From the HBD Archive
From: Pat Lasswell <>
Subject: Re: Long time in the primary
Date: 1992-07-02 22:35:53 GMT

Back when I was a wee lad, my dad would brew beer in a big 15 gallon
crock. He had used nothing but ordinary bakers yeast, home-made malt,
and home-grown hops. When I began to brew my own beer after I
graduated from college, I took the time to sample some of his beer,
which had been in 32 ounce Coke bottles in the dark of an uninsulated
shed. The result was a light-bodied barley-wine, that after nearly two
decades in the bottle, had a dry malty finish. Some bottles were
infected with lactic acid bacteria, but the ones that were clean were
mellow and smooth, almost no trace of hops. All of the bottles had a
heavy sediment of yeast, which seemed to have survived a wide range of
temperatures without autolysis: the temperature in the shed would go
from freezing in the winter (occasionally with exploded coke cans) to
eighty degrees or above during the hotter summers. It is true that
this is not the same as sitting in the primary upon a heavy layer of
trub and old yeast; however, it does demonstrate that beer can have a
surprising longevity. Therefore, I would say, "If it tastes fine, then
it's probably harmless." My dad's old stuff hasn't hurt me any. (I
think :-)

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