Last year I made a pale IPA with artificial spruce flavoring. The bottling date was August 1, 2009. Most of it was consumed within the first few months. It was novel, tasty and well worth repeating. I saved a few bottles to see how the brew aged. Last night, December 15, 2010, I opened one.
A year ago the spruce and the hops balanced nicely. As experienced brewers are likely suspecting as they read this, the hop aroma and flavor had faded over the past year, leaving the spruce VERY prominent. The tasting notes I wrote included the text "Strong spruce flavor and nose with aspects of pine pitch. This is NOT a beer for aging."
Fearing the remaining two or three bottles in the basement would end up down the drain instead of in my belly, I sprinkled some cinnamon over the beer to see if that helped. The dash of spice took a virtually undrinkable beer reminiscent of sucking a hunk of conifer into a pleasant, light Winter beer. It was more like drinking a frothy cinnamon beverage next to the Christmas tree, as opposed to chewing on said tree.
I offered some to my lovely wife, but she declined. We did however discuss the beer before going to bed.
"Honey, you're weird," she said.
"How so?" I asked.
"Spruce and cinnamon beer. Face it, you're weird."
"No argument there."