View Full Version : Any advice on sanitizing growlers
If I wanted to have a growler filled and not drink the beer for a week or so, will it keep without going flat, and what should I do to sanitize the jug. Is it even necessary to sanitize the jugs like one would if bottling home brew, if one is going to store it in the fridge?
In general, a properly filled growler, unopened, should be okay for about 2 weeks. The caps do wear out, so about once a year or so, I toss the caps and the brewery replaces them when filling. Even so, no seal is perfect, so some reduction in carbonation can happen.
I generally will run a growler through the normal dish cycle (I don't use the dryer, as I tend to melt shit every time) after use, and give it a hot water rinse before taking it and getting it filled.
About 8 weeks ago I bought two growlers of a local real ale, beer made to an 1800's process which when bottled in the growler was essentially flat. It had some residual yeast. I placed it in a corner of the apartment where the temperature varies from 65-70 F. I left it there 6 weeks. This on the advice of some homebrewer friends. What happened was, the beer carbonated on its own. And not only that, this warm conditioning as it is known, rounded and improved the taste. These were ales mind, not lagers, and also, any well-filtered beer poured into a growler, ale or lager, likely would not self-carbonate like that (not enough yeast and/or the malt sugars were used up to start with). But if you know the beer is unfiltered or roughly filtered, you can condition them yourself and end up with a superior product. If the container was clean when filled and the beer properly brewed, it shouldn't go sour or become too fizzy. Still, you want to check by twisting the cap off slightly once in a while to vent any excess CO2 - you don't want any explosions and splintered glass! The IPA I did this for, the other was a porter, came out beautifully at the end of the 6 weeks. The beers were brewed in a small artisan brewery which uses no electricity except to boil the wort with the hops. The boiled wort cools naturally in flat pans, coolships as they are sometimes known (Anchor Steam brewery used these for decades although I'm not sure they still do - the steam rising from the coolships may be at the origin of the name).
Check here for sanitizers.
The answer I give is, I would sanitize if it was practical.
Suggestion for preserving carbonation is to use a 2L PET (soda bottle)
I had some trouble convincing a local brewery to fill it, but they actually liked it once they realized that 2L is about 64oz.
A carbonator cap can also help with the PET bottle.
It can be sanitized as well.
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