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Old 05-18-2012, 03:19 PM   #1
John1337's Avatar
Apr 2012
Roswell, Ga
Posts: 24

I had brewed 6 batches in 1998 and abruptly stopped due to some odd circumstances. The bottled beer has been setting in the dark corner of my basement ever since. I uncovered them this past week while going thru my equipment to get back in the hobby again. I have a honey brown that I had brewed with some out of town friends. These friends are visiting me this weekend and I have put some of the bottles in the fridge to cool in hopes to surprise them with it.

Does anyone have any idea what I might expect? Carbonation? Do I need to have the poison control number handy?


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Old 05-18-2012, 03:20 PM   #2
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
Posts: 40,945
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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.....

Homebrew is no different from commercial beer. 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.


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.

It all depends on how they were stored.

Do I need to have the poison control number handy?
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Old 05-18-2012, 03:24 PM   #3
Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth Class
passedpawn's Avatar
Apr 2009
☼ Clearwater, FL ☼
Posts: 27,432
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It will probably not be carbonated.

It will probably be staled. I saved a stout for 25 years and it tasted like soy sauce when I opened it.

I wouldn't hesitate to try it though. Let us know how it goes.
- Andrew

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Old 05-18-2012, 03:35 PM   #4
homebrewdad's Avatar
Jan 2012
Birmingham, AL
Posts: 3,275
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OP, please do be sure to let us know how it turns out!
Check out the priming sugar calculator, yeast starter calculator, and the beer calorie calculator.

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Old 05-18-2012, 05:40 PM   #5
Apr 2012
, Maine
Posts: 36

I've tasted a really old beer, and it was amazing. There were 2 bottles between several of us, and we were all devastated that no one knew the recipe (the guy who actually brewed it moved away ages ago).
Them as can do has to do for them as can't. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices. —Terry Pratchett

Lorelei & Tracy's Yarnwork & Vintage

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Old 05-18-2012, 05:43 PM   #6
IXVolt's Avatar
Apr 2009
Southern Oregon
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Regardless of how it turns out, that's a cool find. Take pictures!

Will be a fun conversation for your friends when you crack them open.

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Old 05-18-2012, 06:08 PM   #7
Apr 2012
, Iowa
Posts: 1,030
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I always say I'm going to save a few bottles from every batch I make in some sort of time capsule type thing. But I don't know when I'll actually drink it

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Old 05-18-2012, 09:10 PM   #8
Jan 2006
Posts: 123
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My litle girl helps me bottle my brews. Last year, we did the Northern brewer No.1, which is a really strong Old Ale. We used a gold cap for one bottle instead of the usual silver. That one is marked for her when she turns 21 (in 2025). I think I'll keep an extra one on hand for myself for that day.

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Old 05-19-2012, 01:42 AM   #9
Oct 2008
Jasper IN
Posts: 825
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I know a guy that used to brew 20 years ago. He gave me a couple cases of bottles he had in his basement. Turns out 20 or so were full. They were good. You have to crack a couple to find out.
"Those who dance are considered insane by those who can't hear the music" --George Carlin

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Old 05-19-2012, 02:50 AM   #10
Jan 2011
Cleveland, OH
Posts: 116
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Even with commercial breweries I find cellarable beers to fade rather quickly. I prefer most stouts within the first 4 years. Old ales within the first 7 and the same with barleywines. There are exceptions though, such as JW Lees. Cantillon and other Belgian geuzes can last 20+ years. I have a Cantillon Brabantiae from 1989 that I'm excited to crack open.
I don't have much experience with strong Belgians such as quads, etc. I can't see a low gravity ale like a nut brown or an ESB to hold up much more than 2 years. It may be drinkable but you'll find very noticeable profile changes.

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