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Wheat Beers - short lived?

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I remember reading something about wheat beers having a very short life and that they should be consumed young.

I like Hefeweizens and Dunkelweizens but now sure just how long is too long  ???

Although they may not last very long at all ;D, I was wondering just how long they would be good for.  Will they just gradually go downhill and lose its banana and clove features or will they just go bad (such as taste bad)? :'(  Are we talking 3 months? 6 months? or a year? They will be kept refrigerated all the time.


The esters will definately lessen over time and as such will loose the character of a hefe.  If that is bad then yes it will turn bad.  It certainly should be drinkable


I think what he's asking though is the timetable for degradation.  I'm interested in the responses in general to this question.  In my (somewhat limited) experience homebrews that have been properly cared for (no excess oxidation, etc) seem to last a long time.

Just the other day I drank the last of a Denny RyePA partial mash that I brewed over three years ago and it tasted delicious.  What are the effects of age on our beers and how long does it take the bad things to happen?  The big beers are obviously going to have more staying power so its a function of gravity but are there any general guidelines?

German style wheat beers lose their character fairly quickly and should be consumed relatively fresh - certainly within 6 months and preferably much sooner. That really has nothing to do with the wheat malt but is entirely a quality of the yeast. As Fred mentions, the esters and other flavors produced by the yeast fade and leave a rather bland beer in its place.

There was a claim that continental Pilsners peaks in 3 months and should be consumed in that time period.
Wheat beers are in similar SRM and 3 months period might also apply here.


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