Thursday, October 25, 2012

Flip top vs. Bottle cap

Way back on March 20th, 2011 I brewed a dunkelweizen with my Dad in Austin.  This was our first attempt at an all-grain beer.  I’ll post the details on the recipe later and describe what happened during the brew day.  I don’t normally like to brew in Austin and prefer to brew where I live. The only problem with my location is that I live in an apartment and my space is limited.  Well since its an hour and a half away from where I live I trusted my Dad to bottle our beer.  I wrote up instructions for bottling and sent it to him.

In the past we had discussed the difference between flip top (the bottles used are Grolsch bottles) and bottle capped bottles.

My theory on bottles is that caps are superior to flip tops.  My reasons are
  1. Flip tops can allow air to enter the bottle faster than a bottle cap can. This is because the rubber gaskets will dry out or wear out from usage.
  2. If the rubber gaskets wear out you need to replace them, thus, in my father’s case, defeating the purpose of saving money.
I have told him this before but non the less, when he came down to visit he brought an entire case of home brew in flip top bottles. At first I was a little annoyed by this since I told him not to bottle with flip top bottles. But I got to thinking, he ran out of flip tops and had to use regular bottles too…experiment time!!

I plan on keeping a log on the development of the flip top bottles and comparing them to bottles with bottle caps.  I plan on comparing a few things, head retention, appearance of carbonation (bubbles running up the sides), and perceived mouth feel (carbonation). I have other home brews that were bottled before this beer, but to try to keep things uniform I will only compare my dunkelweizen.  Since I have less bottles with caps, I will drink those less frequently.

The beers were from the same batch. They were equally primed using about 1/2 cup of table sugar poured into a bottling bucket. Part of the beers are in regular 12 oz bottles with caps and part of the beers went into 16oz Grolsch flip top bottles. They are stored in the same box in dark conditions under my stair case, giving them the same cellar temperature. I will use cleaned prior to drinking Jester King glass for each test.

Type: Bottle cap

Date:  4/28/11                                             
Appearance: Moderate head retention, poured with two fingers worth of head which faded into a thin lacing on the top of the beer.
Mouth Feel: Effervescent with high carbonation.
Observations: Strong banana aroma and a hiss from the bottle when opened.
Type: Flip top
Date:  5/9/11                                             
Appearance: Poured with about a fingers worth of head, it did not take long of the head to fade into only a ring around the edge of the glass. There was no lacing on the top of the beer.
Mouth Feel: Still highly carbonated. No apparent loss of body carbonation.
Observations: The banana aroma was more subdued and there was a small amount of metallic aroma imitating form the glass. When I popped the top there was a weak hiss, which worried me, but the carbonation seemed to be there still, although the head retention was not there.

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