Double the “Double”

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“Which beer is better?”

I get this question often, especially when we have multiple beers of the same style on tap at the same time. Sometimes it’s easy to answer; sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes there is one IPA, for instance, that’s just heads and shoulders above everything else; other times, there’s a lot of good stuff on, and it’s all very different.

Ever since we tapped the winter ales, Dick’s Double Diamond 2007 and Dick’s Double Diamond 2008, beer fans have been seeking my advice on which one they should choose. But the problem is in their question. It leads me to one of my own: why only choose one?

To get the full experience, sit down with a taster tray or a couple of 10 ouncers and pit the two Double Diamonds against one another. That’s really the fun—and the whole point—of having both of them on tap at the same time. You may recall that I’ve talked about “verticals” on this blog before; as a quick reminder, a vertical is two or more of the same beer, but aged at different intervals. It’s a pretty rare thing to find at a bar, so whenever you see it available, don’t miss out. Especially if you’re never tried a vertical, it’s worth doing at least once to taste the vast differences in flavors between differently aged beers that are otherwise identical in their preparation, ingredients, and conditioning. It’s amazing how just that extra year of aging can have such a profound effect on the flavors.

To give you an idea, here’s what I experienced with both the ’08 and ’07 Double Diamonds:

The ’08—This newer batch of beer has a sharp caramel flavor with a little roast in the background and a rich tartness to it, somewhat similar to a red wine. The body is fairly thin with a slight booziness present. While I wouldn’t necessarily call the finish “clean,” the flavors do fade from the taste buds pretty quickly.

The ’07—The first difference you’ll note between this and the ’08 is the aroma. The ’08 has a very slight aroma of caramel sweetness; this beer’s smell is strong with muskiness and a little perfume. On the taste buds, this one starts out far more balanced between the caramel sweetness and the roasted qualities; both flavors actually work in tandem—one fading as the other one rises, and then the reverse. Both are also stronger and more prominent, resulting in a thicker bodied beer and a smoother drink that lingers on the taste buds long after sipping.

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