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Tap (Draft) vs. Bottled Beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by rt1976, May 2, 2012.

  1. rt1976

    rt1976 Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2009 Indiana

    Why is it beer on tap at a brewery seems much more flavorful and aromatic than bottled. I particularly notice this w/ FFF. Their IPA's (Dreadnaught, Apocalypse Cow) seem to loose the sweetness they have at the pub.
  2. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,176) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Supporter Beer Trader

    On tap at the brewery...does it get any fresher than that? Assuming high turnover of the kegs.
    CJNAPS likes this.
  3. rt1976

    rt1976 Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2009 Indiana

    I've thought that, but since its a batch process I assumed those bombers were from the same batch.
  4. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,176) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Supporter Beer Trader

    They should be same batch...have you tried a bottle vs on tap at the brewery, assuming, as I don't know, if the bottle is an option?
  5. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (3,358) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Hmm i like Alpha king from the bottle better than on tap IMO
  6. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,176) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Supporter Beer Trader

    You've had it on tap? Bottles only for me and then by trade only. :slight_frown:
  7. genuinedisciple

    genuinedisciple Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2010 Michigan

    Had Pabst in the bottle and on tap, I did notice that the hop presence really stood out on draft.
    state08 and InVinoVeritas like this.
  8. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (4,748) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Depending on how the brewery operates, you may be getting beer that's never been in a keg. A lot brewpub/brewery tasting rooms pour from serving tanks. If you've ever had beer from a brite tank, you can taste the difference after the same beer has been kegged. I don't know why this is, maybe something to do with size?

    SILVER Aspirant (287) Jan 3, 2007 Florida

    I've had a few Dogfish Head brews that are so much better on drought than the same from a bottle.
    120 Min. on tap tastes like an IPA while the same from the bottle is more like a barley wine.
  10. rt1976

    rt1976 Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2009 Indiana

    i often wondered if these were bottle conditioned and the extra yeast removed some of the sweetness by eating these sugars
  11. El_Zilcho

    El_Zilcho Initiate (70) May 3, 2012 Virginia

    I remember reading something about Sierra Nevada talking about how beers will actually lose some aroma through the cap during transport. I have certainly had beers that are different between draft/bottle/can. Founders Backwoods Bastard is a good example, really boozy out of the bottle but less boozy and actually kinda chocolate flavors going on on draft. On the other hand, Deviant Dale's out of the can tastes a little hoppier to me than the draft does.
  12. movingglass

    movingglass Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2012 Illinois

    It's because they don't use Vortex bottle.
    El_Zilcho likes this.
  13. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (762) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I have never had a beer that was better bottled than on tap.
    mtlasley likes this.
  14. loki993

    loki993 Initiate (180) Apr 16, 2009 Michigan

    Have you ever had anything bottle conditioned?

    I've had Roddenbach Grand Cru on tap and bottled. On tap it was a little less carbonated and a bit more tart. In the bottle it was obviously sweeter and just differeent.

    Also I've had JP Bam Biere on tap and in the bottle too. They are also noticeably different. Again its a bit sweeter in the bottle. On tap it doesn't have the cidery chanpagny flavor to it as much.

    Its not a huge difference but its definitely a noticeable difference in taste.

    also I wouldn't consider one better then the other, they were both amazing either way..just different
  15. mpedara429

    mpedara429 Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2012 Massachusetts

    In my past, I had always been under the impression that draught beer was better than bottled beer. In a few recent instances with bad draught beer, I'm starting to feel otherwise. My example is with one of my favorite "go to" beers; Oskar Blues: Dale's Pale Ale. Drinking this out of the can or poured into a glass is always magical. Recently, on vacation, I saw it on tap at a beer and I was ecstatic to try it on tap. I had never seen it at a bar before. After tasting it on tap, I would've much rather have drank it from the can. It lacked all the aroma and flavor I was used to. If it wasn't for the fact I saw them pour it into the glass for me, I wouldn't have believed it was the right beer.

    In another instance, I went to a local craft beer bar that has 40 different beers on tap. I tried a sampler of 5 different beers of my choosing and I was only able to stomach one or two of them. All were IPAs or stouts, my two favorite styles. None of them seemed to have the proper character for the style of beer. I came back here to BA and saw that they all had very good reviews. At that point, I started wondering about draught beer.

