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BB aged Imperial Stout w a "best by"?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by SanFranJake, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. SanFranJake

    SanFranJake Poobah (1,005) California Nov 2, 2012 Beer Trader

    I received a bottle of Bourbon Barrel aged Dark Hollow that has "best by March 2013" on the cork.
    WTF?! Since when do aged Imperial Stouts have a "best by"? It's usually a "best after".
    The beer looks nice but what's up w the short best by?
    Thoughts, input and two cents are appreciated.
  2. Duff27

    Duff27 Champion (830) Illinois Feb 10, 2010 Beer Trader

    It probably means the cork will turn to shit after that date. Drink up or else you'll have doodie residue on your impy stout.
  3. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Champion (870) Michigan May 8, 2006

    The brewery probably thinks the beer will be best if drank by March of 2013. The beer will certainly be drinkable after but the brewer does not believe any additional time will provide any benefit. Just because it is an Imperial Stout does not mean age will improve the beer. I wish more breweries would put a best by date on their big beers, it may help clear up some of the cellaring misconceptions that are out there.
  4. SanFranJake

    SanFranJake Poobah (1,005) California Nov 2, 2012 Beer Trader

    But it can't be more than a year old. Having said that, I have no "bottled by" date.
  5. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) New York Jan 11, 2013

    It so refreshing to see someone say this. These misconceptions are well out of control, from people cellaring beers they havent tried, to spendng wads on cases of imperials in fear of not having enough
    Thorpe429 and tacosandbeer like this.
  6. The bottle also states that extended cellaring is possible, but drink by the date stamped on cork for peak flavor. Had on tap and is a great beer, the one bottle I have is going to sit for a bit though to see how it changes. Drink it now or sit on it for a while. Don't think you'll be upset either way.
  7. maximum12

    maximum12 Champion (920) Minnesota Jan 21, 2008 Beer Trader

    There are some imperial stouts, especially of the barrel-aged variety, that are best fresh (see: the fantastic line of Eclipse Stouts). The brewer might feel like this is one of them.

    Don't over-think it. If you want to drink it, drink it. If you don't, don't.

    But thanks for bringing it up. I have one in the basement & had no idea there was a date stamped on it.

    BEERMILER12 Champion (995) Maine Sep 11, 2010

    Weyerbacher Heresy also has this... Usually released in January or February and the best by date is August of the same year. I can kinda see why with that beer, as it's on the thin side for a BBA stout, but still. Some breweries feel it's best by a particular time. FWIW IMO, after you buy it, it's your beer. Do as you please with it.
  9. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Advocate (745) Massachusetts Mar 17, 2009 Beer Trader

    Lots of brewers bottle BA beers when they think they are ready to be consumed. You could argue that the best possible time to drink a BA beer is the day it's released.
    FUNKPhD, Pahn, ShogoKawada and 5 others like this.
  10. kylelenk

    kylelenk Savant (415) Michigan Apr 17, 2012

    I used to work in the beverage industry and some states require a best by date on things. Even water, for example, which may be shelf stable forever.
  11. This is the only thing that makes sense to me. The drinker may prefer the aged BBA stout taste opposed to fresh (if capped). IMO it varies with each BA stout and we don't all agree on which ones are best fresher.
    "Best By" should be left up to the BA.
  12. SanFranJake

    SanFranJake Poobah (1,005) California Nov 2, 2012 Beer Trader

    This is why I love BA! So many helpful beer nerds...no offense!
    Thanks for the insight.
  13. heavenlyStash

    heavenlyStash Savant (350) California Dec 16, 2012 Beer Trader

    I have a Brew Dog TNP and it has a Best By day of 2-12-20, Nearly at 32%ABV how Can this Thing Go Bad ??? What do you guys Think ???
  14. Sneers

    Sneers Savant (455) Pennsylvania Dec 27, 2009

    It's also possible the brewery simply doesn't set different best-by dates for all its different beers, and that all bottles are automatically stamped on the bottling line.
    MichaelinFishers and ehammond1 like this.
  15. ncaudle

    ncaudle Advocate (700) Virginia May 28, 2010 Beer Trader

    I agree with Kzoobrew, but in this particular case they used the same batch of dated corks for multiple batches of the beer dating from march 12 to at least some point in the fall of 12 - confusing, I know. that said, this was the first beers from their new Barrel House where they completely changed the brewing process of the beers made there, switching to a partigyle process. the brewer (a old veteran from Goose Island many years ago) may feel that this new process does not age as gracefully long term as his prior process. I couldn't tell you.... yet.
  16. Thads324

    Thads324 Savant (410) Connecticut Jan 21, 2010

    Exactly this.
  17. cavedave

    cavedave Poobah (1,070) New York Mar 12, 2009 Beer Trader

    TNP should have an "Even Worse After" date.
  18. rhartogsq

    rhartogsq Savant (445) Virginia Jun 18, 2010 Beer Trader

    It is a really good,beer as is......no need to sit on this one.
  19. rhartogsq

    rhartogsq Savant (445) Virginia Jun 18, 2010 Beer Trader

    The chocolate coffee version of this beer is outstanding
  20. BourbonDork

    BourbonDork Savant (300) Virginia Sep 15, 2010

    Hmm....I've had this one and it didn't impress the first time. May have to circle back around and try again.
  21. CCB is one that will tell you..."We aged it for you, drink fresh!"
  22. misterid

    misterid Savant (270) Wisconsin Apr 3, 2009

    new'ish guy question here: how can a brewer know a "best by" date on something like this if the actual "best by" date is, say, 3 years down the road?

