How long should you keep your Homebrew?
Storing your homebrew is very important, you put so much effort in it is a real shame to not get the best out of it so keep these tips in mind.
A comical but real issue people worry about is will my homebrew explode if I leave it too long? Put simply it is incredibly unlikely, you are much more likely to drop a bottle than have one actually explode on you. The one thing that puts you at serious risk of explosion is weak, cheap or old glass as they can’t take as much pressure. But even then, unless there is an incredibly high amount of sugar to ferment in your beer it is still unlikely. In addition, if your beer is stored in a cold environment then your yeast will be mostly dormant anyway. This is not to say that your beer won’t be very fizzy though, in fact you may get quite the pop from an old bottle so open it over a sink and pour quickly.
Another common question is will my homebrew eventually go off after enough time? This is a somewhat complex problem, and my answers come on the assumption the beer has been kept in good condition. In the sense of going out of date there isn’t much to worry, beer has naturally preservatives meaning it does last for a long time when sealed. Of course it is not impossible that a bad brew could give stomach ache, but that is less to do with expiring and more a bad recipe or bad brewing. But on how will the quality of my beer change with time is another issue.
We tend to assume alcohol gets better with age but this is not always the case. As a general rule, more alcoholic beers should be left for a longer time, for over 5% ABV at least 4 months but preferably more. This helps mellow the flavour out, of course if that isn’t what you want there is nothing wrong with trying them earlier. People even leave their brews for years and it can certainly work out.
However leaving your beer too long is not always the best idea. For example, hoppy beers are generally better while young. This can still mean a couple of months but after a long time they can either lose qualities or have certain unwanted intensities. Less alcoholic beers do not need to sit for a long time, some are even drinkable after a few weeks but many would suggest at least a month still. Yet at the same time some would scoff at this and say even a beer low in alcohol should be left much longer.
You are best to experiment to find the write timing for your tastes. There is no right answer to how long it takes to make your homebrew perfect.