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Last night I had nice little tasting session with my lightweight but knowledge-heavy friend Johnny. He brought over some bottles of Mad Elf (we postponed the case splitting adventure). I was glad to agree with him (and Ethan) on the tastiness of the Mad Elf. I generally idolize barleywines as my winter season style, and pugilize spiced winter beers. (See previous posts for my thoughts on pumpkin beers to get an idea of my feelings for cinnaminy nutmegy beers). But I think the Mad Elf represents a whole new direction for winter beers. A direction that I’m glad to head in. Pairings? Bring on the fruit cake!
Afterwards, I brought up 2 bottles of Golden Monkey, one from eariler this year, and one that was bottled in July of 2007. Side by side tastings confirmed what I suspected before: After about a year this beer starts to decline. The newer one (maybe 6 months old) however was at its prime. The spices (different ones! don’t cry “hypocrite!”) and the alcohol had mellowed out, while the body retained its fullness and flavor.
Victory Golden Monkey is one of my favorite local beers. In my years I’ve drank probably more of this beer than most others. Its a full flavored, interesting, and affordable belgian style tripel. In my exploration of aging beers, this is one of the first beers I thought of, and I’ve been sitting on a number of bottles for awhile now. last night I cracked open one to see how it was doing. Per the stamp on the label, it was bottled in July of 2007, so not quite a year and a half old.
I’m sorry to say though, that it doesn’t seem to be aging well. Perhaps my basement’s conditions are not ideal (my poorly vented dryer being the main culprit), but the flavor was a bit flat. While flavorful and carbonated, it was a little cardboardy and muddy tasting. Its a shame, but I’ll have to drink up my stock sooner rather than later. Ha, bummer! I suppose I will move them to a fridge to preserve what flavor is there. I also have a batch from July of this year I’ll have to tap into.
On a different note, the Bike Coalition and Dock St Brewery are throwing a Biketoberfest party this Sunday. Anyone going? I know its a benefit and all, but I’m having a hard time with there being a $25 entrance fee AND a cash bar.
A little late on the link, but the Madison Beer Review is going to be posting a series on French beers during the tour. I think its a great idea, and a good project for trying new beers during the tour. I’m not sure how available these beers will be in Philly, but I hope to find out.
Last night I enjoyed the old standby, Golden Monkey, during a briefly exciting time trial. I say briefly, because by the time that Feillu crossed the line, the winners had long been determined. Not nearly as exciting as stage 3, with Frischkorn inches away from a US win. Go USA!