5 yr old brewers best kit...

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agood1no

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hey - I got a 5 year old Brewer's Best American Pale Ale kit on this free give-away community group thing I am in...figured it was worth grabbing at least for the 60 or so bottle caps.

Before I toss the extracts and hops and grains...is it worth saving any of it? Maybe just to use in yeast starter? Again its 5 years old, is any of it salvageable? There's liquid extract, specialty grains, hop pellets, and yeast. As long as it doesn't kill me, i'd be willing to spend a few hours to boil it up and see if it tastes any good
 

NGD

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Will it make beer?
Likely yes as long as there no mold present.

Will it make beer your likely to enjoy?
Not very likely. The LME is likely oxidized and will taste stale as will the steeping grains. If I were to do this kit, I would either do it as a no-boil+hop tea or a 20 minute boil. Just don’t expect a stellar beer or even very drinkable beer out of it.
 

TheBluePhantom

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The grains, hops and yeast are likely junk. Depends how sensitive you are to stale LME. I did a 5 y/o Mr Beer (Salvation Army type shop, I wanted the plastic bottles) and it was not as horrible as people make out. It tasted like a mediocre beer, but MB are HME kits and the hops faded with time, if there were many to start with...

You can use the LME for starters, just better to dump the excess liquid and only pitch the yeast.
 

Miraculix

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Just brew it! People here are a bit overly sensitive because everybody reads horror stories about old extract tasting like 1 year old dead opossum, but this might be a bit dramatised so see for yourself. Just do the hop tea version and tell us about the outcome!
 

TheBluePhantom

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I don't have a problem with the extract, but do you really think the hops and yeast survived? They weren't refrigerated, I think most of those 'Christmas present' kits spent 5 years in the garage or basement before purging.

I also have some 12 y/o MB kits sitting down there. Not sure if I am brave enough to try that.....

I did the 5 y/o MB kit with yeast off another brew, no sense putting extra cash out....
 

Miraculix

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I don't have a problem with the extract, but do you really think the hops and yeast survived? They weren't refrigerated, I think most of those 'Christmas present' kits spent 5 years in the garage or basement before purging.

I also have some 12 y/o MB kits sitting down there. Not sure if I am brave enough to try that.....

I did the 5 y/o MB kit with yeast off another brew, no sense putting extra cash out....
It would be good to have a pack of us05 on hand, if it doesn't take off. But I actually brewed with older dry yeast, was just like a fresh pack.
 

TheBluePhantom

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It would be good to have a pack of us05 on hand, if it doesn't take off. But I actually brewed with older dry yeast, was just like a fresh pack.
I buy dry yeast with the expiration years away, then refrigerate it. I have used it many times years after the date, always with good results, But my assumption was the yeast here was stored badly...
 

Miraculix

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And I have to ask, what would be the advantage of no boil? Something that old I would prefer to boil just for safety.
Better hop utilisation, quicker cooling (probably no cooling necessary at all), no further degrading of the extract through boiling, less energy consumption, less work to do, less cleaning.

If the extract has not started fermenting in the package and there is no other sign of life in there AND it is completely sealed as on day one, there shouldn't be anything more inside then it was on the manufacturing day.
 

madscientist451

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Again its 5 years old, is any of it salvageable? There's liquid extract, specialty grains, hop pellets, and yeast.
Yes, it will still make beer Years ago I came across an old, unopened Mr. Beer kit at a thrift store. So I brewed it up, I even used the yeast that came with it, and yeah it all worked, not the greatest beer, but it was drinkable. I think I blended most of it with a cider that was somewhat acidic.
More recently I bought a complete brewing kit cheap at an auction and it had an old Chinook single hop IPA kit with it. I've used the DME for starters, used the chinook hops for bittering some experimental brews and the steeping grains in some other experimental projects. I've got a bunch of old jars of yeast in my yeast bank and I'll use the LME to see if they are still viable. Most of the starter wort gets poured off anyway so the off flavor won't be an issue.
 

IslandLizard

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I got a 5 year old Brewer's Best American Pale Ale kit
I also have some 12 y/o MB kits sitting down there. Not sure if I am brave enough to try that.....

I did the 5 y/o MB kit with yeast off another brew, no sense putting extra cash out....
Time for an old-kit brew-off! :bott:

I'll join with a 5 year old wine kit...
Also got a bucket with stale milled grain, and some really old hops (kept deep frozen, though).
 
