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I made a lot of beers last summer, and I realize that I made more than I could/would drink. Some (if not most) of my beers don't age well (at basement temperature of 18°C), although they were great after 2 months, I find that after 4 months the flavor is declining fast...

I have one peated smoked porter that I made 6 months ago (all grain) that is still great today, but younger it had probably too much flavor. This makes me think that I could add more hops, more speciality malts (a little more priming sugar?) to my recipes in order to drink them after 6 months and they will still be good. Basically, I would boost the flavor taking into account that it will mellow out after 6 months...

Do you think this will work with most recipes? Any tricks for longer shelf live?(besides putting them in a fridge...)

  • I can also add, that after one year, the peated porter I made was still good. Declining but still... It confirms that it works for this type of beer at least. – Philippe Mar 23 '17 at 18:38
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'Do you think this will work with most recipes?'

I think it will. The thing about intentionally stronger flavors is that they tend to mask other unwanted flavors that develop over time. Precisely why brewing a light beer (say, a Helles) can be so difficult; every little flaw will come through, having no strong flavor to hide it.

'...add more hops, more speciality malts (a little more priming sugar?) '

Hops: yes (though hop aroma fades quite rapidly, making a fresh, lively hop profile unlikely to survive six months). Specialty malt: yes (the stronger, maltier flavors should serve well to cover up any age-related off-flavors). Priming sugar: probably not (unless it doesn't ferment, leaving sugary sweetness, all this will do is carbonate the beer more). It might be a good idea to just take a recipe and scale it up wholesale (add x% more of everything), remembering that higher-alcohol beers tend to age more gracefully than lower-alcohol ones.

'Any tricks for longer shelf live?(besides putting them in a fridge...)'

Avoid oxygen like the plague (this is what ends up taking down most beers in the long run), being particularly wary during transfers. Bottle-conditioning re-invigorates yeast, helping it to scavenge any dissolved oxygen present. Keep the beer out of the sun. If at all possible, find a cooler spot (18°C is warm for storing a beer for six months and every degree you can shave off will extend the shelf life, if only a little).

Other than that, you're at the mercy of the fact that every beer has a limited best-by lifespan (six months is pushing it for beers of moderate strength) and there's really only so much you can do.

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Adding to @FranklinPCombs's answer, if you have a CO2 canister, prefill your bottles with CO2 before filling them. That will guarantee that the head space contains no free oxygen and might buy you a little more shelf life.

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The most important things for a beer to have a long shelf life is the quality of the beer to start with. Having a flawless beer will have nothing to hide and will age much better.

One of the most common problems with hoppy beers is they cover a lot if sins, but as the hops fade they reveal the off flavors that were there all a long. Diacetyl is at the top of a long list of common off flavors that are masked by hops, and usually shows up first. If you have a clean IPA that has lost its pop, you can randel in some fresh life easily. Also a massive dry hop may make a beer undrinkable fresh, but with a few weeks of age be wonderful.

Most malt forward beers will age well, because few off flavors can be masked by a moderate malt build so if was good fresh, it should be good aged. The aging will meld the malt flavors. Sometimes making a beer with sharp malts flavors meld into a well balanced beer.

Refrigeration helps slow the breakdown of aging.

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