"Born on" or "Best before"

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Svendozen, Jan 15, 2013.

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  1. fmccormi

    fmccormi Meyvn (1,309) Oct 24, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Agreed. Tell me the bottling date, and if you have a guideline for optimal freshness, feel free to tell me that, too. And preferably in a clear format (something like "Bottled on: 01/15/2013 — Best by: 05/15/2013") with legible, durable ink.
  2. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,183) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
    Supporter Subscriber

    Yes - that is true. The rules vary with the different products and how they are packaged and stored prior to sale - lots of regulations and red tape. It just all adds to the confusion where there isn't one consistent system across the board - for producers and consumers alike.
  3. fredmugs

    fredmugs Poo-Bah (1,533) Aug 11, 2012 Indiana
    Beer Trader

  4. jhartley

    jhartley Poo-Bah (2,411) Aug 22, 2010 Florida
    Beer Trader

    That's exactly what I was thinking!
    I still think that Bottled / Canned on dating is best.
    Best by dating doesn't necessarily mean anything when it comes to freshness, just that it's "best by" this date which is the last day it's any good. Stone has an interesting concept with their IPA, but it's specifically brewed and marketed that way, kind of hard to miss that on the label.
    How long has that beer been sitting on the shelf at the store, out of refrigeration, unprotected from the light? Might be a little easier to determine how fresh that beer is with a visible, readable bottled/canned on date and make your decision making on what you're willing to pay a little different, or not.
    I also dislike the Julian dating used by some brewers as well.
    fmccormi likes this.
  5. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,229) Mar 18, 2010 California

    The date it was put into a container.
    jhartley likes this.
  6. BeerFan

    BeerFan Initiate (137) Feb 11, 2003 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Ommegang uses both. Unibroue has a best buy on the back of the bottle and a code on the front indicating when it was bottled.
  7. Spider889

    Spider889 Savant (966) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio
    Industry Beer Trader

    This is why the poll feature exists.

    Also pretty apparent that bottled on is preferable.
    Svendozen and jhartley like this.
  8. jbeezification

    jbeezification Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2012 Texas

    Best after
    Svendozen likes this.
  9. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Aspirant (238) Jun 10, 2008 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    yes I know what you were referring to... but you said

    If I don't already the info from Bell's website, i don't see how I would be led to believe that a beer is fresh by it's "best by" date because a Bell's beer does not have a "best by" date it. If it is in fact 5 1/2 months old, it will be quite obvious, because in fact the bottling date is printed right on the bottle. It is in fact quite obvious to anyone regardless of what they know about Bells website exactly how old the beer they are buying is...

  10. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    One is incomplete with out the other. Bottling date lead to uninformed people complaining about "old and out of date" beer being on shelves when they are still very much within an appropriate date range. Best by dates do not always paint a true picture of age.

    Bottle dating in no way should be mandatory, there really is no reason for it. If consumers provided the breweries enough incentive, not buying beer, they would all date their bottles. Breweries keep selling and moving their product, there is zero reason for them to change their process.
    JoeyBeerBelly likes this.
  11. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    Bell's does put a Best By code on their beers however. A,B and C. Six month, Twelve months and Unlimited shelf life.
  12. JoeyBeerBelly

    JoeyBeerBelly Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2006 New York

    I was born on November 24th, 1958

    I don't want to know what my expires on date is...

    my vote is for born on (bottled on)!

    BEERMILER12 Poo-Bah (2,295) Sep 11, 2010 Maine

    As does Weyerbacher.
  14. chuckstout

    chuckstout Initiate (0) May 22, 2006 Ohio

    I like the way Samuel Adams does it. I always check for freshness, because I am paying a good price for these beers. If I were buying swill, I would not give a hoot about a born on date.
  15. Beeradelphia

    Beeradelphia Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2011 Pennsylvania

    if Zombie Dust had either on its label I'd be a happy man.
  16. Sneers

    Sneers Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2009 Pennsylvania

    While packaging dates do seem somewhat better, I don't really have a preference as long as the date is labeled as either "packaged-on" or "best-by." If the brewery is already going through the trouble of bottle-dating, I'd like to know whether that beer I have my eye on was bottled two weeks ago or is two weeks past its 'expiration.'
    chuckstout likes this.
  17. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Aspirant (238) Jun 10, 2008 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    yes but this code would not trick the unsuspecting buyer into thinking they were buying a fresh beer, as the bottling date is still there.
  18. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Aspirant (238) Jun 10, 2008 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    lol... zombie dust lasts 5 minutes. I don't think you have to worry about old zombie dust, any time in the near future.
  19. nc41

    nc41 Meyvn (1,494) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    IMO best before dates are bull shit for IPA's. I have a few Chinnookies that the best before date is 3/13, and it's tastes like an old stale IPA. This same Online store also sent me "fresh" Jai Alai that was canned on 11/2/12, that shit is 10 weeks old right now and it tastes like it. I sent him an Email so we'll see how he responds, if not I'll out him so others won't have to waste money on stale beer.
  20. papat444

    papat444 Initiate (0) Dec 28, 2006 Quebec (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    I emailed them last October and got this info which i pulled from my site:

    Uses a best before date and a bottled on date. From the brewer: We have a "bottled on" date on our master cartons and packaged on dates on our 12 pack. Our 22 ounce bottles will continue to have a vintage bottling date on the bottom left side of the label that is notched.

    With the 12-pack container though, makes it kind of hard. Hopefully he can answer you about length between "bottled" & "best by".
  21. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    When I am out in stores near beer sections I check out what people are buying, just out of curiosity, and in the years of doing this I honestly don't recall the last time I saw someone grab beer off the shelf and hunt around for dates. I still think the amount of people that check this kind of thing is extremely small (probably just us).

