So we revisit the triple hopped black IPA one year on.  I’d already drunk one fresh and one at the six month point.  The six month one was nice, but some of the hop character was absent by that point. The real question was would time add anything to compensate?

The previous high hop Abstract AB02 seemed to get mixed responses aged. At one year I felt it was becoming slightly leaden and past its best, others seemed to really enjoy as it lost its hop characteristic and matured to a more barley wine style aged beer.

So I come to this with a mix of hope and nervousness. The initial pour is smooth and thick, slightly more viscous at a guess but it is hard to say.  Aroma is significantly different but highly impressive. Not much bitterness any more but has a mix of grapefruit, nuts and liquorice. Quite a heavy pungent aroma. In fact heck this thing has lots of liquorice in it at one year.

The main body holds onto the bitterness more than the aroma, as does the finish. As I somewhat expected the hops feels more clingy and dry with age, somewhat leaden as well.  It makes a serious dent in the character of the beer, making it feel slightly heavy and not as smooth to drink.

I was a bit unsure coming in on this one. The highly hopped beers tend to age badly, but high abv and dark beers tend to be prime candidates. Thus this straddled the line between the two. At this point in its life it s probably the weakest of the Abstrakts I’ve aged, or possibly the weakest beer I’ve aged. The hop character is leaden, with very little trade off in exchange.  The hop is all earth and oils now, and the body slightly charred. It is possible further ageing may reduced the hops more but bring out new characteristics but I wouldn’t take that bet myself.

Thing is for all it is weaker in character its still an ok beer and several friends were still highly impressed by it, but it’s nowhere near its peak and is a waste of the show it had when young. The lovely citrus is gone from all but the aroma. It’s enough to make me glad I drank the other two back when they were still great fun.

So not a bad beer, but much diminished.