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I've heard it said that twist-off bottles should be avoided when reusing bottles for homebrewing. I've also heard a few people saying they've used plenty of them with no ill effects. Given that (at least around here) twist-offs are much easier to come by in quantity, I ask:

  • Should twist-offs be avoided?
  • What are their disadvantages?
  • If one was going to use them, what steps should be taken to minimize their problems?
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6 Answers 6

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Because of the grooves for the cap to actually twist off, there's nowhere near enough for the lids to clamp onto. The regular lids and capping tools are all geared toward the nice, thick lip of glass on "regular" bottles.

While you might "sort of" get a seal on a twist-off, it's a ticking time bomb before it leaks and your beer spoils/oxygenates, or just plain decarbonates, etc.

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good answer, good detail! –  CLJ Nov 10 '10 at 2:33
    
This has been my experience as well. I get a very high failure rate when using twist-off bottles. It's not worth the risk, in my opinion. –  Bryan Nov 10 '10 at 2:35
    
oh really. I just invested in 2 packs of bottles for my first home brew. Very dissapointed if when it comes to re-use I get seal failures. I was advised in my local home brew shop that PET bottles are preferable to glass in all ways except romanticism. –  SuperBOB Dec 21 '11 at 11:40

Don't do it! The twist off bottles are too weak for reuse. Only use the pop top variety.

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Too weak? No way. :-) –  Jeff Roe Nov 10 '10 at 14:32

One of my cappers would fail to seal maybe 1 time out of 50 (with twist-offs). My other capper has never failed. Most of my bottles are non-twist-off, but some of them are twist-offs.

If you've got access to Sleeman's bottles (from Canada), I'd suggest trying them. They're pretty, clear, twist-off, they cap really well, and they come in a fully-enclosing box so your clear bottles are protected from light.

It seems this whole twist-off vs. non-twist-off thing is a YMMV thing.

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I have almost exclusively used twist off bottles. I have never had any issues with any of them.

They are generally well carbonated (I blame myself for any issues there), and I haven't noticed any major off flavours from my bottles.

The capper that I use was one that came in a kit from a local brewshop and I don't think it's anything special.

My recommendation is try with the twist offs and if you don't experience any issues, keep using them.

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I recycled twist-off bottles from storebought beverages when I first got started home brewing, but I don't use them any more. The storebought bottles are surprisingly fragile and don't survive heat cycling very well at all. I'd lose 10% of the twist-off bottles on every trip through the dishwasher - cracks would appear at the base of the bottle neck. I've never had that kind of trouble with the thicker pop-cap bottles made for homebrewing.

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Twist off caps are like caps on wine bottles. They make the product appear cheap. There's a satisfying gratification to using a tool to pop off the top.

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