    As for the guy telling me the brewer should set the best by date because consumers are stupid, well that may be true, your average consumer is stupid, but for those of us that aren't, I want to know when you put the beer in the bottle, and I don't really give a damn when you think it is best by, I'll decide that.
    nc41 and LeRose like this.
  22. smutty33

    smutty33 Defender (606) Jun 12, 2009 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    Last night I picked up a leftover single smutty pumpkin w/ a best before March 11th,2013.
    That tells me that it was bottled on Sept. 11th.As already said,smutty gives 6 months from time of bottling.

    And the pumpkin ale was still nice and tasty........:slight_smile:

  23. ilikebeer03

    ilikebeer03 Champion (825) Oct 17, 2012 Texas

    I prefer both and I prefer them to be placed on the bottle in standard format ex. 1/16/13. Not a bunch of random numbers.
    Svendozen likes this.
  24. TheJollyHop

    TheJollyHop Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2009 California

    Personally I love the "best after" dating. Nothing like buying a beer and being told to hold on to it for a year!
    Svendozen likes this.
  25. PangaeaBeerFood

    PangaeaBeerFood Initiate (0) Nov 30, 2008 New York

    Orval has a "bottled on" date and "best buy" date, which I think is pretty ingenious and great for the knowledgeable beer consumer. They add Brett to the beer at bottling, so it chews away at it over the course of a few years. Too fresh a bottle of Orval, and it's a somewhat bland Belgian Single. Too old a bottle, and it's a complete funk bomb and, in my opinion, kills a lot of the subtle and delicate elements of the beer. Either way, you could gauge the level of funkiness from where the present dates sits on the printed spectrum.
  26. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (791) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

  27. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,306) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    You mean the brewers who use the term "Best by:" because they figure they can't fit "Gets even worse after:" on the date stamp?
    Svendozen and paulys55 like this.
  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,113) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is my favorite Imperial Stout. Not sure what you mean by boozy but suspect that it's why i like BBCS fresh and think it loses a bit of flavor after 6 months.”

    I perceive a fresh Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout as being “hot”; in other words I can taste/perceive the alcohol of that beer (which is 10% ABV). A similar beer of Old Rasputin (9% ABV) does not taste “hot” to me whatsoever and I enjoy drinking that beer fresh.

    When I age a Black Chocolate Stout a year it tastes significantly different to me. The “hot” is gone and I enjoy the complex flavors that result from a year of aging. I have never aged this beer longer (e.g., 2 years or more) but I suspect that this beer would get even better with additional aging.

    Everybody has a different plate and different sensitivity to varying flavors.

  29. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (791) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I have a friend who ages BBCS and has for years. I've drank some of his that was 6 years old. He claims it mellows out . I claim it fades. As you said everyone plate is different. That's a good thing, otherwise these forums would be boring.
  30. Svendozen

    Svendozen Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2012 New Hampshire

    I think I would agree with you at that age. But I had a side by side of a fresh and one year old and the difference was amazing. IMO...definately better at a year. Six years however...meh..
  31. lonewolfcry

    lonewolfcry Zealot (561) Dec 7, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Which is why I'm not too excited anymore about trading quality beer for IPA's with no date (Heady.... to name a big one)
  32. BeastLU

    BeastLU Disciple (326) Dec 20, 2012 Virginia

    Its crazy how people think all brewers are hippies who just want every body to have the best time of their lives. They are businesses, period. And they have to rely on wholesales and retailers to help keep beer fresh. They want you to spend money on the stuff they make. duh. Its in every one's interest to extend the dates as far as reasonably possible. Its up to you to decide if you want to buy fresh beer or old beer.
  33. Alilley

    Alilley Initiate (0) Dec 23, 2010 Georgia

    That can not be. On 01/03/13 i was drinking a Smuttynose Fineskind with a best by date of 06/06/13. I posted a thread and it was deleted. It did not taste fresh to me either. Why do these dates need to be rocket science?
  34. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,317) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Both dates and the brewery decides. There is the Bells example with the bottle date and the A,B,C code.

    In Germany Uerige has the filled and best by date on the bottle, 8 weeks for the beer to be good.
  35. jzeilinger

    jzeilinger Poo-Bah (4,983) Dec 4, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Supporter Beer Trader

    When the cap leaves the womb and goes on the bottle.
  36. jzeilinger

    jzeilinger Poo-Bah (4,983) Dec 4, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Supporter Beer Trader

    I think the "Best By" dates are for the benefit of the brewer, distributor, and retailer.
    ShogoKawada likes this.
  37. smutty33

    smutty33 Defender (606) Jun 12, 2009 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    Oh it can be.....trust me,e-mail the brewery if you doubt it.They are gonna tell you the same.
    That finestkind was bottled on December 6,2012.

    Maybe you got a bad bottle?

  38. NickMunford

    NickMunford Savant (978) Oct 2, 2006 Wyoming

    Logistics aside, the best option is both. Bottled on and best by.
  39. guajolote

    guajolote Aspirant (252) Sep 12, 2008 Oregon

    Then you, sir, are a rube. Another victim of A-B's marketing ploy. Why can't you just call the brewer and ask when it was brewed? (Unless, of course, it's a Washington brewer. It's unlikely he'll get your call, as he is out elk hunting and/or toking some killer nugs).
    Lordkrystic and SatlyMalty like this.
  40. Svendozen

    Svendozen Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2012 New Hampshire

    Everything aside, opinions and what not: why do we as a consumer not deserve the right to know when the beer was bottled? Good thing they don't sell second-hand cars. "Yeah, I like the look of that truck out front...what year is it?" ..."Umm...sir...that's really none of your business...but I promise that it's good for another 10 years"
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