immediately after getting back from vacation last week i tapped two five gallon kegs of home brewed beer that i had lying around the house aging. one keg was a six month aged porter that i brewed back in january and the other was a two month aged stout that i brewed shortly before leaving.
i had actually tapped the porter earlier, before leaving on vacation two months ago, and back then i thought it was a really tasty and smooth brew. the good news is that it didn't go bad during my time away and it's still a tasty brew that has only improved with age. it's also the strongest beers i've ever brewed, my current calculations put it at 7.3% ABV. (OG: 1.069, FG: 1.013, 38.27 IBU)
the younger keg was a stout and it was supposed to be a "double chocolate" stout, inspired by a stout or the same name from Youngs. (see and here.) unfortunatly this one is a bit of a disappointment. the beer itself isn't actually bad... it's just no where near as good as youngs, which is excellent. today i actually did a side by side tasting comparison of the two.
Youngs has a slightly smoky smell with a definite chocolate and burnt malt taste to it. it has a slight bite, but it goes down smooth and doesn't leave much of an after taste. my stoute on the other hand has a mild smell that actually reminds me of pine and/or citrus. thinking about it further, it smells a little like hops. while this might be ok in an IPA, it's not a great feature in a stout. the taste is a bit more harsh than youngs. it's has a bit more of a bite, but it's not really a burnt or smoked malt type of bite, it's a bit more of an acidic bite that lingers after you swallow. (mind you it's not too strong bite, but it is there.) also, i really should have used more chocolate. (actually, i used baking coco since prepared chocolate has oil in it which doesn't mix so well with beer.) lastly, it has a bit of a thin mouth feel. ie, it feels watery compared to youngs. (of course i should mention that i think most the beers i brewed are too watery and i keep upping the amount of barley in them to fix this. i guess eventually i'll hit a point where it's just right or too much.) well, regardless of all the flaws i've listed above it's still very drinkable beer and i wont be pouring it out. actually, i'm drinking a pint of it right now.