Very much thanks to Chad and Christa for giving me a bottle of Avery Brewing’s “The Beast” Grand Cru edition. I cellared it in December and tried to give it to Christa on Saturday. I really think she would have liked it but that’s beside the point.
This is one of the most complex beers I’ve tasted. After 6 months of aging, it pours cloudy brown from the bottle. The aroma is of hops, grass, and green grapes. The first taste is pure sugar. The mid taste is of caramel and subdued yet robust hops. The rear taste is of sweet caramel, mild malts, and strong yet rounded hops. The aftertaste is of long-aged barley and robust yet balanced hop bitterness.
I think aging does this beer a lot of good. I’ve heard that The Beast is quite sharply hoppy when fresh. The 6-month cellared version is still very hoppy yet the hop flavors are much more well-rounded and balanced. The malts have all but disappeared in a raisin sweetness. The only defect that aging contributes is a slight breakdown of hop oils into vegetable oils, giving a slight grass aroma and “garden” type aftertaste. But that’s no reason to condemn this beer. Compared to others, it does age very quickly. I’d be interested to see what 2 or even 5 years in the cellar does to it.