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Corked Beer?

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

  1. rdilauro

    rdilauro Savant (385) Connecticut Mar 8, 2010 Subscriber

    I have to agree that there has not been enough data to prove how efficient screw tops can be. I have read George Taber's book on that subject, along with his others. I've written articles about Cork in some local wine magazines. I am currently involved with doing some research regarding the effectiveness of screw tops.
    I do have to disagree abit regarding the statement about screw tops for wines made to be consumed within 5 years.
    The biggest enemy of wines (yet can be their friend when drinking) is oxygen. Exposure to oxygen is the quickest way to have a wine start to deteriorate. 20 years ago, I was lucky enough to work with some winemakers from France and Spain. Back then, the overall quality of corks was so much higher than it is today. The production of making corks for wine (and beer) is a very costly process, both in time and money. A small vineyard just outside of Bordeaux bottle some wines with screwtops. After ten years, they did not see any noticeable difference from the ones that were corked.
    We will be seeing more wines migrating to screw tops in the next five years. The biggest move will happen, once the big names from USA make the change. Right now, unless all the trees used to make corks from Spain and Portugal dry out, the French will bottle their premium wines with cork, as well as most of Europe. Today, many of the European wines under $15 are coming with screw tops now. And they are made to be consumed today or can be cellar ed for 5 to 10 years. Only time will determine its value.
    Anyway, that's my wine interest coming out, back to beer.
    jgluck likes this.
  2. myspoonistoobig

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

    This is more the point I was trying to make. 99% of wines in that price range are meant to be consumed within about 5 years - not saying that they won't last longer, but realistically, you're pressing your luck going much beyond that. And the marketing side of it dictates that if you're marketing a product that you want to exude luxury, you better put a real cork in it. More power to Plumpjack for going all screwtop. Mollydooker is a good example of another mostly-screwtop range, but you'll note that Velvet Glove is rocking cork.

    I do think that if breweries (looking at you, Bruery) are going to be charging $25+ per bottle and are going to claim that the beer is going to last 15+ years, they should seriously look into a better closure system.
  3. loafinaround

    loafinaround Savant (415) New York Jul 16, 2011

    My view of corked beer? It's a sobriety test. An unwanted sobriety test.
  4. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,120) Washington Sep 18, 2010 Beer Trader

    I've read this thread twice and still don't know what it's about.
    Next up: Glass Bottles?
  5. tai4ji2x

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

    99.99% certain that the OP is referring to TCA
  6. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Advocate (745) Oklahoma Oct 22, 2010

    Corks can be hit and miss. Literally.
    Seriously, I'm no fanboy of the cork. Many brews gone bad could have been saved by using bottle caps. Usually I have to chill corked bottles in my beer fridge door because they're just a little too tall for the shelves.
  7. What's the perm rating on cork?
  8. AceMaster

    AceMaster Aficionado (195) Iowa Jan 23, 2012

    i love a C&C bottle very cool pop that is cool in front of company but i hated opening a lindemans cap to find that there was a cork under it
  9. I'd second that notion. Most beers are stored upright, and the lack of liquid contacting the cork could have something to do with the cork shrinking over time. Personally, I've never had a "corked" (tainted) beer, but I am also a wine drinker, and I've had several corked wines. However, I have never had TCA issues with any wines with either a screwtop or a synthetic cork.

    Speaking of which, I've never seen any beers/ales with synthetic corks. Has anyone ever seen one ? Might be something to consider...
  10. klaybie

    klaybie Savant (295) Illinois Nov 15, 2009

    I'm indifferent to corks. Although, the last time I had Chimay the cork popped off after I took the cage off. I was not expecting that but no injuries occurred. Moral of the story: Drink Chimay never take the cage off until you are ready to pour.
    Droogins likes this.
  11. drkatz44

    drkatz44 Aficionado (185) South Carolina Jul 30, 2011 Beer Trader

    ^ srsly eyes get lost that way.
  12. TimRex

    TimRex Zealot (85) New York Feb 28, 2013

    The only corked beers I've had were Ommegang Abbey Ale, Three Philosophers, and Hennepin (on multiple occasions). I've never had an issue with any of their beers and they were all cage corked.
  13. This is how you THINK you look when opening that Allagash Cireux at a party...


