Many beers are made to served as fresh and young as possible. However, some beers, mostly of high gravity, need aging to mature and bring out the best balance of flavors. In some cases, there are several vintages of the same beer; try and compare, and learn what aging does to an already magnificent beer. Please note: a low carbonation level is often appropriate to style for an aged beer.
Affligem Noel 1996 $12.00 (25oz.)
(Opwijk, Belgium) Darker and maltier than the
Dubbel, Noel has a dense and complex spicy fruitiness, followed by an alcohol warmth.
Anchor Foghorn 2nd Bottling $5.00 (7oz)
(San Francisco, CA) The original American revival of the Barleywine style. Matures quickly in the small bottle, into a rich blend of malt, alcohol and sherry flavors.
Anchor Our Special Ale 1992 - $7.00 (12 oz.)
Anchor Our Special Ale 1993 - $6.50 (12 oz.)
Anchor Our Special 1994 - $6.00 (12 oz.)
Anchor Our Special Ale 1995 - $5.50 (12 oz.)
(San Francisco, CA) A big, spiced ale. The recipe changes every year, and the aging allows some of the spices to mellow and blend with malt and sherry flavors.
Gale's Prize Old Ale 1995 - $9.00 (12 oz.)
Gale's Prize Old Ale 1996 - $8.00 (12 oz.)
Gale's Prize Old Ale 1997 - $7.00 (12 oz.)
Gale's Prize Old Ale 1998 - $6.00 (12 oz.)
(Hordean, England) A unique, traditional English barley wine (9% alcohol) which is corked and bottle-conditioned. The complex, dry fruitiness, combined with the corked aging (nearly unique in England at this time) adds up to an distinctive flavor.
Harvey's Elizabethan Ale 1996 - $7.00
A vintage-style English strong ale. Rich, subtle and well-aged.
J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale 1989 - $9.00 (11.2 oz)
J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale 1992 - $8.00 (11.2 oz)
(Middletown Junction, England) A big, fullbodied barley wine (11.5%) made only once a year in the fall, from the new year's season of malt (Maris Otter, Yorkshire) and hops (East Kent Gouldings). When young, this beer can be quite sweet, but these mature bottles have dried out beautifully, with complex sherry notes.
Lindeman's Cuvee Rene 1994 -$17.00 (25oz.)
(Vlezenbeek, Belgium) An astounding gueuze. A winey, cidery palate reminiscent of bubbling vermouth.
Lurgashall Christmas Mead - $15.00
Unique example of an English Christmas Mead, a honey-based fermentaged beverage. Can be
served cold or warm with spices.
Samuel Adams Triple Bock 1995 - $8.00 (8.45 oz.)
(Boston, Massachusetts) A unique, extremely high gravity beer (17.5%), which includes maple syrup in the recipe, and is aged for several months in whiskey casks. Very still, with complex combination of flavors and aromas.
Samichlaus 1994 - $9.00 (12 oz.)
Samichlaus 1995 - $8.50 (12 oz.)
(Zurich, Switzerland) The world's most intense lager. Brewed once a year, on St. Nicholas day, and aged for 11 months to 14-16 % alcohol. Warm and forthright: beer's answer to Courvoisier.
Scaldis Noel 1995 - $6.00 (8 oz.)
(Pripaix, Belgium) The Christmas version of the Belgian strong ale. Similarly smooth and inviting; a little darker in color and slightly sweeter in flavor than the regular beer.
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 1994 - $10.00 (12 oz.)
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 1995 - $9.00 (12 oz.)
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 1997 - $8.00 (12 oz.)
(Chico, California) Uniquely West Coast-style version of a barley wine (@11%), with a huge blast of Cascade hops, and a dry but malty finish. Aging mellows out the hops considerably, and allows you to get a more balanced perception of the malt flavors.
Thomas Hardy's Ale 1992 - $11.00 (11.2 oz.)
Thomas Hardy's Ale 1992 - $8.00 (6 oz.)
Thomas Hardy's Ale 1993 - $10.00 (11.2 oz.)
Thomas Hardy's Ale 1994 - $9.00 (11.2 oz.)
Thomas Hardy's Ale 1995 - $8.00 (11.2 oz.)
Thomas Hardy's Ale 1996 - $7.00 (11.2 oz.)
Thomas Hary's Ale 1998 - $6.00 (11.2 oz)
(Dorchester, England) A classic English old ale (12%). Rich, dark, sweet. As the beer ages, it dries out and gains balance and complexity.
Vapeur Cochonette - $6.00 (12 oz.)
Unique brewery in Pripaix, which uses a century-old steam-powered engine for mashing.
Cochonette is a dark, sweet strong ale, with spices that include chicory.
Vapeur En Folie 1989 - $17.00 (26.4 oz.)
Vapeur En Folie 1990 - $16.00 (26.4 oz.)
Vapeur En Folie 1991 - $15.00 (26.4 oz.)
Vapeur En Folie 1992 - $14.00 (26.4 oz.)
Vapeur En Folie 1993 - $13.00 (26.4 oz.)
Vapeur En Folie 1994 - $12.00 (26.4 oz.)
Vapeur En Folie 1995 - $11.00 (26.4 oz.)
(Pripaix, Belgium) Each bottle of this unique, spiced pale ale is a little different, and every vintage is flavorful and delicious in its own way. In addition to the spices and the recipe, there seems to be some microbial complexity that nears that of a lambic beer.
Vapeur Saison De Pipax 1994 - $12.00 (26.4 oz.)
Vapeur Saison De Pipax 1995 - $11.00 (26.4 oz.)
(Pripaix, Belgium) The description of the previous beer applies to this one as well, except that this one seems to undergo an even more complex, lambic-like fermentation.