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B-Dub
10/06/09 12:18 AM  
Is there any real difference between capped and co
I have been looking for a difference in capped vs. corked bottles.

Besides the shear beauty of a corked bottle. They are nice!!

Any one have taste tests between the two? Storage of big Belgians or funky beers with corks benefit from micro oxidation? Is is worth the money and storage of yet more beer stuff? (YES!! What am I thinking?!)

I am really just looking for a reason to buy a floor corker and a basket of corks!

Thanks,

BW

SteveG
10/06/09 09:18 AM  
Re: Is there any real difference between capped an
We've batted this around across the street on a few occasions over the years, actually this would probably generate more over on the BBB. But by and large I think the call is that there is not an advantage to either. Some corked bottles even cap over the cork for real protection.
ErikH
10/06/09 10:02 PM  
Re: Is there any real difference between capped an
I too love the look of a corked and caged and bottle, and have been corking as well as capping over the last few years.

However, I have had a number of incidents where corked bottles, after being stored under refrigeration, have resulted in bottles that lost carbonation. Somehow I seem to be experiencing this more in the last year or so. I don't know if I've done anything (setting fridge colder inadvertently maybe?) to generate this. However, it has turned me off to corking a bit and I have refrained from using corks on recent batches of homebrew.

FWIW, I use the 'Belgian' style corks and the fit seems very good in the bottles. I have encountered it with some commercial beers also, although I sometimes wonder if it has been due to brewery error or intentional low carbonations (particularly with de Molen beers).

Just an anecdotal note. I'd love to go back to corking some bottles, even though it is more laborious.

Cisco
10/07/09 01:51 PM  
Re: Is there any real difference between capped an
I have been corking for about 5 years and have never had a bottle lose any carbonation. If you use the proper bottle neck size and proper sized "Belgian" corks then you shouldn't have an issue. I have also never had a commercial corked beer - but I'm not denying that you had the experience.
SteveG
10/07/09 02:02 PM  
Re: Is there any real difference between capped an
Cork quality is essential. In the early days of the BBB Dany from Fantom would happen by here alot. Actually he was invited by someone on the board, we loved the guys beer but a lot of people - myself included - had bottles from him that were complete duds clearly from cork deterioration. He actually changed his cork cause of us!

The one reason I can think of to use a cork over a cap is if you want to use those uber-heavyweight bottles like Ommegang uses. I don't think you'll find a cap that fits. Plus they are designed to hold more pressure. So if - either for aesthetics or practical concerns - that is your bottle of choice its cork or nothing.

MarkO
10/07/09 03:30 PM  
Re: Is there any real difference between capped an
In addition to Steve's point about cork quality, were the corked bottles that lost carbonation stored upright, or on their sides?
Rob B
10/07/09 05:32 PM  
Re: Is there any real difference between capped an
On a side note...what do you guys do to prep your corks for bottling? Sanitation, etc.
Cisco
10/07/09 06:18 PM  
Re: Is there any real difference between capped an
I just float my corks in a bucket of iodophor about a half hour before bottling. They really do soak up the liquid which a lot of it gets squeezed out during the insertion into the bottle. Some folks don't think sanitizing corks is necessary but I have seen mold growing on corks on commercial beers and it just doesn't take any effort to throw them into a bucket of sanitizing solution before using them. Always better to be safe with sanitizing ANYTHING that comes into contact with your precious hard earned beer.
ErikH
10/08/09 11:21 AM  
Re: Is there any real difference between capped an
Cisco, I recall that you were instrumental in getting the right-size corks available to homebrewers in the US, and I have used them religiously ("Ref" and the like) since then.

SteveG, the Ommegang 750ml bottles have a rounded lip and will not accept a cap. I just recently got a 29mm cap adapter and have been happily capping 12oz Dupont bottles, 24oz Fantomes and the like with it. Haven't done the cap-over-cork yet, though.

MarkO, my problem bottles were stored upright in a refrigerator. However, when opened, the cork did not seem abnormally dry or otherwise not normal.

Rob B, I used to steam my corks for 15 min, but for the last year or two have dispensed with sanitizing them in any way, and have yet to have a problem related to that. I use One-Step sanitizer on my caps, and I know it is touted as harmless and not a taste problem, but I just don't like the idea of having much of it left behind in the porous cork. While Cisco is no doubt technically correct, the idea of sanitizer being squeezed out of a cork (and presumably into the beer bottle below) gives me the willies.

Cisco
10/08/09 11:38 AM  
Re: Is there any real difference between capped an
Eric - Look closely at the inside of the neck on bottles that are losing carbonation and see if you can feel irregularities on the glass surface that might contribute to a cork not properly sealing. Mark the bottles that lose carbonation if you still want to use them and see if it happens again, if so then toss the bottle.

My use of iodophor sanitizer on corks has never hampered me from winning the few contests I enter every couple of years. It has zero effect on the beer flavor profile. DON'T BE AFRAID OF SANITIZER!!!!!!!! It's actually your friend.

DerekA
10/13/09 06:51 PM  
Re: Is there any real difference between capped an
After having carbonation issues with a few batches that I corked I did some searching on the interwebs. I found a thread about bad batches of corks that Morebeer sells. I'm now trying Northern brewer as they have the corks with "ref" on the side that I heard were the good ones.

If I remember correctly people were saying that the Morebeer corks were overly dense and didn't conform inside the neck correctly.

tankdeer
10/14/09 04:02 PM  
Re: Is there any real difference between capped an
To avoid confusion, my understanding is that it was a SINGLE batch of bad corks from MoreBeer. FWIW, I have the MoreBeer corks. They DO have REF on them, and they seal perfectly. Never had one bad cork.
Scott J
10/14/09 04:07 PM  
Re: Is there any real difference between capped an
Anyone seen these? http://www.eurocork.com/info.aspx?pg=58

They seem like they would be less likely to loose carbonation. I contacted them but they don't distribute in the US yet. They akes me If I had any recommendations for them (for a US distributor).

I had some problems with corks recently and now that I think about it they may have come from Morebeer.

 
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