    But this is what you REALLY look like...

    MattyG85, Dizbro21, jgluck and 2 others like this.
  14. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Champion (800) Colorado Jan 20, 2012 Beer Trader

    Who'd have thought a taint would taste like shit?
  15. podunkparte

    podunkparte Savant (435) Washington Nov 14, 2009

    Vague thread topic is vague
  16. abkayak

    abkayak Advocate (520) New York Jan 8, 2013 Beer Trader

    yea....corks are for assholes.
  17. myspoonistoobig

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

    TCA is a naturally occurring compound found in natural cork, which is why you wouldn't encounter it in screwtops or synthetic corks.

    The only synthetic cork I've seen in beer was a bottle of Brute from Ithaca.
  18. champ103

    champ103 Poobah (1,040) Texas Sep 3, 2007 Beer Trader

    De Proef uses synthetic corks as well. I am sure more exist, but I don't know of any off hand.
  19. williamjbauer

    williamjbauer Champion (840) Colorado Jan 17, 2012 Beer Trader

    I wonder if their is a difference in the air exchange of a cork vs an oxidant resistant bottle top?
  20. rob133

    rob133 Savant (330) California Jan 7, 2009


    Opened a bottle of 'This is the Shit that killed Elvis' from Ale Industries last weekend, and was surprised to see one of these under the foil. I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Wasn't sure what to make if the beer either....or the price I paid for the bottle, but that is another story.
  21. Two weeks ago I took the cage off a bottle of Ovila Golden and the cork suddenly exploded out of the bottle. It hit me between the eyes with enough force to leave a mark, and naturally the bottle itself became a geyser immediately afterward. After throwing the bottle into the sink and picking up the metal cap with the fancy O on it to add to my collection, I said fuck it and chugged what remained like it was Keystone Light. For, you know, revenge.

    The moral of the story is that you should follow conventional wisdom and not stand over a bottle you're opening, and also that Ovila Golden makes an excellent air freshener when applied liberally to your apartment's furniture.
    klaybie and jgluck like this.
  22. Wish I'd read the entire thread before posting a story about almost being blinded by a cork that ends with "moral of the story". Shit.
    klaybie likes this.
  23. klaybie

    klaybie Savant (295) Illinois Nov 15, 2009

    Haha! No worries sir. It's better to have two cautionary tales than one. Really hammers the point home indeed.
  24. The bottles for sale in SoCal have a sticker over the cork and cage on this beer that say use extreme caution when opening or something of that nature.
  25. HokiesandBeer

    HokiesandBeer Savant (390) Pennsylvania Jan 10, 2013 Beer Trader

    Did it then hit Keith Hernandez?
    MSandahl23 and Hopportunistic like this.
  26. CMB2012

    CMB2012 Savant (295) Colorado Nov 26, 2008

    Talk about corks popping without notice: This beer. There are a few mentioned in the reviews and seriously after only three twists of the cage (not even fully loose yet) the cork flew off and nailed the ceiling. It broke through the damn cage! The beer was just okay, not worth loosing an eye or having to push daises for the rest of life.
  27. tai4ji2x

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

    hehe, yup. seems the OP just abandoned the thread too, so that for now, nobody can be 100% sure about the intended discussion (ie, use of corks in general vs. cork taint/TCA)
  28. I looked up this thread because I had a Cantillon Gueuze with cork taint, but I can assure you that 25-33% of wine is not corked. That would be absurd.
  29. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004 Subscriber

    I've had beers that were corked in the fungus sense. A bottle of rather nice Filliers jenever, too.

