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Easier bottling method: PET vs Grolsch?

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tabernak

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I'm getting close to having to start to bottle my first batch of beer and hope to follow it with another one or two shortly after. I've acquired enough 12 oz bottles Sam Adams for 1 batch, but not another. I'm considering getting 32 oz grolsch style bottles or 16 oz PET bottles so I can keep 2 or 3 batches around at a time:
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/products/ProdByID.aspx?ProdID=4183
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/products/ProdByID.aspx?ProdID=5652

While I'm sure I'll still do some traditional bottles with every batch, I'd like to make it as easy as possible overall and have some questions I haven't found answers to yet. Which is the preferred method? Initial startup costs between the two don't matter to me, but recurring costs do. Kegging is out of the question for now.... Thanks for any advice!
 

Funkenjaeger

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Honestly I don't completely see the appeal. IMO, capping is not an extremely time-consuming part of bottling. Washing and sanitizing bottles and filling them is by far the majority of the work, capping isn't all that bad, especially if you use a bench capper. If I was ever to use swing-top bottles, I think it'd be for the aesthetics, not necessarily to save time.

Just my 2 cents... I rarely bottle anything anymore anyway...
 
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tabernak

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I guess your opinion is for bigger bottles with respect to what it means for me. That's one of the things that appeals to me on the 32 oz flip-tops I'm looking at. Dealing with ~50 bottles sounds like a PITA to me, but 19 sounds much more reasonable and will be easier to manage in my fridge. Plus, I often drink 2-3 beers in a sitting anyhow. The PET bottles mostly appeal to me because I'm sorta afraid of bottle bombs still.
 

Yooper

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I've bottled mostly in Grolsch type bottles because I bought them because I thought they'd be easier. The truth is they are fine- but not any easier. In fact, it takes a bit longer to sanitize them because you have to remove all those gaskets and soak them, and sanitize the ceramic tops by dunking them, too. Then put the wet gaskets back on and then snap closed. Regular bottles are easiest- you just throw the caps in some sanitizer and then cap them. I do a mix- 22 ouncers are my favorite but some 12s for gifts, 16 ouncers for in the fridge, etc.

PET bottles are fine- and just as easy. I like to do a few in them because you can squeeze them and know how your carbonation is progressing. Still, I wouldn't give them out as gifts- you'd not always get them back!

So, my advice is to do a mix. Just buy some garage sale type round stickers and mark the caps so you know which beer is which!
 

bradsul

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I use 500ML PET bottles (same as the ones linked) and 500ML flip top bottles. The PET are definitely easier in that you just soak the caps in sanitizer and then screw them on. The flip-tops are visually appealing but as YooperBrew mentioned they're a bit more of a pain to handle for sanitizing.

As to recurring costs, you're looking at buying gaskets or caps. Both are cheap so it's a wash really.
 
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tabernak

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I guess I'll probably end up doing a mix like it was mentioned already. I never thought about the extra cleaning effort on a flip-top. Does that mean you can't re-use PET caps or that you'll just have to occasionally change them out like the gaskets for flip-top bottles? I saw that they have "tamper-evident" seals, but I have larger problems if somebody is tampering with beers in my fridge!

One somewhat related question, is there a certain % of air you're supposed to leave in a bottle? I've read up to the curve neck, but all bottles aren't created equal.... Thanks for all the tips.
 

Yooper

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If you use a bottling wand, and lift it when it fills to the top, it leaves the perfect amount of headspace. I guess it's about an inch or so if you were to measure it, but I'm not sure about that!
 

bradsul

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I use the PET caps 4 times before I retire them. As for the tamper-proof lock rings, just snap those off before you use them, you don't need them and you'll have to either cut them off the bottles - or snap the rings off your next set of caps anyway.

If you use a bottling wand (highly recommended) you want to fill until the beer reaches the top of the bottle. When you remove the wand it leaves a perfect amount of headspace.
 
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tabernak

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I ordered 24 1/2 Liter PET bottles and a couple clear flip-top bottles to play with. Now I should be ready for my second batch without any big rush on finding enough empties in time. Thanks again!
 

Schlenkerla

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I use PET quart bottles. They are the easiest to clean, fill, and cap.

PET never requires scrubbing and will not harbor bacteria collecting spots.

You'll need 34 pint bottles or about 17 quarts.

I like the quarts because I will usually like to have a few beers at a sitting. One quart is about right.

As for gifts 22oz bottles or 12oz are easy to replace.

:mug:
 

Kevin Dean

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I keg, but I like to use a BMBF to fill a few Grolsh bottles for gifting and posterity.

I agree with Yoop that they're a bigger PITA doing a full batch, but to fill up a 4 or 6 pack, they're easier for me since I rinse and fill with a bit of sanitizer after emptying them so they're "Shake, empty, fill, flip" simple for me.

Also, I drink a BIT more than a 32 ounce per sitting. :) My smaller Grolsh are the perfect size for gifting since most "normal" people don't down a 32 ounce of beer.

Poor... them.
 
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