Bottle Cap Size

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Architect-Dave

Architect & Fledgling Home Brewer (5-Mana Brewing)
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Trivial…but, have to ask…and if it is a potential issue. I have made about 6 batches of beer so far. I have been bottling in 12-oz bottles, 16-oz. Swing top Grolsch bottles and 20-oz. Swing top bottles. I love the swing tops very much (those are the ones I do not give away). The 12-oz. Bottles I have been getting from my beer distributor. I give them a nickel each for the refund they doled out. I then soak them for several days in PBW (to remove the labels and whatever gunk is in them), run them through my dishwasher on the sanitizer setting and then use my vinator with Star-San when I bottle up the beer. To get to my point…the two types of bottles I get are a long-neck (like a Sam Adams bottle) and shorter one (Lagunitas and Founders) - I attached a pic. When I cap the bottles, the caps seem to fold over the top of the taller bottles better than the shorter ones. Are they different bottle cap sizes? I ask because I am concerned that the stubby bottles may have a weaker seal. I do not notice a difference in carbonation between the bottles, but this is a young hobby to me and I have a few heavy beers in the works that will sit in the bottles for months (a wee heavy and a barley wine). P.S., the bottle caps on the stubby bottles definitely come off easier than the ones on the taller bottles.
 

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Measure the outside diameter of the lip at it's greatest point. My bottles are just a tad over 26 mm and I put 26 mm crown caps on them.

Looks to me that the cap on the small bottle isn't getting a good crimp.

badCrimp2.png


IMHO, you need the sides of the crown to be almost vertical.
goodCrimp.png


If you are using one of those two handed cappers, throw it away and get a bench capper. If you are using a bench capper then perhaps your die is worn out and you need another. They sell them as replacement parts usually.

I wouldn't think from looking at the two bottles that the lips are a different size. 29 mm I think is the next size up for beer bottles and I don't see that in the pic.
 
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Well, I reached out to a few capper suppliers and they all said the same thing…Lagunitas makes their bottles With that little collar on purpose so they cannot be re-used. Even a bench capper would not work as they have their own proprietary capping device. Bastards…So…now what…I have 6 cases of beer bottled in those things…
 
Even a bench capper would not work as they have their own proprietary capping device.
It'd be interesting to know what is different that keeps a bench capper from working. Unless that's a screw top bottle. Bench cappers only push on the cap from above and don't require anything of the bottle but a rounded lip of the proper diameter for the cap.

How 'bout a good pic of the bottle without a cap on it?
 
It'd be interesting to know what is different that keeps a bench capper from working. Unless that's a screw top bottle. Bench cappers only push on the cap from above and don't require anything of the bottle but a rounded lip of the proper diameter for the cap.

How 'bout a good pic of the bottle without a cap on it?
There is a secondary ring right beneath the lip of the bottle. they say this prevents the capper from fully ‘seating’ the crown cap - acts a speed-bump and prevents the capper from going all the way.
 

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Yeah, I guess they are talking about this part. Looks like it possibly could keep the bell of the capper from going down as far as it should to crimp the cap.
badCrimp3.png


But maybe not all capper bells. So save the bottles and if you ever do get a bench capper, then give them a try again. The ring doesn't look like a problem for the cap itself. Just that the crimper may not go down far enough.

BUT...

Measure the widest diameter of that ring. If it's not bigger than the diameter of the bottle lip, then I still don't see how it'd be an issue for a bench capper.
 
Notice the slight bubbling in the bottle on that close-up pic you highlighted with the arrow - it maybe slowly letting out CO2. I am bummed...I have close to 6 cases of beer in these bottles...ugh...
 
If the beer got agitated it's going to get some bubbles near the surface whether it's leaking or not. Don't look at your other bottle in your first pic or you might also get worried about them too.

However that bottle cap isn't crimped well at all. So yes that one is likely leaking. Examine them all and drink the worse crimped bottles first.

While running through the crimper again might seem a good idea, I've read/heard enough stuff to think that may just unseat the seal even more.
 
If the beer got agitated it's going to get some bubbles near the surface whether it's leaking or not. Don't look at your other bottle in your first pic or you might also get worried about them too.

However that bottle cap isn't crimped well at all. So yes that one is likely leaking. Examine them all and drink the worse crimped bottles first.

While running through the crimper again might seem a good idea, I've read/heard enough stuff to think that may just unseat the seal even more.
Makes sense. Okay, may have happened when I set the bottles down. I tried re-crimping one and it popped the top off…this sucks…hate to waste good beer.
 
I have been using Lagunitas bottles for a couple years now with no issues. I have used both the winged and bench cappers.
Do you happen to have pics of them? Would be interested in seeing the difference between the wing capper and bench capper results on these bottles.
 
I hate to spend other people's money but yeah, look in to a bench capper, you won't regret purchasing one. I have this model, can be found many other places, and I can recommend it. My guess is that you are right about the grip area below the crown, it appears to be shorter (higher on the neck) on the questionable bottle. My guess is that with those bottles there isn't enough downward pressure on the gasket before it crimps the crown. A bench capper removes that as a possible problem area.
Hopefully the bottles already capped hold for you.
Cheers,
Joel B.
 
