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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: sienabrewer on March 10, 2010, 07:55:35 PM

Title: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: sienabrewer on March 10, 2010, 07:55:35 PM
As I was making my list of top 20 beers for Zymurgy yesterday I couldn't help but wish that many of them were in cans.  So it got me thinking, why is it that breweries have not invested in canning some of their flagship beers?  Is it because it just costs too much, would be too much of an initial investment?  I kind of scratch my head as to why some of the larger micros (if they can still be called that), i.e Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, etc. have not put at least their most popular labels in a can yet.  I would think, aside from the novelty of it, this would increase the possibility of more people buying it.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: MrNate on March 10, 2010, 08:02:46 PM
I buy Yuengling in cans because it's cheap and cans fit in my kegerator much better than bottles. If SA or SN or anyone better canned beer, I'd be right there on the bandwagon with you.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: blatz on March 10, 2010, 09:36:26 PM
Avery is starting.  Mmmm...
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: majorvices on March 10, 2010, 10:04:56 PM
Our goal as a production brewery is to go to cans. Its actually fairly affordable. But, the distributors are not 100% behind it for various reasons. Not that they would turn us down, they just have reservations. I told the distributor we are planning on going with that they actually have a "Canned Craft Beer Festival" and he was fairly surprised. Remember though - we are just now entering 1992 as far as "beer renaissance" goes in my area. Guinness is the closest thing to Canned Craft beer we get.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: sienabrewer on March 11, 2010, 01:13:06 AM
Our goal as a production brewery is to go to cans. Its actually fairly affordable. But, the distributors are not 100% behind it for various reasons. Not that they would turn us down, they just have reservations.

I'm interested in what those reservations might be.  I guess I'm thinking that there are so many more advantages to go the can route than glass (cheaper, more stable shelf life, more portable, overall convenience).  I was at my local beer "depot" last night for the first time in a while and I saw that Bass now comes in the can with a widget, and Brooklyn is putting their flagship lager in 16 oz tall boys.  It's not as if I have an aversion to buying craft beer now because it is in bottles, there is just something very appealing to have some good craft choices in a can.  Just think: fishing, camping, bbq, outside in general, etc. 
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: brewboy on March 11, 2010, 01:47:24 AM
Quote
I'm interested in what those reservations might be.

I realize the convenience and the nonbreakable aspect of them, but I don't like licking metal. I would not try and distribute craft beer in cans.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: babalu87 on March 11, 2010, 01:56:52 AM
Quote
I'm interested in what those reservations might be.

I realize the convenience and the nonbreakable aspect of them, but I don't like licking metal. I would not try and distribute craft beer in cans.

You drink out of cans?

I dont even drink out of the bottle anymore.

The big mental block I see is cans are known for MEH beer
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: redbeerman on March 11, 2010, 02:14:12 AM
It's a marketing thing, all about perception.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: majorvices on March 11, 2010, 02:37:25 AM
The distributors have an issue with the "image" thing, mostly - they have a huge issue with 16 oz and charge a lot more for shelf space. Obviously real beer geeks know that cans are a superior package (unless you are concerned with BPA - nudder story). I like the idea of cans because it keeps the beer fresher and because they are more recyclable, lighter, non-breakable and impervious to light. eventually most craft beer will probably move to cans. I can't wait until I open that first Orval from a can. (yeah .... right...  ;))
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: brewboy on March 11, 2010, 04:54:29 AM
Quote
Obviously real beer geeks know that cans are a superior package.... 

Superior???

Two of the same beers, at the same price, on the shelf, I'm going with bottles. I'm looking for the best taste. I'm not buying good beer to save the earth.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: a10t2 on March 11, 2010, 05:11:00 AM
Superior???

Two of the same beers, at the same price, on the shelf, I'm going with bottles. I'm looking for the best taste. I'm not buying good beer to save the earth.

Cans reduce oxidation, reduce skunking, are less likely to break, cheaper to produce and package, less likely to break, and allow more beer to be shipped/stored in a given volume. I can't think of a way they *aren't* superior.

If taste is your main concern, you should prefer cans.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: brewboy on March 11, 2010, 05:12:39 AM
Quote
If taste is your main concern, you should prefer cans.

Not if I'm drinking directly from the container. Aluminum, lined or not, still has a metallic taste.

If your primary goal is to get beer to the consumer in the cheapest possible way, then cans are your vessel.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: rabid_dingo on March 11, 2010, 05:22:44 AM
From all the canning brewers I have spoken with and the staff at breweries I have spoken with the bottom line is that
it is a PITA especially since for the majority they bottle. It tends to be a pain to switch to can some of the stock.
But it is usually only some batches or one particular style. I can only think of Oscar Blues in Lyons CO that cans
everything...

