Shelf Life by Style – As we mentioned before, the variety or style of the beer also plays a part in its shelf life. There are various methods of brewing different beers, so the shelf life of dark beers differs from that of barrel-aged beers.
Light beers: It’s generally best to consume lighter beers, including India pale ales (IPAs), within three months after packaging. IPA beer shelf life can extend to as much as 12 months, but generally, the beer will begin to decrease in quality after the first 120 or so days, The shelf life for wheat beers and brown ales mirrors that of IPAs, and are best to drink within four months of packaging. Dark beers: Heavier beers afford a little more time before they drop from peak flavor, with a shelf life of approximately six months. This rule of thumb applies to darker beers, including stouts and porters. These beers are at their flavor peak within 180 days of packaging. Barrel-aged beers: As the name suggests, barrel-aged beers are sometimes better the longer they stay on the shelf. These beers, including sour ales and imperial beers, tend to have higher alcohol content and need time to reach their peak flavor. The souring agent in ales doesn’t stop working until several years later, which means that the beer’s taste can continue to evolve long after packaging. Oxidization ends up being a benefit for barrel-aged beers, and the barrels allow small amounts of air to interact with the beer over a longer period to take advantage of the chemical reactions.
Beers that can benefit from longer storage may also be candidates for keeping in cellars. However, it’s not possible to cellar all beers — even those with a long shelf life. Storing beer correctly is crucial, and to do that, you need to know what does and doesn’t work for a particular type of beer.
- 1 Can I drink a 2 year old stout?
- 2 Can I drink 2 year old whiskey?
- 3 Do milk stouts age well?
- 4 How long can you age bourbon stout?
Can I drink a 2 year old stout?
Does Beer Expire? – Allagash Brewing Company A question we get often: does beer expire? Short answer, no. Beer isn’t like milk. With age, it doesn’t actually expire or become unsafe to drink. Old beer’s taste, however, will absolutely change. But stored properly, an old beer’s effect on your body won’t be different than a freshly packaged beer.
How does that work? The wort—or unfermented beer—is basically Pasteurized by the brewing process, effectively killing off any unwanted organisms. Once the beer is fully fermented, it creates an environment in which the types of pathogens or bacteria that can cause harm aren’t able to survive. This is due to the combination of alcohol, the beer’s low pH, and the antimicrobial activity of hops.
There are quite a few other microbes that can live in these conditions, but they’re not harmful. This means that in a properly brewed and packaged beer, you’ll just find the beer’s ingredients and a teensy bit of air. That tiny amount of air is important.
There’s no way to package a beer without a miniscule amount of oxygen sticking around. At our brewery, we measure this amount in parts per billion. With time, that oxygen inside every bottle, can, or keg, changes the beer. This is called “oxidation” and is responsible for a range of flavors. Some beers will develop a stale, cardboard-like flavor, accompanied by a note of sherry.
More malt-forward beers can develop a sweet, bready, and even toffee-ish flavor. In a beer of ours called —a bourbon barrel-aged Tripel—we’ve noted some of those pleasant toffee and almost caramel-like flavors developing with age. A beer’s “hoppiness” will also dissipate with age.
Hop aromas in particular are notoriously time-sensitive. The bitterness hops impart in the beer will stay in the mouthfeel, but any of those piney, citrusy, or floral hop aromas that characterize a hop-forward beer won’t stick around in an older beer. But what about skunky beer? Light is the culprit there.
Beer ages poorly under any ultraviolet light (thus why a term for properly aging beer is “cellaring” or keeping it in a dark place). Brown bottles and aluminum cans are both effective at blocking out light. But beer in a clear or lighter-colored bottle will develop that signature “skunk-like” flavor if left out.
Another, different staling agent is heat. The higher the heat, the faster the staling. Heat doesn’t create a specific off flavor itself (unlike light). Instead, it acts to speed up the process of oxidation. Our lab actually uses a warm fridge to simulate age in our beer, to get an idea of how it will hold up with time.
