Equipment Glossary Acknowledgements

Site Map
Section 1
Brewing Your First Beer With Malt Extract
1 A Crash Course in Brewing
2 Brewing Preparations
3 Malt Extract and Beer Kits
4 Water for Extract Brewing
5 Hops
6 Yeast
7 Boiling and Cooling
8 Fermentation
9 Fermenting Your First Beer
10 What is Different for Brewing Lager Beer?
11 Priming and Bottling
Section 2
Brewing Your First Extract and Specialty Grain Beer
Section 3
Brewing Your First All-Grain Beer
Section 4
Formulating Recipes and Solutions
How to Brew DVDs



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Chapter 11 - Priming and Bottling

11.8 Storage

Two common questions are, "How long will a homebrewed beer keep?" and "Will it spoil?" The answer is that homebrewed beer has a fairly long storage life. Depending on the style and original gravity, the beer will keep for more than a year. I occasionally come across a year-old six pack of pale ale that I had forgotten about and it tastes great! Of course, there are other cases when that year-old six pack has gotten very oxidized in that time, tasting of cardboard or cooking sherry. It really depends on how careful you were with the bottling - Quality in, Quality out.

When cooled prior to serving, some batches will exhibit chill haze. It is caused by proteins left over from those taken out by the cold break. The proteins responsible for chill haze need to be thermally shocked into precipitating out of the wort. Slow cooling will not affect them. When a beer is chilled for drinking, these proteins partially precipitate forming a haze. As the beer warms up, the proteins re-dissolve.

Chill haze is usually regarded as a cosmetic problem. You cannot taste it. However, chill haze indicates that there is an appreciable level of cold-break-type protein in the beer, which has been linked to long-term stability problems. Hazy beer tends to become stale sooner than non-hazy beer.

Finally, it is important to keep the beer out of direct sunlight, especially if you use clear or green bottles. Exposure to sunlight or fluorescent light will cause beer to develop a skunky character. It is the result of a photo-chemical reaction with hop compounds and sulfur compounds. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a character that Heineken, Grolsch, and Molson strive for in their beer. It is simply a result of poor handling by retailers, and storing them under fluorescent lighting. Other beers like Miller High Life? don't boil hops with the wort but instead use a specially processed hop extract for bittering which lacks the compounds that cause skunking (and flavor). Brown bottles are best unless you make a point of keeping your beer in the dark.

Previous Page Next Page
Priming and Bottling
What You Need
When to Bottle
Bottle Cleaning
What Sugar Should I Prime With?
Priming Solutions
Using PrimeTabs
Bottle Filling
Priming and Bottling Lager Beer
Drinking Your First Homebrew
Real Beer Page

Buy the print edition
Appendix A - Using Hydrometers
Appendix B - Brewing Metallurgy
Appendix C - Chillers
Appendix D - Building a Mash/Lauter Tun
Appendix E - Metric Conversions
Appendix F - Recommended Reading

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All material copyright 1999, John Palmer