View Full Version : Flasks - how to select one?

11-13-2011, 09:34
I need a pocket flask. My knowledge of such things is somewhat limited - is this one of the rare items in the world where you can get the super cheaply made metal one that is in a holiday gift pack? Or do I need to go to some store and buy a $100 for it to last more than 2 days of use?

I wont be putting it through anything rugged I dont think - just the usual suspect cases where you'd want to carry a little scotch or bourbon with you.

I'd love to know what people's thoughts are.

11-13-2011, 09:54
I have allways had a suspicion that metal, or plastic could affect the taste of liquids. I would suggest a glass container. The easist would be to buy a half pint, or pint bottle of something you like, and re-use the bottle. Some maple syrup bottles make a good flask.

11-13-2011, 10:39
Hm - you have a point. I know I wouldnt get plastic - those are indeed proven to have the capacity to get bacteria, etc stuck in little micro-scratches and this can cause real trouble.

I like the resilience of metal though over glass.

Plus...if I DO get a glass bottle, I can go ahead and get some decent liquor in it to begin with.

11-13-2011, 10:56
I would like to have a nice flask, but I just have a $10.00 Coleman stainless steel one. I've used it for three years now and it works just fine. I don't detect any off tastes because of it. I seriously doubt you are going to keep anything in it long enough for that to happen?

11-13-2011, 13:38
Indeed. My strategy would be to clean it once with a mild detergent, dry it thoroughly, put in my liquor of choice for the day only, drink and clean again.

11-13-2011, 14:15
Ralfy did a nice video about flasks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddLouIaoZ3Q

As for me, I have a cheapo stainless steel flask I use for travelling, I leave whiskey in it for months at a time, and I've never had a problem or noticed any issues.

Glass I'm sure is nice and likely less reactive (though as I note, I've never had a problem with my stainless), but also breakable and since mine goes in the luggage, I don't want to risk it.

Cleaning is the one downside of a lot of hip flasks. When mine is empty, I rinse it very thoroughly and then put it on a drying rack, shaking it a few times a day to get all the drops out. It ususally takes a few days. I don't use detergent for fear that it will leave a residue behind.

11-13-2011, 15:05
I clean mine with very hot water and let it sit upside down for a few days.... good as new.

Buffalo Bill
11-13-2011, 17:08
Any metal flask coming out of China isn't welcome into my pocket. Many are cheap knock-off's and unfinished poor quality plated metalsó*and that's going directly into the whiskey at X parts per million over time.

If I could find a fancy unleaded glass lined flask under a $100 that would be the ultimate gift. Unleaded glass is the best solution and cheapest method. As PaulO stated = Maple Syrup [pints] are excellent and heavy duty. I also saved a box of Knob Creek 50ml's and use those with a small funnel to refill. They travel well and work better than anything I've found. You can have a variety of different shots in a small kit.

Get creative!

11-13-2011, 20:02
You don't start noticing the metal taste in the stainless flasks until the liquid has been sitting in there for a good couple days. If you empty it back out and clean it each time, it should be okay.

Colibri makes fairly nice stainless flasks, and you can find them online and on ebay. For stainless, 7 or 8 oz is the ideal size.

The best IMHO is the Jack Daniel's half pint. The Old grand dad one doesn't look bad either.

I definitely think it would be better to carry two 200 ml (half pint) flasks than one 375 ml (pint) flask if you are going to buy a bottle and reuse it. You can just keep one off in the car or off to the side while you indulge in the other one.

Oh, and if you can find a good glass lined one, i'd pick it up. I've seen a few on ebay over the years, but somethimes they're expensive and I know that without the cap that's attached to the body of the flask, it would only be a matter of time before it would be lost and the flask worthless.

White Dog
11-13-2011, 20:39
Flasks draw negative attention.

Put your mid-grade bourbon(Weller SR or OGD do the trick.) in a traveling coffee mug. No one is the wiser, as who ever questions the ubiquitous coffee cup?

Of course I'm joking, as I would never do such a thing.:skep: :skep:

11-13-2011, 20:48
I think a few here have pretty much covered everything, but I'll put my two cents in anyway. I have several flasks that I use from time to time. Evan Williams, Rebel Yell, Courvoisier, and a generic one that was a gift. I don't let bourbon sit in one too long, and I clean it after emptying it. I clean mine by soaking it for a while in hot, soapy water and rinsing it very thoroughly. I will then soak it in very hot, clean water. I rinse again, then I'll shake out as much water as I can, and turn it upside down to drain. After a day, I'll put it back on my shelf with the top open. I'll rinse it thoroughly again before the next use. Haven't had a problem yet. At least I don't think so. :lol: Joe

Special Reserve
11-14-2011, 03:31
Flasks draw negative attention.

