Does beer get old/spoil?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Beer-Neanderthal, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. Beer-Neanderthal

    Beer-Neanderthal Initiate (34) Sep 15, 2018 New York

    New member to this forum. Hi!

    As you can tell from my handle I’m a bit of a Neanderthal when it comes to beer expertise. But I recently found a bottle of dogfish head 90 min ipa that I’m guessing has been under my bed for about ... maybe 9 months. Is it bad or can I stick it in the fridge then drink it?

    Does beer age or change when not refrigerated? Can you keep it in a cellar like wine?
  2. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Meyvn (1,348) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa

    Beer does change and it will not be the same as it is fresh. Hops fade fairly quickly and you really want to drink all IPAs within a few months. Some beers do age well, high abv beers. Stouts barleywines etc and sours, but the majority are best fresh.

    No beer doesn’t spoil. You won’t get sick drinking old beer, it just won’t taste the same as it was fresh. If you want advice on cellaring beer there is a forum for it here.
  3. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,176) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Premium Trader

    Beers change with age, not often beneficially, and while refrigeration can slow that, it can't stop it or reverse it. IPAs are notorious for not keeping well, and some folks consider IPAs stale after 2-3 months. Others will only drink them on tap. Dark beers such as stouts, porters, quads, etc handle aging much better, some lasting many years. Other styles fall somewhere in-between. Often, some flavor fades over time, enhancing other flavors. If you're into craft for the hops that IPAs offer, you won't want them to fade.

    That beer will be drinkable, but not as good as it would have been fresh. Always check the dates on IPAs when you buy them, as some unscrupulous stores will sell them months past the date where they should be pulled and returned to the distributor. Few stores actually pull old beer, assuming some schmuck will buy it without checking. Don't be that schmuck!
    #3 bbtkd, Sep 16, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
  4. Giantspace

    Giantspace Defender (678) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    90 minute with age is really good. Chill it and drink it.

    I still have a few 90's left from 2012.

    PatrickCT, BenHoppy, Gajo74 and 3 others like this.
  5. AdmiralOzone

    AdmiralOzone Poo-Bah (1,574) Jun 26, 2014 Minnesota
    Premium Trader

    Under your bed?
    mambossa likes this.
  6. Tripel_Threat

    Tripel_Threat Poo-Bah (2,192) Jun 29, 2014 Michigan
    Premium Trader

    At least it shouldn't be lightstruck.
  7. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (251) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Some beers do contain bugs or infections and time is not friendly to them. But there should be no harm in cooling it down to 40degrees and see how it smells or tastes.

    You'll know an infected beer when you smell or taste it.
    utopiajane likes this.
  8. huthuty

    huthuty Aspirant (283) Jun 7, 2017 Utah

    Beer will age quicker when warm
    Something super hoppy like that will keep. One time I forgot about a can of Miller high life for two months and it turned into vinegar, but almost no hops in that lol
  9. mambossa

    mambossa Initiate (130) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    @Beer-Neanderthal JUST DRINK IT.

    Your handle an avatar are also great, welcome to BA :beers:
    BrewsOverHoes, Dan411 and Shanex like this.
  10. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,138) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    90 minute and 60 minute are some of the only IPA that are drinkable after time. I pulled a few years old bottle of 90 minute out of my relatives fridge a while ago and it was drinkable.
    hopsputin likes this.
  11. Beer-Neanderthal

    Beer-Neanderthal Initiate (34) Sep 15, 2018 New York

    Cool thanks all. And thanks to mambossa!
  12. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,074) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    Age can definitely wither a beer. Absent infection it won't kill 'ya or anything but the experience of drinking it bounces between unlikable to downright unpleasant.
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,762) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Beer does not spoil but it does indeed oxidize/go stale over time.

    Below is something from a Brewers Association pamphlet:


    Beer quality is measured by a complex set of sensory characteristics that include appearance, aroma, taste and texture. These indicators of beer quality build a sensory profile specific to your brand, and are what craft beer consumers come to enjoy and expect from your brewery.

    Maintaining and preserving consistent quality in turn builds brand loyalty. Understanding how that beer sensory profile can deteriorate with age is critical to delivering a consistently fresh product.

    Beer is a delicate, perishable product, and in most cases it is at its best before it leaves the brewery. That means the minute it leaves the brewery, chances increase that its quality will decrease. And the further it travels from the brewery, the more difficult it becomes to maintain that quality. Therefore, everyone involved in the production, distribution and service of craft beer shares a responsibility for familiarizing themselves with, and maintaining, product freshness.”

    cavedave, SFACRKnight and Squire like this.
  14. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,316) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    I just drank a Dec 2017 (9 month?) Kona Longboard Lager last night. It was easy to drink/didn't seem very off or anything, just kinda no aroma and no flavor so it wasn't very satisfying. 1st time I had one of these so not sure if it is like this normally or because of 9mo. age. Scores are kinda low for this one, so I'm guessing its just not that good. For what it's worth, I was slightly above the rDev score.
  15. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,074) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    Old beers never die they just fade away.
    LeRose, FBarber, PapaGoose03 and 2 others like this.
  16. eppCOS

    eppCOS Crusader (749) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

  17. Shanex

    Shanex Moderator (1,253) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Premium Trader

    I respect someone who forget and “cellar” a beer under his bed.