Do you happen to have pics of them?
I don’t have the wing capper anymore. I got the bench capper from an old guy back in the 1980s. It was old then so it would be hard to find another. Pictured are two bottles. One is Lagunitas the other is Sierra Nevada. I’m not sure which is which. I never thought much about the difference before. Both are strong dark beers close to a year old.
 

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The reason the Lagunitas bottles don't cap well with wing-type capper is due to how it grips the bottle. It uses two metal dies that fit under the ring below the cap. When the bell goes down over the cap it runs into the dies before the cap is fully crimped. The bottles with the longer ring allow more room for the bell move and fully crimp the cap.

The floor cappers grip the very bottom of the bottle so there is nothing to prevent the bell from fully crimping the cap regardless of the bottle design.
 
Well, I reached out to a few capper suppliers and they all said the same thing…Lagunitas makes their bottles With that little collar on purpose so they cannot be re-used. Even a bench capper would not work as they have their own proprietary capping device. Bastards…So…now what…I have 6 cases of beer bottled in those things…
I use a bench capper on this type bottle all the time with no problems. Maybe they just want you to think it won't work! Bench definitely does better than a wing. Good luck!🍻
 
I don’t have the wing capper anymore. I got the bench capper from an old guy back in the 1980s. It was old then so it would be hard to find another. Pictured are two bottles. One is Lagunitas the other is Sierra Nevada. I’m not sure which is which. I never thought much about the difference before. Both are strong dark beers close to a year old.
I see no difference between those caps. That is reassuring knowing that a bench capper can cap the Lag bottles. An investment in a bench capper might be nice...being that I have a tone of Lagunitas bottles and bottles are so dam expensive these days.
 
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I use a bench capper on this type bottle all the time with no problems. Maybe they just want you to think it won't work! Bench definitely does better than a wing. Good luck!🍻
They actually are not sure...it was an assumption on their part. However, I did a little experiment and took the capper ring off my caper and placed it on the Lagunitas bottles and tapped it gently with a light hammer...that finished the crimp on the cap. So, it is not the capper bell, has to do with where along the neck of the bottle the wing capper grabs. So, I just spent an hour tapping all the caps on tighter...lost two or three bottles along the way, but saved around 6 cases of beer.
 
Thank you all for your help and input and your pictures. You really made my day as I was worried that I lost a lot of beer and time. I am not a fan of the wing capper as sometimes the bottle slides out from under it when capping - even though I have the bottle on a pad. I think I am going to invest in a stand capper.
 
I think I am going to invest in a stand capper.
You'll wonder why they even make those two-handed cappers after getting one.

Maybe a conspiracy to turn people to kegging faster so they have to buy even more stuff from the merchants of everything beer! (thats sarcastic humor, not what I actually believe) :bigmug:
 
It has nothing to do with the size of the bottle. The one with the little ring below the mouth has too short a distance between the ring and the top for your winged capper to make a good crimp. (it indexes off of that ring) The tall bottle has a greater distance between the bottom of its ring and the mouth so it grips the ring and has enough travel to do the job. There are tall and short bottles with both configurations.

Get a bench capper (you're already going there) and sort your bottles into lots that are exactly the same height. At least with my bench capper, if some of the bottles are an eighth inch taller than most and a few more are a quarter inch shorter, it makes it hard to cap them all because the bench capper doesn't care about that ring it indexes off the bottom of the bottle. At least on mine the handle will be in an awkward position for some. The handle is adjustable, but you don't want to have to keep readjusting it in the same batch.
 
Maybe for capping champagne bottles with the big 29mm caps.
Maybe, but why not just buy the 29mm capping bell? This one fits the capper recommended in reply #14 which is the same bench capper I have.

https://www.morebeer.com/products/c...ZcLWs_23Qtv6Qslok4h_dDbCZ8aE6FLBoC8cMQAvD_BwE
And it might be that on wine making supplies sites more geared to just the wine brewers that they'd have bench cappers already with the 29mm bell installed on that brand of capper.

But looking on wine sites, evidently they cork!

Perhaps in Europe where supposedly 29mm bottles are more common for beer.....
 
tapped it gently with a light hammer...that finished the crimp on the cap. So, it is not the capper bell,
Great thinking! I have been trying to come up with an idea of a collar or some such that would make up for that difference in the bottles but,,, nothing as simple as what you did. :rock:
As far as the 29mm crowns, the capper I linked to can cap those with the purchase of a properly sized bell available there also if ever needed.
Cheers,
Joel B.
 
Maybe, but why not just buy the 29mm capping bell? This one fits the capper recommended in reply #14 which is the same bench capper I have.
I have a 29mm bell, but the bench capper I have doesn't have a replaceable head. Neither does my 2-handed wing capper (I thought most of them did) I'm trying to figure out a way to gerry-rig a capper with it for doing champagne bottles. Maybe using my floorstanding wine bottle corker. But I've collected enough flip-top sparkling lemonade bottles over the years I should probably just recycle my champagne bottles.
 
