Author Topic: Stale beer direct from brewery  (Read 1113 times)

Offline Richard

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Stale beer direct from brewery
« on: February 13, 2019, 05:44:04 AM »
My son just came back from a short trip to northern California. He found a new small brewery/brew pub in the town he visited and brought me back a crowler (a large can) of their Centennial IPA. I eagerly opened it and immediately tasted the sicky sweet, sherry-like taste of oxided/stale beer. My son tasted it and agreed that it was bad and didn't taste like what he had on tap there. This was purchased at the brewery and delivered to me only a day or two later. What a disappointment! They are obviously not doing a good job of packaging and storing their beer. I don't want to name the brewery, but I am wondering if I should contact them and let them know how bad it was.
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Offline BrewBama

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Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2019, 12:39:55 PM »
I’ve read that pouring a beer into a crowler, then waiting a day or two to drink it is akin to buying food from a nice restaurant, putting it in to go containers, letting it sit a day or two, then judging the quality of the restaurant on the meal heated in a microwave. I think if you’re going to have a beer at the tap room and not wanting to drive home inebriated but also wanting to enjoy another, a crowler would be a great way to get the beer to the house. But it shouldn’t sit, you should drink it as soon as you get home. There should be no expectation that the beer should stay fresh in a glass at the bar overnight. Likewise, there should be no expectation the crowler should last longer than it takes to get it home and enjoy it.

A good example of why to protect beer from the environment — especially on the cold side (e.g. closed transfer from fermenter to keg).

Canning operations purge the cans prior to filling under strictly controlled conditions. Crowlers are filling at the tap.

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« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 08:10:15 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2019, 12:47:46 PM »
I see no reason why a growler of beer should go bad in a day or three.  It sounds to me like there was an issue with the container - IMO.  Perhaps it wasn’t clean.  If your son tasted the beer from the same tap just prior to filling the container, the only possibility that I see would be the container itself.  And, yes, I would definitely contact the brewery. If the container was the issue, continuation of this phenomenon could put them out of business.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 12:49:22 PM by KellerBrauer »
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Offline Robert

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2019, 01:05:20 PM »


I’ve read that pouring a beer into a crowler, then waiting a day or two to drink it is akin to buying food from a nice restaurant, putting it in to go containers, letting it sit a day or two, then judging the quality of the restaurant on the meal heated in a microwave. I think if you’re going to have a beer at the tap room and not wanting to drive home inebriated but also wanting to enjoy another, a crowler would be a great way to get the beer to the house. But it shouldn’t sit, you should drink it as soon as you get home. There should be no expectation that the beer should stay fresh in a glass at the bar overnight. Likewise, there should be no explanation the crowler should last longer than it takes to get it home and enjoy it.

A good example of why to protect beer from the environment — especially on the cold side (e.g. closed transfer from fermenter to keg).

Canning operations purge the cans prior to filling under strictly controlled conditions. Crowlers are filling at the tap.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

+1 on all counts

(Remember when you were young what all the half full cups smelled like the morning after a kegger?  A crowler, or a growler, is just a flashy way to get you to pay for that.)
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Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2019, 01:41:51 PM »

+1 on all counts

(Remember when you were young what all the half full cups smelled like the morning after a kegger?  A crowler, or a growler, is just a flashy way to get you to pay for that.)

I'm wondering why beer we buy at the store, often from local breweries, has no issue with taste even though they've sat on the shelf for many weeks?  I'm sorry, I don't understand.
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The Beerery

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2019, 02:16:10 PM »

+1 on all counts

(Remember when you were young what all the half full cups smelled like the morning after a kegger?  A crowler, or a growler, is just a flashy way to get you to pay for that.)

I'm wondering why beer we buy at the store, often from local breweries, has no issue with taste even though they've sat on the shelf for many weeks?  I'm sorry, I don't understand.

TPO thats why, Less is more.

