Cellaring it. Aging it. Saving it for a rainy day. If you can resist the temptation to crack open your brand new bottle of Rum King or Old Friend, intriguing things can happen over time. But knowing which beers to age, and for how long, and why, can be confusing, and no one wants to spoil a perfectly good bottle of beer in the long run. We asked our Quality Control Manager Daniel Howell to break it down, so you can sally forth into your cellaring foray with confidence!
How long should I age my beer?
At Indeed, we package beer that our brewers deem ready to consume. Your beer does not need to be aged at all. However, many beer drinkers find that the character of beer changes and sometimes changes for the better as a beer is aged. These interesting and enjoyable changes typically occur in higher alcohol beers.
How will my beer change over time?
Typically beer enthusiasts describe aged beer to be more mellow and more complex. This may be due to a number of factors, but this is likely due to oxidation of the malt components that may further meld with and possibly mask the alcohol in the beer. As beer sits undisturbed, small particulates also settle out (which will change the flavor of a beer). If honey was used in the beer, the flavor profile of the honey tends to come to the forefront and develop nicely with some age on it. For example, the aging of LSD goes through a number of interesting changes. In its youngest stage the lavender has historically dominated the profile. With time the lavender, while still present, becomes more of a "team player" than "spot light" stealer. The play between the caramel flavors of the dates and toasty-ness of the malt comes out more. Also as I have found with all honey beers, with time the honey character really starts to come out and shine through. With time there is a cinnamon character that develops and I'm not exactly sure which component or combination is responsible.
Where should I store aging beer?
Beer should be aged at “cellar temperatures.” Typically this is around 45-50 degrees F. Warmer temperatures will speed up aging reactions and may lead to undesirable flavors (described as paper and cardboard). Cooler temperatures will not harm the beer but will slow the aging process. Beer should always be kept in a dark location.
How long is too long to age my beer?
Beer should be aged long enough, but not longer. This is a very hard question to answer. The beer changes as it ages in an manner that is not completely predictable. If you have an aged beer that is good, it could get better but it could also get worse. This is the gamble that has to be made when aging beer.
Why does beer change in flavor over time?
The primary change in beer flavor in time comes from oxidation. When beer is packaged, a small amount of oxygen is trapped in the package. This, along with the small amount of oxygen that can “creep” in over time, leads to slow oxidation of the malt. This oxidation typically creates sweet, caramel-like characters and can even give beer a sherry-like flavor and aroma. Time and, again, oxygen can also change the character of the hops. The aroma and flavor of hops tend to disappear and the bitterness can become more aggressive.
How can I tell if my beer is too old?
The changes in the flavor associated with oxidation will become stronger and more pronounced as the beer ages. When these flavors are no longer enjoyable, the beer is too old. An easy way to tell if a beer is too old is to check the date code on the package. At Indeed, we include batch numbers and “Best By” dates on our cans and 12 packs. Not all breweries date code their packaged beer, but at Indeed we think it’s vital that the customer has all the information they need to make an informed purchase. Buying fresh beer shouldn’t be a game of roulette.
Are Indeed beers made to be aged?
We expect all of our higher-alcohol specialty beers to age well (LSD, Rum King, Old Friend, and Mexican Honey). If you buy one of our specialty beers in a 750 ml bottle and it is wax finished, this beer should age well. We do not recommend aging our year-round or seasonal 12 oz. can offerings; these beers are meant to be consumed fresh. For all canned beer, check the bottom for the best by date.
Thanks, Daniel! And if all this talk of aged beer has whet your whistle, we've got just the ticket, just in time for the holidays: curated gift sets for giving or receiving, including a Rum King vertical ('14, '15), 2015 vintages of Hot Box and LSD, and a lovely three year vertical of Old Friend Holiday Ale. Gift sets are available while supplies last in our Gear Shop, open Wednesday-Sundays.
Here at Indeed Brewing Company, we've partnered with Johnson Brothers to expand our distribution territory to North Dakota statewide!
We kicked off this latest expansion at the Fargo Beer Fest on September 26nd, and begin selling beer on October 1st. Beginning November 2nd, Indeed will also begin distributing to Western Minnesota, including Detroit Lakes, Moorhead, and Alexandria. This new territory will be handled by the Artisan Beer Company, a Minnesota craft beer distributor owned by Johnson Brothers.
"We are thrilled to be representing Indeed Brewing," says Todd Johnson, COO of Johnson Brothers. "We've been admirers of these outstanding beers for a long time, and this is exciting news for beer lovers in North Dakota and Western Minnesota."
Indeed’s move to North Dakota feels like coming home for a few key players at the brewery. “Having grown up in Grand Forks, I can’t wait to belly up to the bar and order a pint of Indeed beer in my home state of North Dakota,” says Indeed Brewing Co-founder and President Nathan Berndt. “North Dakota is a state where we want to sell beer, not where we have to sell beer. I can’t wait to help Johnson Brothers bring Indeed beer to all four corners!”
