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Bottle conditioning is a process of carbonating beer that occurs naturally, through yeast autolysis or by adding priming sugar at bottling time. Bottling helps improve flavor and clarity and the shelf life of the beer. So, can you bottle homebrew in growlers, and how do you go about it?
Can You Bottle Homebrew in Growlers?
Yes, you can bottle homebrew in growlers. In fact, bottling homebrew in growlers is a great way to store and transport your beer. However, there are a few things you need to know before you get started. First, you need a strong cap that can seal your growler tightly. This is because the pressure from the carbonation can cause the growler to explode if it’s not sealed properly and the pressure is not released.
Second, when bottling homebrew in growlers, you’ll need to add a bit of sugar to the beer. This is known as priming sugar, and it helps the yeast carbonate the beer naturally. To do this, dissolve the sugar in a bit of water and add it to your growler before bottling.
Another thing you need to know is that it’s essential to clean and sanitize your growler thoroughly before using it to bottle your homebrew. This will help prevent contamination and ensure that your beer tastes great.
How to Bottle Homebrew in a Growler
Though it may be challenging for an amateur brewer or those new to the hobby, bottling beer in growlers is a great way to store and transport your beer. If you can’t find decent references in homebrew books, here are a few tips on bottling homebrew that will help make the process go smoothly.
Have Enough Sanitizer
You need to ensure that you have enough sanitizers to last you through the bottling process. Growlers come in different sizes. For instance, a standard growler is 64 ounces, while a mini growler is only 32 ounces, which is a lot more than a standard can of beer. This means you’ll need more sanitizers if you’re bottling a larger batch of beer.
If you have a five-gallon batch of beer, you’ll need at least ten (64) ounce growlers. For a mini growler, you’ll need at least twenty-four (32) ounce growlers. If you have enough, you can sanitize all your equipment and growlers at once. This will save you time in the long run.
Clean and Sanitize Your Growlers Thoroughly
This is a process that requires proper cleaning and sanitizing of all your equipment, as well as the growler itself. This will help prevent any potential contamination that could ruin your batch of beer.
You can use a growler brush to scrub the inside of the growler and a bottle brush to clean the neck and threading. You can also use sanitizers, like PBW that are designed specifically for brewing equipment.
Add Your Priming Sugar Solution
After filling your growler with beer, it’s time to add the priming sugar solution. This is a solution of sugar and water that helps the yeast carbonate the beer naturally. To make the solution, simply dissolve the sugar in a bit of water and add it to your growler before bottling.
Fill Your Growler With Beer
Once you have added the priming sugar into the growler, it’s time to fill it with beer. You can use a bottling wand to make this process easier. Simply insert the wand into the neck of the growler and allow the beer to flow in.
You can also fill the growlers using the siphon method. This is where you place the growler below the spigot and open the valve. The beer will flow into the growler to the required level. Ensure that you leave enough headspace in the growler, as the beer will expand when carbonated.
Secure the Cap Tightly
Securing the cap is the most important step in bottling homebrew in growlers. This is because the pressure from the carbonation can cause the growler to explode if it’s not sealed properly and the pressure is not released. Be sure to use a strong cap, such as a screw-on cap, to avoid accidents.
Allow the Beer to Carbonate
Once you’ve sealed the growler, it’s time to let the beer carbonate. Keep the growlers in a cool and dark place, such as a closet or cupboard. Ensure the temperatures remain constant, as fluctuations can cause the beer to go bad. Don’t store your beer in the fridge, as the beer will become flat. After two weeks, your beer should be carbonated and ready to drink.
How Long Will Homebrew Last in a Growler?
The beer will last for about 36 hours after you have opened the growler. After that, the beer will be flat and start to lose its carbonation and flavor.
Can I Reuse My Growler?
Yes, you can reuse your growler. However, you need to ensure that it is properly cleaned and sanitized before using it again. You should also inspect the growler for any cracks or damage that could cause it to leak.
As you can see, bottling in growlers is a great way to store and transport your beer. All you need is a little bit of planning and the right supplies, and you’ll be able to enjoy your homebrew perfectly. Remember to clean and sanitize everything properly to avoid contamination.