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Old 01-06-2009, 12:15 AM   #1
dna_alexov
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Default Newb - have 3 beer kits from 1999 - can I still brew this?

I'm just getting started with brewing my own beer from home. Just started my first batch this Sunday - hopefully it will taste good.

My question is that a bud gave me three old beer kits that he never used. These are the standard kits in a sealed can with the pouch of yeast. Two of the kits had Best Before dates of 1999 and the other 2004. One of the 1999 kits is missing the pouch of yeast. Can I still use these kits? I would assume since they are air tight sealed in the cans, that they should be fine. Though I was told that the yeast may be bad. Can I use yeast bought from the store if my 9 year old yeast is bad?

Thanks

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Old 01-06-2009, 12:17 AM   #2
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Welcome to HBT!

You can use the cans but there is no telling how good they will be. Nothing in there is going to hurt you but they may not taste that good. They are free so nothing really wasted except you time if they're bad. You will need to get new yeast for them!

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Old 01-06-2009, 12:27 AM   #3
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"yeast from the store" You mean from the home brew supply store, not the grocery store, correct? The yeast you can get at a grocery store is for making bread, not good tasty beer.

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Old 01-06-2009, 12:31 AM   #4
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If it's a decade old liquid extract in metal cans, it will probably taste aweful nasty...it would have oxydized, and picked up all manner of metallic flavors...and it would be dark as all get out...

We're talking major extract twang here...

You could brew with it, but I wouldn't hold out much hope on having a pleasant tasting beer.

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Old 01-06-2009, 01:27 AM   #5
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It took me a while to find this over at TastyBrew.com | Homebrew Recipes & Resources, but this was a project that was worked on by Dan Listermann


Someone gave me an eight year old can of Brewmart Dutch Pils. I decided to test whether or not yeast nutrient or yeast energizer could stave off the cidery flavors associated with old extract. I made three gallons of wort and split it among three imperial gallon jugs. One was kept as a control and the other two were treated. All were pitched with a full pack of US56.

First the Pils wort, at eight years old, was very literally as black as stout. I expected darkening, but never that level.

Upon bottling, I was very surprised that there was no cidery flavors in any of the three samples.

Turning this over in my mind, I began to recall an early brewing experience. In 1988 a friend of my brother had two tons of DME in his garage. The trouble was it made bad beer. Looking back, I can see that the problem was stale DME that produced a hyper sweet cidery flavor. There was a single exception to this. It was a batch where I decided to dump a bunch of spare yeast packs. It turned out fine. I thought that I had hit on the right yeast to prevent the problem, but could never figure out which one it was.

I am beginning to think that the cidery problem is more complex than simply stale extract. I think it has to do with yeast reproduction. The two batches that should have produced cidrey flavors both had over pitching in common. I think maybe that nutrients degrade in extract in time. If the yeast needs to reproduce in the low nutrient environment it produces the cidery flavor. If enough yeast is pitched that it does not need to reproduce much, the flavor is not produced.

I am going to try to find some old extract and split a batch pitching varying amounts of yeast, underpitching some and over pitching others. If I can't find old extract, I might just use Cooper's which has, at least in my experience, usually produced the cidery flavor.

Anybody have a nice can of old extract? I can make a deal!

Dan

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Old 01-06-2009, 01:29 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I was actually wondering if yeast from the supermarket would work - sounds like it would but taste real bad. I will thus get proper yeast from the local brew store. Are there different types of yeast at the brew store?

As for the liquid extract, sounds like it will work but have a metally taste after being in the can for 9 years. Has anyone ever tried to brew well outdated beer kits?? I'd like to hear a few more opinions on this, as I do not want to waste my time (or sugar) if the resault will be bad.

Thanks

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Old 01-06-2009, 03:39 AM   #7
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A friend of the family recently gave me all his old homebrewing equipment, including a box of old malt extract. He said the last time he brewed was about 6 years ago, so the malt extract was well pretty aged. Anyhow, for the hell of it, I decided to open up two of the cans (Blue Ribbon hopped amber and a bock kit) and make a 5 gallon batch. I used 2oz of my own hops, steeped some roasted barley and chocolate malt, and racked the thing onto an US-05 yeast cake. After 6 weeks, the resulting beer was a very good hoppy, RIS style brew at 8%abv with a beautiful, lacy head. My friends really liked the beer and it got great reviews from some old homebrewers. Not bad for something I originally intended on tasting, then dumping.

So, yes you can make "good beer" from old cans of malt extract that by all means are past their prime. And I still have a whole box full of old extract if I ever want to make another batch. Though the thought of drinking something made from 6yr old LME isn't much incentive to do so.

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Old 01-06-2009, 06:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dna_alexov View Post
Are there different types of yeast at the brew store?
To be sure there is...to simplify things I'd get a packet of dry yeast - the most neutral I've used are Nottingham and Safale US-05, I've heard Cooper's is OK but I've never used it. For maltier english style beers, Windsor or Safale S-04 would be more appropriate.
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niquejim View Post
It took me a while to find this over at TastyBrew.com | Homebrew Recipes & Resources, but this was a project that was worked on by Dan Listermann


Someone gave me an eight year old can of Brewmart Dutch Pils. I decided to test whether or not yeast nutrient or yeast energizer could stave off the cidery flavors associated with old extract. I made three gallons of wort and split it among three imperial gallon jugs. One was kept as a control and the other two were treated. All were pitched with a full pack of US56.

First the Pils wort, at eight years old, was very literally as black as stout. I expected darkening, but never that level.

Upon bottling, I was very surprised that there was no cidery flavors in any of the three samples.

Turning this over in my mind, I began to recall an early brewing experience. In 1988 a friend of my brother had two tons of DME in his garage. The trouble was it made bad beer. Looking back, I can see that the problem was stale DME that produced a hyper sweet cidery flavor. There was a single exception to this. It was a batch where I decided to dump a bunch of spare yeast packs. It turned out fine. I thought that I had hit on the right yeast to prevent the problem, but could never figure out which one it was.

I am beginning to think that the cidery problem is more complex than simply stale extract. I think it has to do with yeast reproduction. The two batches that should have produced cidrey flavors both had over pitching in common. I think maybe that nutrients degrade in extract in time. If the yeast needs to reproduce in the low nutrient environment it produces the cidery flavor. If enough yeast is pitched that it does not need to reproduce much, the flavor is not produced.

I am going to try to find some old extract and split a batch pitching varying amounts of yeast, underpitching some and over pitching others. If I can't find old extract, I might just use Cooper's which has, at least in my experience, usually produced the cidery flavor.

Anybody have a nice can of old extract? I can make a deal!

Dan
I dunno where you got the idea that old extract would be cidery....the taste has been described at the waaay other end of the spectrum as mollases or treacle like from the aging, oxygentation and concentration of it, the Maillard reaction that occurs in the can...
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dna_alexov View Post
Though I was told that the yeast may be bad. Can I use yeast bought from the store if my 9 year old yeast is bad?
The yeast that comes with the kits would be after eight years absolutely useless. Throw it out.

I'm not very experienced, but I'd say get some good dry yeast from a brewshop, rehydrate it nicely before hand, and let it sit in primary for a good 3 weeks before bottling, to let the yeast do its work.

Total cost: 3 packs of yeast and 3 weeks per brew, and I bet you'll get something drinkable.

On the topic of rehydrated yeasts, I've just been sterilising a glass, and pouring the yeast onto tap water, and letting it sit til it all sinks to the bottom. Is this the approved method?
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