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Old 03-20-2010, 10:00 PM   #1
jamesjensen1068
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Default How Long Will Beer Keep

Just started brewing this year (Jan) I have made a batch of Brown Ale, Belgian Ale, Apfelwein and have a 3 gallon batch of Hard Lemonade in primary right now. I also have just bought two kits from Northern Brewer: Irish Stout and Cream Ale.

I want to save a few bottles of each batch. My question is "what it a good rule of thumb when it comes to how long a beer will keep?". I imagine it depends on the type of beer. Just looking for a general time frame?

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Old 03-20-2010, 10:19 PM   #2
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The rule of thumb is "the bigger the beer, the longer it stays" as well as "the darker the beer tends to be, the better it ages"...granted there are going to be exceptions to this. None of my beers make it to the "aging stage" they empty pretty quick. So I have a barleywein that I made in January and its sitting ina secondary that I wont touch till june. Its OG was 1.089 so I would expect it to age well over the next 6 months. I also have a few ales which I will drink after 1 month in the bottle. I would expect those modest ales (OG 1.048) would last about 5-6 months before starting to get "off tasting". Since we are homebrewers we have to rely on regular ingredients to preserve the beer, ie hops and EtOH, while commercial brews have preservatives added for shelf-life.

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Old 03-21-2010, 12:06 AM   #3
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If you keep them cool and dark, they should last a year or so. As was stated above the higher gravity beers will last much longer. I had a barley wine that was misplaced for about two years. Let me tell you, that was some great beer. Unfortunately there was only five bottles left.

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Old 03-21-2010, 12:28 AM   #4
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Thanks much...I was thinking of keeping about a six pack of each batch to hold back. That way I could drink one a month after the main part of the batch is gone. It's really interesting how the flavors change over time. Brew, Drink, Learn.

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Old 03-21-2010, 01:07 AM   #5
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Years at least. I have a few bottles that say I can age them for up to 5 years. They are around 10% ABV but I've heard others say that anything above 7-8% has the potential to age. Whether or not the flavors will get any better is something entirely different though.

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