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Old 11-10-2012, 03:24 PM   #1
drymartini
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Hi,

I found a small batch of beer in my basement which I'd made as an experiment, but forgot about it for a a year and half. Basic ingredients, if I remember correctly, are some hopped malt extract, dextrose, and some blueberries. I figured that after a 1 1/2 years of sitting in my basement, it has probably gone bad, but when I took a whiff, it had a very interesting, pungent, alcoholic smell (not like beer, wine, or liquor, but maybe a combination of all, or maybe like rice wine, if it makes sense). If I did measure the density when I brewed it, I don't remember what it is. And just for kicks, when I put some in a shot glass and tried to light it, it almost seemed to catch on fire for the a brief moment.

I would love to give it a taste, but I'm afraid to make myself sick. My questions are the following:

1) any guess as to what might've happened to the beer?
2) what is the worse that can happen if I took a sip?
3) at what alcohol content can you light something on fire?
4) is it possible to get beet to that point?
5) what other chemical could it have morphed into which is flammable?

Thanks.

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Old 11-10-2012, 03:27 PM   #2
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I say try a sip. It's the only way to know for sure...
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:29 PM   #3
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My opinion:
It probably aged on autolyzed yeast deposits that gave it a meaty flavor
Worst thing that can happen is you saying "yuck"
100 proof or 50% alcohol
not without distilling it which you can do if you have the proper licenses
Nothing that I can think of

I frequently drink beer that I have aged up to 3 or 4 years. These are typically high-gravity brews, but I've also found the occasional forgotten bottle of lower gravity beer and they usually taste quite nice. None have tasted awful.

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Old 11-10-2012, 03:33 PM   #4
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Nothing pathongenic can exist on beer, new or old. So you can't get sick. It's not a big deal....

Beer doesn't go "bad" unless your sanitization is weak. Since nothing PATHOGENIC can exist in beer/wine/cider/mead, there should never be a reason to ever fear tasting something like this, no matter how old it is. Yeah, it may taste like crap, it may be vinegar, but NOTHING that could happen, could ever cause harm to anyone.

It's not worth passing by on something that could be amazing, because of fear.....

Noone thinks twice about drinking old wine do they?????

Beer is really no different than wine, homebrew or otherwise. Properly stored it can last and be drinkable for 100s of years.

To put it in perspective, in the Dec 07 Zymurgy Charlie Papazian reviewed bottles of homebrew going back to the first AHC competition that he had stored, and none of them went bad, some had not held up but most of them he felt were awesome...We're talking over 20 years worth of beers.

This is a great thread about one of our guys tasting 4-5 years of his stored brew.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/revi...assics-160672/

And I brewed an og 1.150, 150 IBU barleywine that I won't be opening for 5 years.

Not to mention the fact that there are vertical tasting for certain beers like Stone epic, where people collect each years beer and then sample a flight of them going back in time.

I just had this expericence not too long ago... We tried 48 year old beer today. One was interesting and drinkable, and one was gnarly.

Mbowenze has a thread about tasting an over 100 year old beer recently. And In my history thread there's a video of the OZ and James Drink to Britain tv series where they taste a beer older than that.....one that goes back to Napoleanic times iirc.

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Old 11-21-2012, 08:03 PM   #5
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Without a question, one of the most foul tasting "beers" I've ever put in my mouth. Tasted like the nastiest cider combined with rubbing alcohol. But I'm glad I tried it. Thanks for the advice.

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Old 11-22-2012, 01:52 AM   #6
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Too bad. It-shay appens-hay. You didn't mention what the OG was but I'm guessing it was pretty low. I have four bottles of 4-year-old Burton Ale waiting to be opened this holiday season. I know they are overcarbonated so I will decant into a chilled jug (pitcher as the Americans say). This is a type of "Old Ale" like Ballentine's used to make. Very high OG. I'll let you know what transpires.

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Old 11-23-2012, 01:45 PM   #7
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I didn't' have a hydrometer when I fermented this so I never took the OG.

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