Do you return beer that is off?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by KStark, Jan 23, 2013.

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  1. KStark

    KStark Devotee (422) Jul 13, 2012 British Columbia (Canada)

    Ok, you spend good money on a beer you have enjoyed before. You checked the best before date. You get out your favorite glassware after you've chilled the beer to the suggested serving temperature. You get out the opener eagerly. Crack,hiss you have bought a fire extinguisher or it has a wild yeast infection and just tastes off.

    What do you do, after you have changed your shirt ? Do you just get mad , do you return said beer to the point purchase and get your bread back or do you pour or drink it and treat it as a learning experience?
  2. bullywee

    bullywee Aspirant (259) May 26, 2005 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I've taken beer back on a couple of occasions

    for old past it beer (the one bottle that I checked in the sixer for date was good the rest were not)
    For way over carbonated $14 / 750ml that was just odd

    Both returns were met with concern from the staff of the bottle shop.
  3. bullywee

    bullywee Aspirant (259) May 26, 2005 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Both times the beer was that bad that I changed out of PJ's and headed back to the store (after a sip)
  4. HokiesandBeer

    HokiesandBeer Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Has only happened to me once, brought the case to a friends house to watch the football. My two friends opened theirs, took a sip, gave me a dirty look and then proceeded to tell me that my taste in beer was absolutely awful. I opened mine, noticed it tasted foul and then searched the web...sure enough the batch with that "born on date" was being recalled. I returned the case of 21 beers the next day and the store owners gave me my money back.
  5. MichiBrew

    MichiBrew Initiate (0) Nov 26, 2010 Michigan

    Yeah this is a tough one a judgement call depending on how much money you spent IMO...Ive returned a bad bottle or two and exchanged it for another a couple times and the brewers have been more than kind and accomodating and actually thankful for the feedback...this is how it should be I believe if youre gonna run a first class brewery...bad bottles are inevitable once in a while...its part of the process...on the other hand...some brewers just dont get it and are not responsive at all...hard to tell for sure but you get the feeling that they think they are above any kind of reasonable reproach...doesnt make sense though because if a reasonable beer loving person is accomodated by the brewery in question, it simply reaffirms one's appreciation and committment to said brewery...
  6. yamar68

    yamar68 Initiate (0) Apr 1, 2011 Minnesota

    The beer is gone man... you should demand that they replace your shirt though.
    davey101 likes this.
  7. UCLABrewN84

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

    I have never tried to return beer. Down the drain it goes. I only buy singles anyways, so minimal financial damage.
    davey101 likes this.
  8. SirWalkAbout

    SirWalkAbout Aspirant (265) Dec 6, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    One time. Brought back a 4-pack of Matilda after the first bottle was wayyyy skunked. The owner was very undertanding, actually embarrassed, and exchanged it for another 4-pack. Mistakes happen, I think it ended fairly.
  9. Hamburgers

    Hamburgers Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2013 California

    I had to dump a Ceise and Desist by De Molen cause it was bad. There's $10.99 down the drain. Told the bottle shop I got it from to look out for more bad bottles. No refund yet.
  10. Giantspace

    Giantspace Defender (655) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Yup. I have returned a case to Victory and Philadelphia Brewing. Both took the beer back and replaced with beer of my choice. I did have to drive to the breweries. Victory told me the beer in their library reflected exactly what I told them and had beer pulled from some distributors I think. I have also returned some GReen Flash to wegmans after it tasted horrible. It was pretty fresh so maybe it was left in the heat. I had no issues bringing back the three I did not drink.

    I am told in PA you can't return beer. The wegnans was in jersey and the cases were dealt with direct by the brewers.

  11. HokiesandBeer

    HokiesandBeer Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Don't know about that Giantspace. I live in Pa and returned my skunky case to the distributor where I had bought it and got a refund no questions asked.
  12. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Initiate (0) Nov 21, 2012 Oregon

    Only at a bar
    ESeab and ncaudle like this.
  13. Giantspace

    Giantspace Defender (655) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Just something I was told before. Originally PBC told me to bring the case back to the point of purchase. They later told me it could not be returned but I could come to the brewery and get a new case.

