Question about bottles

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Scrow

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So I am brewing my first batch tomorrow (yay!) and I am looking for bottles. My plan (clever as it is) is to just buy cheap bottled beer to drink while my brew does its thing. I can wash and store the bottles until bottling day, then re-wash and sanitize them.

My question to you is this: What is a cheap (most important part) beer that comes in non-twistoff bottles that I can save? I have a case of (12) Michelob Amber Bock which was about $10 or $11, and they are pry off bottles which is key. Anything cheaper? I know, I know, cheap is bad, but I don't care. Soon I will be drinking my own creation!
 

nakros

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I vote for anything that comes in swing-tops. Grolsch, Fischer, anything like that. It's really nice to just click the top down.

Another good option is to talk to the folk at your local bottle recycling depot. They usually have a ton of bottles that they'll give you for the price of the deposit (or the promise of a couple delicious homebrew).

Other than that, you're probably in the U.S., and pay much less than I do for commercial beer so I don't have much of an opinion. My favorite beer to buy for the bottles is Fischer (650ml (22oz) swingtops), and it costs $5.50 per beer here.
 

flylock_jac

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I went to my local package store , we have a bottle bill here ,so there's a 5 cent deposit on all bottles. comes out to a $1.20 a case (24) . He sold me 3 cases of empty for $10.00.
If you don't have a bottle bill where you live ,ask someone at your local bar to save you a couple cases. If he gives em to you ,make sure to throw him a 5 or 10 for his troubles and he will gladly do it again in the future.
 

PintOfBitter

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You may want to pick up some of the aluminum bottles that are starting to come out - they should be pretty cheap, I think they're bigger than 12oz, and they shield out 100% skunk-inducing light. The downside is the labeling is "permanent" - you'd have to remove it through mechanical abrasion.

I found some Red Stripe for cheap (found out why later - ick.) and those bottles are pretty unique, and are pry-offs. The paint can be removed, but I don't remember what the secret is. starsan overnight maybe?
 
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Scrow

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Hmm interesting. There is no deposit here, so that's no concern. The main thing is that I want to have beer to drink while I wait, so I might as well get beer that also provides me with bottles to use.

Sub-question: Are there any bottles that are notoriously thin or difficult to cap that I should avoid?

Sub-sub-question: Are aluminum bottles really safe to reuse? Doesn't affect the beer or anything? The caps fit just the same?
 

Revvy

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I'd have to say that currently the cheapest beer in non twistoff bottles (and interesting ones at that) are...

Bud American Ale bottles...

Most places are selling it for around 5.50 a sixer, the beer is surprisingly drinkable, the bottles are NOT twistoff...and they are damn unique looking.



AND the labels practically fall off if you look at them funny..

An all around win!

:mug:
 
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Scrow

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Might have to check those out. Have you tried capping them? I read somewhere that some beer bottles are much more difficult to cap.
 

Revvy

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Might have to check those out. Have you tried capping them? I read somewhere that some beer bottles are much more difficult to cap.
I've bottled an entire case of them, with 3 batches of beer since they came out inthe summer, with no problems..I wouldn't have suggested them, if I hadn't had experience with them....
 
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Scrow

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Haha true true. Well thanks sir! Is there a limit to how many times bottles can be reused?
 

Jmac

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I agree with the Bud American Ale bottles.. I will purchase it when on a budget and dont have any homebrew ready...

As discussed they work good and they labels come right off. Soak them in hot oxiclean wash.. the labels will fall off then you can gently brush off the glue..
 

Eves

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Sometimes I hate living in the Chicago area. Never have a seen AB's American Ale for less than $7.

Some have had luck getting bottles from local bars and such. Personally I had no luck going that route. Most didn't give me the time of day when I asked and the others just said they had some sort of recycling deal with the beer distributor.


So I ended up buying 4 cases of empty bottles myself + I have 30 740ml PET bottles (enough for a batch) + I slowly built up a supply of about 100 store bought pop-top bottles. Most of those store bought pop-top bottles were actually from Smithwicks that I picked up for $10 a 12pack. Not a bad beer for the price. Sadly I need more bottles for the brews I have planned.
 

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I'm currently chugging Sierra Nevada Pale Ale as fast as possible in hopes to have enough by the time MY Pale Ale is done.
 
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Scrow

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Haha good plan. I am trying to find a friend to loan me some money for beer tonight, so I can take my mind of brewing beer :)

So if you have Paypal, you know... I can use like 15 bucks ;)
 

Hopmunky

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I've been drinking the ESB and saving the short bottles for Belgians...


Yeah there's just something about a short neck that appeals to me.

Haha good plan. I am trying to find a friend to loan me some money for beer tonight, so I can take my mind of brewing beer :)

So if you have Paypal, you know... I can use like 15 bucks ;)

Dude I wish I had beer money to give everyone but I spent almost $100 at my LHBS today and Uncle Sam is trying to take a big chunk soon so I'm afraid you are SOL for now.
 

bsruther

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I put out the word to family and friends that I need pry off top beer bottles. I already have over two cases that I've saved myself and tonight, a friend came over and brought about 15 large Grolsch flip tops. I have a few other friends and relatives that are saving them for me too. Ask around.
 

