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Mjc

Carbonating in SS Growlers

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I have a bunch of Stainless Steel growlers that don't get enough use (tell people you brew your own beer and they seem to have come in as B-day and Xmas presents!).  Anyway, I am starting to think about doing some actual lager brews and lagering the beer for 4-8 weeks and was curious.  Can I just fill a 64 or 128oz growler to the top, cap it and keep it cold (assume no reason I can't do this), but the real question is after that (or with any ale batch not needing lagering I suppose), can I just drop in some priming sugar and let it carbonate at room temp for a week or two and back into the fridge to condition/lager for as long as I can hold off drinking it?  I have a 64 and 128oz Mancan, which the website says you can carbonate in them, also have a 64oz Hydroflask with a TrialKeg aluminum cap (used to pour directly and add CO2 as needed) and a 64oz DrinkTank with its original cap (both insulated, double walled).  I can't imagine the pressure during carbonation could damage a steel or double walled steel growler, but wanted to see if anyone has tried, or is there a reason NOT to carbonate in one for a reason I have not even considered.   Thanks for any info.

 

Oh yea, while I am here discussing lagers, can someone explain the difference between lagering at like 35 degrees for a month or two before adding priming sugar and adding the sugar and letting it lager while it carbonates?  Little fuzzy on the differences.

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Whether you make a lager or an ale, the process is the same.  Ferment, then bottle.  If you remove a beer from yeast and put it in a safe growler (only a growler that says you can carbonate in it), you want to FIRST add the sugar.  Why?

 

Do this experiment.  Next time you bottle, don't put sugar in one of the bottles.  Then, after they have sat for a few weeks, pop the top and pour in the sugar.  Now, while it's gushing out of the bottle, put on the top...  Yup, can't do that.

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SS growlers are fine to carbonate in as long as they have a tight-fitting cap.

 

When bottling lagers, lager the beer AFTER carbonation. One of the primary reasons to lager is to clarify and brighten the beer. Lagering before-hand, then adding priming sugar defeats the purpose of lagering because the carbonation process promotes the suspension of yeast (though you can always lager it for a longer period of time in the bottle later). Carbonate, then lager in the bottle at 35F for 4-6 weeks after the beer is carbonated (carbonate at room temps).

 

If you were using regular corny kegs and force-carbonating with Co2 tanks, then I would suggest lagering while the beer is uncarbonated. This is because you are adding pure Co2 to the beer later and don't have to worry about suspended yeast from adding extra sugar.

hotrod3539 and RickBeer like this

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I have a German made SS growler with a side spigot. Make sure you get the correct plug for the top, with the plastic piece that pushes in when you are ready to tap. An ordinary cork will not hold under any pressure. The advantage of the side tap is that i can push in the plastic piece from the top plug then dispense from the side. The little bit of yeast from carbonation sits under the spigot, and really none gets into the beer. If you don't have a side tap you'll need to pressurize it with CO2 and a siphon top. Not very expensive to buy. BTW, if you plan to carbonate in the growler, you'll need a lot less sugar for the same volume of beer as you would ordinarily use. I use about half the amount as if I were bottle priming. Can't explain why, but trust me. Chill for several days before drinking and keep it on end.  The one big problem is cleaning. It takes a lot of shaking and rinsing. Good luck.

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