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I've somehow managed to brew a bloody lovely bitter (for my first time) in a pressurised keg but now i've started drinking it, is there any kind of best before? Or do I literally need to drink 10 pints a day over the next 4 days? (not such a bad thing I guess)

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2 Answers

Assuming you keep the beer under CO2 and purged the oxygen from the keg, it will keep quite a while. Several months at the very least, and it could be years. However, if you serve it "real ale" style without CO2 you are limited to a few days in peak condition.

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Or do I literally need to drink 10 pints a day over the next 4 days?

Nope! In general, beer will get better with age. Be leisurely, and as long as your sanitation was good, it will be even better in a month or six.

Very generic rules for aging:
Higher alcohol == better aging.
Aromatic hoppy styles == worse aging

So, for example, you could age a barleywine or imperial russian stout for years because of the alcohol content. But, you wouldn't want to age something like an IPA too long because the hop aromas that make the style will degrade with age.

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I'm not sure I would say "beer will get better with age". It's likely to change a little bit with age. You point out that the hops bitterness and aroma fades over time. E.g. any aroma from dry hopping will probably be noticeably diminished in 6 months. –  Henry Jackson Sep 13 '12 at 21:26
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I don't think this really applies to a Bitter. –  brewchez Sep 14 '12 at 1:17
    
Fair enough; as I mentioned in my answer, I was generalizing. –  fire.eagle Sep 24 '12 at 18:42
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