Intentionally aging beer is an entirely different subject, and one that’s worth a blog post of its own. But long story short, if you enjoy beer, you’ll want to drink it closer to its release date. It’s the best way to taste the beer as close as possible to the way the brewer intended.
Can you drink year old stout?
Yes—but its flavor will degrade over time. Beer is a perishable product that stales when it’s exposed to light, oxygen, and heat, which degrade the organic compounds that make beer smell and taste great. But even when its flavor is declining, it can be perfectly safe to drink.
Does stout improve with age?
DON’T leave them there too long. – The roasted malts that make these beers so flavorful also shorten their cellaring time. High acidity makes them more susceptible to autolysis, which creates meaty flavors like ink and soy sauce. Almost all imperial stouts can benefit from a year of aging, Dawson recommends, and beyond that another two or three years at most.
What happens when you age a stout?
How long you should age the brew? – Six months or so is enough time for age to impact a beer’s flavor. The flavor and aroma of hops will fade, the bitterness from hops will mellow, as will the alcoholic heat of strong brews. The flavors of added ingredients such as coffee, chocolate or spices will also fade into the background.
- Sherry-like aromas will develop and the flavors of dried fruit, tobacco and vanilla will intensify.
- Any sharpness or jagged edges of a brew’s flavor will round out.
- The best examples of a well-aged beer are less intense but more complex than their fresh counterparts.
- But again, that doesn’t mean an old beer is a “better” beer.
Perhaps you prefer the edgy and intense flavors of a fresh stout to the year-old alternative. Developing your palate and deciding where your preferences lie is a great reward for experimenting with cellaring beer at home. The best way to start is a shopping trip to the beer shop.
Pick up a six-pack of an imperial stout or a barleywine (Sierra Nevada’s Narwhal and Bigfoot are basically made for this experiment), and find a place where you can forget about them for a year. Unless you’re intimately familiar with the beer you chose, open one bottle and enjoy it fresh. Spend some time with the glass to consider the flavor.
Is the alcoholic bite intense? Is the flavor balanced and cohesive? Is there any element that sticks out with each sip? Maybe make some notes of your impressions, then pack away the remaining two or three bottles in the closet. Revisit the stash every few months and make some notes on how the beer has progressed.
Does it taste different? Do you like it more than the fresh bottle? But be warned: Enjoying the allure of gently aged beer is something that can turn a preference for craft beer into a full blown hobby. Don’t feel like fussing with cellaring your own brews? There’s a shortcut: vintage beers at bars and restaurants.
Ask for the bottle list at some of L.A.’s notable craft beer destinations, such as Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood or the Lucky Baldwins pubs in the San Fernando Valley. and you may find some vintage treats — just be ready to pay a premium for the time those brews have spent in someone else’s cellar.
Do stouts have an expiration date?
Beer is best fresh. There is little debate about this in the craft brewing community. However, some beers can be saved for a longer period of time, and others, such as bottle-conditioned beers, are actually designed to evolve in nuance and flavor over time.
The question of “how long does beer last?” is a common refrain for the average beer drinker. With the proliferation of full-flavored beers in a kaleidoscope of styles, it is more important than ever for consumers to be aware of how old a beer is, as well as how long that particular beer can be enjoyed for best flavor.
Let’s take a look at some general practices that can help you make good decisions when considering your next beer purchase. When I buy a new beer, I do my best to check to see how old it is; if it’s older than two months, I rarely pull the trigger on a purchase.
- IPAs are best consumed fresh, ideally within a month of packaging, and preferably no older than three months.
- This is because the degradation of hops occurs rapidly.
- With the amount of IPAs available on the market, this is an almost impossible achievement on a regular basis.
- I often find IPAs on store shelves that are a year or more old – a tragedy of the highest degree.
