Ayinger Oktoberfest - Bottle Date Code

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by scottakelly, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. scottakelly

    scottakelly Devotee (471) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    I picked up a 4 pack of Ayinger Oktoberfest on Friday. My recollection is that Ayinger does not bottle date, but these bottles have a bottle date code on the back of "L8135". Is this something new for this year? Anyone know how to decipher the code? I'm guessing it stands for the 135th day of 2018. I'm having no luck with googling this.

  2. Gemini6

    Gemini6 Devotee (409) Oct 5, 2013 Michigan

    I just grabbed a 4pk from my local, with the code L8144. I assumed they are fresh as I know they haven't been out that long, but then I noticed quite a bit of dust on the bottles. I wonder if the code is an expiration and not a bottled on.
  3. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (799) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    You are correct.

    I e-mailed both the distributor and the brewery this year. They both confirmed this is a "lot number" indicating that would be the 135th day of 2018.

    I posted my e-mails from both somewhere on these forums, I forget where.
  4. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Meyvn (1,397) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    I wish German breweries wouldn't make it so damn difficult to decipher their bottle dates. -_-
    There are so many time-sensitive German beers I won't buy (such as most pilsners) because I can't figure out their cryptic dating systems.
    CrimeDog and AlcahueteJ like this.
  5. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (799) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Honestly you're better off not knowing so you don't buy them. Even the one's with dates are typically quite old.
  6. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (799) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Here’s the post with the e-mail from Ayinger. This is from the 2018 Oktoberfest releases thread if you’re interested in the rest of the emails from the distributor.

    scottakelly likes this.
  7. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,297) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    How are these tasting?
  8. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (799) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Personally it was the best it’s been in years for me, but not my top import.
    AZBeerDude72 likes this.
  9. Alefflicted

    Alefflicted Initiate (63) Dec 2, 2017 Minnesota

    I agree. It's particularly frustrating considering I tend to love German beers. Fortunately I've been lucky with dates in my store. And if I can't decipher a code, or there simply isn't one, I taste test it myself to make sure it's good to sell to my customers.
  10. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Devotee (496) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    I wish I could find some Ayinger Fest Märzen in my area to check for a code. :slight_frown: The one place that's remotely close is selling 500ml bottles for $1.99 each, so you know they've got to be REALLY old.
    #10 SudsDoctor, Sep 13, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  11. surfcaster

    surfcaster Crusader (733) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Premium Trader

    Once my all time favorite for the Marzen festbier style, I found this years less than satisfying and confirmed of similar vintage as those noted above. I too think it would benefit from being fresher. The kegs typically show up on tap now and will try.

    My Hofbrau Oktoberfest was delightful and perhaps my winner so far in the paler style. Guessing as to its age.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  12. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Devotee (496) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    If the code ends with an R preceded by a # above 150 it was bottled in June of this year. The 6-pack I bought had a code of L 177R. 177 = day of the year, R = 18th letter of the alphabet, which corresponds to the year.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  13. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (799) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    The 500 mL have that code on the back as well, so you can check.

    Hofbrau in my area was bottled mid-June.

    Here's how you determine it.

    hofbrau- there is two sets of numbers/letters on the bottom of back label. look for the first set following the letter "L", in this case "L 119 E" the 119 is the day in the year it was bottled, the E is the year as in 2001=a, 2002=b, ect. so 119 E= the 119th day of 2005
    surfcaster likes this.
  14. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,055) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    The .5L I purchased this week had no markings other than the cryptic notches at the bottom of the front label. Incidentally, the beer was hazy, near-to sour, and going on oxidized. Good news is, it didn't gush on opening as other old Ayingers have in the past.

    Buyer beware.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  15. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (799) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Sounds like last year’s. In fact I’m almost positive if there was no lot number since that appears to be new this year.
  16. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,055) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Maybe worse. :grimacing:
    I'm doing some shopping today, I'll make it a point to look at some Ayinger .5s.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  17. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,055) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I did see some Ayinger .5 liter bottles on the shelves of a pretty reputable retailer (the beer manager told me that she personally removed year old HB Maibock from shelves and told the distro to replace them) -- they do have that same bottling code as the 11.2 ounce bottles.

    Lesson being: if there's no code on the back label, lower right side, that bottle is at least a season old.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.