“How long does a growler last” is a common question from homebrewers and craft beer lovers. Having a growler always comes in handy whenever you don’t have the chance to visit your local microbrewery. However, you do not want to have a flat beer on your hands after a few days.
Read this complete guide to find out how long your beer can last in a growler as we catch up on the growler concept.
How Long Does a Growler Last?
Also, beer can remain fresh for months if you fill the growler with a full counter-pressure system. A carbon dioxide filling method will also keep beer fresh for longer. Regular growlers and pressurized growlers hold beer for different amounts of time, so let’s talk about maintaining beer in these two types of growlers.
– How Long Will Beer Last in Regular Growlers?
Beer stored in a regular unopened growler will typically last for several days, but the beer tends to go flat within at most 36 hours after it is opened. Standard glass or stainless steel growlers are non-pressurized containers, and several factors can affect the length of beer preservation in these growlers. For example, filling the regular growler from the bottom using a tube will increase the beer’s shelf life.
Likewise, you can clear air out of a regular growler using a vacuum pump that uses CO2 before filling the growler. This will help preserve the beer inside it longer. Generally, people tend to serve beers at 10 to 15 psi. However, tap pressure at about 2 to 4 psi will provide the required pressure to pour the beer while preserving the CO2.
The color of the regular growler you use may also influence how long beer lasts in it. The common colors you will find are transparent and amber. Amber-colored growlers protect the beer from ultraviolet rays from the sun. As a result, it helps the beer stay fresh for longer.
– How Long Will Beer Last in Pressurized Growlers?
Beer can last in pressurized growlers between several weeks to a few months. In this case, the method you used to fill the growler has little or no effect. Using a pressurized growler will make up for any carbonation that is lost when filling it.
There are pressurized growlers with their CO2 cartridges placed between the tank and the cap. You can also have a pressurized growler with the CO2 cartridge mounted on the side.
While these two types of growlers are suitable for pressurized beer storage, the side-mounted CO2 cartridge growler offers more benefits. For instance, you can remove the CO2 cartridge, spout and regulator to make the growler more compact. Thus, storage is easier and they can keep beers for months.
How To Make a Growler Last Longer
Making a growler of beer last longer requires buying a high-quality growler and employing suitable pouring techniques. For instance, it is better to fill the container from the bottom using a tube. Clearing air from your growler and decreasing the pouring pressure while filling will also help your growler last.
There are some other steps that you should keep in mind if you want to ensure optimal storage of your growler. Here’s a comprehensive overview of these steps:
– Choose a High-quality Container
Your choice of growler will directly impact how long beer will last in it. For instance, beer stored in non-pressurized stainless steel or glass growlers usually lasts from a few days to a couple of weeks, but the beer may go flat within 36 hours of opening it.
On the other hand, pressurized growlers can hold your beer longer. Beer in this type of growler can last for many weeks to months.
– Attach a Growler Filler Tube to the Tap
Filling your growler directly from the tap is not a good practice. Doing this will create a lot of foam, dealing plenty of CO2 from the beer. It also exposes the beer to oxygen, decreasing how long you can store the beer.
As a result, filling your growler from the bottom with a growler filler tube is the best option. This pouring method guarantees longer storage of your beer, keeping it much more fresh.
Filling Directly From the Tap
Sometimes, you may be left with no choice but to allow your local brewery, restaurant or beer pub to fill your growler from the tap. In this case, tell whoever is in charge to reduce the tap’s pressure before they pour the beer.
Also, it will be best to ensure that they tilt the growler while pouring to reduce the foam created and corresponding CO2 loss. They should also cap your growler gently while some foam still leaks from the top. All these will ensure that your beer stays fresh longer.
– Reduce the Pouring Pressure
Another great way to increase how long you can store your beer in growlers is to reduce the pouring pressure from the tap. The typical pouring pressure is around 10 to 15 psi in several breweries, restaurants, and pubs.
Having the tenders reduce the pressure to about 2 to 4 psi will decrease foam production and CO2 loss, giving the beer good carbonation. Furthermore, you will reduce the beer’s exposure to oxygen when you fill the growler at a lower pressure. Therefore, the growler will last longer than when you pour it at full pressure.
– Use Counter-pressure Bottle Fillers
When storing your beer in a growler, the last thing you want is to contaminate it with oxygen. Therefore, you should try to purge any oxygen that may be in your growler. You can do this by using a counter-pressure filler unit to blast the container with CO2.
Doing this will help keep your beer carbonated and fresh for longer than when you simply fill it from the bottom. The process allows the beer and CO2 to flow through the same tube while keeping oxygen and many other contaminants out. Some counter-pressure systems come with adjustable valves to help control the fill rate.
– Top Up Gently
If you fill growlers often, you would have noticed that beer often speeds up and foams more when it approaches the neck. Whenever you notice this happening, back off gently on the flow, then gently remove the growler from the tap or fill tube.
When you reach this point, allow some of the foam produced to pour out from the growler’s top, displacing any remaining oxygen. Then put the growler’s cap on while some of the foam is still pouring out. This step further postpones the oxidation of your beer, letting you store the growler longer.
How To Tell if Your Growler of Beer Has Gone Bad
The first step to knowing if your growler of beer has gone bad is to look at its surface. The typical appearance of top-fermented beer is a “white cap,” which is a creamy head. This appearance is due to the lesser foam formed by their yeast.
Whenever a beer produces a head, there are lots of CO2 and bubbles in the beer. If the beer has gone bad, you won’t notice the foam on its surface. This means that too much oxidation has occurred and the CO2 content has been reduced.
The color of a growler of beer also helps you tell if it is bad. An off-white color may imply that oxidation has occurred or the growler has been exposed to light. The taste of the beer will also change. These organoleptic features will help you decide if your beer is still good or it has gone flat, so make sure that you do not drink beer that does not look right!
Tips To Keep Your Beer Growlers Carbonated and Fresh
The following tips will help you keep beer in your growler for a longer period of time:
- Do not open the growler until you are ready to pour it and drink. Make sure you drink the beer within two weeks of opening the growler.
- Keep the growler cold at all times. Never leave it at room temperature.
- Take the cap off, then pour slowly into your glass to prevent CO2 loss. Put the cap right back and seal it tightly when done.
- Avoid exposing the growler to direct sunlight. Using a dark-colored or true amber growler can also prevent light penetration into the beer.
This guide gave a comprehensive answer to a question popular among draft beer lovers — “how long does a growler last?” We also guided you on the best ways to store beer in a growler and keep it fresh for a longer period. Here’s a summary of what we covered:
- A growler of beer often lasts anywhere between several days to a few weeks, depending on the type of growler and the storage condition.
- Beer stored in regular, non-pressurized growlers typically lasts for several days but will go flat within 36 hours of opening it.
- Pressurized growlers often hold fresh beers for several weeks or months in some cases.
- To make your growler of beer last longer, you have to choose a quality growler, reduce the pouring pressure, gently top up the growler and fill it from the bottom using a filler tube.
- You can tell if your growler of beer has gone bad by inspecting its physical properties such as color, taste and foaming qualities.
If you are out to get a new beer growler, keep the tips above in mind to keep your growler of beer fresh and high quality.
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