When Do You Know It’s Time to Pour a Beer Down The Drain?

Pour outs.  They’re sad, but they do happen.  Infected beers, bad tasting beers, eyes that are bigger than your liver, all of these things contribute to our favorite beverage being sent to the sea.

But how do you know that it’s time to give up and pour it out?  I’ve given it some thought, and realize that all pour outs are not created equal, and sometimes they can be avoided altogether.

I’ve broken them down to categories below, ranging from the most immediate journey to the center of the sink to the most reluctant tipping of a bomber. Here goes… 

Bacteria, Skunks and Flats (Oh My!)

An infected beer will do most of the work for you, as they typically bubble vigorously out of the bottle on their own, forcing you to swing it over the sink and let nature take its course.  This isn’t as sad as it is aggravating, as you probably spent good money on that puppy!

Skunked and flat beers deserve a quick pour out as well, as common sense dictates that we shouldn’t drink something that has gone bad (even if we really, really want to).  These are the easy pour outs, as there’s no real decision making that has to occur.

The Hand Off

This is a great move that can save you from a pour out, but requires a partner with tastes that differ from your own.  Or in my case, a wife who doesn’t want to see good beer go to waste.

Basically, you’ve opened a beer, usually a bomber, to discover that you find the contents repellent.  The last thing you want is to suffer through 22 ounces of beer you’re not into, so you pawn it off on someone else.  I’m lucky that my wife isn’t as fussy as me when it comes to beer, so I can usually free myself up to drink a beer I will actually enjoy.  This is the happiest possible outcome for me.

The Slow March of Shame

This is the saddest of all pour outs.  You’ve purchased a beer, usually an expensive one that’s well-regarded, and upon taking the first sip, you realize it’s awful.  Not that there’s anything wrong with how it was brewed, but the style of beer just doesn’t agree with you.  This has happened to me a couple of times recently (details here and here).

I’ll fight to stick it out, doing whatever I can to get into the beer.  I’ll take some more sips hoping my palate adjusts to the flavor.  I’ll pair it with food.  I’ll let it warm up.  I’ll try to pawn it off.  When all of these tactics fail and I realize I haven’t taken a sip in an hour, it’s time to face facts.  That fancy beer is going down the drain.

It always fills me with a sense of failure, knowing that others love this beer, and I’m pouring $15+ down the tubes.

Sheer Beer Exhaustion

This is rare, but it happens.  You’ve been enjoying some nice beers at home over the course of the evening, and you’ve drifted off to sleep on the couch.  As your pay-per-view chick-flick movie ends (assuming you watch TV with my wife), you realize that there’s still a glassful of very good beer warming on the table.

You’re tired, maybe a little buzzed, and certainly ready for bed.  Being a grown up, you know that, ready or not,  tomorrow is going to happen, and you just can’t bring yourself to slam back the goodies in your glass.

You groggily make your way to the sink and pour out your beer while muttering an apology to the beer gods, knowing your beer mismanagement has caused this shameful waste.

So those are the ones I can think of, from the immediate “yuck” pour to the one that takes two hours (and a Julia Roberts movie) to happen.

Of course there’s always the tough guy way  – sucking it up and drinking a beer you don’t like.  A couple of years ago, I was more apt to do this, but over time I ‘ve grown to know enough about beer and enough about myself to know when it’s time to pull the plug.

Have any (or all) of these happened to you?  Is there anything I’ve left out?  As always, let us know in the comments, and here’s hoping that your beer stays high and you sink stays dry!

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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33 Comments on “When Do You Know It’s Time to Pour a Beer Down The Drain?”

  1. Don
    October 5, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    I had my “One Sip Wonder” beer…Hell or High Watermelon. I think that falls into the second category. It sucks and I can’t stand the stuff. It wasn’t infected, and I like watermelon, but hate that beer. And yes I have tried it on about 5 separate occasions and each time it was as nasty as the time before (except for the first time, of course). So with that said, I agree with your pour out assessment.

    • October 5, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

      I actually liked Hell or High Watermelon, mostly because it wasn’t as awful as you had said it was Don.

      And I applaud you for trying it again – I usually try a beer at least two times before I give up on it. FIVE > TWO.

      • elena
        October 5, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

        Don’t know what happened to Hell or High Watermelon this year. It was my favorite in the summer of 2009 but this year I found it undrinkable.

        • Don
          October 5, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

          Thank You Elena. A voice of reason that is on my side! See Jim, You are wrong!

        • October 5, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

          Enjoy it, Don. it’s a rare thing.

      • elena
        October 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

        this after I argued with you about it after your original post but that was before I tasted this year’s batch. I can admit when I’m wrong….sometimes.

    • October 5, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

      Agree 100% with the watermelon…one drink for me and one for my wife…then the rest of the case went down the drain.

      • Don
        October 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

        At least I didn’t buy a case…YIKES!

  2. Brandon
    October 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    I poured one out last night. Something called Sly Fox Octoberfest. It tasted like an actual fox was added for flavor. I take that back, it might have been better with fox. Anyways, I was going to just man up and finish it, but I realized I other beer so it got dumped.

