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I purchased a commercially filled growler today, and it doesn't appear to have the plastic "growler" lid that I usually get when getting one filled at a taproom or beer store. It has a thin metal screw-on cap instead. In my experience the plastic lids will only hold carbonation for maybe up to 3 days, and usually quite a bit less. I don't know whether to expect the same results with a metal lid, though.

Do I need to drink this beer tomorrow, or can I wait for the weekend?

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I discovered if I leave the electric tape that my brew pub wraps around their lids, it seems to last a few days longer. – Wulfhart Sep 20 '11 at 18:48
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Well I get commercially filled growlers at the liquor store with metal lids on them and they stay carbed until opened. I think it just depends on how well the cap is sealed when it gets closed. I proper lid will keep it carbed until opened. Even in between openings it should hold its pressure, albeit at a lower lever because you'll lose some everytime you pour it out.

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I pull a balloon over the neck of the growler so I can see if I have a leaking cap. Having a non-leaking cap is key. With a good cap, and a proper no-air fill (counter pressure or at least cap on foam), your growler should last months (keeping it chilled would be best). Once opened, the party is over in a day. I've tried several kinds of caps. Poly seal caps are what I settled upon. – Dale Nov 25 '11 at 19:43

My experience with metal caps is similar to yours with plastic. If you screw them on tight when you fill them, they might stay carbonated 3 days. Once you open them you only have a day or two.

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My local brewpub (Victory) has a counter-pressure filler that manages to keep proper carbonation for (seemingly) indefinitely. Though, admittedly, I haven't waited more than a few weeks between filling and drinking, they insist that it will last for months until opened.

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From what I have heard from several credible sources the general rule is unopened 4 days, and after opening you should consume in about four hours. reasons being the oxygen permeability of the cap is moderate, after opened you introduced oxygen as you pour which will of coarse oxidize the beer. that being said this should be taken lightly if you don't quite have the upper crust BJCP sniffer and taste buds. On another note I left a half full growler out in garage temp for a year and when opened it had quite a bit of pressure (just a guess 15-20 psi) I was shocked!

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