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2019, 02:38:03 PM »

+1 on all counts

(Remember when you were young what all the half full cups smelled like the morning after a kegger?  A crowler, or a growler, is just a flashy way to get you to pay for that.)

I'm wondering why beer we buy at the store, often from local breweries, has no issue with taste even though they've sat on the shelf for many weeks?  I'm sorry, I don't understand.

TPO thats why, Less is more.

Okay.  What is "TPO"?

I think I'm misunderstanding this thread.  The breweries around here fill the growlers while the guest is standing and waiting.  Perhaps the subject growler sat on a shelf for several months???
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Offline Big Monk

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2019, 02:46:58 PM »

+1 on all counts

(Remember when you were young what all the half full cups smelled like the morning after a kegger?  A crowler, or a growler, is just a flashy way to get you to pay for that.)

I'm wondering why beer we buy at the store, often from local breweries, has no issue with taste even though they've sat on the shelf for many weeks?  I'm sorry, I don't understand.

TPO thats why, Less is more.

Okay.  What is "TPO"?

I think I'm misunderstanding this thread.  The breweries around here fill the growlers while the guest is standing and waiting.  Perhaps the subject growler sat on a shelf for several months???

TPO = Total Package Oxygen

I think the point here is this: When I used to get growlers from my favorite local brewpub in New Paltz, I would take it home and drink it that night. Pours from the taps at a brewpub are meant to be consumed right away.

A crowler is simply a can filled and seamed at the brewery with ZERO attention paid to the oxygen content introduced. It is the equivalent of pouring a beer and letting it sit and, to my knowledge, is as different from a normal canned beer as can be. 
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Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2019, 03:22:33 PM »

+1 on all counts

(Remember when you were young what all the half full cups smelled like the morning after a kegger?  A crowler, or a growler, is just a flashy way to get you to pay for that.)

I'm wondering why beer we buy at the store, often from local breweries, has no issue with taste even though they've sat on the shelf for many weeks?  I'm sorry, I don't understand.

TPO thats why, Less is more.

Okay.  What is "TPO"?

I think I'm misunderstanding this thread.  The breweries around here fill the growlers while the guest is standing and waiting.  Perhaps the subject growler sat on a shelf for several months???

TPO = Total Package Oxygen

I think the point here is this: When I used to get growlers from my favorite local brewpub in New Paltz, I would take it home and drink it that night. Pours from the taps at a brewpub are meant to be consumed right away.

A crowler is simply a can filled and seamed at the brewery with ZERO attention paid to the oxygen content introduced. It is the equivalent of pouring a beer and letting it sit and, to my knowledge, is as different from a normal canned beer as can be.

Okay, now I understand and it makes perfect sense.  Thank you, Big Monk, for the explanation.  +1
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Offline Big Monk

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2019, 03:27:53 PM »

+1 on all counts

(Remember when you were young what all the half full cups smelled like the morning after a kegger?  A crowler, or a growler, is just a flashy way to get you to pay for that.)

I'm wondering why beer we buy at the store, often from local breweries, has no issue with taste even though they've sat on the shelf for many weeks?  I'm sorry, I don't understand.

TPO thats why, Less is more.

Okay.  What is "TPO"?

I think I'm misunderstanding this thread.  The breweries around here fill the growlers while the guest is standing and waiting.  Perhaps the subject growler sat on a shelf for several months???

TPO = Total Package Oxygen

I think the point here is this: When I used to get growlers from my favorite local brewpub in New Paltz, I would take it home and drink it that night. Pours from the taps at a brewpub are meant to be consumed right away.

A crowler is simply a can filled and seamed at the brewery with ZERO attention paid to the oxygen content introduced. It is the equivalent of pouring a beer and letting it sit and, to my knowledge, is as different from a normal canned beer as can be.

Okay, now I understand and it makes perfect sense.  Thank you, Big Monk, for the explanation.  +1

Plus it's warm in California.

