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Old 03-29-2010, 01:40 AM   #1
Ravyn82
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Default Shelf life of a keg?

Hi there, I have been lurking around here for some time, so let me introduce myself.

I am from Michigan, a full time father and just returned college student who is in the process of setting up to brew my first beer *yay*.

I do have a question though, I don't drink often, but often enough that I want to give home brewing a shot...if i keg my beer and keep it in a kegerater how long can I expect it to last? Also, if I leave a keg untapped how long should that be good for? Thank you all so much for the help, and for all the help you didn't know I was getting when I was lurking

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Old 03-29-2010, 01:44 AM   #2
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Depending on the style anywhere from 6 months to 10 years.

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Old 03-29-2010, 01:46 AM   #3
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So how will I know which it is? It seems like that would be important to know

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Old 03-29-2010, 01:51 AM   #4
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That's a tough question, and I wouldn't venture to guess, none of my kegs ever lasted long enough to go bad.

So now I'll guess:
A lot depends on the beer style. But I believe it still would be drinkable after a year, it would just be past it's prime. Any longer than that would be a dice roll IMO.

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Old 03-29-2010, 01:53 AM   #5
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I just tapped a barleywine I kegged 5 years ago. It is awesome!

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Old 03-29-2010, 01:55 AM   #6
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as long as you flush the head space in the keg with CO2 and there are no leaks in your keg it should last long enough for you to drink all of it.

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Old 03-29-2010, 02:46 AM   #7
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I too have never tested this theory as I am usually trying to figure out how to make the keg last longer. How long the beer will last is dependent on a number of factors. The most important factor is in handling. The greatest contributing factors to quickly deteriorating beer is oxygen, bacteria and sunlight. On top of that, alcohol and hops are preservatives which inhibit oxydation and slow the growth of bacteria, which means that the higher the alcohol and hop content the longer a beer can last.

If I had to give you a quick answer, under optimal conditions, I would say lower alcohol, lower hopped beers (1.035-1.060, IBU- less than 40) I would start getting nervous after 5-6 months. High alcohol, highly hopped beers (barleywines, meads, Belgian Tripel/Quadruple, etc) I would start say 16-18 months max. This doesn't mean in CAN"T go longer, there are just too many things in the homebrew environment that make it difficult.

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Old 03-29-2010, 04:37 AM   #8
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There are plenty of oaked barleywines, Russian imperial stouts, lambics, Flanders red/browns, and Belgian strongs where 12-18 months is just where they're coming into their prime, and a lot of people prefer them at least 2+ years aged.

Lots of lower-gravity saisons and lagers benefit from at least months (often many months) of aging.

Super-hoppy beers (especially dry hopped) and most hefeweizens and other wheat beers lose flavor quickly with age. Drink those young!

Stouts and milds, or any really big beer with a malt backbone can age quite a while, with the really big ones and brett/bug beers often improving with age for quite a while. Lagers tend to smooth out with cold aging, which can be a big plus.

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Old 03-29-2010, 07:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravyn82 View Post
Hi there, I have been lurking around here for some time, so let me introduce myself.

I am from Michigan, a full time father and just returned college student who is in the process of setting up to brew my first beer *yay*.
Where at in Michigan? Are you in law school (from your brewery name)?
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:14 PM   #10
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also its not like one day is the greatest beer and the next day its crap.

its just like real life, beer ages just like people , it slowly get better each day untill its as good as its ever going to get and then from there its a slow desent back down.

also if you where not so clean then it may really go "bad" and slowly sour.
but if its clean then it will not go bad it will just slowly go stale and lose flavor untill its just old a drab

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