I’m Trying To Decide Which Hop To Drop From My Life

Star Cloud IPA
Modern Times – Star Cloud IPA

I really don’t like the taste of old IPAs. I suppose everyone can say that, but I really really don’t.

Depending how low I am on beer supply, if I buy a six-pack of (what turns out to be) old tasting beer, I will drain-pour the whole damn thing, three sips in.

It’s so bad that even if a fresh beer has a hop that brushes up against that old beer flavor, I’m the hell out of there.

I am getting that from a recent batch of Modern Times “Star Cloud”. Not so bad that I want to pour it out, but there is an issue here and it might be personal.

It’s a newish batch (only six weeks old). It was in the cooler of a Sprouts Market, so I dont think it took any extreme temperature changes.

Yet it reminds me of an older IPA. Notes of old. Could it be the hops used? I’m leaning toward this.

Citra is the featured hop. I have never gotten “old” from a Citra heavy beer. So I know it’s not Citra – at least I’m pretty sure. I fucking love most Citra based beers.

The other three?

  • Motueka: Its a New Zealand hop that features fruit and citrus notes. I would have picked this one before knowing anything, but it sounds fine.
  • Cashmere: Lemon lime, melon, peach, tangerine. Uh ohhh, melon huh? Yeah, I don’t like melon. This is a possibility.
  • Centennial: Citrus. Lemon. Floral. Interesting, sometimes I’m not down with the floral notes.

So my issue with the Star Cloud is likely the Cashmere or Centennial. Maybe both.

It could be the combo of melon and floral. It also could be just the melon.

My pick is Cashmere. I don’t usually have a problem with floral mixed in with other flavors I dig. And I know I like Centennial featuring beers, normally.

Time to start giving a hard look at Cashmere with a side-eye for Centennial.

What Should I Do With These Old Beers!?

For various reasons I have these old beers.

Mostly they were bought on accident, either from not checking the dates or unable to see the dates due to the packaging. One is a gifted old beer.

Should I throw them out?

Yeah but there’s nothing worse than an old IPA, especially a hazy.

I currently have the space for them. They may not taste good but they are still beer. And I don’t have an infinite beer budget and sometimes run out BUT still really want a beer.

And sometimes a dude will show up and just want beer and not care how old they are.

Well, I guess I’ll keep them around then. Since I have the space for them at the moment.

Glad I worked that “problem” out here.

If I only live bed in a place that snowed and I needed to save parking spots, my problem would be solved here:

What do you do with your old hoppy beers?

Does Beer Expire? Can You Drink It?

Can beer go bad?

Hell yes, it can go bad. Sometimes it’s bad as soon as it’s packaged, am I right?! Sorry, never mind the jokes, does beer expire? Yes beer can go bad or expire or both.

But only bad in the sense that it tastes awful, not bad like, you might die if you drink it. It’s the infected bottles you have to worry about and even then I would not worry too much.

Old beer just tastes bad. If you take a sip and it’s awful you can move on rather quickly and not be in any kind of trouble.

How do you know when beer goes bad?

Some things to look for, obvious or not

  • Check the date. Unfortunately not all beer as an expiration date or a packaged date. If it has a date and it’s a hoppy beer, you might as well put it back and move on if the date is more than three months old.
  • Look at the color. If it’s cloudy and it’s not really supposed to be a hazy beer, something ain’t right.
  • Is it sealed? Once in a while a bottle is not sealed right and there might be a little junk around the camp. Also, if you open it up and there is no “pachsst” sound or no carbonation leaving, probably not a good thing.

What is the shelf life of beer?

This depends on the style.

IPAs and Pales are getting old as soon as they are put into a can. Ideally they are best on day one. Realistically, you have a good three month window on hoppy beers – maybe a little longer if it is one that is high in alcohol.

Lager and Pilsners last longer. To me, they are already kinda skunked but that’s just personal preference. Unless it’s a hoppy lager, it does not make much difference as far as I am concerned. But fresh is always best.

Stouts and Porters are good ones to cellar if they are high in alcohol and are low in adjuncts like, say, coffee. So drinking an old stout is totally cool and even encouraged.

Sours can be better the older they get. They can also get worse. Drink it and take some notes in your beer drinking notebook.

Is it safe to drink after the expiration date?

Yes, mostly. Being there is alcohol involved, most of the bad stuff that could develop in old liquid, won’t get a chance to live. So yeah, it’s pretty safe to drink.

Really, all you’re risking is a possible slightly rough day tomorrow on your bathroom break. Totally worth it, I say. Heck, a really good hazy beer can mess up your system much more than an old beer can.

If your beer is infected, that’s another thing. If you want to be able to tell exactly what the infection is, you can read up on it at the Thrillist.

How to read beer expiration dates

If you’re lucky enough to be holding a beer with an actual date printed on it, you’re cool and we can figure this out.

  • Date it was packaged (when it was put in a bottle or can).
  • Best buy date. (The date the brewery wants you to drink it buy)
  • Julian date. Some breweries use this and I don’t have the brain power to explain it to you here. But Sciencing knows how to calculate the Julian date so I will leave it to them.

The best for us, the drinker, is the “born on” or packaged date because it lets YOU decided what is the best date to drink it.

Also good when the brewery markets the actual beer to be drank by a certain date like Stone does with its Enjoy By series:

Tip to brewers: I love when breweries get cute with the stamp/date on the bottom of their cans. But not when I cannot figure out if the date is a packaged date or a drink-by date.

Drinking expired beer

It is tough to throw out or “drain pour” beer. I know. I have a Pizza Port “Swami” IPA in the fridge that is over a year old and I can’t seem to let go of it. I really want to figure out how I can drink old IPAs and still enjoy them.

Like, be so good at tasting old beer that I can actually enjoy it. Maybe the Beer Temple has found a way to do that:

It’s something to try anyway. There are days I have used a gas credit card to buy beer so I can be desperate enough to drink old beer.

So, Does Beer Expire? Yes and No

Beer does expire. But it’s different from going bad and being infected. If it’s simply old, it’s safe to drink. You just might have to work at it to make it enjoyable.

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