Home brewing takes a lot of time. A lot of hours go into making homebrew and it isn’t out of place to wonder how long the beer would last.
It would hurt to spend such long hours making homebrew and end up storing it for too long thereby ruining the taste.
How Long Does Bottled Homebrew Beer Last
A homebrewed beer stored in a bottle would last up to 6 months. Some can still be great tasting when you store them between 6 months to 12 months.
If it is stored properly and capped properly. The drink would oxidize if it isn’t completely sealed and airtight.
If not properly stored airtight it will gradually lose carbonation and acquire off flavors with time.
Nevertheless, your drink does not immediately start losing flavor once stored. The first few months of storage and bottle conditioning would improve the flavor.
The flavor will gradually improve over the first few months, then it gets to its peak and stabilizes, after that it begins to deteriorate.
There are various types of beer and each has a different storage duration, and we will be discussing the different lifespans in this article.
Keep reading for tips on how to prolong the beer storage life.
Once Bottled, How Long Would Homebrew Last?
How long it lasts depends on the type you brew. There are factors like the amount of alcohol present, that also counts to prolong or reduce the lifespan of the homebrew.
Some last longer than others when stored but the average range is 6-12 months.
High-ABV ones like double IPAs, are one of the beers with a long lifespan. Homebrews with low ABV like some ales for example would stay a few months in storage.
Beers with high alcohol content last better than the ones with low alcohol content. The alcohol helps the beer last longer.
This is because of the prolonged process of fermentation.
IPAs were made to last long in storage. That is why they are precisely made to have high alcohol content so that they won’t deteriorate quickly.
In the 1800s sailors preferred this type of beer.
It should be noted however that there is very minimal risk of poisoning when you drink it after expiration. The most prominent outcome of expired beers is the flat taste and off-flavors that they would acquire.
Pathogens that are harmful would most likely not infiltrate into your drink as a result of it being expired. But if you happen to find mold it would not be safe to drink it.
Does Beer Improve With Time
Yes, beer improves with age. It is not uncommon for you to find an old bottle of beer that has improved in taste and become more delicious.
So being patient is worth it when it comes to homebrew.
Many homebrewers are aware that beer gets better with age. Hence they bottle condition the drink to give it more room to improve taste and flavor.
Giving your brew some months and allowing it to sit can give you a more delicious drink.
Bottle conditioning is when yeast suspension in a sugar solution is added to the beer after it might have been bottled.
It could take some time before it is achieved. Depending on the type it could take between a few weeks and a month.
Nevertheless, this method improves carbonation in your drink as well as the flavor which becomes better with age. There are different conditioning wait periods for different beers
Stout is between 2-4 weeks, Wheat Beer is between 2-4 weeks. Ale is between 2-4 weeks, Belgian Ales is between 3-6 months while lager is between 4-12 weeks.
Does Homebrew Go Bad?
Organic substances go bad eventually and your homebrew is not left out. However, the chances of it going bad are slim what you would mainly experience is a loss of flavor.
However, some factors can make your drink go bad, some of those factors are; bacteria, oxygen, and light.
Light can spoil your brew, this is because of UV rays that are harmful. These UV rays that come from the sun can diminish its flavor.
Use dark opaque bottles for your brew to avoid light hurting your brew. Clear bottles would create more exposure to light.
Another thing that can ruin it are bacteria If there is improper cooling. Bacteria may enter your drink over time and this can ruin it.
However, if you are careful the chances of bacteria getting in are slim.
If you open your bottled brew too frequently it would go bad faster due to exposure to oxygen. The chemicals in it will break down eventually when in contact with oxygen.
How Long Does Homebrew In Plastic Bottles Last?
Some people prefer to use plastic bottles for storage, although this is rare. However, it is best to store it in glass bottles because it lasts longer in glass bottles.
Also plastic may react with the chemical in your brew, not to mention the difficulty in cleaning them when compared with glass. Plus it would be more expensive in the long run.
If you must use a plastic bottle it is better not to prolong storage for more than two months.
A bottle of homebrew would last between 6- 12 months on average. However, after expiry, the major changes you would notice are in flavor and taste.
To best guarantee a complete shelf-life for your homebrew you should mind the following. Store at the right temperature in a cool dark place.
Stouts and IPAs should be stored at 10-120C, Doubles, and Imperial Stouts should be stored at 12-160C. While Lager and Pilsners should be stored between 7-100C.
Ensure you store them in an upright position and avoid moving or shaking them too much. Dark opaque bottles are better for storage, to keep out UV rays.
When it comes to homebrew time is your friend. However you have to play your part to maximize the shelf-life of your homebrew.