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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Shelf life of beer
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:49 PM   #1
benzy4010
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Default Shelf life of beer

WHats the shelf life of Belgian ales?
And also IPA and wheat beers? Just curious.

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Old 10-03-2012, 10:21 PM   #2
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It is really a factor of the ABV and temperature.

Lower temps slow down processes that degenerate the quality of beer.

Alchohol content slows down the processes that degenerate the quality of beer.

Higher temps are a catalyst to the processes that degenerate the quality of beer.

Just as a primer to answer your question:

An average wheat stored at serving temps (34-40F) peaks somewhere around 24-30 days after brewday, but could easily be "good" for upwards of 6-12 months if stored at serving temps. The yeast and wheat that is typically in suspension in the wheat style make the aging of anything with wheat in it a little different than most beers.

IPAs and Belgians run the gammet of ABV, so when they peak and when they start to go downhill will all depend on storage temp and ABV. There are imperial IPAs and Belgian quads that don't peak for a year or two at cellering temps (55-65Fish) due to the high ABV. There are plenty of high ABV beers that are good for several years at cellering temps, and could theoretically be fine for upwards of 20 years with high enough ABV and kept at serving temps.

Anyway, every beer is different, but that's the basic idea.

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Old 10-04-2012, 12:24 AM   #3
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I've had strong (8.5%+abv) IPAs go "blue cheese" on me while in the fridge... ever since then I never keep store-bought IPAs around more than a couple weeks because you never know how long its already sat around.

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Old 10-04-2012, 02:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
I've had strong (8.5%+abv) IPAs go "blue cheese" on me while in the fridge... ever since then I never keep store-bought IPAs around more than a couple weeks because you never know how long its already sat around.
You had something else going on. This wouldn't be typical for an old beer that was kept under pressure and cold. Once a beer starts to "go bad" from age, it gets cardboardy and stale, followed by vinigary.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:14 PM   #5
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A strong Imperial IPA might not "go bad" per say in a year or two, but at that age you are going to miss the whole point of the beer. Huge hops. I never let any IPA of any strength sit around for long. Belgians on the othe hand are fine for extended aging. Personally, I believe most beer is best fairly fresh. Big stouts even, although imperial stout is one style I would age about a year or so depending on the actual beer.

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Old 10-04-2012, 05:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
You had something else going on. This wouldn't be typical for an old beer that was kept under pressure and cold. Once a beer starts to "go bad" from age, it gets cardboardy and stale, followed by vinigary.
This wasn't homebrew, it was Deschutes Hop Henge!
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:13 PM   #7
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My father in law owns a wine importing biz and wanted to know about beer. He's thinking about expanding into some Belgians and big IPA and the like and wanted to know what different beers shelf lives are ad who ages best and stores best.

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Old 10-05-2012, 12:48 AM   #8
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If he wants longer shelf life, go Belgian, Imperial Stout, Barley Wines... stay away from anything hoppy. I won't waste my money on an IPA/IIPA that is more than a month past bottling these days.

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Old 10-05-2012, 01:51 AM   #9
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Lambics?

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Old 10-05-2012, 02:04 AM   #10
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lambics are good for years. that is as long as they have been taken care of (out of direct light, fairly cool, and the corks dont fully dry out)

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