It’s now filtered down into my local Home Bargains at just £1.29 a bottle, so I thought I would give it a try. There is much to be said for bottle-conditioned beers if they actually do what it says on the label and undergo a secondary fermentation, but unfortunately in my experience many fail to do so and are also plagued by inconsistency.
The first one was encouraging, and had obviously “taken”, with decent carbonation and the characteristic BCA spires of bubbles rising in the glass. This was certainly better than the filtered version and, if they could keep this standard up, they might be on to a winner. It wasn’t difficult to pour clear, although the yeast is not entirely “sticky”, and so a little care is needed. But the second one was, well, just rather flat and not that far off a sink pour.
I’ll persevere with it, but unless the good ‘uns significantly outnumber the bad ‘uns, not for too long. The real issue with bottle-conditioning is not so much the likelihood of getting cloudy beer, but the sheer inconsistency. And I can’t help wondering how long it will be before Marston’s quietly drop it. If you want some “normal” packaged Pedigree, you can still get it in can, although for some reason it’s sold in the smaller 440ml cans rather than the bottle-equivalent 500ml ones.
It’s also disappointing that Marston’s have felt the need to pander to changing perceptions by reclassifying what is historically a classic Burton Pale Ale as an “amber ale”.
Edit: I see that Marston’s have now switched the new-look Pedigree cans to the 500ml size, and obviously not “can-conditioned”.