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Old 01-16-2013, 05:05 PM   #1
jonboygentry
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Default Bottling Question.

Pretty new to this hobby. I have 2 batches fermenting and I'm already thinking about summer and building my supply. I'm wondering generally how long you can let your brew sit in the bottles before it goes bad? Keep in mind it won't be refrigerated until its time to drink. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! Cheers!
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:09 PM   #2
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As long as you're not sitting it outside in the sunlight, months. Maybe even a year or so. Keep it in the basement, or a cool closet, and it should keep for a long time. But usually, if you brew something exceptional, you probably won't have to worry about shelf life. Good luck.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:11 PM   #3
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Beer doesn't go "bad" unless your sanitization is weak.
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.

Now this isn't saying a beer won't change, or lose some of it's character. An IPA may become nothing more than a pale ale in a few months...but still a drinkable beer.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:11 PM   #4
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Im still drinking my Dead Ringer from last July.... it is about polished off. I keep it in a closet in beer boxes- (pantry) with ambient 65ish at this time.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:15 PM   #5
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I see somebody has more self control then I. I always seem to be on the waiting end of the equation . Constantly looking at the last 6 pack I have bottled and drinkable and saying" damn! I wish I could brew 2 or batches at a time.

I find a good beer doesn't last long at all, well.... Because it will be to tasty not to drink.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:20 PM   #6
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Amazing information, thanks everyone. Looking forward to learning even more through HBT!
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:22 PM   #7
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There aren't many wines produced these days that will easily last 100s of years. The majority peak in the 2 - 10 year range. Regardless, we're talking about your beer here. Typically, the higher the alcohol content, the longer they will last. Even with low alcohol content beers, keeping them until the summer will be no problem whatsoever.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:25 PM   #8
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From my experience, I've never had one go bad and I just found one from three years ago that was still fantastic. On average, I tend to store excess beers in my basement (55-60F) for 1-6 months at a time. There are several different factors to consider: alcohol percentage, alpha acids present, strength of the brew, whether it's conditioned or force-carb'ed, sanitation practices, and storing conditions.

1) As a rule of thumb, the more ethanol in the beer, the better it ages. Ethanol present helps to ward off any would-be spoilers from growing, in addition to aiding in the development of character or the mellowing of the beer.

2) I've heard many times that highly hopped beers do not age well. I've never heard a good reason, but I can only guess that it's the gradual oxidation of the alpha acids that is being referred to, which gets beer all sorts of skunky. This can transformation can be prolongued by the use of oxygen barriers caps, which are lined with an oxygen absorbing material that helps to pull dissolved O2 out of the beer and away from the headspace. However, contrary to the name, oxidation does not require oxygen and will occur eventually all the same do to other compounds present in the beer.

3) Lighter beers don't seem to fair as well in the aging process, in my experience. A heavier, maltier brew will age better. If you're brewing lighter beers, chances are you'll be drinking them more readily anyway.

4) Forced carbonation will help drive O2 out of solution from the beer, potentially saving it from skunkiness, but the presence of living yeast helps with aging and will undoubtedly evolve the beer over time. Too much yeast is a bad thing, so be sure to bottle condition properly! Leave all the yeast cake and trub behind.

5) Sanitation is the most important thing in the history of the world, ever. At least for proper brewing. Well-sanitized bottles and caps are a necessity for aging, since even the smallest of small mold spores in a bottle will eventually destroy that bottle of beer. Between mold, wild yeast, bacteria, and even yeast-infecting viruses, sanitizing is crucial.

6) Ideally, you'd have a temperature-and-humidity controlled aging cellar with non-UV lighting at your house. Assuming you don't, which is probably a safe assumption, you'll want to store bottled beer in brown glass bottles away from natural light sources in a steady, 50-65F semi-dry area of your house. High temps can coerce even mostly dormant yeast to do funny things through enzyme activation, changing your beer flavor in strange ways. Too much humidity can cause caps to lose structural integrity, but too dry can eventually cause the seal to be compromised. Essentially, if you have a humidifier on your heater, you should be fine. Older houses may require a de-humidifier for basement/cellar storage. If it's too dank or too dry for you, than it's too dank/dry for the beer.

Hope this helps, and hope non of that info is misguided. Cheers, enjoy the brews!
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