    Seriously. I’ve never had that beer - I only know that “old” IPAs aren’t always appreciated yet they are indeed consumable.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  18. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,176) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Premium Trader

    Never heard of anyone being killed by a beer infection either
  19. BenHoppy

    BenHoppy Zealot (521) Nov 15, 2017 Michigan

    I actually prefer a 90 minute aged 18 months over a 90 minute fresh. cheers!
  20. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,074) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    Me neither but I figure why take a chance.
    bbtkd likes this.
  21. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,039) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Premium Trader

    You just made yourself a barleywine. Go ahead and drink it, then let us know how it went. Seriously, it won't hurt you.
    PapaGoose03 and donspublic like this.
  22. LarryV

    LarryV Meyvn (1,067) Jun 13, 2001 Massachusetts

    9% ABV, should be fine. It won't taste exactly like the brewer intended but will have it's own charisma. With that percentage of alcohol it should have aged fine.
  23. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (886) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Beer changes in the fridge, too. Lower temperatures simply slow the oxidation process.

    Sure. There's a whole subforum here about it. High ABV and low pH beers tend to age best. Make sure to keep them upright.
    BenHoppy likes this.
  24. Claude-Irishman

    Claude-Irishman Disciple (338) Jun 4, 2015 New Jersey

    Maybe I am splitting hairs, but what is the difference between "spoiling" or oxidized stale beer. They seem pretty much the same to me.
  25. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,285) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    You're kind of right. To me 'spoiling' is a general term for beer gone bad. 'Oxidized' is a type of spoiling just like 'infected' is another type of spoiling.
    BenHoppy and dcotom like this.
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,762) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Then you should feel free to use these two terms in an equivalent fashion.

    FBarber likes this.
  27. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,074) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    For me spoiled beer is simply something that's too far gone to drink. Infection obviously but my definition also includes something that's flat, stale and so oxidized it tastes like old wet cardboard.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  28. Cnote_crafty_1

    Cnote_crafty_1 Aspirant (238) Apr 8, 2015 Pennsylvania

    "Few stores actually pull old beer, assuming some schmuck will buy it without checking. Don't be that schmuck!" That is a very true statement as anyone has heard. I have been that schmuck many times, but more than a few times I took the beer back and got a fresh case, 12 pack, six pack as the case may have been. Most of the time I keep a look out for that kind of stuff, but sometimes there is no date ofcouse.
    bbtkd and BenHoppy like this.
  29. Dan411

    Dan411 Initiate (88) Mar 20, 2017 Missouri

    Or sometimes open it. GUSHER!
  30. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,348) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts

    I think it is the context. When somebody says spoiled to me, I think microbiology (ie, actual spoilage) and potentially harmful to one's health. So an old beer might be stale and oxidized or otherwise suffering in the flavor department, but I would not call it "spoiled" since it's not going to give me food poisoning. It may indeed be "spoiled" in the context of not tasting anywhere near what it should and not delivering the flavor intended by the brewer.
    Ranbot, JackHorzempa and Squire like this.
  31. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,254) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

  32. Ranbot

    Ranbot Zealot (547) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Some of this is covered in this website's "Beer 101" (see "beer storage") and you may find other useful information.
    tzieser likes this.
  33. Frosty11161

    Frosty11161 Aspirant (206) May 2, 2016 California

    I think of oxidized as stale bread, whereas spoiling it's got mold all over it.

    You'll survive stale bread, spoiled you're gonna have issues.
  34. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (886) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    The term "spoilage" definitely has a specific connotation that infers microbial contamination, but I don't think that was what the OP had in mind with his question.
  35. Frosty11161

    Frosty11161 Aspirant (206) May 2, 2016 California

    I'm going off of a more timeline of the item itself. It'll get stale before it gets moldy typically.
  36. Alefflicted

    Alefflicted Initiate (78) Dec 2, 2017 Minnesota

    Agreed. It may not be good, but it is still technically drinkable.

    Although I've never died from an infected brew, I've had some that where so bad that death may have been a preferable experience.
    Squire likes this.
  37. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (886) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Bread certainly will, but since beer is packaged in a closed, basically micro-oxygenated, environment, mold isn't going to thrive as the vast majority of molds are obligate aerobes.
    Alefflicted likes this.
  38. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,002) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    This. Can we shitcan this thread now?