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Faire vieillir sa bière… ou pas?

Le vieillissement est une procédure très répandue dans le monde des boissons alcoolisées. Souvent déjà affinés en barrique au préalable, certains vins atteindront leur plein potentiel aromatique au bout de quelques années de conservation en bouteille, mais qu’en est-il de la bière? Certes, un taux d’alcool plus élevé favorise la conservation, ce qui explique en partie pourquoi le vieillissement ne s’applique pas à n’importe quel type de bière. En voici les pours et les contres!

Pour avoir fait moi-même plusieurs expériences de vieillissement avec différents types de bière, je peux tout de suite vous dire que les bières houblonnées (IPA, Pale Ale Américaine, etc.) sont extrêmement fragiles et se conservent très peu de temps. Plus elles seront fraîches, meilleur ce sera. C’est-à-dire que le houblon est une épice très fragile, qui a horreur de la lumière, des variations de températures et des températures trop élevées. L’idéal pour ces types de bière est de conserver au froid, à l’abri de la lumière et de consommer dès que possible. Sans trop vouloir m’avancer dans des durées de conservation bien précises, je dirais qu’il est préférable de boire ces bières dans un délai de 3 mois à partir de la date d’embouteillage, si conservées dans des conditions idéales. Évidemment, votre IPA préférée sera sans doute encore bonne après ce temps, mais probablement différente. Moins aromatique, moins de « punch ». Je dirais que cette marche à suivre s’applique pour la plupart des types de bières possédant des arômates fragiles (fleurs, thé, fruits, etc.) et possédant un faible taux d’alcool.

Ceci étant dit, existe-t-il des types de bières qui vieillissent bien? La réponse est oui, sans doute. Les bières possédant un taux d’alcool plus élevé tels que les vin d’orge, les scotch ales, les stout impériales, les triples, et autres répondent généralement bien à la conservation de longue durée. Néanmoins, gardez en tête que lumière et chaleur ne font pas bon ménage avec la bière, et ce, peu importe le style. Les conditions de vieillissement idéales sont dures à établir puisqu’il existe différentes écoles de pensées, mais chose certaine, plus la température d’entreposage est élevée, plus le vieillissement s’effectue rapidement. Personnellement, je conserve les bières que je désire faire vieillir dans un réfrigérateur réservé à cet égard, à une température stable d’environ 8 degrés celsius. Pourquoi faire vieillir sa bière? La verticale. Pour moi, il s’agit de la principale raison. La verticale consiste à se procurer la même bière à un an d’intervalle afin d’y observer l’évolution. Ainsi, vous pourrez comparez les différences entre une 2014, 2015, 2016 et 2017, par exemple, et voir à quel moment la bière atteint son plein potentiel.

Un dernier élément important pour un entreposage idéal est le positionnement de vos bouteilles. Debout ou couché? Préférablement, debout. Toutefois, il ne devrait pas y avoir de problèmes à conserver des bouteilles possédant un bouchon de liège à l’horizontal, puisque le risque d’oxydation relatif à la capsule est absent.

Or, le vieillissement de la bière est expérimental et pour le plaisir avant tout. Il ne s’agit évidemment pas d’une science exacte! Je vous suggère de toujours gouter la version fraîche d’une bière avant de décider d’en conserver une, parce que parfois, l’expérience est peu concluante. Dans le cas contraire, il est fort intéressant d’observer les subtilitées qui se sont développées au fil du temps. Bonne dégustation!

Alexandre Beaulieu-Simon
Bièrologue, Brasserie Artisanale La Korrigane

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  14. Brews you can consider for maturing regularly ought to be over 8% liquor, yet certain different styles are qualified also, for example, lagers that are harsh, smoked, or spiced. The most widely recognized lagers you might need to age are supreme stouts and barleywines.

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