Author Topic: How old is too old to buy an IPA?  (Read 4155 times)

Offline jmwrightmegg

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How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« on: June 20, 2013, 07:39:07 PM »
I am a retailer/restaurateur. Also a home brewer and beer freak. Anyway, I just received a case of an unnamed canned West Coast IPA from a well-known San Francisco Bay Area brewery. It came through an unknowledgeable distributor. The case said "canned on 3/1/13. Today is 6/20. I have always tried to get my IPA's delivered by 90 days from bottling at the maximum. How do you guys feel about this? If you saw a date of 110 days past bottling on a West Coast IPA, known for typical citrusy fresh hops and dry hopping, would you hesitate before buying it? Does my 90 day rule make sense?

Offline deepsouth

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2013, 07:51:41 PM »
i like your rule, and even coming from a beer starved state, i abide.  i don't consider it a disservice to the good people of mississippi because there are so few options regardless of date, but if i lived in an area where fresh ipa was easy to find, i'd think differently.  i'm sure some will disagree with me on this.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 08:29:31 PM by deepsouth »
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2013, 05:25:50 AM »
It may not be optimal, but its probably still good.  I just realized that I brought back two bombers from the Seattle NHC.  I looked at the bottles and noticed that they were labeled 'Side A IPA' and were from Alaskan Brewing.  So, they are about a year old.  I popped one open and it was a very nice IPA.  Definitely worth drinking.

Age is not a friend to hop flavor and aroma, but the resulting beer is likely to have some of the original character.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2013, 05:36:06 AM »
I think it's great that you make the effort to get the freshest IPA, as hop character fades fairly quickly. I agree that a slightly older IPA (if it's a good one) can still be good, but it's just not the same as getting it fresh.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2013, 05:42:35 AM »
Stored cold? (shelf AND back room are cold) - 3 months max

Stored warm? 60 days max

No code, no buy.

Pick from the back, and on any shelf but the top (unless they are cans, of course).

If nothing is fresh - go for the RIS or sour beer.

These are just my constraints when shopping.

There are a LOT of hoppy beers on the shelf these days. Why spend cash on something that's not super fresh?
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2013, 06:09:44 AM »
But to answer your question , no I would buy a different IPA than one that was 110 days post-bottling.  As Kyle said, there are so many hoppy beers in a given store that we have the luxury of freshness these days.
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2013, 06:42:59 AM »
I am just blown away by this thread. The earliest we get Torpedo is 6 months after bottling. It's, seriously, totally great and absolutely drinkable. If you don't wanna sell that beer that was bottled a little over _three months ago_ feel free to send it to me, I'll pay your postage.
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Offline jamminbrew

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2013, 07:05:58 AM »
If you choose to sell it, maybe offer the beer at a slightly discounted rate?
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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2013, 07:12:44 AM »
Uh....taste it

Offline erockrph

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2013, 07:13:12 AM »
I've seen some IPA's stand the test of time better than others, both homebrewed and commercial. Storage definitely makes a difference. In my own personal experience, I find that my IPA's that rely heavily on FWH and a long hop stand tend to hold their flavor and aroma longer than those without. I wonder if that translates on the commercial scale to beers that use a lot of whirlpool hopping.

To the OP's question - if I was confident that said brew was stored cold I think I'd be OK with that dating if I knew I'd be able to turn it around very quickly. If there was any question on the storage, then I'd pass.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2013, 08:12:46 AM »
The fact that is canned is a good sign that it could be fine.  I also say that you should taste it, perhaps find some fresher samples and do a comparison.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2013, 09:15:58 AM »
I am just blown away by this thread. The earliest we get Torpedo is 6 months after bottling. It's, seriously, totally great and absolutely drinkable. If you don't wanna sell that beer that was bottled a little over _three months ago_ feel free to send it to me, I'll pay your postage.

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Offline bluesman

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2013, 09:30:21 AM »
Stored cold? (shelf AND back room are cold) - 3 months max

Stored warm? 60 days max

No code, no buy.

+1

Another thing to consider is the packaging process that the brewery uses. Some breweries have a tighter process than others. Unfortunately, it's hard to measure this variable unless you know a brewer or toured the said brewery. Cans hold up better than bottles when it comes to oxygen infiltration post packing.
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Offline The Professor

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2013, 10:32:58 AM »
I am just blown away by this thread. The earliest we get Torpedo is 6 months after bottling. It's, seriously, totally great and absolutely drinkable. If you don't wanna sell that beer that was bottled a little over _three months ago_ feel free to send it to me, I'll pay your postage.

LOL.  I'm pretty amused by this as well.
A good IPA should be perfectly fine at three months.  An extraordinarily well made one can  be wonderful long after that.
It's true that some lovers of so called "American IPA" are fresh-obsessed, but it doesn't mean that those beers are automatically 'over the hill' after a few months.  In fact, the fresh obsession is  certainly a good thing for the brewers since they don't have to tie up tank space with traditional aging, and modern palates have come to accept...even demand...the end result of quick turnaround.
Quite a few people I know actually prefer their IPAs with a bit more time on them (again, this assumes that they're well made...some are simply  not). 

Not that I'm that much of a stickler for 'authenticity'  but IPA was, after all,  originally an aged style (aka, 'stock ale') to begin with.  I rarely drink my homebrewed IPA any younger than 8 months;  it's brewed with that factor in mind, and after the long aging it's hoppier and more aromatic than any modern commercial one I've yet tried.

I guess in the end, different folks look for different things in their favorite beers.  And the choice these days is unprecedented.
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Offline deepsouth

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Re: How old is too old to buy an IPA?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2013, 11:03:27 AM »


Not that I'm that much of a stickler for 'authenticity'  but IPA was, after all,  originally an aged style (aka, 'stock ale') to begin with.  I rarely drink my homebrewed IPA any younger than 8 months;  it's brewed with that factor in mind, and after the long aging it's hoppier and more aromatic than any modern commercial one I've yet tried.


Professor, you have been brewing almost longer than i have been alive, so i yield to your knowledge.  do you care to share your secret to having a quality ipa that can run out longer than six months?

genuine interest here.
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bottled:     white house honey ale