It has been 3-4 years since I heard this though. It may be easier now...
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: a10t2 on March 11, 2010, 05:38:18 AM
Not if I'm drinking directly from the container. Aluminum, lined or not, still has a metallic taste.

Well, no offense, but if someone is drinking directly from the container, taste (or at least aroma) can't be a huge concern for them.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: majorvices on March 11, 2010, 12:38:28 PM
Well, BrewBoy, as usual you and I don't see eye to eye. If we ultimately do decide to go with cans (we may or may not) it certainly won't be because we are trying to find the "cheapest" way to get our product to the consumer, rather it will be because we are trying to find the best way to get our beer to the consumer. Perhaps you are not aware of all of the benefits cans offer to the consumer (all mentioned above, no need to rehash). Of course, if the issue is you just prefer to drink beer from bottles, well that is entirely subjective. Our intent would be for people to pour the beer in a glass, regardless of bottle or can.

That said, I actually do agree with you on one thing: Sometimes I enjoy drinking a cold lager from a long neck bottle - and I probably always will. But, in the case of Oskar Blues beers, I really would not consider drinking that beer from a can or a bottle. I would pour it in a plastic cup at the very least.

Edit: I remembered reading THIS (http://www.realbeer.com/edu/6-pack/dale.php) article so I dug it up. Here's a pretty good quote:

Quote
That brings us back to the big question: Can you really say that beer in cans is as good a beer in bottles?

DK: Yes.

But what about the aroma (hops and malt) you that we expect and enjoy from a beer like this?

DK: Well, no, not directly from the can. I tell people, when I drink a LaChouffe, I don't drink it right from a bottle. I pour it into a glass.

People see the can and think they need to drink right from it. You'd never drink a full-flavored beer from a bottle. This is a better, safer package than a bottle. It's draft beer in a mini-keg, and you don't drink draft beer right from a full-size keg.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: brewboy on March 11, 2010, 01:10:24 PM
Quote
Our intent would be for people to pour the beer in a glass, regardless of bottle or can.

That kind of shoots a hole in the convenience theory. Now you'd have to buy beer in cans and take glasses with you.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: theDarkSide on March 11, 2010, 01:18:40 PM
Quote
Our intent would be for people to pour the beer in a glass, regardless of bottle or can.

That kind of shoots a hole in the convenience theory. Now you'd have to buy beer in cans and take glasses with you.

I already do this anyways.  I don't find it inconvenient. I can't remember the last beer I drank directly from the bottle or can, but I think it was the same year Windows 3.11 was released.

What I want to know is when is someone like Blichman Engineering going to come up with a canning system for homebrewers...
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: dirtyjerzey on March 11, 2010, 01:20:43 PM
I'm not going to buy into the whole bottle vs. can taste contest....drinking straight from a vessel, bottle wins hands down (IMO).....but as mentioned: any of the 'good' beers that we would consider craft beers we would drink from a glass anyways, so i think the argument is moot.  I could give a crap about bottle or can when drinking BL, but bottles taste better....maybe it's just me.

My biggest proponent for cans is portability: fishing, camping, etc...  I think I could muscle down a SN from a can if I had to  ;)  I'll drink from a glass when I'm at home sitting on the back deck regardless of weather it came from a bottle or can. 

I HATE taking bottles out on the boat....they break, they clang together (need to be quiet fishing), take up more space when storing empties (cans crush easy)....I would buy cans of craft beer! 

I'm sure for smaller brewery operations, purchasing the additional equipment to convert partially to cans is a cost prohibitive capital investment. 


Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: majorvices on March 11, 2010, 02:03:32 PM
Quote
Our intent would be for people to pour the beer in a glass, regardless of bottle or can.

That kind of shoots a hole in the convenience theory. Now you'd have to buy beer in cans and take glasses with you.

Really? How hard is it to carry plastic cups? We have a membership at a private pool and it is very convenient to not worry about broken glass, and I carry plastic cups and pour the beer in plastic cups (I'm certainly not going to carry proper glass ware up there). Also, I am a back packer and sometimes I like to lug a couple of beers - ain't no way I'm packing in bottles. In that instance I usually carry something like Newcastle or even BMC and drink it from the can. I would drink an IPA from the can if I was 15+ miles from the car, no problems.  ;)

Along the same lines there are a few pubs selling beer in Nalgene Growlers now. Nalgene! I need to get one of those to bring up to the pool! Genius! BPA be damned!

Anyway, I think cans are convenient and I think that eventually you will see a lot more craft beer in cans because of the convenience. You don't have to share my convictions though, and I might be wrong. But craft beer is currently expanding in cans, that much is certain.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: brewboy on March 11, 2010, 02:11:20 PM
Why not bottle on PET containers?
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: theDarkSide on March 11, 2010, 02:14:29 PM
But craft beer is currently expanding in cans, that much is certain.

