When did Guinness stop bottle conditioning? I'm not actually sure, but certainly some time in the early nineties I'd say, even though here Martyn Cornell says in the eighties. I was interested in this when reading Boak and Bailey and a suggestion - quashed as a possibility by the Beer Nut - that they start bottle conditioning their beer again. Going back to when they stopped, how do I know it wasn't the eighties? Well, while checking through some old stuff as part of a fairly fruitless endeavour to get rid of some junk, I came across a stash of bottles including the one you see photos of. It is "ordinary" bottled Guinness and bears the following words on the back label "ingredients - barley, malted barley, hops, yeast and water -
combined with a secondary fermentation to condition the beer in the
I recall buying it as part of a four pack in Belfast and you will see that the best before date is 29-11-95, indicating a bottling date of maybe nine months, or slightly more, before that. Interestingly it is bottled by Guinness Belfast. I'd imagine the beer is still pretty well drinkable, as it has sat in the dark these last 18 or so years, though I may be wrong. Maybe I'll try it and maybe I won't. Can't be that many of them around though, so maybe I'll keep it a bit longer.
Going back to Boak and Bailey, I was astonished at the praise from some about the two new Guinness Porters. My view and that of many others is that they are complete gack. After giving it short shrift on Twitter and getting the odd disagreement, I agreed to try the West Indies Porter again. At the Baum last week as part of a double tasting with the Dublin Porter, it was still a horrid, sweet, fizzy mess, as was its partner in crime. No-one that tried them that night thought them that good at all. Still, as I said on BB's site, beer is a broad church and I didn't even think of mentioning duff palates there. Perish that thought.
Sadly and truly, the best thing about the new beers was the labels.
The label from the early nineties is rather good too. Bit of a classic. Click on photos to enlarge.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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