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Scluke

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Hello,

I am a brand new brewer, just brewed my first batch last Sunday. A Dry Irish Stout. I plan on using glass bottles but was wondering if a growler would also work. I know it's not like capping, but I think the seal would be tight enough. Would it work?
 

Elric

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They aren't built to handle the pressure that is required to carbonate your beer.
 

z-bob

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You might get away with it if you condition at very low temperature to keep the pressure down, but it's a bad idea. Instead, use a 2 liter plastic pop bottle. (I like 1L and 500ml better; they all work.) Use the original caps.
 

Deadalus

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I don't bottle frequently anymore, but when I did, I would always bottle a grower in each batch. I've had a few bottles bombs but never lost a growler. That being said, if someone has data showing it to be dangerous I would certainly read it over. I bought a batch of plastic screw top lids with the domed plastic liner, these work better than the basic metal tops. I also have two Stanley growlers and a glass flip top that I expect wouldn't be at risk for pressure issues. I saw a few stainless steel flip top growlers on sale this weekend if you are looking.
 

mattdee1

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I'm sure it's possible to pressurize a growler without catastrophe, but my question would be, why?

I've got boxes of clean bottles of various sizes and types, flip tops, plastic with screw-on lids, etc. that cost next to nothing and now I can't even give them away. The point being - with the sheer abundance of low-cost options for vessels that are intended to hold carbonation pressure, it seems like pointless risk to roll the dice with a growler. Big 1L and 2L pop bottles work great in a pinch, although I'd prefer to use an empty club soda bottle so my beer doesn't smell like Pepsi.
 

Bago-0

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I keg but always fill a few growlers with the extra. I use uKegs which are stainless steel and you can naturally carb or force carb in them.
 

apache_brew

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Nope. growlers are for serving carbonated beer. Buy some bottles and caps experience bottling for yourself.
 

Deadalus

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I'm sure it's possible to pressurize a growler without catastrophe, but my question would be, why?

I've got boxes of clean bottles of various sizes and types, flip tops, plastic with screw-on lids, etc. that cost next to nothing and now I can't even give them away. The point being - with the sheer abundance of low-cost options for vessels that are intended to hold carbonation pressure, it seems like pointless risk to roll the dice with a growler. Big 1L and 2L pop bottles work great in a pinch, although I'd prefer to use an empty club soda bottle so my beer doesn't smell like Pepsi.
I am interested in the basis for this determination. Where is the information that suggests this is an issue? It would help to include information on other size glass vessels for comparison. I've had regular bottles fail but never a growler. I do understand that given the number of bottles I've processed vs growlers that I would be more likely to experience more bottles vs growlers breaking but so far I have had 0 growlers vs maybe 10 bottles of different types breaking including 2 or 3 flip tops. Based on that experience I should avoid the non-growlers. Again though, as safety is involved, what kind of data exists for assessing the risk?

Honestly, a 2l soda bottle? You don't have to bottle at that size but if you are going to, there are nicer options!
GrowlersSoda.jpg
 

jrgtr42

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I used to bottle into a couple growlers - only ever lost one, and that was a hefeweizen that went into a growler that in retrospect, was awful lightweight to begin with.
I used oxygen- absorbing caps, and didn't have any issues with oxidation in there - well, no more than any other packaging.
So, |I would say that as long as you make sure they're decent growlers to bgin with you should be OK.
 

mattdee1

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I am interested in the basis for this determination. Where is the information that suggests this is an issue? It would help to include information on other size glass vessels for comparison. I've had regular bottles fail but never a growler. I do understand that given the number of bottles I've processed vs growlers that I would be more likely to experience more bottles vs growlers breaking but so far I have had 0 growlers vs maybe 10 bottles of different types breaking including 2 or 3 flip tops. Based on that experience I should avoid the non-growlers. Again though, as safety is involved, what kind of data exists for assessing the risk?
....
Honestly, a 2l soda bottle? You don't have to bottle at that size but if you are going to, there are nicer options!
If pressurizing growlers works for you, then go for it I guess. Other than the fact that standard beer bottles are sold and exchanged in the millions on a daily basis through commercial beers and hobbyists, largely without exploding, I certainly don't claim to have any data or results from scientific experiments or whatever to prove the relative efficacy of a growler for doing the same task. My point is simply that different vessels are designed and intended for different purposes and for me, there's no good reason whatsoever to "test" the ability of a 60oz glass jug to hold internal pressure when it is so dead easy to find containers that have such extensive track records of safely holding beverages under pressure.

I mentioned the 2L soda bottle not because it's something I would choose, but as an extreme example to illustrate how readily available carbonation-pressure-friendly containers are. It's ugly but it's essentially free, it's functional, and it's effectively bullet-proof in terms of its ability to safely hold pressure from carbonated beverages.

If you've had 10 bottles blow up then I'd say something's off; that shouldn't happen if you're even approximately following a sound process. Before moving to kegs I filled a few thousand bottles and I definitely had some gushers and the like, but not a single grenade. And I am definitely not a process nazi.
 

