Over the weekend I did a side by side of Old 392 Barleywine from Carolina Brewing Company in Holly Springs, NC. In the photo below the beer on the left is from 11/22/05 and the brew on the right is from 12/18/13. The original Old 392 was brewed to celebrate the alcohol level increase in NC from 6% to 15%. The elder beer is 9.3% ABV and the younger variant was 9.1% ABV. It was interesting how the head was affected over time. The new beer had a nice stand while the older aged beer had a much lower head and retention was slightly impaired. The malt in the older beer was deep and mysterious with a nice sherry complexity and enough hop bitterness remained to put this in the category of an old ale nowadays. The new beer was more hop centric and the hops to me were herbal in nature. I’m not a big fan of herbal and perhaps that’s just my perception, but I much preferred the old example as opposed to the new kid on the block. Aging beers is something you must do with care because some styles and some breweries just will not stand the test of time. Lucky for me in this case the aged beer was wonderful and a pleasure to consume.