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Tips From our Quality Control Team: Keep Your Beer Fresh

Jul 25, 2013 Comments (11)  | Tags: Beer Geekery Tips From our Quality Control Team: Keep Your Beer Fresh

One of the most prevalent and easily preventable defects that occurs in beer is caused by age and improper storage. To emphasize the importance of temperature in beer storage, a large brewer’s research led to the development of the “3-30-300” rule. The rule states that you get the same development of age-related off-flavors in 3 days at 90°F as you would in 30 days at 71°F and as you would in 300 days at 33°F.

What can you do to minimize the chances of getting an aged beer? Being aware of the following will help you taste the beer as the brewer intended:

  • Check the Code Date. Most breweries stamp their beer with an expiration or "born on" date. At Ninkasi, our beers are marked with a time stamp on each bottle. This date is used to ensure our partners know when to pull a bottle off the shelf and when the beer will still possess its original aroma and taste.
  • Buy Cold Beer. This is the “3-30-300” rule in full effect. If you buy cold beer, there is a better chance it has retained more of its fresh flavor than if you buy it warm from the shelf. We don’t know what happened to that beer before it was in the cooler, though, so remember to check the code date and buy the freshest beer you can!
  • Don’t Leave it in Your Car! We all have been guilty of this before and the “3-30-300” rears its head again. If you leave your beer in the car (especially during the hot summer months), it can get upwards of 120°F which means it will develop that aged flavor even faster!
  • Buy Local. Aside from supporting local business, you are also much more likely to get fresh beer if you buy locally. That isn’t to say that you should stop buying beer from your favorite brewery on the opposite coast, only that you are more likely to taste the beer fresh and as the brewer intended if it only has to travel a couple hundred miles or less rather than a few thousand.

If you want to explore the flavors and aromas of aged beer at home, it is extremely easy. First, go buy a 6-pack of your favorite beer cold and the freshest you can find. Once you get it home, put 4 of those beers in the fridge, one on the counter, and one in the garage, car, or somewhere else hot. After a few days, move the one from your car or garage into the fridge. After a few more weeks, put the one on the counter in the fridge and once cold, taste against the one stored cold and the one stored hot. If you don’t want to wait a few weeks, you can always buy a bottle of the same beer stored warm on the shelf that is already a little older than the rest.

When tasting these beers, you can get aromas of cardboard, dried fruit, and any hoppiness in the beer will be diminished greatly or gone. Some of the flavors associated with age are earthy, tobacco, green or black tea, dried fruit, and it can have a papery feel. All beers age differently so, if curious, you can explore the way different styles age. A double IPA will age much differently than a stout which will age much differently than a barrel-aged barley wine. Explore the differences and have fun!

We work hard to ensure our beers are at the highest quality possible and taste exactly how our brewers envisioned them to taste each and every time. These few steps will ensure that the beer you buy from us remains fresh and flavorful. Cheers!

Comments (11)

  1. Adam:
    May 14, 2016 at 01:05 PM

    Where do you stamp your date code? I checked two recent 22oz bottles and couldn't find a date anywhere. I'm looking at a Total Domination beer today and can't see one on the bottle or label.

  2. Ninkasi Brewing:
    May 16, 2016 at 08:39 AM

    Hey Adam - You can find our “best by” dates lasered onto the heel of each bottle. The date is in the format: MON DD YYYY.

  3. Magnus Böner:
    May 09, 2017 at 10:10 PM

    I am drinking a bottle of Helles Belles. I can't find a born on, or best buy date anywhere?

  4. Steve:
    Jul 11, 2017 at 05:34 PM

    No date on my Dawn of the Red either...I've had 3 people look on the heel of this bomber and nothing. Why not print it on the label? Laser printing at its best is tough to read! I look like a crazy person at the store trying to find the date! :(

  5. Ninkasi Brewing:
    Jul 17, 2017 at 10:11 AM

    We hear you, Steve and are working to update this very soon using ink instead of etching. Look for clearer dates on our bottles within the next few months.

  6. Ninkasi Brewing:
    Jul 17, 2017 at 10:11 AM

    We hear you, Steve and are working to update this very soon using ink instead of etching. Look for clearer dates on our bottles within the next few months.

  7. Kayla marte:
    Jul 18, 2017 at 04:40 PM

    Hi guys I work as a beer dept Manager and would like to say printing the bb dates on the actual paper is better, I am always running off dates by accident because them printed on the bottle and the laser etchings are difficult to read for old eyes as well.

  8. Ninkasi Brewing:
    Sep 07, 2017 at 03:36 PM

    Hi Kayla - We appreciate you reaching out! We are working to improve our date codes and will be switching to using a bright, more readable ink on our bottles. You should be seeing these show up on our bottles this month!

  9. dave brousseau:
    Dec 23, 2017 at 04:10 PM

    Just got a six pack at Whole Foods (on sale), was stored cold and within the exp date. Just opened the first one and it's cloudy (particulates). it tastes a bit funky. Takes a bit for me not to drink a beer, especially after they are home, cozy in the fridge, but, I did end up pouring it out. Guessing it was stored warm somewhere before making it to the Whole Foods fridge - sad. Normally a really good beer!

  10. Ninkasi Brewing:
    Jan 08, 2018 at 10:02 PM

    Hi Dave - We're sorry your experience with our beer was not as expected! What you encountered is called Chill Haze and is 100% safe to consume. This is an industry-wide issue that you can read more about here:

    Please feel free to email us at press[at], so we can offer you a token of our appreciation. Thank you for taking the time to reach out!

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