[quote=“GarretD”]Ok, what allows a beer to sit for 1-5 years? I brewed scotch ale and they said drink it within 6 months. So how is it possible people here say 1-3 years later.
Depends on the beer, alcohol content and hops is pretty vauge [/quote]
So your original post about a 7 year old beer? Well, you wouldn’t be surprised about drinking a good 7 year old bottle of wine, right? So when beer is brewed to wine strength the flavors and aromas will mature and meld just like a fine wine. One example of the most aptly named style is “barleywine” or a beer (barley malt) brewed to wine strength.
Scotch ales you mention are great examples of the 2 extremes. If you brew a low alcohol Scottish ale, like a 60/- (2.5 - 3.2% ABV) it will not keep because of the low ABV. This beer is meant to be drunk as soon as it is ready to go. A high gravity version of the same Scottish recipe (aka strong scotch ale or “wee heavy”) which ranges from 6.5 to 10.0% ABV, are often aged for years. And in recent times occasionally “vintage dated” just like wines. Now people are talking about “vertical tasting” or trying several different year’s versions of the same beer.
This always seems confusing when you first find out about all the various beer styles. It will make more sense as you learn more about the various styles.
Also, homebrews are not like commercial mass market lagers because they are rarely pasteurized, which is like cooking the beer in the bottle with “sterilizes” the beer but also shortens its shelf life before it get tasting “old”. Additionally, since most homebrews are bottle conditioned, the yeast in the bottle will scavenge oxygen and keep the beer from getting stale or oxidized for much longer periods of time than pasteurized beers.