Mystery beers

Part of getting ready to move next month is not only packing things up, but also disposing of excess homebrewed beer that’s been around for a while. And by “disposing of” I of course mean “drinking.” Some thoughts on these beers.

The oldest I have in the fridge right now is a porter I brewed way back in Spokane, about, oh, ’96 or ’97, I’m guessing—maybe earlier. I had named this “Capricorn Porter,” after my astrological sign. It was a big beer; I don’t remember everything I put into it, but I do remember licorice, and probably molasses, and a lot more. I was very ambitious and over-the-top with it, but it still turned out pretty good.

Eight years later, I had a sixpack left over and surprise, it’s still drinkable. Wouldn’t win any awards, but not terrible; it’s pretty astringent and you can taste the age. But this last sixpack held up better than I thought it would, considering it’s been through two moves and some questionable storage conditions.

This weekend I also drank the last bottle of a batch of Toad Spit Stout that I had kept for a few years. (I don’t remember if it’s left over from a batch I brewed right before leaving Spokane in 1997, or if I brewed a batch here in Bend since then.) It was pretty good, a little sharper in the roasted flavor than it should be when it’s fresh, but enjoyable. If ever there’s a signature beer I associate with Charlie Papazian and beginning homebrewing, it’s Toad Spit. It’s a classic, from The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. Maybe this will be the first batch of beer I brew when we get moved into the new house…

I also tried a small bottle of strawberry mead that I made for our wedding back in 1998. It has a bit of a kick to it; it’s very dry, with a mellow and at the same time lactic-sharp fruit bite to it. Not bad. And hardly any aftertaste, I thought, at all. A good sipping drink, I think, but I’m afraid of drinking too much in one sitting: mead aftereffects can be harsh.

And finally there’s some unknown ambery ale in a Grolsch bottle, and I can’t remember a thing about it. The fact it’s in a Grolsch bottle tells me it was probably a batch of beer I made for my parents (who had an abundance of those and whenever I would brew for them I’d use their bottles), but I’m totally blank on the details. A true mystery beer! I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…