Did you know that you can drink Kasteel Donker up to five years after its bottling date? Even though you can take this expiration date with a big grain of salt. Let our dark beer ripen using the tips below and become an expert at storing beer.
Before we serve our storage tips, it is good to know that, in principle, you can drink any type of beer after the expiration date. That is thanks to:
- Boiling the wort during the brewing process;
- The (high) alcohol percentage and the hop in the beer.
Beer contains no bacteria or pathogens. An expired beer will not make you sick, but it will taste differently. The flavour of blond beers generally gets worse, while dark beers develop a more complex character with time.
The golden rule? There’s no accounting for taste. Some people like an aged beer, while others only want fresh beer. The message is to experiment and taste for yourself.
Why store Kasteel Donker?
People store wine to allow the flavour to develop. You do the same thing when you let beers mature. You let the beer mature so that the flavour can develop. You only find out how it has developed when you taste the beer.
On opening a 10-year-old Kasteel Donker, our brewmasters tasted notes of port and madeira. The sweet caramel character of a ripened Kasteel Donker is due to the use of roasted malts.
If you will be trying beer ripening for the first time, experiment with a dark beer. The risk of a less pleasant taste experience is small. The chance you will continue with ripening beers will be all the greater.
Store beers upright or lying down?
The answer depends on the type of cork.
- Store bottles with a crown cap upright.
- Bottles with a natural cork cap should be stored lying down so that the cork does not dry out and shrink as a result. Before tasting, put the bottle upright for a few days, so that the yeast sediment can sink to the bottom
Where should you store beer?
The best place to store beer is in a cellar or slightly cooled storage space that has a constant temperature.
- The best storage temperature is between 10°C to 15°C
- > 15°C: accelerated ageing
Besides a constant temperature, it is important that you do not expose the beer to direct sunlight. Light is disastrous for the flavour of beer. The darker, the better.
Some people like a ripened beer, while others only want fresh beer. The message is to experiment and taste for yourself.
When is it time to taste?
Whenever you feel like it. There is no time period for ripening beers. It’s up to you whether you want to store a bottle of Kasteel Donker for five, 10 or 15 years.
- There should still be some carbon dioxide when you open the bottle. If that is not the case, then there is a big chance the air will have negatively influenced the development of the flavour
- Cloudiness is extremely normal with matured beers. It does not change the flavour, but doesn’t always look that tasty.
What if you are impatient?
If that’s the case, buy a bottle of Kasteel Cuvée or order one on draught in the bar. The idea for this speciality beer arose after tasting a 10-year-old Kasteel Donker. Our brewers were blown away by the range of flavours, so they decided to copy the brewing process for the flavour.
Mission accomplished as Kasteel Cuvée impresses with its fruity character of port or madeira. And that without being stored for ten years. Here, read all about how Kasteel Cuvée came into existence.
Can you also store a speciality beer that has a similar flavour to a matured beer? Yes, you can. Although the flavour development of Kasteel Cuvée will not be the same as that of Kasteel Donker. Each beer develops differently, and a lot depends on the storage conditions
Ripening beers is not an exact science, but it is worth giving it a try. Will you have a go at experimenting?