That's right, CANS!
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: boulderbrewer on March 11, 2010, 02:26:10 PM

Along the same lines there are a few pubs selling beer in Nalgene Growlers now. Nalgene! I need to get one of those to bring up to the pool! Genius! BPA be damned!

You can get these from White Labs if you order a 5 to 7 barrel batch of yeast. Best bet is to hit up a brew pub that uses White Labs and see if the will part with some. Might be a hike for you though.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: majorvices on March 11, 2010, 02:30:42 PM
Why not bottle on PET containers?

I dunno. Might be a viable option down the road. Isn't as impervious to light and o2 though.


Along the same lines there are a few pubs selling beer in Nalgene Growlers now. Nalgene! I need to get one of those to bring up to the pool! Genius! BPA be damned!

You can get these from White Labs if you order a 5 to 7 barrel batch of yeast. Best bet is to hit up a brew pub that uses White Labs and see if the will part with some. Might be a hike for you though.

There are a few small 7bbl breweries locally. Plus, hopefully I'll be ordering yeast for that size batch very soon. I didn't realize they sent them in Nalgene but that makes a lot of sense since they can be sterilized. Good info, thanks!
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: blatz on March 11, 2010, 02:34:23 PM
keith I have a handful of them (and can get more) if you really need one.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: Hokerer on March 11, 2010, 02:37:24 PM
and because they are more recyclable,

Small point but, recyclable isn't necessarily a plus.  While recycling is definitely a plus over throwaway, re-use blows recycling out of the water.  Especially with craft beer as most bottle in non-twistoffs.  From a conservation perspective, using the same bottle 5, 10, 20 times is far better than using 5, 10, 20 cans even if you can recycle them.  Maybe we need to get back to the returnable bottles system we had long ago (and Europe still uses to great advantage today).

Oh, and spare me the holier than thou "I keg so I'm so superior to you poor schmucks who still have to bottle".  That's another one for "nudder story".
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: majorvices on March 11, 2010, 02:44:09 PM
Blatz, thanks, I may take you up on that sometime.

Hokerer - I agree, I miss returnable bottles. That is smart packaging. My point on recycling though, mainly, is that our local curb side pick up does not accept glass. Not sure how that expands across the country but obviously I am thinking local market, and a lot of the type of people who I expect will be drinking our beer are the type of people who may be concerned about recycling. I personally hate throwing away bottles, it really feels wasteful to me.

BTW, keg is way superior to any other package.  ;)
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: brewboy on March 11, 2010, 02:58:30 PM
Quote
I personally hate throwing away bottles, it really feels wasteful to me.

We do agree on something.  :D
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: akr71 on March 11, 2010, 03:04:56 PM

Oh, and spare me the holier than thou "I keg so I'm so superior to you poor schmucks who still have to bottle".  That's another one for "nudder story".

A keg is basically a can - a really, really big can.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: Kaiser on March 11, 2010, 03:05:54 PM
Why not bottle on PET containers?

I dunno. Might be a viable option down the road. Isn't as impervious to light and o2 though.


Some of the cheaper bands in Germany are sold in brown PET bottles. The problem is the O2 permability but judging by the papers I have come across, the industry is working on solving this problem.

When it comes to packaging it's all a matter of cost. If disposing bottles is cheaper than setting up a reuse infrastructure the industry will always bias towards disposable containers.

Kai
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: brewboy on March 11, 2010, 03:06:18 PM
Quote
A keg is basically a can - a really, really big can.  

When they start canning beer in stainless, I'll change my mind.  ;D
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: riverrat on March 11, 2010, 03:26:32 PM
http://www.surlybrewing.com/beer/year-round-beers.html

MN has it figured out.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: majorvices on March 11, 2010, 03:38:45 PM

Some of the cheaper bands in Germany are sold in brown PET bottles. The problem is the O2 permability but judging by the papers I have come across, the industry is working on solving this problem.

When it comes to packaging it's all a matter of cost. If disposing bottles is cheaper than setting up a reuse infrastructure the industry will always bias towards disposable containers.

Kai

Yes, of course, I forgot all about that. I've had a few and, for cheap beer they are pretty good actually. When I had them I thought to myself how awesome it would be for American brewers to do the same. I would love to take a couple PET bottled beers camping. You can drink the beer and then use the bottle as water. That said, I need to remember that next time I go .... package a little homebrew. Can't believe I never thought of that before....  ???
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: babalu87 on March 11, 2010, 03:44:41 PM

Oh, and spare me the holier than thou "I keg so I'm so superior to you poor schmucks who still have to bottle".  That's another one for "nudder story".

A keg is basically a can - a really, really big cans.

really big cans.