Deadalus

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If pressurizing growlers works for you, then go for it I guess. Other than the fact that standard beer bottles are sold and exchanged in the millions on a daily basis through commercial beers and hobbyists, largely without exploding, I certainly don't claim to have any data or results from scientific experiments or whatever to prove the relative efficacy of a growler for doing the same task. My point is simply that different vessels are designed and intended for different purposes and for me, there's no good reason whatsoever to "test" the ability of a 60oz glass jug to hold internal pressure when it is so dead easy to find containers that have such extensive track records of safely holding beverages under pressure.

I mentioned the 2L soda bottle not because it's something I would choose, but as an extreme example to illustrate how readily available carbonation-pressure-friendly containers are. It's ugly but it's essentially free, it's functional, and it's effectively bullet-proof in terms of its ability to safely hold pressure from carbonated beverages.

If you've had 10 bottles blow up then I'd say something's off; that shouldn't happen if you're even approximately following a sound process. Before moving to kegs I filled a few thousand bottles and I definitely had some gushers and the like, but not a single grenade. And I am definitely not a process nazi.
You can't play it both ways. Beer bottles aren't necessarily meant to bottle ferment either. They are meant to store beer like a growler is with similar level of carbonation. And you can get soda bottles of all sizes so why glass at all then?

We were all newbies once but I have bottled thousands of bottles too. The 10 is a "no more than" number for 1-2 bottles in a few batches with the majority being from 20+ years ago. Those were likely infected and may have have sat in storage for a longer period. They were sitting and not drunk so they either sucked for some reason or I buried them and forgot them. One or two were weaker thin walled bottles, which I remember noting but don't recall if there was a batch problem. I did have two last year that were either a miscalculation from spillage of primer or perhaps an infection. They gushed but didn't seem off flavor but no way of knowing exactly. But let's be clear, as long as I have a growler handy, I use it when bottling. So even if I did something wrong in those batches, there's a good chance the error was carried over to the growler. Most of these were a long time ago but the two that broke last year were wheats and I did use that clear growler for that batch. Obviously it didn't break, it did gush, and that growler is nearly 25 years old too BTW.

A very reasonable guess is I've bottle fermented in a growler at least 100 times. I pretty much always aim for 6 gallon batches (all-grain) with the gallon over being for 1-2 growlers and the rest for a keg. Growlers travel easy and it's not hard to pull off a growler when filling the keg. I'm genuinely curious about why this is being said. Is it based on data or is it just something getting repeated. It doesn't matter to me one way or the other, I've got five flip tops, 3 are thick walled glass and 2 are stainless steel. I also have 3 3 gallon kegs and a 1.75, I have options to address the extra gallon if needed.

People report bottle bombs occasionally but jrgtr42's so far is the one time I have read of a growler probably breaking due to pressure. Lots of posts I haven't read here though.
 

mattdee1

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I'm genuinely curious about why this is being said. Is it based on data or is it just something getting repeated.
I fully admit my avoidance/questioning of growlers for bottle conditioning is basically me following the herd in that respect. Again, there may not be any detailed "data" but what we do have is a pretty far-reaching historical record of legions of homebrewers over the course of decades using beer bottles for bottle conditioning homebrew, with well-understood mechanisms for possible failure and risk that I am completely comfortable navigating. Growlers don't have a similar historical record for this function.

If you've pressurized growlers 100 times successfully without a single problem, then that's good info for anybody out there who might be considering doing the same thing, I guess. I've never personally heard of or seen anybody using growlers for this - and I would have no interest in doing it anyway even if I were still bottling - so for me personally, it's kind of moot.
 

Deadalus

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I fully admit my avoidance/questioning of growlers for bottle conditioning is basically me following the herd in that respect. Again, there may not be any detailed "data" but what we do have is a pretty far-reaching historical record of legions of homebrewers over the course of decades using beer bottles for bottle conditioning homebrew, with well-understood mechanisms for possible failure and risk that I am completely comfortable navigating. Growlers don't have a similar historical record for this function.

If you've pressurized growlers 100 times successfully without a single problem, then that's good info for anybody out there who might be considering doing the same thing, I guess. I've never personally heard of or seen anybody using growlers for this - and I would have no interest in doing it anyway even if I were still bottling - so for me personally, it's kind of moot.
I'm not trying to convince you to do it, or anyone else really. I'm just answering the OP's question and responding to some of the things said here. I don't think a lot of people do it in general because growlers cost money and in the past, you'd have to get them from a brewpub usually and pay for them. They were rarer to have, bottles are easy free, buy a six pack and make sure it's not a screw on.

Now from the perspective of bottling, it's a big reduction in cleaning and sanitation time of nearly 80% on a growler to five 12 oz basis. Filling is only slightly faster as you don't handle as many bottles while capping is easier, just screw on the sanitized top. I've actually got two 750ml growlers that I have caps for and at least 3 gallon jugs but no caps currently. I never fill the gallons though. It would get messy with the yeast sediment and pouring. Getting four pints out of a growler is a lot easier.

I have homebrewing friends who have done it but tend to just pull off the keg nowadays to fill growlers. I am not 100% they never lost one (I'll ask) they've never mentioned it. Successful pressurizations is a slightly different point. The metal caps don't seal well in my opinion. We all had some issues with that, I used to put duct tape on them but I just don't recommend those caps at all. Heading out to a buddy's house it's super easy to grab a growler or two and easy to bring back too.
 
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