Old IPAs - What to do about this problem?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by joeyjoey104, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,934) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Just to double-check, you are storing your beer at room temperature?

  2. VetsPackage

    VetsPackage Aspirant (226) Jun 29, 2015 Massachusetts

    Isn't it something? I got from kettle to keg in 9 days with a 5 day dry hop with my last batch (tend to make things around 7% that border on single and double IPAs). May be vexing for a new brewer but do some research on water chemistry. Hardness and Chloride-to-sulphate ratios are a good starting point. Night and day since I started treating my water
    VTBrewHound likes this.
  3. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,680) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Bill, thank you again for your contribution(s). Allow me to ask one more question. You said, "for most of our hop forward beers". But, do you perform such thorough sensory evaluation with all of your beers? In my opinion incredibly fresh beer can do wonders for numerous styles, not just IPAs (or hop forward beers).

    And obviously some can age quite well, your Bigfoot Barleywine being perhaps the most famous example.
  4. rockaroo

    rockaroo Initiate (0) Jun 18, 2013 Virginia

    From what I have seen every beer vendor lets their beer ship warm. If fresh beer is a selling point it should probably be shipped with milk and eggs at the grocery store. I think ultra fresh beer is something that can be marketed but the beer distribution model is way entrenched and out of line with great freshness and handling, around here at least.
  5. kdb150

    kdb150 Initiate (0) Mar 8, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I always do one or the other. Sometimes both!

    I think once more and more people have great hoppy beers being made locally, the likes of Lagunitas and Stone are going to be awfully sorry they built those new breweries to sling their hoppy beers nationwide. The only thing I'd even consider from any of the nationwide brands ahead of a trip to Tired Hands would be some cans of Sucks. And they don't make cans of Sucks.
  6. turbotype

    turbotype Aspirant (288) Nov 5, 2013 California

    I pick up my IPAs at a store that doesn't keep a ton of stock on hand, but gets in fresh stock regularly. I actually went to get some Double Jack today for a trade and they were sold out. But there will be some exceptionally fresh stuff there on Thursday. In the meantime, that guy doesn't mind waiting, and I found fresh Swami's IPA there, and a few bottles of Prairie Bomb. Win/Win.
    brawleys likes this.
  7. YamBag

    YamBag Initiate (181) Feb 2, 2007 Pennsylvania

    In the last month I've managed to get fresh UJ in cans at the KOP Wegmans and fresh bottles of double jack at the Plymouth Meeting WF, but overall I agree, it's frustrating more often I fi d 2 month old Firestone products.
    ESHBG likes this.
  8. Sponan

    Sponan Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2008 Tennessee

    I have to agree with you. The number of cases ordered by my bottle shop which arrive from the distributor either near or after the best by date or six months or more after the bottling date is scary. Talking to other retailers in other markets leads me to believe this is not an isolated problem. Which leads me to the conclusion that either the brewers require too large of a minimum order, the distributor is ordering in too great a quantity, or that particular beer does not move once it makes it onto the shelf. In many instances, I know the distributor is ordering too much. Typically, these are AB/InBev distributors and often order craft beer in similar quantities.
  9. Sponan

    Sponan Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2008 Tennessee

    Then people will have to stop bitching about a two month old IPA. Also, keep in mind that perishable products typically are dated to prevent liability in food poisoning cases. Do you want beer dated by the same standards?
  10. Benish

    Benish Meyvn (1,199) Mar 13, 2013 Wisconsin

    I have no explanation for the old IPAs, but simply put, I won't give my money for an IPA that is 2 months old. Unfortunately I live in Utah, so I don't have the luxury of finding fresh IPAs in this beer barren state.
  11. DocHo11idaze

    DocHo11idaze Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2013 California

    Lots of factors play in as mentioned. I'd assume most breweries put a 90-120 day shelf life on their IPAs, I know of a handful that do, and by shelf life, I mean, at x amount of days (if a production date) this product needs to be pulled and credited out by the distributor. Now that's where an issue arises, the rep himself may not care to do it as it's not a "brand" he'd get his ass chewed for if someone higher up saw it in the trade as he would say...coors light or bud light, or stone Maybe he's pinched on time, doesn't have time to pull the product form the shelf, write up a detailed credit slip, bring product to his vehicle etc. then there are some that do and try there best to pull everything as soon as it's "expired" per the breweries policy. (If the shelf life of xxx IPA is 90 days and you credit it out earlier, here's a hefty fine from abc to the retailer and distributor...adios employment)

