Brewed by date vs. Best by date

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by defunksta, Aug 4, 2019.

  1. defunksta

    defunksta Devotee (496) Jan 18, 2019 Illinois
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    Can we come to some sort of standardization between brewed by date and best by date? I suggest that all breweries begin putting an either best-buy-date (subjective) or a brewed-by-date on the beer (freshness depends on the style).
    Right now a date on a can is incredibly confusing, not knowing whether it is brewed on the date or best by this date. A brewed-on-date would be nice as a standard to know when the beer was brewed and based on the style, one can conjugate how fresh the beer is.
    If the beer has a best-by date then they can add that. But for consistency, I think a brewery should be required to post a brewed-on date on the bottle/can. A best-by date should be optional.
    This would clear the date confusion on beers. Right now, I am often confused whether the date on a beer represents the brewed-on or best-by date. Please, we could easily make this standardized.
     
  2. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Disciple (393) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I'm not sure I'm come across a beer that didn't have "Best By" or "BB" on it that wasn't the canned on date.

    Personally, I think BB date should never be used. It should always be canned on date and then I could make my own decision what the best by date is.
     
  3. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,865) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    What he said to the letter, a BB is ridiculously useless.
     
  4. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (2,076) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey
    Society

    A brewed on date doesn't matter though. I think maybe you meant to say packaged on date. It should be an industry standard that the "bottled/canned on" date is required, just as the ABV is required to be listed.
     
  5. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,558) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Great ideas, and great sentiment, but good luck getting any brewery to conform. Some brewers don't want you knowing when a beer expires, and some distributors and retailers REALLY don't want you knowing. Some retailers count on you not checking or understanding dates, and some even remove date codes on expired beer. Even if brewers all wanted to do it, they would have difficulty agreeing - and many would need to spend a bunch of money replacing their dating machines. I'd like to see it too, but I'm not holding my breath. If you want consistently fresh beer, drink AB/InBev beers. :nauseated_face:
     
    #5 bbtkd, Aug 4, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
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  6. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,943) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

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  7. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    A "Brewed by" date? :rolling_eyes: Never saw one and it would make no sense if used. I mean, while some claim there are some beers being packaged "green" - before they are ready, canning a beer before it's been brewed? Well... (I supposed cans of malt syrup or hop extract have "best by" dates on them).

    If you see BB as part of a code, it's a "best by/before" date. The consumer knowing when a beer was brewed would be no help in determining freshness anyway, since the length of time of fermentation and aging/largering would be unknown. Those sorts of date codes are based on when the beer was packaged - canned, bottled or racked into kegs.

    Alcohol content listed on the beer labels is not a Federal TTB requirement, although some states require it while others still (apparently) prohibit it which was also the case at the Federal level until the early 1990s.

    Today, the TTB only allows it - it is not mandatory.
     
    #7 jesskidden, Aug 4, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
  8. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,084) Sep 24, 2007 Northern Mariana Islands
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    I am a big fan of Best By dates. How self-important is it to believe that the consumer knows more than the manufacturer?
     
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  9. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Disciple (393) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Sorry, but I've had beer that had a BB date, had it close to that date, and it was terrible. That same beer under a month old is terrific. I prefer fresh beer and a BB date doesn't tell me when it was canned.

    Also, the longer it has been sitting the more chances for problems.

    I know my tastes better than the manufacturer, that's for sure.
     
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  10. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (1,967) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

    Can't tell if serious or not. In Germany, all industrially brewed beer typically comes with a one-year best-by date, so I feel pretty justified in assuming that I know more about freshness than the manufacturer does. Best by dates for beer are pointless because brewers tend to set them for way too long just to please their distributors.

    Since I don't even know how long a best-by date is set for exactly, it tells me absolutely nothing about the freshness of a beer. Best-by dates in Germany could be anywhere between 9-15 months for industrially brewed beer and 4-9 months for beer from craft breweries. I believe this pretty much applies to all of Europe.
     
  11. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,459) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    We know some breweries (Bell's for one) make a good conscientious decision about a 'Best-By" date, but we don't know whether all breweries are like that. If we could trust it, fine. Otherwise, we as a group, could pledge collectively to discontinue purchasing beer from any brewery after the first incident of discovering an 'old' beer that is still within its Best-By date. Let them learn the hard way. We want to consume their beer when it's at its 'best' not at its 'second best' (or worse), and I'd think the brewer wants us to have that experience too.
     
