Saturday 8 May 2010

Kings Ale Tasting

This is not a beer review blog. There are already enough excellent exponents of this format on the information super highway (you don’t hear that phrase anymore do you). But I am going to break this rule in celebration of my progress on Project Pater. I have been down into my cellar via the BDSM dungeon and cannabis factory and have brought up a bottle of Bass Kings Ale.

I purchased a case of Bass corkers from Davis Remmel the lab manager at Brakspear who had inherited them from his father. Davis was a laid back chap and not really into his beer so when I offered him a ton for the case he nearly ripped my hand off. They have been in my care for 9 years and during this time have been cared for as if they were my children. As they have spent the entire time in the dark at a steady 12C it is fortunate that I am not a father!

The more I think about a beer which is 108 years old the more awesome the prospect of tasting it becomes. This beer is older than my great grandmother and everyone who brewed and bottled it is dead. Many probably died in some foreign field defending us all . Brewers today can add exciting and rare things to beer, they can mature it in old barrels, they can claim that they are driving a wedge of insurrection through the staid culture of brewing with their radical brewing recombinations but they cannot make it 108 years old.

The capsule had kept the cork in good nick and it came out in one piece. As soon as the cork was disgorged the room was filled with the aroma of rum, spice, Christmas pudding and concentrated dust. I must admit to being sceptical about aged beer. I had a few very expensive aged beers in Belgium all of which just tasted of old knackered beer. Leather, tobacco, ash, Marmite, dirty, cloying and frankly awful. I was beginning to think that beer, like fruit is lovely because it’s ripe. Try to preserve it or age it and it will only go one way, down. Today Kings Ale changed this.

It was almost bright and had about 1.2vols of CO2 (the kind of level you would find in a good cask ale). The aroma was complex beyond description. Won’t stop me trying! Port-like, brandy-like, perfumed, sappy on the nose. Rich, tannic, dark and acetic in the mouth. I wouldn’t like to drink more than 250ml of Kings Ale but every single ml is a journey and an epiphany. I loved every second of the whole experience. My eyes are considerably damper than they were when I started.

I’ve still got a couple of Kings, a Radcliffe and 3 Princes in the cellar which I am looking forward to much more now.

To the men of Burton 1902 I hold my glass aloft and with tears in my eyes and pride in my heart. I salute you for beating the path which I ply today.


Barry M said...

With the greatest respect: B*****d! Sounds wonderful on so many levels.

BeerReviewsAndy said...

you have a cellar, a bdsm dungeon and a cannabis factory along with the god im jealous! ;op

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Im so jealous. I had a 1979 Thomas Hardy's for my 30th last year and the words Liquid Engineering summed it up perfectly.

Meer For Beer said...


Melissa Cole said...

Had some of the beers that were dug up from Cape Hill a few years back of around the same vintages and had a similarly misty-eyed moment - it's a true privilege to try beers this old and I'm delighted to see, after our row about aged beers in the White Horse, that you are coming around to the idea!! Although I would imagine you're making exceptions rather than rules here!

Delighted you've been able to experience this.

Stuart Howe said...

A row with you Melissa? Never!

Baron Orm said...

Wow this sounds amazing, thanks for sharing Stuart!

I rate bottled ales, that Kings Ale sure would be one special 'baron rating' night! :)

Anonymous said...

<speechless> :o

Jamie said...

Bloody. Hell.

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