    Distributors buy a forecasted amount, to keep grocery chains stores shelves stocked, as well as package stores, the product doesn't pull because there's so many more skus and options than previously, so it sits in the warehouse longer. If they don't order enough, then there's some corporate grocery chains pissed all 70 or however many stores in an area have holes on the shelves. It's tough to earn that corporate shelf space, and if you blow it, doubt you'll be staying in the schematic next revision. Then the same applies to package stores taking it in Even more (IMO) as they'll have so many options and always getting new things. Us finicky drinkers don't repeat buy many beers, especially flagship standards like sculpin or FW beers, there are that do buy them often but wait, there's that new IPA I heard about! Skip the usual choice and get that new one! Wash rinse repeat . That's my thinking why many IPAs across the board just sit, the new hip hyped IPAs will pull quick, that beer that you tried before gets passed on by. A well known bottle shop will def sell thru product better, it's a destination...some stores that are getting into more and more craft may have trouble. Some places start giving space to craft from the big boys...manage to killer special releases even, but there's not a following there so even those beers that the case of bombers is gone in. Few hours at one store, this place sits on for a while. It's unfortunate, places want to get that higher dollar ring and better profit margin customer in the store, the distributor/brewery loves to get new placements and more sales, but it doesn't pan out as hoped. Can't blame the store, just hasn't reached the demographic yet.

    Sorry for the novel, somewhat lost track while cooking all I wanted to say but my .02
  12. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    No you don't, it tastes like crap!
  13. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    I agree with you, I don't buy old IPA's, but I was looking more for a solution to the problem so that I can have fresh Sculpin!
  14. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    Have, very different. I have had sculpin fresh at the source and two months old, different beer.
  15. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    I have had fresh Sculpin a bunch of times, at the brewery in particular. I know how it tastes fresh and I know how it tastes at 2 months, whole different beer.
  16. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    Do you think some of these bigger breweries are overstating their demand? If all I see is old Sculpin's sitting around, and I do venture to quite a bit of craft beer bottle shops around Los Angeles, then maybe Ballast isn't actually that popular than we are made to believe. Not sure, but the distributor and retail market need to limit their supply if it does not get off the shelf in a month. That is how I see it.
  17. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (2,008) Jun 6, 2010 Texas

    True that. Two months would be a godsend over here ... in fact, two months is about my cutoff for whether or not to buy.
  18. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    Yep, I have been to the brewery & their tasting room in Little Italy! Too bad I live in LA!
  19. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    I don't think it is, I drink quite a bit of IPAs & it is a huge deal to have a beer a week or two old vs 2 months! You obviously haven't had a malt bomb at 2 months old that has no hops.
  20. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    My point of this forum, who is at issue here? I wanna say everyone, retail stores overstock, distributors don't buy back the old stock, and breweries produce too much that isn't actually in demand.
  21. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    No - fresh it is my favorite beer /// come on now.
  22. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    Really great point! It could also be why we have some lower scores on here for some really good IPAs.
    Tdizzle likes this.
  23. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    I admire you, don't over buy IPAs when you know they will sit on the shelf... At the end of the day, they take home an old stale IPA and they probably won't be back at your store anymore. I am from Los Angeles, so no reason there should be 2-3 month old Sculpin or Union Jack for sale.
  24. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    Yeah, I ship a fresh released limited beer from say Beachwood across the country in a trade and someone just got a week old IPA in no time via FedEx! What is the logistical issue here? The brewery sells it to the distributor, charges distributor to ship it to their warehouse, that shouldn't take more than a week! There must be more here, anyone please chime in who works for a distributor across the country that buys say, FW or Ballast.
    October likes this.
  25. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    I think if Stone says 35 days is when you should drink their Enjoy By,
    No way, Stone, Modern Times, a bunch more in CA get it to shops within a week!
  26. DocHo11idaze

    DocHo11idaze Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2013 California

    Not the cross country trek that you are asking/nor am I in inventory management for a distributor but I do want to test something at work now. We have a couple craft suppliers from Oregon and Washington we distro in Southern California area. The next time one of their flagship beers is out of stock in our warehouse, I'll try to send a case out as soon as we get more in, then follow up the next day and check it's bottling date at the store. For shits n gigs mostly to see how fresh we get it to ship out
  27. DocHo11idaze

    DocHo11idaze Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2013 California

    That's if stone has depleted the current inventory in their distribution warehouse before the next batch of blazing world or swamis comes in, and that product is going directly out as soon as it is ready to ship. Also if the last two 6 packs from the pervious delivery a week or two ago in joeshmoes liquor store are gone...or the new case comes in, sits in the cooler and doesn't hit the shelf til someone buys the last two older 6 packs.
  28. raynmoon

    raynmoon Initiate (0) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado

    Eventually, these breweries will have to keep their hoppy beers to draft only, or seasonal with the bottled versions.

