Old Beer: Good Beer: Brewdog Abstrakt AB01: 2 Years Aged

Its time to revisit old ales again. Well beers that have been aged, not the style old ale.  This time looking at the Abbey Quadrupel Style Belgium Ale made with vanilla pods, now with two years in the tank.  Back when I first tried it, I enjoyed it but found it a bit mixed up, like the flavours needed more time to harmonise.  It was with great interest I drew this out from its cool ageing area and prepared to pour.

Right from the start it was noticeably different.  A lot smaller head drawing forth, now kind of a thin sheen than the initial cascading head of might. Also the colour seemed a clear red, though an amount of sediment was clearly visible. Guess I sodded up the pour just a touch.  The aroma was significantly lighter, more sweet notes that before, and much more vinous.  Slightly dusty like eccentricities stores.  Not the most welcoming of openings. Though the vinous touch was a good sign.

Onto the first sip.  Very quiet top and tail, I was about to write it off on first sip, but the main body rolls in nicely.  Very chewy textured, it’s got a bit thicker over the years, and much smoother.  Lots of sweetness, the vanilla is much more evident amongst toffee and glacier cherries.  The smoothed out texture had lost a lot of the more unusual elements from before like the wheat character, and the sourness is much better integrated into the sour grapes and vinous thickness.  Slightly fruitcake like now as well.  A brandy cream style has been added as well.

It is a significantly different beer, for better or worse.  The ageing seems to have taken a very standard route of much more vinous, slight sour grapes and fruitcake.  It has integrated the flavours better but at the cost of loosing a few. A lot less heavy duty as well. Reminds me of how whisky ages at the high levels, a lot of the fire is lost, but the flavour is there and much mellower.  In some cases here, too mellow, hence the issue top and tail.

Overall a mixed package. Less complexity and force. Much better texture and integrated flavours.  The sheer change is worth the ageing I would say. It’s still a tasty beer and its very interesting to rate its progress. Flavour wise it can’t compete with the big guns of the Belgium word, the rochforts and the Westvleterens, both of which age marvellously.

A tasty beer, and lovely thickness and vinous outreaches.  Not a show stopper at this point though and a weak entry compared to its much cheaper competition.  Been a fun journey though, and one of the more fascinating alterations over a beers ageing.