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Old 01-29-06, 11:16 AM   #1
ernestocolnago
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How to Tell How Old Your Beer Is

For those interested inlearning about how to tell when your beer was brewed, there is an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal ( Saturday 1/28) that decodes the stamps on the neck of the bottles. Now you can tell whether your brew is a week old or a year old ( yuk ).

Different brewers use variations of this code, and there is a helpful chart along with the article.

Unless you drink Bud which shows the date it was brewed ( so I am told ), this is a good reference.
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Old 01-29-06, 09:17 PM   #2
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I stopped reading the WSJ when I stopped having a career taking care of other people's money (and stopped have very much of my own) but that would be an interesting read, even if most of the beer I drink comes out of kegs drawn at my local.
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Old 01-29-06, 09:35 PM   #3
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Now that ernestocolnago brought up the subject, I'm curious.
How much of this beer age information is Budwieser hype and how much is real? I've had beer bottles that I know where at least a year old when opened and I could not tell the difference from the same brand purchased that day. I detect greater difference between brands than I do with age.
So how much is real and what is a realistic age expiration date? My second question is based on Bud's use of the term 'Born on Date'.
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Old 01-29-06, 10:42 PM   #4
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What about the crap that COORS puts out on commercials? Is the brewing in cold places make it taste rocky mountain good? IDK sounds like a bunch of garbage college kids probably buy into.
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Old 01-29-06, 11:00 PM   #5
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How do I know when my beer is too old? When it is still in my fridge. I do the only logical thing and drink it to make room for more beer. I lived through college dorms with week old (two weeks maybe?) chinese food, a little old beer never hurt anyone.
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Old 01-29-06, 11:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaladShooter
How do I know when my beer is too old? When it is still in my fridge. I do the only logical thing and drink it to make room for more beer. I lived through college dorms with week old (two weeks maybe?) chinese food, a little old beer never hurt anyone.
Oh man, you are bringing back college memories. We didn't have refrigerators available in our dorm and the school I went to was somewhat strict about not allowing any alcoholic beverages in our dorm rooms. But we snuck in the cheapest beer we could purchase, 'Old Frothingslosh'. It was bottled by Iron City beer, once a year when they cleaned out their pipes. Since we had no fridge, we had to drink it at room temperature. Man, that was dedication to beer drinking! Thanks for reminding me of those good old days.
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Old 01-30-06, 05:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ernestocolnago
For those interested inlearning about how to tell when your beer was brewed, there is an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal ( Saturday 1/28) that decodes the stamps on the neck of the bottles. Now you can tell whether your brew is a week old or a year old ( yuk ).

Different brewers use variations of this code, and there is a helpful chart along with the article.

Unless you drink Bud which shows the date it was brewed ( so I am told ), this is a good reference.

If you can't smell the difference between new and year old beer, change your brands. Seriously...if the smell doesn't change, it's pretty much an indicator of poor quality.

Due to the low alcohol content of beer, it will sour pretty quickly compared to other drinks.
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Old 01-30-06, 06:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catatonic
If you can't smell the difference between new and year old beer, change your brands. Seriously...if the smell doesn't change, it's pretty much an indicator of poor quality.

Due to the low alcohol content of beer, it will sour pretty quickly compared to other drinks.
I guess this advice is of little use to me...

All I know is alcohol burns the little receptors in my nose... and anything that does that should NOT be consumed (reminds me of bromic acid, et al)!
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Old 01-30-06, 07:06 AM   #9
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True veedub, true.

For those who can though, that's a good measure. Hefeweizen smells significantly different, smell is supposed to be a yeasty smell (since it has yeast in the botle), but when bad it's more of a musty, almost mildew like smell.
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Old 01-30-06, 11:07 AM   #10
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I've found that how a beer is stored makes more of a difference than how old it is.

I've had a commercial beer that was bad 3 months after its expiration date.

I've also had a home-brewed beer that was great over a year after it was brewed.

I'm sure the commercial beer was exposed to wild temperature fluctuations and light, while I know the home-brew was kept in cool to cold conditions with no exposure to light.
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Old 01-30-06, 11:35 AM   #11
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I suspect such date encoding is only good for macrobrews. This weekend I was reminded why I don't drink macrobrews. Ug. We received a gift certificate for Appleby's and decided to use it on Sat. The least unappealing beer they had on tap was Bud's 'winter' beer. It was some kind of festering horrid sickly sweet, vomit-inducing swill that should never have tainted the inside of a keg. Except it was a Bud keg, so, I guess no further damage was done. Anyway, Never Again.
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Old 01-30-06, 01:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roccobike
Now that ernestocolnago brought up the subject, I'm curious.
How much of this beer age information is Budwieser hype and how much is real? I've had beer bottles that I know where at least a year old when opened and I could not tell the difference from the same brand purchased that day. I detect greater difference between brands than I do with age.
So how much is real and what is a realistic age expiration date? My second question is based on Bud's use of the term 'Born on Date'.
Years ago one of the guys on the my Rugby club was a beer distrubuter and I asked him about just this. He said that it is not so much just time, but rather exposure to light and heat that makes beer go bad. So if it has been kept cool in a dark place it can last a long long time with minimal loss. (Of course this is talking about unopened bottles).

