The independent consumer guide to beer product dating.
According to Beer Dies! reader Sascha Bang, German law requires all consumbable products to have readable expiration dates.
Remember, most German breweries (like most European breweries) claim their products have a shelf life of one year. Whether you want to believe that is up to you.
For more information about beer in Germany, try Beer.de.
The makers of Clausthaler® put clearly label their beers "ENJOY THE BEST TASTE BEFORE 03.14".
The Bitburger beers I've seen buck the trend by not putting product dates on their beer, but reader Kenneth J. Licwinko adds:
Your research on Bitburger Pils may be a little incorrect, living 6 miles from the brauerei, and having drunk many a Bit, I know at least on their .330 Stubbi's the date is stamped right on the gold border at the bottom of the back label in a month/year format. Though the Americans that live around here usually prefer not to drink it after 45 days.
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Beck's uses a notched date (month and year) with the legend "best before end". I really don't think that needs any more explanation. Cans have MM/DD format date on the bottom.
Beck's manufacturer number is 82488.
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Hacker-Pschorr places expiration dates in the lower right corner of (most) bottle labels, in MM.YY format. (I saw an undated bottle once, so it was probably just old.)
Hacker-Pschorr's manufacturer number is 49483.
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Entry added 6 May 2002. Hofmark beers have a DD.MM.YY date on the bottom edge of their front labels. The date is labeled "Mindestens haltbar bis", which Babelfish translated as "At least durable to".
Hofmark's manufacturer number is 104770.
Until recently, Löwenbräu sold in the United States was brewed and bottled by the Miller Brewing Company and use the Miller expiration codes. The Miller codes are slightly less obvious than any used by real Germans, but readable.
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The makers of Original Munich and Salvator place expiration dates in the lower right corner of bottle labels, in MM.YY format. Their manufacturer number is 80157.
(You know, I'm not entirely sure that Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr aren't the same brewery. They're both headquartered in Munich, their bottles are exactly the same shape, they both use importers in Englewood, Colorado, and they even use the same distributors (back in Southeast Michigan, anyway). Something's up with that, I'm sure.)
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The makers of St. Pauli Girl use a notched expiration date. St. Pauli's manufacturer number is 80660.
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Warsteiner prints a clear date (in DDMMMYY format) on the back label of bottles.
Warsteiner's manufacturer number is 82054.
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