Old IPAs - What to do about this problem?

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

  1. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,870) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania


    Thank you once again for your contributions to BA!

    You bring up an excellent point re: Kolsch:

    “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.”

    It is popular on BA to discuss a beer going stale by stating that cardboard (or other flavors like sherry, etc.,) develop.

    In a recent issue of Zymurgy Gordon Strong discussed old beer/staling/oxidation:

    “Old beer is simply stale and dull with muted flavors. … Flavor intensity decays and the balance might change as different components degrade at varying rates.”

    “Many breweries misidentify oxidation because they are expecting wet cardboard, sherry or paper flavors. That’s a specific kind of oxidation but not the most common. Oxidized beers generally have a dullness of flavor…”

  2. oso4life

    oso4life Initiate (0) May 22, 2014 Florida

    I would be willing to bet that 95% of the people on here couldn't tell the difference between a fresh IPA and a 2 month old IPA.
  3. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2006 California

    Hey, I was being sincere. My attitude towards you, and this topic, has become much like a two-month-old IPA: the bitterness has faded.
    #163 Tdizzle, Aug 5, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
    rozzom likes this.
  4. JStampler

    JStampler Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2013 Pennsylvania

    I hear ya. I'm not much of a Sculpin fan either but there's a difference between not being impressed with a beer and stating that a beer is awful because it's two months old. I wont buy Sculpin if its available but if someone handed one to me, I wouldn't drain pour it either.
    Flashy likes this.
  5. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2006 California

    You should try Grapefruit Sculpin. It's amazing.
  6. JStampler

    JStampler Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Only the day it's bottled. Downhill on day 2.
    October, Tdizzle and oso4life like this.
  7. ACGypsy

    ACGypsy Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2014 Texas

    If only the people that don't mind 2 month old IPA's would start drinking a lot more then everybody would be happy.
    Roguer and warrendietrich2001 like this.
  8. pinyin

    pinyin Disciple (357) Sep 19, 2013 New York

    OP is lucky to only have 2 month old IPA's in CA.

    The supermarket by me is still selling Ruination 1.0 for $14.99 a four pack. I don't think that has even been brewed since 11/2014.

    Hops receding into the malt is definitely a big pet peeve of mine. Call me neurotic or OCD or whatever, but once you take the plunge into homebrewing and dry hopping IPA's there really is no turning back .
  9. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2006 California

    I refrained from expressing the sentiment that California residents, such as myself, are very fortunate when it comes to enjoying fresh IPAs, lest I be labeled an elitist, etc. However, it really is true. I have become accustomed to seeing IPAs from Stone, Ballast Point, Sierra Nevada, Anchor, Russian River, etc., hit the shelves within one to two weeks after bottling/canning. Heck, I've never snagged a Kern River Just Outstanding IPA that wasn't less than a week old. I suppose that my vociferous aversion to "two-month-old" IPAs is a result of how frequently I am afforded the opportunity to enjoy very fresh hoppy beer. I apologize if my sentiment that IPAs over 40-days-old are unappealing to me, but my bar has been set very high. Don't get me wrong, there are a plethora of beers from the Midwest and East Coast that we don't get in California that I would give my right eyeball for.
    joeyjoey104 likes this.
  10. HuskyHawk

    HuskyHawk Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2014 Massachusetts

    Refrigeration is the key here. Two month old IPA kept in a refrigerated unit is fine. Canned is even better. It suffers almost no drop off. It's been tested, but I can't recall where I saw it. Stuff on store shelves...I pretty much won't buy IPAs from store shelves anymore.

    John Kimmich says Heady Topper peaks at around ten weeks, and I tend to agree with him. It is not as good the first week or two. It's also amazingly good even six months out if refrigerated. He does say the Alchemist puts in a lot of effort to purge O2 in the canning process. I think that makes a difference.
    JackHorzempa and AlcahueteJ like this.
  11. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,658) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Define "fresh". I bet most could tell the difference between a week old (or less) IPA and a two month IPA.
    joeyjoey104 and Tdizzle like this.
  12. HuskyHawk

    HuskyHawk Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2014 Massachusetts

    But the week old one might not be better. For example, I don't really care for brand spanking new, two day old Trillium Congress Street. It's too vegetal. I had the same issue with Fiddlehead Mastermind. How quickly are these brewers canning/bottling these beers? That may be a factor as well.