  3. October 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    My only pour-outs in recent memory are a Bud Light left at my house during a Saints pre-season game, and a Michelob Dunkelweiss. I don’t know if the Michy was skunked or I just wasn’t in the mood for that style, but I found an ambient flavor in it that I just didn’t want.

    • October 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

      I’ve never had either, but I’d definitely try both and probably wind up dumping them out. Unless it was really hot and the Bud Light Lime really hit the spot, or if it was really cold because hell had frozen over. 🙂

      • October 6, 2010 at 8:39 am #

        You’ve never had a Bud Light? Next you’re going to tell us you’ve never eaten spam or cheese wiz or marshmallow peeps!

        • Don
          October 6, 2010 at 9:49 am #

          I’m pretty sure Jim has had Bud Light, as it was the only beer served at my son’s wedding. And I also know he was a cheeze wizaholic in his younger years when he lived at home with Mom and Dad, and I couldn’t keep him out of the peeps when he was a kid! Seemed he had one no matter what time of year it was! I’m pretty sure he hasn’t had SPAM. I’d be very surprised…It didn’t have enough sugar in it!

      • October 6, 2010 at 9:51 am #

        I think I’ve had a Bud Light (the odds are in favor) but I read it as Bud Lime, which I haven’t had. I have to admit I’m a little curious about it, even though I know it’s gonna let me down.

        So yes, I’ve had a Bud Light. You’d think I’d recently had several, the way I misread that!

  4. Dan
    October 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    Hmm…I really liked the Sly Fox Oktoberfest! I also dumped the watermelon. My most heavy-hearted pour out was SAM ADAMS 1790 Root Beer Brew from their “Brewer Patriot” 4-pack a few years ago. Blech!

    • October 5, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

      It’s cool how tastes can vary. I will dislike and pour out a beer just because it doesn’t appeal to my palate, knowing full well that others adore it. That’s the best thing about beer – the only opinion that truly matters is your own – after all, you’re the one who’s drinking the stuff.

      That’s why reviews are such bunk, unless you find a reviewer you agree with.

    • Don
      October 5, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

      My most heavy hearted pour out was Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA. I just didn’t get it. I actually felt guilty. You can read about it here https://beerandwhiskeybros.com/2010/05/06/dogfish-head-60s-and-90s-and-120-oh-my/

      • October 5, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

        You should!! It’s NOT pour-worthy, I sent it to you all the way from NJ, and it wasn’t cheap!!


      • Dan
        October 5, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

        120 Minute threw me too. WAY too sweet (as was Burton Baton). I got another bottle to open again on my 40th birthday (in 2015) to see how it ages.

        • Don
          October 5, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

          I think I have put that one behind me about 6 years ago! I don’t know if it would mellow well or not, but I am not going to find out. It was just to much everything for me.

  5. David
    October 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

    I make a big distinction between gross and not good. In other words, there are hundreds of beers on the shelves that just aren’t very good. Still, I can usually drink them down. When people pour a pedestrian beer down the drain because they find it boring or tasteless, it still seems kind of wasteful. Now, if it’s a beer that tastes gross, it’s fair game in my book. Beers that are overly spiced or sweet (i’m looking at you Dog Fish Head) typically go down my drain quicker than you can count to ten. But, the Bud and Coronas….I don’t necessarily like them, but i’ll choke them down.

    • Don
      October 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

      See Jim, I win again! that is twice in one day! I am Blog Czar, as Big Tex would say…

    • October 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

      I agree with you David. I will work through an average beer even I I’m not into it because it’s wasteful to pour it out. Only exception is when I drift away from a boring beer and find it still full at the end of the night.

  6. Matt
    October 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    Ah yes, the poorly attended beer. This usually occurs toward the end of the night and the pour out occurs after my third SportsCenter replay and is prompted by a “what in the hell am I doing still drinking this late with work tomorrow?”

    I thought of another one, the “beer-ditch.” It occurs when you’re out drinking and you have to leave quickly. There are many times when I simply don’t feel like chugging 3/4 of a beer and so I take a few big swallows and leave a good amount of beer behind.

    • October 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

      Ahh, the beer ditch! Good one.

      As a guy who doesn’t get out much, I forgot about that one, but it’s a classic. Of course if I’m not driving and it’s a good beer, I won’t leave a man behind!

  7. Frothyleet
    October 6, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

    I had my last major pour out about a week ago. Luckily it was at a cask beer festival with unlimited sampling, so I didn’t waste money, just beer. But goddam if that Pepper Cream Stout (by some brewery I didn’t recognize, can’t remember, and can’t find online) didn’t almost make me retch when I tasted it. Probably nothing wrong with it, but apparently that style is not for me.

    • October 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

      I’ve had the same reaction to some very highly-regarded beers. I guess with so many varieties of beer available, everyone can find a nice one that makes them puke! 🙂

  8. October 8, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    If I come upon something I really REALLY don’t like [which rare, trust me], I don’t pour it down the drain … I’ll save it and pour it on the lawn [it works pretty good]


    • October 8, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

      That’s cool, Randy! I’ll save that link Who knew bad beer could give you a green thumb?

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