Packaging dates on reviews?

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by pianoguy, Feb 25, 2021.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. pianoguy

    pianoguy Pundit (846) Feb 14, 2015 Washington

    Love this site ! While I often enjoy the fellowship of the forums, I primarily use Beer Advocate as a tool for decisions on beer purchases. Be it while standing in the store looking up an untried beer, looking at my "Your Beers" section to refresh my memory in regard to a purchase, or simply viewing the "beers" section looking at reviews to put untried beers on my purchasing radar (I do this a lot!).
    I realize a lot of different factors go into reviewing a beer and I tend to take individual reviews with a grain of salt (including mine!) A lot of it is subjective. But one big tool in my decision toolbox has always been freshness/package dates.

    I always appreciate it when reviewers post a packaging date and also appreciate when reviewers note the lack of a package date. It helps me understand a bit about where the reviewer was coming from by establishing some solid criteria on the sample.
    (I searched this forum before making this post. I didn't want to be redundant and waste everybody's time... I apologize in advance if this subject has already been broached)
    In searching this forum I came across a thread from 2016 suggesting a score be dropped a couple of points for lack of packaging info. I thought this was a bad idea and wouldn't want to turn this suggestion into anything like that! But on some level the freshness of the sample has got to affect a persons review. I know that I enjoy an IPA that is fresher, and prefer a higher ABV stout that is a little older. As much as I try to review each beer to that beer's style it has to affect my review. It's human nature.

    Would it be possible to have a place on the review page for a reviewer to enter any packaging information, or note the lack thereof ? It wouldn't/shouldn't be setup to ding the score in anyway in your algorithm. Having this would encourage reviewers to note any packaging or BB dates. As previously noted this criteria is always helpful in understanding why reviewers gave a beer the score that they gave.
    Just a suggestion... thanks again for this wonderful site!
  2. steveh

    steveh Grand Pooh-Bah (3,988) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society

    I try to add the date of the beer I'm reviewing... if it has one... if I remember. :confused:
  3. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,210) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I mention it in the review, not sure if anything else is needed.
    beergoot, cavedave, bret27 and 6 others like this.
  4. pianoguy

    pianoguy Pundit (846) Feb 14, 2015 Washington

    That's my point. Sometimes I forget to ad packaging info too ! But if there was a small section on the review page I'd be more likely to remember!
    Providence likes this.
  5. pianoguy

    pianoguy Pundit (846) Feb 14, 2015 Washington

    And I sincerely appreciate your thoughtfulness! But looking at the beers section on any given day most people don't mention it...Again this would just be a little reminder on the review page for reviewers who aren't as conscientious as you...
    jakecattleco and Bitterbill like this.
  6. officerbill

    officerbill Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    I try to remember if it seems relevant; if the beer is at, past, or has an unusually long BB date, has a vintage, or has been aged.
  7. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Grand Pooh-Bah (3,139) Nov 4, 2015 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society

    I note it , first thing in the review .
  8. bret27

    bret27 Pooh-Bah (2,818) Mar 10, 2009 California
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I try to mention it in the intro.
    I also put how old in parentheses so people looking at the review later don’t have to figure out the math.
    Example: Can from lupulo, Santa Cruz. Canned - 2/1/21 (~1 month old).
  9. Giantspace

    Giantspace Pooh-Bah (2,757) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I would love to see the can/bottle dates. I also would like to see serving type, can, bottle , crowler etc. the last piece I want to see is glass style(don’t care about the branding) or did you drink it from the can/bottle. I think this can help to learn about the beer and make a choice. As @TheIPAHunter said the other night about the Stone beer he was drinking, it was much better from the bottle than the can. I have had the same experience and can say the same for packaged vs tap vs crowler.

  10. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,470) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I believe that @Todd has mentioned that serving type (which used to be a field in reviews) is something that he would like to bring back at some point.
  11. defunksta

    defunksta Pooh-Bah (2,428) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Definitely could see some credence to this. I am a big proponent of packaging dates on beers. It is my pet peeve when they are omitted or indecipherable. I concur that it definitely can affect a beer's rating. Perhaps putting as an input beside the numerical ratings as either a date or unknown would be helpful in the beer review process.
    It looks like many people on here also put the packaging date in the review.
    The confusion/frustration is when brewery's put a date on the beer, but you're not sure whether it's a "packaged-on date" or a "best-by" date. I could see that leading to confusion. That is why I would first strongly argue for standardization on packaging date labeling. All beers should be required to have a standardized packaging date format.
  12. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,210) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I just figure if I mention the package date, folks can look down at the date of the review, and see. Shrug.
  13. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Grand Pooh-Bah (3,463) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I try to do this when I revisit a beer I initially rated from draft serving and follow-up with info from a packaged format.
    lucius10 and Bitterbill like this.
  14. jageraholic

    jageraholic Maven (1,366) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts

    It's slippery slope but i'm not against it. Everyone has different opinions of when to drink beer based on their personal tastes and readers could use that information if it was in a review to formulate their own opinions. That said, if you are using it to determine if a bad review is due to the date, there would be so many other factors to consider like storage conditions, was it a trade, did the person butt chug it out of a 3 ft funnel. I dont think it should be a required field, but information is always good.
  15. hudsonvalleyslim

    hudsonvalleyslim Savant (1,058) May 29, 2003 Massachusetts

    I wholeheartedly agree, any useful information can't hurt, and if there was a space for a 'brewed on' or 'bottled on' date I'd like that info.
  16. Jugs_McGhee

    Jugs_McGhee Grand Pooh-Bah (5,894) Aug 15, 2010 Colorado
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I note it in my reviews, but so many of you care entirely too much about packaging dates especially when it comes to IPAs and I don't know where the misinformation is coming from. Factually, hops are a preservative.