    I try to keep a mental note of what beers seem to fade fastest and which ones hold up. As @sierranevadabill indicated, not every brewer puts the same attention into the canning/bottling process to purge O2. Then you have transit variations, storage variations at wholesale, storage variations at retail. I have not noticed SNPA falling off at 2 months (and it is always stocked refrigerated unlike some brands).

    One of the reasons I enjoy Be Hoppy so much may be because it is (a) very good even when very fresh and (b) it goes from brewery to my local shop in under 48 hours, and then sells out in under 48 hours. I believe it is refrigerated the whole way as well.
  13. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,658) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I don't think an IPA that fresh is necessarily better either, but I think most could tell the difference between a few days old IPA and a two month old IPA. I had Hill Farmstead Double Citra directly at the brewery, I took a growler home and after a week it turned from somewhat unpleasant (very abrasive) to sublime.

    Be Hoppy is lovely in a can...however it seems very mediocre on tap to me. I wonder how old some of these kegs are, I bet they turn over much slower than the cans do at the stores. And I've had Be Hoppy on tap at different locations, so it wasn't simply one bad tap line.
    joeyjoey104 and HuskyHawk like this.
  14. Dil_thebeerdrinking_do

    Dil_thebeerdrinking_do Initiate (0) Jan 21, 2014 Georgia

    Has anyone said drink faster/more?
    Tdizzle likes this.
  15. Ipaupaweallpa

    Ipaupaweallpa Initiate (0) Dec 26, 2014 Alabama

    I avoid the coolers beer , go into the walk in cooler at my local store and pick through the pallets off the fresh truck. Got 2 weeks old Jai alai many times and Westbrook when there are 3 month + on the shelf in front.
  16. October

    October Initiate (0) Jul 10, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Anyone ever done this taste test of say, 2 week old beer and 2 month old beer and if so, how did you manage to get the same beer 2 weeks old and 2 months old??
  17. October

    October Initiate (0) Jul 10, 2015 Pennsylvania

    I don't think my stores let customers access a walk in cooler of that sort with fresher beer.
  18. Ipaupaweallpa

    Ipaupaweallpa Initiate (0) Dec 26, 2014 Alabama

    It's like where all the bombers are at this store so I have reason to be in there
    October likes this.
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,870) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I did not do exactly as you have stated but I previously posted that I purchased a case of Victory Dirtwolf that was 2 weeks old and over a period of a few months (3 months) I drank that beer. I noticed that for Dirtwolf at the 2 month mark the hop aroma had very noticeably diminish. By the 3 month mark both the hop aroma and hop flavor were greatly diminished.

    For this exercise I stored the beer cool in my basement. I would periodically take bottles out, refrigerate them for a day or so and then drink them.

    October likes this.
  20. FFreak

    FFreak Initiate (0) Nov 10, 2013 Vermont

    Please send me your recipe and process. I'm finding juicy, aromatic DIPA to be a very difficult (and expensive) style to produce.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,870) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Kudos for explicitly stating "process" in your post. Process is extremely important to achieve a given outcome.

  22. HuskyHawk

    HuskyHawk Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2014 Massachusetts

    Your experience at HF mirrors mine with Trillium in some ways. I've also popped Heady Topper on the day of delivery and it is never as good as it is a couple of weeks later.

    As for Be Hoppy, I attribute the draft issues to either lower turnover or poor draft lines. It's very good on tap at the brewery and it's very good at a restaurant where I often find it (which is owned by the people who own the brewery). But I've had it be mediocre at other places.
  23. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (648) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Report it to Stone: http://www.stonebrewing.com/freshbeer/
    StoneBrewing likes this.
  24. beernooph

    beernooph Initiate (0) Feb 23, 2008 Connecticut

    Drink them! I drank an Enjoy By 4-20 on May 25th I believe and even wrote a post about it. It was amazing! But a representative from Stone emailed me and said she was sorry and that the beer should not have been on the store self that long.
  25. Raime

    Raime Meyvn (1,321) Jun 4, 2012 Greenland

    I only drink IPA's within 5 minutes off the bottling line.

    The 6th minute causes too much declination in the flavor.
  26. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (7,639) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    Freshness is important but it's a bit overblown on this site, particularly if the beer has been in cold storage.

