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Old 04-21-2008, 03:07 AM   #1
EddieGlick
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Default Long Term Aging Tips

I'm planning on brewing a batch of BIG beer and cellaring some of it for years--if not decades. My primary concern (until others arise) is oxidation. I was wondering if anyone had any experience or ideas for minimizing oxidation. I'm planning on keeping the beer in an actual cellar, with a fairly constant temperate in the mid- to upper-60s. One idea that came to mind was wax seals over the bottle necks, but I seem to remember reading/hearing somewhere that this really isn't effective. Any sharing of the knowledge will be much appreciated!

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Old 04-21-2008, 03:31 AM   #2
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One good tip to keep beer for a long time is to make a LOT of it. You will taste it, make no mistake about this. Get a few beers under the belt one night and the temptation will rear its ugly head and before you know what has happened, you have staggered over to the box wrapped in duct tape, cut it off , grabbed a bottle and poured it. Drinking the lovely nectar you wonder why you did not have one sooner - and what will it be like in a couple of weeks. 1 year later a case is gone. True story!

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Old 04-21-2008, 02:37 PM   #3
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I'd suggest filling all your bottles from your bottling bucket and setting the caps on top as you fill, then go back and actually crimp the caps down after you are done filling so come co2 has had a chance to work it's way out of the beer and into the headspace of the bottle.

Also for long term I'd suggest the oxygen absorbing caps, then get a strong box and a combination lock, use a reminder service online to send you the combination in 1 year, forget the combination (not hard for me)

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Old 04-21-2008, 02:57 PM   #4
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Contamination is a bigger problem than oxidation. Consider sterilizing bottles and caps, not just sanitizing. A run through the dishwasher without soap and heat drying would be a good idea.

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Old 04-25-2008, 02:47 AM   #5
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I'm using 02-absorbing caps already, but the waiting for a minute before capping is a good tip. Thanks!

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Old 04-25-2008, 03:32 AM   #6
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If you have access...purging the bottles with CO2 will eliminate any O2 and possible oxidation.

A big beer with a heft hop bill will not be at too much risk for contamination.

But....what beer style could possibly be worth aging for "decades"?

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Old 04-25-2008, 12:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher
But....what beer style could possibly be worth aging for "decades"?
Not the beer itself, but the occasion. A relative just had a kid, and I was thinking of brewing a celebratory batch now and then save some for when the kid turned 21. Used to be a European tradition and I thought it'd be pretty damn cool to do, to. The beer will probably be an imperial stout with an SG of around 1.10.

Thanks for the tip--I hadn't thought of that. Minimizing C02 during bottling will definitely help, but I think the bigger concern is air getting in over the years--crimped caps on bottles can be notoriously non-airtight (I've actually gotten commercial brews that LEAKED). Someone mentioned using a corny keg. I don't have experience with 'em, so not sure how those would hold up...
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Old 04-25-2008, 12:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieGlick
N...I think the bigger concern is air getting in over the years--crimped caps on bottles can be notoriously non-airtight (I've actually gotten commercial brews that LEAKED). Someone mentioned using a corny keg. I don't have experience with 'em, so not sure how those would hold up...
I wouldn't use a corny. Gasket deterioration would certain occur over the years.

Remember that air is not likely to get in with a beer under pressure.

A big beer like that might do fine. I'd suggest bottling plenty, with an additional half dozen or so that you plan on sampling every 2 years.

As long as you:
  • Have a sufficient amount bottled to insure a certain % of "survival".
  • Store the beer in a consistently cool spot (65 ish).
  • Minimize moving the bottles.
You should have ample supply to celebrate.

One other "outside the box" approach is to talk to a wine bottler and employ wine or champaign bottles that use a plastic corking system and wire-down mesh.
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:03 PM   #9
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I would suggest the Belgian 750 bottles with corks and wire cages. Buy a case or two of Ommegang. It is cheap (relative) and the bottles are great, with easily removable labels. Then you can buy corks and cages from B3. This arrangement will be better for aging than a cap with wax IMHO.

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Old 04-25-2008, 01:34 PM   #10
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With wines they add a bit more sulfates to the wine that is going to be aged for a long time. At least that is the directions on my wine kits. You might also consider filtering the beer but if it's a big beer you might lose a bit of it.

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