  14. davey101

    davey101 Meyvn (1,080) Apr 14, 2009 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    If its somehow infected or something is way off I'll email the brewery. Pretty sure all alcohol sales are final in CT and nothing can be returned. Either way I really don't sweat it, its craft beer and mistakes happen. Nature of the beast. I can live with a $5-20 loss. I may be hard pressed to buy their beer in the future though.
  15. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    Yep, and as a great customer my beer store guy is more than happy to. In fact, when I do he goes apeshit and calls the distributor. Which is not necessarily what I would want, nor do I think it's necessarily their fault.
  16. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    My answer to this question reminds of the the Seinfeld episode when Kramer tells Jerry to return a crappy piece of cantaloupe. Jerry says, "I don't return fruit. Fruit's a gamble, I know that going in."
    xxcarpxx, elgiacomo, DaKur and 7 others like this.
  17. ncaudle

    ncaudle Defender (602) May 28, 2010 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    question, are you taking back a empty bottle to your bottle shop?
    I can understand returning a beer at a bar, but not a shop.
  18. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    Sure, but not all beer store owners lack the compassion that Joe from Joes Fruit Stand does
  19. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Ha ha. That's true, Joe was surly.
    Halcyondays and SammyJaxxxx like this.
  20. stout1420

    stout1420 Initiate (0) Oct 27, 2010 New York

    What was the bottling date?
  21. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    Nah, if I buy a beer from a bottle shop it is a done deal. If I have a problem with the beer I will take it up with the people that made it.
  22. Derranged

    Derranged Devotee (479) Mar 7, 2010 New York


    I bought a six pack of Lion Stout that was spoiled. It tasted like sour, salty milk with a chocolate aftertaste. I drank the whole goddamn thing like the beer soldier I am.
    Bear1964, TheBrewo and Vonerichs like this.
  23. Highbrow

    Highbrow Devotee (473) Jan 7, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    no. i've bought a few cases over the last 5+ years that were in my view, mishandled. to be perfectly honest it's my feeling the issue was owned by the local distributor as all the unarguably questionable beers were from a single distributor & as best I can tell, the issues all seemed to be "by the case".

    so in short, NO - i have, however, brought up the suspected distribution issues with shop owners though! which in some instances the owner responses about their own experiences more or less emboldened my beliefs.
  24. NickMunford

    NickMunford Savant (978) Oct 2, 2006 Wyoming

    Depends on where the beer came from, and whether it's a case/6-pack or single bottle. If it's from a big company store (Costco, Vons/Safeway, etc) or a specialty bottle shop, then yes for cases/6-packs. Stores like that I think are usually good about returns, and a specialty shop would probably want to know if there was a problem (or I hope they'd want to know). If it's a single bottle, I'd just dump it and be mad. If it something from a random little liquor store, than I probably wouldn't bother with the hassle. At a bar, if I got an obviously bad beer, I would return it as well. Although I've never had that happen at a bar. Only wrong beer pours.
  25. Cugabuh

    Cugabuh Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2012 Massachusetts

    I recently had a "bad" Perpetual IPA. I actually enjoyed it :slight_smile: It tasted like a Wheaty IPA. A few days later Troegg's pulled their products off the shelf. They recently did this with Troeggenator too.

    The only spoiled beverage I've had to return was a bottle of wine. It started to referment in the bottle. Tasted sour and even a bit carbonated. Fortunately I work at the liquor store I bought it from, so my manager took it back with no questions asked. If it was a crappy $8 bottle of wine I would have said "Screw it" and drain it. This was a $22 bottle, so I felt rather inclined to get something I could enjoy for my money!
  26. Cugabuh

    Cugabuh Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2012 Massachusetts

    Don't you love it when you see a new/bad bartender totally botch a pour and then when they catch you giving them a look they just say "Damn tap is broken!" Haha.
  27. gabeerfan

    gabeerfan Devotee (452) Feb 27, 2006 Georgia

    "You get a bad beer, that's an act of God. I don't make the beer, I just sell the beer."

    But, next time you go to that shop, ask them if the CAN return beer. Many states do not allow returns on alcohol purchases.
  28. BrownNut

    BrownNut Devotee (428) Jul 11, 2011 Florida

    I once returned some super old stuff to the store, not having realized it was super old. It tasted wrong. They took it back no questions. I notice they still have some of the same stuff of the same age on the shelf. Screw you, store!

    I got some bad Sam Adams lager once. Had a vegetable soup taste. I wrote the company and they mailed me a coupon.
  29. Longstaff

    Longstaff Initiate (0) May 23, 2002 Massachusetts

    Depends on how much it pisses me off at the time, proximity to the store, and how much the store brags about its wares/staff/service - the bigger the attitude, the more likely I am to return bad beer.

