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How often do people reuse bottlecaps, if at all? Given the slight crease that's introduced when removing the cap, I'm a little nervous about reusing them -- though it seems that there shouldn't be a problem if they're washed and sanitized, and if there's no leakage when the bottle is held upside-down after capping.

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This desire was at least in part a result of the problems I had with my capper, which had the bad habit of snapping the necks of bottles I was trying to cap. The failure rate was lower with pre-used bottlecaps, probably because less force was required to apply the cap. –  Curt Hagenlocher Jan 30 '12 at 16:10
    
I'm going to continue to reuse caps for kombucha, which differs from beer by having much lower (non-cap) COGS and far less sensitivity to infection. –  Curt Hagenlocher Jan 30 '12 at 16:11

5 Answers 5

up vote 15 down vote accepted

I've never done it, and I wouldn't recommend it. I suspect that the seals inside the caps are really only good for one use.

It doesn't make sense to me to try to save money there. You just spent a bunch of time and energy making a tasty beer: you don't want to ruin it by using faulty or contaminated caps. Even if they don't leak beer, they may still leak CO2 once they're under pressure.

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+1: bottle caps are one-time-use consumables. Your beer is worth the $0.02 for a new cap (assuming the $2.99 for 144 caps at Brewmasterswarehouse). –  JoeFish Jan 23 '12 at 19:18

Or you could go with swing-top bottles. Although after some time you will have to replace the red rubber seals on those as well. But much less waste than with caps.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/ez-cap-bottles-brown-16-oz-with-flip-tops.html

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/ez-cap-bottles-brown-1-liter-with-flip-tops.html

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/wire-bales-for-flip-tops.html

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If you want "recyclable" caps, you could consider bottling to 1/2 gallon growlers... 38mm "polyseal" caps are machine washable and make a decent seal.

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I'm not sure I'd trust a growler cap to hold up to the pressure required for carbonating in the bottle. –  Mattress Jan 26 '12 at 22:13
    
I do it all the time, it works great and really cuts down on bottling time. –  Jeremy Holovacs Jan 30 '12 at 16:57

There are also twist close plastic bottles and caps, the kind that come with the "Mr. Beer" kit, that are reusable.

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I have reused them with NO troubles! Just re-sanitize. I don't make it a regular practice though. Only when I run out of caps when bottling!!!!

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