Yeah, now this thread is going somewhere  ;D

I think New England Brewing is coming out with "bomber" cans

What ever happened to the re-usable bar bottles, I bet those could hold 5 volumes of CO2
I still have some cases of the 16 oz Shaeffer bottles in the heavy waxed carboard cases, cherish those like my kids  :P
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: brewboy on March 11, 2010, 03:48:20 PM
"   I would love to take a couple PET bottled beers camping."

PET bottles cannot be beat for refilling and transporting beer. If you're interested, I can show you my counter pressure PET bottle filler. Fast, simple and fills a bottle perfectly.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: majorvices on March 11, 2010, 03:51:00 PM
"   I would love to take a couple PET bottled beers camping."

PET bottles cannot be beat for refilling and transporting beer. If you're interested, I can show you my counter pressure PET bottle filler. Fast, simple and fills a bottle perfectly.

Sure, post pics if you want. Is it just as simple as fitting a rubber bung that fits the diameter of the PET bottle opening?
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: MrNate on March 11, 2010, 04:24:39 PM
...

Quote

...

People see the can and think they need to drink right from it. You'd never drink a full-flavored beer from a bottle. This is a better, safer package than a bottle. It's draft beer in a mini-keg, and you don't drink draft beer right from a full-size keg.


Well, YOU might not.  ;D

BTW, I've bottled in the brown PET bottles and they're nice, but they don't crush like cans do. Ultimately, cans are a more space-efficient and convenient package in every regard. I wouldn't invest in them for homebrew, but I'd definitely buy any decent, reasonably-priced beer that came in a can for all the reasons mentioned. If I'm putting a case in my beer fridge, it's gotta be cans. If I'm going camping, it's gotta be cans. If I'm drunk and likely to drop my beer, it's gotta be cans.

And yes, damn you, I do drink straight outta the can, y'all. Represent.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: brewboy on March 11, 2010, 04:36:05 PM
Quote
Sure, post pics if you want. Is it just as simple as fitting a rubber bung that fits the diameter of the PET bottle opening? 

No, it is a true, counter pressure filler that doesn't initially shoot in a bunch of foam like the stopper method does. I'll post some pictures of it later. In this thread or ???
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: sienabrewer on March 11, 2010, 08:17:55 PM
I think I just happen to prefer cans.  I don't buy this nonsense that cans make the beer metallic; companies worked out that issue a long time ago.  I always pour my beer in a glass when I'm home, so drinking out of a bottle is never an issue.  As far as the environmental "advantages" I waste a ton of water each time I brew so I can't exactly claim that I care for that reason either.  I just want more cans because they store better, keep the beer fresher, are easier to pack a fridge with, I can take them anywhere, and don't have to worry about them breaking.  I guess I'm just surprised that some of the bigger micros who can afford to implement cans have not done so.  The beer is going to taste the same, it's just a matter of providing me with an easier way to bring it more places. 
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: denny on March 11, 2010, 08:34:33 PM
I think I just happen to prefer cans.  I don't buy this nonsense that cans make the beer metallic; companies worked out that issue a long time ago.

Total agreement....
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: blatz on March 11, 2010, 08:46:21 PM
micros aren't going to make a switch until there's more than just some 'goodwill' from the environmentally concious, the hikers and the beachgoers.  the systems are a large capital investment in a business where margins are tight enough as it is and competition is omnipresent. 

and the fact is, among many people not quite as geeky as we are, cans still have a stigma about them - probably because of Jim Koch's promotion against them.

now for guys starting out, maybe it makes sense, but for guys already on the run, it doesn't make sense to take money that would otherwise be going in your pocket to not increase sales. 

Adam Avery is taking a risk that is likely to be more of a tax writeoff than anything - I don't think fans of ABC are going to buy more Maharaja or Ellies Brown because its in a can, rather they may make a switch, but the net effect is neglible.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: nicneufeld on March 11, 2010, 09:01:48 PM
I'd be a huge fan of cans, too.  But beyond canning, there's a missing middle bracket at least in the US that has long annoyed me...I was really, really hoping Budweiser's American Ale would fill this gap...inexpensive canned beer brewed with more flavor and less adjunct hitting a price point between craft beer and macro swill.  If Budweiser had brewed a modestly hopped pale ale, canned it, and set the pricepoint a bit higher than their lager, but not in the steep craft beer territory, they might have interested me a bit more.

