Would You Dare Drink a Ten Year Old Beer?
While alcoholic folklore often paints a rotten picture of a man on a mission to drink himself blind with things like household chemicals, kerosene and anti-freeze, it is the consensus of “the committee” that not even the most desperate of the breed would dare knock back a bottle of decade-old beer.
Now, while there are some breweries out there that take great pride in brewing beer for people patient enough to wait ten years or more to drink it, most beer drinkers are good enough at the art of keeping their stock rotated to not allow even a single bottle from sitting in the refrigerator a day past the recommended consumption date – much less years.
That’s because most old beer simply does not taste good; over time oxygen creates a virtual petri dish inside a bottle of beer, producing chemicals like nonenal, which gives beer that has been sitting around for a while the distinct aftertaste of wet cardboard, according to Charles Bamforth, professor of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis.
The good news is, brews with higher alcohol content are less susceptible to the flavors of old age; in fact, beers like Thomas Hardy’s Ale, which has an ABV of about 12%, can sit on the shelf for about 25 years before being opened. Typically, beers with a combination of high alcohol and strong flavors have a tendency hide the stale effects of nonenal.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with light-flavored, trashier brews like lagers and blonde ales that just aren’t produced with enough potency to mask the perils of aging. Yet, all is not lost – beer experts say to keep your light beers from reeking of “straw, hay, or tomcat urine,” you should store them at a temperature of 39 degrees Fahrenheit – or you can just quit being a pansy and start drinking like you’ve got a pair. Unless of course you like beer that tastes like you got it straight from the pecker of an alley cat with a bad urinary tract infection. Hey, it takes all kinds to make the world-go-round.