Thoughts on canned vs. bottled beer?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Gaffattack, Jan 2, 2014.

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  1. Gaffattack

    Gaffattack Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2013 Washington

    I personally prefer the taste of a bottle with the majority of my brews. However, some types I like to have poured out of a can and into a glass. I've heard some breweries want to switch to cans instead of bottles. Thoughts, questions, random comments?
  2. Wingman65

    Wingman65 Initiate (139) Apr 3, 2002 Minnesota

    I prefer to think of cans as "little kegs". No light pollution, for one. Since cans are lined I think there's really no difference. If you think you can taste one you're probably drinking a lighter beer. I can't think of anything strong that would be imparted by a "tinny" taste. Surly can't be wrong!!!
  3. jtmartino

    jtmartino Disciple (317) Dec 11, 2010 California

    Cans > Bottles for most applications. Long-term aging in a can is questionable, as is the use of BPA in the epoxy liners. But cans are far better to prevent light damage and they're cheaper to produce and ship than bottles. Also a larger percentage of an aluminum can can be made from recycled material when compared to glass, and the energy requirements of recycling and material yield also favor aluminum.

    I've done a few side-by-side blinded taste tests and nobody could tell the difference. Sierra also did a side-by-side test at last year's SF Beer Week Opening Gala.
  4. Gaffattack

    Gaffattack Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2013 Washington

    That definitely makes sense for breweries to switch to cans if you look at it that way. Maybe it's just the appeal if a bottle to me. I always liked soda in a glass bottle over a can so I think that habit just carried over for me.
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  5. beer-to-relax

    beer-to-relax Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2014 Connecticut

    aesthetically a bottle is better but I actually prefer beer out of a can. light damages beer for one. I do not agree with any argument involving a metallic taste from can. I just shake my head whenever someone argues that
  6. theandychrist

    theandychrist Initiate (0) Apr 21, 2013 Maryland

    There are some very good cans. Ten Fidy being one of my favorite beers, but even local breweries like Brewer's Art and DC Brau have been doing it quite well.
  7. Gaffattack

    Gaffattack Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2013 Washington

    I'm currently drinking ten fidy. My new favorite over Elysian dragon tooth stout.
  8. Witches13rew

    Witches13rew Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2014 Massachusetts

    I don't know. Right now I'd feel that it would cheapen the experience to have all my beers in a can. There's something aesthetically pleasing about those bottles. But it sounds like there are many things in favor of canned beer, so it may just be another idea that I should get used to.
  9. Gaffattack

    Gaffattack Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2013 Washington

    I like to collect the bottles of the rare and really good brews I drink. I feel if I were to use a can it would cheapen the experience. I agree with witches.
  10. jtmartino

    jtmartino Disciple (317) Dec 11, 2010 California

    I appreciate the aesthetic appeal of bottles (and their large labels) and I know there's value in having a cork-n-cage on top of a bottle that you're trying to age for a long time (for gas exchange). But for "normal" beers, such as those you'd pick up in a six-pack, cans are my preferred container.

    In addition to the reasons I listed above, I like cans for their portability and durability. Easy to toss a couple in the pack during hikes or mountain bike rides into the backcountry, and no packing out glass empties (which can weigh a ton.)
    ssam, beer-to-relax and Jsteez like this.
  11. StLeasy

    StLeasy Initiate (0) Sep 8, 2013 Illinois

    Black lagers (Schwarzbier?) are delicious canned, as are any hop forward brew. Schlafly's American 'brown is a great beer too, and I could see wee heavys being the best canned malt-forward. Irish Dry Stouts in a can? Yes please.
    Not quite positive on imperial IPA cans, but when I mean imperial I mean if double trouble, hoptimum, etc.< ~8.3% are great in cans IMO. For all the hoptimum knockers, it is so good from the tap :drooling: If that stuff were year round, it would always be in my fridge.
    You could say I'm a fan of the can :stuck_out_tongue: Also don't know about barrel beers canned, but you never know. Dirty Backwoods Bastard on tap are incredible. Malt and more malt; smells like a wurt.

    And then there's the portability and shipping issue, the biggest issue of alll :stuck_out_tongue:
    When cans are superior, as in IPAs, I am a bleeding heart fan. Hoever, more research needs to be done and I am willing to help
    Jsteez likes this.
  12. jucifer1818

    jucifer1818 Initiate (0) May 15, 2011 Florida

    Speak for yourself, some of the art on cans looks great.

