back to article We've done it - we've gone and made LONG-LIFE BEER

Researchers at Australia's University of Adelaide have unlocked the secret to letting beer age without it tasting like old socks. Doctor Jason Eglington of the university's School of Agriculture, Food and Wine explained that barley contains an enzyme called “lipoxygenase”. The enzymatic process produces several substances, …


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  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I'll drink to that!

    Who says all researchers live in an ivory tower?


  2. Volker Hett

    At last, from those who brought you Fosters

    stale beer even staler ...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As if beer has time to go off when I'm 'ere.

    1. h3

      The beer I like taste's best after about 2 years. It is rare I leave it long enough though.

      Chimay / Westmalle

      As far as I know the strongest ones never go off.

      1. Martin Budden

        If you like Chimay and Westmalle you really must try Westvleteren. Hard to get hold of but well worth the effort and cost!

    2. PyLETS

      Nor mine

      I'm not a very frequent beer drinker as I drink more wine, but I like beer strong when I make it myself. The last lot I made must have been around 10 % ABV or so based on a specific gravity of 1090. Closest thing available commercially are some of the Belgian monastery triples. So it might take me up to a year to finish off one of my batches. And the taste gets better, smoother and rounder for the first 6 months, and never gets any worse in the following 6 months. I never touch it at less than 2 months old - it's too sharp and the taste complexity hasn't properly blended before then.

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    No excuses now

    So much for the "I've GOT to drink this beer, it's nearly at its best before date". Now, with beer that has a shelf live measured in years, or decades, how will a chap justify pulling the tab (or opening the bottle) on that extra can - while getting the hairy eyeball from a disapproving partner.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a visitor

    As a frequent visitor to Aus, hopefully they'll get rid of the 'nasty taste and odour' from newly supplied beer.

    It is sometimes a struggle to get the first few schooners down.

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: As a visitor

      That flavour you don't like in mainstream Aussie beers is corn sugar.

      Unfortunately all the common mega-swill such as VB, XXXX, Carlton etc etc are brewed with at least 30% corn sugar and less than 70% barley, not only does this reduce the malty flavour making them more "easy drinking" (boring) but it also leaves a residual corn-flavour which may seem unpleasant if you are used to decent all-barley beer.

      The answer to the problem is simple: don't buy mega-swill, buy proper craft beer instead. Australia has over a hundred small breweries making fantastic beers without any corn sugar whatsoever. So when you go to the bar, don't just point at the nearest tap on the bar-top, ask what bottled beers are in the fridge behind the bar.

  6. Bush_rat

    Of COURSE it was a bunch if us ausies that did this!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If the beer's good enough, it won't need to be long-life?

    Apparently, dog's milk lasts for years as well.

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: Surely

      "Apparently, dog's milk lasts for years as well."

      Is that dog years or human years?

  8. Paul Shirley

    I already have a cellar full of very long life beers

    I can see how this would help flavourless piss, by keeping it flavourless.

    The real secret of long life beer has been known for a long time, give it lots of flavour, more alcohol=longer life and keep it out of the light. Light kills beer, destroying the hop oils first - though hardly an issue in the mostly hop free watery piss sold as lager outside Germany ;)

    Most of the Belgian beers in my cellar need 3month to a year maturation to develop their flavour. The 25yr old Thomas Hardy Ales aren't ready to drink yet, we tried at the recommended 21 years and they're still too sweet. Then again, the 42yr old bottle we shared was also too sweet for my liking!

    I hate to think what will happen if brewers of existing, more flavoured, long keeping beers jump on this, knocking out a bit of the maturation process along the way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I already have a cellar full of very long life beers

      Also by the time a bottle of American Budweiser reaches its best by date the much more superior Czech Buvar is still sitting in the cellar maturing...

      So yes, this seems to be an excuse for beer manufacturers to make even blander piss. Anyone remember "new" Holsten Pils with its "new less bitter taste"?

      1. Joe User

        Re: I already have a cellar full of very long life beers

        American Budweiser doesn't have a "best by" date. It's best not to brew it in the first place....

        1. jake Silver badge

          @Joe User (was:Re: I already have a cellar full of very long life beers)

          See my post from four years ago:

          1. Joe User

            Re: @Jake

            Let me put it to you this way: if I was stranded on a desert island with nothing to drink but a case of American Budweiser, I'd drink sea water instead.

            1. jake Silver badge

              @Joe User (was: Re: @Jake)

              Clearly, you are an idiot.

              Unless you have a special "salt separating" gene.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Joe User (was: @Jake)

                turn your hearing aid up and you'll hear the point whooshing over your head

    2. foxyshadis

      Re: I already have a cellar full of very long life beers

      Have you considered that the further wait may do nothing for the beer but increase its resale value and novelty, and it won't get less sweet? By then, you'd think that basically every chemical and biological process is dead, and you're just creating plonk.

      At that point, wine is well into the stage where the only changes happening are the settling out of sediment, carrying with it any remaining flavor and pleasantness.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @foxyshadis (was: Re: I already have a cellar full of very long life beers)

        You clearly know nothing about aging fermented beverages. But thanks for playing!

  9. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Durden Park Beer Circle

    Some of their brews need to be stored for two years before drinking.

    I must say this a solution to a non existent problem in my experience.

  10. Ralph B


    I thought the addition of hops was meant to provide beer with a long life - through their antibacterial effects. (Or, at least, that's what they told us at the Guiness factory.)