Then again, this may stem from the fact that I am a homebrewer and making a batch for $15 or thereabouts makes me loathe to spend 8 bucks on a sixpack of something.  Cheap penny-pinching bastard, I know!   ;D

But cans are brilliant packaging...compact, lightweight, light-safe, easily stacked and stored, etc etc.  Now its just a long fight to change public perception.  Even among beer geeks/brewers there persist discredited ideas about how canning ruins the beer, so among the less educated beer drinking populace its a long uphill battle...and companies have to make money at it, so if the public won't buy canned beer, they can't afford to can beer on principle just because they know its a better mousetrap, so to speak.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: dean on March 11, 2010, 09:12:02 PM
I don't like cans.  The do have a "taste", maybe some people aren't able to distinguish it but I sure "can".   :D  Also, heat transfer through metal is more rapid, not that I mind a warm beer if its a good beer but why fix something if it isn't broken?  You know that old saying... people in hell want icewater too.   ::)
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: nicneufeld on March 11, 2010, 09:43:43 PM
What would be interesting is someone with enough willing beer drinkers in their immediate vicinity could stage a test:

Say you find at least 3 different microbrews publicly available in both cans and bottles.  Then stage taste testing where each tester is given two small cups of each beer, and then mark on a sheet their taste perceptions between the two beers, any differences noted, etc.  You could throw in a macrobrew canned/bottled for testing, as well.  It being essentially blind, you'll get a fairly unbiased opinion on the effects of canning vs bottling, and having beers from multiple sources should mitigate the fact that differences will likely occur between batches (so in theory a batch that was bottled could taste different from one canned, without being caused by packaging).

So, if all or a majority of the reports from testers singled out the cans as being different from each of the different breweries that were tested, you might have something pointing towards evidence that Al canning affects the taste of the beer. 
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: majorvices on March 11, 2010, 09:50:07 PM
I don't like cans.  The do have a "taste", maybe some people aren't able to distinguish it but I sure "can".   :D 

Have you ever done a blind test? (I'm betting "no".  ;)) Don't be surprised if it isn't in your head.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: capozzoli on March 11, 2010, 11:25:35 PM
Bottles are for girls. Cause they drink slow and need something to keep it cold.

Cans are for men. I can take a bite out of a beer can,  I dont want to bite a bottle.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: dean on March 11, 2010, 11:44:55 PM
I don't like cans.  The do have a "taste", maybe some people aren't able to distinguish it but I sure "can".   :D 

Have you ever done a blind test? (I'm betting "no".  ;)) Don't be surprised if it isn't in your head.

What do you want me to do it with... Miller or Bud?  And I know I can tell the difference.  Babalu87, newer kegs are stainless but cans made the last few decades are aluminum covered on the inside with super thin polymer coating... it definitely has a taste.  Its kinda funny that aluminum seems to need that protective coating don't you think?   ;) 
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: majorvices on March 11, 2010, 11:56:35 PM
It doesn't matter to me. Pick your poison, I would be willing to bet a million bucks you couldn't pick it right even 3 times. ;)
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on March 12, 2010, 12:39:03 AM
Not exactly microbreweries but you can buy Guinness and Newcastle in can as well as bottle.
So you could do your blind taste if you want to.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: babalu87 on March 12, 2010, 12:42:13 AM
I don't like cans.  The do have a "taste", maybe some people aren't able to distinguish it but I sure "can".   :D 

Have you ever done a blind test? (I'm betting "no".  ;)) Don't be surprised if it isn't in your head.

What do you want me to do it with... Miller or Bud?  And I know I can tell the difference.  Babalu87, newer kegs are stainless but cans made the last few decades are aluminum covered on the inside with super thin polymer coating... it definitely has a taste.  Its kinda funny that aluminum seems to need that protective coating don't you think?   ;) 

What?
You must have me confused with someone

Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: MrNate on March 12, 2010, 04:52:59 AM
Not exactly microbreweries but you can buy Guinness and Newcastle in can as well as bottle.
So you could do your blind taste if you want to.

Yeah, but you could easily tell the difference between a bottle and a can of Guinness. Not sure about Newcastle, but the black stuff is remarkably different in a bottle. My experience anyway.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: dean on March 12, 2010, 11:36:49 AM
It doesn't matter to me. Pick your poison, I would be willing to bet a million bucks you couldn't pick it right even 3 times. ;)


:D  I wish you had a million bucks too, I'd be a rich man soon.   ;D 
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: MDixon on March 12, 2010, 12:30:01 PM
dean - any chance you'd be in MN? I'd be willing to setup a blind tasting of bottles versus cans for all those who believe they can taste a difference. We'll put about 10 samples of various beers on the table with at least 3 of them being canned and the remainder bottled and let those who dare pick the canned ones. IMO any incorrect choices prove the point.

Now if someone is saying they taste the can TOP, pour that puppy in a glass or cup for goodness sake and smell the beer.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: dean on March 12, 2010, 12:38:01 PM
I don't believe picking incorrectly would be prove the point at all if you're using 10 samples.  Each time you take alcohol into your mouth your tastebuds are dulled no matter if you're eatting crackers and swishing with water or whatever you do.  There was a time when I didn't like beer all that much, or at least not until after a beer or two.

