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  1. #1
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    what is the general shelf life of beer?

    I do like beer and I always will run across a great sale at some point in the year. I would like to buy and store some when this occurs. How long will it keep? I am speaking more of micro brews than bud or coors.

    I would like to be able to buy things on sale and store them, just wondering if this is feasible? How long are they good? 1 year? 2 years? 5 years? thanks Greg.
    "That rug really tied the room together" -- Jeffery Lebowski

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Well, with few exceptions beer is best fresh, I would guess for the average lager under six months and for ales under a year. There are a fews types of beer that are intended to be aged (although many of these are actually released after the aging process, so they are ready to drink as well). I've had J W Lees vintage ale at ages past 10yo and it was wonderful, but it and others like it are rare finds.

    Beers that are cork finished are more likely to be the types to handle a little age.

    However if you keep the beer cold (~50 or below) you may be able to hang onto them a little longer, but do not let them cool-warm-cool-etc. it will destroy the flavor.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks Timothy. Just never had a clue about beer so this is great info for me. By the way I caught this great program on the history channel's program called "Modern Marvels" about brewing. Quite enlightening for those of us that don't know how the different types came about or the history.

    There was one on distilling but I just missed it.
    Greg
    "That rug really tied the room together" -- Jeffery Lebowski

  4. #4
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    Yeah, I'll second the cool-warm-cool theory with barturtle...I had some beer left over from entertaining some clients that had spent only a short period of time in the trunk of my car. It wasn't in there for an extended period, but in the heat of the summer had gotten pretty hot. These beers that had tasted fine previously, didn't taste very good after I had refrigerated them later....I had forgotten they were there, and found them looking for something else...anyway I believe the heat was pretty tough on the brewski's. H'wood

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Beer that is pasteurised undergoes far higher temperatures than the warm ambient temperatures many are currently experiencing. Therefore, a warm trunk should not unduly affect it.

    If the beer is not pasteurised, that is a different story.

    In general, beer shelf life is short. It is meant to be consumed when sold. Recently I tasted a Czechvar that was less than 2 months old from bottling: the increase in quality over the same beer when 2 or 3 times as old was striking. Also, beer in green bottles, liable to skunking more than beer in brown glass bottles, is less likely to skunk when new. (I still reach for green glass beers from the back of the shelf and in general avoid them, however that Czechvar, supposedly the inspiration for Budweiser, was very good).

    Canned beer too degrades in the container fairly quickly and picks up (I don't care what people say) a tinny, "chlorine" taste with time. But when new it is fine.

    Some strong specialties can last a long time. These tend in my experience to be bottle-conditioned (containing residual yeast). But even then, fresher is better (usually). With age, beer develops a "cooked" or maderized taste that is not pleasant. This is a result of oxidation. In controlled circumstances such as, say, with vintage port, or whiskey, the effect is benign or salutary. But most beer won't improve by containing such flavours unless present in minimal amount.

    I am not speaking of cold or other maturation before sale, but storage after sale.

    There is a school of thought that some beers, even those not bottle-conditioned or not particularly strong, benefit with aging. Some people collect beers and keep them in beer cellars for this purpose. I don't agree and most brewers I know (home and other) advise to consume beer quickly.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 08-03-2006 at 13:42.

  6. #6
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    Who said warm "ambient" trunk!? Have you ever been to the deep south in the summer? Nothing ambient about that?! (lol)! In all seriousness, I find it hard to believe that the heat wasn't responsible for "spoiling" the beer that tasted completely fine several months earlier. I still have to believe that the dramatic temperature in a non-airconditioned trunk would effect the beer drastically. I can think of no other factor that would have caused the obvious deteriation (sp?) of the beers taste in that time frame.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    I thought you said a short period of time...not several months. Even several months at cellar temp would cause a change in the flavor. At the elevated temps of a trunk in the south over summer, would destroy anything good about the beer.

    I would suggest following Gary's recommendations here, though they are more conservative than my own, it is supposed to be about the flavor, right? This is not just about getting a good deal and not caring whether it tastes good or not in a year or two.

    As I said there are few beers that are intended to be aged (I can think of about 5 breweries that make any) after release to the public. Even these require careful attention to storage-moreso than wine actually. I have a few of these in my cellar, but even with these it is only a bottle or two of each.

    I wouldn't recommend stocking up on beer, if only for the reason that you might find something new on sale the next time you go in that interests you. Experimentation can be fun!
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

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    I'm no Pappyophile

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Hollywood: what were the beers kept in the trunk (which brands); how long were they kept there?

    Gary

  9. #9
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    Post

    The Germans say, beer is like bread, it is best fresh.

    Tim
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  10. #10
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    Gill', The best I can remember....The beer was Bud Light, and Miller High Life....I'm pretty sure although I can't quite remember. I don't drink beer that often...I bought this beer for some clients (it was what they wanted), as I recall I drank WT that day/night (I am sure of that!) I normally wouldn't keep anything in my trunk that I wouldn't want ruined, but again just forgot about it. As it were, I think their was probably 6-8 beers left in there for about 2-3months. Note to self: Don't leave consumables in the trunk! (lol)

 

 

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