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Old 12-30-2010, 06:31 AM   #1
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Default Is it possible to let your beer sit TOO long?

i've always heard be patient with your beer and let it sit for a while to properly ferment, but is it possible to let it sit for too long? By letting it sit too long could it ruin a beer?

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Old 12-30-2010, 06:34 AM   #2
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Yes home brew beer does go bad faster than commercial brew. Although, this depends on the alcohol content and type of beer. If you leave a hefeweizen around for 5 years it's going to taste like crap... if you leave a barley-wine around for 5 years it will be delicious

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Old 12-30-2010, 06:40 AM   #3
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Are you talking about in the bottle or in the fermenter?

Letting it sit too long in the fermenter, some will say, will cause problems, but I've heard enough people on hear comment that they leave it for a long time and have no problems.

How long? 3 months? 6 months?

I know a guy who is just plain lazy about the whole bottling process, so he is known to leave his beer on the fermenter for over a year. Personally I would recommend against this, and I don't know if I could wait that long!

I have left a stout in the carboy for almost 6 months and it was my most popular brew.

Now, after you bottle, it really depends on the type of beer.

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Old 12-30-2010, 07:06 AM   #4
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I read the question too fast, sorry. I was talking about letting it sit in bottles. As for sitting on the fermenter it also depends on style and alcohol content as well, but like dunnright00 said, the amount of time you are talking about is what matters most to answer your question.

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Old 12-30-2010, 02:03 PM   #5
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There are a lot of posts [here] regarding aging in the primary. From what I've read, with proper sanitation, beer should keep on top of the compacted yeast cake for a while. If it was not that great in the first place, it will be not that great later on.

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Old 12-30-2010, 02:45 PM   #6
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zach, do a search for aging on yeast cake, or aging in the primary, and you will find lots of into on this topic. the opinions are varied.

some will tell you to just go 1-2-3. one week in primary, two weeks in secondary, and three weeks in the bottle.

i tend to use a more batch specific approach that focuses on the actual status of the beer. if the beer has completed fermentation in the primary (that is, the gravity has reached a fairly steady level), then i let it sit for 2-5 more days for a diacetyl rest. if possible, i like to raise the temp during that rest to about 68 (i normally ferment with the house yeast at 62-64).

once that primary period is over, usually 10-12 days, i'll rack to a secondary. in the secondary, i may let the beer sit for 2 weeks or even a month. this largely depends on two factors: (1) the strength of the beer and (2) how lazy I am about bottling. i brewed a stout that is about 9%, so i needed alot of resting time to work out the booziness. i let it sit in the secondary from the week before thanksgiving until 2 days ago.

that all being said, i've let a beer sit in the primary on the yeast cake for 3-4 weeks, and it was fine. the beer had a yeastiness that needed some extra time to age out, but it came around after a couple months.

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Old 12-30-2010, 02:58 PM   #7
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I try not to go more than 6 months in primary, switch to secondary if I plan to keep aging it. For most beers I can take them out of primary after 3 weeks and keg/bottle, but I'm lazy at times. Still is award winning beer.

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Old 12-30-2010, 03:02 PM   #8
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For bottled beers, the type of beer and bottling and storing conditions all play a part. Lighter beers are usually best served young. Bigger beers are very often fine if aged.

Introducing oxygen to the beer at any point past fermentation can lead to eventual oxidation, or a stale or cardboard flavor. (not unwanted in SOME styles) This effect can be accelerated by storing warm.

I think most beer can be kept for well over a year if you practice O2-free bottling techniques and keep the beer cool. Some styles are best served after a year or more of aging to mellow and meld the flavors.

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Old 12-30-2010, 04:55 PM   #9
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My friend and I made one of our first batches about 12 years ago. He found a 6-pack of them in his basement about 2 months ago. I encouraged him to open a bottle and see how bad it had gotten. He said it smelled fine. He then drank, and spit it out. Said it appeared to still be fine, but with no one else at his house at the time, we agreed that ingesting it was best left to a time when he could be driven to the hospital by someone should the need arise.

Maybe we'll open one up and split it every couple of years for nostalgia.

Then again, I'm not sure my sanitizing techniques were up to the same standards as they are now. I'm sure if it's contaminated, it will be obvious.

Right?

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Old 12-30-2010, 05:09 PM   #10
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yep

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