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Aged 11 Below Big Mistake 2017

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Aged 11 Below Big Mistake 2017

11 Below Brewing Company

NW Houston

Barrel Aged RIS

ABV: 12.8%

IBUs: 68

Packaging: Draft, 12 ounce cans

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Nick and I met up for the 2017 release at the 2nd anniversary, but I had to bail before Sam arrived. 11 Below did their release on the same day as the Art Car Parade (UGHHHH), and that’s a family tradition that I can’t miss for any beer!

I ended up getting turned around on my way to my family because of cops pointing me in the wrong direction, street closures, etc.  So I parked more than 5 miles away from my family, and just ran the whole way. With a belly full of Big Mistake. Yuck.

I made it right in time and kept my promise, but in my haste I forgot to grab cans! So thank God for Sam muling some cans for me to be able to write this post.

I had my fair share of Big Mistake at the release, and I’ve drank my fair share again since then, but I sat on one can because I was experimenting with aging. I’ve been drinking craft beer for 7-8 years, but I didn’t start dabbling with a “cellar” until we started this blog, and I really only did it for the sake of conversation here. SOOO here we go.

I love 11 Below, and I loooove Big Mistake, but aging this beer was a big mistake.

11 Below Big Mistake features purple and black art atop the now iconically 11-Below raw aluminum. The art shows a mischievous baby with a match, a rattler and a toy block featuring 666. One night while out and about I overheard some folks discussing a rumor that 11 Below was next in line for Houston’s most Satanic brewery, so I shot a text to Jeff to ask. He laughed it off. Not even close. The 2018 cans feature a grown up baby running with scissors, same color scheme with a bit more white in place of their characteristic raw, shiny, brite aluminum.

Make no mistake, aged 11 Below Big Mistake 2017 pours like a very intentional beer. A thick, black, oil-like pour creates a chocolate-brown airy head that stays for a while and continues to slowly bubble up like a nitro beer.

This aged 11 Below Big Mistake 2017 smells like spicy, woody whiskey and a large helping of soy sauce with toasty coffee. The soy sauce aroma was purely from the aging, and that’s what disappoints me about aging.

There’s an unmistakable creaminess to each sip. It’s rich, moth, and the mouthfeel helps support all the flavor. Aged 11 Below Big Mistake 2017 tastes like whiskey, coffee and chocolate milk all in one sip. There’s a tiny hint of cinnamon that appears almost magically as the sip lingers. The carbonation is nearly gone, but I’m not expecting much crisp refreshingness here. As it warms, everything intensifies including a sweetness that becomes almost cloying.

When beers are this big, it gets harder to compare them to something macro. If there was any comparison, it’d have to be Brash something because of how thick and bold it is.

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You probably can’t find much Aged 11 Below Big Mistake 2017 outside of their anniversary parties at the brewery, but be on the look out for it annually in the spring time. This 3/31 @1PM during the 3rd anniversary party they’ll have some for only $7 per can. There’s a VIP barrel tasting (like we did last year), and you can get your tickets here. Word on the street is there’s only like 5 left.

  • Aged 11 Below Big Mistake 2017
3.5

Aged 11 Below Big Mistake 2017

Man, this is a solid beer. I wish I woulda drank it fresh. Maybe Sam did something suspect with it while he was holding it for me, but that’s doubtful. I’m excited to get more this year, but I’m not aging it. I think I’m done aging beer after experiencing this.

What’d you think of 11 Below Big Mistake? Did you age it, and if so, for how long and how’d you think it held up? Let us know by rating with a single click below, or share your thoughts in the comments section. Beers to you, Houston!

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Anthony Gorrity
tony.d@beerchronicle.com

Anthony's a Houston native, a Creative Strategist at https://ledgeloungers.com/, an adjunct instructor of Visual Communication at Lone Star College, and a UH Coog that loves good beer almost as much as he does his city. Anthony lives to help others and that's found a home helping some of the coolest breweries on earth with creative and marketing projects that can be seen on our Portfolio page. Fueled by hoppy lagers, sessionable IPAs, and gangster rap, he's ticked his way through H-Town, rocking the most unusual Nikes he can find. When he's not writing for us, he's with his family or very patiently rooting for the Rockets.

2 Comments
  • Brent Topa
    Posted at 22:48h, 29 March

    I aged it on accident and I regret my decision.

  • Anthony Gorrity
    Posted at 07:58h, 02 April

    Oof. Tried to tell you!

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