It is tough to find information that isn’t marketing or anecdotal about which vessel is the best for beer, but the people behind the Beerists Podcast were up to the task of attempting to taste the difference, even though that meant drinking Heineken.
There is a lot of myth, controversy, and hearsay to the cans vs bottles issue. Years of marketing and disinformation has left a lot of beer fans confused as to which is the superior package. Craft beer podcast The Beerists tackles the issue with a blind tasting of six beers that are packaged in both cans and bottles.
In Episode 12 of the podcast the group of friends were each poured two glasses of the same beer, one from a can and one from a bottle, then asked to compared the glasses and try to discern which was canned beer and which was bottled. The six beers that were tested were:
- Avery White Rascal
- Magic Hat #9
- Paulaner Hefe-Weizen
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
- New Belgium Ranger IPA
The tasting sounded like a fair evaluation of each beers flavor profile, and it also sounded like a really fun time was had by all the participants. Listen to the whole hour-plus long show to hear all the comments, but the show’s conversational format can get a bit chaotic and in-jokey at times, especially near the end. We’ve summarized the results in case listening to an hour of progressively more “drunken ramblings” (to quote the show) is not your thing,
The bottom line is that nearly 80% of the beers were accurately distinguished by the tasters, and they almost unanimously preferred the flavor of the canned beers over their bottled counterparts. At the start of the tasting one participant was quite vocal about his bias against canned beer, but by the end even he had come around to prefer the canned versions.
One surprising result for us was a couple of the tasters were able to pick-up off-flavors due to oxidation in nearly all of the bottled beers. The head-space in the bottles and the sometimes imperfect seal of a bottle-cap resulted in more oxidation of the beer than we imagined would be possible! The obvious protection from light that a can provides was the other main source of the canned beer’s flavor being rated higher.
It is always good to see assumptions and “common knowledge” actually put to the test, and while the tasting was not a perfectly scientific double-blind test performed in a laboratory, it is perhaps more pertinent to the average beer-drinker because who drinks beer in a laboratory anyways? Personally, our experience mirrors the podcast’s results, and our general impression of canned beer is that it tends to have a (slightly) more crisp or fresh flavor.
We’ve switched our beer-buying to cans when they are available; what are your thoughts on cans-vs-bottles?
- Source: The Beerists – Episode 12 – CAN You Taste the Difference?