Expiry Dates

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JesseM
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Expiry Dates

Postby JesseM » Sun Mar 02, 2008 4:14 pm

Beers like Westmalle Triple, Orval, Rochefort, and Weltenberger Asam Bock only have expiry dates on them because they're legally required to, right?

Also, Westmalle Triple is suppose to have floaties right? That's just the yeast sediment going crazy for no apparent reason right?

RIGHT?!??!??!?
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Re: Expiry Dates

Postby SteelbackGuy » Sun Mar 02, 2008 4:52 pm

JesseM wrote:Beers like Westmalle Triple, Orval, Rochefort, and Weltenberger Asam Bock only have expiry dates on them because they're legally required to, right?

Also, Westmalle Triple is suppose to have floaties right? That's just the yeast sediment going crazy for no apparent reason right?

RIGHT?!??!??!?


Hi Jesse,

1) Yes, the expiry dates are there because they have to be. But like it says on the Fuller's Vintage Ales, they put them on there, but it will age for several years like a fine wine.
This doesn't of course apply to all beers, but I'd say yes to Orval, Westmalle, and any bottle conditioned, high ABV beer.

2)Yes, the westmalle (and orval) and plenty of other beers that are bottle conditioned, or that are left on their lees (yeast/sediment) and not filtered, will have this sediment. I encourage you to drink it.
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Postby Magni » Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:22 pm

My favourite way to pour a new (never had before) bottle conditioned beer is to pour 2/3rds of it without the yeast and drink that, then swirl all that yummy sediment up and pour her down. Delicious.

whoah, first post.
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JesseM
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Postby JesseM » Sun Mar 02, 2008 8:03 pm

Yeah I know what sediment is. I was just taken aback by the way in which it really looked like protein chunks in infected beer. But thanks for reassuring me.
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Postby Manul » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:05 pm

I suggest you don't consume the Westmalle right away. You're right, this batch has got the larger flakes of yeast than usual. I wasn't able to decant it properly so I'm going to let it settle for a few weeks/months. Personally I don't mind powdery yeast in my beer but flakes turn me off. I just opened the other day a westmalle that's been sitting in my cellar for 2 years and no yest made its way into my glass. It stayed in a hard sediment at the bottom of the bottle.
One of my theories (maybe wrong) is that some of these beers after sitting for a while develop a sediment that will break into larger flakes when distubed - possible due to transportation. Don't be concerned witht the expiry date, that's the least of my worries, I'm more afraid of the way these beers are handled before thay reach our local LCBO - exposure to very low/high temperature, freezing, etc. I know for a fact LCBO doesn't use temperature controlled trucks to bring this stuff in (or wine for that matter).
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Postby JesseM » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:15 pm

Yeah I had a bottle of La Fin Du Monde recently that I've been aging for over a year, and had a similar experience. When I first poured most of it, it looked like Duvel, then the yeast came, and it was actually darker than I remember it being. Very interesting.

I already got a second bottle of the Westmalle in my cellar at home, that I'll leave for a while. I'll wait a week or two before having the one in my fridge right now.
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Postby irishkyle21 » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:45 pm

I find just letting a beer sit for a couple of weeks will usually work but you will get the odd stubborn beer that will not settle even after a few years. I have had beers that looked like the yeast settled nicely but as soon as I popped the cap/cork they sediment would start swimming around. I don't mind it unless they are rather large (I hate juice with pulp but wouldn't turn a glass away).
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Postby Raptor2023 » Mon Mar 03, 2008 12:00 am

JesseM wrote:Yeah I had a bottle of La Fin Du Monde recently that I've been aging for over a year, and had a similar experience. When I first poured most of it, it looked like Duvel, then the yeast came, and it was actually darker than I remember it being. Very interesting.

I already got a second bottle of the Westmalle in my cellar at home, that I'll leave for a while. I'll wait a week or two before having the one in my fridge right now.


How was the La Fin du Monde after a year? I have one in my cellar right now.
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Postby JesseM » Mon Mar 03, 2008 12:15 am

Raptor2023 wrote:
JesseM wrote:Yeah I had a bottle of La Fin Du Monde recently that I've been aging for over a year, and had a similar experience. When I first poured most of it, it looked like Duvel, then the yeast came, and it was actually darker than I remember it being. Very interesting.

I already got a second bottle of the Westmalle in my cellar at home, that I'll leave for a while. I'll wait a week or two before having the one in my fridge right now.


How was the La Fin du Monde after a year? I have one in my cellar right now.


