They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Thornbridge And A Tale Of Smaller Beers

I'm currently drinking this very old bottle of Thornbridge Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout. The older recipe bottle at 7.7%, before it got reduced to 7.4%.. (thanks government!) It went "out of date" in 2010 so I'm going to guess it's maybe 7/8yrs old now..

It's aged amazingly in my opinion! A perfect amount of carbonation still left leaves a great tan foam which lasts and leaves delicate legs as I consume. The large yeast sediment is left stuck to the bottom of the bottle as it should be and the flavour is just phenomenal. Dark chocolates and black forest gateau fruits are dominant in this smooth and rich beer. Drinking far much easier, than what is probably a stronger than 7.7% beer, it's a proper winter warmer. All hail Catherine II!!

The whole experience leaves me saddened though. I know I'll never have this beer, like this, again.

Thornbridge don't leave as much sediment in the bottle like they used to anymore. They also have reduced the strength of this beer, which in all honesty I can't blame them for..  The thing that really gets to me for some reason though is that Thornbridge have moved from 50cl bottles to 33cl bottles.

Bigger bottles are just better, end of. You try a big bottle of Chimay Blue next to a small bottle of Chimay Blue and tell me they're the same.. They're not. And the difference only gets more obvious as they age. Putting all your beer in 33cl bottles just seems like following the current trend of all UK brewers, which I think should be avoided! People don't want less beer. No one wants a 33cl bottle of Kolsch!! Sure, maybe for your big, special beers, but the whole range? It was the same for Buxton a few years ago, I would get so many complaints in the past that Axe Edge was now in 33cls instead of 50cls..

We're English, not American, we want a bottle of beer that's going to fill our glass without us having to go back to the fridge twice as much!

Let that sentence sink in just a little..

But I'm rambling though, none of this is going to change anything. I'll sit here and throughly enjoy my last bottle. It's been an absolute treat, and one to be remembered! One last thought however; Should monetary gain and beer industry trendsetting define you and the product you bring to market?

In terms of integrity, I don't think it should. Do you want to follow the crowd? Even if what everyone else is doing seems to be successful, it doesn't mean it actually is.. Just because everyone else is going to 33cl bottles, that doesn't mean that's what the customer wants.

I'll follow my Buxton method with Thornbridge now, and pour two bottles of Jaipur into one glass. Not because I have some sort of problem, but because 33cls is fuck all beer!


  1. Don't forget the price gouging. What I've seen so far is (approximately) a 34% drop in volume of bottle with a 8% drop in price, and the ridiculous situation where on my local high street one supermarket has the 50cl bottles for cheaper than another has the 33cl bottles.

  2. Couldn't agree more. This now seemingly compulsory 33cl bottle from modern breweries is crap. I didn't know Thornbridge had moved over to this. one of the factors which often led me to Thornbridge was the larger bottles. Shame on them.

  3. Sadly, it's a fact that 33cl now signals to the consumer "craft" (because it's close to the 375ml/12 [US] fl oz bottles American craft brewers sell in) and 50cl signals "your dad's beer" - see the new "Old Hands" range from Twickenham for a perfect example of this.

  4. I didn't know Thornbridge had moved over to this.
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