I can drink beer out of a can, but I choose not to.  After drinking a couple, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway.  Beside that, if it weren't true, why would so many people say the same thing often giving the same description for the flavor they are picking up?  Its like this... take a small taste of a red hot pepper, then take a big bite of the same pepper and tell me there isn't a difference.  One stings a little but its nothing memorable, the large bite you aren't apt to forget so soon.   ;)  ;D
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: theDarkSide on March 12, 2010, 01:21:41 PM

Cans are for men. I can take a bite out of a beer can,  I dont want to bite a bottle.

Ever try crushing a bottle on your forehead?  It hurts...
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: majorvices on March 12, 2010, 01:24:20 PM
Not exactly microbreweries but you can buy Guinness and Newcastle in can as well as bottle.
So you could do your blind taste if you want to.

Yeah, but you could easily tell the difference between a bottle and a can of Guinness. Not sure about Newcastle, but the black stuff is remarkably different in a bottle. My experience anyway.

They have those Guinness with the nitrogen widgets too, at least in my part. I agree though, the Guinness Extra glass bottles and the Draft nitro cans will be hugely different. Still, Dean probably couldn't tell the difference. Not with that palette. He actually drank my beer once and thought it was good so I wouldn't trust his taste ::) buds.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: MDixon on March 12, 2010, 01:27:50 PM
So dean are you saying after a single swallow you couldn't tell a difference? Where's the backpedal emoticon when it's needed?  8)

Seriously, I could not pick out the particular beer in a flight of American Light and Standard lagers since I don't drink them much anymore, but if you gave me 10 samples I could describe them all one after another and what I perceived. If one was metallic I certainly could pick it out and if three were, I certainly could pick them out. My point being the metallic you perceive is in your head OR is your tongue touching the can itself. Palate fatigue really doesn't set in until you are on a flight of beers with strong flavors. A very hoppy flight will quickly fatigue the palate as can a strong alcohol flight. But light lagers...c'mon...
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: dean on March 12, 2010, 01:57:08 PM
I'm saying there is a difference between sipping beer and drinking beer.  Just like with the hot pepper, a small sample doesn't give you the full effect.  I notice the flavor in a canned beer at the back of my mouth and throat, and more so if I'm drinking rather than sipping.  After a half a beer, it begins to subside... I suppose if I forced myself to drink canned beer long enough I wouldn't know the difference either... it would be an acquired taste... most people don't like coffee right off the bat either, its something they get used to.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: MrNate on March 12, 2010, 02:51:19 PM
I think I just happen to prefer cans.  I don't buy this nonsense that cans make the beer metallic; companies worked out that issue a long time ago.  I always pour my beer in a glass when I'm home, so drinking out of a bottle is never an issue.  As far as the environmental "advantages" I waste a ton of water each time I brew so I can't exactly claim that I care for that reason either.  I just want more cans because they store better, keep the beer fresher, are easier to pack a fridge with, I can take them anywhere, and don't have to worry about them breaking.  I guess I'm just surprised that some of the bigger micros who can afford to implement cans have not done so.  The beer is going to taste the same, it's just a matter of providing me with an easier way to bring it more places. 

No one wastes water when they're making beer.

My wife started talking about how she wanted us to conserve water once. I told her I conserve water by not converting it into hydrogen.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: blatz on March 12, 2010, 03:01:52 PM
Yeah, but you could easily tell the difference between a bottle and a can of Guinness. Not sure about Newcastle, but the black stuff is remarkably different in a bottle. My experience anyway.

nate - are you comparing the widget cans to the widget bottles or the widget cans to the Extra Stout bottles?  I don't think I could differentiate the former comparison, but the latter comparison is stark, mainly because its a different recipe...
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: nicneufeld on March 12, 2010, 03:07:11 PM
I don't know about the rest of you, but I can taste the difference in beers fermented in stainless steel vessels and beers fermented in glass vessels.  If you can't differentiate between the steely-fermented beers and the glassy ones then I guess you just don't have as refined a palate as me!   ;D  :P
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: MrNate on March 12, 2010, 03:15:43 PM
Yeah, but you could easily tell the difference between a bottle and a can of Guinness. Not sure about Newcastle, but the black stuff is remarkably different in a bottle. My experience anyway.

nate - are you comparing the widget cans to the widget bottles or the widget cans to the Extra Stout bottles?  I don't think I could differentiate the former comparison, but the latter comparison is stark, mainly because its a different recipe...