    Is draught beer only better for cheap beers to make them more drinkable? Are craft beers better out of the bottle or can?
  16. Zhiguli

    Zhiguli Aspirant (245) Jul 12, 2012 California

    Too many variables to answer wisely. For me, generally, draught has been a more enjoyable experience, but also has to do with the fact that I'm sitting at a bar.
  17. aasher

    aasher Poo-Bah (2,558) Jan 27, 2010 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    It just totally depends on the beer. I think Hopslam is boozy out of the bottle but can be great on draft. On the otherhand I think Gumballhead just doesn't have nearly as aromatic of a nose on draft compared to the bottle.
    gatornation likes this.
  18. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    Dirty tap lines, old kegs, wrong serving temp, frozen glasses, shaker pints, are all variables that can make beer worse out of the tap at bars.

    You can avoid all of those at home.
  19. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,188) Mar 18, 2010 California

    A bar will have natural variability in how they clean, serve, etc. their draft beers. Drinking bottles and/or cans straight from the brewery will most likely present the beer in the way it was intended (not counting beer directly from the brewery's tap room for example).
  20. marquis

    marquis Crusader (739) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    A keg is just a glorified bottle with the added complication of external gas pressure plus lines and taps which need regular cleaning.
    If by draught we mean cask then the difference is profound.I am prepared to pay a lot more for it over the bottled variety as there are layers of complexity and depth of flavours simply missing in bottle or keg.The caveat is that it has to be done well.
  21. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,012) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Supporter Beer Trader

    marquis- by and large, over here in the states keg beer is different from bottled. It not as great a difference as between cask and bottle, but the keg beer does (all things being equal) taste fresher and more vibrant. American bottled (or canned) 'craft' beer is not pasteurized (for the most part), but sterile filtered (.5 micron) for shelf life. Keg beer is usually just given a coarser filtration (around 5 microns) and must be kept refrigerated- so, at least over here, it is not a glorified bottle. The difference can easily be undone by poor turnover rates and cleanliness, as has been mentioned, but there is one.
    RobertColianni and 5thOhio like this.
  22. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Defender (631) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    IMHO, the best way to determine the difference, if any, is a side-by-side blind test. But even this has variables, such as serving temperature and the way the beer was handled from the brewery to the consumer.
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,017) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Another aspect to consider is the age of the beer. There seems to be an ‘inclination’ that a kegged beer will be fresher. A BA who worked at a bottle shop which included draft beer posted in a past thread that often the kegged beer that they received was older than the bottled products. I was a bit shocked to read that since I always assumed that kegged beer would be fresher. I know approach draft beer with a ‘jaundiced eye’.

    Bitterbill likes this.
  24. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    also some brewers do brew the beer slightly differently for the versions. AKA SN pale ale. different beer from can/bottle to draft. Some beers are totally different due to 2nd fermentation. or the lack of it.

    I dislike Duvel on draft, love it on bottle. I could give many other examples. cask ale is a different animal all together. I notice nitrogen changes beer taste some to me personally YMMV. I had Brooklyn RIS on draft and to me it was a totally different beer than the bottle.

    bottom line find a beer you like at a place you like if you go out. or pay more for bottles. or just stay home, lol.:grinning:

    I do enjoy blue moon on draft better than bottle. weird.
  25. GarbageMan

    GarbageMan Initiate (0) Aug 13, 2012

    Sometimes I don't like draught because a lot of bars keep all their beers in the same cooler, and thus everything is the same temperature. Granted, I appreciate that having separate coolers for different types of beer might be impractical unless your bar is wholly devoted to it, but a stout should not be served at the same cold temp as a pilsener.
  26. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Aspirant (291) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    That's not really a fair comparison as they are two distinctly different beers. The kegged Duvel (aka Duvel Green) is only 6.8% vs 8.5% for the bottles, and it doesn't undergo secondary fermentation. There is no such thing as "regular" Duvel in kegs, at least not in America.
    drtth likes this.
  27. jivex5k

    jivex5k Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Florida

    Sometimes you just get a bad beer for whatever reason.
    I just had a bottle of 60 minute at a bar for lunch, man it was old or something. No hop aroma at all, just bitter.
    I've had Sam Adams summer ale out of draught and thought I hated that beer. I had a bottle of it later and loved it. When I go to normal restaurant I don't expect much from their beer.

