I had a good old sort out of my beers the other night and discovered a fair few which have gone past their best before date. Given the two options of drinking them or tipping them down the sink, I took the first option. I've drank three of them so far and am still alive to tell the tale.
The first beer I had was the 2006 Limited Edition Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer. The first bottle I had of this in late 2005 was very enjoyable with whiskey notes, vanilla and orange marmalade. This bottle had a best before date of November 2007. It definitely had a musky aged feel to it, but still tasted decent enough. The vanilla had disappeared but the whiskey was just as strong, if not stronger. The bitter citrus fruits were there as well. It tasted stronger than 7.2%, and went down very nicely.
Beer number two was a can of Carlsberg Carls Jul badged in this country as Carlsberg Christmas Beer and with a best before date of August 2007. For a canned lager a year or so out of date, this was surprisingly good. It is a malty fruity lager, and was still as fizzy as the first can I had in February 2007. There were no signs of age whatsoever.
Beer number three was Black Sheep Ale with a best before date also of August 2007. I'm not a big fan of Black Sheep beers at all, except perhaps Riggwelter. This tasted just like every other pasteurised Black Sheep bottle I've had - cardboard, caramel and grass - except it tasted slightly old. It was still drinkable, perhaps more so than fresher samples, but I didn't finish the bottle. It's just not my kind of beer!
I've still got ten or so out of date beers to drink. I'll do so, because my stomach wasn't compromised in any way. I urge you all not to be frightened of out of date beer. In some cases you may actually prefer it!