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In my first bottling, I decided I wanted to try using half normal reused glass bottles with new bottle caps and half reused Grolsch beer bottles.

Probably the worst part of the process was having to drink the Grolsch beers. They are horrible and half of them were skunky (could it be because of the green bottle versus brown?), and the other half just weren't good at all. What I noticed was that all of the normal bottles that I cleaned and sanitized tasted fine, but the Grolsch bottles tasted skunky, but only at the top of the bottle. Once I had been drinking a little bit further into the bottle, the skunkiness went away. Before I bottled it, it was hard to make sure the cap was fully sanitized. I closed the bottle with the sanitizer in it, and tipped the sanitized solution toward the cap.

Has anyone else noticed this problem with using Grolsch beer bottles? Are they just not a very good bottle to use? I think after my experience, I would not recommend them.

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Are you saying that you drink from the bottle? If so, you're really missing out on what it means to truly taste beer. Always drink good beer (homebrew especially included) from a glass. –  JackSmith Feb 3 '10 at 16:51
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Are you saying that you drink from the bottle? If so, you're really missing out on what it means to truly taste beer. Always drink good beer (homebrew especially included) from a glass. I found this article a while back: trappistpunks.com/?p=64 –  JackSmith Feb 3 '10 at 16:52
    
Why'd you buy the Grolsch in the first place? I kid. I kid. Sort of. –  hookedonwinter Feb 3 '10 at 18:05
    
The skunkyness was very likely because of the green bottles. Read more here: brewadvice.com/questions/512/skunking-beer-process It is possible that the six-pack carrier protected most of the beer from light and only the top got skunked. But you probably just got used to the flavor and didn't notice it as much after the first few sips. –  Dean Brundage Feb 4 '10 at 15:41
    
@JackSmith If my brew turned out well (which it didn't), I would drink it out of the glass. But I've tried it out of a glass (the better ones that didn't skunk a bit in the Grolsch bottles) and out of the bottle and it doesn't make much difference because the beer isn't good. Once I make a good brew, I will drink only out of the glass. @PJ I thought I would kill two birds with one stone. Drink beer and get good bottles. Fail on both accounts. @Dean Brundage The skunkiness would have come prior to putting my beer in it. My beer was never exposed to light (besides the fridge light). –  bfrederi Feb 5 '10 at 14:56
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10 Answers 10

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I would fully immerse the bottles in sanitizer to make sure the lids got dealt with adequately, and boil the rubber gaskets in water like you would with normal bottle caps. That should really take care of all the sanitation issues. Due to the bottles being green, I would highly recommend keeping them away from light if at all possible. I have some friends that use these bottles with no ill effects, so I know it can be done.

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I had no idea you were supposed to boil the caps and gaskets. I just set them in a bowl of sanitizer. –  bfrederi Feb 5 '10 at 14:49
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Soaking should be fine. Over time the high heat of boiling isn't good for the rubber gaskets. They dry out faster over time and need replacing. –  brewchez Jul 9 '10 at 23:22
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I'm surprised no one mentioned Fischer beer bottles. Brown, better shoulders to decant from...and better beer :). https://www.google.com/search?q=fischer+beer&espv=2&es_sm=122&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=Uzs4U5i4CMqFyQHC7IGQCA&ved=0CCgQsAQ&biw=1387&bih=892

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Well I did mention brown glass swing tops. ;) I haven't heard of Fischer's though. –  leonardo Mar 30 at 21:08
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It's possible also to buy brown glass swingtops. They're quite expensive compared to recycling bottles from commercial beer or buying regular bottles and capping them yourself. Possible advantages is that they hold 450 mL, they're very sturdy and so can handle high volumes of CO2, and they're just as easy to sterilize for bottling as other bottles. I find them useful for bottling smaller portions of wine or strong beer, making a good serving for a couple of guests.

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Re Skunkiness:

Chill the beer for 48 hours before drinking it if you can, for best taste. Skunky flavor can be from sun damage (too much exposure to light) but if your situation is one I'm familiar with, then it may simply be that you bought it warm and didn't chill it for very long before consuming it. I don't know why that should make such a big difference even in the absence of active yeasts, but it seems to.

