DRAFT magazine has this photo feature every month called "Lay This Down/Bring This Out", which purports with near-scientific accuracy to tell readers when to cellar a beer, and for how long, and then when to actually bring other beers out of hibernation, so they're at the perfect, optimal drinking time. Since I've never deliberately "aged" a beer outside of once keeping a bottle of THE ABYSS in storage for one year to the day, just to see if I noticed anything special about it once it had "laid down" (nope), I've sort of scoffed at this notion. (I love the pictures, though).
But what about having a beer around in your beer fridge for a few years that you just simply never got to? I guess I kinda laid down this 2011 bottle of SHMALTZ "JEWBELATION 15" for four years. It's always been there waiting, sitting back there, and I've always said that this week, this is the week that I'll bring out this 15% alcohol, 15 malt, 15 hop monster. Well, turns out that this was the week. It's Hanukkah, folks! For the second night of the holiday - i.e. last night - I busted open the "Jewbelation 15" and got down to business.
You know, SHMALTZ may only get partial and begrudging props from the discerning modern craft beer enthusiast, probably because of their marketing gimmicks, the fact that they've been around so long (and are therefore "old") and because their best-known beers are the Coney Island lagers. But people sure loved this one. I'm pretty fond of it myself. I certainly don't have a 2011 tasting to compare it to, but after four years I can see how perhaps the high-ABV edges of this thing could have been rounded off a bit. It's black as night, still a little boozy (more in the smell, and honestly, not that much), and big and sweet with loads of malt. Chocolate-covered cherries come to mind, and that's a good thing. Dark and fruity, and really not a whole lot of hoppiness. That too may have been a casualty of the last four years. I guess we'll never know, will we? 7.5/10.