Even so, a fresh-from-the-brewery-tap IPA is a vastly different experience than a month-old can of the same beer, so always try to experience that for a comparison. Many breweries do print a “packaged on” or “born on” date on their beers. While a nice idea, this information is only helpful to the beer drinkers that know two things: How to look for that information and what that date means for the beer itself,
More often than not, the dates are hidden underneath the can or printed in a miniscule font on dark bottle sides. Even if a consumer finds that information, they may not know what to do with that obscured series of numbers. Putting a “best by” date also shouldn’t be seen as an expiration date, as beer doesn’t technically spoil, it just becomes less tasty over time.
A beer past its ideal state can taste bad and turn off consumers from trying different beers from an otherwise great brewery – all because the beer was too old. Sünner Kolsch from Sünner Brauerei showcases its “best before” date via cut-outs on the back label. This example is best enjoyed before August of 2018. San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co, has found a unique solution to “best by” date concerns by releasing the “Enjoy By” series.
With its “enjoy by” date printed front and center as the name and focal point of each version’s label, a consumer knows exactly when this beer should be imbibed for best flavor. On the flip side, Stone also has an “Enjoy After” series of Brettanomyces-infused IPAs, which lets fans know that this wild IPA will continue to develop after purchase and also states when it would be best to open.
Other examples of breweries that offer “best by” or “best before” dates on their bottles include New Belgium Brewing Co. and Odell Brewing Co. With age often comes a variety of unflattering characteristics – much more than just flavor degradation. It can oxidize, creating a wet cardboard-like flavor.
- Beers can also become ” skunked ” if left in the presence of direct light.
- Styles such as pale ales, light lagers, wheat beers and brown ales are best within 120 days of packaging, whereas darker, heavier beers, like stouts and porters, are good for up to 180 days.
- Styles such as barrel-aged beers, sour ales and imperial beers are much more robust and last longer on shelves.
Time helps mellow out big, boozy beers and can also help sour beers evolve, as the leftover souring elements can continue to evolve in a beer for years – creating fascinating new flavors. Blonde de l’Enfer, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale from Unibroue, has a printed “best before” date of 9-11-2022 on the side of the bottle. Belgian Golden Strong Ales are highly cellarable, hence the much longer lifespan of this brew. Barrel-aged beers are pulled from the barrels ready to drink, but one may age them for considerable periods of time for additional complexity.
- Belgium’s Cantillon, one of the world’s most renowned breweries, and several other Lambic producers will put “best by” dates on beers many years into the future, as they have sugars and yeast that continue fermentation with a full maturity after three years.
- Still, these statements vary in size and placement on the bottle, and they aren’t overly apparent to everyday drinkers.
For sour and multiple French- and Belgian-style beers, a brewery is likely to put a statement of how long a beer might continue to evolve. Goose Island Beer Co. prints “develops in the bottle for over five years” on bottles of some of its beers, such as Matilda and Lolita.
One way around this clustered world of various “best by” and “packaged on” dates in beer is to create a standardized method of beer dating. Perhaps craft beer’s governing body, the Brewers Association, could take on this important task, as making a consistent process for breweries to label their beer would benefit the breweries themselves, as well as consumers at large.
Beers also need to have a uniform place where “best by” dates can be found, so that befuddled consumers don’t have to inspect every inch of a can’s surface or squint at the fine print on a bottle’s label. Until some sort of reform takes place on how to easily tell when a beer is best consumed, follow this simple rule of thumb: After you purchase a beer, drink it relatively quickly in order to get the most enjoyment out of its freshness.
Does stout have a use by date?
Does Beer Expire? – Firestone Walker Brewing Company
Frequently Asked Questions
Ask brewers and craft beer aficionados alike, and there’s one thing they can all agree on: fresh beer is the best beer. One of the most relatable disappointments among beer drinkers is finally cracking open a can of a beer you’ve been looking forward to and realizing it just doesn’t taste right.
But we’re here to help. Read on to find out whether beer can actually “go bad,” how to store your beer to lengthen its life, and how to identify the age of the beers on your shelf. The short answer is yes, beer expires. But it’s a bit more complicated than just saying it can “go bad,” as it depends exactly what you mean by that.