The only time I drank from the widget bottle I had to do exactly that. I wasn't able to pour it into a glass, so I don't have much of a comparison. Plus it was ice cold. So no, I was thinking of the old ES bottles, which I had heard tell is a different recipe and believe wholeheartedly. Your point is likely valid. I had just forgotten about the widget bottles.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: nicneufeld on March 12, 2010, 03:53:41 PM
Yeah, I'd forgotten how much I like Extra Stout.  Very definitely a different beer!  Sometimes I wonder if the plain dry stout is coloured black so as to reassure the drinker that no, they are not in fact drinking water!  Extra Stout occupies that nice middle ground like the Foreign Export Stout style that is more substantive than a dry/bland Irish stout but a bit more casually drinkable than the thick sludgey epitomes of glorious excess that are imperial stouts (not that I don't like them from time to time).  Will have to consider picking up a sixer or brewing a clone!
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: sienabrewer on March 12, 2010, 04:24:26 PM
I don't believe picking incorrectly would be prove the point at all if you're using 10 samples.  Each time you take alcohol into your mouth your tastebuds are dulled no matter if you're eatting crackers and swishing with water or whatever you do.  There was a time when I didn't like beer all that much, or at least not until after a beer or two.

I can drink beer out of a can, but I choose not to.  After drinking a couple, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway.  Beside that, if it weren't true, why would so many people say the same thing often giving the same description for the flavor they are picking up?  Its like this... take a small taste of a red hot pepper, then take a big bite of the same pepper and tell me there isn't a difference.  One stings a little but its nothing memorable, the large bite you aren't apt to forget so soon.   ;)  ;D

I just can't buy into this logic.  For me it's like saying I can taste two samples of chicken and soup and pick out which one uses sea salt and which one uses regular table salt.  I'm not trying to discredit you, but it just seems so unlikely.  Can you taste the difference between Pepsi from the can and Pepsi from the 2 litre plastic bottle that have both been placed in a glass?

And to your second point about why so many people say the same thing.  It's just like the homebrewing myth that boiling in stainless steel is better than aluminum, or adding a lb of sugar to a beer makes it taste like cider.  My guess would that most of the people who believe the can myth are those who were drinking from cans back in the day before the technology improved and did away with that problem.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: dean on March 13, 2010, 01:35:30 PM
I just can't buy into this logic.  For me it's like saying I can taste two samples of chicken and soup and pick out which one uses sea salt and which one uses regular table salt.  I'm not trying to discredit you, but it just seems so unlikely.  Can you taste the difference between Pepsi from the can and Pepsi from the 2 litre plastic bottle that have both been placed in a glass?

And to your second point about why so many people say the same thing.  It's just like the homebrewing myth that boiling in stainless steel is better than aluminum, or adding a lb of sugar to a beer makes it taste like cider.  My guess would that most of the people who believe the can myth are those who were drinking from cans back in the day before the technology improved and did away with that problem.

While I've never professed to be a chemistry major.... it all comes down to just that.  Soda is not beer.  


To your second point, try boiling water in two small pots... one being all stainless (not clad) and one being all aluminum.  For your own scientific satisfaction, use the same amount of water ( a pint in each will do) from the same water source and add one quarter teaspoon of baking soda to each pot and stir.  Let the water cools so you don't burn your mouth and taste them, I suggest you make it a small taste, and keep a piece of minty candy close by.  Then tell me you it there is a difference in which something is made or even stored.  You can do the same test on your clad cookware or brewing kettle etc.  All stainless is not equal either.  ;)

Please, I beg you... do the test and Do Tell us the outcome.   ;D
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: nicneufeld on March 13, 2010, 01:42:49 PM
Hobby horse alert:
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=530.15
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=940.0

But I'll be sure not to drink my usual libation of boiling hot water spiked with sodium bicarbonate out of a can then!  :D
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: dean on March 13, 2010, 01:56:01 PM
I wonder if anybody performed those tests... if anyone did, some are probably systematically changing out their cookware.   :D  The truth sucks sometimes but its always good to know. 
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: denny on March 13, 2010, 04:30:13 PM
I wonder if anybody performed those tests... if anyone did, some are probably systematically changing out their cookware.   :D  The truth sucks sometimes but its always good to know. 

I don't really see how that relates to canned beer, though.  If the AL pot in your test was lined like the cans are, it would be more relevant.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: bluesman on March 13, 2010, 05:18:27 PM
I think the question hasn't been definitively answered in regards to the flavor if any imparted from the can. If there isn't any flavor imparted from canned beer then the next question is the public's perception of canned vs. bottled beer. That must also be considered.

Microbreweries have sales and margins to meet. Canning vs. bottling costs to weigh...and the consumer's perception to overcome. All of these must be considered in order to make the switch. Not to mention the initial capital investment required to go to canning.

Personally I need to do a blind tasting to convince myself one way or the other on the effects of flavor from can vs. bottle.

