There’s something quite satisfying yet worrying about opening a bottle that’s been sitting stashed away for a few years. It’s like an angel and a devil are sat on either shoulder saying “Yes do it”, “No, don’t do it”, “Do it”, “Don’t do it”. When exactly IS the right time to open that special stout? How long should you leave it and does there need to be a special occasion?
My answer to that last bit is that there doesn’t need to be a special time. Just whenever feels right. Whether you want keep a bottle for a significant birthday or simply have it for a Sunday night by the fire, whenever suits.
I’ve been having quite a few ‘Sunday night by the fire’ moments recently and I’ll give a few thoughts on a couple of vintages I cracked open from Lacada, the Portrush based co-operative brewery.
Beautopian Stout is a 2018 version of the core range Utopian Stout. Stored in an Irish whiskey cask for six months then left in my stash for four and a half years, Beautopian is 10.2% ABV, waxed capped and with neck label.
The whiskey hit is low to medium but is completely dominated by a dark fruit sweetness – blackberries and sweet raisins. I love a touch of oak barrel character and this is here too – low at first but intensifies further down the glass. Is now the sweet spot for a 2018 Beautopian? Who knows. If you have one in your stash and you like your imperial stouts oak>blackberry>whiskey, then go for it.
In 2017 the co-op brewed a collaboration beer with Dead End Brew Machine of Glasgow, Mashdown in Banbridge and North Coast Smokehouse in Ballycastle. Shore’s ingredients included smoked malt and local dulse (seaweed to the uninitiated). After the brew, some was fed into a local Irish whiskey cask and left to think about its actions for two years.
What was created became the imaginatively titled Barrel Aged Shore. 7.7% ABV, another wax cap and bottled in 2019. There’s a smack of salt on the first sip and then follows a delicious depth of dark chocolate malt. Salty chocolate, I know a late 90’s song about that. Anyway, moving on. Any smokiness quickly fades away unfortunately and there’s a faint air of oak barrel but BA Shore is salty chocolate front and centre.
As I said in a previous Stash Killing post, you open your beers whenever you feel it’s right to do so, but don’t leave it too long.
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