Commercial Beer Quality Variation.

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Commercial Beer Quality Variation.

Post by PistolPatch » 3 years ago

I've noticed a heap of major problems in commercial beers recently. Here's a few things/thoughts/beers to get you going...

ORIGIN - Australia - Western Australia

Little Creatures IPA - Beautiful on tap locally. Absolutely awful in the bottle locally.

ORIGIN - Australia - New South Wales

Balmain Pale Ale - Beautiful in the bottle locally. Awful in bottle where I live (other side of country).

ORIGIN - Scotland

Brewdog (Single Punk?) IPA - I'm pretty sure that all four bottles should have tasted excellent but here they have been drinkable but crap. Brewed USA. Transported to Ozland with probably no refrigeration.

ORIGIN - America

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - This tastes quite good here in Ozland. It's not quite as good as a fresh Little Creatures Pale Ale brewed locally but it is pretty close. Last I heard, Sierras Nevada insists their beers are shipped refrigerated.

...............

I'm a bit off-put by this thread of mine already because there are some pretty awful conclusions to be drawn. I think the result of this thread (which I really don't want to face up to) will be that there are many variations in a commercial beer depending on how it has been packaged and transported. In other words, you might tell me on the other side of the world that x beer is great and I'll be too polite to tell you that x beer tastes like crap to me. I might then tell you that I love y beer and you say you hate it. At the end of the day though x beer from you might taste exactly the same as y beer from me.

I am so depressed now!!! Not really. Well, I actually was for a second/minute etc but then I thought that this is the place where we will eventually get some good/learn something. It wouldn't happen anywhere else.

What discrepancies do you notice / have you noticed?

:scratch:
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 15 Mar 2014, 23:25, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by PistolPatch » 3 years ago

Oh, I should have said above, what does Little Creatures Pale Ale taste like overseas? etc. But, that Ratebeer site and those other ones really should be asking these questions, not us.

They should have a field for whether you are tasting packaged or kegged and where you are from.
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Post by Rick » 3 years ago

Troegs Nugget Nectar(in season) and Perpetual IPA(yr round) have been very solid for me over the years.

Recently though, I have been very disappointed in them. I don't know why. I mean, they are still good, but nowhere near what they used to be. I'm thinking they may be skimping on the hops for profit sake?

The Nugget Nectar I've had recently on tap in two different places, and they have to be fresh this time of year. I discussed this with a friend who has had it bottled, and agrees with me for this particular beer's declined quality.

Avery DuganA and Stone IPA still impress me with every sip. Same with Union Jack and Double Jack from Firestone Walker. Troegs used to be right up with these beers for me, but now they are pretty far off.

It's a huge disappointment for me, considering they were my local favorite.


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Brewing a Clone

Post by chiller » 3 years ago

[MODNOTE: Excellent post Steve. I have moved it into this new thread as I think it will have hybrid vigour here.]

This is a subject I have had my tongue firmly planted in my cheeks for many years.
So a cloned beer? What actually is it? A regional copy, a bottle copy, a keg on tap copy or even a brewery fresh original example on a brewery tour?

Cloning a bottle shop version: What are you actually cloning? When a brewer says his clone is just like the bottle from XYZ bottle shop what does he mean and what has he cloned. More often as not, all the inherent faults of time. Transport, storage [temperature variations] display under flouro lighting lack of hop character from age and the inevitable oxidation with time. My hat off to any brewer that can clone all those faults accurately. :)

The recipe: Most breweries closely guard their recipes and if they do give recipe details they are understandably vague, would you really want your competitors knowing exactly what you do? On a homebrew scale a percent here or there will certainly alter the flavour profile.

Grain: While we can get regional grains are they the grains used at that brewery. Are the colours the same, do they have a special grain produced to achieve a unique colour/flavour profile.

Water: This is a biggy. What does the brewery actually do? Is it RO tricked up to a secret profile or is it a well out the back of the brewery. Are they aiming for a particular ratio of Sulphate to Chloride? I'm in Adelaide so my bulk standard water is miles different to anywhere else in Australia and possibly the world. It makes good beer but the water is so important.

Yeast: We all know this has such a major impact on flavour. Is it a mutated house strain imposible to get hold of? Subtle things like initial temperature, pitching rates and open or closed fermentaion.

Hops and utilisation: The age or freshness of hops will determine the perceived bitterness and balance of the beer. The vigour of your boil. Also are they actually the hops used, the right ratios and the right time in the boil or whirlpool?

I have in the past attempted to clone a beer or two but not succesfully based on the above.

An example: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. In 2004 I purchased a couple of bottles here in Adelaide and while it was ok it was nothing special. That year I went to America and spent a month in the high Sierra's near Yosemite doing landscape photography. As a bonus two beers I was curious about Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Fat tire were delivered fresh each week. And I do mean fresh. The Australian purchased bottle and the American version were nothing alike. The local bottles were fresh and alive with a crispness the home bottleshop could not match.

I have since attempted a clone of the SNPA based on a recipe and hop schedule provided to an American forum by the head brewer at the Sierra Nevada brewery. It was really good, even great but not quite the same based on a lot of the above.

After brewing all grain for nearly 20 years I would rather enjoy a nearly perfectly crafted self designed recipe than a clone that is "good - but".

