I have a few Stouts in my inventory that I would consider “baby whales”….not the KBBS or Morning Delight type of whales, but Stouts that I own that I consider tough to get. Many of these are probably easy to get for others – depending on where you live – but they aren’t available locally and I had to make a trade to put them in my Stout fridge. The Abyss, Parabola, BCBS Rare, and Pirate Paradise are examples of what I consider tough to get. For those wondering, a “whale” in craft beer vernacular are those beers that for some reason are incredibly difficult to get, whether through a limited bottle release, a brewery only release, or a small distribution area. People wait in lines for these beers, buy tickets to get these “whales”, or make trades to get their hands on these rare bottles.
I’ve always had the mentality that I should wait for something before I open my rare beers. An important event in my life or something to celebrate. I opened and enjoyed a bottle of Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout at my daughter’s wedding and have a bottle of BCBS 2015 Rare waiting for the birth of my first grandchild. Recently, I attended a funeral which caused me to reflect and ask myself why am I waiting for a special event? Do I really need something special to crack open a special Stout? Perhaps I split the difference – save a bottle of two for truly unique events (weddings, births) and enjoy the others when the muse hits me.
I took advantage of my new thinking recently, when I opened my 2014 vintage of The Abyss from Deschutes Brewery in Oregon. It tasted great and I savored every sip. The incredible notes of molasses and licorice with a hint of the barrel aging told me that I had timed the aging well. I truly enjoyed this stout and I am certainly seeking another bottle for my cellar! I certainly was happy I chose this “carpe diem” path!
When do you decide when to open your whales? Anytime? Special events? Share your thoughts!