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Old 06-22-2011, 04:03 AM   #1
jeburgdo
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Default Uh oh. Just searched "Bottle condition growler"

As the title of the post may suggest, I just searched for and found out about the ill-advised method of bottle conditioning in growlers. When I was a bit short on bottles come bottling day a couple days ago I thought a light, summertime wheat beer would be great to have in a growler, so I had gone ahead with using one of my 1/2 gallon growlers to make up for my lack of bottles.

I've used enough sugar that there should be about 2.5-2.6 volumes of CO2 when everything is all said and done. And after reading about the vast arrays of broken growlers, it is now sitting in a plastic box by itself lest the explosions, or less dramatic bottoms falling off indeed occur.

It seems to me that from reading on here the breakage of the growler is not guaranteed by any means, probably not even likely as many attest to repeatedly practicing "growler conditioning," but by no means a trivial occurrence. My question is, is there anything I could, or better yet, should do? Again, the growler in question is in solitary, so to speak, and though I don't think it's likely (it does seem to be as heavy duty as the 1/2 gallon growlers seem to come, albeit perhaps still not enough), but just wondering.

I'm done rambling now. Thanks for any advice.

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Old 06-22-2011, 05:47 AM   #2
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I growler condition all of the time. They are my "party" bottles. Ive never had any issues.

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Old 06-22-2011, 01:31 PM   #3
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Some people are lucky, some aren't. Sometimes the CO2 just leaks out, sometimes it carbonates, sometimes it explodes.

Keep it isolated, as you're doing. The explosive force of a growler bomb is HUGE. I had a 1L flip top explode in my garage once, (rampant infection), and there were miniscule shards of glass EVERYWHERE, covering the entire 30x30 garage. One chunk of glass fired off like a missile and broke a 1 gallon carboy sitting 6 feet away. There was glass imbedded in all the wooden surfaces anywhere near that bottle.

A heavy sleeping bag on top should help contain the blast. You don't just want to seal it in a rubbermaid container, as the lid will blow off and you'll still get a shyte mess if it blows.

If it doesn't blow, treat it like a live bomb until you know it's safe. Carefully move it to the fridge to cool it down, this will relieve a LOT of the pressure inside. Then enjoy.

Like I said, for some, like dirty martini, it's no issue. For others it's a blast.

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Old 06-22-2011, 10:59 PM   #4
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That's just scary. Sounds like your 1 liter bomb could have killed a couple of people! So I think I'll still keep it sealed off in the bucket. I'll see if I have any old towels I can toss on top. I kept everything quite sanitary, so I doubt that I'll get any of the explosive force that an infection may cause. On the off chance it does, I want to keep clean up to a minimum.

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Old 06-23-2011, 12:26 AM   #5
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I have used growlers for bottle fermenting with absolutely no issue. I am batting 5 for 5. Thing is, if it is going to explode in the growler then it is going to explode in the bottle.

I had a strongly carbed wheat beer in a growler, poured it 2 weeks ago, and worked just fine.

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Old 06-23-2011, 03:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeburgdo View Post
That's just scary. Sounds like your 1 liter bomb could have killed a couple of people! So I think I'll still keep it sealed off in the bucket. I'll see if I have any old towels I can toss on top. I kept everything quite sanitary, so I doubt that I'll get any of the explosive force that an infection may cause. On the off chance it does, I want to keep clean up to a minimum.
Growlers don't hold near as much pressure as 1L swing tops, so the explosion (if there is one) will be significantly less dramatic than the one described above. When my growler gave out the bottom just came off with a quiet pop. There's still a good chance that it will hold fine until you drink it all. I hope that's the case.
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tall_Yotie View Post
I have used growlers for bottle fermenting with absolutely no issue. I am batting 5 for 5. Thing is, if it is going to explode in the growler then it is going to explode in the bottle.
100% incorrect. Bottles (12oz, 22oz and Belgian cork/cage bottles) are rated for pressure. Growlers are not rated for pressure. They are meant to transport finished product.

Do yourself a favor and buy some really thick gloves, a chest protector and some ballistics-rated lab safety goggles. You're going to need them, or at least I would use them every time if I were you. It may not have happened yet but it's almost bound to happen. Be sure to post pics of the carnage.




Also, just keep in mind..... tiny glass shrapnel doesn't show up on x-rays.
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