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Pelikan

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(Yes, I did do a search. No, I didn't find answers to the specific questions highlighted below.)

Hmmm...so a friend and I are headed to a concert this summer. I thought it'd be a dandy idea to brew some beer for the occasion, but he mentioned that it's a no-glass venue. Even though we'd probably only be drinking in the parking lot (doubt there are many glass Nazis out there), I still want to be as compliant as reasonably possible.

In any case, I've been thinking back and fourth about those new-fangled PET bottles. Questions:

  • Are there any disadvantages to using these?
  • Is there any specific equipment required to use them beyond the standard fare for glass?
  • Do the caps have that little lock-ring thing that you find on commercial plastic bottles? (The lock ring would be a good thing in my case.)
  • How do they stand up to aging (let's say about three months on the upper end)?
Thanks in advance for the info. Regardless of how wonderful PET may be, it still seems unholy to bottle in plastic -- but I suppose I'll deal with my misgivings another time.
 

bradsul

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I use nothing but 500ML PET bottles and they work fantastically well, even for long term aging (I have some beers in PET that are over 2 years old with no problems). There is actually less equipment required for them since you don't need a capper.

The lock ring is a pain and you want to just snap it off before you put the cap on the bottle. The lock ring has nothing to do with sealing the bottle, it's only an anti-tampering indicator on commercial products. The lock rings are difficult to get off later without scratching the bottles.
 
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Pelikan

Pelikan

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Sounds good. In that case, I'll probably spring for these. I'm sure it'll make my jittery friend rest a bit easier.

Regarding the lock rings: I'd only be using the bottles once, then dumping them in the recycle there at the show. We have a long way to go back and fourth, and a lot of stuff in the car, so I'm pretty much banking upon leaving whatever bottles I bring behind (unfortunately).

In the case of my concert-going buddies, I think the lock ring would be a good thing because it has that satisfying snap that let's folks know the contents hadn't been tampered with. I guess it's just a subliminal thing -- anyone opening the bottle will assume it's fresh, etc, if it's got the snap, but perhaps pause for a moment if it doesn't.

These caps do have that snap action, yeah?

One final question: I've been using oxygen barrier caps exclusively since I started brewing. You had mentioned that these PET bottles age rather well. I'm assuming you haven't used any special caps, etc, to get that result?

Thanks again.
 

bluehouse

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Do you use the brown ones that are made for brewers or do you use used club soda bottles? I have used a few of these in a pinch when I had more beer than bottles. It worked OK but I have never used them for long term they were the last in first out choice around here.
 

llazy_llama

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Sounds good. In that case, I'll probably spring for these. I'm sure it'll make my jittery friend rest a bit easier.

Regarding the lock rings: I'd only be using the bottles once, then dumping them in the recycle there at the show. We have a long way to go back and fourth, and a lot of stuff in the car, so I'm pretty much banking upon leaving whatever bottles I bring behind (unfortunately).

In the case of my concert-going buddies, I think the lock ring would be a good thing because it has that satisfying snap that let's folks know the contents hadn't been tampered with. I guess it's just a subliminal thing -- anyone opening the bottle will assume it's fresh, etc, if it's got the snap, but perhaps pause for a moment if it doesn't.

These caps do have that snap action, yeah?

One final question: I've been using oxygen barrier caps exclusively since I started brewing. You had mentioned that these PET bottles age rather well. I'm assuming you haven't used any special caps, etc, to get that result?

Thanks again.
When you buy the caps, they come with that tamper-evident snap ring. No special equipment or anything is installed. I've actually found PET bottles to be quite handy, as you have a fairly good indicator as to when your beer is carbonated: the bottles become rock hard. I don't know that oxygen absorbing caps exist for PET bottles, or that they're needed. I haven't aged anything in PET for longer than 3 months or so, but it came out well.
 

bradsul

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Since you're looking for single use I wouldn't bother taking the lock rings off either. The caps are the same as the ones on pop bottles so you can get same effect when you open them. I use the amber coloured bottles that are made to look like beer bottles, I like the idea of having the extra protection against skunking.

As llazy_llama said; I'm not aware of any oxygen absorbing caps. Personally I doubt I'd buy them if they did, I've never had any issues.
 

twig

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Before I switched to glass, I kept beer for over a year in PET bottles, both the brown ones and also green tinted ones (like Sprite bottles). If it's only for single use and you could keep them out of the light, you could even go really cheap, just buy some caps and bottle in green pop bottles. I picked up most of my PET bottles at yard sales, 'cause I couldn't stomach paying the $1 per bottle to buy them new.