Personally I appreciate the taste of Grolsch quite well (: I'm glad that I can get nice bottles like that with the added bonus of decent beer already in 'em!

Re Sanitizing:

I bathe 'em in hot water, which can be better in some ways because the heat can permeate into places that no-rinse sanitizer can't reach as easily, such as the area between the inside-diameter of the rubber grommet and the porcelain top/cap.

I don't -remove- the gaskets but I -do- kindof "flip" them the other way, basically if you pull the edges of the gasket away from the cap then its cone-shape can invert and expose the reverse side of the disc as well. After a short time mid-bath I flip them back into the regular position.

(One more note about hot-water sterilizing: It's winter here so if I avoid dumping the still-hot water down the drain when I'm done sanitizing stuff, the heat can radiate off into the house and air, thus saving some work that the furnace would otherwise do and becoming effectively free [or "utility-bill-neutral" for lack of a better term.] Of course if your water can't come out of the tap at 150+ degrees F, it's no safe bet for pasteurization. Mine easily exceeds 170 since I adjusted the water-heater, it's hot enough for most things!)

p.s. I just noticed this question was asked like 4 years ago, when I post this answer, ha

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I have used Grolsch bottles for 10+ years with no problems. The gaskets seem to provide a better seal than the standard 500ml brown swingtops.

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I looked this up in my Everything Homebrew book:

Skunky

Cause: interaction between isomerized alpha acids and UV light.

How to avoid: Store beer away from the light in brown bottles or firmly boxed against exposure.

Example: Green bottle lagers.

So maybe the simplest way to fix it is store the brew in a box when bottle conditioning and cover it during fermentation. Or perhaps try an Ale as they seem to have more resistance to light issues.

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Grolsch bottles work fantastically for homebrew apfelwein, since there aren't any hop chemicals to get skunky. And I used to be OCD about sanitizing the gaskets separately, but it dawned on me that a) it's a ton of extra work and b) the amount of handling involved in re-seating the gasket was probably negating the extra work. So I just fill the bottles with sanitizer and shake well. But I just use the Grolsch bottles for the Montrachet & apple juice, not wanting any extra help in having my homebrewed beer come out weird/bad.

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I never do anything special with the gasket. I give the bottles a complete rinse in iodophor sanitizer, dry then bottle. –  leonardo Mar 30 at 21:09
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I use swingtop bottles all the time that are either clear or green. As long as you keep them out of the light they will not skunk the beer. I have found that bottling in 1 liter swingtops takes a fraction of the time that using 12 oz. bottles or even 22's does. I remove the gaskets, run the bottles through the dishwasher with no detergent, and soak the gaskets in starsan or vodka before closing.

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+1 for sanitizing with vodka! –  Reed Mar 19 at 10:42
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I use green Grolsch bottles all the time, without problems. The bottles don't see light until I crack them open. Fill, close, box to carbonate, and then to the firdge.

I leave the cages and ceramic tops on the bottles when soaking in sanitizer, but I boil the gaskets separately, I don't trust a sanitizing solution.

As to the flavor of Grolsch, I guess it's an acquired taste, but that is one of my favorite hot-weather beers, hand down. I buy by the case, so they're enclosed and more protected from UV light, I would imagine.

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agreed - I've been using mine successfully for 15+ years. I built simple wooden crates to keep them in the dark, and they don't see the light until they go into the fridge or cooler. I also have never removed the gaskets to sanitize them, I just wash them by hand with soap and water and run them through the dishwasher on the sanitizing cycle w/out soap –  Germ Aug 9 '11 at 23:58
    
+1 for using Grolsch bottles all the time without problems. I've done that too, though not much anymore. No skunkiness if they're kept out of the light. But I wouldn't boil the gaskets. –  Jeff Roe Jun 13 '13 at 4:57
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Green beer bottles lead to light contamination, in my experience.

I do not recommend you use green bottles. If you want bottles with bale stoppers, you can buy them, although they are expensive in comparison to regular bottles.

I know there is a lot of controversy regarding light struck beer. I say why bother risking it. Recycle the Grolsh bottles and be done with it.

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