  12. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,745) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    All I need is brewed on date. At that point I can decide to purchase. It is really simple and I am not sure why it’s not standard across the industry. Anyway, if a can has no date I put it back.
     
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,098) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I hate to say it but this in not likely to occur industry wide. I would love for the Brewers Association to define and implement a standard for their member breweries but realistically this is really not going to happen (for money reasons).

    If an industry wide standard were to be implemented I would 'vote' for how Sixpoint Brewing dates their beers: both canned on and best by dates on their canned beers. In an easy to understand format.

    Cheers!
     
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  14. WhiteHart

    WhiteHart Initiate (36) Apr 16, 2018 North Carolina

    What exactly do you mean by "we"?
    "We" really can't do anything in this matter.
     
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  15. defunksta

    defunksta Devotee (496) Jan 18, 2019 Illinois
    Trader

    I am onboard with the brewed/packaged date. You know the date the beer was packaged. It's objective and allows the consumer to decide when a beer is fresh.

    The problem with best buy date is too subjective as a brewery can extend the best-buy date to increase sales. For example, Stone has a very narrow date range to make the beer fresh. They will lose some revenue because of old, unpurchased beer. If a brewery were struggling and needed to increase revenue they could subjectively increase the best-buy date.

    A brewed/packaged date is objective and allows the consumer to determine the authenticity of the beer. If the brewery would like to add an additional best-buy date that is helpful for the consumer, however a brewed/packaged date is objective should be mandated. If a packaged date is on the beer and the consumer decides to buy it out of the age range for that style then that is their own ignorance and fault. A standard way to further objectify beer would be to mandate a brewed/packaged date on the beer.
     
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  16. TheRougeBastard

    TheRougeBastard Savant (903) Aug 22, 2011 North Carolina
    Society Trader

     
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  17. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,865) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    I have to agree, I’d guess many would prefer to have no date. Some make a half hearted attempt, strange codes, the few that do can stamp have my respect, funny they also tend to make the better beers. It’s not always so, because always is a powerful world, but I’d bet it’s pretty close to the truth. It would only become a staple if people refused in its entirety to purchase undated beer. So back to the start when I thought it was dumb when AB started with the born on date. Not so dumb at all as it turns out.
     
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  18. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,745) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    I think its really simple, if your proud of your beer you should be as proud to put a date on it. If its as good as you think it will sell period. I think it says a lot when a brewery won't date their beers, tells me maybe just maybe they are not confident in their product?:thinking_face:
     
  19. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    There are no "brewed on" dates to speak of. Beer is not packaged until after weeks or sometimes months of fermentation, krausening/bottle condtioning, lagering/aging, etc.

    Except that is contrary to most every other food or beverage date coding. Go check your pantry and your refrigerator. Can you determine when that bread or the crackers or cookies were baked or when those eggs were laid or when the milk came out of the cow, or pasteurized and packaged? Ditto for the frozen foods, the soda pop, the canned beans, even the bottled water, etc. They all use "Best by" or "Sell by" (not "buy") dating.
     
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  20. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,745) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    I think most are meaning Canned on Date. I probably said it wrong also but my push is to see Canned on Date. Agree we won't see when it was brewed on anytime soon.
     
  21. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,084) Sep 24, 2007 Northern Mariana Islands
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    Preach it Brother!!!!!!
     
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  22. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,745) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    OK I need to clarify my posts since @jesskidden woke me up to my misstatements. My desire is to see a canned on date lol. I just want to know when the shit hit the can/bottle then I can decide to buy.
    :stuck_out_tongue::stuck_out_tongue:
     
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  23. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,865) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    Id assume that when they can it it’s at the point they’d prefer you drink it. So for most beers the further from that point the beers starts degrading. But, fresh Heady canned is already 5 weeks old, but I’d also assume that’s when Klimmish thinks his beer is at it peak. So a canning date is about right, I’ll adjust from there.
     
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  24. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Disciple (393) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I knew someone would use food, which is a tremendous point. However, I trust food companies who have been around for decades much more than a brewery that has been around for a couple years and just slapped a 3-4 month best by date on their newest IPA.

    Also, see my earlier post. I could tell that beer was off that was close to the best by date. As far as Coke Zero, I couldn't tell the difference when I had a 12 pack close to the best by date not too long ago. Sounds like they have their product down unlike said brewery.
     