Co-founder Tom Whisenand also has deep roots in North Dakota, where his grandfather owned and operated the Park Package liquor store in Williston for thirty years. “We were all surprised to learn that Bob Nelson at Johnson Brothers used to call on my grandfather at Park Package,” says Whisenand. “It turns out that we go way back with Johnson Brothers, and now we’re looking to the future with them, too.”
Indeed Brewing and Johnson Brothers look forward to bringing Indeed’s full lineup of quality craft beer to Western Minnesota and North Dakota, including seasonal offerings like the newly released Let it Roll IPA and Yamma Jamma Harvest Ale, specialty releases such as barrel-aged Rum King Imperial Stout, and three year-round beers: Dandy Lager Pale Lager, Midnight Ryder Black IPA, and Day Tripper Pale Ale.
Today marks the kick-off of the 2015 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver, Colorado, and we've got an Indeed crew headed out west to join in the festivities! Founded in 1982 and hosted annually, GABF brings together a staggering number of craft breweries from across the country to join in this long-standing, top-notch craft beer fest.
There's a hugely popular ticketed tasting open to the public, and, in the spirit of healthy competition, breweries submit their beers to GABF to be judged by a private panel of experts. Each brewery is allowed to enter up to five beers in a variety of categories. This year Indeed entered these beers for consideration:
- Bock, in the Bock category
- LSD Ale brewed with Lavender, Sunflower Honey, and Dates, in the Herb and Spice category
- Mexican Honey Imperial Lager in the Honey category
- Shenanigans Summer Ale in the American Wheat without Yeast category
- Mojito Shenanigans in the Experimental category
Curious how we choose which beers to submit? Let's tap Head Brewer Josh Bischoff to give us some insight into the selection process. Josh tells us, "We generally start with a list of the brews we think would do well and then start tasting them to see where they are at in there aging process and looking into categories for them. Hoppy categories are always really crowded with over a 100 entries most of the time, so we tend to shy away from those categories. From there it's just a matter of talking through the list and picking what we think is peaking flavor-wise at the right time, and whether there is a category each beer fits nicely into."
You might be wondering, "What makes GABF such a big deal?" Josh explains, "It's a great celebration of American craft beer, and it's pretty cool to be able to get a large percentage of the breweries in the United States in one place for a weekend. The competition itself is really tough. The last few years there's been around 3,000 beers entered with only 92 categories and three medals per category." Thats only 276 medals for thousands of beers entered! This hardware is hard to come by, so winning a medal at GABF is something worth celebrating.
The awards ceremony takes place this Saturday, September 26th, so we'll be on pins and needles from afar waiting to hear the results and wishing good luck to all of our favorite breweries in the competition from Minnesota and beyond. Stay tuned for any big GABF-related news to come!
Lace up your foot-stomping boots and come thirsty, y’all: It’s the 4th Annual Hullabaloo! Two full days YAM-PACKED with the brews, bands, and molten cheese-filled burgers you love. On Saturday October 10th (12-10pm) and Sunday October 11th (12-8pm) we’ll be throwing down with our annual harvest hoe-down. Celebrate the turning of the season with the return of Yamma Jamma Harvest Ale, our Hullabaloo cask wagon, and the release of 2015 Rum King*! Fuel up with eats from Blue Door Pub, get down with music by First Avenue, and knock back your favorite Indeed beer with us. We’re getting everything ready, now we just need you. Let’s Hullabaloo!
The nitty gritty: Hullabaloo is tented and free to attend, and we do party on come RAIN OR SHINE. All ages are welcome, though things do get crowded, loud, and boisterous and we’d prefer the party (like our taproom) to be adults-only after 8pm. We love pooches, but for these two days, please leave them at home. Save on time and ATM fees and bring CASH for the outdoor bars, cask wagon, and can stations. Stay in the know when you RSVP to our event on Facebook here.
Hullabaloo 2015 Line-up
*RUM KING Bottle Release Details
$18.49/bottle, limit 4 bottles per person Bottles will go on sale at 11am, October 10th-11th
After much dust, sweat, and beers, we are proud to unveil The Ox, our auxiliary taproom expansion! Boasting a beautiful bird's eye maple bar, plenty of seating, and a full tap list, The Ox was built to accommodate. Whether it's catching the spillover from a jam-packed Saturday night taproom crowd or housing your next private event, The Ox is here for you!
Coming soon, we'll also have a full Gear Shop to browse and shop in The Ox. Stay tuned with us on social media or by signing up for our newsletter, and we'll keep you posted with details on the grand opening.
On the first floor of the Solar Arts Building, just down the hall from where you usually find us, our new space is big, bright, and most importantly, full of beer! Come see for yourself. We'll meet you at The Ox.