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Hop Wallop 'Drink By' Question

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Mineo, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. Mineo

    Mineo Savant (370) New Jersey Jul 7, 2010

    Just a random question...

    Why on earth on the bottle of Victory's Hop Wallop is the "Drink By" 10-12 months in advance? I just picked up some that says "Drink By 1/16/14".

    I typically don't like IPAs older than 3 months, and I know most don't enjoy them past 5 months.

    Does Victory use some sort of special brewing method to preserve a hoppy taste, or do they simply have lower expectations for freshness than others?
     
  2. dar482

    dar482 Advocate (700) New York Mar 9, 2007

    It's bottle conditioned, but I agree, don't buy an old one. They let that stuff "Enjoy By" for year.
     
  3. Mineo

    Mineo Savant (370) New Jersey Jul 7, 2010

    yeah, I figured something that says as far ahead as 2014 is fresh enough. I'll try it tonight.
     
  4. drtth

    drtth Champion (870) Pennsylvania Nov 25, 2007

    Victory uses a relatively modern and fairly expenseive bottling line that basically doubles the shelf life of their beers. Hop Wallop is effectively a DIPA and there are other comparable beers on the market that claim a 1 year best by date as well.

    Edit: So the special step is in the bottling of the beer as there is a very small amount of oxygen left behind after bottling. The less oxygen trapped in the bottle the longer the shelf life of the beer.
     
  5. Mineo

    Mineo Savant (370) New Jersey Jul 7, 2010

    very informative reply. thanks!
     
  6. luisfrancisco

    luisfrancisco Savant (285) Mexico Dec 1, 2009

    Just to add another question. The minimal oxygen left behind at bottling may oxidize a beer giving it that cardboard like flavour over time. That is one thing to consider, but another one is hop fading. I believe the hop fading is not intimately related to oxidation, or is it?
     
  7. drtth

    drtth Champion (870) Pennsylvania Nov 25, 2007

    Hops fade regardless but more oxygen or lack of refrigeration help accelerate the process:

    http://beeradvocate.com/community/t...-beer-cold-really-help-retain-hop-aroma.6336/
     
  8. MattSweatshirt

    MattSweatshirt Advocate (680) Texas Jun 29, 2011

    I bought one older than I usually buy IPA's since they give it such a huge time frame. At 4 months it is not what I am looking for in a IPA. I noticed they redid their dating recently. Much easier to find and doesn't smudge like the other ink.
     
  9. Doubles their shelf life compared to what? Hand bottling? Most breweries their size have comparable bottling lines. There is no special step. I'm sure they have a great QA and packaging team/program (hopefully resulting in consistently low packaged O2), but a year is excessive for a best-by date, especially on a hop-forward beer. 4-6 months is pretty standard.

    To answer OPs question (Does Victory use some sort of special brewing method to preserve a hoppy taste, or do they simply have lower expectations for freshness than others?):

    I'll hazard a guess at "Neither." No breweries want retailers and distributors returning beer because it didn't sell in the given best-by window. Is it going to taste gradually worse (more oxidized/diminished hop flavor/diminished and distorted hop aromas) as that year goes on? Yes. I guess they feel it's worth it.
     
    babaracas likes this.
  10. raffels

    raffels Savant (265) West Virginia Dec 12, 2009

  11. drtth

    drtth Champion (870) Pennsylvania Nov 25, 2007

    Compared to what? Compared to many other bottling lines in use in many breweries their size and smaller.

    Here's a bit of homework to broaden your knowledge:

    http://www.soundbrew.com/bottling/bottling.html

    Look specifically at the dual pre-evacuation system described.

    Then you may find this helpful:

    http://www.beer-brewing.com/beer-brewing/bottling_beer/bottle_filling.htm
     
    raffels likes this.
  12. Do not sit on this beer unless you really like circus peanuts
     
    flayedandskinned and raffels like this.
  13. iI has a year freshness date so I just assume its never fresh. If the brewer don't care neither do i. I've tried the beer.. it didn't taste fresh, I used to check the dates... never saw it within 4 months so someone else can drink it, I dont even bother to look at it anymore.
     
    babaracas and andrewinski1 like this.
  14. I'm a packaging manager at Flying Dog Brewery. Until Victory's 2nd facility opens, our size (by barrelage on the most recent survey conducted by the Brewers Association) is almost identical. RE: your homework, the first link, we use a Krones filler/capper on our bottling line. I am not certain what equipment Victory's running (I've been a few times, but never toured the facility), but would imagine it's pretty similar.

    I personally have no issue with the dating methods of other breweries, mostly thanks to this wonderful resource compiled by some awesome person a couple years ago: https://sites.google.com/site/freshbeeronly/u-s-breweries Those who care can buy with confidence.
     
    jhartley likes this.
  15. babaracas

    babaracas Savant (450) Florida Jan 30, 2008

    Wow, so the Victory PR guy jumped in this thread and didn't self identify as such? Victory has always dated beers a minimum of 6 months out, even their low abv, reliant-on-hop-flavors-to-be-worth-$11/6pack IPA and Pils. Their dating system has always, and, seemingly continues to be, a joke. In contrast, the Jai Alai I'm drinking is stamped with "Canned on Mar 18, 2013." I'm not assumed to be a complete rube, and I can make an informed purchase knowing that 2 week old Jai Alai is effing delicious, super secret bottling apparatus or not.
     
    pumpkin1 and jhartley like this.
  16. Victory's shelf life periods for most of the line-up - average abv, etc. (Prima, HopDevil, Lager, Fest, Headwater) - is 5 months. They do give a number of their stronger beers - Yakima Glory, Whirlwind, the St.'s, Baltic Thunder - "1 year ", and that includes Hop Wallop. (Their even higher abv beers are given 3 - 5 years).
     
