Cellaring Beers: Avery Mephistopheles, Strong Stout, Boulder, Co. At 11 Years From our “Vault”
Date: February 23, 2018
The Story— Avery, as we have mentioned here before, was one of the first “super craft” breweries in the United States. It brews very good traditional styles, but ranges far off the reservation for many of its intensely strong and flavorful ales. Mephistopheles was an early excursion.
I’m not quite sure how we had the smarts to put down this beer and let it be for over a decade. It was one of the best beers we tasted in 2007 and I’m stunned by our forbearance in letting this one lie. The original notes describe a huge, complex, brilliantly balanced extravagance. Lots of dark fruit, but less prune than dark roast. Ellie liked it, I loved it. It was brewed to a somewhat stunning original gravity of 1.134 with Turbano sugar to push the alcohol to 16%. I’m not sure the beer has improved over the decade, but it certainly hasn’t lost much. Sometimes it’s enough to put a really great beer down so you can have a merely great beer later. You can’t go back in time, but you can bring some of the past with you when you cellar beers.
The Beer— At 11 years it’s, big, deep, boozy, and fruity with dark fruits and an ashy roast. The only disappointment was from some unexpected oxidation. As it drinks molasses and some flowers join dark fruit skin that stops just short of tart. Ellie’s notes- Some of Thomas Hardy character of deep syrup, roasts and stewed fruit, lasting wood, tart and boozy with some surprising hop survivors.
Value — Good. The big beers from Avery are only a bargain if you can find a store that’s given up on them. Usually you’ll pay double digit dollars for a small bottle of nectar.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.