    But then again, there are a lot of people out there that buy old ipa's on the shelf and don't know or care the difference. God bless those people.
  29. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2006 California

    This thread has changed the way I view IPAs. From this point forward, I'm going to purchase some of my favorite IPAs within two months of being bottled or canned; maybe even more than two months! Thank you @rollom, @AlcahueteJ, and @JStampler.
    HuskyHawk likes this.
  30. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (1,888) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    The shop i go to has had the same bombers on the back shelf for the past two years. Ive seen some port brewing IPAs with dust on them and they drop the price to $4 to try and get rid of it and as tempted as one could be its not worth it.
    joeyjoey104 likes this.
  31. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    Pay a visit to the brewery?
  32. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,741) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    My last trip home Trenton Road Tavern in Levittown had Double Jack right at 30 days old.
  33. WillQC4Beer

    WillQC4Beer Initiate (0) May 1, 2014 Vermont

    Room temperature, and torture testing as well.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  34. JStampler

    JStampler Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2013 Pennsylvania

    You're right, there's too much snark in this thread.
  35. BillManley

    BillManley Aspirant (229) Jul 2, 2008 Minnesota

    Absolutely. We test all of our beer regularly to evaluate aged and staling characteristics. Hops are a lot more volatile than many malt flavors so they get most the attention, but we test everything.
    Lately we've been making so many lagers and traditional-ish German styles. We're very interested in the flavor profile of beers like Oktoberfest and Vienna as they age. We don't think they're as susceptible to huge dips in age character, but beers like Kolsch definitely have a D-Day where they go downhill rapidly. In fact, just last week we were doing sensory evaluation on Kolsch packaged in February. It was a shadow of the beer it was when fresh, but in a very different way than a hop-bomb IPA would be. The malt flavor was still intact and everything was technically still in spec, but the balance was off and the beer tasted...muddled, I guess. Not as crisp and poppy as the bright fresh examples. Interestingly, this happened right at the 170 day mark. Beer packaged only a few weeks later still passed muster with the panel (although never as good as blisteringly fresh.)

    DonicBoom, Roguer, beermeplz and 5 others like this.
  36. WillQC4Beer

    WillQC4Beer Initiate (0) May 1, 2014 Vermont

    I think @sierranevadabill has said it best, the variability of what the beer experiences once it leaves the facility, as well as things like dissolved oxygen levels and filler capabilities really define what you will get for shelf life on beers. I know many of us look to SN as the benchmark by which we try to emulate to achieve the quality they put out. ( I mean one of the ASBC reference samples for testing was torpedo just to give you an idea)
  37. mackeyse

    mackeyse Initiate (0) Aug 21, 2012 New York

    I have nothing new to offer here that hasn't already been said by tons of BA's before me: check bottle/can dates AND don't buy anything that isn't dated. Don't waiver--NO Datey NO Buyey.
    The one thing I have taken away from visiting BA that I continue to pass along to friends who enjoy IPA's is the importance of bottle dates (where they are located on bottles/codes etc)---sure you will miss out on the Firestone, Ballast P, Green Flashes etc. that are 3 months old + but as aforementioned there will be plenty of locals that will be a few weeks out and very enjoyable.

    And as already noted by some, being from the East Coast I don't expect to be able to get West Coast beers a few weeks out---just not happening with cross country shipping. Just be realistic about what you will find based on your location.
    Tdizzle, October and AlcahueteJ like this.
  38. Flashy

    Flashy Zealot (569) Oct 22, 2003 Vermont

    I love IPA's and don't like Sculpin much. Had on tap, in a bottle (old and new labels) and in the cans. Wasn't impressed.
    ESHBG likes this.
  39. jsrose16

    jsrose16 Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2014 Illinois


    For science...
  40. jsrose16

    jsrose16 Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2014 Illinois

    I know a place that has Palate Wrecker with the old labels still on it. That must be late 2013, early 2014 as the latest. Maybe I should see what it tastes like now...