  17. drtth

    drtth Champion (870) Pennsylvania Nov 25, 2007

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but there's no Victory PR guy here, not even close. And FYI there's nothing secret at all about the bottling line in use. Note that the guy from Flying Dog actually identfies the bottling line which they use which is named in one of the links and is either the same brand or a comparable brand to the one in use at Victory.
     
    Jspriest, Kadonny and dar482 like this.
  18. drtth

    drtth Champion (870) Pennsylvania Nov 25, 2007

    OK, so now I am confused. So let me try and tap your knowledge and expertise.

    Does the substance of your posts mean I'm wrong for believing the claims about residual oxygen with different types of bottling line made here:

    http://www.meheen-mfg.com/bottlingforthefuture.html

    Or does it mean that when I've been on one or more brewery tours (not Victory) where the claim of doubling shelf life was made (in one case by the brewery owner), that in fact their having spent the extra money to get the dual pre-evacuation short tube filler to reduce residual oxygen that low doesn't buy as much as claimed or believed by the folks who spent the money?

    Or does it mean that are we looking at human variability with some breweries being more cautious than others when it comes to estimating shelf life?

    Or are we looking at some combination of the above? (If you don't feel comfortable commenting in public feel free to use the PM facility as I'd really like to get this sorted out in my own mind. Thanks.)

    BTW: that Fresh Beer site is still being actively maintained by papat444, the guy who created it, so be sure and thank him if you see him around.
     
  19. This is a common thing for some DIPAs. Ballast Point does the same thing with Dorado.
     
  20. jmw

    jmw Savant (430) North Carolina Feb 4, 2009

    I'm guessing that Victory is pretty confident that their beer is still going to be perfectly drinkable after a year, and I'm sure they are correct. They probably see how pointless it is to try and cater to every consumer's varying notions about what constitutes a worthwhile product. Some will not like this, and some will see it for what it is--a different, but certainly not ruined, drinking experience. Not everybody adheres to the 2-3 month freshness concept, and perhaps Victory recognizes that as catering to spoiled, narrow-minded consumers.

    For the record, many UK and European breweries use a year from bottling as their BB date. They have to put a date on the product by law I believe, and they fully expect that their clientele are mature enough to make their own decisions about whether that product still falls within their own preferences. Nobody tries to call them out on it, demanding like brats that they change their dating system to their own drinking preferences.
     
  21. That is an awesome resource and have used it many times! You got to posting it before I could! :)
     
  22. You are right, not everyone does adhere to it. Still, for those of us who do, a year best by date on a DIPA is too long. I buy into Victory 5 month window on HopDevil, and I'd probably buy into the 6-7 month Hop Wallop window, but an entire year is just too long for me. If you've had fresh Hop Wallop and loved it, you will not enjoy 1 year old Hop Wallop.

    My opinion.
     
    dar482 likes this.
  23. jmw

    jmw Savant (430) North Carolina Feb 4, 2009

    So at what point do you take responsibility for your own purchases instead of making demands on the producer? Take a look at the BB date, infer the bottling date, and just don't buy it after 6-7 months.
     
  24. That's exactly what I do. However, for me, reasonableness can't correlate a 5 month date on a 6.7% beer with a one year date on a 8.5% beer when the two beers rely on their hop forward characters and even carry "hop" in their names.
     
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  25. Thank you for all of the links you provided! I found the Bottling Technology Page and Meehan site to be extremely interesting reads.

    I took note of a couple of thinks from The Bottling Technology Page:

    “Dual pre-evacuation, short tube filler: Considered by some to be the current state of the art. Best known are the very costly fillers from Krones, but many other manufacturers make them as well. The bottle has the air drawn out and is refilled with CO2 or Nitrogen twice before the beer goes in. The beer flows down the side of the bottle, and a short vent tube extracts the gas from the bottle as it fills. 12 ounce package airs of 0.1-0.2 ml are typical.”

    I appreciate that Victory (and Flying Dog?) made the investment to install “costly fillers from Krones”. As a beer drinker of Victory and Flying Dog beers I feel good about my purchases of these beers; these are two breweries that are taking steps to provide beer at optimum conditions (0.1 – 0.2 ml of dissolved air per 12 ounce bottle; approximately 0.02 – 0.04 ml of dissolved oxygen per 12 ounce bottle).

    I also found the below is to very interesting as well:

    “Long tube Beer filler: The mainstay of the U.S. large breweries until the 1990s. These machines quiet fill the bottles from the bottom with a long product fill tube. Many manufacturers world wide, but best known in US are Cemco machines, built by Crown Cork & Seal from the 1960s to the late 1980s. Cemco machines are generally not found in smaller than 60 valve models, though a few older 50 valve machines exist. Many German makers built machines of 16 valves and upward which can be found used in Europe.
    It's worth noting that the Cemco long tube machines were made in 2-tube and 3-tube versions. In the later, 3-tube versions the air in the bottle is displaced into a separate chamber rather than into the filler bowl, where it is bled off through a relief valve, and this results in lower air pick-up. 3-tube Cemco machines were made in 60, 72, 80, 104, and 120 spout models. The 60 to 80 spout models should be sought by regional brewers looking for a reliable machine with low air pickup. Later 3 tube models are capable of filling with airs of 0.15-0.4 ml/12 oz., 2 tube models usually run 0.3-0.6 ml/12 oz.”

    So, even the older technology of Long tube beer fillers result in low dissolved air (oxygen) in the bottles. That is useful to know as well.

    Cheers!

    P.S. I am of the opinion that a best by timeframe of 1 year is too long for a hoppy beer such as Hop Wallop regardless of the bottling technology employed. I think it would be more appropriate for Victory to use a 5-6 month timeframe for this particular beer.
     

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