“Pathogens cannot live in beer, so from a health standpoint, beer cannot go bad,” explained Firestone Walker Sensory Research Analyst Craig Thomas. “But age and temperature have a huge impact on how all beer tastes. Some beer styles retain the ‘fresh factor’ better than others, and many brewers have gotten very good at slowing the rate of aging flavors developing in their beer.
But the fresher your beer, the better!” Like other foods, beer is made from organic plant ingredients that eventually decay. Brewers work to make the beer last as long as possible, and they have some major advantages – the alcohol content, beer’s low pH, and the antimicrobial activity of hops. When properly brewed and packaged, the only things in your beer are the ingredients and the smallest amount of air.
It is impossible to package beer without a small amount of oxygen coming along with it. Over time, that oxygen can change the beer itself, sometimes adding a stale flavor described as “cardboard.” Not all beers are affected by oxidation in the same way, though.
- For example, malty beers sometimes develop sweet, grainy, caramel, and toffee notes.
- The speed of oxidation can be affected by major temperature swings, so it’s best to keep your beers cool.
- A beer’s hoppiness can also diminish after a while.
- Hop aromas are very time-sensitive, so the citrusy, floral, or tropical hop aromas we love in hop-forward beers will disintegrate over time.
And finally, you’ve probably heard of “skunked” beer. It’s a that skunky beer is caused by temperature swings, but it’s actually more the result of light exposure. To put it simply, the chemicals in hops react poorly with ultraviolet light. That’s why you’ll see many bottled beers in dark-colored glass – it allows less light to get through and impact the liquid.
This one’s easy: beer should be stored for a short time in a dark, cool place. If you have room in your fridge, that is the best spot. If the fridge is full, keeping your beer in the basement or a cool closet is the next-best option. Needless to say, the hot trunk of a car or a sunny kitchen counter are some of the worst places for your beer – so keep its time in locations like that to a minimum.
Curious about shelf life? Remember the 3/30/300 Rule: A Firestone beer stored at 98-degrees Fahrenheit for 3 days is equivalent to one stored at 72-degrees Fahrenheit for 30 days or one stored at 35-degrees Fahrenheit for 300 days. Almost every beer has a date printed on it, which will help you understand how long the beer will taste the way the brewers intended – assuming it’s been stored properly.
- At Firestone Walker, we make it easy with a “born on” date.
- This date, found on the bottom of cans or the bottle label, notes when the beer was packaged.
- We use a month/day/year format followed by a time stamp.
- Ex: 1/1/23 23:40) Our lagered beers – like,, or any of our stouts – have a six-month shelf life.
Other beers like,, and have a four-month shelf life. Other breweries use what is called a Julian date code. It’s often 3 numbers followed by one more digit. The first three digits represent the day of the year, with the last digit being the last number of the year.
For example, 165 3 would be the 165th day of 2023 (June 13th). Sometimes this number can appear as 0165 – with the year coming first, followed by the day of the year. Lastly, some breweries put a best-by date on their packaging. Know that the closer you are to the best-by date, the older the beer. Some beers develop admirable flavors over time, and intentionally aging beer is a hobby of its own.
As a rule of thumb, if you enjoy drinking beer, you want to drink it closer to the day it was brewed. That is how you get to taste the beer the way the brewers intended it to be. Deadset on cellaring that bottle of 2023 Parabola to try next year? We get it.
- Aging beer allows various flavors not immediately present to develop over time.
- Just remember that not all beers are good candidates for the effects of gentle aging and cellaring.
- Beers that can be cellared: Barleywines, Imperial Stouts, Belgian style Quads, and other high-ABV beers with dark malts.
- Barrel-aged sours and rauchbiers are lower ABV, but they can age beautifully.
Beers that shouldn’t be cellared: Any beers with hop-forward characteristics, such as IPAs and Pale Ales. Most lagers and session beers are also poor candidates for aging and should be consumed fresh. Read our blog on for more tips on properly aging your beer.
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Can I drink 2 year old whiskey?