    I have yet to return a beer based on spite - although I have been close.
  30. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Defender (637) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

  31. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Defender (637) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    From a store or at a bar, sometimes the problem is with a beer I haven't had before and I'm not so sure exactly what it should taste like, unless it's waaaaaaaaaay off, which has never happened to me. I have opened a pressure filled growler and not heard a distinctive 'pop' and when I took a sip, it was flat. Returned it and had no problem.
  32. HokiesandBeer

    HokiesandBeer Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Actually it was a case of Sly Fox. Weird for it to be off as I live within 30 minutes of the brewery.
  33. Melikeydahop

    Melikeydahop Initiate (0) May 19, 2012 New Jersey

    Rarely..although I did once get a bottle in a six pack that was badly misshapen..very wierd...I returned it to the store right away and had no problems..although I hadn't opened any of the bottles yet. Restaurants and bars tend to serve bottles of craft that are past expiration..this happened to me twice...I'm talking like 7-12 months past expiration..returned them both for a tap offering...Then realized if your gonna buy craft from a restaurant better to get it on tap since the bottles probably sit around for ever as most people unfortunately order BMC and other such products. Yet if I opened a 6er and one of the beers tasted foul, I would definitely try to return it.
  34. klaybie

    klaybie Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2009 Illinois

    No, I don't return it. It's not the store's fault and probably not the distributor's fault. If I have an issue I contact the brewery. If I get a nice response I write it off, as mistakes happen. If I get no response then I know they don't care about me and I don't purchase their products in the future.

    EDIT. Looking at you Boston Beer Co, emailed several times and no responses ever. No more Boston Lager being bought here, good thing Great Lakes makes a good Vienna Lager and has good customer service.
  35. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Defender (637) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I only asked because I had read about some Perpetual that was off and the brewery made good.
  36. rowingbrewer

    rowingbrewer Champion (849) May 28, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    If i bought a 6 pack to a case get home and see its way past its prime i would return it to a store. though this has never happened. a single bottle I would say not. at a bar yes.
  37. HoppySuds

    HoppySuds Initiate (0) Aug 6, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    The thing is, if you take it back to the store where you bought it, they are just taking money out of their pocket to refund you. Most of the time unless the brewery refunds the distributor, distributors are not going to refund the store for the product. If you get an infected beer, or a beer where something went wrong in the manufacturing process, you should notify the brewery. Now if the store has let some beer go bad on it's shelf and didn't pull it, then it's on the store.
  38. HokiesandBeer

    HokiesandBeer Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Well in my case upon looking up the batch number there was a recall on the brewery website telling the distributors to send that beer back, so I'm assuming the brewery refunded/replaced the distributor for the bad cases. In my case the distributor should have never been selling the stuff so he had no problem giving me a full refund. I'm also a pretty good customer though so I had that going for me.
  39. dianimal

    dianimal Initiate (161) Apr 18, 2012 California

    I did for the first time recently. After I took a few sips, I knew it was no good. Then, I noticed the drink-by date was about 6 months past... So I went back to the store, guy told me to bring it in, I said I already poured it, then he checked his other bottles of same beer and took them all off the shelf (all were past their date). He also gave my $ back (via a discount on next purchase). I don't think I would've gone back to say anything, except that I looked on the Firestone Walker website and they have a form to fill out if the beer you see or buy is outdated. I opted to let the guy know, and didn't fill out said form.

    Btw, I should mention that I wasn't after a refund... it was a single for $1.69. I just thought he should know he's got something past date. But it was very cool of the guy to give me a discount on next purchase. :sunglasses:
  40. KStark

    KStark Devotee (422) Jul 13, 2012 British Columbia (Canada)

    No I have never returned a beer. I will pour it if it is really bad but usually it gets consumed.

    Sometimes beer goes bad. Its the nature of the product. Its not fault of the the brewery most of the time but how it gets treated after the beer leaves the brewery by the distributors and retailer , and some styles of beer just don't have a very long self life. But as consumers we should voice our disapproval if we are unsatisfied by something we spend our hard earned money on.

    It seems as advocates we need to educate the retailer and distributor to understand that craft beer is not the same as macro beer and needs to be handled differently. That is the beef I have with my provincial liquor distribution board (BCLB),who control all the beer and alcohol in my neck of the woods, because they have no climate control in their warehouses and most of their stores. They also distribute to all the private stores in BC ( the good beer stores as well) so we are at their mersey.

    So next time it it happens I think I just might return it . They take bad wine back so if I spend 10 plus bucks on a off beer ( or even 2 bucks) why not ? We are the consumers.WE have the power.
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