Aging beer
  • BenvarineBenvarine
    Posts: 1,606
    I get this question a lot from beer novices and I don't have a great answer, "can you drink your beer fast enough before it goes bad?" I don't have a clear answer to why some beers age and get better and some turn awful. I understand about barley wines and barrel aged beers and why IPA's can lose hop flavor and aroma, but because I ain't read so much, maybe yous cud educate me on what to age and what not to. Thanxs
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 78,745
    There are a lot of factors. I'm not an expert on the subject, but here are a few thoughts:
    Most people have learned from beer advertising that fresh is better. With pasteurized beer this is often true.
    Hops have very volatile oils in them, these dissipate over time.
    Skunked beer sucks, caused by UV exposure
    Oxidation make thing taste like crap if they are too old, but you can prevent that by not letting O2 get in your bottles/kegs. There are lots of tricks for this.

    I just bottled a beer I brewed on the 4th of July. It's damn good (primary the whole way). I over dry hopped, then forgot about it. It doesn't seem like it's ever been dry hopped. But as far as "freshness" it's fine.
  • BenvarineBenvarine
    Posts: 1,606
    I drank my last bottle of my first stout I brewed. It was just okay a year ago, but perhaps one of my favorite stouts I have ever had, but basically because I brewed it. I should have aged it all.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 107,888
    ABV usually plays a lot into the ageing equation. the bigger the beer, the long it can and should be aged. beers that are up at the 12% mark should be aged for a long time (years). a bud light clone should be drank straight out of the secondary since it only tastes worse over time.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 78,745
    Lakewood said:

    ABV usually plays a lot into the ageing equation. the bigger the beer, the long it can and should be aged. beers that are up at the 12% mark should be aged for a long time (years). a bud light clone should be drank straight out of the secondary since it only tastes worse over time.


    If you secondary your bud light clone you're doing it wrong! It's just 3parts apple juice, 1part vodka, an 8 parts club soda.
  • BenvarineBenvarine
    Posts: 1,606

    Lakewood said:

    ABV usually plays a lot into the ageing equation. the bigger the beer, the long it can and should be aged. beers that are up at the 12% mark should be aged for a long time (years). a bud light clone should be drank straight out of the secondary since it only tastes worse over time.


    If you secondary your bud light clone you're doing it wrong! It's just 3parts apple juice, 1part vodka, an 8 parts club soda.


    Jerry, focus man. Aging beers!
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 107,888
    i've never had problems with storing beers for long periods of time, but everything is 7+ % ABV

    im really not sold on the hops dissipating over time in a properly stored beer. I pulled a bottled Wicked Angel out of the fridge last year that had to have been a year an a half old. It was fantastic. All bets are off in a tapped keg, since you are no longer a closed system. but i've kept racer 5 and some other biggish beers on gas for several months.

    the stout that scoob tried when he was at my house had been on gas for at least 8 months if not a year.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Lakewood said:

    i've never had problems with storing beers for long periods of time, but everything is 7+ % ABV

    im really not sold on the hops dissipating over time in a properly stored beer. I pulled a bottled Wicked Angel out of the fridge last year that had to have been a year an a half old. It was fantastic. All bets are off in a tapped keg, since you are no longer a closed system. but i've kept racer 5 and some other biggish beers on gas for several months.

    the stout that scoob tried when he was at my house had been on gas for at least 8 months if not a year.



    Loved it, some styles are more desirable to age, big alcohol, lots of adjuncts, or other complex flavors often benefit from aging, where a hefe is best by design, consumed young.
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • BenvarineBenvarine
    Posts: 1,606
    Is it safe to say most German lagers are best young?
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 50,587
    Benvarine said:

    Is it safe to say most German lagers are best young?



    the ones worth drinking have been lagered for several months..... so I don't know if you could call them "young"
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    yeah, and as far as big beers being good to be aged.....this not a hard and fast rule.

    Big double IPA's are still best as fresh as possible (assuming it was brewed at proper temps, etc...) They lose bitterness as they age and slowly become sweeter and sweeter.

    much of the loss of hop flavor and aroma comes from the stability of the hops themselves. cascade for example is very stable and will be present in a brew for much longer than Willamette which will begin losing/changing flavor in as little as a month.
  • BenvarineBenvarine
    Posts: 1,606
    ceannt said:

    Benvarine said:

    Is it safe to say most German lagers are best young?



    the ones worth drinking have been lagered for several months..... so I don't know if you could call them "young"

    You're right, I guess I was thinking post bottling or tapping, I wasn't thinking about the lagering phase.
  • N_ClarkN_Clark
    Posts: 1,191
    Before we left Alaska we had to dispense with all the Alaskan Smoked Porter that we had inadvertently saved. (My brother always bought me a half rack for my birthday) It ages unusually well and actually improves due to the smoking of the grains acting as a preservative, and the aging smoothing out the smokiness. So we brought all of it to our last homebrew club meeting and had a very interesting vertical tasting 1992 through 2006.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 107,888
    N_Clark said:

    Before we left Alaska we had to dispense with all the Alaskan Smoked Porter that we had inadvertently saved. (My brother always bought me a half rack for my birthday) It ages unusually well and actually improves due to the smoking of the grains acting as a preservative, and the aging smoothing out the smokiness. So we brought all of it to our last homebrew club meeting and had a very interesting vertical tasting 1992 through 2006.



    that sounds like a good time.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • jeepinjeepinjeepinjeepin
    Posts: 18,022
    My sour barrel is a year old today. It's only 5% abv or so, but it has the acidity to drive most things off. Acetobacter is my only real worry.
    Sign here______________________________