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What's the oldest beer you've come across?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by officerbill, Apr 17, 2019 at 5:02 PM.

  1. officerbill

    officerbill Initiate (199) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    Last week I inadvertently bought a 4 pack of Sumatra Mountain from 12/17, it was the only one on the shelf.
    That led me to take a look at a pair of lonely, dust covered 4 packs sitting on a shelf at my supermarket.
    One was Wells Banana Bread bottled in October, 2017

    and the other was Founder's Rübaeus bottled back on 06/20/2016

    So, what's the most out of date beer you've found on the shelf and who's responsible for removing old beer? Is it the store, the distributor, is the brand Rep supposed to be checking?
  2. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,026) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    2001 JW Lee's Harvest Ale. It was delicious. Crazy to think I was a freshman in High School when it was first released!

    kind of a cheating answer, by the way....B United released cellared bottles for distribution about a year or go or so
  3. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (441) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Found this a couple years ago myself...
    Straight liquid raisins in the best way possible
  4. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,291) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Some intentionally stock vintage items, so I won't count those.
    The oldest beer I've ever stumbled upon was a Paulaner Hefeweizen that was more than 5 years old. They must have had a dozen or more that old on a random cooler shelf. It was a decent store, too. There were a few other 2+ year old German singles in there with it. I actually wanted to buy one, so I was annoyed. I told the beer guy and he just shrugged.

    I sent an email to the ownership and 2 weeks later they gutted that entire section and actually stated taking beer pretty seriously.
  5. DoghouseReilly3946

    DoghouseReilly3946 Aspirant (291) Aug 17, 2018 Kentucky

    I recently found a bottle of The Abyss bottled 12/08/15, which I picked up and a few four packs of 2015 Old Stock Ale which I did not.
    dcotom, mikeinportc and Bitterbill like this.
  6. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Zealot (540) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    A bottle of Well's & Young's Old Nick Barleywine (with a slightly rusted cap), at a shop I only rarely visit. Don't recall exactly how long ago this was, but IIRC it was already 6-7 years past its best by date of...2007. Yeah, barleywines are cellarable, but c'mon. :grimacing:
    nc41, dcotom, HopsAreDaMan and 3 others like this.
  7. Livyatan1996

    Livyatan1996 Devotee (401) Sep 29, 2017 Missouri

    this was last year but I picked up a bottle of ebulum elderberry that had a best by date of late 2014. not sure what the shelf life for those is supposed to be so no telling how old it actually was, tasted decent though
    dcotom, HopsAreDaMan and Bitterbill like this.
  8. officerbill

    officerbill Initiate (199) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    That's about the response at the beer depot where I bought the Sumatra: "I'll tell the manager, but we don't give refunds 'cause beer doesn't have expiration dates".
    At the supermarket they've quit carrying about 1/3 of the imports & crafts they had last fall and devoted that space to hard iced tea, hard soda, and hard seltzer, now they're only restocking the "name brands".
  9. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,291) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    That's too bad. Out this way I'd say the "better" ( I don't care for the word "craft") beer selection has remained pretty steady. Most stores no longer carry every SKU from every brewery, but the number of coolers and shelves have remained the same. I see the other types of mild alcoholic drinks taking space from the big guys more often. I think they're realizing that you don't need 4 doors dedicated to Bud Light as long as someone refreshes a single door twice a day. Those extra doors are typically going to non-beer stuff, though.
  10. jimmyfishkin

    jimmyfishkin Aspirant (203) Nov 17, 2008 Wisconsin

    Was at the only bottle shop in town, and came across a 4 pack of a really good local double IPA. I was initially excited because it was about a week or so before the official release. Excitement faded as I looked at the date and found it was a year old, and had been sitting on the shelf that long, no discount. I know the guy that owns the place, so I mentioned it, and he just shrugged and said that someone would eventually buy it. Yeah, haven't been back since.
    RedhawkPoke, cjgiant, dcotom and 4 others like this.
  11. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (909) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I came across a Billy Beer in a drawer recently, circa 1978. But the old JW Lees that I have had are brilliant. I've drunk up my supply from years ago.
  12. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Devotee (464) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    I have a JR beer still in the can sitting in a UVA mug on a display shelf in the kitchen... does that count?
    mikeinportc, Bitterbill and dcotom like this.
  13. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,084) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    St-Ambroise 20th Anniversary Vintage Ale (2009), from McAuslan Brewing, Montreal. I picked this up in 2017. Slightly oxidized and boozy, but pretty damn tasty nonetheless. I believe they still have a few left.
    mikeinportc and Bitterbill like this.
  14. Spaten454