High TPO + Heat + a few days = a bad beer
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Offline Robert

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2019, 03:28:52 PM »
Yep.  The beer you buy at the store was packaged in an aseptic and oxygen purged manner, as it is intended to sit around.  Your local brewery sunk serious money into a bottling or canning line capable of doing that.  A beer poured at a taproom, whether into a glass or any other container, is just a beer poured.  It is instantly exposed to the atmosphere and everything in it.  If it sits around, it's no different than any glass of beer you pour sitting around.  It will quickly go stale due to oxygen exposure, and then eventually crap will start growing in it.

(This does illustrate why many homebrewers' kegging or bottling practices need revision.  If you are not packaging under CO2 counterpressure to a liquid purged vessel, don't be surprised when your beer doesn't taste the same when you serve it as it did sampled from the fermenter.  If you are packaging for a competition -- a timely subject -- remember that the judges will be getting your beer in, potentially, the same condition as the OP's disappointing sample.)
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Offline Richard

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2019, 04:03:37 PM »
Plus it's warm in California.

It's not warm here right now. We have snow on the hills and he drove through heavy hail to get the crowler home. Still, I see your point.
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Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2019, 04:25:58 PM »
Yep.  The beer you buy at the store was packaged in an aseptic and oxygen purged manner, as it is intended to sit around.  Your local brewery sunk serious money into a bottling or canning line capable of doing that.  A beer poured at a taproom, whether into a glass or any other container, is just a beer poured.  It is instantly exposed to the atmosphere and everything in it.  If it sits around, it's no different than any glass of beer you pour sitting around.  It will quickly go stale due to oxygen exposure, and then eventually crap will start growing in it.

(This does illustrate why many homebrewers' kegging or bottling practices need revision.  If you are not packaging under CO2 counterpressure to a liquid purged vessel, don't be surprised when your beer doesn't taste the same when you serve it as it did sampled from the fermenter.  If you are packaging for a competition -- a timely subject -- remember that the judges will be getting your beer in, potentially, the same condition as the OP's disappointing sample.)

Well, I learned something quite valuable.  What started with confusion is now understood.  Thanks, Robert and Big Monk for this info!!!
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2019, 04:42:39 PM »

+1 on all counts

(Remember when you were young what all the half full cups smelled like the morning after a kegger?  A crowler, or a growler, is just a flashy way to get you to pay for that.)

I'm wondering why beer we buy at the store, often from local breweries, has no issue with taste even though they've sat on the shelf for many weeks?  I'm sorry, I don't understand.

TPO thats why, Less is more.

Okay.  What is "TPO"?

I think I'm misunderstanding this thread.  The breweries around here fill the growlers while the guest is standing and waiting.  Perhaps the subject growler sat on a shelf for several months???

TPO = Total Package Oxygen

I think the point here is this: When I used to get growlers from my favorite local brewpub in New Paltz, I would take it home and drink it that night. Pours from the taps at a brewpub are meant to be consumed right away.

A crowler is simply a can filled and seamed at the brewery with ZERO attention paid to the oxygen content introduced. It is the equivalent of pouring a beer and letting it sit and, to my knowledge, is as different from a normal canned beer as can be.

Most places I've seen have a dedicated CO2 tap that they use prior to filling the crowler and cap on foam, not dissimilar to best practices I've seen TheBeerery make. I've found that holds up pretty well. If they're not doing that, then they've wasted their money and yours.

Offline Richard

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Re: Stale beer direct from brewery
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2019, 05:41:17 PM »
Thanks to Robert and Big Monk for explaining this. I assumed that this was just a large can of beer, packaged the way cans are usually done for distribution.

I wasn't there to see this crowler being filled, but after this discussion I asked my son about it. He said it was filled from a tap, then capped on foam. No information about whether there was any CO2 purging, but there was clearly significant oxygen contact. Even though the crowler was kept cool (but not totally refrigerated) it only took a couple of days to go bad.
Original Gravity - that would be Newton's