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Old Extract?

Does anyone have any experience with old extract? I have a buddy that received a starter kit probably two years ago now for his birthday. But he claims to never have time to brew, nor does he seem overly interested in the process. He gave me his starter equipment and a recipe kit. I am reluctant to brew the kit or use the ingredients that came with the kit as additional fermentables in another recipe. Its about 6-7 lbs of extract, 1.5 pounds of specialty grains, priming sugar, etc. What should I use, what should I throw out? There was a dry yeast packet with 6/2010 stamped on it…so I felt obligated to dump that. Are any of these ingredients salvageable??? :?

I have experience with two year old extract. I also got a kit a friend didn’t use and owned for two years. The beer got stuck at 1022 SG. It was very sweet and had a bad extract twange (tasted like brown sugar).

I pitched two fresh packs of Nottingham. The good news is the batch acted like a giant starter. I used that slurry for 3 other batches of beer.

Thanks tombigbee, it sounds like you were pretty resourceful and found an actual use for an undrinkable beer. I wonder why the SG froze up? I have a feeling the extract will be dumped. Can’t see why the grains would be bad nor the priming sugar.

Welcome to the forums!

I think maybe the sugars crystallized. Not sure.

Regarding grains. If they are already crushed I would not use them. But, who knows maybe they are fine. I really wouldn’t know.

It probably won’t be very good, but what do you have to lose for trying? Not the exact same circumstance, but I had an extract batch earlier in the year that attenuated really poorly from an underpitch. The beer was just awful. Toss some Orval and Jolly Pumpkin dregs in there, and 6 months later it’s absolutely fantastic! I’m tempted to recreate it… If you have the space and an extra carboy, you might end up with something surprisingly good.

Tossing it all…I’m not out anything. I really don’t have the luxury of “waiting” a beer out. I have several lined up to brew, ferment, and one to age over an extended period of time. So, I will just go ahead with those and use fresh ingredients. Thanks to both of you for the quick advice/experiences.

This begs the question of how old is too old? At times, NB offers great deals and stocking up on a few kits that you plan to brew in the next 2-3 months doesn’t seem like too long for the ingredients to sit. So, what do you all think? Is it too long to sit? Does anyone have a great rule of thumb or bright-line rule for how long extract kits can sit before brewing them? Thanks,

Grant

Dry extract should last for a year or two. Liquid extract, on the other hand, has an extremely short shelf life. I wouldn’t want to use it after like 9 months. Old extract will begin to give off some odd caramel, banana, and metallic flavors, otherwise known as “the extract twang”.

That being said, I would still keep and use old extract for making yeast starters. It should be very effective for that purpose, and I don’t think it would have a serious impact on beer flavor since the volume of a starter is so small compared to the full batch. It might still have a small impact though. For example I might not use it to make a big gallon plus size starter for a lager.

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