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Hermannator 2009 vs 2010

October 29, 2010

I had saved three bottles from last year’s Hermannator. It took some will power, as Hermannator is one of favourite beers, but I did it.

I wanted to start by doing a blind tasting. Two identical glasses with coloured duct tape to mark the difference. Something I couldn’t have done this with the help of my roommate. I would thank her here, but like all my friends, they don’t read this blog as they have questionable taste in beer. Ya know, I’m going to tell her I mentioned her on here, so I might as well thank her. Thanks Elijah!

I sat at the dinning table in utmost of anticipation while Elijah carefully prepared each glass. When each she brought out the glasses I had a sneaking suspicion of which beer was which instantly. The silver duct taped glass had much less carbonation than the red duct taped glass. I took a quick whiff of each beer. They smelled much the same. I went in for a taste with the red glass first. Then I went in to the silver glass. I then confidently said that the red glass was the 2010 vintage. I was right.

How did I know this? First the carbonation of the 2010 was higher than the 2009. Loss of carbonation is something I have heard that happens when beers get some age on them. Then the bottles tastes quite different. Almost like a different beer, very similar, but different; as if another brewery tried to brew the same beer. The 2009 was filled with flavours of dark fruits, raisins, rum and brandy flavours. The 2010 was dominated with flavours of chocolate and coffee and there was a soft touch of alcohol still present.

So, which one did I like the most? Both. That’s right, a blend of about 50/50 is sublime. Layers beyond layers beyond layers of flavour. If I had to pick one vintage it would be the fresh 2010. I prefer the chocolate and coffee flavour opposed the dark fruits in the 2009.

This is my first true personal foray in to aging/vintage beer. Sure, I have drunk vintages beers before. The other night I had one of the first batches of Quatre-Centieme from Unibroue. It was brewed in mid-2008. But this is the first time I compared an incredibly fresh vintage of a beer to one that is pretty much one year old. One I had that I had aged myself. I really enjoyed it the process and I think I learned a lot about beer from it. I hope that I helped you learn a little bit about aging in some way.

I still have two bottles of the 2009 vintage, so expect this post again in a year and then in another year from that. Though, for those I won’t be doing it by myself. Drinking three bottles of Hermannator at once is going to get messy. Four is just asking for trouble.

Oh, I suppose I should thank all the employees of Vancouver Island Brewery for brewing such a treasure of a beer. Thanks guys!

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