I'd like to start corking some of my more delicate brews. Is there a reason to switch to corking? Certain styles? And, is it difficult/recommended for a small setup? Thanks.
Actually, its more than aesthetics. Most of the Belgian styles of beers require higher than typical carbonation levels. This requires stronger bottles. It just so happens the majority of the easiest bottles to get your hands on for bottling very spritzy belgian styles are only corkable versions.
Thats the reason to get into corking.
I don't have first hand experience. but since the site is new and some content is better than none I'd pontificate a bit. You will need or at least want a floor corker to be able to put in champagne corks they take a lot of pressure. Other than the presentation of a cool ass corked bottle there is little reason to cork beers.
It would be worth looking into oxygen infiltration between crown caps and corks. I'm not sure which is better. I didn't find any info after a couple of searches.
BYO magazine had an article about corking a couple issues ago. Like unknown said, there's no real reason, other than presentation of a great beer. A tripel clone I made over the summer would have been a perfect candidate, if I felt like putting in the time/expense.
I have the corker (I also make wine), but I would have had to buy bottles, and that's too expensive for a whim.
It is primarily aesthetics thing... I've seen many meads that are sealed with a cork. Also waxing the cork/crown can help with oxygen ingress.
I just bought a Portugese Floor Corker, and find corking to be a lot easier than bottling. Initially, I was soaking my corks in Star San but that was causing infections-- I recommend you do not soak your corks in anything before corking your bottles.
I saved and cleaned my Belgian style bottles and corked a Belgian Strong Ale last year. I steamed the corks for 10 minutes to sanitize and because it made them much easier to insert in the bottles. I learned this technique from an experienced wine maker.