Author Topic: Bottle Color  (Read 1604 times)

Offline lonetreedavid

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Bottle Color
« on: February 01, 2010, 11:17:17 AM »
I am a craft brewer in Israel - and the availability of beer making supplies is very limited. I am looking for bottles and found "regular" brown and green - both in 330cc size. I was also offered a really nice pale green bootle - very pale! Almost translucent with a tinge of green. Really nice looking - and made my beer look great. I know that dark glass is considered better, but I'd really like to hear about experience with very pale bottles. And especially in sunny climates. Thanks for any advice. David

Offline zee

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2010, 11:22:19 AM »
green bottles do very little to keep your beer from being lightstruck and getting skunky off flavors. this is especially the case in sunny climates, and it happens with alarming speed. [minutes rather than hours or days.]

if you're really heartset on the green bottles, make sure that you keep them in a box or some other dark place, but realistically for the sake of your beer, brown is the only way to go.

Offline tom

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2010, 11:35:03 AM »
Or cans.
Microbreweries in the US are regularly canning rather than bottling.
Brew on

Offline zee

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2010, 11:47:51 AM »
also, do a little research into heineken. they have had terrible problems with skunked beer due to their green bottles. they tried to change to brown, but no one drank it because it didn't look / taste like heineken anymore.

cans are for sure the way to go, but they are more expensive, which is why currently only a very few craft brewers are using them. part of that i think is that beer from a can has a stigma of being cheap mass produced megaswill. so even though it is a better package, without a marketing campaign like shaun o'sullivan from 21st amendment did, its going to get passed over at the store.

Offline tom

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2010, 01:51:53 PM »
I thought canning was cheaper?
Brew on

Offline mikeypedersen

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2010, 02:04:04 PM »
part of that i think is that beer from a can has a stigma of being cheap mass produced megaswill. so even though it is a better package, without a marketing campaign like shaun o'sullivan from 21st amendment did, its going to get passed over at the store.
The original Micro-Canner Oskar Blues has had crazy amounts of success with their cans.  Can't match their demand!

I'm not aware of any crazy amount of marketing being done either.  I could be wrong there, but it doesn't seem like it.

Offline lonetreedavid

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 10:33:38 PM »
Thanks for the prompt advice. But I have a follow-up question.
Could somebody please explain what is more important - color or opacity?
So what makes dark brown "better" than dark green - what is the "brown" filtering out that the green can't do?
And surely, storage is equally (or even more) important - if I keep my brews on a window still (so all my neighbors can see) then that must be worse (for the beers) than keeping them in a dark closet.
Again, thanks for all the advice

Offline dontblake

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2010, 08:32:05 AM »
Brown glass filters out the part of the light spectrum (Ultraviolet - something around 500 nm, I believe) that causes the reaction that breaks down the hop iso-alpha acids into mercaptans (skunk bottom).   Green does not do as good a job at filtering this part of the spectrum, hence the issue.  Clear, well that's a no brainer.
And, no, do not store ANY of your beer on the windowsill - it could get warm and would just stale quicker.   Keep em dark and cool and they will appreciate it much better - which you'll appreciate too!
Don Blake, Erie CO
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Offline tom

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2010, 09:23:58 AM »
I skunked a brown bottle of Coors Light once for a BJCP class. I didn't even know they had hops!
Brew on

Offline zee

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2010, 11:25:20 AM »
i don't know whether the color matters, but the opacity does for sure. brown bottles tend to have more pigment than green bottles. [that is to say, if you take a white flashlight and shine it through a brown bottle and a green bottle, more light will be blocked by the brown bottle.] thats why its harder to see through, but even a brown bottle left in the sun or a bright warehouse will skunk due to being light struck. if you could find a green bottle that was so dark you could barely see through it, i'd bet it would work just as well as a brown bottle, but it probably would be so dark that it wouldn't get the effect you seem to be pining for.

Offline mikeypedersen

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2010, 12:12:32 PM »
I skunked a brown bottle of Coors Light once for a BJCP class. I didn't even know they had hops!
Ha!  Must be since they teamed up with Miller.  Maybe Coors is "triple-hopped" also!  :D

Offline BrewQwest

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2010, 05:04:47 PM »
I constantly use green bottles.  I like them much better than the brown bottles because you are able to see the swirl of yeast coming at the end of the pour..There are various 'densities' of brown bottles which are also subjective to quick 'skunking'.  Knowing this, I find it hard to believe anybody leaves their bottles out in direct light.  As long as you keep in mind that light is detrimental to your beer, then it shouldn't matter what kind of bottle you use... Do you drink from only brown glassware??  cheers!!
On a never-ending journey for the perfect pint of beer...

Offline zee

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2010, 06:28:14 PM »
brewqwest: i think the problem is that when you're brewing commercially your beer is only under control until it leaves the brewery. once its gone people can do all sorts of nasty things with it, you know, like putting it on a shelf in a brightly lit store at room temperature. unless you box it and it stays in the box until it gets to the consumer's house, light colored bottles will lead to sub standard beer, and probably lost sales.

Offline BrewQwest

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2010, 05:07:54 AM »
brewqwest: i think the problem is that when you're brewing commercially your beer is only under control until it leaves the brewery. once its gone people can do all sorts of nasty things with it, you know, like putting it on a shelf in a brightly lit store at room temperature. unless you box it and it stays in the box until it gets to the consumer's house, light colored bottles will lead to sub standard beer, and probably lost sales.

I totally agree with you zee.... that's what is so thoroughly enjoyable about this hobby... we get to have complete control of our product from ingredients to packaging, to consumption.. As long as our control is careful, it can include any colored bottles you may want to package in.  from clear, to amber, to green, to the darkest brown.. Though I must say, at my age, my eyes can tell the fill-line of the lighter colored bottles much easier than the many overflows I get with the darker ones...  :D ..no matter what colored bottle I use, they get placed in light-tight cardboard boxes after filling... cheers! 
On a never-ending journey for the perfect pint of beer...

Offline mr_jeffers

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Re: Bottle Color
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2010, 01:40:17 PM »
A well intentioned coworker informed me last Friday that he had some bottles that he had been setting aside for me.  Today he brought them in, and one of the three cases is all green Heineken bottles.  I know it's not recommended to bottle beer in green bottles because of skunking, but I was wondering if there's the same problem with mead, cider, cyser and such.
Jeff Brown
Southern Maine Homebrewers