    I doubt I could tell the difference between a 4 month old bottle of Sierra Nevada Torpedo you procured at a Walmart in Nevada and a bottle you bought "fresh" at the source in a blind taste test if both were served cold. What ego must one have to presume they could?
    FBarber likes this.
  17. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Grand Pooh-Bah (3,520) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Well, they're an antimicrobial protection against spoiling by infection. They don't magically stop the process of oxidation. And with the modern use of hops, the vibrant aromatics that people prize are exactly the compounds that are most volatile and quickest lost to oxidation

    That is a bold, old school, IPA from a brewery that is renowned for the quality of their packaging. I have, and I'm sure many others have as well, noticed a change (usually what I would characterize as a decline) in a pack of beer from the first to the last if it was in our possession for several months. Its not that these modern ipas become "gross" after 3 months, but many of them do lose the pop of those most aromatic hop compounds in that time, and when they lose that they lose the value of the premium that the breweries charge. At least to many of us
    cavedave, lucius10, eljabak and 5 others like this.
  18. Reidrover

    Reidrover Grand Pooh-Bah (4,335) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    I would like to back you up on this one.
    I actually like dirt cheap old school Redhook Big Ballard and believe you me i can tell a whole lot of difference in a can that's only a couple weeks old and one that's 3 month old. Night and day.
    For an actually great IIPA I think the difference would be even more.
  19. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Grand Pooh-Bah (3,520) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I think the difference is in whether the beer is emphasizing the more delicate aromatics of the hops or the more substantial bitter flavors. I personally do perceive a good deal more floral character in snpa (I don't remember the last time I drank torpedo, it has never been a favorite of mine) that is 3 or 4 weeks old vs one that is 3 or 4 months old. But because SN has great packaging and the beer emphasizes the sturdier flavors of the hops and malts the drop off isn't as dramatic as some other, modern hoppy beers.

    I totally agree with you though, beers that feature hop flavors prominently are best consumed fresh if you want to experience that beverage in it's full glory. How old you're willing to purchase it is a personal decision between you and your beer
    lucius10, Bitterbill and Reidrover like this.
  20. Reidrover

    Reidrover Grand Pooh-Bah (4,335) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    Yeah BB is not exactly hop crazy..more malts..but the hop it does have ( floral/pine) are so much more prominent fresh. Now this is a $1.79 19.2 oz beer, shouldn't expect much. But i always look at the bottom of the can and reach as far back as my arms can go in the convenience store fridge rack.
    Tips from a thrifty beer drinker
  21. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Pooh-Bah (1,559) Aug 24, 2020 California

    I'm satisfied with putting the packaging date in my review, often with a comment regarding if it was purchased from a room temp shelf or a cooler.
  22. nc41

    nc41 Initiate (0) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    I mention dates for the most part, as I rarely buy beers that are not dated unless it’s a recent release or seasonal.
  23. Thankin_Hank

    Thankin_Hank Grand Pooh-Bah (3,508) Nov 18, 2013 Texas

    I agree. Primarily with IPAs. I finally learned, the hard way, to check IPA dates. Some are not dated and I will pass them up unless it's something I've been after for a while. Some packages are dated and the contents not dated. Total Wine offers singles and many are not dated.
    beergoot and nc41 like this.
  24. nc41

    nc41 Initiate (0) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Buying singles off the shelf at Total Wine is a bad bet. They specialize is old stock and once they’re split they lose all control. If I want to try something I might split a 6, I ask the manager first but he’s always said ok. A better bet it’s fresher stock, but that’s certainly one place if it’s not dated I won’t buy it.
    beergoot and Bitterbill like this.
  25. Providence

    Providence Pooh-Bah (2,366) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    If packaged on dates were easily accessed and more people cared about them, then I think this would be great information to keep track of (especially because you could then see if there were correlations between freshness and overall score, which might suggest that a beer is best fresh- Behold the awesome power of Pearson's r). But I don't think the packaged-on dates are all that easy to come by and I definitely don't think the typical craft drinkers gives a shit about it.
  26. bubseymour

    bubseymour Grand Pooh-Bah (4,374) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I generally note the dates on my review most certainly if it’s an old beer so when I say “aroma muted” or “due to the age the hops taste a little stale” it has some relevance to the date I’ve noted for the reader.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  27. thebeeremptor

    thebeeremptor Zealot (628) Aug 12, 2018 California
    Society Trader

    Even though I include the package date in my notes, I don't think it usually matters. I generally drink what I have within two months as a general good practice. In my experience, my notes haven't wildly deviated from others who have had it much fresher. I do recall one specific example where it did matter: I had a four pack of one of the Fremont's Head Full series that was delightful. I intended to write notes but got an infected tooth and had to have it extracted. Beer was out of the question for a few weeks during recovery. The beer had significantly degraded by month two, the time I got back to it. Fremont themselves say that their Head Full series is best within three months. I included that info in my notes and withheld any kind of score.
    Bitterbill likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.