IntroductionA floor was installed in my attic in 2008. I've used it to store beer ever since. It's particularly handy in winter when everything inside is kept at perfect drinking temperature. And right from the early days I began hoarding odd bottles, ones I'd already reviewed on my main blog and I thought it might be fun to leave them aside to see how they age, or to drink on a special occasion. The problem is, in seven years, the special occasion never arises. I'm the luckiest fucker alive: every day is a cause for jubilation, and it never seems to occur that I should probably mark this with a celebratory vintage beer.
But no more. The stash is getting out of hand, I'm no closer to actually drinking any of it, and I've begun to worry about fires, earthquakes, sudden death, or any number of other inconveniences that might prevent me from getting to those bottles. So today begins the project to do just that. I reckon a blog is the way to encourage me to keep it going. It won't be as regular as The Beer Nut, it won't cover beers I haven't already written about there, and it's not as open-ended: there is only a finite amount of liquid up there, after all. But I'm looking forward to getting stuck in, and especially to the first beer that's sitting in front of me now, awaiting the attention of the bottle opener.
Origin: England | Date: 2003 | ABV: 11.7% | On The Beer Nut: November 2009
I got a waft of umami on opening the cap, a hit of soy sauce that made me reconsider this whole project from the outset. The inside of the cap was wet with beer, though the bottle has been sitting upright for about six years, so I'm not sure how that happened. It came out completely flat, a clear dark russet colour. At this stage I still wasn't convinced the beer would be any good. One sip put that to bed: it's fantastic.
Smoothness is the main feature and biggest selling point: there's a slight trace of sparkle, but mostly a big and silky liqueurish roundness. It spreads decorously across the palate then slinks casually down the throat. I get plump raisins in the foretaste in convincing imitation of Pedro Ximinez sherry. There are sweet cherries and dark cocoa, and the finish offers a mild rasp of bitterer liquorice. Funny how all of these are things that other brewers add in to beers in search of the same effect, but really there are no shortcuts when doing it properly.
A triumph of a beer, and an auspicious start to my project. Cheers!