Appendix viii – Bottle Types

There are four basic bottle types used for bottling mead and other fermented beverages. They are: screw-top bottles, reusable cappable bottles, corkable bottles, and grolsch-style bottles with a rubber washer.

Screw-top bottles are becoming much more common in the wine world. You can buy screw-caps of your own, but make sure you know which size you need (28mm and 38mm are both common) and also that you know how to use them correctly. I don't, so I avoid them.

Plastic screw-top bottles (such as carbonated beverages are commonly sold in) are fine for short-term storage, but I won't keep mead in one for more than a day or two. When I do use them, it's to take a bottle to a party, and I generally fill it the night before.

Reusable, cappable bottles were typically beer bottles sold as returnables. They were sturdy and my first choice for bottling mead for long-term storage. Capping is relatively simple, and bottle cappers can be easily bought. But returnable bottles are a thing of the past. You can buy similar bottles at homebrewing stores.

Corkable bottles are standard wine bottles. They may have a lip which can also be capped, but most don't. Corking is another time-proven method, but corking requires a bottle-corker and you need to soak the corks so they can be compressed enough to get them into the bottle. I tried corking bottles once, and found it frustrating, but that was before “agglomerated” or “composite” corks. If you're going to cork bottles, I strongly suggest a floor-model corker which will give you the leverage and controllability you need to make corking bottles easy.

Grolsch-style bottles (also known as swing-top bottles) have a ceramic stopper with a rubber washer. They're simple and as long as the washer is good, they provide a good seal. They can also be re-sealed partway through, if you can't finish a bottle. The main drawback to them is they're more expensive than the other types of bottles.

#appendix #equipment

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