If you have been following our home brew series you would have guessed we are about to talk about bottling this week. Your standard home brew kit will produce enough beer to fill approx 48 330ml bottles often known as the stubbie or longneck. We chose this size for two reasons, 1. it is pretty easy to get suitable bottles around this size and 2. it a nice size to drink out of if the need be. In Australia a few years back most home brewers liked to use the 750ml size king brown, these have fallen out of favor as the king browns sold by Australian breweries has switched to twist tops.
What you are looking for when you are collecting your bottles is the type of bottle that needs to be opened with a bottle opener, various imported beers still use this type of bottle and this is what you need to get a good seal with your crown seal caps. If you use a twist top type bottle there is always a chance of breaking the bottle when sealing or opening it and you end up wasting your beer.
If you bought a standard brew kit you may have got a simple capper that has a wooden handle on it, while these work ok they can be a bit tiresome constantly hammering the things on to the bottle. The best type of capper is one where you can put you bottle in a device with its cap, pull its handle and you instantly have a capped bottle. These are quite cheap for what they are and speed up you bottling dramatically. More recently some home brew companies like Coopers have been supplying plastic P.E.T bottles in their kits due to lack of crown seal bottles on the market. Personally I like the feel of a glass bottle so I don’t mind paying extra for a nice imported beer so I get to keep the empty.
The other option is to use the swing top variety of bottle, these are generally known as Grolsch bottles after the brewery that uses them, Grolsch can be a bit pricey but it’s a nice tasty excuse to buy them. Many home brew shops also now sell swing top bottles as well as the rubber washers that seal the bottles. Perhaps you know someone with a restaurant that can collect them for you making this method of bottling rather cheap.
One last thing is about the reason why beer bottles are brown or green. Beer can be affected by sunlight and if you leave your beer in the sun it can become known as skunked beer as it tastes like a skunk. Many modern breweries use ingredients and processes that avoid this from happening so they can put their beer in a clear bottle. If you use clear bottles it worth keeping this in mind and always keep you beer in dark place prior to putting in the fridge and drinking.