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I recently encountered a beer that was utterly rank and had an awful aroma. I tasted a small sip, but had to toss the rest. Investigating the label on this beer, I discovered it had an expiry date of Dec. 2012, making it just over one year old.

This beer's alcohol content was 5.6% ABV, and it clearly did not have a lengthy self life.

Contrastingly, a local brewer annually brews an ice bock with an alcohol content of 9.5% ABV, and they state that because of this high alcohol content, it's suitable for aging (and it ages well, to boot).

What is the minimum alcohol content/ABV percentage required in order to consider a beer safe/suitable for aging? If pasteurization plays a role, please advise.

marked as duplicate by Jon Ericson Jan 21 '14 at 22:07

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  • I closed this as a duplicate of a slightly more open-ended question. From the answer you got, it sounds like ABV is just one factor that determines how well a beer ages. – Jon Ericson Jan 21 '14 at 22:10
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Aging, from my experience, involves the heavy proteins settling to the bottom of the bottle. Filtered beer typically doesn't need to be aged because all of that is already removed. You can consider this "pre aged" like a shirt may be "pre shrunk". Best not to buy with the assumption that it will get any smaller (or improve with time).

Much of the time, aging allows the beer to mellow out a bit. I find darker beers benefit from this the most, but it really depends on the type of beer. Lagers, stouts, porters, have to age longer than pilsners and ales, as a general rule. But whether the brewer has begun or simulated this process is unknown. I guess it's best to follow the instructions on the bottle, or look up the bottler and see if they have recommendations.

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