Ironguts: A Full Billy Beer
A common question I get is "should I empty this full old can of beer?" Technically you should. They can spring leaks, corrode the seams, or swell up and damage the can. I keep a few full because I like the idea of saving some of the original beer. This month's can, however, did spring a very, very tiny pinhole leak on one side. So I had to empty it. Alas, it was not a good beer to begin with, but I thought I might try a tiny, tiny taste.
This is the culprit. The pinhole leak was on one side where a small drop of hardened beer appeared, about a size of a small BB. I carefully opened it from the bottom with a churchkey. I opened it outside, just in case it would spray rancid beer over our kitchen. It still had some carbonation, but not enough to spray much. Whew.
There is a group of guys in the BCCA's Rusty Bunch who like to try the beer from old cans and bottles that are still full. Called the "Iron Guts" they will post photos on the Rusty Bunch site of what the beer looks like after it comes out of a can or bottles that's anywhere from twenty to seventy years old. Generally it seems as if beer in bottles lasts better than beer in cans. The lining in the cans can break down after a few decades, but glass is inert and does not react with the beer.
Here is what the Billy Beer looked like after I opened it and poured it into a glass.
It's kind of cloudy but it did not smell too bad. I took the smallest taste I could, basically touching a finger to the beer, and then touching my tongue. YUCK--not good--very bitter. But then, Billy Beer was pretty bad to begin with.
I have a whole page on Billy Beer. This one is from Pearl in San Antonio. It's a button top, which is unusual, and a metallic design I've not seen before. No, it's still not valuable.