Ultimately I drink my beer from a glass or a cup.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: nyakavt on March 13, 2010, 05:50:22 PM
I wonder if anybody performed those tests... if anyone did, some are probably systematically changing out their cookware.   :D  The truth sucks sometimes but its always good to know. 

I don't really see how that relates to canned beer, though.  If the AL pot in your test was lined like the cans are, it would be more relevant.

Exactly, any can for beverage storage is lined so there is no metal in contact with the beverage.  This is just a perception bias that will not stand up to an objective experiment.

Most household aluminum cookware is either anodized or teflon coated anyway.  If you could find an untreated aluminum pot (like a brew pot), how would baking soda added to boiling water be in any way similar to beer?

I have done a blind triangle test with soda from PET bottles vs. a can.  I absolutely could not pick out a difference when they were both poured into a glass.  Before doing this I was certain that I would be able to tell the difference - it was all in my head, associating the flavor of drinking directly from the can.  If we're talking about beer vs. soda, soda is the more corrosive of the two because of the lower pH, and if anything would be more likely to leech metal from the can.

If you are able to do an objective triangle test where the only difference between the beverages is the package (same age, brewhouse, serving temp, etc.), I really don't think you'll be able to pick out a difference better than chance.  You'll have a hard time convincing somebody else of your ability to detect these differences without some sort of controlled experiment.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: bluesman on March 13, 2010, 05:55:37 PM
That's my assumption based on the design of the cans. To prove this to myself...a blind tasting is in order.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: MrNate on March 13, 2010, 07:26:05 PM
That's my assumption based on the design of the cans. To prove this to myself...a blind tasting is in order.

Is that one where you taste until you're blind? I like those.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: brewboy on March 13, 2010, 08:04:31 PM
Quote
Is that one where you taste until you're blind? I like those. 

There's another way to make yourself go blind, but it doesn't involve alcohol at all.  ;D
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: dean on March 14, 2010, 02:22:22 PM
Okay, let me tie the cans and the cookware together.  Cookware if it is 100% stainless really has no bearing, but there are pots and pans manufactured with a core of a different metal, usually aluminum, which is then encapsulated with a layer of stainless steel... much like the can which is aluminum and has a layer of some sort of plastic material.  See the connection now?  All barriers are not equal.   ;)

Not all stainless is equal, and the thickness of the layer of stainless probably has much to do with it.  So some stainless steel pots and pans which are either clad or encapsulated still allow the aluminum to leach through.  If you do the test... you'll find out the quality of your cookware.  The plastic layer inside a beer can is even thinner... probably a few millionths of an inch thick... allowing the aluminum to leach through perhaps under certain conditions?  I guess I'll test it... I just dread the thought of doing it... the taste it leaves is horrible.  Perhaps some of you remember a cookie or bread that someone made at home having a peculiar nasty bite to it... if so... it was probably baked in an aluminum pan but nobody ever tied the two together.

The best test would probably be to empty a can, rinse and fill it with a mix of near boiling water and baking soda, let it cool and taste it.  Perhaps it could be done with cool water rather than hot water (so it doesn't melt the milli-thin plastic membrane) and leave it sit for a day or two or week... as if it had gone through the various levels or branches of being distributed.  I think most people don't notice it because beer already has some desired level of bitterness but they can't discern the difference between the two or choose to ignore it.
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: MDixon on March 14, 2010, 03:02:36 PM
I don't see any reason to tie cans to cookware.

The boiling water scenario is pointless since at best the canned beers are run through a pasteurizer for 2-3 min with 140F spray. So any experiment should be conducted at 140F or less and for a short duration to mimic any potential temp effects.

Baking soda is also pointless since it would raise the pH toward 9, what you want to do is acidify the water for a realistic test. Beer is acidic after all. Hey, wait a minute, doesn't coke have a pH of around 4, let's run the test with coke in a can... ;)
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: denny on March 14, 2010, 05:17:38 PM
Dean, rather than surmising about analogies which may not be analogous, why don't you just do the blind triangle test and get yourself some real data?
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: sienabrewer on March 14, 2010, 10:27:26 PM
Dean, rather than surmising about analogies which may not be analogous, why don't you just do the blind triangle test and get yourself some real data?

+1, thank you. 
Title: Re: Why don't more microbrews start canning?
Post by: nicneufeld on March 14, 2010, 10:38:18 PM
The best test would probably be to empty a can, rinse and fill it with a mix of near boiling water and baking soda, let it cool and taste it. 

If you keep drinking all that sodium bicarbonate tea, you won't have taste buds left!

No but seriously the best test would be like we have said...a multi-beer blind taste test administered by an indifferent third party.  Probably be more enjoyable than swigging hot baking soda water, too!