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Thread: Canned microbrew

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    669

    Canned microbrew

    Hi all --

    I understand that a few micros have been canning awhile, but I just had my first canned micro -- Dale's Pale Ale.

    The best part was that there was no "psst" as I cracked the can, so they're able to really avoid air in the can with the new machines I guess.

    I poured it into a glass and it had great color, head, everything, and a nice hop aroma, but there was a very distinct obvious aluminum aroma, and some aluminum flavor as well.

    I know that the actual exposure of beer to aluminum is just the beer pouring over the lip of the opening, but maybe that's enough to leach some flavor. I've had beer out of the aluminum bottles and there was no metal flavor.

    Or, could there be some aluminum leached into the plastic lining and then into the beer during storage?

    I really want cans to be a great package because of all the great advantages they offer, but putting aluminum in my beer.... just not cool.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    227
    There's an article in the latest issue of The New Brewer all about aluminum bottles. To sum up, aluminum bottles are great because they can be filled on existing bottling lines, light-blockage, sturdy, longer shelf-life, no aluminum aftertaste, etc. They suck because they're hella-expensive, you can't crush them without a hydraulic press or 12-pound hammer, and they take up more room in your cooler than cans.

    I know that there are specially lined cans, Woolsocks, but are you sure Dale's Pale Ale cans are lined? They might not be, which would explain the metallic aftertaste. Whatever the case, it must not be a big deal because I thought I saw posted here a few months ago that their sales went through the roof after they switched to cans.

    I'm all for cans. The portability, the protection of the beer, the lower cost of packaging among other things. Do lined cans work? Is there really a metallic taste imprinted in the beer? I haven't had canned beer in a long time. Is there a way to avoid it? Questions? Comments? Complaints?

    Tsewong

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    14
    Quote Originally Posted by tsewong73

    I know that there are specially lined cans, Woolsocks, but are you sure Dale's Pale Ale cans are lined? They might not be, which would explain the metallic ........
    I got to visit the Ball can plant in Golden, CO, a while back. They make cans for all of the big soda bottlers, and some big brewers, as well as for Dale's Pale Ale and Ska Brewing. It's an impressive place, they turn out literally millions of cans every day.

    I asked about can lining and they told me that all of the cans get lined the same way no matter what's going in them. They're spray lined with some kind of polymer, I believe, I can't remember exactly what.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Sterling Heights, MI.
    Posts
    51
    Frequently, high mineral content can come off as "metallic" tasting. Perhaps Dale's Pale Ale is made with really hard water.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN 46819
    Posts
    10

    You're not tasting the can!

    Coming from a midwestern canning microbrewery, I can say with certainty that you're not tasting metal from the can or the can end (the lid). I've had a couple opportunities to tour the Ball plant that produces our cans and seen the production- each can is lined with a polymer that's baked on. Hi-speed photo sensors reject cans with any lining missing (or other problems, such as dents). Can ends are coated on both sides. It's absolutely amazing how you can muster up an "aluminum taste" if you know it's coming from a can!

    Our cans, however, do have that satisfying sound- if you don't overfill the cans to the lip, you'll get that awesome "pssssht" that, like Pavlov's dogs, makes my mouth water.

    By the way, we consistently get less than 0.2 ml air, I'd like to see a comparably priced bottle line do that!

    -Matt
    Warbird Brewing Company
    www.warbirdbrewing.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Nyc, nyc,usa
    Posts
    2

    Ball canning

    Matt,

    Ball Canning, would they have a website or contact info?

    Cheers
    Ranger

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Chandler, AZ
    Posts
    209
    Matt,

    Ball Canning, would they have a website or contact info?

    Cheers
    Ranger
    www.ball.com

    or try another company

    www.cask.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    16

    cost of Canning

    hello,
    This is a great thread and I was wondering if anyone knew the ball park of the cost of the Cask manual canning system or simlar?: http://www.cask.com/main/index.php?page_id=39

    I would contact cask directly but they are closed for the weekend and this is when I get my research done.

    Also any ball park costs for the actual cans would be greatly appreciated, from ball.

    I am looking to crunch the number of cans vs. bottles but am having a hard time finding even ball parks this weekend. Thanks in advance!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Lexington, KY, USA
    Posts
    78

    Memory perceptions of metallic taste in cans.