    unless they brewed it several years ago and sampled it along the way.. wouldn't a "best by" dating system be speculation?

    qualifiers: at least for new breweries OR new recipes OR beers that may have a long shelf life
  23. Grohnke

    Grohnke Savant (405) Illinois Sep 15, 2009

    you mean...that we aren't...suppose to age everything ... forever?!!1 and,

    you mean..that a brewer wants his/her beer drunk in a timely matter....where the taste is how he/she had intended it?!!!1

  24. drtth

    drtth Poobah (1,205) Pennsylvania Nov 25, 2007

    The brewer doesn't know for certain but rather is able to make an educated guess based on knowledge of the style, brewing technique, ingredients, and the track record for other comparable beers. So prior experience comes into play, both for the beers of others and the beers made by the brewery that is giving us the best by. Rocherfort 10 has a best by date 5 years after the bottling date, but people in the cellaring forum and else where report aging it for 10 years or more and still enjoying it.
    MichaelinFishers likes this.
  25. KWMiles

    KWMiles Savant (380) Minnesota Oct 23, 2012

    Send your bottle to me, I will gladly drink it after the "best by" date...for science.
  26. misterid

    misterid Savant (270) Wisconsin Apr 3, 2009

    thank you
  27. drtth

    drtth Poobah (1,205) Pennsylvania Nov 25, 2007


    One thing I left out is that some breweries do in fact keep bottled or kegged versions of their beer in storage for several years so that they can taste and re-evaluate the best by date they are using (If they stay in business long enough.. :) ).
  28. buzze40

    buzze40 Savant (335) Illinois Mar 9, 2010

    I had a long winters nap dopple and it had the same cork. I think all their bottles probably have the same thing, regardless of style.
    ncaudle likes this.
  29. jtmiller03

    jtmiller03 Savant (260) Oklahoma Feb 2, 2008

    Sometimes i also think more breweries are doing this to protect themselves from having to refund infected beer down the road, too. There are just too many variables with barrel aging for them to be able to guarantee every beer well after what they consider the beer ready to drink.
  30. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Advocate (635) New Jersey Mar 6, 2008 Subscriber Beer Trader

    A best by date is an opinion. In any case what use is a best by date without a born on date? If i was going to age a beer i would like to know how old it is to start with.
  31. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Savant (425) Missouri Jun 10, 2008 Beer Trader

    That is quite the oxymoron.... if they aged it, it is never fresh for the end consumer.
    cavedave and jesskidden like this.
  32. Barrel aged stouts are generally not a great style to age. There are some exceptions, but this style has already been "pre-aged" for you with its time in the barrel. They will hold up for a while, but most of them aren't getting much better.
    Pahn likes this.
  33. FosterJM

    FosterJM Champion (890) California Nov 16, 2009 Beer Trader

    You have just been mayored. How do you feel. Its awe-inspiring the 1st time isnt it.

  34. JohnB87

    JohnB87 Savant (370) Michigan Mar 14, 2011

    I think I'm going to put a "Best After" date of 2113 on my homebrew bottles. That way, if anybody opens it and realizes it's shit, I can tell them they opened it "too soon".
    cavedave likes this.
  35. OK, so 'fresh' is the wrong word. I think it says 'drink immediately'
  36. Show that beer who's boss and go longer than 3 years.
  37. Stevedore

    Stevedore Poobah (1,065) Wisconsin Nov 16, 2012 Beer Trader

    We need a FAQ for cellar misconceptions if there isn't one already
  38. Agreed. Unless the beer is overwhelmingly hot/boozy- at which point a few months usually knocks it out- drink 'em when you buy 'em.
  39. 1 - Should I cellar this beer?

    No, probably not.

    2 - But...

    No, probably not.

    3 - It's a gueuze...

    Well, ok.

    A bit of an extreme exaggeration obviously, but I think people are more in love with the concept of cellaring (collecting) than they are with the end results. You can see it in all those youtube videos people post of their beer cellars - at least half the stuff in there will taste better fresh, people just want to show off their whales. The best beers to cellar are usually the most simple run of the mill stuff you can easily purchase by the case (Bigfoot, Brooklyn BCS, Van de Keizer Blauw, etc).
  40. Highbrow

    Highbrow Advocate (665) California Jan 7, 2011 Beer Trader

    first off, consider something - they made the beer, you didn't. maybe they know something you don't?

    second, bourbon influence, like coffee, hops etc. fades with time. if the influence in said beer is weak, (perhaps they flash aged it a very short period in bourbon barrels) or the barrels used are worn whereas they don't have a lot of influence left to give - it makes sense they put a quick turnaround on it. opposite angle would be perhaps they aged it extensively in barrels & feel like much more age will expose a decline. like i was saying, perhaps the brewer knows something you don't?

    third, the literature is merely a suggestion. it's nice that they offered one. you're free to ignore it. i have done so with many beers not necessarily doing so belligerently but through inability or lack of desire to complete the tasks timely.
    cavedave likes this.