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  25. WhiteHart

    WhiteHart Initiate (36) Apr 16, 2018 North Carolina

    My comments go back to the OP's use of "we," referenced below. Your suggestion is of course sound, but it doesn't address the questions that I asked in their appropriate context.
    Cheers

    Can we come to some sort of standardization between brewed by date and best by date? ...

    Please, we could easily make this standardized.
     
  26. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (303) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    :+1: sad, but true
     
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  27. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,745) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    Correct, once it hits cans its ready for consumption. The consumer then can decide if its too green or just right, etc. I am not worried at all about the time before canning that is part of the process, I was always focused on knowing the date canned so then I could decided when I want to stop buying based on this only. For me my rule is always fresh is better and if I can get it days after canned sweet. But I also use judgement and industry advice to guide me. IPA = 90 day or less, NEIPA = 6 weeks or so. Other styles longer shelf life but again it always come down to your taste buds. I can drink an 8 week old IPA and say it sucks and someone else can say it rocks. The issue is we all have different tastes so this is why canning date is so important you can use your history to determine what time range works for you.
    I know one thing I never said a beer sucked because it was too fresh. That just does not happen with me.
    Cheers
     
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  28. Wrigfen

    Wrigfen Disciple (391) Feb 23, 2013 South Carolina
    Trader

    Thank you for that information and reference source.
    I fully agree Brewed By is meaningless. As far as the ABV, I am frustrated that often, it is NOT listed. I am positive, I have encountered this multiple times on the outer pack, and pretty sure on some of the individual bottle/can. Anyway, I am enjoying a Stone IPA, and hope everybody is enjoying their day too.
    Cheers!
     
  29. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (868) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society

    We can go further on this... The quality of the canning/bottling lines and QA/QC varies between breweries. Some breweries (like Bell's, Sierra Nevada, Victory, *cough*ABInBev) have invested way more in their systems. That stuff costs money that's not always feasible for many small local brewers. Some brewers can stand by their best-by dates far better than other brewers. Not all cans/bottles are created equally. That said I still support a packaged on date, but a Best By date from certain breweries is OK with me too.
     
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  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,098) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Yup, having low TPO values at packaging is important. Also, how the beer is stored at the various distribution locations (Wholesale Distributor, Retailer) with colder (refrigerator) conditions being the better. I feel much better purchasing beer at my local Retail Beer Distributor in February than I do today (August) where those beers are stored stinkin' hot.

    Cheers!
     
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  31. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (361) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    I prefer both, because I like seeing the brewer's own determination of how long the beer remains fresh and comparing it to my own judgment upon drinking it.

    If I can only have one, I prefer the packaging date, but I also think that a best-by date is far more useful to the large majority of beer drinkers who aren't interested enough to learn all the particulars people here nerd out over but just want to know "how long it will be good" the same way they (and I) want to know how long they can trust a carton of milk.
     
  32. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,865) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Trader

    If your ever in Charlotte you can drink NEIPAS at Resident Culture right from the brite tank, I want to say they have like 3-4 taps set up like that.
     
  33. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,745) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    LOL now that is fresh :stuck_out_tongue:
     
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  34. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,865) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Trader

    Crazy place, they make great beers in all flavors. Imo best place I’ve been too in NC, that includes Asheville and by a lot too.
     
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  35. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (324) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia
    Trader

    What the hell is a "brewed by" date?
     
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  36. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    Well, there was that one infamous "Brewed by" date:
     
  37. defunksta

    defunksta Devotee (496) Jan 18, 2019 Illinois
    Trader

    Either way, there should be a consensus. I'm tired of either seeing no date or a date 1 month ago that I'm not sure was the packaged date or the the best-by date. You can't depend on the majority of retailers to monitor this expired beer. It should at the very least specify ""BB"" or "packed on" said date. Half the time I'm drinking a beer a month after the ambiguous date on the can. I have no idea if it's expired or 1 month fresh.
     
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  38. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,943) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I would argue that we really want both for different valid reasons. Anything less impacts our ability to make certain decisions. Regular consumers won't care much and probably prefer the "best buy" the know from other products.
     
  39. honkey

    honkey Zealot (567) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Society Industry

    I think I know of one exception you make :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
     
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  40. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,943) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Really, my problem is when an IPA from one brewery. is just as or even more fresh at two months as another brewery’s IPA at one month. How do you deal with. that just ignore it or have you a strategy? Curious.