I instantly know that most beer lovers will be shocked that I dare ask this question. “Draught, of course!”: I feel as though I can hear voices scream the obvious answer through my internet connection! How often though does somebody compare exactly the same beer at the same time with respect to can vs draught? I also think that some people prefer draught purely due to the enjoyment of having a drink with good company in a friendly bar, as such an atmosphere couldn’t be created in one’s living room.
The beer that I chose to sample as both a can and draught was “Born to Die 13.09.2018”. Unfortunately, we don’t get to determine at which point our life ends. We don’t have advance notice and may not be able to get our full affairs in order… This beer emphasises this concept. It’s available to buy up until the date within the name – 13/09/2018. It will have a short period in which it can be bought – exactly 5 weeks. Once the date passes, the beer will be laid to rest from BrewDog’s site and bars.
This isn’t the first time that BrewDog have released a beer with this kind of name. It started in 2016, when the beer was promoted with the option of signing up to the organ donor register. There have been a few ‘Born to Die’ releases since, and I was lucky to sample the previous version: 13.05.2017. Whilst the release of this one hasn’t coincided with promotion of organ donation, I don’t want this message to die with previous brews. Sometimes life can be cut tragically short. As such, from a medical professional’s viewpoint, I urge those that either 1) feel strongly or 2) don’t have a significant preference, to please sign up to the organ registry. In my day-to-day work I see the benefits that organ donation can provide to my patients. They themselves and their family members are incredibly, eternally grateful.
For UK residents – check here to sign up to the Organ Donation register.
Mandatory “Born to Die 13.09.2018” Facts
- Untappd Rating: 3.96 (at time of writing)
- ABV: 8.5%
- Style: Imperial IPA
- Tagline: Terminally Hoppy IPA
- Descriptive comment: To the bitter end
- Serving: Can, 330 ml. Draught, 330ml (approx. from a 1 litre growler)
Side by side, my partner (experimentally driven given her ongoing PhD trials and tribulations) asked if I had two identical glasses to ensure validity within this comparison – that was far too much brain power for me at 21.30 when I’m tired after work! The beers poured a similar light, transparent amber colour. Initial appearance varied slightly, with the draught (on the right) having more carbonation and bubbles present compared to the can equivalent. A medium-sized bright white and bubbly foam head sat aloft both beers. Surprisingly this settled quicker on the draught glass, which I wouldn’t have predicted prior to pouring.
Aromas were a lovely mix of hops, citrus and floral notes, but I would say that the draught variety slightly won the scent battle. On sampling, both were incredibly smooth, with perhaps a slightly airier texture within the can variety, but a lighter-bodied feel to draught. The main mouthfeel difference observed however, was temperature: the sample from draught vessel (being larger and glass coated) continued to retain a cooler temperature compared to that from the small 330ml can, though they had both been stored in the same beer fridge. This actually made quite a difference upon consumption.
Finally, taste: this was ultimately the most important factor, as a beer performing well in all other aspects could be totally destroyed if it didn’t taste nice! The quote on the can “terminally hoppy” makes sense when drinking this. Hops, hops and more hops – an abundance collided with the flavours promised by the aromas. Slight citrus notes intertwined with a dominant floral, hoppy, pine-fuelled bitterness. At 8.5%, I felt a slight numbness right in the centre of my tongue as I finished the beer, but the ABV wasn’t harsh or overwhelming. The taste rating had a slight edge with respect to the draught version, though there wasn’t a huge amount to separate the two samples.
Diagnosis: 4.0/5. “Born To Die 13.09.2018” is an enjoyable beer. Whilst I rated “Born To Die 13.05.2017” higher, my taste buds have developed and I have been fortunate enough to be exposed to many fantastic brews over the past 15 months, so it isn’t surprising that this beer rates slightly lower. Overall, in the battle against the can, draught won, though not by as much as I would have initially expected. *see below for a bit more detail”
As mentioned before, if you don’t have any significant objections, I would really appreciate if you signed the Organ Donor Register and very importantly – let relatives/loved ones know.
NB: Personally, I don’t think I got a great draught pour. I feel that the pouring of this beer lost a lot of carbonation as it bubbled over the vessel multiple times on dispensing. In addition to this, the beer required >5 minutes to “settle” prior to capping. When I have had other growler fills, oxygen is removed on filling, preventing this issue.