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Exploding Growlers

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ashbrookale

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I'm know the jury is still out for a few people regarding putting your brew in growler's, but here is my "experience" with it.

I actually heard one of them going off. At first I was thinking my neighbor was in my beer fridge again...When, when I open up the door and could smell the beer, I knew something was wrong.

Needless to say, I'm going to be picking up some kegs very soon..



 

Edcculus

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I dont think those are made to hold pressure. If it didn't originally hold a carbonated beverage, dont bottle beer in it.
 

wreckinball9

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i have just accumulated a bunch of growlers and wine jugs i was going to use so i am bummed to hear this. i have to think though, if growlers hold the pressure from carbonated beer you get off the tap at a micro brew pub, i should at least be able to force carbonate in a keg and use the bmbf for long term aging right? ( i have special growler caps from the lhbs that can hold a seal)

also, if natural carbed properly with the right amount of priming sugar, shouldnt growlers hold a normal amount of pressure?
 

BeezBrew

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i have just accumulated a bunch of growlers and wine jugs i was going to use so i am bummed to hear this. i have to think though, if growlers hold the pressure from carbonated beer you get off the tap at a micro brew pub, i should at least be able to force carbonate in a keg and use the bmbf for long term aging right? ( i have special growler caps from the lhbs that can hold a seal)

also, if natural carbed properly with the right amount of priming sugar, shouldnt growlers hold a normal amount of pressure?
So the growlers i have are extra thick brown glass. Those "growlers" in the OP's pics look like apple juice gallon bottles. They do not look that thick and are probably not proper for carbonation. However, if you bought a growler from a store or pub with beer, they should be fine to use.
 

Donner

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growlers have to be able to hold some level of carbonation, though, right? I mean if you take a growler to a brew pub and have it filled, it will have to deal with a limited amount of pressure, right?

I know it's probably nothing like trying to carbonate in a growler, but where would one draw the line? Could you use a beer gun from a keg to growler if it wasn't going to stay in the growler for too long?
 

BeezBrew

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Sure, you could take a growler and get it filled without a problem. Bottle conditioning a beer is a different matter. Active fermentation is occuring in this instance, i doubt much fermentation is happening when you get a growler filled.
 

MoRoToRiUm

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Growlers can hold normal preassure; they're not built for carbing- they're made for transport. Which is the other possible bad thing about them, is once you pop it open, you have to drink it or it will go flat fairly quick.

DON'T FERMENT IN A GROWLER!

Or ferment in a growler, and set up a camera so we can watch it in slow motion :)

Donner, you can put beer from keg into growler- Great for traveling/sharing. Just remember it's best to drink it all once you open it. Cheers!
 
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ashbrookale

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So the growlers i have are extra thick brown glass. Those "growlers" in the OP's pics look like apple juice gallon bottles. They do not look that thick and are probably not proper for carbonation. However, if you bought a growler from a store or pub with beer, they should be fine to use.
Well, they were picked up at a local brew store. I even asked the guy at the store and he said "Oh, sure, it will be fine". Of course, he might of been enjoying a little to much of his own beer at the time.

I have a few buddy's that brew, and a couple of them condition in the growlers. I'm guessing there growlers are just a little thicker.

Like I said, going to be ordering some kegs from CHI here very shortly.
 

Revvy

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BeezBrew

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So just to follow-up, i guess i'm a little confused. Is it not possible to bottle carb using a growler? Why is this? They are thicker than regular bottles, is it the increased volume thus more yeast that can make them blow? Couldn't you compensate this by using less priming sugar?
 
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It has alot to do with the design and a thick growler still has vulnerable areas.
Certain bottles and glass containers are designed for specific purposes.

For example, you would never bottle champagne in a beer bottle.
 

conpewter

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So just to follow-up, i guess i'm a little confused. Is it not possible to bottle carb using a growler? Why is this? They are thicker than regular bottles, is it the increased volume thus more yeast that can make them blow? Couldn't you compensate this by using less priming sugar?
Well some are not as thick as beer bottles, just look at the one in the OP, seems to be pretty thin glass. Also when you think of PSI there is a lot more pressure pushing on the side/bottom/top of that growler than in a bottle (The growler that failed in this thread looks like it cracked at the bottom around the weak curve part).

There are growlers that will work to carbonate in, but I don't know a good way to tell the difference.
 

humann_brewing

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Well, I may want to setup a camera. I just setup a growler to use as a secondary for my porter. I wanted to experiment with some coffee grounds. The Gravity was only at 1.021 when it went in plus the growler had carbonated beer in it before (Rogue Dead Guy Ale)

So am I going to be ok? Almost all of the fermentation has already taken place and no sugar was added to carbonate. I just want to cold brew the coffee for a few days, then bottle it.
 
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Well some are not as thick as beer bottles, just look at the one in the OP, seems to be pretty thin glass. Also when you think of PSI there is a lot more pressure pushing on the side/bottom/top of that growler than in a bottle (The growler that failed in this thread looks like it cracked at the bottom around the weak curve part).