How Long Does Whiskey Last After It’s Been Opened? – Whiskey is meant to be enjoyed over time, but once you open a bottle, the clock starts ticking. Most scientists believe that if your bottle is at least half full, it can last one to two years, but if it’s almost empty, with a quarter or less whiskey left, it’ll expire in about six months.
Does stout increase testosterone?
Direct Alcohol-Testosterone Link Unanticipated – “Our finding of a direct link between alcohol administration and the level of the neuroactive steroid testosterone in the brain of these experimental animals was unanticipated from prior studies with another species of rats,” Purdy said.
- Although many other studies clearly demonstrate that chronic consumption of high dosages of alcohol appears to be consistently inhibitory and suppresses reproductive function,” said Dennis D.
- Rasmussen, research associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Washington, “this study raises the possibility that episodes of alcohol consumption may also at least temporarily increase testosterone levels, with the direction of the response likely being dependent upon a variety of factors, including dosage and personal characteristics.” “This particular dosage produced blood alcohol levels and behavioral responses consistent with intoxication.
So, alcohol consumption, under at least some conditions and by at least some individuals, may acutely stimulate testosterone levels in the plasma and brain of both males and females and thus could elicit some of the behavioral effects associated with increased testosterone levels, such as increased libido or aggression,”
Why is Guinness not vegan?
Posted on the 15th March 2017 Guinness finally went completely vegan in April 2016. This includes all Guinness drinks. What makes alcohol not vegan? Many breweries use a product called isinglass in the production of their beer. This substance is made from the swim bladders of certain fish and is used to make the beer clear, rather than cloudy. It remains a common practice throughout the industry making many beers unsuitable for both vegans and vegetarians.
How do you know if Guinness has gone bad?
If it doesn’t leave a white residue When drinking a well-poured glass of Guinness, a white creamy residue should coat the glass as it is emptied. If you end up with a clear glass, with no Guinness residue, this is sure to be a textbook ‘bad Guinness’.
How long should a stout sit?
By Aaron Fournier Sweet like crude. Dark as night. Roastier than Chock Full O’ Nuts. Oh yeah, we’re talking Imperial Stouts. Many commercial examples of Russian Imperial Stout have the history of the style right there on the bottle, so I won’t bore you with that. Whether you fancy the beautiful, economical, and tasty Old Rasputin or Black Chocolate Stout, or favor the bigger and rarer guys like Dark Lord or Bourbon County Stout, I’m here to help you brew it.
- And save some serious coin in the process.
- Speaking of process, we should probably tackle that right off the bat.
- You know, before you start your second bottle of Old Rasputin while reading this.
- In my opinion, the difference between “ok” high alcohol beers and “awesome” high alcohol beers boils down to just two things.
Proper aging before consuming, and adding enough yeast to do the job well. So now let’s dive in. I prefer to brew my big beers in the opposite season in which I’m going to consume them. So even though only brave souls can drink Imperial Stouts in the heat of Summer that is exactly when I want to brew one.
Your average beer is ready to go in about four weeks. I like to tack on two weeks of aging for every percent of alcohol above 5% ABV. So for a 10% ABV Imperial Stout, you’re talking 14 weeks, or 3 ½ months. Keep in mind that this is just a guideline for minimum aging times; the higher the alcohol content, the more time it’s going to need.
For a 9-10% ABV beer, go 3-4 months. For 11-15% ABV beer, go 5-8 months. So now we have our aging guidelines, let’s talk about yeast. Big beers need a lot of yeast. That should go without saying. Simply pitching a single pack of yeast is going to cause the yeast to struggle and throw off-flavors you really don’t want in your beer.
- Not only that but, more than likely, the yeast is going to die due to stress and the high alcohol before fermentation finishes, leaving you with a sticky and sweet gravy of a beer.
- When you keep the alcohol at or below 11% ABV, your only worry is pitching enough ale yeast.
- For a beer of 8-11% ABV, three packs of yeast are not only required, but it wouldn’t hurt to pitch four.
