I needed to get ready to keg the Old Speckled Hen clone I brewed up a couple of weeks ago. I had some kegs from last summer sitting in the chest freezer – an almost-kicked boysenberry wheat and a few gallons of my RyePA (Pale Ryeder). It had been almost a full year since I had tasted either of these beers, and I was expecting them to be long past spoiled.
I tasted the Pale Ryder first, figuring it would have held up better against the ravages of time. Indeed, the beer tasted fine – great, even. Perfect carbonation level, good balance, just a touch of that heavy, almost syrupy mouthfeel found in Imperial IPAs. I enjoyed a quick sample and turned to the other keg…the wheat beer. There was no way this beer was still good. I braced myself for the unpleasant task of cleaning out the keg and dragged it outside.
I dispensed a little beer and sniffed it. It smelled OK. Ah, you only live once, right? I gave it a taste…and it was delicious!! I immediately dispensed the remainder of the keg into a pitcher, shocked that the beer had held up so well. I see it as a sign my sanitation and racking procedures are OK. What’s the longest you guys have kept a beer in a keg?
In other corny news, I kegged the Old Reckless Hen tonight, and it tasted pretty good out of the primary – can’t wait to try it with some carbonation. I’m going to enter the Old Reckless Hen, the new wheat beer that’s almost ready, and, why not, some Pale Ryder to the NY State Fair. This will be my first competition, so I’m excited to see what kind of feedback I get. I’ll let you know!