    I do keep a few cans saved with my bottle collection. They can never beat the larger bottles (especially wire-caged and uniquely shaped ones) which will always beat out cans. However, I argue that quite a few cans are very ascetically pleasing.
  13. jucifer1818

    jucifer1818 Initiate (0) May 15, 2011 Florida

    also, strangely enough, i find that cans are worst for the cheap mass produced american adjunct lager. Their low levels of flavor make it so can actually taste some metallic flavor from the outside of the can. Once again, not sure if that is just because they are so weak in flavor, if its my mind playing tricks on me, or brewing practices of some of the macros out their. All could be culprit, because I cannot taste any metal at all on craft cans and find them to be vastly superior to bottles for craft beer.
  14. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (935) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    If I have to drink from the can or bottle I would go with the bottle. Otherwise cans all the way.
  15. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,552) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Cans allow you to stack and store with more options over the taller bottles and odd shapes. Both in the fridge and coolers etc. That is another benefit.

    Although similar to music record albums switching to CD/digital over the decades, the artwork on cans is more limited than some of the awesome artwork we see on bottle labels. That would be missed a little I guess.
  16. PSU_Mike

    PSU_Mike Champion (839) Sep 6, 2013 Pennsylvania

    I prefer cans. As others have mentioned, no skunking, less air penetration, easier to load my fridge, etc.
  17. cmannes

    cmannes Defender (618) Mar 15, 2009 Minnesota

    As a storage/transport medium. I prefer cans for all the various reasons people have stated.

    For drinking, I prefer a glass. Smell is such a huge component that I sorely miss out on when drinking from a can or bottle.
  18. spicoli00

    spicoli00 Defender (616) Jul 6, 2005 Indiana

    am i really the first one that's going to say, "I like it in the can?"

    cans cool down faster than glass too :grinning:
  19. Ieatlambfries

    Ieatlambfries Zealot (584) Dec 5, 2003 New Jersey

    Pretty much every craft brew I have tasted out of a can was awesome.

    I feel like the idea of cheapening the experience is a trap of the individuals mind. If we hadn't been told bottles were better in years past, it wouldn't matter. Cheap is the last thing that comes to mind when cracking a Ten Fidy or a Heady, etc...

    That said, I do believe for aging there is some merit to the argument of bottles as well as corked and caged bottles.

    But for IPAs, DIPAs, and other styles you want as fresh as possible, I think cans are the way to go.
  20. Jsteez

    Jsteez Zealot (508) Apr 28, 2012 Utah

    Black lagers are schwarzbiers, and I agree they are delicious from a can.
  21. azorie

    azorie Champion (884) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    I like many beers I have had in the can. Of course unless you can taste is both version's side by side its impossible to know or taste a difference. I have experienced some differences in some beers. Blue moon for example tastes different to me.

    I would say it depends on how well the can beer is done. I do know I had a few keg Belgian beers that lacked that extra fermentation and ABV and that they did taste different to me. Dupont Saison etc and Duvel etc.

    YMMV and it is just my 2 cents.
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,251) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Cans are a superior package for beer. A number of posts mentioned that fact that zero light enters a can. @PSU_Mike made mention of “less air penetration”. Permit me to expound on that topic:

    One of the biggest enemies of beer is air (oxygen) since oxidation leads to beer staling. There is always some air (dissolved oxygen) in beer that is introduced during the packaging process. For bottled beers there is also the problem that the liners under the caps permit air (oxygen) to ingress over time. A number of breweries (Sierra Nevada and AB come to mind) use cap liners of special materials which minimize the amount of air (oxygen) ingress into the beer but some oxygen will get through. Canned beer let absolutely zero air (oxygen) to ingress so a canned beer has that important advantage.

    In my perfect world all commercial beer would be canned since it is a superior package but I recognize that most breweries will bottle their beers since some consumers have a prejudice against cans.

