Looking forward to a refreshing bottle of your home-brewed beer only to find out that you don't have a bottle opener on hand can be frustrating, but it's not hard to avoid. Although most home brewers use a standard crown cap, which requires a bottle opener, it's not hard to bottle your beer with twist-off caps. It simply requires a little extra planning.
Choosing Your Bottles
You'll need to use the right type of bottles for a twist-off cap. Most beer bottles have a simple flange at the end of the neck. The capper will press the crown into place around the flange, sealing the bottle. If using a twist-off cap, you'll need a special type of bottle with a threaded end on the neck. Although they are less common than flanged necks, you can purchase them new or reuse old bottles. If reusing bottles, be sure to clean and sterilize them thoroughly first.
Although you may see some caps listed for sale as "twist-off," there isn't any difference between a normal crown cap and a twist-off cap. Some twist-off caps are labeled to avoid confusion, but the lack of a label doesn't mean that you can't use a crown cap on a twist-off bottle. The difference in caps is in how the capper applies the cap to the bottle's neck, rather than in the caps themselves.
Putting the Cap on It
Once you have filled your first bottle, it's time to apply the cap. Choosing your capper makes a difference here; many threaded beer bottles are intended to be used only once. The necks of these bottles are thinner than most non-threaded bottles, and they may crack if capped with a hand-held capper. Bench-top cappers, which don't clamp on to the bottle's neck, will be safer to use.
What to Watch Out For
Because many threaded bottles are thinner than their flanged counterparts are, they may not be suitable for situations where they're going to be under a lot of pressure. If you're going to brew a highly carbonated beer, "Brew Your Own" magazine recommends avoiding these thinner bottles. The pressure caused by the intense carbonation may crack the thin glass of the bottle's neck.
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