Old beer tastes bitter
The beer and its shelf life
Heavily hopped beers and the shelf life
Sometimes it is recommended that heavily hopped beer such as Pils or IPA should be consumed faster than the best-before date indicates. The high proportion of hops, thanks to its antibacterial effect, ensures that the beer itself has a longer shelf life. But the essential oils it contains, which give the beer a flowery and fruity sensory feel, are not. Then the beer tastes bitter. To avoid this, these types of beer with a lot of hops should be drunk as soon as possible - even if they would have a longer shelf life.
Durable and suitable for storage: malty beers with a lot of alcohol
Malty beers and especially beers with a high alcohol content have a particularly long shelf life and are even suitable for storage. The malty taste can develop into interesting aromatic nuances over time. Beers with a high alcohol content like strong beers or bock beers can get even better over the years if they are stored properly. Because over time, aging notes develop like sherry, berries, caramel or whiskey, which give the beer a completely new quality. It's worth the wait. These so-called "vintage" beers are even highly traded as matured beers and - like a matured wine - are a welcome treat among connoisseurs.
What about non-alcoholic beers or craft beer?
Logically, non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beers have a shorter shelf life than beers with a higher alcohol content, as alcohol has a preservative effect. With non-alcoholic beer, light beer or mixed beer drinks, you should always pay attention to the best before date. If it is exceeded, the odor after opening or a check for small flakes, which could be mold, help further.
Craft beer is a specialty in itself. These beers should be as original as possible and are therefore usually untreated. They can become acidic from lactic acid infections, which greatly changes the taste. Sometimes, however, this is desirable, even if the so-called “sour beer” is not for everyone.
The influence of the manufacturing processes on the shelf life of beer
When it comes to the shelf life of beer, both the type and the manufacturing process are important. Pasteurized beers or beers from which yeast and proteins have been removed before bottling have a longer shelf life than unfiltered beers. However, yeast and proteins are also the flavor carriers in beer. Without these flavor carriers - and also through too much heat - the beer loses its full-bodiedness - a price for longer shelf life, which is particularly important for beers for export.
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