homebrewing opinion

No Room for It’ll Do

Be careful!

All the homebrewing and bottling we’ve been doing recently has reminded us that ‘it’ll be fine’, ‘ah, sod it’, ‘near enough’ and other slogans of corner-cutting have no place in the process.

Should we just check that tap is off one more time? Yes! Can we remember if we cleaned and sanitised that pipe? Pretty sure we did. It’ll probably be fine. No! Do it again. How much sugar did we use for priming with the last batch? Do we really have to turn a laptop on to check the calculation? Groan. (Stop moaning — it’ll only take two minutes and it’s absolutely worth it.)

Funnily enough, the more careful we are, the more consistent and drinkable our beers have become. Who knew?

Some bad experiences with commercial beer recently suggest that the same principle is not always applied even by the pros — dodgy quality assurance, careless recipe formulation and slapdash bottling practices evidently abound (often driven by cashflow pressures rather than laziness, to be fair).

Even the big boys who pride themselves on consistency and precision have their ‘sod it’ moments, such as deciding that clear glass bottles aren’t ideal but, meh, they’ll do, if that’s what marketing wants.

Variation and inspiration are fine; sloppiness never is.

Picture by Samout3 from Flickr Creative Commons.

7 replies on “No Room for It’ll Do”

Use of clear flint bottles makes zero sense from a beer consistency standpoint (unless they’re using 100% delicious tetrahop). But if you look at the huge drop in sales when Newcastle Brown went briefly into amber bottles, you can see why they do it.

On the clear bottle theme. I’ve never really understood Shepherd Neame using them. Also, it seems to me that these days the switch back from clear to dark bottles could easily be managed with a little advertising. After all, we’ll believe anything these days if they polish it up for us!

Broadfordbrewer — yes.

Jonny — the justification we always hear is that customers like it an only a certain percentage of people can even detect skunking. As we’re in that percentage, that’s quite an annoying argument! It’s a kind of arms race, though — if your competitor does it, your brown bottles in the supermarket suddenly look boring in comparison, so you’re compelled to follow suit. We need SIBA or someone to negotiate a disarmement treaty.

KHM — yes, that too!

Professor — see above — people (other than beer geeks) like the way it looks, apparently, but we agree, a return to brown bottles for quality purposes could easily be part of a campaign.

Craig — ah, yes, but the line between careful and fiddling is so fine…

The other justification that gets trotted out is that the skunkiness “flashes off” quickly, so it doesn’t matter……
So far as quoting brown glass as a quality issue is concerned – absolutely. The public will get it – when we do brewery tours at Meantime, we tell people about light strike and explain brown glass as a quality feature.

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