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Beer age

I have to ask as I cannot find this via the search.

In the latest Brew TV they bring out a bottle of beer from 2005, 7 years old.

I have brewed beer at a you brew place here in town before brewing my own starting a week ago and all the beer I brewed there they said will last about 3 months on the floor or 6 months in the fridge and to drink it by then.

Brewing my own is about the same process as that place and after reading some of the reviews on the extract kits I see people talking about 6 months to 2 years and how the beer got better, well for scotch ale anyway and now 7 year old beer.

How is it possible?

FYI - Beer is not going to last in my house for a year any… :slight_smile:

The stronger and hoppier the beer is, the longer you can store it.

[quote=“GarretD”]I have to ask as I cannot find this via the search.

In the latest Brew TV they bring out a bottle of beer from 2005, 7 years old.

I have brewed beer at a you brew place here in town before brewing my own starting a week ago and all the beer I brewed there they said will last about 3 months on the floor or 6 months in the fridge and to drink it by then.

Brewing my own is about the same process as that place and after reading some of the reviews on the extract kits I see people talking about 6 months to 2 years and how the beer got better, well for scotch ale anyway and now 7 year old beer.

How is it possible?

FYI - Beer is not going to last in my house for a year any… :slight_smile: [/quote]

all depends on the beer,

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 :wink:

High alcohol content, big flavors, spices, etc. all mellow and blend with time. Hops act as a preservative - from what I have read - this was where IPA type styles originally came from - long travel times on boats. Highly hopped beers preserved better.

Big, bold beers (in my opinion) tend to be overpowering early on. Time lets all the flavors blend and mellow out.

When I make big beers (no idea if this matters or not - but I do it because it “seems” to make sense)I use the O2 absorbing caps and I put them in bottles.

[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 :wink: [/quote]

lambics, flanders red, oude bruin, barleywines, RIS, etc. all would benefit greatly being aged atleast a year.

There is no simple answer to the question. Some beers like lambics and some other belgian beers do not use a lot of hops, and may not even be that strong, but rely on wild belgian yeast like Brettanomyces and bacteria like lactobacillus to develop their strong flavors (sour, etc), others like strong IPA’s and some barleywines use a lot of hops and high alcohol levels to make the beer keep for years. Some of them need 1-2 years just to become drinkable due to extreme hop bitterness. According to Martyn Cornell, in Amber. Gold and Black, one Barley wine brewed by Bass in 1869 called Ratcliff ale is still drinkable 140 years later. A lot of the old beers stored in wood cask naturally acquired Brettnaomyces character from the yeast in the wood. It is an interesting exercise to keep some of your stronger beers for several years to see how they develop.

[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 :wink: [/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.

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