    Spaten454 Disciple (350) Aug 23, 2012 Texas

    I just aquired a 2009 Foothills Olde Rabbits Foot. Can't wait to crack it open.
    dcotom and mikeinportc like this.
  15. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,084) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Only if my Coors Light baseball bat counts. It's still unopened.
    Beerbadger55 and mikeinportc like this.
  16. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,320) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    One of our distributors aged many cases of Deschutes Abyss from 2012 onward, and some of the local craft stores put it out with the recent release. I grabbed a 2012, and it was OKish but starting to taste like cardboard. I should go back and grab a 2016 since that was a good year for Abyss.
    dcotom, Number1Framer and mikeinportc like this.
  17. AngryDutchman

    AngryDutchman Aspirant (220) Aug 8, 2015 Pennsylvania

    I'm not sure, but I can say that the Trader Joe Thai Curry Sauce we had with our chicken tonight says it expired May 23, 2009 (which suggests it survived a move in 2010 and a new-used refrigerator earlier this year).
  18. AngryDutchman

    AngryDutchman Aspirant (220) Aug 8, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Beer-wise, I've still got some cans of the 2014 case of Troegenator left, so...
  19. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Champion (873) Nov 4, 2015 New York

    All of these, from a $5 bomber sale, were good
    DFH - Urkontinent - 3+ yrs old 4.18/5 rDev +7.2%

    Captain Lawrence - Barrel Select Red - ~4 1/2 yrs old, if brewery aging time is included : 4.18/5 rDev +8.6%

    Perennial - Stefon - was 3 yrs old when I originally bought it, and the 2nd & 3rd bottles were good about a year after that. 4.19/5 rDev +12.6%

    3 1/2+ yr old Curmudgeon : 4.35/5 rDev +7.9%

    I've seen some 3-4 yr old stuff, BA stouts, etc, that were intentionally aged, but the oldest things I've seen otherwise, are some 2 yr old low abv IPAs.
    dcotom likes this.
  20. slander

    slander Site Editor (2,109) Nov 5, 2001 New York

    In late 2005, I found a bottle each of Liefmans Frambozen and Goudenband on a shelf in a now long defunct store in my county. Thumbed the paper label away from the neck and found them to be '92's. Hmmm. brought them up to the counter and asked "Do you know how old these are?"
    "Oh, they're like maybe a year or two old".
    "Do you know when 1992 was?"
    Bought them both for $5.50 each.
    The Goudie was oxidized, the Frambozen was fucking amazing.

    Went back to the store and now there's a Goudenband and a Kriek on the shelf. Hard to miss that bright red Kriek wrapper. Thumbed the paper label away from the neck and found the Kriek to be a '91'. Hmmm.
    Bought them both for $5.50 each.
    The Goudie was still oxidized, the Kriek was good, not great, not what it was a dozen years before, not what it was meant to be like, and the cork was eaten down a lot.

    Went back to the store and spotted the cases up in the rafters. They guy gave me a buck off per bottle if I bought the whole case (which was 3 cases superstar Frambozen and 1 case Kriek). I cracked the set ('92 Goudie, '92 Framb, '91Kriek, & '98 Glu Kriek) at BCTC 2 years back. The Frambozen is still drinking amazing at 25 years old.
  21. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Poo-Bah (1,559) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    I bought a Timmermans Pumpkin Lambicus in December that was from 2014. It was delicious.
    dcotom likes this.
  22. scream

    scream Crusader (760) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    Oldest one I know, is one that sits on a shelf in my basement. White Cap Beer brewed in Two Rivers Wisconsin. IT has been sitting here since the early 70's when we bought the house from my wife's mother, so who knows how old it actually is /
  23. tobelerone

    tobelerone Poo-Bah (2,608) Dec 1, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    A couple of years ago I found a stash of sam Adams triple bock from the 90s, 96 or 97 I think. Bought a few, drank a few, regrets? Nah, too few to mention. That beer blew my mind when it first came out, nice trip down memory lane. Very chunky when I had it more recently.
  24. Jimmy_Kneecaps

    Jimmy_Kneecaps Initiate (135) Sep 19, 2017 Tennessee

    I also have one of those I’m sitting on right now. Will prolly crack it for NBS one of these sundays.
  25. PatrickCT