It was actually really nice. Much better than I remember it (although to be fair, the last time I had it, I was really new to craft beer, and didn't really understand it). But the fruity elements seemed to be evolving quite well, and becoming more complex. The slightly rough alcoholic edge evident in most Triple's seems to be mellowing. The yeast flavour was pretty assertive, which I like, but not overly assertive. I'm glad I still have three more put away. I can't wait to see what my bottles of Trois Pistoles will be like in a year or two, or three, or five, etc.
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Postby Raptor2023 » Mon Mar 03, 2008 12:22 am

JesseM wrote:
Raptor2023 wrote:
JesseM wrote:Yeah I had a bottle of La Fin Du Monde recently that I've been aging for over a year, and had a similar experience. When I first poured most of it, it looked like Duvel, then the yeast came, and it was actually darker than I remember it being. Very interesting.

I already got a second bottle of the Westmalle in my cellar at home, that I'll leave for a while. I'll wait a week or two before having the one in my fridge right now.


How was the La Fin du Monde after a year? I have one in my cellar right now.


It was actually really nice. Much better than I remember it (although to be fair, the last time I had it, I was really new to craft beer, and didn't really understand it). But the fruity elements seemed to be evolving quite well, and becoming more complex. The slightly rough alcoholic edge evident in most Triple's seems to be mellowing. The yeast flavour was pretty assertive, which I like, but not overly assertive. I'm glad I still have three more put away. I can't wait to see what my bottles of Trois Pistoles will be like in a year or two, or three, or five, etc.


Wow, that's good to hear. I really enjoy La Fin du Monde. I need to put more bottles in my cellar for aging. I wished I had more Trois Pistoles though. I'm down to my last bottle and will keep it until at least 3 years from now just to see how it will taste at that age.
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Postby Bobbyok » Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:42 am

Keep in mind that those dates are "Best Before" dates, not expiry dates per se. Two different things.

And I don't think they are legally required to put a date on the bottle. I believe I've read that most Belgian brewers put the best before dates on their bottles only because InBev does it, and because InBev is so prolific in Belgium, beer drinkers expect everyone to have best before dates on the bottle. But it very well could be that it's a legal requirement because InBev pushed for it to be a legal requirement.
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Postby Manul » Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:40 am

I am originally from Europe and I can tell you I have never seen food or beer without an expiry date stated on the package, at least in the western countries (maybe sugar didn't have it). They don't call it "best before" in Europe as far as I remember but rather "expiry date". I don't know what are the rules that regulate this but I can tell you that different types of beers have different expiry intervals (eg. lagers shorter than high abv ales).
The concept of aging beer is not really as familiar to people in Europe as it is to us, I guess.
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Postby Belgian » Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:53 am

In a lot of Belgians half a year of bottle fermentation is considered part of the 'finishing' process because the product changes & improves a lot in this time after bottling. Some will evolve a lot more maybe but you need six months just to drink it as intended at the consumer end.

Lots of table wines are the same, they have at least a few months of "work" to do in the bottle to be perfect - in Europe it is assumed the consumer knows this when he takes a case of wine home, and he calibrates to drinking it at peak flavour (we're talking cultures with excellent table wine for a few bucks a bottle that sometimes blows away our $10-15 LCBO stuff, so they have cases for dirt cheap, just another grocery item really.)
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Postby esprit » Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:01 pm

The Candian Food Inspection Agency requires beers to have either a "best before date" or a "production date" either will do and neither has to be decipherable by the public. With our General List products we're trying to move to production date coding as far too many people treat best before dates as though they're drinking milk. In the case of high ABV double-fermented Belgians, the dates are meaningless. As for flakes, I've done this before and blind tasted beers with flakes, with some mild sediment and perfectly clear...don't know about anyone else but my tongue and mouth could not detect these floaties...when I first consumed a bottle-condtioned beer I was also squeamish about the haze or particles but I quickly got over it when I realized that they did not at all detract from the beer. Today, I swirl all bottles to get everything suspended in the liquid before I pour. Refrigeration can also cause a beer to precipitate more noticeably so if it's in an LCBO cooler or if you leave in the fridge for weeks, you'll notice bigger chunks.
As for the LCBO storage, the LCBO does ship beers from Europe in temperature-controlled containers so, again, a criticism which isn't legit. We've never seen any real problems with our Belgians over the 20 years they have been shipped to Ontario.
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Postby esprit » Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:15 pm

The point I was also trying to make about the chunks is that they are not like orange juice pulp...pulp I can detect...yeast chunks I can't. Leaving the beers to settle for days, weeks or months to me doesn't make a lot of sense unless you're looking for the effects of ageing on the beer. If it's only the sediment, close your eyes and enjoy!
As for variations from batch to batch, they can be very dramatic with these types of beers...some bottlings can be almost crystal clear, others can be like mud...that's the nature of these hand-crafted products as every batch is going to be a bit different.

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