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I have my first brew now in the primary and fermenting away for approaching 48 hours now. I plan to leave it there for 3 weeks rather than risk amateur mistakes for the small benefits secondary offers (if any).

But I'm starting to second guess bottling methods that I will use. The brewing kit I bought (the bucket etc. not ingredients) came with 40 PET bottles and lids. I've been reading that while perfectly suitable, they do not lend themselves to long shelf lives - some people seem to be saying 2 months at room temp at best before a noticeable oxidation takes place or max 6 months in the fridge. Is this right? Not sure I'm going to get through 5 gallons that quick so if this is true, I may think about investing in glass and crown caps before bottling day.

Also, I don't have a fridge big enough to stand 40 bottles upright. I'm assuming that laid flat is fine (after allowing conditioning at room temp for a while) provided the beer gets a good bit of time upright to settle before opening and pouring to leave any small amounts of sediment in the bottle?

  • It will depend on your "room temperature" a lot more than on the type of bottle used (glass vs PET). If you have access to a cellar or cold room, it might give you some additional time... – Philippe Feb 6 '17 at 20:43
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IMHO PET bottles will keep beer very well for up to 6 months. Beer can be kept longer than that but I have noticed that "fizzy drinks" PET bottles can lose pressure after a year or so. Apparently the PET used is very slightly gas permeable. There are bottles on the market with an O2 barrier inserted in the bottle walls, eg - Coopers brown plastic bottles. These are reputed to keep beer good for 1 year or more. I can vouch for the beer in Cooper's bottles being good after 7 months. If I want to keep and conditioned beer for more than 1 year I use "flip top" glass bottles. they seem to store beer well for 24 months and more.

It is easier to keep the yeast in the bottle, when carefully pouring the beer, if the yeast is settled at the base of the bottle. Hence bottles are best stored upright. Storing bottles on their side means some yeast is always near the mouth of the bottle which often results is slightly cloudy beer. I have seen one very imaginative method where the bottles are stored upside down. The yeast settles in the cap and if the bottle is carefully inverted the yeast can be removed with the cap. But like all magic tricks - don't depend on this going right first time in front of an audience!

  • Thanks. This is pretty much in tune with my thinking. I wouldn't be storing on the side until opening - we have an empty beer fridge in the garage so would be a case of "bulk" storage there then move to the house fridge say 24 hours before drinking to let it stand and sediment settle. As for the PET, that's good to know. I do like the idea of glass flip top and even normal glass bottles with crown caps. I'll spring for those when I'm more confident in my techniques. – SteveMalyj Feb 6 '17 at 20:44
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Its your first brew; I wouldn't worry about it. It will get consumed fairly quickly. Certainly before an big bad PET issues arise...if you believe in that sort of thing.

Don't worry about putting the whole batch in the fridge either. Just put in what you can and replace them with other bottles as you have space. It is recommended to put them upright. You want the yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle as it makes for clearer beer when you pour them into a glass.

  • Thanks for that. I agree, and am certainly not concerned about any "health issues" that are touted in relation to plastics. I was more concerned as I plan to let the majority of the brew (if it is a success and quaffable) sit until late May for a planned house party after my Son's christening, which is more than the 2 months people seem to be recommending for PET bottles... Think I'll just crack on and graduate to glass when I am more experienced and ready to add aesthetics to the equation. – SteveMalyj Feb 6 '17 at 13:59
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For anyone else looking for advice on this here it is from my experience. PET bottles are fine for storing beer from 6 months to a year (perhaps even longer) in the right conditions. In my experience I brew and bottle and place the PET bottles in boxes in the garage, the garage ranges from 8 degrees C (I am in the UK) in the Winter to 25 degrees C in the Summer.

I am currently consuming a cider that I finished brewing in May of 2017 and it tastes great in May 2018, these were racked into PET bottles. As previously mentioned store them upright so that the sediment stays at the bottom of the bottle post secondary fermentation. This allows you to pour your brew out pretty much clean of the sediment.

You may also find that if you refrigerate your beer a few days before consuming then it will help any secondary fermentation sediment to stick firmly to the bottom of the PET bottles but it really depends on the initial brewing kit you have used and the type of brew you have been making as to how loose the sediment will be.

Hope this helps anyone.

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