  23. PSU_Mike

    PSU_Mike Champion (839) Sep 6, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Thank you. This is why canned beer ages beer than bottled beer.
  24. APBT91

    APBT91 Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2013 North Carolina

    I have never really tasted a difference between canned beer and bottled beer. I like that cans can be taken more places AND, most importantly, I can stack them in the fridge to fit twice as much beer as I could with bottles.
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  25. Hop-Droppen-Roll

    Hop-Droppen-Roll Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2013 Minnesota

    Thanks to the liners that are now used in canning to prevent that metallic taste. Anyone who made up their minds about preferring bottles to cans back when these liners weren't used has a great reason for feeling that way, but should have it explained to them that most brewers are now using this technology. Also, if you're drinking straight from a can, I think you can smell the can a bit, adds an off taste.
    beer-to-relax likes this.
  26. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    While I have no sound scientific evidence, it seems as if cans are more environmentally friendly. If that is indeed the case, that is a big plus for cans in my book. Of course, there is bound to be other environment costs/public health issues associated with producing cans that I am not thinking of and that would be of interest to me.

    I'd like more information on the whole BPA thing with cans as well. If anyone has any credible, peer-reviewed articles/sources, etc. on the topic of BPA health impacts and/or the use of BPA in cans, I'd like to take a gander at it.
  27. Gaffattack

    Gaffattack Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2013 Washington

    I usually don't drink straight from the can. I'd rather put it in a glass. Anymore ill drink the bottled beer in a glass. I think it just may be a habit or a preference.
  28. beatenbyjacks

    beatenbyjacks Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2011 Colorado

    I have heard that many breweries alter the recipes that they put in cans to ensure the taste is up to specs. For me it is all about what is inside. I love using cans while enjoying the outdoors because they are easy to pack in and pack out. Ultimately I will pour out a can or bottle into a glass if possible as this is the best way to enjoy a beer.
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  29. Gaffattack

    Gaffattack Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2013 Washington
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  30. Hop-Droppen-Roll

    Hop-Droppen-Roll Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2013 Minnesota

    I think BPA is only an issue when the liquid stored in the container is warm/hot enough to make it leach from the plastic. I really don't think it's an issue for beer.
  31. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,082) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    Cans taste better than bottles. Glass is cheaper*, though, and with more & better recycling options available.

    (*Also much more handy in a bar fight.)
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  32. Hop-Droppen-Roll

    Hop-Droppen-Roll Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2013 Minnesota

    haha, oh man. Many folks are going to have a lot to say to you about this. I once posted a thread and mentioned that I will - on occasion - NOT use a glass, and a multi-page firestorm ensued.
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  33. Hop-Droppen-Roll

    Hop-Droppen-Roll Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2013 Minnesota

    I understand the opposite of this is true, but that's only hearsay
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  34. Gaffattack

    Gaffattack Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2013 Washington

    Yeah I don't get it with some people. It's like I can't enjoy it how I want and it MUST be a certain way. Some people just take it way too far.
  35. Hop-Droppen-Roll

    Hop-Droppen-Roll Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2013 Minnesota

    There are many proven benefits to drinking from a glass. I always drink from a glass unless it's not terribly convenient at the time - but that's the whole thing, some folks are glass-nazis. You put a pilner is a stout glass?? You're awful!
  36. Gaffattack

    Gaffattack Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2013 Washington

    Exactly. Ill use the tulip glass for pretty much everything.
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  37. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,694) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    For awhile I thought it was "cooler" to drink out of a can because I thought the idea of craft in a can was brilliant. Now I really don't care if it's bottled or canned. I do pour it either way.

    Anyway, where are the people bitching about a repeated thread? They should be coming any moment.
    Hop-Droppen-Roll and 5thOhio like this.
  38. mj81

    mj81 Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2013 New Jersey

    I'm drinking my beer for taste and not packaging sexy appeal. In every practical way cans >>>>>> bottles.
  39. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,882) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Beer cans, first steel and later aluminum, have always been lined. The first US can manufacturer, American Can, called theirs by the trademark term, "Keglined". Indeed, the creation of a suitable lining first was necessary for the invention of the beer can in the 1930s.
    Obviously, like everything else from that era, lining formula and application have improved but it's a bit of CBBS [craft brewers' bullshit] that suggests that THEY are responsible for or somehow "pioneered" the lined beer can.
  40. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Devotee (497) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    Last time a thread like this came up, there were several posts by BAs who seemed to know what they were talking about that noted a caveat:

    if you're taking about just recycling, then cans trump bottles. However comma, if you're considering the process of creating new glass vs new aluminum, then glass is more environmentally friendly.

    Haven't researched it personally, BTW. Just passing on previously posted info.
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