Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I’ve long held a single belief about craft beer.

I like the carbonation of a canned beer better than a bottled beer.

I like the way it opens gently, pours softly and is a better overall experience.

When I decided to test this theory, there just happened to be a subject staring me in the face. There was a bottle of Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA sitting right next to a can in the fridge.

Not sure exactly when either were made, but I do remember ending up with both in the cart at the same time, so I know that they were purchased on the same day.

I had the wife pour them into identical glasses and bring them to me blind. After tasting, I begged to know which one  was which!

Results were:

Beer 1- slightly more dense head. Very slightly more hop nose. The initial sip revealed caramel, then bitter, then malt.

After a sip of water, I noticed some mango and perhaps apple notes just as the beer traveled over the back of the tongue.

The finish was slightly more bitter on the finish than beer 2, with very little more malt on the back end.

This beer has a much nicer carb level. It feels the same on the palate, but looks like beer 2 carbonation on sedatives! It’s much more mellow, and holding a good 1/8 more head in the glass.

Beer 2- slightly less dense head, but looks about the same. The hop nose isn’t as pronounced, but pretty well the same.

The initial taste reveals Malt, Bitter, then caramel. Same flavors as beer 1, but in a different order.

After water, the fruity compounds are there, but different. Much less complex and not the same fruit! Maybe... Pineapple and grass?

The finish is certainly more dry, and crisp, but less bitter. There is not the “thirst inducing bitter” I usually get with big IPA style beer.

Overall, I decided that beer 1 had a smooth, drinkable quality with a more noticeable hop nose. The bitterness seemed a bit more assertive on the finish, leaving me wanting a sip of water.

Beer 2, was just as smooth, drinkable and enjoyable, but with slightly less mouthfeel, a tad more bitter on the front, but less bitter on the finish. It seemed slightly more fruity, but the fruit was very simple. It seemed to finish a bit softer, not leaving me with a parched palate and in need of water.
So, Which Brew is Which? Beer 1 is the bottle.

So much for my theory about carb levels!

Also, I must say, the photos were taken about 6 hours earlier with canned beer. And this isn't the glass I used for the blind test! I used a tulip style wine glass for the test, because I had 2 and they were polished clean!

I don’t know what contributed to the difference of the two, but there were, in-fact, differences!
Nothing major, but ever so slight differences that lead me to want to try this again in six weeks or so!

I could certainly get behind the cans if I were planning a night out where an extra glass of water were not directly at hand.

But the bottles... I love bottles! Simple as that! I hate shelling out the cash for cans, knowing that I can never refill them!

I don’t brew as much as I’d like, and I don’t re-use bottles as much as I should. But the fact is, Sierra Nevada bottles kick ass for a homebrewer, and I feel better about spending my money on something that not only CAN be recycled... But something that I CAN recycle!

So after my blind experiment... With a subp-par palate, I guess I’m left with something that I’ve been saying at the end of the videos... Expand your palate! Try new things, but ALWAYS drink what you like!



Wendy said...

Interesting. I always opt for a bottle, although my husband brought home some cans of Sprecher Amber recently. Maybe we'll have to try the blind tasting!


BigKahuna Brew said...

Sounds great Wendy! Let me know what you discover!

Jerry Payton said...

Am I actually seeing salt on that glass rim???

BigKahuna Brew said...

HA! No, it's just an abnormality with the sun shining through the rim of the glass. Plus a LOT of sharpening and dodging in photoshop!

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