    La Chouffe stopped using corks because good ones were too expensive.
  30. smakawhat

    smakawhat Poobah (1,310) Maryland Mar 18, 2008 Subscriber

    Never had a corked (TCA) beer, but the odd wine from time to time.

    Some beer makers are using the synthetic ones a lot now which work pretty good in my experience , but never had a problem with corked beer ever.
  31. augiecarton

    augiecarton Savant (340) New Jersey Oct 22, 2010

    Yes TCA exists in the beer world at about the same rates it does in wine. I find i have no tolerance for it but know people who don't mind it in things like classic saisons. without naming it i have pointed it out to people who were pleased by the "cellar" notes they were perceiving. strokes and folks
    TongoRad likes this.
  32. pagriley

    pagriley Poobah (1,025) Illinois Oct 27, 2014 Beer Trader

    100% agree with you on the marketing comment - Penfolds (big Aussie winemaker that makes Penfolds Grange, the top wine in Australia) went all screwcaps and even did half of their Grange in screwcaps much to my delight, but they flopped in the Asian and high end markets because wine is 'supposed' to have a cork. I personally hate corks - I spend $100 on a bottle of wine and there is a chance that the hard to source cork in the end fails or is infected? Bugger that! I would love to see screwcaps in every wine purely from a reliability standpoint (yes, I know it isn't proven yet for cellaring over 50 years, but it can't be any worse than the corked wines I have had over my life).

    Back to the beer though, I think that corks are used to make the beer feel more of an event and seem 'classy'. I think it is stupid and I try and avoid them whenever I can. I was pissed to see that Barrel Aged Narwhal had a cork in it (I will just drink it soon to solve the problem though!) - standard caps are way more reliable.
  33. gillagorilla

    gillagorilla Champion (935) Maryland Feb 27, 2013 Beer Trader

    Monstre Rouge from Terrapin / De Proef had the weirdest 'cork' that I've ever seen. I don't have it (to my knowledge), since I opened it at a big bottleshare. It was like plastic, with a weird cushion type center that was of a different consistency than the outside of it.
  34. augiecarton

    augiecarton Savant (340) New Jersey Oct 22, 2010

    when i have had this happen, out at a bar or dinner, i play the same game you must with wine when you are unsure. ask them to "open another and if they both taste like the questionable one I'll pay for both, if not leave me the new one and charge me for it."
    On an occasion the brand rep for the questionable Flanders red happened to be around so he was brought over as the expert. He was unfamiliar with TCA but interested. next to each other the corked bottle had all of the sour and all of the sweet but none of the fruit notes of the other.
    I find when looking for TCA the question to ask is not what it is but what it isn't. To this guy it was obvious, same Grand Cru, Same vintage, different bottle/cork. next to each other it was obvious one was what the maker intended and the other was lacking a certain luster. No one was upset, all had fun, and i wasn't stuck paying for a corked bottle.
  35. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Savant (395) District of Columbia Nov 3, 2012 Beer Trader

    Uh, no. I'd go with 1 in every 36 bottles, maybe. It's all about the cork source and the bottling process, some have more occurrences while others have none. Corked wine is pretty offensive, even a very new wine drinker is going to think it tastes very bad, provided they have some idea of what it should taste like.
    ThirstyMiner likes this.
  36. I've had several beers with corks and liked them all. Last night I had barrel-aged narwhal and it was great! Also I do not drink or like wine.
  37. I've enjoyed most corked/caged 750 ml bottle's of beer that I've tried , mostly Unibroue ,

    also I have opened my fair share of Champagne bottles (good practice) , it's the waxed bottle cap I dislike
  38. spacecake9

    spacecake9 Champion (850) Illinois Apr 26, 2014 Subscriber Beer Trader

    I've never had a bad corked beer.
  39. It can happen, I have.
  40. When you get one, you know, as the perception threshold is down around parts per trillion range, almost nothing.