I started a Saison with the intent to sour it. I put it in primary (plastic tub) and airlocked. I had the sour yeast ready to go, waited a little long (past expiration date on package) and just totally forgot about the saison for a bout a month and when I checked on it, the airlock was dry. At this point i read up on open fermentation and on timing and flavors. I decided to do an experiment.... I left the beer in the primary fermentor for about 14 months total.

Now I know this is very uncommon, but I wanted to see what would happen. If it would maybe sour on its own due to open fermentation. I assumed at least maybe a layer of CO2 was protecting the beer from oxygen for a while as it was untouched for this whole time.

My biggest concern isn't off flavors at this point. It is safety. I don't want to poison myself or anyone else. I would hate to go through packaging and force CO2 to have it basically contaminate my equipment. I thought of botteling, but don't know if priming it will help at all...

Any experts out there have some thoughts on this?

  • 3
    Have a little sample, if it tastes good, continue with your process. If not, don't waste your time.
    – Philippe
    Mar 25, 2017 at 2:43

2 Answers 2


When we say beer is 'safe to drink', we mean you're not going to get cholera, botulism or anything like that from it. We mean you won't die quickly from drinking something that beer is recognizably beer.

But that all assumes that there was fermentation by yeast, making alcohol from grain. After 14 months of oxygen exposure, that alcohol might have been converted to something else by some other microorganism.

If it was acetobacter, then you've made vinegar and it's safe to drink. If brettanomyces got in there, you might have made something yummy. If something else grew in there, you're taking your chances.

Smell it - and if you don't recognize the smell, dump it.

  • To be honest, that is the most reasonable comment I've read.
    – JodyW
    Apr 10, 2017 at 19:21

I don't know of anything that could grow in the beer that would harm you. No worries.

  • 1
    I can say I've witnessed an event where someone had a stomach issue after a bad home brew batch. I don't know more than that about the situation. Do you have any sources for info on this that may help ease my mind? I've looked around, but nothing i could find helped.
    – JodyW
    Mar 29, 2017 at 18:24
  • Tempted to edit this to: 'I don't know anything that could grow in pickle juice that would harm you.'
    – Pepi
    Mar 31, 2017 at 4:32
  • @jodyw, can you definitley say the beer was the cause?
    – Denny Conn
    Mar 31, 2017 at 15:31
  • I can. I made a batch of "biohazard" ale on wild yeast, with "drink at your own risk" warning on the label, and whilst no one was really ill about half of the "test group" had bit painful, bit runny, bright yellow "2" next day. No one else did. 40 bottles, 800ppl event. Not a real harm, but inconvenience and pretty sure it was in beer.
    – Mołot
    Apr 6, 2017 at 8:43
  • @molot maybe that could be from consuming the bottle dregs? Apr 8, 2017 at 18:59

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