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agood1no

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thanks a lot for the feedback everybody. i guess i'll give the LME and grains a whirl (both vacuum sealed), but will use some of my home yeast and will probably buy a bunch more hops to beef it up / blind my mouth to potential nastiness

what's the harm?? will let ya know how it turns out
 

Brews and Blues

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So while we are on the subject, what kind of timeline are we looking at with LME? There are alot of people on this forum that say to always use the freshest LME/DME when extract brewing. But what is considered fresh? Like 2 months old? 6 months old? 1 week old?
Also, is there a good spot online that people get fresh extract and other ingredients? I have been doing a bunch of kits but i want to try to build the recipe and ingredients on my own with my next batch
 

NGD

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So while we are on the subject, what kind of timeline are we looking at with LME? There are alot of people on this forum that say to always use the freshest LME/DME when extract brewing. But what is considered fresh? Like 2 months old? 6 months old? 1 week old?
Also, is there a good spot online that people get fresh extract and other ingredients? I have been doing a bunch of kits but i want to try to build the recipe and ingredients on my own with my next batch
I’ll pipe up since I primarily brew extract. Most of your bigger places like Morebeer have enough turnover to keep fresh extract in stock. If you have a fairly busy local homebrew shop they’ll often have fresh LME in stock since they generally keep a small supply on hand. If the extract doesn’t have a date on it, don’t buy it.

According to Briess:
LME (liquid malt extract): Store at temperatures <90º F. Best if used within 24 months from date of manufacture. Light-colored LME naturally darkens with age. Storing in a cool, dark location helps to minimize this effect.
DME (dry malt extract):
Store in a cool, dry location. Unopened bags best if used within 24 months from date of manufacture. Product is hygroscopic. Storing opened bags is not recommended.
Personally I would avoid LME past 9 months. Anything past a year I won’t buy. From my limited experience DME tends to last a little longer. As always, fresher is better.
 
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firerat

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So while we are on the subject, what kind of timeline are we looking at with LME? There are alot of people on this forum that say to always use the freshest LME/DME when extract brewing. But what is considered fresh? Like 2 months old? 6 months old? 1 week old?
The internet tells me LME, if stored properly, can last 2 years. I personally have never had it around that long as the only time I'll use LME I'm using it right away.

If you are going to stockpile extracts, I'd stay away from LME and go with DME instead. Easier to store, better shelf life, and is easy to work with IMO.
 

D.B.Moody

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Also, is there a good spot online that people get fresh extract and other ingredients? I have been doing a bunch of kits but i want to try to build the recipe and ingredients on my own with my next batch
I'm currently using Label Peelers. I find their site cumbersome, and it's best to wait for 40% off sales which is irksome, but prices are better than MoreBeer, Midwest, and Northern Brewer. I rarely use anything but DME and it's cheaper at Label peelers even though they don't do free shipping along as you're ordering enough.
 

TheBluePhantom

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Ritebrew has good pricing, I use Adventures in Homebrewing because the prices are good and I am close enough to drive, so no shipping cost. They repackage light LME out of a palleted carboy. Right now they are crazy busy, Covid really made brewing popular....

I switched to DME for stable storage, bought 50# and divided it up to 4mil heat sealed bags. Cheaper in bulk and DME is supposed to keep very well.
 

TheBluePhantom

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Time for an old-kit brew-off! :bott:
I can do that, just have to deliver on some mead for the wife first if I want to survive. The small cans expired in 2011 and the big ones in 2015. MB used to do 19 ounce cans with a Booster pack (they are all as hard as granite now), now it is a 1.875 pound can. The small cans in the box actually have two each, somebody bought a lot. All are 2.25 gal. The challenge would be to do the older ones, like red ale with the 2 gram packets of yeast, but I am tempted to do the cerveza, but throw in another pound of old LME, and a few pounds of dextrose and push it to 5 gallon. Ignore the bitter and put in an ounce of something German at 10 minutes for hops, I should have some out of date hops for that.

And yes, I really need to stay away from resale shops and craigslist, but I got a lot of bottles for the beach.....

MB_edit.JPG
 

IslandLizard

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I've used 10 year old Briess DME for starter wort. They were in the original sealed JD Carlson bags, but still had gotten clumpy. It smelled and tasted fine, just like fresh DME. They took longer to dissolve but the flavor and aroma of the wort were as good as from fresh DME too.

We've been splitting 50# sacks of DME at our group grain buys for years. The price per pound is much more appealing that way. I still have 20-some pounds stored in a well sealed bucket.

LME doesn't fare anywhere near that well. When using LME, freshness is paramount for good beer.

In my extract years, one LHBS sold it dispensed from large blue plastic drums, into a doubled heavy duty plastic bag. It was fresh as could be, the opened barrels didn't hang around for long, but I still think using DME instead, yielded a tad better tasting beer, with slightly better attenuation. For the marginal price difference a no brainer (correcting for the difference in gravity yields).

