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I recently fell in love with Green Flash's Double stout. I noticed their bottles feel significantly heavier than all my other bottles, and in looking online found this press release.

I know many of the 750 ml bottles I've purchased feel more substantial as well, and Maredsous 8 I seem to recall being heavier (and smaller), but is there reason to choose specific bottles for specific brews, ignoring the presentation aspect? I expect that higher pressure would only be related to higher levels of carbonation, which is curious as I certainly didn't think the double stout I had was in any way excessively carbonated.

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3 Answers 3

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Actually, yes. I've read that a longneck industry standard bottle is only rated to about 4 volumes of CO2 - so more highly carbonated beer styles, like weizens, lambics, and certain Belgians, need heavier glass bottles.

The last thing a brewery wants is to release a batch of bottle bombs, so the ratings typically have a generous safety factor applied, but when you consider brittle fracture mechanics, and the irregularities in the surface finish, it's completely necessary.

Plus, if you've ever tried the bar trick where you pop a bottle full of water by hitting your palm on the mouth, you've seen how little pressure is really needed to blow up a bottle. Try the same trick on a heavy Belgian 750 - it's almost impossible to break.

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+1 if for no other reason than I now have to demonstrate physics at our next beer related get-together. Do you or any homebrewer you know specifically discriminate the bottles you use for specific brews? –  Mlusby Apr 6 '11 at 20:13
    
absolutely. if you're going above 3.5 volumes carbonation, use the heavy bottles - either the champagne-style ones (although it's sometimes tough to find these with a standard cap) or the heavy swing-top 16-oz bottles. –  Brandon Apr 7 '11 at 15:41
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I suppose if you went crazy with carbonation, then you would. But at that point the beer would be so highly carbed it would be difficult to pour. If you look at highly carbed beers like hefe or some Belgians, there's nothing special about those bottles.

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Hate to hear bogus marketing, or just wrong information from a craft brewery. I like the bottles though, the heft is a plus in my book. –  Mlusby Apr 6 '11 at 16:16
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According to this cidermaker, "regular" beer bottles can hold up to 3 atm (45 psi), and "champagne" bottles can hold up to 6 atm (90 psi).

Champagne-style bottles with the large dimple in the bottom are the strongest. That bottom will withstand more pressure before failure than a flat bottom. I bet a standard crown cap would fail before the bottle--you'd need a cork with a wire cork basket to withstand 6 atm!

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+1 for a citation –  Mark McDonald Apr 7 '11 at 23:10
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