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homebrew stability

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tagz

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is homebrew inherently less stable than commercial beer? it seems that the arc in which homebrew tastes good is pretty dramatic. in my limited experience, i've found that a about month after bottling the beer has turned from green to good. then, the beer gets better for a another month, holds steady for a few more, and then goes down hill at about the six month mark.

this seems especially true of hop flavors. my latest pale ale had a decent bitter (39 IBU) for the first month after bottling, but 6-8 weeks in it has faded pretty substantially.

why isn't this true of commercial micros? what can be done to increase the stability of homebrew? any thoughts?

(i'm refering to lower abv brews btw)
 

Brewsmith

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Hops and bitterness in any beer, homebrew or commercial will fade overtime. Barleywines can be very bitter when fresh, but mellow out over time and become much more malty. IPA's lose much of their hop character very fast.

Short answer, stronger beers age better and longer than lower gravity beers.
 

WOP31

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If you are looking to stabilize the flavors in the beer i am afraid that Brewsmith is right, they are going to change over time, either HB or Commercial beer. If you are talking shelf life though, one way is to strip the yeast out of the beer, it makes it more shelf stable.
 
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tagz

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i have a general understanding of the aging process. i have actually started a beer cellar of my own recently. however, the curve seems way increased with homebrew. i've had 5-6% abv beers that are labeled as being brewed near a year earlier and their taste is relatively similar to the original. i can not say the same for any beers that i have brewed.

edit - ahh. wop31 - interesting. that could be what i'm looking for.
 

mew

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tagz, what temp are you storing your beer at?
 

avidhomebrewer

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It depends on the style that you want to keep for extended aging. I have found that the higher the alcohol, the longer it can keep. However, for Lambics, you can keep them for years and they still taste good, but, they are a much lower alcohol level. I have kept Lambics for about 4 years and they are still great. I have also kept big barleywines and Chimay Grand Reserve for many years and they are still tasty. Go with the style for how long you are to keep it.
 

Jesse17

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It also depends on the protein content of your beer. Protein will go rancid over time. If you don't get your hot, and cold brake removed from your wort, it won't have as long of a shelf life.
 

Got Trub?

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The hop bitterness is the component that drops out the fastest and you loose alot just within the first few months so it will be most notable with hoppy, bitter beers. As mentioned above bigger beers in general do better with age. Although I have stored some low gravity British Milds and Scottish 60's for 6-8 months and they taste great, I suspect because they are malt focused.
 

5 Is Not Enough

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There is a reason BMC's filter and pasteurize their beer. If you want to maintain a beer at it's current flavor, refrigerating it right then will help.
 
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tagz

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thanks for all the replies. the protein bit is interesting. it makes me think that as i refine my methods more, my beer will last longer.

as for temp, i let the beers carb for the first few weeks at about 65 and then move them to the basement for longer term storage. that reminds me i have a hefe to move down there now.

thanks again!
 
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