For real. One thing homebrewers rarely think about is flocculation of the yeast with regards to how it effects the yeast finishing fermentation. For example, one of my favorite strains is Wyeast 1968 London ESB/White Labs 002. This yeast has a tremendous flavor profile for a variety of beers (including Imperial Stouts!) and it clears (flocculates) better than any other yeast out there.
- Cause who likes cloudy beer? The major drawback of the high flocculation rate of this yeast is that it can drop out of solution before the job is actually done.
- If using highly flocculating yeast, go four packs of yeast.
- If using something with medium flocculation, like Wyeast 1056/White Labs 001, three packs ought to do it.
See where I’m going with this? But let’s say you want to brew the big boys. The REALLY big boys. Something tipping the scale above the ability of normal ale yeast. Something in the 12-15% ABV range. Now we’re venturing into putting our beer into two separate fermentations, and I’m not talking about a “secondary fermentation”.
- We need two separate primary fermentations.
- First we are going to pitch mucho ale yeast into our primary fermenter, at least 4-5 packs (depending on the 12-15% scale, I’m sure you can do that math).
- After our first primary fermentation comes to a stop, we need to transfer the beer to a fresh fermenter.
We’re going to need head-space, so DO NOT simply transfer it into a 5-gallon carboy as if you were doing a secondary. Use another bucket or a 6-6.5 gallon carboy. We then need to pitch a yeast that can handle the challenging conditions of a high alcohol environment.
- Champagne yeast is the most common strain used to finish off high alcohol beers.
- I also like to use a strain called K1V-1116.
- This strain excels at fermenting in conditions that would kill or otherwise hamper other strains of yeast.
- Both champagne yeast and K1V are wine strains, but since the majority of your yeast character has already been born, they are simply going to finish the job of fermentation, not make your beer taste like wine.
This is a common technique used by many breweries to make sure big beers finish fermenting. So now that we’ve got the basics down, let’s brew it. Below you’ll find a “moderate” (by today’s standards) Russian Imperial Stout recipe (keep an eye out for a beer nerd fantasy Russian Imperial Stout recipe in a forthcoming post).
Does stout get you drunk?
– Depending on how much someone weighs, how old they are and how well their body metabolizes alcohol, it can take anywhere from 1 to 4 bottles of Guinness Extra Stout beer to become intoxicated.
Do milk stouts age well?
It won’t hurt you, lactose (the ‘key’ ingredient of milk stouts) doesn’t need to be refrigerated the way actual milk does. However, it is advisable to keep milk stouts refrigerated for two reasons: 1) They generally don’t age particularly well, so keeping them in the fridge will best preserve the taste.2) If a milk stout isn’t pasteurized the lactose can provide unfermented carbohydrates for infections to feast on if any bacteria is present.
How long can you age bourbon stout?
Beer is a perishable product, but that doesn’t mean aging beer is necessarily a bad idea. Freshness and date coding are among the hot topics in a greater quality discussion for beer these days, but just as certain wines get better with age, there are certain styles of beer that can withstand — and improve with — some aging, If you’re a diehard beer fan, you most likely already have some beers set aside for one reason or another. Tim Faith Goose Island Goose Island Beer Company is the same way with its beers, however, the famed Bourbon County Stout is appropriate to age for up to five years in the bottle. How do we know that this and other Goose Island barrel-aged beers (such as the Belgian-style and sour line of Sofie, Matilda, Lolita, Halia, Madame Rose, and Gillian) are good for aging? We asked, of course.
- We package the beers when we deem it perfectly ready to drink,” said Tim Faith, an R&D brewer at Goose Island.
- It’s up to the consumer to continue aging, but we can say it will develop in a favorable way because we’ve done trials to preserve and enhance with age.” Bourbon County Stout is a perfect example of a beer that can stand up to some time in a cellar — or a closet.
It’s big and boozy (14.1 percent alcohol by volume plus a year in a bourbon barrel) and malt forward. Beyond Bourbon County Stout, there are other options as well when it comes to age-able beers. Here are the best styles to age, the ones to avoid, and some options for beers that are readily-available for your aging pleasure.