The other important thing is that the loss due to age is just that, a decrease in the quality of the beer.

That means year old Harp or Newcastle is still better than a brand new Bud.
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Old 01-30-06, 02:22 PM   #13
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The names "Coors" and "Bud(weiser)" should only be used in a thead about beer the way Merton used them. And this is from someone from Utah!

Lots of things influence the taste of beer. The color of the bottle glass, for one. Do a blind taste-test with three bottled beers sometime, one of them a Heineken. See if the Heinie isn't the skunkiest of the three. It's that green glass.

All hail microbrews!
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Old 01-30-06, 02:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Second Mouse
The names "Coors" and "Bud(weiser)" should only be used in a thead about beer the way Merton used them. And this is from someone from Utah!

Lots of things influence the taste of beer. The color of the bottle glass, for one. Do a blind taste-test with three bottled beers sometime, one of them a Heineken. See if the Heinie isn't the skunkiest of the three. It's that green glass.

All hail microbrews!

Actually many non-skunky beers come in green glass as well.

Heineken is only that way because they heavily toast the hops before fermentation...that leads to a rather unique aroma.
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Old 01-30-06, 02:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halfbiked
I suspect such date encoding is only good for macrobrews. This weekend I was reminded why I don't drink macrobrews. Ug. We received a gift certificate for Appleby's and decided to use it on Sat. The least unappealing beer they had on tap was Bud's 'winter' beer. It was some kind of festering horrid sickly sweet, vomit-inducing swill that should never have tainted the inside of a keg. Except it was a Bud keg, so, I guess no further damage was done. Anyway, Never Again.

Ah, there's bound to be some brews you like....even if it ends up being woodchuck draft cider (yep alcomoholic cider for your intoxication pleasure!). Pretty much any big advertising beer sucks. Good beer only needs word of mouth and the occaisional fiargrounds show for advertising....go look at Reaper Ales...I've never seen an actual ad for them, yet I consider their stout to be the best thing since bufalo wings (and that says a lot since I can eat 400 wings in a week, and still want more!)
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Old 01-30-06, 02:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catatonic
Actually many non-skunky beers come in green glass as well.

Heineken is only that way because they heavily toast the hops before fermentation...that leads to a rather unique aroma.
You're probably right. I've heard this theory from more than one person, although now I think about it, their credibility was pretty questionable. "Rather unique aroma" does say it pretty well, though.

Cheers.
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Old 01-30-06, 03:09 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by catatonic
Ah, there's bound to be some brews you like....even if it ends up being woodchuck draft cider (yep alcomoholic cider for your intoxication pleasure!). Pretty much any big advertising beer sucks. Good beer only needs word of mouth and the occaisional fiargrounds show for advertising....go look at Reaper Ales...I've never seen an actual ad for them, yet I consider their stout to be the best thing since bufalo wings (and that says a lot since I can eat 400 wings in a week, and still want more!)

Fear not!! There is plenty of beer I like, little of it comes from macrobreweries though. If I'm at home its likely locally brewed Summit, some homebrew or other microbrew. The problem was I was at friggin' appleby's and their tap list is poor, to say the least. Had I been smart I'd have asked about bottles, but I'm in a tap rut & wasn't thinking clearly. The worst thing about that bud winter was that having a Summit Winter later that evening reminded me of the Bud. Ug. I almost puked, and I very very rarely puke on beer. Not sure if I've ever puked on just beer, come to think of it.
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Old 01-30-06, 03:34 PM   #18
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I usually go by taste or sight. If i see some sort of growth on the surface of the beer or if it has a bad rancid taste, i know pretty much not to drink it. I have finished up beers that have been open & sitting out for a few days, though not fresh tasted fine.
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Old 01-30-06, 03:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Second Mouse
You're probably right. I've heard this theory from more than one person, although now I think about it, their credibility was pretty questionable. "Rather unique aroma" does say it pretty well, though.

Cheers.

Yep, some beers to check out in green glass:

Spaten Lager
Oranjeboom (another dutch beer, very similar to Heineken, but not as skunky...actually it seems dutch beer in general prefers using toasted hops)
Any kind of draft cider
and a few I've forgot...I'm at hour 10 at work here, and have another 5 to go
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Old 01-30-06, 04:04 PM   #20
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oh, and In general, my fallback beers for places that have poor choices are, in order of preference:

Foster's
Heineken
Miller Genuine Draft (for some reason I like the flavor the corn adds to it....and yes, as an adjunct, they use corn instead of the normal rice...adjunct=cheap way to boost alcohol content, rice is near flavorless, so it's common....corn imparts it's own flavor)
Michelob

Some are decent, some suck...but they all have some traits I find suitable as fallbacks. I would put Guinness in there, but won't since it's not as common as the others.
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Old 01-30-06, 04:16 PM   #21
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Biggest beer psych-out lately. At the bar where I play pool (which recently underwent remodelling via new ownership) they new folks had a bottle of Delerium Tremens on display. So I ordered up that bad boy, being in the mood for a good kick in the pants BUT THEY DON'T STOCK THAT BEER. What? Why the *&$#@! do you have it on the shelf then??? They said the owner liked the bottle or label or something.

Some people just shouldn't own bars. Ug.
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