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Old 02-09-2009, 07:16 PM   #1
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Default Ok.. so as home brewers don't pasturize, how long does it keep?

Ok, So I've got a couple batches under the belt, but never realy considered spoilage untill I read a thread here.

How long does HB keep in a Corney Keg @ 42 deg F in a fridge?
And for the second part how long would a HB keep in Keg/with CO2 but at room temp?

Granted I don't think I'm close at this point as my oldest is only 8 weeks old.

But I anticipate my Heff might take a while to finnish 5 gal as I like my other beers better and they aren't so filling....

With summer... hopefully coming soon... I'd like to make some lighter beers in preparation, but only have room for 2 in the fridge and with my M&J going to 2ndary this week then to keg in 2 more weeks... I may have a storage problem come March/April with more in the pipeline than I'm drinking...

Yea yea I know... you all would be willing to help me with the "Oversupply" situation, but I think I'll try and manage on my own for now, but I also don't want any of it to go to waste.. So if it might spoil, I'll accelerate the consumption and throw another party to speed the draw down.

So how long do yours last before spoiling?

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Old 02-09-2009, 07:20 PM   #2
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A lot longer than you think. The hops in the beer act as a natural preservative, and as long as it is not exposed to light or oxygen, it will keep almost indefinitely. Those "born-on dates" from BMC are just marketing ploys. I've never had a beer spoil from too much age.

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Old 02-09-2009, 07:21 PM   #3
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Good question.

First off, let's stop talking spoiling here, what we're really talking about is "aging". Strong beer can age just like wine. As a general rule, the higher the alcohol, the longer it will continue to improve.

Anything around 6 or 7 percent will get better for a year or longer. For every percent above that, you can probably add another year or two of aging. Once you hit 11 or 12 percent, it will probably age almost indefinitely, but won't improve much beyond a couple of years. You may notice, however that hops aromas and flavors will dissipate as the beer ages.

Lower alcohol beers, 2 to 5% will still improve over the course of 3 to 12 months or so. They will be drinkable for quite some time after that, they just will no longer be improving with age. The only exception I can think of being hefeweizens which tend to peak when they are very young... around 6 to 8 weeks out of primary as I recall... and go downhill pretty fast after that, getting pretty disappointing after about 3-5 months, IMHO.


This assumes, of course, proper sanitation procedures.

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Old 02-09-2009, 07:24 PM   #4
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I don't know about kegs and spoilage...but it is rare that a bottle of beer will "spoil" if by spoil you get infected or moldy or something...It's flavor profile may peak but it won't go bad.

In the Dec 07 Zymurgy Charlie Papazian reviewed bottles of homebrew going back to the first AHC competition that he had stored, and none of them went bad, some had not held up but most of them he felt were awesome...We're talking over 20 years worth of beers.

It's going to really depend on the style and the recipe...Barleywines may not even come into their own for years and if properly stored may be good for decades.

I've tasted year old bottles of beer, and none of them had gone downhill either.

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Old 02-09-2009, 07:27 PM   #5
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Never had any spoil. It doesn't really need to be pasteurized, barring an infection beer will just get stale or oxidized - it shouldn't spoil. Even pasteurized commercial beer gets stale.

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Old 02-09-2009, 08:39 PM   #6
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Good beer (homebrew included) is like wine and gets better with aging and decent attention. Crappy pasturized, overfiltered mass produced wee waters become even less tasty with time because there is not much there to begin with and it doesn't keep well without a balance of ETOH and hops to keep the mean bugs away.

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Old 02-09-2009, 08:50 PM   #7
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I heard a Jamil show episode the other day, where he pulled a 5 year old bottle of Scottish 60 /- out of one of his storage boxes, entered it and won the category.

A well brewed beer, brewed with fresh ingredients, in properly cleaned and sanitized equipment (especially the bottles) will hold up for years. I may not be as good as when it was botted, but it will still be good beer.

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Old 02-09-2009, 09:00 PM   #8
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I pulled a 20-month old bottle of my Black Pearl Porter out a few months ago. Carbonation was still perfect and it was delicious.

CO2, alcohol and hops are not a friendly environment for growing bacteria.

Worst case is that the beer will spoil due to oxygenation at bottling time. That’s why I always cap on foam (CO2 foam) and use oxygen barrier caps.

A lot of beers will move past their prime over time…an APA will lose its dry hop aroma, an IPA’s flavor diminishes as hops flavor and bitterness fade, the unique flavors of a Belgian yeast strain and the “raw” nature of a good wheat beer will tend to get too “clean” after time. I pulled out an American wheat that was about 12 months old and it was crystal clear. Tasted great…but much more like a pilsner than a nice cloudy wheat.

I’m still pulling out a bottle of our 888-RIS from last year at a rate of about 2 a month. Talk about awesomeness.

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Old 02-09-2009, 09:13 PM   #9
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A little off topic but I have 2 bottles of Buttweiser that have a born on date the same as my sons 9-2-99 and they have some serious floaters in them. In 12 more years on his 21st birthday I'll let you know how they turn out. Stay Tuned

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Old 02-09-2009, 09:14 PM   #10
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A little off topic but I have 2 bottles of Buttweiser that have a born on date the same as my sons 9-2-99 and they have some serious floaters in them. In 12 more years on his 21st birthday I'll let you know how they turn out. Stay Tuned
You need to brew up a nice big Barleywine right now for the occasion.
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