The main disadvantage I've found with the PET bottles (apart from my general aversion to plastics) is that capping enough bottles for a batch inevitably gives me blisters on my hand (I guess I don't brew often enough to build up calluses).
 

llazy_llama

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The main disadvantage I've found with the PET bottles (apart from my general aversion to plastics) is that capping enough bottles for a batch inevitably gives me blisters on my hand (I guess I don't brew often enough to build up calluses).
Or do enough manual labor, city boy! ;)
 

Boondoggie

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I would think the snap ring would be desireable if you're going to have it in the car... I'd be concerned a cop could decide a lock-ring-less bottle to be open.
 
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Pelikan

Pelikan

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I would think the snap ring would be desireable if you're going to have it in the car... I'd be concerned a cop could decide a lock-ring-less bottle to be open.
Excellent point. Didn't even think of that. Ideally, I'm trying to avoid any cop-encounters on the way out, but still a good point nonetheless.
 

conpewter

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The main disadvantage I've found with the PET bottles (apart from my general aversion to plastics) is that capping enough bottles for a batch inevitably gives me blisters on my hand (I guess I don't brew often enough to build up calluses).
Men's 1-pr. Ironclad Box Handler Gloves - Duluth Trading Company
these gloves would help with that. Or really any good gloves.

As for the OP. I think you have the right idea on buying PET bottles with new caps. It will make people feel better about drinking your brew. Maybe even take some time to print out some labels and stick them on :)
 

bluehouse

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Excellent point. Didn't even think of that. Ideally, I'm trying to avoid any cop-encounters on the way out, but still a good point nonetheless.
Just stick it in a baggie & staple it shut like they do in those drive up Daiquiri huts in Louisianna.
 

RayInUT

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Excellent point. Didn't even think of that. Ideally, I'm trying to avoid any cop-encounters on the way out, but still a good point nonetheless.
Cops can't arbitrarily open bottles without a search warrant or without your permission unless they have probable cause that a crime has been committed. If you are going to this concert and have nothing else that might be considered contraband and aren't intoxicated or have done anything else to get in trouble, then tell the cop to go to hell and that he can't sample your bottles. If you do have something else that you wouldn't want a cop to find while on the way to a concert (use your imagination) then my advise would be to leave the homebrew at home and be a lawbiding citizen as best you can and not do anything to draw attention to yourself or your friends.
 

llazy_llama

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Cops can't arbitrarily open bottles without a search warrant or without your permission unless they have probable cause that a crime has been committed. If you are going to this concert and have nothing else that might be considered contraband and aren't intoxicated or have done anything else to get in trouble, then tell the cop to go to hell and that he can't sample your bottles. If you do have something else that you wouldn't want a cop to find while on the way to a concert (use your imagination) then my advise would be to leave the homebrew at home and be a lawbiding citizen as best you can and not do anything to draw attention to yourself or your friends.
The point was that if he got pulled over (let's say speeding) and the cop noticed bottles that weren't sealed with the plastic ring, he would be in violation of open container laws. I'd say that seeing a bottle filled with what looks like beer that is clearly open constitutes probable cause, but I'm no lawyer.
 

Trenchant

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I took bottles in for recycling last week and noticed they labelled the plastic bottles "PET". I know they are converting pop bottles over to PET bottles. Not sure where they are at with it.


I bottled my first batch of beer in plastic pop bottles. Root beer bottles are bad news but other then that it worked pretty good. They've been in there for about 3-4 months now. The beer tastes like **** but thats just from the cheap beer it is. They don't have a pop taste or a plastic taste.
 
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Pelikan

Pelikan

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Cops can't arbitrarily open bottles without a search warrant or without your permission unless they have probable cause that a crime has been committed.
The cop thing with the open containers is almost an afterthought in light of venue rules, which as far as bottles go is specifically no-glass. A security guard at the show is completely within rights to say "dump what you're drinking, dump everything in the cooler, and get rid of the bottles" if we're using glass. It might sound ridiculous, but I've seen it happen -- and most security guards would just as soon kick you out as haggle with you over the bottles.

Either way, as far as the car is concerned, the cases are going to be completely buried under a mound of other crap (tents, cloths, food, etc etc), so I'm really not at all worried about some random cop spying the bottles, going so far as to see they don't have seals, then assuming there is beer in them (honestly, who else but a home brewer would see a plastic bottle and assume it contained beer?).
 

thdewitt

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This thread interested me so I looked around to buy some PET bottles. With a simple search I noticed that the big breweries are starting to use PET bottles, but they are a very specific bottle with an oxygen barrier on the inside. Does anyone know if the bottles that you buy for beer online have this barrier. I have not found a source that states this specifically.
 

