No subject

BrewInfo brewinfo at
Tue Sep 28 13:32:17 PDT 1999

Eliza writes:
>Does anyone know how long it takes for ale and beer to go off? I can't find
>any reference to this except from the common notion that the addition of
>hops and gruit improve the preservation.

It depends on the strength and on sanitation.  I've had 10% ABV Barleywines
that are 10 years old and still great.  The better the sanitiation and
the stronger the beer, the longer it will last.  Hmmm... maybe you mean Ale
in the traditional sense (formerly Ale was strong and unhopped where as
Beer was much weaker and hopped... now those meanings have changed),
a well-made 1.080+ OG, unhopped malt-based beverage could easily last
5 or 10 years.  Oxidation is the other possible problem.  Be careful
to mimimise oxygen contact after fermentation has begun and the beer
will taste good longer (won't get that papery, cardboardy aroma/flavour).

There is no way of knowing how long a 1.040 beer will last.  I've had a
1.034 OG Dark Mild make it to the second round of the AHA Nationals
18 months (yes, a year and a half!) after bottling... stored between
65 and 75F!  Mind you, I'm very cautious to not aerate the beer while
bottling and dark beers like this have melanoidins, which some say
have anti-oxidant capabilities.


P.S.  I indeed have never brewed with bread yeast, but I've tasted
one beer and several meads made with bread yeast.  I can learn from
others' work, can't I?  Also, note that I said "could" and "might" and
"may."  I've been writing about brewing long enough (since around
1988 or so) to know that there are often many ways to do things and
one shouldn't dismiss any methods.  I was merely offering a warning.
Had a specific brand of yeast been mentioned and good results noted,
then that would probably not have triggered my warning.  Or at least
I would have said "some bread yeasts flocculate poorly... this one
seems to work well."

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