What maturity brings to beer
Brewing is many things. It is endless cleaning. It is repeating the same steps over and over again. It is trial and error. Rarely do we think that one virtue all brewers possess is actually - patience. A lot of it. A great chef will prepare a dish and try it immediately. If he feels a need to improve it, he can do it right away. For a brewer it sometimes takes months before he tastes the fruit of his labor in full beauty. Trial and error can be quite costly, both time and money-wise.
Once the beer is brewed and cooled down, yeast is added and the beer is stored in the fermenter to ferment and age. This is the most important part of the brewing process and the one part where the brewer does almost nothing. All he has to do is to create the right environment for the yeast to do its magic and leave the beer alone. The progress of beer is slow. Usually the first few days the young, still maturing beer tastes unbalanced, even empty. But slowly, as time passes by, the flavors mature and the beer slowly becomes more and more rounded out until finally it becomes the wonderful drink we all love.
The majority of beer is meant to be consumed fresh. One of the more extreme examples is tank beer. Once the beer has reached a certain level of maturity, we transport it to bars that have a tank beer facility and it is offered fresh to the consumer.
The young beer has a truly unique taste. The foam, especially the one in Mliko pour, is something really special. Maybe the closest one would be smooth adult milk, except there is no lactose or nitrogen (so popular to increase creaminess in draught beer). Certain stronger beer styles, like barleywine and imperial stouts, are best enjoyed after a longer period of time, even a few years. During this time, the flavors evolve, hops lose their edge and the complex flavor components slowly take over.
Beer takes time. Ageing process alters many compounds and affects the beer taste. That is why after 150 years of brewing beer, we like to say that just like in life, in brewing every moment counts.