Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How NOT to treat your growler of beer

A word of advice when buying beer in growlers. Be sure you can get the beer home quickly, avoid exposing the beer to heat, and drink the beer within a day or two of buying. It may just ruin your experience otherwise.

I stopped by a brewery in the Colorado Springs area on my way home to Greeley. I didn't have time to taste beer at the brewery, so I got a half growler of an oatmeal stout to go. I then drove for the next 2 hours in a car with no air conditioning in near 80 degree heat. I covered up the bottle to avoid direct sunlight at least and put it next to a chilled bottle of another beer so as to try to keep the beer cooler. Once home, the bottle ended up sitting in my fridge for 10 days before I tried a sample.

I noticed before opening that the bottle wasn't totally full and the top 2-3 inches of the neck had air in it. Still, I did hear a slight hiss when I popped the flip top off. Yet, I was worried that my traveling could have affected this bottle.

Appearance: The growler beer poured not quite totally dark. There were ruby edges around the edges of the glass. More like a dark brown. The head retention was awesome however, with a big thick light brown head. Slight hiss out of the 1/2 growler so I knew there was some carbonation left. There was a nice lacing around the glass. This beer still LOOKED great.

Aroma: I got pretty much what I expected, a roasted dark malt aroma, with a hint of chocolate and a bit of sweetness. I couldn't pick up much hop aroma. There was something else, however, in the background, not skunky, but something that shouldn't be there. I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

Taste: Upon the very first sip, I could tell that something was definitely not right here. I detected some astringency and some fruity esters. There was a chemical-like taste as well, reminding me like bottle cleaner. The taste may have been affected by heat or oxygen or both. The roasted malt and slight sweetness was there, but I didn't even want to finish a 10oz glass worth. I really wanted to enjoy this beer, but couldn't help feeling like I had ruined the beer during the drive home.

Overall: I don't feel like I got a good representation of this beer as I had heard from others that this beer was one of their favorites. But to me, it was a big disappointment. I was expecting a nice hefty oatmeal stout, but got a dark roasted chemistry experiment instead. It tasted like one of my homebrew batches gone bad. I had to drain-pour the rest of the growler. I vow to return to that brewery at another time to taste that beer fresh off the tap and give it a fair review.

The only reason I posted this pseudo beer review was because I wish for others to avoid the same mistake I did. Don't be taking long hot drives with a growler of beer left un-cooled in the back of your car. Even though two hours later I put the growler directly in the fridge, the damage had already been done. I also didn't drink this beer until 10 days later which may also have let some air into the beer and spoiled some of the taste. Growlers aren't the best at keeping out oxygen either.

For the best experience with a growler, be sure the brewery fills up every last inch of bottle space with beer to keep out as much oxygen as possible. Protect your beer from heat and sunlight on the way home. Get the bottle in the fridge as soon as possible and drink your product within a day or two. You paid good money for that beer, best to protect it.

Related articles:
- Founders Breakfast Stout review.
- Crabtree Stephanie's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie review.
- Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout review.

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com
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