Quantcast

Best by date question

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Skins_Brew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Messages
1,201
Reaction score
5
Location
Silver Spring, MD.
So, i have been reading these boards multiple times daily for the past few months and it seems the consensus is that the longer a brew ages, the better it is. Anyway, i was at the grocery store today and i picked up a six pack of Harpoon Octoberfest. I got home and was looking on the bottle to see where the beer was brewed and it says best by 12/13/07. Dont get me wrong, this is one of the better beers i have ever had, but if beer improves with age, why do they put the 'best by date' on the bottle?
 

flowerysong

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2007
Messages
286
Reaction score
5
Location
Ann Arbor
Redskins838892 said:
So, i have been reading these boards multiple times daily for the past few months and it seems the consensus is that the longer a brew ages, the better it is.
...to a certain point. Which varies, depending on the style of beer and who you ask. As with wine, beer does not improve indefinitely, and after a certain point will start to decline. Some beers reach their peak in weeks, others in years. In general beers with higher levels of alcohol age better, and also tend to require more aging in the first place.

Another point to keep in mind is that unpasteurised beer will age better. While I won't go as far as some people do and maintain that all of the positive benefits of aging are due to the presence of the yeasty beasties, they definitely do contribute to the character of bottle-conditioned beer and there's a fair amount of evidence that they provide an amount of protection from excessive oxidation.
 

DeathBrewer

Maniacally Malty
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
21,788
Reaction score
314
Location
Oakland, CA
only SOME beer gets better with age. for instance, strong belgian beers are usually better after a few years of conditioning, but most wheat beers are best within 6-8 weeks of their bottled date, then start to decline.
 

Nurmey

I love making Beer
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 8, 2007
Messages
3,972
Reaction score
36
Location
Omaha, NE
The best if used by date was thought up by an advertising agency some time back to sell BMC. It probably isn't a bad idea for dead, pasteurized, filtered commercial beer but has little to do with live-yeast homebrew.
 

Dr Malt

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
307
Reaction score
16
Location
Pacific Northwest
Beer in bottles does not age well due to the fact that: (1) the act of bottling does introduce some air into the bottle, (2) glass is permeable to oxygen, (3) even brown bottles do not keep out all light, (4) unless it is bottle conditioned, there is no viable yeast present in the packaged beer, (5) the beer may not be stored at proper temperatures. Thus, as a bottle of beer ages, it is best consumed within 90 to 120 days of packaging. This is especially true of commercial beers as the company wants you to experience their beer when it is fresh.

Dr Malt:mug:
 

flowerysong

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2007
Messages
286
Reaction score
5
Location
Ann Arbor
Dr Malt said:
(2) glass is permeable to oxygen
Say what?

Glass is impermeable to oxygen. While the closure may be slightly O2 permeable, the amount of leakage is small enough that bottles can be stored for years without excessive oxidation taking place.
 

Latest posts

Top