Brule

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I found a nice deal on Sam Adams variety 12 packs for $11.99 at my local Pamida. (wal-mart type store for those not familar) Good thing about that was it gave me an idea of a few beer styles I normally wouldn't immediately buy.

Besides that the more people you can ask about bottles they more you can find. People are usually anxious to help with the possibility of good beer in their future. :)
 
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Scrow

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Besides that the more people you can ask about bottles they more you can find. People are usually anxious to help with the possibility of good beer in their future. :)
Very true. I just got an 18-pack of Bud American Ale (I hope... it says "The American Ale" on the side so it sounded right) bottles at Albertson's for like $15 - $16. Not a bad price I think.
 

supermoth

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Haha true true. Well thanks sir! Is there a limit to how many times bottles can be reused?
No limit as long as they're intact and clean. In some countries, particularly in Latin America, they refill the glass beer and soda bottles rather than crushing them down. You can tell the really old bottles because the glass is scuffed on the bottom corners. I was just in Peru, where the glass Inca Kola bottles have dates on them, and I saw one from the 1970s!
 

mahilly

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My question to you is this: What is a cheap (most important part) beer that comes in non-twistoff bottles that I can save?
Lucky Lager!!! It's only the single greatest cheap beer ever made. Good luck finding any, but if you do, let me know where!! I would love to get my hands on some unspent Lucky Lager bottle caps for my home brew!!


Edit: The image I posted didn't work, but here is a link to Wikipedia for those who are unfamiliar with Lucky Lager. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_Lager
 

Baldy_Beer_Brewery

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Something that I had luck with when I was bottling was buying seasonals at the end of season when they were marked down. I got a case of NB Skinny Dip for 16 dollars. A case of empty bottles at my LHBS is 12.50 I think. BTW, I've always had good luck with NB bottles.
 

AirRageous

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While I waited for my first batch to brew, I started to educate myself about different beers. Don't just buy the cheapest with pry off tops. Start with something like a Sam Adams variety pack. They are great bottles and the labels come off easily. Pony up with a little more of an investment and try some other types. Maybe you will find something you want to brew next time. Even if you don't like a certain style or brand, just dump the beer, save the bottles and chalk it up to a lesson learned. At least you waste a lot of time and effort brewing something you don't like. I tried a hefe and dumped 4 1/2 out of the 6 bottles. I won't be brewing that stuff.

Just my 2 cents worth that probably only worth 1 cent in today's economy.
 
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Scrow

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So I was totally wrong about the beer I bought. The case says "The Great American Ale" so I thought it was the right stuff. Turns out it is just plain old Bud. Twist off lids, so I can't use the bottles. Damn it!
 

EvilTOJ

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You can certainly use twist off bottles, there's no doubt about that. As long as they have the 'lip' like you see in the American Ale pic above they'll work with a wing capper. The downside to using twistoffs is that they tend to be thinner glass and prone to breaking (that just means be careful when crimping it) and in theory can be prone to leaking CO2. I have about a dozen twistoffs floating around and I've never had a problem with them. I promise myself I'll throw them away when they give me problems, and never have.
 

woollybugger2

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Something that I had luck with when I was bottling was buying seasonals at the end of season when they were marked down. I got a case of NB Skinny Dip for 16 dollars. A case of empty bottles at my LHBS is 12.50 I think. BTW, I've always had good luck with NB bottles.
Yep! Second the "close-out" deals at the local beer specialty store. Since a case of bombers cost $12.00, I'll be checking out the winter ale specials today!


-------------------------

Bottled: Belgian Triple, Hefeweizen
Secondary: Brown Ale
Primary: Empty
On Deck: Belgian Triple, Smoked Porter
 

chelero

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make sure you do a trial run to cap each of the types of bottles you have to make sure your particular capper can cap them. i just bottled my 1st batch last weekend and for a month before I had been collecting bottles, mostly Bohemias, which where I live, is the only thing here that really tastes like a beer. they have a unique shape, and a very ornate label-foil-type thing(ie pain in the a%# to take off). SO, the night before I bottled, i got all my bottles in order, and decided I'd try and make sure I could cap them, before I had my beer racked and out in the open. well, my Bohemia bottles (all 37 of them) don't have a 2nd lip, and i guess because of their shape also, I could not cap them with my capper!!!!!!! needless to say bottling day was postponed a couple of days while my wife and friends and I drank enough beers with cappable bottles to get the job done! always do a trial run.
 

Revvy

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So I was totally wrong about the beer I bought. The case says "The Great American Ale" so I thought it was the right stuff. Turns out it is just plain old Bud. Twist off lids, so I can't use the bottles. Damn it!
So you got the case for the amber ales, but the beer in the case is plain old Bud...I would return it...

Bud Ale bottles, at least in Michigan are NOT twist offs...unless after the initial run they decided to switch back to twist offs.
 

woollybugger2

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yes, beware the bottle! there are a few different styles that won't work with your capper, I think Wychwood Brewery uses an odd bottle.... the first time I bottle I tried one of those and ended up drinking it because I couldn't cap it.. :)
 

Dr. Francois

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I've been getting Bud American Ale bombers at a local store for $1.69 each. The bottles are great (no little bird on the slope), and the labels wash right off.

