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Old 01-19-2010, 05:46 PM   #1
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Default Beer Shelf Life

We all know most wines age just like cigars... as well as bourbons, whiskeys, etc..

what about beers? whats the golden rule as far as beers go? How long is too long to hold onto a beer? better to keep it cold if its going to be a while? i know ive heard the term "skunked" beer before.
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

I'm getting into this a little more. Off the top of my head I know of certain IPA's that age for a good 6 months. There are some local IPA's around here that are seasonal so I like to stock up a bit.

This is a subject I'm very interested in.
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

Beer doesn't usually "skunk" unless its in the light, or warmer than it should be. I have beer that I've had for a while, and I've kept in my beer fridge that still tastes fine.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

How long are we talking here? im wondering if a limited production ale can be held onto for a number of years....
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

Yep, in a local beer zine, they regularly review bottles from years ago. I think the earliest I've seen them review is an '01. Personally, I've had bottles are about a year old by the time I drank them. If you really want to age something, opaque bottles are always the best way to go, and never age anything in green or clear bottles.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

How beer ages depends on several factors.

As mentioned above, storage is a big factor.

Also, the ABV%, the hop bill, etc will affect how it ages. As mentioned by tripp, you can drink a beer that is a decade old if it has been stored correctly and if it's the correct style.

As a general rule, you don't age beers that are under 6% ABV (probably even higher is needed). Also, lagers are generally not aged.

Dogfish Head's World Wide Stout and 120 IPA are two examples of beers that you can age, and in fact you should age to compare with fresh as they become two very different beers that are very good.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

I heard that Three Floyds Dark Lord is one that ages great.

-Plan on going to Dark Lord days and find out for myself.-
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

Alcohol and hops both help to preserve the beer, that's why IPAs are hoppy and Imperial Stouts are high ABV. Like it was said above direct Sunlight and high temps will ruin a beer. Brown Bottles are best to protect against UV light.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

I was talking with a shop owner and he mentioned his wife gave him a 15 year old bottle of Chimay Premier (red label) . Best Belgian Ale he ever had ! The first Chimay Premier I ever drank was in my fridge for 2 years cause I was afraid to drink it . It was an amazing beverage . And now it's my favorite beer . I put a whole case away around November 09' to age . I have read that to age beer the bottles should be standing up as opposed to laying down like wine bottles . Good luck with your quest .
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

I spoke to a rep from Unibroue a long time ago and he said their beer could be aged up to 5 years if not longer.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:28 AM   #11
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

I've aged Anchor Holiday Ale for 3 years with no issue. Belgian ales can age for decades.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by mosesbotbol View Post
I've aged Anchor Holiday Ale for 3 years with no issue. Belgian ales can age for decades.

The type of ale is an important factor, typically the only ales that are "aging worthy" are high gravity/high hops like IPA's, beligians, barley wines, etc.

Very few "beers" fall into this catagory, you're most talking about ales. People shouldn't think that just an average run of the mill lager/blonde, etc is going to be okay 1 year after it was bottled, that's simply not the case.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:40 AM   #13
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by volfan View Post
The best beers to age are bottle-conditioned so that aging will improve flavor. IPAs tend to lose some of the hops freshness to me when they age so I consume them young but Belgian Doubles and Triples as well as strong ales and stouts/porters have the best chance to age and improve. With that said, a 6 year old Magnum of Chimay blue might possibly be the best beer I have ever had.

YMMV but caveat emptor that high temps and light are not friends of beer and yes, standing is the only way to age beer.

http://blog.beeriety.com/2009/07/13/...to-aging-beer/

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/101/store

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missed scottie's post. Not sure that I agree with the part about IPA's though. IIRC IPA's were developed by the British to preserve the ale (through the extensive use of hops) on it's long trip to India.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:12 AM   #14
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by volfan View Post
Correct, Vic. The issue is that it preserves the beer but the beer loses freshness. After a lengthy cellaring, the hops bitterness leaves the taste and you are left with whatever malty sweetness was there before. Sometimes good, sometimes bad but not what you put down for the nap.

My favorite IPA, Pliny, even puts it on the label to drink it fresh for the IPA flavor.

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Thanks Scottie I learned something there.

In a different caragory but on the same subject, Mead also can benefit from taking a nap
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:23 AM   #15
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

Hops lose their "sharpness" if aged more than a few to six months. An aged double IPA, such as Dogfish Head or HopSlam, becomes much more like a barleywine.

Malt-centric beers, if they are high abv%, age best.

Always store beers in a dark location. I am cautious about buying beers in the store too. I often take beers from the back of a shelf where the product receives less light.
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Old 01-23-2010, 07:21 AM   #16
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

On New Year's Eve, I opened a bottle of this Belgian-style ale:



from 2002.





Very effervescent, fruity and tart, almost sour. It was an interesting beer, but I think it was a bit past it's age (the label said to drink it by 2007, but I had kept in the frig since then.) I tried to salvage the yeast to use in a homebrew, but didn't have much luck.

I still have some high ABV% homebrew from 1995 & 1996 that I open on occasion: a coffee stout, two spiced holiday beers, and a barleywine. I'm really surprised that they are aging so well.
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Old 01-23-2010, 07:24 AM   #17
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

beer ages great if stored properly!
hoppy beers, the hops fade out quick and loose there bit...but can still be awesome.

mostly the malts start to change flavors, and add complexity over time.

Try it out, im sure beers like heineken and bluemoon are NOT meant to be aged, but real craft beers and belgiun beers are
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:36 PM   #18
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Default Re: Beer Shelf Life

Great thread!!!

I always keep a bottle of SN Anniversary to compare each year with the new batch!!! Last years was way better!!!

I have been aging SN Bigfoot for the past few years! I'll let you know how they turn out... in a few more years!!!
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