By William Mundy
Imagine this: You have 5 gallons of a juicy IPA sitting in the keg. You get a call from a friend, who happens to have a boat on a nearby lake. Accepting the invitation, it occurs that you could top off growlers of that IPA everyone has enjoyed. Grabbing the growlers and the cooler off you go!
At the dock, the boat owner sees the cooler and asks. “Hope you didn’t bring any glass containers, last weekend a bottle broke, and someone cut their foot on the glass”. With the prohibition of glass onboard you put the cooler back into the car. No IPAs for anybody, but a good time was had by all.
After returning home, you start thinking. Don’t people can their homebrews? With some research the answer is an emphatic YES! The benefits of canning are manyfold: Less weight, a full 12 oz glass bottle is 20 oz., as opposed to a 12 oz. can at 12.48 oz. Safety is increased too, visualize the 16 oz bottle dropped on a concrete patio, vs a 16 oz can. Cans will chill faster than glass. And to me, the biggest factor is in time spent packaging. Someone must go around and collect empty bottles. They will then be cleaned, sanitized, dried, and stored until time to refill. Not so with cans! Fill, pop the top, enjoy, then toss into the recycling can. My progression was from 12 oz. to 16 oz. bottles to growlers, then into canning.
As with any hobby, it’s a gradual development of a need, then moving to satisfy it. Decide on a canning machine
that suits your criteria. Once obtaining the can seamer, begin thinking of how to fill the cans
. Out of the many options, I choose to get a beergun
. This allows hooking directly to both my keg “beer out” fitting, and separate CO2 line. With this device, a quick blast of CO2 in the bottom of the can displaces any air, then using the push-to-fill end of the gun, just let the beer fill till foam reaches the top.
Place a lid on the can. Follow the manufacturers recommended method of sealing the lid to the can. All canning machines form a hermetically sealed can, same as from a store. So, when the top is popped, it’s your homebrewed, craft beer people will be enjoying.
The process of filling is just the same as bottling, in the fact that all components must be sanitized. Fill cans that are colder than the beer. My method is to fill a plastic container with sanitizer and add ice to chill the cans and lids. Once filled, they go into a rinse bath prior to labeling
Canning homebrew is simple. The benefits of portability, safety and timesaving is quite an incentive to delve into canning. If you’re expanding your hobby, consider it, the results will please you. Once I tried it, canning is how my beverages are packaged. Cheers!
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