RayInUT

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I buy one liter PET bottles filled with cream soda and rootbeer at the grocery store for the kids. They were $0.89 last time I bought six. They might have been on sale. They are the brown variety and I just reuse the cap they came with. They are great for force carbonating cider, racked beer, etc. for small batches and for taste tests if you have a carbonator cap. You can have your beer, cider, mojito, whatever, carbonated in ten minutes or less!
 

Schlenkerla

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This thread interested me so I looked around to buy some PET bottles. With a simple search I noticed that the big breweries are starting to use PET bottles, but they are a very specific bottle with an oxygen barrier on the inside. Does anyone know if the bottles that you buy for beer online have this barrier. I have not found a source that states this specifically.
I think the oxygen barrier thing is all marketing BS. Good quality PET is an oxygen barrier in itself.

I think they use this scheme to differentiate the bottle from polyethylene.

It doesn't matter. I used PET for 3 years. Just now after about 20+ batches. I noticed the caps wear out. Eventually they need to be replaced. They are cheap. The is problem the gasket gets fatigued.

For me, the snap off security ring has caused more flat beer. When I've capped them with the old ring it caused an interference which prevented me from snugging down another cap. Even with the ring removed on the cap.

I have at least 16 cases of 1-liter bottles, they make for quick and easy bottling and they are good for sharing too.

If this is for a one time use, buy some soda and save them.
 
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Pelikan

Pelikan

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For the sake of clarity, using virgin bottles with virgin caps will present no issues with beer becoming flat, will it? If there's even a chance that the beer will go flat with PET, I'll just take the risk on glass.

That aside, do those of you that use PET sterilize the caps? In all the beer I've done, I've never sterilized a single cap and have been just fine, but I'm not sure if the PET caps are more prone to contamination, etc etc.
 

bradsul

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For the sake of clarity, using virgin bottles with virgin caps will present no issues with beer becoming flat, will it? If there's even a chance that the beer will go flat with PET, I'll just take the risk on glass.

That aside, do those of you that use PET sterilize the caps? In all the beer I've done, I've never sterilized a single cap and have been just fine, but I'm not sure if the PET caps are more prone to contamination, etc etc.
There is no more risk with PET than with glass. And you will want to sanitize your caps (not sure why you weren't before, it's a good idea and small insurance against all the time and money you've put into the batch). I sit mine in a bowl of starsan while I'm bottling and just pull them out as I need them.
 

llazy_llama

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There is no more risk with PET than with glass. And you will want to sanitize your caps (not sure why you weren't before, it's a good idea and small insurance against all the time and money you've put into the batch). I sit mine in a bowl of starsan while I'm bottling and just pull them out as I need them.
Exact same thing I do. I have about 2 gallons worth of PET bottles, and I love how easy they are. I'll use those suckers until they wear out. :mug:
 

Schlenkerla

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PET bottles are so easy to work you wonder why so much time was wasted talking about for so long.

Yes - They are reusable and rarely do you have flat one unless you have used it a ton of times. You can tell its not carbed. They can be squeezed.
 
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Pelikan

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And you will want to sanitize your caps (not sure why you weren't before, it's a good idea and small insurance against all the time and money you've put into the batch).
It's because I use the oxygen barrier caps, which are activated by moisture.

Either way, I asked because it seems the gasket inside PET caps is much more sensitive to pretty much anything when compared to standard caps -- acid sanitizers included.
 

bradsul

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It's because I use the oxygen barrier caps, which are activated by moisture.

Either way, I asked because it seems the gasket inside PET caps is much more sensitive to pretty much anything when compared to standard caps -- acid sanitizers included.
Good to know about the oxygen barrier caps, I had no idea.

I've never had an issue with the gasket in the PET caps so I'm not sure what kind of sensitivity they have. I never use them more than 5 times though, maybe they start breaking down after that, not sure though.
 

SumnerH

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It's because I use the oxygen barrier caps, which are activated by moisture.
They eat O2 over a couple of days after activating. Getting them wet a couple minutes ahead of time isn't going to hurt that. Even the manufacturer says to sanitize them.
 

Cpt_Kirks

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I use 2 liter soda bottles, 1 liter carbed flavored water bottles and 20oz soda bottles to bottle from the kegs.

It is so easy and convenient, I am yet to even take my 3 gallon keg out and about. With the three gallon, I am limited to one type. With the bottles, I can carry everything I have on tap.

:)
 

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