How long can you age in the secondary?

I have a few beers in my secondaries - one is a hybrid IPA/Belgian and the other is a chocolate/caramel ( I guess stout). Both of these are science projects I sort of made up using parts of extract kits and specialty grains.

That said I was looking to age these - especially the chocolate since I have coco nibs in it. The real question is - as long as I keep the air lock filled with fluid how long can I keep the beer in the secondary and are there any potential issues I should be aware of or look out for?

If you have racked it to a secondary vessel and not in the primary still on the yeast cake, I think it would be good for several months 4-5 or better. I’ve left one in primary for over 4 months and it was fine, so if it’s off the majority of the yeast, I think it’ll last. Google bulk aging for more info.

Why don’t you just bottle age them. I think they age better carbed unless your barrel aging or adding something to the secondary.

I’m sorry I see you added the cocoa nibs so that one you should secondary for a couple weeks and then bottle age. :cheers:

The hop character will degrade with long term storage in an IPA also. This is not to say your beer is ruined, just the hops will have less bitterness and flavor. I found a bottle that was tucked away that may have been ten years old. It was not labeled and it was drinkable but hard to say what style it might have been. This is an extreme example of course.

Bigger beers age well. I just kegged a Trappist ale that has been in secondary for six months and it is fine. Instead of an air lock I used plastic wrap and a rubber band on each carboy since the fermentation was about complete. That way there was no worry about keeping the bubbler full.

If bottling yeast may need to be added back in after long term storage to carbonate.

Geez, I have a sixer of Billy beer, AND an old shlitz in the bottle with a big dent in it…. I should give em a try? sneezles61 :roll:

I now have a kegerator and I want to put these beers in there as I don’t like cleaning 50 bottles. Issue is that it is takign some time to drink the current beers in the kegerator as one is pretty high alchol content.

Also it is now the Spring and Summer so the dark porter/stout style beer is not something I think I want to put in the keg for a while…

So I guess the question is can I leave it in the carboy for 6 months or do I need to get it into bottles?

Anything hoppy degrades fast. Malty stuff just gets better. I just pulled a Belgian Dark Strong Ale (13%) out of secondary, and I made it last summer. The majority of it will age in bottles for at least 6 months before I even drink them.

I would just bottle them. It’s really not a big deal rinsing out the bottles. Free up your carboy and no worries about infection. Then drink them at your leisure. Same here, takes me awhile to go through a keg of porter or strong ale so they get bottled. Pales and lagers in the keg orators. I am also limited for refer space.