    Unless the bar is all about good beer there's always a risk of a poor brew, that's why I'm glad craft bars/taprooms are growing in number. =)
  28. RBassSFHOPit2ME

    RBassSFHOPit2ME Meyvn (1,126) Mar 1, 2009 California

    Sadly, there are numerous bars and restaurants that don't clean their lines as often as they should...
  29. cerp66

    cerp66 Initiate (23) Sep 20, 2007 South Carolina

    I have the exact opposite experience when drinking Dale's Pale Ale on tap. It's one of my go to beers at home that I always enjoy from the can to glass. When I have it at the local Mellow Mushroom on tap it's even better, one of my favorite beers on tap when I'm having more than just a couple.
  30. sarcastro

    sarcastro Disciple (335) Sep 20, 2006 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    It is one beer served in two different ways, how is it not fair? Obviously they are different or he would like them the same. If the draft version is that much worse, than it is the breweries fault for putting out a product in that form and they deserve negative feedback.
  31. mike_v_sardina

    mike_v_sardina Initiate (147) Apr 12, 2012 Vermont

    One beer that is fantastic on draft is Sculpin, whereas in the bottles, it just does not seem to be quite as good...

    Maybe has to do with the freshness of a keg versus bottles that might be sitting around on the shelves for a while?
  32. Blackwing17

    Blackwing17 Initiate (0) Jul 22, 2009 Ohio

    I've had some bad experiences with old bottles at bars, so I try to stick to draught because I assume it is generally fresher unless the bar has a very large tap list.

    There are also beers that are better on draught for whatever reason. GL Lake Erie Monster comes to mind.
  33. iwantmorehops

    iwantmorehops Aspirant (232) Sep 25, 2010 Vermont
    Beer Trader

    What makes SNPA a different beer on draught, Bottle conditioning? References?
  34. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,012) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Supporter Beer Trader

    It's always been that way (Michael Jackson made the distinction in his books way back when: bottle 5.5%, draught 5%), though I never knew exactly why until recently when Bill Manley (sierranevadabill) clarified it on the boards here. Essentially, there were some municipalities where they wanted to sell their beer that had a 5% restriction at the time, so they kept the draught at 5% to accomodate that. Eventually, they liked the difference so much that they kept it that way even though there is no more need for it.
    azorie and sierranevadabill like this.
  35. JimDH

    JimDH Initiate (60) Feb 7, 2011 Kentucky

    Though the ingredients are the same, it's not the same beer. The bottle fermentation of Duvel adds complexity and flavor, and is better in my opinion, but that's not achievable in an ordinary keg. The Duvel Single is more sessionable. Duvel markets them as separate beers, and they are. I wouldn't say the Single deserves _negative_ feedback, but it's perfectly reasonable to score it lower than Duvel. (As Duvel is close to a perfect beer, the Single certainly ought to be scored lower.)

    maltmaster420 likes this.
  36. tronto

    tronto Initiate (84) Dec 22, 2010 Kentucky
    Beer Trader

    I picked up a growler of bourbon county last week and thought it was much better then the bottles. The b.a. I drank it with seemed to agree. Trust me, I love it out of the bottle too, but it was much better on draft.
  37. pirkle668

    pirkle668 Initiate (0) Sep 18, 2012 Washington

    I recently had a discussion with my friend when we were at a local Italian restaurant yesterday. We both ordered a Peroni, but he ordered a Peroni bottle, and I opted for the draught. The draught pint and bottle cost the same - $4.75.

    I asked him "Why a bottle? You get an extra 4oz with draught." He replied that he's just "a bottle man" and orders all beers in bottles when available, regardless of if it's a coors light or Bell's Two-Hearted. He would offer no other explanation, no reason at all why he prefers bottles.

    Curiosity is getting the best of me, so I wanted to ask all of you: Any of you out there just plain prefer bottles over draught? Any particular reason why?
  38. Greenplastic615

    Greenplastic615 Devotee (411) Nov 4, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I generally prefer draught beer because it's usually cheaper at the bars I go to per ounce than the same beer would be had it come from a bottle. If it were reversed, I'm sure my preference would be reversed also :slight_smile:
  39. tkarsies

    tkarsies Aspirant (272) Dec 27, 2005 Ohio

    Don't guess this applies to Peroni, but there is something to be said for bottle aging with Belgians and some other strong ales. That being said, if I can get the bottled version at the store, I would pretty much always go with draught when out. Just part of the experience of being at the bar.
    StoutPiper likes this.
  40. HopsJunkiedotcom

    HopsJunkiedotcom Initiate (0) Dec 24, 2010 Florida

    In my experience, it can often have to do with QC. I know that when I order a bottle that I don't have to worry about dirty draft lines, the carb level being off, of any other number of factors I can't control. Order a bottle and you can see how clean the glass is before you pour.

    With that said, the places I tend to go to for draft beer are sticklers for doing it correctly, so it's not much a worry.

    If his reasons aren't anything like those, then I don't know why he prefers bottles, really.
    pschul4, tngolfer and robinsmv like this.
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