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Refusing to buy beer that doesn't have a bottling date?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by camelgar, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. camelgar

    camelgar Aficionado (185) Arizona Dec 29, 2012

    Lately I have been noticing that I have been passing up a lot of beers (especially IPA's among others) because I can't find a bottling date on it, even after learning about the specific codes manufacturers use sometimes.

    What is your opinion breweries not doing this? And what are different ways to find out?
  2. Kahless

    Kahless Aficionado (170) Kansas Mar 21, 2013

    I don't buy beers sans bottle dates unless they are an age-able beer, or relatively local. There is no reason not to do this. It's only in the brewers' best interest to put dates on their beers - it ensures that the best possible product gets to the consumer.
  3. that's a lot of good beer you wont be drinking.
    beergoot, Phillyz, acevenom and 14 others like this.
  4. I definitely abstain from IPAs and Pale Ales that don't have at least a partial hint as to the bottling or enjoy by date. I've seen far too many IPAs that do have a bottling date of over 8 months to trust the ones that don't.
    Horbar, Fluteswell and cavedave like this.
  5. camelgar

    camelgar Aficionado (185) Arizona Dec 29, 2012

    I guess it's just part of their marketing strategy to not include bottling dates, since someone is bound to buy it not fresh.
  6. drtth

    drtth Advocate (690) Pennsylvania Nov 25, 2007

    See here:

    https://sites.google.com/site/freshbeeronly/
  7. camelgar

    camelgar Aficionado (185) Arizona Dec 29, 2012

    That'a a great link. Thank you very much.
  8. I try really hard to try IPAs that are less than 2 months old. Other than IPAs, I don't mind a couple of months on my beers.
  9. drtth

    drtth Advocate (690) Pennsylvania Nov 25, 2007

    Thank fellow BA, papat444 who put it all together and maintains it.
    Horbar, libbey, papat444 and 4 others like this.
  10. Derranged

    Derranged Advocate (500) New York Mar 7, 2010

    In light of some of the bad luck I've had with beer stores lately, I am also reluctant to buy beer that has no bottling/canned on or best buy date.
    chuckstout, skinsfan, Horbar and 3 others like this.
  11. tfischl

    tfischl Aficionado (175) Indiana Dec 28, 2005

    I stopped buying beer without bottle dates, I've been burned too many times spending a lot of money for old oxidized stale beer!
    skinsfan, Horbar, jaxon53 and 2 others like this.
  12. nc41

    nc41 Advocate (600) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008

    I check where I can and ask when I can't, some brews are case dated and a good shop knows the case date. Deviant Dales is on shelves now, it was canned on 6/12, it's 9 months old now with no expiration date that stuff will sit until it's pulled. You wonder why some brews suck, sitting right next to it was Sucks dated on Feb 6th, but it was on the case not the bottle.
  13. Isn't that true of all beers, whether it's stamped with a bottling/canning date (which is the preferred choice of most BA's based on responses to previous threads), a "Best before" or pull date (very few brewers use the term "Expiration"), or no date at all?

    Most brewers who use a packaging date also have a suggested shelf life period that is noted on their website or, at least, should be known by their distributors. Whether said distributors do anything about it...well...
  14. nc41

    nc41 Advocate (600) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008


    That's the crux of it, the dealer bought it, the distributor doesn't want it back, the brewer certainly doesn't want it back. If I was a shop owner unless it was really popular I'd buy small allocations and have more frequent deliveries. This IMO is why TW sucks with hoppy brews, they over buy and they sit somewhere forever or until they discount 50% to get rid of it. If they bottle date it would still sell, only beer geeks would think to check, and that's still a very small percentage of beer drinkers. But 9 months old DD is ridiculous, and it's getting older by the day, BTW every can of DD I've seen in the area is the same date..
  15. jaIsPoAn

    jaIsPoAn Savant (365) New York Aug 1, 2012

    Your doing the right thing
    Rekrule and yemenmocha like this.
  16. The only time I buy when there are no dates is when I know it just came out, like a seasonal release. This helps especially when visiting another state and going to a store I've never been to before.
  17. Guess it depends on the beer. If its a seasonal then Ill probably get it unless its been sitting there since last season. I have no idea if it has but Im trusting thats not the case.
    Spaghett likes this.
  18. I don't think it is exclusively a marketing strategy. I was told by my local liquor store owner that his Stone distributor will look at the lot numbers of beer on the shelf and replace old beer with new beer, out of Stone's expense. And their beers did not even have freshness dates until recently. They take initiative to make sure their beer is fresh instead of leaving it to the customer to check the date.

    With that said, I have had 6 day old Pliny and I could not taste a hop. I had a 3 month old Kern River winter release and it tasted like I was drinking it at the brewery. If the IPA is good enough, the quality will stand out even after a few months.
  19. I applaud what you're doing and think it is a worth while endeavor. I can't say I have totally passed on beers without dates, but it is certainly limited. If everyone did what you did, then breweries would respond by bottle dating everything. Nothing wrong with that!
    Spaghett likes this.
  20. You sure about that? It may be the case is So. Calif (where Stone owns their own distributionship) but as I understand it, in most cases, and for most brewers, the distributors have to absorb the expense of the pulled beer.
  21. I don't buy IPAs without dates anymore. It isn't an unreasonable thing to expect a brewery to put this info on the can/bottle. There are some that I REALLY want to buy but don't know if they've been there a day, aweek, a month, or a year....so it sits. I fully believe they would sell more with dates on them. I applaud the Enjoy by series, I think that was not only a genius marketing idea, but just a ghreat idea overall to benefit us the drinkers.
    brureview and yemenmocha like this.
  22. fox227

    fox227 Advocate (555) California Nov 19, 2010

    I'll look for other clues, such as "I haven't seen this bottle before, so it must be new." "There's no dust on the bottle; the bottle is in refrigeration... The bottle does NOT cost more than seven dollars..." The only time I broke this rule recently was with Knee Deep Simtra. I figured fool me once... I won't get fooled again! Of course this only applies to the usual suspects of must-drink-fresh beers.
  23. Nectar

    Nectar Savant (310) New Jersey Jan 17, 2013

    I don't buy year round ipas without a date. Not on principle, but cause craft beer doesn't move fast around here.

