PSA: Always remember to drink your IPAs fresh!


Originally written back in 2015 but still true..

I'm the expert at hoarding beers - I love to age beers to see how they taste different over time. Three years down the road, that Belgian ale or Imperial Stout that you "forgot" about will have changed its flavour quite a bit. The same thing happens with India Pale Ales (IPAs). Unfortunately for IPAs, they change for the worse.

As you probably know, hops are a strange plant that when they're fresh, they can smell like a million different things. Adding hops to IPAs can give you aromas and flavours from grass to pine, pineapple and even dill pickle. Here in Manitoba, the freshest non-local IPAs we get are on average four weeks old and I find that the typical life expectancy of a decent IPA is around eight weeks total.

I find once it gets to around the eight week mark, the hops break down and change flavours completely. Instead of getting a pine, grapefruit, tropical or dill flavour profile to it, it gives off a completely different aroma and flavour to it.. like it's more of a nutty/malt focused aroma/flavour to it by then. Nothing's wrong with that.. but the brewery made the beer to taste a certain way and when it's supposed to taste like pine and it tastes like various nuts, that's not good.

So if you're picking up some rare or interesting IPAs at your local beer store/etc, drink it as fresh as possible - if the canning date was yesterday, letting it sit in your fridge for a week or so won't be bad, but if you're spending a good amount of money on the IPA, drink it.. dammit! Or if you're not going to drink it, give it to a worthy beer geek who would appreciate it.

Unfortunately for me, I'll likely keep on aging IPAs because I'm a natural hoarder - so do yourselves a favour and never hoard IPAs unless if you're 140% certain that you want to see what the beer tastes like in x months/years down the road.

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