    1. Blitheringeejit
      Thumb Down

      Re: Hops

      I think the clue to the credibility of what you were told lies in the word "factory". You mught want to try getting your beer from a brewery. :)

      Guinness is pasteurised and filtered to remove/kill anything which might make it go off - which includes most of the things which make proper live beer taste good. They used to sell some live Guinness brewed and bottled in Dublin - I'm not sure if they still do - but the draught stuff (which isn't draught at all, it's forced out under CO2 or nitrogen pressure) is dead as as dodo, and tastes like it too.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Hops

        but the draught stuff (which isn't draught at all, it's forced out under CO2 or nitrogen pressure) is dead as as dodo, and tastes like it too.

        Often wondered how they got it so dark, now I know - it's Necrosis!

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: Hops

      The problem is *oxidisation* of lipids to form trans-2-nonelal, not bacterial action. You stop it by removing oxygen and live yeast does a good job of sucking it up in live beers - draught or bottled. The last thing commercial factory lager producers want is anything live in their 'product' and the near total absence of flavour makes faults easy to taste.

      Hops are used less for preservation than flavour nowadays. However they react badly to UV light, officially the flavour is 'skunk', I normally describe it as cat's piss. Which probably helps explain why beers often drunk outdoors in a sunny country are notoriously devoid of hops ;)

  11. Stevie Silver badge


    Oh good, margarine beer.

  12. Yet Another Commentard

    Plus ça change

    Ind Coope made "Long Life" ale in a can in the '70s. Tasted awful.

  13. The Grump

    I will never understand...

    people who like either bitter wine or bitter beer. God bless them, though - someones gotta drink all that bitter beer out there. I see it as a recycling service for beer I would never drink. I'll stick with Blue Moon unfiltered wheat beer, thank you very much.

    BTW, bitter does not mean flavor, it just means bitter. Beer should be enjoyable, not endurable. Beer icon, natch.

    1. Random Coolzip

      Re: I will never understand...

      It's like hot sauce -- some people think Tabasco is too hot, some aren't happy unless they sweat profusely from the first bite.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I will never understand...

      Then I suggest you stay well clear of Salopian's beers.... especially their lemon dream even though it is a wheat beer,

    3. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      Re: I will never understand...

      Ah, Blue Moon, a beer that Molson Coors pass off as "craft"

      1. Yet Another Commentard

        Re: I will never understand...

        Don't let him near Thornbridge's incredibly wonderful Jaipur in which case - awesome hops-in-yer-face-and-yer-mouth pale ale.

    4. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: I will never understand...

      @The Grump: I take it from the way you spell "flavor" that you're a native of the country that specialises in flavourless beers, served so cold that any vestigial taste is undetectable.

  14. Andus McCoatover

    Oh, Gawd...

    They've "extended" Brewers Droop.

    "Hoppy days are here again...." (as Girlie would say...)

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Did some mention "Skunk" beer?

    I see an opportunity for some canny marketing....

  16. All names Taken

    <polite applause to doodz dahn-oondah>

  17. jake Silver badge

    Eh? Who says you can't age beer?

    I have about 30 bottles of Anchor Brewing's "Old Foghorn" left from a couple of 24-bottle cases that I purchased in 1992. It just keeps getting better. I've been buying & cellaring a couple cases a year ever since. Likewise, I've been aging Stone's "Arrogant Bastard" since it first hit the market :-)

  18. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Frankenbeer has been created!

    Grab the torches and pitchforks, and the pretzels and frosted glasses!!!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Long life beer just means larger bottles?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the first attempts will be made by Sapporo, of the amusingly-named "Dry Beer" fame?

    Fully-brewed, no sugar left behind, presumably.

    As a student I struggled manfully with the logic of that name. But it was pretty good beer.

  21. Stevie Silver badge


    Instead of this faffing about after some stupid long-life lager, how about a project to bring back Davenport's Top Brew Deluxe?

  22. Alan Esworthy


    "...unlocked the secret to letting beer age without it tasting like old socks."

    Old socks? No. As a few others have pointed out, old beer tastes like skunk, or at least what I imagine skunk tastes like based on its odor. Really old beer tastes like the asshole of a two-day-dead-in-the-hot-sun road-killed skunk, or at least what I imagine etc., etc., etc.

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: socks?

      Sorry, no. Light-struck beer tastes skunky, old (oxidised) beer tastes cardboardy/socky. Different off-flavours with different causes.

      Those are just two of the many different off-flavours which can affect beer, each with their own list of causes.

      1. Martin Budden

        Re: socks?

        I should add that if beer is left sitting for a long time in a spot where light can get to it then it can be both light-struck and oxidised at the same time; if you have experienced such beer this may explain your confusion.

  23. Killraven

    Sounds good to me!

    If it results in more quality, European Pilsner, of any brand, reaching the American midwest, then I'm all for it!

  24. Flywheel Silver badge

    Ah, but all those smooth/extra smooth beers..

    .. will still taste shite, but now for a bit longer. Mine's a pint of Old Grumblebelly thanks!

  25. David Pollard

    India Pale Ale?

    IPA, with a cellar life of two years, has it origins way back in the 18th Century. Maybe a cultural exchange visit to Burton on Trent might be in order.

  26. Brew

    What Was The Problem?

    Once drank a 23 year old can of beer that had been sitting in a garage, tasted fine for an American lager, what is the problem??

  27. Odd Einar

    Long Life at Last!

    Oh, the beer?!? And I was hoping it would apply to the drinker...

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