has aromas, ingredients and flavors similar to those of bread and, like bread, tastes better when enjoyed fresh. Old bottles of strong beers, such as barley wines and imperial dark beers, can also shed a crust of sediment, even if the beer was originally leaked. Aging beer is always a kind of garbage game, in which the brewer crosses his fingers to get the results it was prepared for. The best examples of well-aged beer are less intense but more complex than their fresh counterparts.

In fact, many beer manufacturers pressure drinkers to drink their beer as soon as they buy it, such as taking it home and drinking it now. While most beer throughout history has been destined to be consumed in a matter of days, weeks, or a few months, certain types of beer have always been destined to age even more. Especially in the case of the wildest beers, those made with wild yeasts such as Brettanomyces, you may even be interested in aging the beer to allow all the complexity of the beer to disappear, eliminating all flavors for a period of months or even years and highlighting the best that wild yeast can offer. When a beer ages satisfactorily, the yeasts that are still present can continue to change the character of the beer, certain flavors can dissipate, causing other flavors to occupy a central place and even certain positive aspects of oxidation may appear.