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Corked Beer?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by GCurlow, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. GCurlow

    GCurlow Aficionado (225) Washington Oct 13, 2005

    Curious to read people's perspective on corked beers. Breweries such as Cantillon, Fantome, ect.

    Please mention if you're into wine as well and am familiar with this.
  2. Are you talking about the cork bottle closure, or are you talking about the fungus taint that is in some cork?
    floraday and RobertColianni like this.
  3. Docrock

    Docrock Advocate (625) Illinois Jan 21, 2012 Beer Trader

    Or are you talking about cellarage and should bottles be stored horizontally?
    afrokaze and RobertColianni like this.
  4. beerme411

    beerme411 Savant (370) California Sep 28, 2010

    They look classy, fancy, and they cost more $$$. Chimay, Russian River, Unibroue, Hanssens, Allagash, st bernardus, duvel, and various special releases or just many 750ml bottles in general.

    EDIT: they also make a POP! when you open them. My buddy took a Chimay grand reserve cork to the face and now he's pushing up daisies. Beware!
    Daemose, Cee-Poe, jglowe77 and 4 others like this.
  5. BeerBuyerBill

    BeerBuyerBill Savant (250) Minnesota Jul 23, 2012 Beer Trader

    I've had several bottles that had TCA cork taint. Beer shouldn't smell like wet cardboard.
    TongoRad likes this.
  6. atomic

    atomic Advocate (500) Illinois Sep 22, 2009 Beer Trader

    Please elaborate. Not sure if you mean he got hit and then died as a result, got hit and then died later for unrelated reasons, or if he just has a job in a flowershop.
  7. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,045) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    Me too- it just recently happened with a Hanssens Kriek over the holidays. It makes me hesitant to pull the trigger on that one again, unfortunately.
  8. Nectar

    Nectar Savant (310) New Jersey Jan 17, 2013

    I once opened a corked Double Simcoe that shot the cork at mach 10 onto my cathredral ceiling, off the balcony, and off the opposite wall.

    May be an isolated incident, but man did I feel classy as shit.
    dan027, Falcone, kojevergas and 4 others like this.
  9. DIM

    DIM Champion (795) Pennsylvania Sep 28, 2006 Beer Trader

    If you are bottling a highly carbonated beer then fine, cork away. If you are bottling a beer with low or average carbonation, then for crying out loud please don't make me get out the pliers to open your damn bottle of beer. My toolbox is not classy.
    EdTheEdge and Sam_E like this.
  10. I like it. The beer breaths with the cork
    Falcone likes this.
  11. beerme411

    beerme411 Savant (370) California Sep 28, 2010

    (Buck McCoy talking to Lisa and Bart Simpson in "the lastest gun in the west")
    Buck McCoy: Now listen missy, the last two city slickers who used reverse psychology on me are pushing up dasies.
    Bart Simpson: They're dead?
    Buck McCoy: No, they've just got lousy jobs.
    SFACRKnight, DrAwkward82 and Dizbro21 like this.
  12. I find the taint to be like a moldy musty basement. We can pick it up at less than 1 part per trillion, and that is almost nothing.
  13. Sam_E

    Sam_E Aficionado (185) Ohio Oct 11, 2012

    theres nothing worse than having a corked low carbonated beer and snapping the cork in half with it stuck in the bottle and having no tools around to pry it out :(
    brewmastercat and afrokaze like this.
  14. RCL

    RCL Aficionado (155) Massachusetts Jul 23, 2008

    I will assume you are talking about TCA, and, yes, I have have a corked bottle of beer (I believe it was a Biere de Garde) that suffered from cork taint. It showed all the papery notes I would expect from a corked bottle of wine. I have had some lambics that I thought might have suffered similarly, but, frankly, there's so many variables of funkiness in your average lambic bottle, I couldn't say with certainty it was TCA.
  15. atomic

    atomic Advocate (500) Illinois Sep 22, 2009 Beer Trader

    I was channeling that quote, but I forgot what it was, and where it was from... but I'm glad someone picked up on it.
  16. atomic

    atomic Advocate (500) Illinois Sep 22, 2009 Beer Trader

    If that ever happens again, theres quite a few ways to do it. Just google it, theres got to be dozens of easy ways. I think my favorite is to use a screw and a hammer to pry it out.
  17. tai4ji2x

    tai4ji2x Advocate (665) Massachusetts Aug 10, 2007 Beer Trader

    yeah, that's the thing with most beers that use cork enclosures, lambics and belgians in particular. hard to say definitively if it's TCA or just the yeast. such uncertainty/ambiguity sometimes happens with wine too, but definitely a lot less.
  18. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    That's when you start playing with knives

  19. I've experienced TCA in Hanssen's. It's not unusual. It can happen to any bottle. Beer or wine. People call it cork taint, but it goes beyond that. Depending on how bad it is, decanting may not help. I've had corked lambics, and corked Chateau Latour. It's not always the cork. Could be the barrel. TCA can reside in many places. It affects porous surfaces first.
  20. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,420) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002 Beer Trader

    Well, you simply push the cork into the bottle and enjoy the brew. :rolleyes:
    looseteeth and cavedave like this.
  21. Lare453

    Lare453 Champion (975) Florida Feb 1, 2012 Beer Trader

    Were you really bored when you decided to start this thread?
    kevinlater, jglowe77 and WassailWilly like this.
  22. HighWine

    HighWine Savant (440) Illinois Dec 11, 2010 Beer Trader

    A corkscrew works well.
    Falcone, decimator and RobertColianni like this.
  23. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Champion (870) Michigan May 8, 2006