Look at the jaws on your winged capper. Some have reversible jaws that may help you out. In the long run, ditch the winged capper. I had the same issues that you did and the bench capper solved them.
 
It has nothing to do with the size of the bottle. The one with the little ring below the mouth has too short a distance between the ring and the top for your winged capper to make a good crimp. (it indexes off of that ring) The tall bottle has a greater distance between the bottom of its ring and the mouth so it grips the ring and has enough travel to do the job. There are tall and short bottles with both configurations.

Get a bench capper (you're already going there) and sort your bottles into lots that are exactly the same height. At least with my bench capper, if some of the bottles are an eighth inch taller than most and a few more are a quarter inch shorter, it makes it hard to cap them all because the bench capper doesn't care about that ring it indexes off the bottom of the bottle. At least on mine the handle will be in an awkward position for some. The handle is adjustable, but you don't want to have to keep readjusting it in the same batch.
The real answer to the problem is to just discard the bottles that don't crimp right. Bottles are not expensive to buy and often can be had for free. Life is too short to let non-standard bottles ruin your beer.
 
The real answer to the problem is to just discard the bottles that don't crimp right. Bottles are not expensive to buy and often can be had for free. Life is too short to let non-standard bottles ruin your beer.
This says the guy who puts up with the non-standard Corona bottles (not all are, some Corona bottles have the bulge in the right place to cap properly) but I do like to have one or more clear glass bottles per batch so I can see how the beer is clearing (or not clearing).
 
I don’t have the wing capper anymore. I got the bench capper from an old guy back in the 1980s. It was old then so it would be hard to find another. Pictured are two bottles. One is Lagunitas the other is Sierra Nevada. I’m not sure which is which. I never thought much about the difference before. Both are strong dark beers close to a year old.

The old capper is a Climax capper, they work great, I have one as well. And a fantastic name too. :thumbsup:
 
I have an old stand capper as well. It belonged to my grandfather a long time ago. It is a much tighter crimp than the hand cappers I got with other lots. When I use the hand capper I can flick the cap off with my thumb. With the old stand capper the cap is almost verticle and I have trouble opening it with some openers, no way can I push it off. And as a note, some of the champagne bottles sold in the US use the same cap as a standard beer bottle. I used the stand capper as a teenager in the 80s on commercial chamagne bottles, and I still bought champagne bottles from the LHBS a few years back that i could cap as well. When I looked at current stand cappers they use the same bell as the hand capper, which has a larger bell than my stand capper. I still will not trust a new capper and use the old one.
 
I use a wing handled capper with no complaints but I have to ask — Is the issue people have with those that they work fine at first then do a poor job after so many uses? I’m not brewing 2-3x a month and the beer is just for me so maybe my capper isn’t worn out. I certainly can’t “flick the cap off with my thumb“.
Also, I don’t use odd bottles — traditional 12 oz and then I bought Belgian bottles new from NB and a hand capper designed for those.
 
I use a wing handled capper with no complaints but I have to ask — Is the issue people have with those that they work fine at first then do a poor job after so many uses? I’m not brewing 2-3x a month and the beer is just for me so maybe my capper isn’t worn out. I certainly can’t “flick the cap off with my thumb“.
Also, I don’t use odd bottles — traditional 12 oz and then I bought Belgian bottles new from NB and a hand capper designed for those.

No. They are using bottles with a short distance between the mouth and the bottom of the ring. Winged cappers work just fine if there's enough distance from the mouth to the gripping point (but they are still more awkward to use than bench cappers) The only time wing-cappers are better is when you have different height bottles all mixed up -- and they have the right type of top with about an inch of travel.
 
but I have to ask — Is the issue people have with those that they work fine at first then do a poor job after so many uses?
The issue for me was that they require the use of two hands and you have to get the capper positioned properly over each individual bottle. And that just seemed to fiddly to me. So I ignored them from consideration at the very start of my search for a capper.

Bench cappers at counter height just make it very quick, easy and painless to cap a beer bottle and do it correct the first time. And no tired arms either.
 
As @z-bob so astutely points out, a winged capper relies on pulling up, while pushing down, on a "standard" geometry of bottle, and certain bottles have a shorter geometry.
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A beer bottle with NO collar could *ONLY* be capped with a bench capper as there would be nothing for the metal wings to pull up on. (sorry Mom, for ending that sentence with a preposition)
 
Good thread , My first batch I bottled after my 20 year brewing pause was a disaster , part of the problem was my wing capper which worked great in the 90's was showing these same issues you had. I adjusted it to the point of breaking a few bottles . and then I ordered a bench capper ... problem solved .
I had no idea geometry of the bottles had changed , I've got tons of those short bottles as I am a fan of Founders " dirty bastard" scottish ale.
 
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