Clay Robinson, co-owner and founder of Sun King Brewery, regularly tastes from the brewery’s cache of barrel-aged, canned beers going back to 2012. The beers hold up just as well as those in glass, he says, which shouldn’t be a surprise—cans are manufactured to house far more volatile liquids than beer. “The same cans we put beer into are also used for energy drinks,” Robinson says. “And energy drinks are some of the most acidic things on the planet.”
Sun King Afternoon Delight 2013
The aroma on this barrel-aged version of Sun King Brewery’s Dominator Doppelbock—bourbon-heavy when fresh—has developed a milk chocolate curtain that drapes over a sweet caramel and toffee bouquet. Flavors of crusty brioche knead into wet raisins and leather, while cherry cordials and orange zest linger on the strong lager’s edges. A foundation of bittersweet cocoa flows beneath, before a finish of silky vanilla rum cake. Time has thinned the body somewhat, and while this causes the 8% beer to drink like one far less inebriating, any extra age might make the mouthfeel too flimsy to support the still-delightful flavors.
21st Amendment Lower De Boom
Treat the choice to cellar this American-style barleywine like throwing it in time-out: Its unruly, nostril-stinging alcohol requires discipline. Age will temper the strong, overripe orange and cabbage scents, allowing the underlying blend of five malts to come to the fore. Sticky citrus oil bitterness—92 IBUs’ worth—currently distracts from malt flavor complexity, so some sweetness, too, is needed. To give the alcohol time to subside and the malts time to develop, this tiny can could use a year or more in a dark corner.