How long will beer stay fresh in a keg?

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GRHunter

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I am thinking about doing some 5 gallon kegs but I am concerned about how long the beer will stay fresh. I know that when we a keg for a party a few years back the beer went flat and stale just a few days after our party. But we used a hand pump to pressurize the keg so I figure all the air in the partly drained keg had a lot to do with that. But if the proper CO2 levels are maintained then no air would get in and carbonation should remain as well. So what is the shelf life of properly kegged beer?
 

thunder

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I am thinking about doing some 5 gallon kegs but I am concerned about how long the beer will stay fresh. I know that when we a keg for a party a few years back the beer went flat and stale just a few days after our party. But we used a hand pump to pressurize the keg so I figure all the air in the partly drained keg had a lot to do with that. But if the proper CO2 levels are maintained then no air would get in and carbonation should remain as well. So what is the shelf life of properly kegged beer?

Add 1/2 cup of priming sugar when filling keg you will be good for months
 

TipsyDragon

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when you pumped the kegs air got in that oxidized the beer.

assuming the beer doesn't have any oxidation already in it (may take some time for it to show) and you purge the head space with CO2 the beer should keep for quite some time.
 

marubozo

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Like they have already said, when you pump a traditional keg you're just pressurizing it with oxygen, which is bad for beer. If you have your own homebrew and prime your keg with CO2 and keep it that way you have many months of great tasting beer. Even if you don't have the beer on tap and ready to serve the whole time, as long as you purge all the of the oxygen with CO2 when you transfer your beer to the keg and keep it under pressure you should have nothing to worry about.
 
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GRHunter

GRHunter

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Cool! Try as I might, I can't finish 5 gallons at one sitting. It's nice to know that I can drink it at a more leisurely pace.
 

kappclark

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it lasts longer than I can wait, as the keg is finished OFF much sooner than any time that it goes bad.

Unless you will consume 12 oz a week, I don't think time is a plm.
 

brewagentjay

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i can kill a keg in 8 days and thats only 5 pints/day! to dooooo eeeeeeet in one sitting, well that would require a compfy lazy boy reclining chair, cable connection, internet, a sexy female house keeper, the cold keg, some grub and a catheter!

:rockin:you got a goal :D
 

david_42

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My record is 6 years for a barley wine and 3 for a big Belgian. Hoppy beers get a bit bland after 9 months or so, but in a cornie, you can re-hop them.
 

Sheldon

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This thread just pushed me over the edge. Its time for a dual tap kegorator to go along with my other bottled beers as I like to have different beers during the week. I a believer now :)
 

davefleck

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All beers change with time. Take the same beer in the same external conditions (temp, light, agitation) it will fare better in the keg as long ad it is well sealed.
 

Reality_Check

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Let's say I really only do consume about 12-24 oz of beer on a weekly basis. I brewed a hearty IPA (Grapefruit Pulpin' IPA from Northern), and I really am curious how long it will last. So far it is fantastic, but the problem is I just don't get to drink it as much as I'd like with two kids at home age two and under.

it lasts longer than I can wait, as the keg is finished OFF much sooner than any time that it goes bad.

Unless you will consume 12 oz a week, I don't think time is a plm.
 

logdrum

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5 gal(640 fl oz)/12=53.3 days
5 gal(640 fl oz)/24=26.6 days
average about 40 days. Even hoppy beers should still be good @ 40 days out
 

Thorsbrew

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5 gal(640 fl oz)/12=53.3 days
5 gal(640 fl oz)/24=26.6 days
average about 40 days. Even hoppy beers should still be good @ 40 days out

He said 1 beer a week not a day. So 371 days.

I'm not an expert but i have an amber ale thats been kegged for 7 months that tastes just fine. Porters/stouts and bigger beers will last longer. IPA's will live the least (at least hop flavor wise, which is basically what makes an IPA an IPA so...).
 

Kaz

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Most of the time it's just the wife and I drinking the homebrew save for a couple of parties and when I take some growlers somewhere. I've started to brew 3 gal batches of the less stable beers(ipa, weizen, witbiers, bitters) and then have a 2.5 gal keg for them. I've brewed a hop forward ales(an ipa and a mild bitter) that were fantastic the first month or so but the flavors fell after that. With the smaller keg, I don't feel nearly so pressured. Like others have said though, most beers are good for months.
 

logdrum

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He said 1 beer a week not a day. So 371 days.

I'm not an expert but i have an amber ale thats been kegged for 7 months that tastes just fine. Porters/stouts and bigger beers will last longer. IPA's will live the least (at least hop flavor wise, which is basically what makes an IPA an IPA so...).
oops! That does make a bit of a difference! I don't think any IPA would make it that long. I figure 3 months for prime drinking on most everything, but I don't do too many darker styles; ambers, porters or stouts. Most will still be drinkable at 6 months, but as stated above, hops fade. Lagers will last a good long time.
 

mongoose33

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Let's say I really only do consume about 12-24 oz of beer on a weekly basis. I brewed a hearty IPA (Grapefruit Pulpin' IPA from Northern), and I really am curious how long it will last. So far it is fantastic, but the problem is I just don't get to drink it as much as I'd like with two kids at home age two and under.

This is the exception to the rule, of sorts.

IPAs may lose hop flavor and aroma over time; best drunk fresh. But as a general rule, beer in a keg pressurized w/ CO2 will keep.
 

kh54s10

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Let's say I really only do consume about 12-24 oz of beer on a weekly basis. I brewed a hearty IPA (Grapefruit Pulpin' IPA from Northern), and I really am curious how long it will last. So far it is fantastic, but the problem is I just don't get to drink it as much as I'd like with two kids at home age two and under.

So a 5 gallon keg of beer is going to last you between a year and 2 years.

IPAs will lose a lot of their hoppy goodness, but the beer itself will last that long.

A good strong dark beer or barleywine would just be getting good in that time frame.

How long a beer will last is more dependent on the type of beer.

The comparison to the commercial keg is different. The pumping put oxygen into the keg for dispensing. co2 driven kegging will not spoil that way.
 
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