    Still I've always wanted to try the new Ballantine IPA... but the only bottles I ever find lying around in my area are EIGHT months old... :confused:

    Hey I am not a freshness snob, but no I am not buying that beer as much as I really want to try it :slight_frown:
    maltmaster420 likes this.
  27. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,160) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    Expanding on my initial point. Basically store owners and distributors just have to be more conservative on stocking less of the expensive priced beers so they don't become old or shelf turds. Low price point seems to move beer in greater volume from store shelves more than quality product.
  28. KingforaDay

    KingforaDay Crusader (720) Aug 5, 2010 New Jersey

    Yes they are most likely overestimating demand. But I do think it's tied to the fact there are so many more breweries now and so many great IPA's being produced. And while the craft market share has gone from 5% to 11% in the last 5 years, the pie is being split so many more ways that beers like Sculpin aren't the best option anymore, fresh or not.
  29. Greywulfken

    Greywulfken Poo-Bah (5,075) Aug 25, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    If you see a lot of old IPAs, you have to buy them to clear shelf space or they won't get in new ones.
    D-HopSupreme and Tdizzle like this.
  30. D-HopSupreme

    D-HopSupreme Devotee (445) Aug 5, 2014 Canada ()

    As someone living far from any American IPA producing breweries, I've actually grown accustomed to the way older IPAs taste, in particular past the 3-month range (we seldom see anything fresher). I do understand that fresher ones do have a certain zing that isn't found in other beers, but I think that the complexity of an aged IPA can be something to admire as well.
    WillemHC and brother_rebus like this.
  31. brother_rebus

    brother_rebus Savant (953) Jul 28, 2014 Maine

    I would love to see some outrageous law implemented that only allows a x-mile distribution for all beers, across the US.
    That way everything would mostlikely be fresh. And people would have to use energy to go traveling for their fresh (or not so) beer instead of it taking the transit time to come to them.
    PatrickCT likes this.
  32. kell50

    kell50 Initiate (0) Jul 25, 2007 North Carolina

    Drink them super fast so that no one else notices the printed-on date.
  33. PatrickCT

    PatrickCT Poo-Bah (2,033) Feb 18, 2015 Connecticut

    One doesn't get sick from drinking an old IPA.
    HuskyHawk, jmdrpi and rozzom like this.
  34. PatrickCT

    PatrickCT Poo-Bah (2,033) Feb 18, 2015 Connecticut

    I know a place that has a few Sixpoint Bengali Tigers on the create your own 6pk shelf. In the old fat cans.
  35. JayWhitson

    JayWhitson Crusader (793) Feb 25, 2015 Montana

    dump... reload
  36. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    This whole above scenario is ridiculous and filled with "snarky" bs, obviously I don't think 35 days is the general rule when an IPA should be pulled from shelves, but definitely past 40-50 days the hops fade and you no longer are drinking the same beer as when it was released. The more and more I see old IPAs on shelves, the more it angers me that breweries over produce and retailers/distributors buy too much. As others have said, this is a big issue in the craft beer community, especially as people start entering and trying IPAs. This can really turn people off to the craft movement.

    I've had a ton of Sculpin in my days of drinking craft, been to their brewery and tasting room, I have purchased it before fresh a few times - I'm not saying I know every IPA's peak freshness date, but with Sculpin, I was just noting how I can no longer find it fresh and when I received a bottle that I later checked was 65 days old, it didn't taste like the Sculpin I know. That is quite frustrating and I think their needs to be more awareness put on retailers and distributors to not stock IPAs after two months on the shelves... this will force them to not over estimate the demand and supply maybe more here or lagers or saisons or stouts that don't fade in a few months.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  37. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    Agreed, the whole options scenario was unnecessary.
  38. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    I noticed the same thing with Kern River's Double Citra, amazing at the source on tap... in bottles it didnt have that juiciness.
  39. Flashy

    Flashy Zealot (566) Oct 22, 2003 Vermont

    It tastes like grapefruit juice. I liked the Habanero Sculpin though.
    Tdizzle likes this.
  40. SchmittHappens

    SchmittHappens Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2013 New Jersey

    A lot of the times its not the breweries fault though, gotta watch out for the distributors. At least I know this is true with my area and Firestone (I work in a store in North Jersey). They will buy too much and it will sit in the warehouse, or it will come in and they forget to tell the reps (which happens too often), the truck just takes TOO long getting across the country (a shipment of FW was supposed to have been "on the truck on its way" for like 2 weeks...). The beer will come in and its already got a month and a half on it.
    The freshest I've seen here in Jersey was around 2 weeks.
    As for Ballast point (which is distributed by a different distributor) I've seen cans of Sculpin that were 6 days old... How the hell did it get driven from Cali to here, processed by my distributor, then delivered to me in 6 days? I've also seen this with Stone.

    TL;DR A lot of times its the distributors that mess up and the beer sits in their warehouse or in transit for too long