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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: roguejim on August 14, 2010, 11:36:28 PM

Title: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: roguejim on August 14, 2010, 11:36:28 PM
Instead of filling ~50, 12 -oz bottles, could 64oz growlers be used?  Will they seal well enough?  Any adjustments to be made?
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: Joe Sr. on August 15, 2010, 12:37:57 AM
Never done it.  But, my recollection is it is possible but not recommended.

I assume you are talking about standard screw top growlers.

The glass is relatively thin, so you take a risk there.  That's the biggest draw back I see.
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 15, 2010, 12:51:43 AM
The thinness of the growler would be my concern too, there are ways around the potential cap leaking.

I don't advise doing this, BUT - I'd be tempted to add 2 TBS of sugar to a growler full of water, then add some baking yeast.  That should get you up around 4 volumes of CO2, more than you'll need unless you are bottling something like a hefeweizen which I would definitely not do in a growler.  Put it in a bucket with a lid and wait a couple of weeks.  See if it explodes.

Even though that is more pressure than you are likely to need, you want some margin of safety in case one growler is weaker than another, or in case you bang them together.

Again, I don't think this is a good idea.  For one, they're not made to be used that way.  For another, 64 oz is a pretty big commitment!  You're better off with 22 oz bottles or even champagne type bottles.

If you try it, let us know what happens.
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: tygo on August 15, 2010, 01:02:36 AM
I've carbonated and conditioned in flip top gasket sealed growlers before without any problems.  Granted I have not done this very often so maybe I just got lucky. 

Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 15, 2010, 01:34:40 AM
I've carbonated and conditioned in flip top gasket sealed growlers before without any problems.  Granted I have not done this very often so maybe I just got lucky. 
The flip top ones are probably fine, the one I have seems to be thicker.  I've even gotten some commercial beers that way.  I was just picturing the screw top variety.  Of course I've seen screw top growlers of commercial beers too, but I don't know if those are higher quality or lower carb or not.
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: timmyr on August 15, 2010, 01:26:44 PM
I am not sure what growlers are rated to PSI-wise, but I do not naturally carbonate nor try to store any highly carbonated beer in them at room temp.  With that said, they are handy when I am making space in the fridge for the next batch or transporting carbonated beer to share.  I just hook up my BeerGun, purge the sanitized growler with CO2, fill, cap and am on my way.

Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on August 15, 2010, 01:30:44 PM
The flip top ones work exactly the same as the swing top bottles, except a lot bigger and more convenient since you don't have to fill as many.  The screw one growlers will also work just fine provided you have a good seal, so ensure you have a good top and it's screwed on tight.  

One way to check your seal is to take a small balloon or condom, put it over the top of your cap, then put a rubber band around the base of the balloon/condom just to ensure it stays on.  If it inflates you know you have a leak, if not then you're good to go!
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: tom on August 15, 2010, 03:00:25 PM
Beer is sold in growlers all the time. Both filled at the bar and also sold in liqour stores. So I don't see why they wouldn't work for homebrew.
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: freddy2 on August 15, 2010, 03:10:07 PM
If you want to save 64 ounces, consider 2 liter PET soda bottles. Very safe and easy to come by.
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: jeffy on August 15, 2010, 04:22:12 PM
Quote
Beer is sold in growlers all the time. Both filled at the bar and also sold in liqour stores. So I don't see why they wouldn't work for homebrew.
Mostly because every homebrewer has heard the stories of exploding bottles, whether it was an uncle years ago or a personal episode.  Growlers don't have the same strength as beer bottles and would be bad to prime or to add under attenuated beer to.  Finished, carbonated beer from your tap for short term use is a different story, but carbonating in a growler is risky.
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: Joe Sr. on August 15, 2010, 04:26:16 PM
One other thing to consider is that with larger containers you may not need as much priming sugar to achieve the same carbonation level.  I don't know the calculations involved but I know that when I used mini-kegs, they took far less sugar to prime and if you did not account for this the keg would "pop" into  a football shape when the pressure got too high.

With a growler, this would be more problematic.
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 15, 2010, 05:10:10 PM
Quote
Beer is sold in growlers all the time. Both filled at the bar and also sold in liqour stores. So I don't see why they wouldn't work for homebrew.
Mostly because every homebrewer has heard the stories of exploding bottles, whether it was an uncle years ago or a personal episode.  Growlers don't have the same strength as beer bottles and would be bad to prime or to add under attenuated beer to.  Finished, carbonated beer from your tap for short term use is a different story, but carbonating in a growler is risky.
Exactly.
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: etbrew on August 16, 2010, 12:00:30 AM
I have bottled in screw top growlers many times (usually some of every low gravity beer I brew provided I have one empty) with no leak problems, carbonation problems, or exploding bottles.  I would suggest using the plastic caps with the plastic seal vs the metal caps with the paper.  If you bottle beer that hasn't finished fermenting I suspect it will blow whatever bottle it's in. 
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: tom on August 16, 2010, 04:27:00 AM
Quote
Beer is sold in growlers all the time. Both filled at the bar and also sold in liqour stores. So I don't see why they wouldn't work for homebrew.
Mostly because every homebrewer has heard the stories of exploding bottles, whether it was an uncle years ago or a personal episode.  Growlers don't have the same strength as beer bottles and would be bad to prime or to add under attenuated beer to.  Finished, carbonated beer from your tap for short term use is a different story, but carbonating in a growler is risky.
I've heard of exploding 12 oz bottles, but never a growler. Do you have any other knowledge or is your opinion pure speculation?
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: thirsty on August 16, 2010, 10:50:10 AM
When I first started brewing I used to carb in growlers. It can be done but it is hit or miss. Had usually one bomb every few batches. But some batches more. Eventually I stopped because of it. If you do it, put them in some kind of bin so you dont have a growler full of beer everywhere.
Title: Re: Carbonating in Growlers?
Post by: jeffy on August 16, 2010, 01:12:00 PM
Quote
I've heard of exploding 12 oz bottles, but never a growler. Do you have any other knowledge or is your opinion pure speculation?
Speculation from observing the growlers.  You may have never heard of growlers exploding because it's not commonly used to prime beer.
One point though: some people think of growlers as the big swing top, handled glass jugs.  These are very sturdy glass and would most likely push the rubber gasket out before the glass was compromised.  I on the other hand usually think of growlers as the 1/2 gallon glass jugs with screw top lids.  My purely speculative opinion is that these would be too weak to risk bottle conditioning homebrew.