OUT: 5 cellared lagers

Think it’s crazy to cellar a lager? Not when you’re dealing with Baltic porters, imperial schwarzbiers and pilsners on steroids. We dug up five hefty lagers in our cellar to check in on how they’re evolving.


What we tasted: This imperial pilsner was an all-around favorite. A slightly musty grain aroma preluded a big, creamy wash of sweet-and-sharp malts, bright lemon, and a husky grain note in the finish. The soft mouthfeel had all the flavor of a pilsner, but without the biting, carbonic bite.

What aging (probably) did to the beer: A couple years really tamed the alcohol presence, and helped form an ultra-cohesive profile. Don’t sit on this one any longer; it’s ready to pop open right now.


What we tasted: We wrote about this and the Boulevard pilsner when the bottles first arrived—they were different then, and that still rings true today. Oxidation’s taken over American Pilsner, lending a papery flavor that doesn’t quite jazz with the firm hop bitterness. Just a touch of bready malts and vague fruits color the background.

What aging (probably) did to the beer: Clearly, oxidation is taking over, but it’s still in the papery stage. This could segue into dark fruits (figs, prunes) in a year’s time, for an interesting result. If not, we simply sat on this one too long.


What we tasted: OK, technically this is an ale, but, it’s a hybrid beer, which means it’s an ale fermented at lager temps (thus, we’re sticking by this blog post’s headline). This ultra-sweet cream ale, runs sherry fruit across the tongue; grainy, bready malts underscore the sweetness. It’s lush, bubbly and intensely interesting.

What aging (probably) did to the beer: Well, that sherry flavor wasn’t there originally. Plus, we could barely detect the 8.2% ABV. This could be popped open now, but we’d rather wait another year to see how those fruit notes continue to evolve.


What we tasted: Sadly, this brewery’s no longer around. We’ve held onto this imperial spin on its signature schwarzbier since its closing in 2012. This big beer now pairs roast-and-cola dark malt notes with bold cherry and date fruit tones; a near tart snap focuses the fruit before a clean lager finish takes over.

What aging (probably) did to the beer: Three years down coaxed out those brilliant dark fruit notes, while the darker malt flavors stayed mostly intact (we don’t remember the cola sweetness originally). If you have this artifact, open it now.


What we tasted: This smoked Baltic porter (yep, many Baltic porters are actually fermented with lager yeast) hit us with a big waft of smoked turkey scents (with hammy accents). Milky smooth on the tongue, this creamy beer washed back with smoky pork flavors and dark, roasted malts. Alcohol lent warmth to the sip, with a presence deeply entrenched in the swallow.

What aging (probably) did to the beer: It definitely smoothed out the swallow and muted the booze. We’re waiting for dark fruits to evolve and complement the meaty smoke, so we’ll suggest sitting on this one for another year or two.

Posted on Friday, June 20th, 2014