    Seasonals? Ill buy. Chances are its fresh enough for me
  24. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Champion (930) Arizona Jun 18, 2002

    I'm strongly opinionated on the freshness issue. Almost always I stick to beers that have freshness dates now. Like you, this is especially true for IPA.

    My regulars with freshness dating:

    Stone IPA
    Bell's Two-Hearted
    Ballast Point Sculpin
    Ballast Point Big Eye
    Firestone Union Jack
    Odell IPA


    To hell with brewers who put IPA's on the shelves without dating of some sort.
    SaCkErZ9, Lurkerson, jrnyc and 4 others like this.
  25. litheum94

    litheum94 Initiate (0) California Dec 29, 2008

    I wish every brewery would bottle date, but until then, I just stick to stores that move a lot of product. It's generally not too much of a problem in my area, as long as you avoid BevMo.
  26. Three Floyds- no bottling or freshness date, but mighty good stuff! Maybe because their stuff doesn't sit around
    CasanovaCummins likes this.
  27. I make a point to pretty loudly say out loud to myself the bottling date on really old stuff when I am standing in the store. Kind of a "beer" pressure thing. Picking up a Port Mongo DIPA that is 9 months gone, "This was bottled last April?" In my area, the distributors do everything, including pick the stock for most stores because they have no clue, but more than once a store owner has thanked me for letting them know they need to rattle the distributors cage about leaving old beer in the rack. I think the biggest sin I have seen is past season Sierra Nevada. They will not put out the Celebration in most areas until the Tumbler is gone. I have seen Tumbler in stores in March. And no Celebration was ever stocked. This is San Jose California mind you, a desert in an awesome ocean of beer.
  28. DrGonzoDDS

    DrGonzoDDS Savant (275) Illinois Mar 7, 2010

    The only flaw in not buying dated bottles is Three Floyds doesn't put them on most of there beers. So I'm out.
  29. Lagunitas bottle date is on the neck - Julian code.
    This one is 048 = Feb 17th
    http://amsu.cira.colostate.edu/julian.html

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I always look for fresh dates & packs in the coolers for IPA's.
    We spend good $, and deserve to drink the freshest IPA's - it makes a huge difference in taste.
    jrnyc and FriarTuckInLuck like this.
  30. camelgar

    camelgar Aficionado (185) Arizona Dec 29, 2012

    Thanks for the comments. Interestely there are different point of views regarding this topic. Also to the commenter above, I just had a bottle of Lagunita's IPA yesterday and didn't know it used Julian Code so thanks for that. But it's unreasonable to use weird codes when obviously a very small amount of people would assume that....
  31. mfnmbvp

    mfnmbvp Advocate (615) Illinois Nov 28, 2012

    I guess you just have to try and know what is fresh and what isn't. Beer store by my house has cases of Stone IPA, Southern Tier IPA, and plenty of other IPA's sitting around that were bottled as far back as late 2011. I don't buy that shit because I know it's way beyond it's prime, and I know that they've just been *sitting* there. But some unbeknown sucker will fall for it and buy it. You just gotta know yr shit.
  32. Thanks! Doing what i can :D
  33. xnicknj

    xnicknj Advocate (730) Pennsylvania May 25, 2009

    If it's supposed to be hop-forward in any fashion, I won't buy it without a bottling date. There's entirely too many options on the shelf to waste money on out of code, stale APAs, IPAs, etc. It's fucking 2013. If the brewery isn't dating their bottles (I don't care how), it's bc they don't care to do so, and I don't care to buy their beer.
  34. I bought a Hopwired IPA recently- no bottle date. It may be the last IPA I buy without a bottle date.

    Sometimes beer that has a fresh bottle date may not be enjoyable. I recently bought a Sixpoint Sweet Action with a September best by bottle date. It's low ABV. Fresh, but I didn't like the beer:)

    Also, it's important to look at the bottle date when buying a bottled beer in a restaurant/pub. Sometimes, the bottle date is older- in that case, send it back and order another beer:)
  35. I don't pay much attention to bottle dates, and I have yet to drink one I didn't enjoy. IMHO, unless you are drinking 5-6 month old IPA's you're not going to be able to tell a difference, unless you want to.
  36. willbm3

    willbm3 Savant (380) Massachusetts Feb 19, 2010

    What he said. I don't flat out refuse to buy a beer without a date, but if its a toss up between two beers and one is 2 weeks old and the other has no date? It's a pretty easy answer. There's alot of good beer out there that isn't dated. I think it's worth the risk.
    DJFairhurst likes this.
  37. Actually, I don't know whether if Stone or the Distributor takes a hit. Wouldn't the distributor be less likely to pull the beer if it came out of his comission?
  38. Enough brewers these days are dating bottles. There is absolutely no reason for me to buy undated hoppy beers.

    Anybody got any info on Alesmith's new bottle dating system? i hear they are the latest to jump on board.
  39. Beerista

    Beerista Zealot (95) Massachusetts Sep 11, 2012

    I'm ashamed to relate some of the assurances I've accepted from liquor store employees.

    OK, here's one. "Those bottles are dusty because they were cleaning the shelves, and the dust fell onto the six packs on the bottom shelf".
  40. Given how big of a deal this is for many people, is there some sort of listing of breweries that date/Julian date/don't date? I bet it would be helpful.

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