Obviously this isnt an issue for imperial stouts & most sours, but Ive given up on buying anything delicate or hoppy in bottles unless I know it *just* came out & if it was previously released, sold out long ago.
There is a lot of past-date beer on shelves & many retailers and distributors dont seem to give a damn.
While Ballast Point uses the Julian code (November 17, 2016, equals 16321, in their case), Firestone Walker and Oskar Blues deploy packaging dates in an easily comprehendible calendar format.
I have some cans of Busch in my refrigerator that say "Born on: DD/MM/YYYY". When I drink craft beers, I always see "Best by: xx/xx/xxxx" or something like that.
Yet another reason to believe that Californians are abnormal.
It's not such a bad thing, though, mainly because my mania is centered on IPAs.
I just released Complete IPA, a hop-first dive into the international phenomenon that has become of the style, so you might assume I’d be burnt out on it, diving headfirst into a pilsner’s crisp embrace. It’s best as soon as it’s packaged, the flavors and aromas quickly deviating from a brewer’s original intent.
Some bottles have “pull dates” and some have “born on dates.” What do each of these dates mean? Here’s a closer look at the dates on your bottle, and how they can affect your beer.
The date you see on most beer bottles are not expiration dates but ‘pull dates,’ which are the dates retailers are instructed to pull beers off a shelf if they haven’t sold yet.
“It’s a fine hammer to drive in a nail.”Lagunitas’s packaging uses the Julian date, followed by the batch number and time. (The Julian date is composed of the year and day of the year; Lagunitas writes November 17, 2016, as 321 6.) Figuring out a beer’s birthday requires a little beer-aisle math.
“We see freshness as an important business between us and our distributors,” Magee says. The consumer should expect that the beer we’re delivering should be fresh.”But not everyone fully entrusts distributors with being the freshness police.
Gallo's has one subsidiary making wine coolers (Bartles & Jaymes) and another making draft ciders (Hornsby's Pubdrafts, Ltd.). Bottles have a Julian date (year trailing) on their cap.
Cases, on the other hand, have a "MM-DD-YY" on the Beer Advocate.com's Jason Alström tipped me off about Sierra Nevada's bottling dates (which are stamped on the shoulder of Sierra's bottles: The first four digits are a YDDD date (that is, Julian date, year-leading.
The beer inside hasn’t expired, but it’s not longer considered “brewery fresh” and most companies no longer want it to be sold.
Many brewers will buy these bottles back from a retailer a full retail price, so there is no reason to keeping old beer on the shelf.