21st Amendment Lower De Boom (Aged Three Years)
21st Amendment Lower De Boom is an American Barleywine. I have decided to do a four year experiment with this beer, since these little 8.4 oz cans should be easy to cellar. Originally canned in February of 2013 I drank the first can on April 1st 2013. I will drink one can each April’s Fools Day for the next three years and report on the changes.
2016 Aged Three Years: The appearance has become really murky at this point, a thin head that fades quickly. The aroma is now much more fruity once again. I’m getting hints of the pineapple element from the fresh tropical fruit aroma from 2013. There is now an almost Belgian like dark fruit thing on the nose as well. After three years this is still drinking fairly well, but it is starting to taste a bit… old. The flavor is about the same as it was a year ago, but a little more stale. Not nearly as harsh as it once was, but it is still the finish that is bringing this one down a bit for me.
This was a fun beer aging experiment, but it goes to show the value of first impressions. I’ve had slight adjustments in ratings along the way, but after a few years I’ve learned this maybe just isn’t my favorite Barleywine!
2015 Aged Two Years: The aroma has done a complete 180º, and I have to say I am really enjoying it once again after 2 years of age. It’s actually fairly typical for the style at this point with a lot of caramel and toffee, rich malt, and the hops are still holding on as well. This has developed some interesting flavors as well, so much better than at a year. Some sweet caramel and the slightest hint of sweet honey start the taste. The hops have become a bit acidic, and that acidic bitterness dominates the finish and aftertaste. Even with the kind of rough finish, this is my favorite of the three tastings so far.
2014 Aged One Year: The guys and I were able to do a side by side comparison on Episode 36 of our podcast. Uh-Oh, I was expecting this to improve and it really didn’t. Gone is the best part of the fresh can, the pineapple and caramel. Although the harshness of the hops are gone, the whole beer is now just kind of muted, astringent and bland. Well I’m not going to give up, I’ve had barleywines get surprisingly better after two years before!
2013 Fresh Can: It has been a while since I have had a fresh Barleywine, and I can quickly see why I tend to age American Barleywines at least one year. Lots of tropical fruit and caramel on the nose, very nice. The flavor starts with a blast of pineapple and caramel as well which is great, but then the beer falls apart into a harsh hoppy mess. Not exactly pleasant to drink right now, but I can see some huge potential with this in the future.