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.
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 HagenlocherJan 30, 2012 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 HagenlocherJan 30, 2012 at 16:11
In the late 1960's my dad sealed his home-brew beer bottles with firm plastic (propathene?) re-usable beer bottle caps. If he'd overdone the priming sugar the bottles would still explode. These caps had a 3/8" lever moulded into them so you could pry off the cap with your thumb. Child-proof as kid's thumbs weren't strong enough to push the plastic caps off. He used these caps for several years without them losing their ability to hold pressure. I believe the patent on these has been bought out so that crown caps are not replaced ... like when gas mantle factories went bust as electric light gl– John SmithOct 12, 2022 at 8:21
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.
1+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).– JoeFishJan 23, 2012 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.
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.
1I'm not sure I'd trust a growler cap to hold up to the pressure required for carbonating in the bottle.– MattressJan 26, 2012 at 22:13
I do it all the time, it works great and really cuts down on bottling time. Jan 30, 2012 at 16:57
There are also twist close plastic bottles and caps, the kind that come with the "Mr. Beer" kit, that are reusable.
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!!!!