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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Simple Food Storage Items - Beverages - Part 2 - Beer

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalkers Stealth Survival

Shelf life is a major factor when considering long term storage of beverage items. The shelf life of beer is usually quite short but there are alternatives that can enable you to store some beers up to a period of 5 years or more under the proper storage conditions.

There are four main things that impact a beer's shelf life. More than one process is sometimes combined to increase the shelf life. It is important to understand the different factors that affect beer’s shelf life.

1.) The first process is pasteurization. This is where beer is heated for a short time period to kill microbes in the beer. This is what usually causes the beer’s taste and quality to deteriorate over time.

2.) The second process is sterile filtration. This is where beer passes through a mechanical filtration system that removes any yeast or hops still present in the beer which could cause a continuation of the fermentation process.

3.) The third process is bottle-conditioning. This is where some yeast is left in the bottle to slow the oxidation process. This helps to maintain the beer's quality.

4.) The fourth process is the actual beer recipe. Beers with higher alcohol content or more hops in the recipe will take longer to lose their freshness than beers with lower alcohol or hops content. As a result, stouts, porters, Belgian Ales, and German Bocks have the longest shelf lives.
Proper purchasing techniques can increase the shelf life of your beer. Look for freshness dating on beer. The date may be on the bottle, case packaging, or cap. Also keep in mind that beer sitting at room temperature will start to degrade very quickly. Refrigerated storage slows the oxidation process that takes place in beer. Oxidation is what gives your beer that flat, cardboard taste after a period of time. It is also best to avoid any beer that's been sitting in direct sunlight. This spoils the hops and creates that “skunky” flavor.

To achieve your beer's maximum shelf life, give it a little respect. The more common American beers have a short shelf life of approximately six to eight weeks. This can be almost doubled with proper storage. You can increase this shelf life by storing it at a room temperature of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise you will need to keep it refrigerated. It will also need to be stored out of any form of direct sunlight, if not refrigerated, to increase its shelf life. You can also get a longer shelf life by purchasing bottle-conditioned beers (ales, bocks, etc.). These beers contain living yeast, and when stored at moderate room temperatures and out of direct sunlight they can have a shelf life of up to five years or more.

Here is a guide for the different types of beer:

Guide to Different Types of Beer

Here is a list of bottle-conditioned beers available:

Bottle-Conditioned Beers

Around the Riverwalker farm, the shelf life of most beer is measured in minutes!

Staying above the water line!


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