If you are able to accuratley clone beer "a" then my hat off to you. I gave that tail chaser away years ago. Mind you I had Dobbermans and Rotties for years and they both have very short tails.

Here is the link I mentioned. It ran off the rails with "internet expert brewers" second guessing the actual SN brewer but the recipe is in the first few posts

http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtop" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... snpa+clone

Steve
Last edited by chiller on 16 Mar 2014, 08:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by mally » 3 years ago

Nice topic Pat.
PistolPatch wrote:ORIGIN - America

Brewdog (Single Punk?) IPA - I'm pretty sure that all four bottles should have tasted excellent but here they have been drinkable but crap. Brewed USA. Transported to Ozland with probably no refrigeration.
Have Brewdog setup brewing under licence in America? "Brewdog", and their "Punk IPA" is Scottish (UK). [MODNOTE: PP's post corrected.]

I have seen the same as you said though;
After all the comments I heard about LCPA I got a bottle and to me it was very ordinary. Certainly not good enough to make me want to buy/try any more.
In the regional topics, some of us are doing a Hobgoblin beer swap. I have tried the bottles, one was good, the other bad. In the pub just yesterday I tried it from cask and it was just as bad as the "bad" botttle. Go figure?
Last edited by mally on 16 Mar 2014, 17:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by PistolPatch » 3 years ago

Thought I was out of here but have just been winding down with a Little Creatures Pale Ale pint and was reading the above...

Thanks for the posts :peace:. I hope a few more people contribute to this thread because I think it is one that really anyone can comment on.

Steve's post above is excellent and it also made me laugh as I had a few IPA's last night (which prompted the topic) and had a grumpy ramble written here about how sites like BeerAdvocate and RateBeer should be having fields on their sites that address just the issue that Steve has talked about above. chiller, I love the way you can write a good, sensible rant at 8:30 am and am glad I deleted mine this morning. Yours reads so much better!

The only thing I want to add is the time dimension.

I am having this Little Creatures Pale Ale now and I know that they change from batch to batch as they must do in a craft brewery for many reasons but the LCPA is far more balanced now (to me) than it was say two or three years ago. Two or three years ago, to me, as local as you can get to LCPA, it was a tad harsh.

The other factor of course is that palates change over time. In fact, there are more factors again. Just seeing the label of what you are tasting can alter how you taste and appreciate a beer. (Episode 7 of The Beerist Podcast is a good example of these.)

......

Anyway, I had a Founders Centennial IPA on a fresh palate, before the LCPA. It wasn't awful like some of the above I listed but it wasn't great. No vibrancy of American hops in flavour or aroma. Just looked up the rating sites though and it is 99%. Yep, those sites should definitely be asking more questions of the raters.

Great to see you get your tongue out Steve :clap:,
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 16 Mar 2014, 22:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by thughes » 3 years ago

Goose Island was acquired recently by InBev. They used to brew out of one facility in Chicago but now they contract out several of their products including Honkers Ale. I absolutely loved Honkers Ale when I first discovered it a few years ago (it is the beer that turned me on to Styrian Golding hops). Recently had a 6 pack of it and it was definitly "off", upon looking at the label I see it was contract brewed somewhere in Vermot (I think). I wrote Goose Island to expree my displeasure and they told me they make weekly checks for quality control at all contract breweries and that the beer is exactly the same regardles of where it is brewed. Thinking maybe I got a batch that was handled poorly by the shipper, I bought another 6 pack. Holy crappy beer Batman! That stuff was undrinkable (yeah, really that bad). Looking at the label I discovered that this batch was contract brewed by the Budweiser brewery in Syracue NY. This stuff was so bad I was actually convinced that they had screwed up and put Budweiser in the Honkers Ale bottles. Long story short: there is a differecne in taste/quality with commercial beer when brewed at multiple locations.....and when a relatively small brewery gets bought out by "the man" it is inevitable that the quality of the product will eventually suffer.

Glad I worked up a fairly good clone recipe of Honkers!

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Post by BobBrews » 3 years ago

thughes.

Thanks for that sad story Todd. I guess that we will be inundated with InBev and other megaSwill sellers buying up decent breweries and muddying up the craft brew market. Bad beer produced by InBev to try to ruin our reputations. Evil is in the air and now is in our beer!
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Post by Rick » 3 years ago

Anyway, I had a Founders Centennial IPA on a fresh palate, before the LCPA. It wasn't awful like some of the above I listed but it wasn't great.
Founder's Centennial IPA is a beer that I never understood the hype, as it is mediocre at best. I've had it fresh on tap, and in bottles on multiple occasions trying to convince myself that maybe it was just a bad pour, old bottle, etc ...

Nope, at this point it's pretty reasonable for me to write it off completely. Perhaps it's a decent gateway to the IPA style for some, and this is why it gets decent ratings?

Bell's Two Hearted Ale is along the same lines, all Centennial IPA. It's a touch better, but also just a rather boring and tame example of American IPA.

I did wonder if Centennial hops are just not a preference of mine, but Stone IPA is heavy on Centennial with a little bit of Chinook in there. It's a fantastic beer, and I'm still working on a case of bottles that is 4 mos old ... it was still awesome last week when I drank a bottle.
Last edited by Rick on 17 Mar 2014, 22:46, edited 1 time in total.

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