    PatrickCT Poo-Bah (1,918) Feb 18, 2015 Connecticut

    I saw a 2014 Red Hook ESB on the shelf at Whole Foods several months back.
    Just yesterday I saw 2016 Founders Imperial Stout and 2016 Two Roads Road 2 Ruin in a store that opened in 2017. These were in 4 packs, not on the singles shelf.
    laketang likes this.
  26. Frostedmug

    Frostedmug Initiate (29) Jun 24, 2016 Wisconsin

    I went to a museum in Two Rivers that has lots of info on White Cap. I wish I could remember more about it.
    scream likes this.
  27. pat61

    pat61 Poo-Bah (5,295) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota

    There is a specialty store in our area that has one of the area's largest selections of beer. Unfortunately it is also one of the oldest. I have found 10 year old beer sitting in their cooler. Sitting in the cooler is good - being 10 years old is not. Uerige is frequently 2 to 4 years old which is a shame because the beer need to be consumed fresh.
  28. DrumKid003

    DrumKid003 Aspirant (223) Aug 10, 2013 Oklahoma

    2016: I was in MO for work and stopped by one of my usual stops to see if they had anything interesting. They had Southern Tier Mokah and Southern Tier Oat 22oz. bottles on sale for $3.99, and I picked up two of each. Come to find out about a month later, when I was sitting down for beer & cigars with a couple of friends, that the bottles were dated from sometime in 2012.
    Vitacca likes this.
  29. seth27

    seth27 Initiate (86) Mar 16, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Does the 12 year old bottle of Don de Dieu I found a garage sale a few years ago count? Also found a bottle of 2012 Chimay Grande Reserve on the shelf on vacation two summers ago, but I think that may have been intentionally held back.
    mambossa likes this.
  30. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,736) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    If it was cheap it might have been a decent buy, based on antique store prices, and it’s a rare see too.
  31. Roguer

    Roguer Site Editor (3,991) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Society Trader

    A 22-24 year old bottle of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot .... which I drank. Did a whole thread about it.

    I've seen plenty of 3-5 year old bottles on the shelves, in particular Trappist dubbels and tripels, and the occasional stout languishing in a bottle shop. 2-3 year old bottles in bottle shops that often don't see much in the way of craft beer sales is pretty normal.
    Victory_Sabre1973 likes this.
  32. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (909) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Brewed by Falls City Brewing of Louisville Kentucky. God knows why I save these things, but it is historical and maybe hysterical........
  33. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Zealot (540) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    As for beers I actually purchased and consumed: #1 is a 2000 JW Lees Harvest Ale I drank in 2012. #2 is a 2010 Alesmith Decadence I had in 2017.
  34. DVMin98

    DVMin98 Site Editor (2,826) Nov 1, 2010 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    2012 Old Guardian was still on the shelf at a nearby bottle shop. I bought one with a couple left behind. Tasty as hell
    Beer21 likes this.
  35. mambossa

    mambossa Initiate (142) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    Selling beer at a garage sale? What kind of awesome neighborhood do you live in??
    officerbill likes this.
  36. laketang

    laketang Meyvn (1,047) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois

    Anyone out there brave enough to open this garage sale gem up and drink it down?

  37. mambossa

    mambossa Initiate (142) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    I assume OP is talking about beers that have been unintentionally aged on the shelf.

    Last year I bought a ton of Alesmith Old Ale, Numbskull, Wee Heavy, and Speedways that were from probably ‘15-‘16. That format never moved well in that shop, so once I was up in the chips I grabbed one of each for the hell of it. Speedway doesn’t age that well IMO, but everything else was delicious malty oxidized goodness.
  38. Beer21

    Beer21 Champion (802) Oct 17, 2010 Florida

    Found some 2008 Prairie Christmas Bomb's in my cellar recently. Didn't realize they were that old. Still great!
    Victory_Sabre1973 likes this.
  39. Beer21

    Beer21 Champion (802) Oct 17, 2010 Florida

    No way that ages well but damn I'd give it a go!
    Bitterbill and laketang like this.
  40. Stewmeister91

    Stewmeister91 Initiate (127) Apr 7, 2008 New Jersey

    In 2012, I found a 1988 Anchor Christmas and 1992 Old Foghorn
    Victory_Sabre1973 likes this.