I'm really not sure why LME is being pushed so hard, it's definitely no better than DME, IMO. Maybe the profit margin is much larger...
 

bwible

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If the cans are not bulging, I’d try to use them. But nothing says you have to make pale ale just because the parts came from a pale ale kit. It’s pretty easy to disguise old extract in beers with stronger flavors like a porter, a stout, a RIS, and I’ve used it in barleywine. Adding the dark malts helps and in the case of a stronger beer like RIS you could add some fresh extract too. I do agree I’d throw away hops and yeast that old that weren’t refrigerated.
 

bwible

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Time for an old-kit brew-off! :bott:

I'll join with a 5 year old wine kit...
Also got a bucket with stale milled grain, and some really old hops (kept deep frozen, though).
I took an old Barrons Pale Ale Beer kit - these were wort in a box kind of kits, basically 2 gallons of concentrated wort you are supposed to add 4 gallons of water to and make 6 gallons of beer - and made 3 gallons of barleywine with it. The kits are pre-hopped and its hard to know how much hop is already in there, but its a barleywine. So i did boil it with some extra hops and put it up with fresh yeast. Came in at 1.100 and its been aging 3 months on oak so far. This is the second time I’ve done this and the first barleywine was really good. I used to own a homebrew shop, and these were leftover kits from when I closed my store in 2004.

I also have used a very old red wine kit to make port. Didn’t add all the water, fermented it strong and fortified it with brandy. That was ok, wouldn’t rave about it - I still have a few bottles.

I am just a fermentin’ fool
 
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bwible

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I can do that, just have to deliver on some mead for the wife first if I want to survive. The small cans expired in 2011 and the big ones in 2015. MB used to do 19 ounce cans with a Booster pack (they are all as hard as granite now), now it is a 1.875 pound can. The small cans in the box actually have two each, somebody bought a lot. All are 2.25 gal. The challenge would be to do the older ones, like red ale with the 2 gram packets of yeast, but I am tempted to do the cerveza, but throw in another pound of old LME, and a few pounds of dextrose and push it to 5 gallon. Ignore the bitter and put in an ounce of something German at 10 minutes for hops, I should have some out of date hops for that.

And yes, I really need to stay away from resale shops and craigslist, but I got a lot of bottles for the beach.....

View attachment 720035
Mix them all together, hop the **** out of it and call it American Brown Ale
 

Gunshowgreg

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Not sure if you started this adventure or not OP but I did my own in my newest thread I created. As you can see the attached picture of the yeast is pretty old. After I rehydrated and pitched the yeast the airlock was foaming about 4 hrs later. Its damn good alive despite others doubts. That dry yeast is pretty tough.

I'm not sure how good or bad this will be but I figured what the hell. I didn't pay for it. Worst case it doen't taste good. I'll take a bath in it then. A lot of people are "prudish" in this hobby I feel. Isn't the fun of this hobby experimenting and seeing what can and can't be done? JUST DO IT! BREW!

Here's the link to this thread [-mod]:
 

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Toxxyc

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My first ever beer was a kit and kilo kit that was 2 years or so past it's expiry date. I brewed it anyway (with the yeast under the cap). The result was obviousy oxidised with extract twang and everything, but it was still good.

The second beer I ever brewed was a kit and kilo from the same package above, but it was only about 1 year past expiry. It was completely undrinkable, and I used it to water the brown spots on the lawn.

Will I brew an expired kit again? Hell yes. If there's even a remote chance that it'll make drinkable stuff, I'll take it. Besides, experience.
 

TheBluePhantom

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Well, I just started one from the 2011 expired date cans. The old cans were only 19 oz and were supposed to be done with a booster powder for about 3.75 abv and 2.25 gal. Even Mr Beer decided that was too little, the new kits are1 7/8 pounds now. I took the two red ale, and the two blonde ale and threw them in 5 gallons, and tossed in 2# of dextrose to push the abv to about 5. Hopping is too light, so I boiled and put in 2 oz of 4 year old EKG for 10 or 15 minutes (got distracted and lost count). Finish it off with some harvested US-05 that has been in the cooler for 4+ months. Now we play the waiting game.....

The condition of the extract was odd. the bottom half was liquid, the top looked like it had sand mixed in. It all melted in the boil though and smelled like extract. Even had a decent ho break. This is not how the kit was designed to be brewed, but I have never brewed a kit to spec, even the first one I got I tampered with... it is just more fun that way.
 
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