    One of the biggest issues in my opinion with older beer drinkers is memory and taste perception. The early cans (or tinned Beer) did impart all kinds of funky tastes including metallic notes. I am talking about the 1980's so not that long ago - but many will never be able to get the perception of metallic flavor association out of their heads. I myself, am very rteluctant to drink beer out of cans even today and even understanding beer flavor. There needs to be a lot of education in this area before beer in cans takes off.

    Also, the original comment on "no psst" as the can was opened. It has of course nothing to do with air per-se but to the carbonation levels.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Lamoine, ME
    Posts
    27
    I've never found an aluniminum taste in any of the micro-brew cans I've had. I'm a big fan of the light blocking and weight saving properties of the can vs glass and as such I did a lot of research into cans a while back. I couldn't convine the Boss we needed a canning line though (and a trailer load of cans and lids). ;-)

    More generally, there are plenty of fine beers in cans including (but not limited to) New England Brewing, Oskar Blues and Sly Fox. As I said before, none of the cans I've tried had that aluminium flavor you get from some cans like the small cans of V8 or orange juice on an airplane.

    A-B, Heineken and Guinness sell a boatload of cans! When was the last time you heard of one of them tasting like aluminium? I take Heineken cans camping as a can wieghs about 7oz less than a bottle and you never get a skunked one. I'd prefer to buy New England Amber but, alas, it is not available in Maine.
    eatdrinkandbemerry
    Jon Hill, Brewer
    Atlantic Brewing Co
    jon at atlanticbrewing dot com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    209
    Does anyone know a link to where I might find some information on can cost vs bottle cost? I suppose production amount will have a big effect on a per unit basis, as we're a 15 bbl brewery...but I'd still be interested in exploring the possibility.
    www.devilcraft.jp
    www.japanbeertimes.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Lexington, KY, USA
    Posts
    78

    Reply to Bennebrew

    You are right about the issue today with a general lack of metallic flavors in beer cans. The issue is of sensory perception. The power of olfactory sensory perception (evaluation) is the most evocative of all the senses. Once you have tasted a bad beer the memory lingers with you a lifetime. We evaluate, with a highly trained panel, many beers and a good few do have metallic taints (not always ones in cans but glass too!).

    The issue I have is not with the young 'uns. It is with the older drinker- he is the one you need to convince that cans are OK. There are still many excellent "draft" British beers that still taste awful in a can regardless as to metallic taste (perceptions or real) or not. If your customer is gravitating from European imports to your craft brew he may be skeptical about your offerings on that level also.

    So I am not knocking cans nor the craft-movements' adoption of them. Great idea (many advantages - if glass were invented today it would be a banned substance). I am just saying be aware of past issues and your senses and realize that there is a large segment of the population (Yes -maybe mostly in Europe but also here too) who need to convinced.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    McCall, Idaho
    Posts
    337
    Cask manual filler approx. $16,000

    Cask automated filler approx. $80,000

    Minimum order 20 pallets - 150,000 cans w/ printed label - approx. $20,000

    you cant take bottles on the river, but you can take cans.

    MG@SRB

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    807
    Don't like aluminum close to my mouth with acidic liquids involved. Period. Most of us already get way too much aluminum in our systems daily by putting antiperspirant (aluminum hydroxide) right next to a set of lymph nodes under our armpits. Never understood what exactly is wrong with a bit of sweat anyway?

    Also, I recently read (in our National newspaper) that the 'liner' in aluminum cans contains bisphenol-A, a potent, long lived estrogen mimic that's seriously screwing with our children's future health (not to mention our own, kids are much more susceptible). It is used as a 'plasticizing' agent to make plastic 'softer'.

    I would venture to say that 'craft' consumers are much more aware of issues like this than mainstream drinkers are currently. I think Craft producers need to be current or even, ahead of the curve, with such issues.

    BTW, I have had many poorly made/filled cans of beer from various micros here in Canada. Canning is not a panacaea for your shelf life problems.

    Give me a pint from a keg/serving tank anyday.

    Pax.

    Liam

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Cambridge, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    192
    It is interesting to note that any breach in the liner, even pin tip size will cause a breach in the can within hours of filling. The acidic beer dissolves the paper thin aluminum causing a leaker while still in the brewery.

    I agree with Liam that the polymer liner will be the big longterm issue as with all plastic beverage containers. It is amazing that the polymer liner that is manufactured by PPG for cans worldwide has very little info available on the web. If anyone has any links, please post them.

    As much as I know the seal between inert glass and a polymer coated steel cap is not very good - because it isn't - I think it offers the craft brewer the perception of a premium package for the long term.

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