Beer Growler - what a fantastic size bottle for a beer. Back in the days, somewhere in the neighborhood of the late 1980's to the early to mid 1990's, 40 Ounce bottles, or Forties, were king among us beer drinkers roaming around the streets in the darkness of night and the destructive ambition of youth. While it was mostly garbage American Malt Liquor, it was cheap and packaged a good amount of brewed fluid for a significant portion of the evening's session.
Then, during one magical moment in history in the mid 1990's, Olde English 800 came out with the 64 Ounce growler; a monstrous bottle capable of housing well over five 12 ounce beers in a single vessel. The wave of innovation shocked the masses and altered the consciousness with blunt marauder and unforgiving avenge. It was an expression of beauty and art, and just as quickly as it arrived, it faded into extinction like the soft ghostly smoke of a distant memory.
The rise in fame came almost immediately after the beer growler's introduction in 1989 by Ernie and Charlie of Otto Brother's Brewing Company.
Of course the growler had its drawbacks. For one, if you were to drink it in a single session, it would warm up quickly and build backwash, making an already disgusting beer even worse. So the above poetry is an ode to the nostalgia of the time rather to the practice of drinking a 64.
After the inevitable fall of the thug street 64, the beer growler serves a much more noble and prized purpose. Among the many craft beer aficionados, a growler is a great way to house craft beers on tap at your favorite brewery or brew pub. Most brew pubs will be more than happy to sell you their beer into your own growler, and many will have their own growlers on sale. But expect to pay premium prices not only for the beer but for the growler.
Growlers come in both the flint clear glass and amber brown, and come in sizes which include 32 ounces, 64 ounces (half United States gallon - 1,900 ml) and 128 ounces as well as one and two liter sizes.
I have to bold this one particular point: PLEASE DO NOT BOTTLE CONDITION BEER IN GROWLERS - THEY WILL EXPLODE! There are mixed feelings out there, but those with bad feelings have them from bad experience, including injury, so just don't do it. The glass isn't made to handle the pressure of brewing, only the pressure of carrying already kegged beer.
HOWEVER, there is nothing from stopping you from experimenting with beer growlers during secondary fermentation for great brewing experimentation. You'll just need to find or make a stopper and place an airlock on it to release CO2, making sure the growler is sanitized and alcohol is placed on the airlock for keeping away the bugs.
In this method, you could split a five gallon batch into five 1 gallon growlers or ten half gallon growlers and experiment away! How great is it to dry hop with five varieties of hops with one style of IPA? Or adding some psychoactive herbs such as coffee, ma huang, yohimbe or tobacco? Even habanero peppers?
I like the experimentation, but beer growlers are mostly great to bring some fresh draft craft beer home, or bringing some home brewed beer out to a party.
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