Put your mid-grade bourbon(Weller SR or OGD do the trick.) in a traveling coffee mug. No one is the wiser, as who ever questions the ubiquitous coffee cup?

Of course I'm joking, as I would never do such a thing.:skep: :skep:

Joking of course. Wink, wink.

11-14-2011, 04:37
If one is concerned about keeping bourbon in a stainless steel flask, they should also be concerned about which bourbon they purchase. Bourbon is often in contact with stainless steel for long periods. How do the Van Winkles still have Stitzel Weller whiskey?

In addition, stainless steel is used extensively in food processing.

Typically, 18-8 or 300 series (Type 304) stainless steel is used. That alloy should not impart any flavor to whiskey stored in it.

11-14-2011, 07:07
Whiskey is not corrosive to 18-8 type stainless steels. If whiskey picks up an off-flavor after exposure to a stainless flask, I suspect it is due to internal contamination within the flask from residual forming and finishing compounds. Therefore, thorough cleaning is important prior to use.

How do you know if your stainless steel flask is made from an 18-8 alloy? Unless it is severely cold worked, a magnet will not be attracted to it. I have 3 flasks - Knob Creek, Rebel Yell, and Urban Bourbon Trail. All are identified as Stainless Steel. A magnet was not attracted to any of them.

In selecting a flask, an attached or hinged cap is very important. Also, an appropriate-sized funnel is a must. I have trouble filling a flask without a funnel.

11-14-2011, 13:51
Good information - especially on the magnetization piece. I just bought a 4 Roses Small Batch christmas pack with a flask in it. I'll go check it in a minute for magnetization.

Hopefully the bourbon is good too!

11-14-2011, 14:16
I have a very nice pewter flask that was made in England. I bought it new some 10 years ago, so I assume it's lead-free. I'm not sure why pewter has been used for flasks. I looked online but couldn't really find much info on that. If anyone has any insight, I'm interested to know.

Pewter is somewhat soft, and over the years my flask has developed indentations from times with it when I've rendered myself less likely to remember it's in my back pocket, for instance. These days, I'm likely to bring it to the movies or to a play. When I was younger and living in NYC, I took it out to bars and stole sips in the bathroom so I wouldn't have to spend $50 on horrendously over-priced drinks and leave sober as a judge. I like the personality it's taken on as its shape has changed over the years.

Anyway, I don't wear jewelry other than my wedding ring and my grandfather's watch, so I consider the flask a dear accessory, even though it gets little use. I probably spent $75 on it. It has an attached top. I try to fill and empty it on the same night, and wash it out with warm water and maybe a little soap in between uses. I can't use water that's too hot though; hot water softens the metal! (Not permanently.)

11-14-2011, 15:29

This company design a flask to bypass cruise ship scrutiny. I have several and in different sizes. The 8oz size makes a great pocket flask - light weight, has never leaked on me, and easy to conceal. I've used it at sporting events, ski trips, etc.

I know you say you don't want plastic, but I say plastic is best choice. Generally, whatever you put in flask is going to be intended to be drank pretty quickly.

11-20-2011, 02:42
Here's one of my favorites, because it's truly stealth (passes through metal detectors):


I use the 4oz size, which for some reason they stopped listing online (but it's the one in the pic holding blue liquid), they only cost $1.49 each, and the mouth is large enough to fill without a funnel. The plastic doesn't bother me and doesn't change the taste either. Having a Container Store close to my house is a plus.

11-20-2011, 18:38
Look no further...

11-20-2011, 18:40
^Hahahahaha. oh man. THAT is what I need. I bet that would breeze through airport security.

11-20-2011, 18:48
I am a long time flask user. I have several "throw away" flasks for events where search and seizure might be an issue (sports events and concerts), usually from gifts sets; and other good ones for regular use. The attached lid is incredibly important for beach, golf, or any other outside use. All of them are stainless steel, and I've never had a problem with contaminated taste. And there is a bit of pleasure felt at your friends reaction at a beer and wine only event when you pour yourself a whiskey...

11-22-2011, 07:09
The rumrunner looks good, but my buddy got the nalgene ones b/c they were bph free and they added some really plasticy off flavors that got worse the longer it stayed in there.

11-22-2011, 22:32
The rumrunner looks good, but my buddy got the nalgene ones b/c they were bph free and they added some really plasticy off flavors that got worse the longer it stayed in there.hmmm....I never had any problems at all with the Nalgene ones that I posted about, but I never left anything in them for more than a couple of days.