I also stop in at the same store once every few weeks to buy up its accumulated bomber returns. Returns are a big industry in MI, as we pay a ten-cent deposit. The trick is finding a store in a college town that sells lots of good beer in bombers!

Empty, brown-glass, 40-oz beer screw-tops also work for that "classy touch."

Oh, and FWIW, If you like sparkling water, Perrier bottles don't even need to be capped...just screw-on and age.
 

Homercidal

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I think that getting a case of mixed beers is the best thing. If you need to try out different styles, that is (and who doesn't??) Sam Adams and others have some great mixups and the bottles are usable.

Bud American Ale should not be confused with their American Lager (classic Bud). There is a def difference! As far as I know, they only make one Ale. They may have bottled some with twist-offs though. Some breweries will start with pry-offs and then switch as production moved to others facilities or they save money by using common equipment.

Now, I have heard, though have not tried myself, that you can actually use twist off bottles for homebrew. The bench capper (with handle you pull down on) is supposed to cap them nicely. Not sure if you can twist them off again, and it seems as though the threads would get crushed, but that's the rumour.

Also, Plastic PET bottles work well.
 

woollybugger2

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yes, beware the bottle! there are a few different styles that won't work with your capper, I think Wychwood Brewery uses an odd bottle.... the first time I bottle I tried one of those and ended up drinking it because I couldn't cap it.. :)
oppps wrong post...
 

Dennis1979

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I would do what revvy said and take those buds back. Tell them you were supposed to get American Ale and the label was misleading. If you keep them then, 1) you have to drink a bunch of Bud, yuk!, 2) you end up with bottles you don't want, and 3) your plan for cheap is starting to get expensive.

Get a few of cases of the right American Ale and throw a party, you'll have all your empty bottles in no time.

Then start going to the liquor store and, assuming they have a wide selection of beer from around the world, begin trying different things with an eye towards whether or not you like and can re-use the bottle. What this also does is let you begin to understand what styles of beer you want to brew after batch #1.

I actually started the beer sampling and bottle hoarding part about 6 or 9 months before I ever brewed. I knew I wanted to brew but I wanted to get a feel for styles. I drank a lot of stuff, some I liked, some I didn't. One beer I found that I liked was a brand called Svytury's from Lithuania. It was being discontinued at my store so I bought several cases. The bottles are real solid and they hold 16.9 oz. I use these almost 100% for my bottling. I like the larger size better than 12oz bottles.

Grolsch are good bottles. The swing tops are easier to deal with on bottling day. I can get them for about $1.50(US) a bottle which is cheaper than buying the empty swingtop bottles at the LHBS. They are green though so you have to keep them out of the light.

To the guy that mentioned Fisher - I really love that beer. They cost me about $3.25(US) each so I just get them now and then. I get the Amber and the Blonde and love them both. Also love the 22oz swing top bottle. I have about 15 of the Fischer bottles. Whenever I get 30 of them, I'll use them for a full batch.

Dennis
 

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I'm weird with my bottles. It really drives me crazy how many breweries put their logo directly onto the glass. I mean, isn't the label enough? Guinness bottles are still my all time favorite. No Oxyclean soak to delabel, and they have that sexy curvy shape. It's $10 for a 6-pack of Guinness here, but I do like the beer and it has an awesome bottle.
 

Hopmunky

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I have a little tip for getting tough labels off. These Sierra Nevada labels are pretty tough so I soak them in scalding water for a while and then peel the label off. The remaining glue gets scrubbed off with a dish scrubber under running tap water. Works like a charm.
 
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I have a little tip for getting tough labels off. These Sierra Nevada labels are pretty tough so I soak them in scalding water for a while and then peel the label off. The remaining glue gets scrubbed off with a dish scrubber under running tap water. Works like a charm.
Use the Oxiclean method (soaking bottles in warm water with ~1 scoop of Oxiclean for a few hours) and you'll find Sierra Nevada labels are among the easiest to remove. Redhook and New Belgium are also extremely easy, the labels pretty much slide off on their own.
 

ScottyT

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My LHBS is owned by the same people that own the best beer bar in town (30+ on tap, 200+ bottled, etc). They sell used bottles, already delabeled for $5 a case.
 

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Use the Oxiclean method (soaking bottles in warm water with ~1 scoop of Oxiclean for a few hours) and you'll find Sierra Nevada labels are among the easiest to remove. Redhook and New Belgium are also extremely easy, the labels pretty much slide off on their own.
FWIW you can use ammonia to in you have that handy and don't have any oxiclean. Works just as well in my experience.
 

bull8042

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Unless you are looking for something to drink while you wait, your LHBS should sell new bottles for around $14 per case. That would be cheaper than buying even cheap beer....
 

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I dont like them lint roller american ale bud bottles. Its got the bud stamp on the glass and it doesnt make my beer look unique. it looks like a bud, and thats sad, i threw mine out even after de-labeling. Its just a personal thing, i didnt want my beer to have anything to do with a BMC
 
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