    I do not believe that is accurate. A layer of CO2 should sit between the top of the beer and the cork providing a layer of protection. You really don't have the exchange you would imagine.
  24. The partial pressure of the O2 will cause an exchange through the cork's porosity, even if you have CO2 in the head space under pressure. You can look up why Sierra Nevada went away from the twist off caps, to the crown cap with a new plastic material. Testing showed this let in 1/20th the O2, so they went with it.
  25. Wine breaths through the cork, why not beer.
  26. ChanChan

    ChanChan Advocate (620) California Dec 12, 2009 Beer Trader

    This is probably very common with this beer!!

    kojevergas likes this.
  27. The cork not coming out is your friend in the case of that beer.
  28. rdilauro

    rdilauro Savant (385) Connecticut Mar 8, 2010 Subscriber

    I have a lot more time and experience in dealing with wines. I would have to say, in the past 5 years of tasting various beers that had a cork, I've never come across a "corked" beer.

    Now wine, on the other hand. I am a big fan of moving away from cork and going to screw tops (thats really for wines), not sure how that would fit into some of the crafted beers that use cork today
  29. myspoonistoobig

    myspoonistoobig Savant (265) Massachusetts Jan 25, 2009 Beer Trader

    Not to nitpick, but I think that screw tops for most wines (i.e. wines intended for consumption within 5 years) should be closed with screwtops. There just isn't enough data yet to show that it is good for long term ageing (reduction seems to be the main problem). Not sure if reduction would affect beer.

    As for beer, most of the cork closures I've seen in beers are composite corks (essentially ground up bits of cork shaped and held together with glue) which historically have been the lowest quality of cork available. There really aren't too many beers out there that are going to be willing to spend the $0.75-1.00 per closure for a straight cork. And if they did, there would certainly be a dozen threads about how much those breweries are screwing people over.

    At the end of the day, the vast majority of beers are going to be consumed within 5 years with only a small fraction of a percent being worth ageing longer than that. Thus, crown caps or screw tops are plenty adequate for beers. When there's bottle fermentation, though, I do think it makes sense to use a semi-elastic product like cork (for the love of all that is holy, please, no one ever use the synthetic corks - I'm looking at you Ithaca! - they eat corkscrews, lose shape and lead to oxidized beverages in as little as 6 months).

    As for the OP's question: I've had dozens and dozens of corked wines in my life, and dozens and dozens of wines with failed corks, but I've yet to encounter a corked beer. As you'll see in the posts above though, there are clearly examples of it out there. It may well be from the convention of storing beer upright, limiting contact with the cork surface versus wine, which is usually laid down for ageing. Not sure about the science on that, though.

    Recommended reading on the topic: George Taber's "To Cork or Not to Cork"
    ThirstyMiner and jgluck like this.
  30. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) California Jan 27, 2012

    How else can Tomme Arthur justify $15 for infected 375's if he didn't cork and cage?
    kawilliams81 and afrokaze like this.
  31. ironchefmiyagi13

    ironchefmiyagi13 Advocate (660) Tennessee Jan 9, 2013 Beer Trader

    yeah? well my buddy used to be quite the adventurer...then he took an arrow to the knee.
    Nectar likes this.
  32. ChicagoNick

    ChicagoNick Advocate (525) Illinois Nov 16, 2012 Beer Trader

    I hate corked beers. I managed to waste a fairly large amount of my BA Rasputin due to my magnificent efforts to pull the cork off. I vowed after that "spillage," to never buy a corked beer again.
  33. I suppose that the cork has a purpose on some beers. Wild beers like Cantillon, for instance, are very carbonated. I remember getting an infected Cantillon Lamvinus once and spending the whole night in the toilet... practically a second review... :p
  34. Uniobrew31

    Uniobrew31 Advocate (705) Pennsylvania Jan 16, 2012 Beer Trader

    I had a Saison DuPont blow its cork on me once. I took the cage off, reached for the glass and POP. I never take my eye off the cork once the cage is off anymore. Other than that I haven't ever had a problem. It's a good alternative for beers that age well because I have pulled the cap off chimay 12 oz bottles and found traces of rust. I drank it anyhow!
  35. Basically corks just suck. They are prone to infection and a expensive when compared to caps. Fact of the matter is, in wine world, every twelve bottle case has 3-4 corked bottles. Besides actual cork becoming endangered, a lot of wine companies are switching to screw top technology. Some are adamant about the cork allowing for a slow addition of oxygen to the bottle being essential, but tell that to the three bad bottles from your case you spent 5 years cellaring.

    Beer is obviously going to have the same issues.
  36. BBAVUSO21

    BBAVUSO21 Savant (400) New York Jan 25, 2013

    Corked beers are a little pricey but you'll find some incredible brews out there worth the cash. Bring em out to a party and be the boss to start poppin beer bottles. trust me its fun as all hell.
  37. jcb7472

    jcb7472 Advocate (545) Florida Jul 13, 2011 Beer Trader

    this one is my favorite
    Willbfun, chocosushi and afrokaze like this.
  38. luisfrancisco

    luisfrancisco Savant (370) Mexico Dec 1, 2009 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Caged corks look cool. That may allow brewers to command higher prices for their beer. Like it or not, I believe that is one reason cork is used.
    jgluck likes this.
  39. dertyd

    dertyd Advocate (520) California Mar 23, 2010 Beer Trader

    I like geting beers with corks because they make me fill classy kinda like a king drinking some good belg beer but at the same time I don't want to spend money on something that is tainted cuz I've had tainted wine before but untill I get a bad one ima keep buying them
  40. EdTheEdge

    EdTheEdge Champion (755) California Mar 26, 2011

    Cork schmork.
    DelMontiac likes this.