After our imperial-pilsner-gone-bad, we wanted to redeem ourselves with another Boulevard Smokestack Series beer supposedly past its prime. Since spring is doppelbock season, what better to pull out than Boulevard’s 2009 version of its delish cedar-aged doppelbock, Seeyoulator?
As we’ve mentioned, Boulevard makes a cellar rat’s life a little easier by printing batch numbers and best-by dates on its bottles; our two bottles are from the second batch of 2009, and bear best-by dates of August 2010. Still, with all of those malts and an 8.5% ABV, we thought the beer would age well beyond it’s year-long prognosis.
And for once, we were right. Listen: We loved this beer when it debuted. But today, it’s one for the books.
What we tasted: A banana-bread smell with a twinge of cherry lures your face into this beer. The flavor-mouthfeel combo is a testament to cellaring: The ubersoft palate and seamless marriage of malt and yeast notes is simply everything you hope to get from aging beer. You can’t tell where the banana esters end and the toast-and-toffee malts begin. Drying wood notes (there’s that cedar!) and a teeny hint of peppery alcohol show up in the end to tie up the swallow.
What aging (probably) did to the beer: That “aggressive wallop of hop bitterness”? Gone. And that’s fine; it leaves room to really appreciate that soft, dreamy-smooth toffee-toast-yeast mélange. Seriously, this drink’s so velvety, the finish is almost milky… in a really, really good way. Interestingly, the dark fruit flavors that usually build with aged malty beers—and originally, there was a nice cherry thread in Seeyoulator—have dissipated, cementing the fact that, well, there are no “facts” in beer cellaring. There’s no real alcohol flavor—that 8.5% has blended nicely into the malts—save for that prick of spice that binds with the woodiness in the end. And if the hops were still around, you might not appreciate how much the wood brings to the table here.
A 2009 bottle of Seeyoulator is most certainly at its peak today; personally, it ranks among the top beers we’ve ever un-cellared (is that a word?). We’ll bust out our remaining bottle in six months to test that hypothesis and let you know how that goes.
For now, we’re making the tentative claim that burly doppelbocks can withstand three years in the cellar. Any doppelbocks you’ve found to age particularly well? Let us know.