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Old 11-19-2006, 06:00 AM   #1
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Default 10+ Year Old Bottles

I think I just got the deal of a lifetime. Well, maybe not THAT great, but I would consider it at least a slight wet spot in a homebrewer's wet dream.

I got the following for $50USD:
1 6gal glass carboy
1 bottling bucket
3-4 misc bubblers/airlocks
cleaning brushes galore
9 empty cases of mized 12oz and 16oz brown bottles
5 full cases of 10+ year old beer and soda

At first I figured I would have to spend the next few days uncapping and pouring beer after beer down the drain just to get these extra 5 cases of empties. But the guy I got em from said 'I bet some of them are still good, you should try it out.' Now, I was a bit skeptical, and was going to pay (as a dare) a friend to drink one of the bottles to test it out, but he said he'd at least taste a swig just to see.

Needless to say, 4 out of 5 bottles we opened were still beer/soda flavored. The carb levels went from a tad low to a large amount of small fizzy bubbles. I tried the 4 and they didnt taste all that bad. They werent great, but hey...not all homebrew is awesome, some of it is bad and some of it is just ok.

Interestingly enough, on the 2 actual beers that were drinkable, the dates were from 1993 and 1994. Scary stuff that 12-13 years in a bottle and they're still beer.

I think I remember someone asking if it's good to drink em a year after bottling, but I'm here to say for a fact that some beer could last 10+ years.

So, I ask my homebrew bretheren...1) did I get a good deal and 2) should I continue opening bottles to see if they're any good?

A couple of the cases are 'archive' collections (1-2 bottles of each beer brewed during his 3 years of homebrewing), which are neat just to see all the different stuff.

I may chronicle his brews by date just to see how his progression went and what beer he brewed at which time of year (the bottles have exact brew or bottle dates on the label).

We got our Red Ale label done today as well. nothing fancy, but I'll post that tomorrow for some critique.

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Old 11-19-2006, 02:42 PM   #2
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What's really important is do you think you got a great deal?

I'd say yeah!

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Old 11-19-2006, 03:03 PM   #3
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Since you have plenty of empties, you can just open the rest at your leisure & drink or dump.

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Old 11-19-2006, 03:11 PM   #4
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Default My guess, its fair

I would say its fair. I'm thinking you broke about even on the equipment side of things. It depends on the condition of the stuff you got. If you got any hoses, throw them out now.

The beer will be interesting, I bet most of them are aweful. Who knows, if he had some high gravity beers they might be drinkable. I would think a couple years would be about the limit on these. This is based on previous postings. I had a post awhile back how long beer can sit conditioning in the fridge. I have been lagering ales, and giving beer away. Nothing is quite a year yet. The wife is going through invitro and I really can't drink. I still continue to brew though.

I was in a silimar situation awhile back. A buddy sold me his homebrew equipment for $40. (He is going to AA) Some of the same things, plus a bottle capper and a 4-5 year old beer ingredient kit. The kit was for a continental pilsner that turned out to be more like a SA Boston Lager. However more brown than red. Still pretty tasty. I still have 3/4 of case of it in the fridge. I think I'm the only one who likes the beer. That's OK.

I would keep cracking bottles open. Drinking lousy beer that isn't even yours is no fun. You will need to soak the bottles to get yeast off the bottom so you can use them. By know I bet its pretty damn hard. An overnight soak in 1 cup of ammonia to 5 gallons of water will help remove yeast deposits and labels. This works best in a kegger sized tub or deep basin sink. I think a star-san cleaner would do well too.

Good Luck!

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Old 11-19-2006, 08:36 PM   #5
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Any inside bottle scrubbing I do is with a brush attached to a drill...

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Old 11-19-2006, 09:07 PM   #6
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More important question for me is "why did he let them go for that long without drinking them/giving them away?".

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Old 11-19-2006, 10:06 PM   #7
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Well, a few of the batches were 'marinade' as he called it. Not good enough to drink, but not bad enough to pour down the drain.

There's a full case of 'archive' beers which is just 1 bottle from every batch to hold on to for a while.

After opening a few more today, we're going to pitch them all down the drain. I still think, however, that 14 cases (24 bottle cases) of 16oz bottles is still fantastic. If I'd buy 14 cases of even 12oz bottles at my homebrew shop it would be $140. I think $50 was a good deal, and I get a glass carboy. Most of the rest we will be throwing away. The bottling bucket is a little rough looking and the stoppers have all dried out.

Still, this added carboy allows 1 more brew at a time than I could previously, which means not only did we brew today, I may even brew again on Wednesday or Friday if I have some time.

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Old 11-19-2006, 11:25 PM   #8
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Default 14 cases

Thats 9 more cases than you said earlier....

You seem to be happy and 14 cases is alot. You got a good deal.

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Old 11-19-2006, 11:26 PM   #9
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Sorry - I mis-read your first post. Still a good deal.

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Old 11-19-2006, 11:58 PM   #10
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Yeah, I agree on the good deal. I'd still be game to taste some of them if I were you, especially from the "archive collection" - as long as you don't need the bottles right now.

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