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Old 12-29-2011, 10:31 PM   #1
Dunkelman
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Default Shelf life of bottled beer?

Hi all,

I'm slowly drinking through my first batch of beer, and I'm hoping to save some. How long can you keep bottled beer before it starts to taste funny? Right now it's been in the bottles about 4 weeks, at around 66 degrees in a dark environment. It's an Imprial Stout from a Muntons LME kit.

Thanks!

P.S. I'm doing my next batch on Saturday after my wort chiller arrives, and I already have some questions, so I'll be drafting another email soon.


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Old 12-29-2011, 10:37 PM   #2
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Home brew does not expire. It will however go past it's prime. Prime will vary greatly on the style of beer. With a RIS I would say Prime can range from 6months - a few years. After a beer goes out of prime it is not bad, just not at it's best.


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Old 12-29-2011, 11:04 PM   #3
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Most don't even get good until at least 4 weeks. A RIS will actaully improve with age. Some brews like an IPA the hops will fade, but others improve with age. I brew a lot of Belgians and I don't even taste them until at least 2 months.

So to answer your question. They will not taste funny, but some beers will get past their prime but still very good. Some brews will only improve with age. I have a Belgian that is almost a year old and just keeps getting better. The bigger the beer the longer it can take to mature.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:12 PM   #4
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In addition to style of beer, there are other factors like sanitation and technique.
When I was a noob, I wasn't very good with the bottling siphon & keeping the yeast out of my bottles. Those have a thick layer of yeast which got nasty much earlier then my later bottling efforts. I have some 2 year apfelwein in bottles that I have to be real good at leaving the yeast behind, plus an inch of liquid when poured for drinking into a glass.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:09 AM   #5
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I've got a Grand Cru that I bottled a year ago and it's just now beginning to get really good. Your stout should hold up well over time. If it was an IPA I'd suggest that you drink it while it's fresh.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midfielder5 View Post
In addition to style of beer, there are other factors like sanitation and technique.
When I was a noob, I wasn't very good with the bottling siphon & keeping the yeast out of my bottles. Those have a thick layer of yeast which got nasty much earlier then my later bottling efforts. I have some 2 year apfelwein in bottles that I have to be real good at leaving the yeast behind, plus an inch of liquid when poured for drinking into a glass.
It's worth mentioning that oxygenation after fermentation has started will accelerate staling.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:48 AM   #7
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Thanks all. This is good news indeed. I don't suspect I'll be strong enough to let these go a whole year, but it's good to hear that if I can, it should be fine.


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