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Would you open this bottle of beer?

E&J Burke Guinness Foreign StoutSo if your wife gave you this bottle of Guinness Foreign Stout that obviously is quite old for Christmas would you open it to see what the beer inside it tasted like?

How old might it be?

E&J Burke had the rights to import Guinness going back to 1864, and the “Cat” trademark is almost as old. The Burke family was one of the biggest bottlers of Guinness for export and in the 1930s opened a brewery on Long Island, which they later sold to Guinness.

Martyn Cornell — the first book of his I bought was Beer Memorabilia — was kind enough to compare the label here with those in A Bottle of Guinness Please (a book I don’t have) but couldn’t find an exact match. It is similar to some from more than 100 years ago.

I asked him the same question as at the top. He tactfully pointed out the amount of beer the angels have claimed over the years, but was not altogether discouraging. “If any Brett survived alive you could be lucky.”

So would you?

E&J Burke Guinness Foreign Stout

6 Responses to Would you open this bottle of beer?

  1. J January 18, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

    Those were some thirsty angels. I would drink it before they get the rest.

  2. Dude Bro January 18, 2017 at 6:41 pm #

    Sure, I’d make an Irish car bomb. Or maybe cupcakes.

  3. Jeff Alworth January 18, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

    Whoa–yeah, that’s a LOT of evaporation. Given that it’s a metal crown, I would expect it to be in rough shape. I tried an Audit Ale from Greene King’s cellars that had a metal crown (1940s, maybe?), and it was extremely metallic.

    Probably still would collect some beer geeks and give it a shot, though.

  4. Richard Preiss January 18, 2017 at 11:03 pm #

    *Please* be around a microbiologist when you do open it – if ~100yr old, then this is around the time the beer still had Brett in it, and as Brett is a pretty remarkable survivor, it might be culturable.

  5. Ben Coli January 19, 2017 at 12:28 am #

    Yikes! Sure, open it. What, do you want to leave it for posterity? What’s it going to do on your shelf, other than look cool?

    But definitely have a microbiologist present. You don’t want more than a sip. The rest of that beer is part of mankind’s microbiological brewing legacy.

  6. Velky Al January 19, 2017 at 7:12 am #

    I’d definitely open it, actually I would probably have already done so.

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