Thursday, November 11, 2010

Old Jubelale

It might be silly to save Deschutes Jubelale in the basement year after year, but it's what I do. I started off putting a case aside every year, but last year I only saved 12 bottles, and I'll do the same this year (oops -- just stole one of this year's to have something to write about; better remember to replace it).

Over the past few days I've been rotating up some 2008 and 2009 bottles into the fridge. After a year or two, the flavors are rounded a bit; hops and spices have faded and the malt really comes out. It seems like the mouthfeel is a little denser, but having just cracked a brand new bottle, I think that's an illusion brought about by the lower bitterness.

The year-old (2009) bottle is a pleasant counterpart to a fresh bottle -- cloudier, flatter, mellower, more subtle; malt and molasses flavors, plus a lingering memory of the hops. The two-year old is more of the same, but the oxidation is starting to creep in, though not in a totally bad way. I once heard someone say that there was a pleasant oxidation in a beer we were tasting -- I think it was something old brought out for a Fred Fest one year -- and I was a little flabbergasted at the thought that someone would appreciate that damp paper taste. Now I understand. The oxidation really dominates the nose on the 2008, but it actually adds something a little interesting to the taste. Now, that case of 2004 Jubelale in my basement that was badly, horribly oxidized after only a year is a different story -- anyone need some bad beer?

The 2010 is a gem. Everyone likes to say of Jubel "It's good this year" or "It was better last year". I'm not sure if this year's is better than the 2009, but it might be: it's a beautiful chorus of roasted malt and piney hops. Lingering in the background is a faint rosewater flavor that ties a lot of Deschutes beers together for me -- I get a similar sensation from Black Butte and especially Cinder Cone. Tasty stuff. I'll have more to say about it about a year from now.

For another twist on Jubel, check out the Jubel Wassail schemed up by Ezra and Jacob for Saturday's "Brewing up Cocktails" event at the Hop and Vine.


  1. "beautiful chorus," eh? careful there, sir. you're inching precariously close to douche territory. but maybe i'm nitpicking. it's not like you said "magical equipoise of greatness."

  2. I noticed that too, and I even thought about not posting it. But I decided it would be even lamer to write something like that and then pretend I didn't, so I decided to let my douche flag fly.

  3. Bill... Check out the Doc's 'Cellaring beer' post today.

  4. Thanks, Doc, good info. I will say, I've had some Thomas Hardy that had gone around the bend. Except for my insane Jubelale project, I don't age anything for more than 3 years. And I'm leaning more and more towards drinking the big ones without any aging at all, or after just one year in the cellar.

  5. Unfiltered and unchilled is the key. So many breweries are sending out their bottled beer micro filtered to get yeast and sediments OUT of the beer. It's an appearance factor! I want that yeast for aging and so should the brewery!

    I can enjoy a big beer young or aged, but so many improve with age "IF" the brewer gives up a little yeast in the bottle.

    Ever have a Dick's Grand Cru or Dick's Tripel? Huge SWEET malty monstrosities! I can taste the potential of a great beer with some proper cellaring... Alas, NO YEAST in the bottle! They don't mature well! They don't dry out well! They kind of do nothing with age but spoil or remain sickly sweet and nasty.

    Ever wonder why the Doc is so cranky?? When the brewing world is slashing it's throat by doing something stupid like producing Malted Beer Pancake Syrup (Dick's Grand Cru) that has potential to mature into something great, but ruins the whole thing by not giving it a chance.

    You're concept of drinking fresh and/or storing for a year is an unfortunate reality. Most beers today are "What you see is what you get." If it's worty, sweet and nasty... yer stuck with it. Many times it's the brewery caving into the incompetent majority who wants their beers CLEAR AND BRIGHT with none of that 'yucky' sediment. I say, "Don't suffer FOOLS brewing world! Make those beers so we can mature and cellar them or put that malt syrup on yer pancakes!" ;-}

  6. I do the same thing with the same beer. I used to do it with Winter Welcome also. Nice post.