There are growlers that will work to carbonate in, but I don't know a good way to tell the difference.
Which is a more detailed explanation than what I posted.

Years ago I had had some cheepo beer bottles that were less than ideal for bottle conditioning. Must have had hairline cracks right where the sides rolled down to the bottom. Several of my bottles just lost the bottoms as I lifted them out of the box.

No explosions, just lifted right off.
 

LewBrew

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The photo's look like a crime scene.

I was in the process of looking into bottling into growlers too. Your misfortune is my gain, sorry but thanks.
 

CBBaron

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When the beer is cold the pressure in the bottle or growler is much less than with warm beer. When bottle conditioning the beer will be warm. When filling a growler at the bar the cap is usually the first point of failure if the beer is allowed to warm. However most of the time the beer is kept cool until you drink it. That is why a growler does not need to be as strong as a beer bottle.

So unless a growler is designed for long term storage of a carbonated beverage do not use it to bottle beer. You can however use them for fermenting small batches of wine or mead or bottling still beverages.

Craig
 

TeleTwanger

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how about a giant cap on a carboy? If you want to use big bottles use ones that can hold carbonation like those giant Champagne bottles. I've got 6, 1litre sparkling lemonade bottles with swing-tops that I use and they are as big as I want to bottle in. What's cool about those is they replace 3-4 normal bottles and makes bottling that much easier. But popping the top of a 1liter means you must drink it even if you're by yourself haha.
 

ChshreCat

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I just found those sparkling lemonades at the grocery store over the weekend. I got two and I'm going to stop for 2 more tonight. 5.99 each isn't bad. I get a good bottle and my daughter gets a sugar rush. What a deal!
 

mrsunshades

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If when bottling you use some growlers as well as standard 12 oz bottles, will you have too much carbonation in those larger bottles? I had a 2 liter bottle that was VERY high pressure when I opened it. Something about the larger the vessel, the less priming sugar needed (reg bottles get more than if kegging)?
 

DinoCow

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(Sorry to dig up an old thread, but I need some answers.)

But conditioning is also fermenting, just with the cap on...
Is primary fermentation in a growler okay? I mean, all the pressure will be alleviated through the airlock (or in my case saran wrap with rubber band...) Is there too much pressure during primary fermentation that it will cause a normal brown glass growler to explode?

(I'm brewing the beer now and have extra volume so need another fermentation vessel. I'm gonna put the growler in a bag and seal it off at the top of the neck, just in case... but any answers within the next 24 hours would be nice. :) )
 

Donner

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i don't know if it's okay, or not, but you'll probably better off using foil to cover the growler than saran wrap and a rubber band.

Your theory should be right, though. If there isn't any pressure contained within the growler then you shouldn't have to worry about it cracking.
 

DinoCow

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Thanks for the tip on the foil. Why is it better than saran though?

I sanitized the part of the foil that's touching the lip of the growler and crimped it tight around the opening. Is that the right way to do it or should it be a little loose?
 

conpewter

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You'll be fine to ferment in a growler with some sort of air-lock. The saran wrap will work, the foil will work, a 3 piece airlock with the proper drilled stopper will work. You can even use a rubber glove with a pinprick hole in the middle finger, don't forget to tape the other 3 fingers and thumb to the palm of the glove.
 

llazy_llama

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You'll be fine to ferment in a growler with some sort of air-lock. The saran wrap will work, the foil will work, a 3 piece airlock with the proper drilled stopper will work. You can even use a rubber glove with a pinprick hole in the middle finger, don't forget to tape the other 3 fingers and thumb to the palm of the glove.
Everything that our revolutionary friend here said is true, although an airlock would be ideal. Barring that, tinfoil would be your best bet. Plastic wrap would be a close third.
 

Donner

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in my opinion, foil holds it shape and will stay on the mouth of the growler without needing to be 'tight'. WHen i think saran, i think of it pulled taught, which i think wouldn't work as well at letting gas out. If it's not taught it risks falling off since it doesn't retain a shape like foil.

But again, it's just my opinion.
 

shek

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I use growlers all the time to make yeast starters with the same airlock I use for primary fermentation (the rubber stopper fits perfect in both containers). Still debating whether to bottle into one. Might try it out (just one growler) with the thickest of my growlers and post results later. I would assume that less priming sugar is needed, but I still need to figure out how much.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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I use growlers all the time to make yeast starters with the same airlock I use for primary fermentation (the rubber stopper fits perfect in both containers).
Use foil on your starters, allows gas exchange, yeast need oxygen to reproduce. You could probably increase your cell count if you were to use foil instead of an airlock, IMHO.
 

spenghali

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Yikes, I guess I dodged a bullet. I bottled some porter in a growler a few months ago, it came out fine. Though this was a pretty nice, heavy duty swing top one.

I bottle in cook's champagne magnums all the time, I would suggest that if you are just looking for something with more volume to bottle with. I think I read on here some time or another that all American champagne bottles will accept crown tops.
 
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