Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Bomber vs. 750ml+ (proper volume designations)

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Knifestyles, Oct 5, 2012.


What is the volume of a "bomber"?

  1. 22oz

  2. 750ml

  3. Anything larger than 12oz

  4. Can be used interchangeably between all "larger" volumes (i.e. not 12oz)

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Jun 7, 2005 New York

    Was having an interesting back-and-forth in the South-Atlantic forum regarding specific bottle volumes and what they're most commonly referred to as.

    I've always been under the impression that a "bomber", as we know it, is typically a 22oz container. However, it seems that there's an argument that this designation can be interchangeably used with what would essentially just be a larger package volume (i.e. 750ml, etc).

    All semantics/colloquialisms aside, is this volume terminology really as interchangeable as some may assume/want it to be? Personally, I think that the difference between a 22oz bottle and anything "bigger" is usually significant enough to require its own specific designation thus assigning "bombers" to an exact volume.

    What say you?
  2. evilc

    evilc Jan 27, 2012 California

    I call 22s Bombers, 750's 750's, 12oz 12oz =)
  3. brewbetter

    brewbetter Jun 2, 2012 Nauru

    750 is 15% bigger than 22oz. People use bomber to describe both, but many people think bomber means 22 specifically. The etymology of the term seems to come from the English "bumper," which just meant a larger bottle.
  4. mtalley999

    mtalley999 Oct 6, 2011 Maryland

    I work in the beverage alcohol industry and a "750" is a "750." Could be different on the beer side, since my experience is primarily with wine and spirits, but that seems like it would just be confusing.
  5. pmoney

    pmoney Apr 15, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader


  6. Providence

    Providence Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Based on the responses to your survey it doesn't seem like there is much of an argument at all.
  7. muletrane

    muletrane Oct 26, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Come on! We all know its for 22oz only! Lets get real here!
  8. TheBishopco

    TheBishopco Feb 4, 2011 Tennessee
    Beer Trader

    But what about 650 mL bottles???
    smutty33, elgiacomo and FosterJM like this.
  9. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Jun 7, 2005 New York

    While an overwhelming majority does appear to align with this common understanding, the inclusion of a few minority voters seems...well...perplexing (to me).

    I suppose that anyone could attempt to use just about any word to describe just about anything, but they certainly wouldn't be fully understood (or more importantly, correct). I have to wonder if these particular voters are also traders. There could be some interesting implications to that....

    EDIT: For a bit more context, here's the thread in which this poll was inspired:

  10. ao125

    ao125 Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

    North Coast Old Stock Cellar Reserve ale came in those obnoxious 550ml (18.6oz) bottles.
    Way too little beer to justify the price.
  11. franklinn

    franklinn May 29, 2012 Vermont

    22oz, no questions.

    If someone was like "Hey dude, can you get me a bomber of that Hill Farmstead saison?" I'd be like "Those are in 750 ml bottles, so no."
  12. geocool

    geocool Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    I think some might argue that the term could apply to 22oz or 750ml, but that choice is not on this poll. For me it only means 22oz. But at one local shop they offer 10% off on bombers if you buy six or more, and guess what, 750ml bottles are included in the promotion.
  13. jesskidden

    jesskidden Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    That's interesting. Got a citation for that theory? I've often thought that could be the etymology of the term (probably even posted it on the old BA forum), but "Bumper" wasn't used often in the US brewery industry - the most notable example I've ever found were Ballantine's quart cans and bottles in the '40's.

    Then the term only seems to re-appear in the US in the late '80's - early '90's mostly in reference to the 650 ml./21 oz bottles used by some Japanese, Aussie and Euro imports (Beck's even used it on their neck labels). 22 oz. bottles had once been common in the US in the '30's and '40's on the West Coast, and then revived in the US by Anderson Valley in the late '80's.

    My other theory is that it came from dope smokers - transferred from meaning a big joint to a big bottle of beer...


    BrettHead, libbey, abraxel and 4 others like this.
  14. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Jun 7, 2005 New York

    That would likely be the 4th choice: "Can be used interchangeably" (though, I wasn't too worried about being specific about which volumes).
  15. quirkzoo

    quirkzoo Jul 7, 2011 Colorado

    550ml is always called a Wellington ;)

    But seriously, a bomber is a 22 oz bottle. If I know something only comes in 750's and someone calls it a bomber I just assume they don't actually know the volume and think that it is 22oz's. I may or may not correct them but it is no big deal.

    So I guess what I am trying to say is that Bomber always equals 22oz unless used improperly, then I still know what you mean but you used the wrong term.
  16. bryanole27

    bryanole27 Jun 24, 2011 North Carolina

    I use 'bomber' interchangabley between 22s and 750s, and people always know what I'm talking about. I understand a 'bomber' is technically a 22, but I really don't care. I like saying bomber. Bomber, bomber, bomber.
    GreenCoffee likes this.
  17. geocool

    geocool Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    Actually your third and fourth choices are identical as they are worded, IMHO. I've never heard the term used for 500ml, or magnums or larger bottles.
  18. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Dec 20, 2006 New York

    I generally refer to 22 oz bottles as "bombers" and 750 ml bottles as "750s", but I also wouldn't care or even blink an eye if someone called a 750 a bomber. I mean, what difference does it really make?
  19. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Mar 23, 2008 California

    I'll use bomber for a mixed group of larger bottles just to make it easy.

    For instance...
    I'd say
    "I shipped you a 12 pack of bombers"
    rather than
    "I shipped you 8 bombers, 3 750's, and 1 16oz. bottle"
  20. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Jun 7, 2005 New York

    So is this just a regional thing then?
  21. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Jun 7, 2005 New York

    Ah, good point! Hmmm....have to wonder where that stray single vote came from then.....
  22. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Jun 7, 2005 New York

    3+ ounces, actually.

    EDIT: Also, I think these are important distinctions to make....especially when dealing with these in a trading context. Assuming we all decided to use it interchangeably, there would be a great deal of confusion involved.
  23. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Jun 7, 2005 New York

    Ah, so like a murder of crows....or a gaggle of geese. I gotcha.
  24. bryanole27

    bryanole27 Jun 24, 2011 North Carolina

    In a formal setting like trading I will differentiate of course. I'm just talking about in a casual setting among friends.
  25. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Jun 7, 2005 New York

    Ah, I see. That's pretty intriguing, actually. Perhaps it's just me, but the way in which I refer to things doesn't really deviate based on the familiarity of my company. I'll just refer to things as they're widely understood regardless of who I'm with.
    Retail1LO likes this.
  26. bryanole27

    bryanole27 Jun 24, 2011 North Carolina

    Well 'widely understood' to us BAs, but I think most people that are a little less 'experienced' than us think big bottle = bomber. Hell, people might not even realize the amount is different and assume they are simply a different looking bottle.
  27. brewbetter

    brewbetter Jun 2, 2012 Nauru

    er.. what are the examples of beers that are available in both 22 and 750? I don't see how it makes a difference even for trading unless you are anal about oz4oz.
  28. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Jun 7, 2005 New York

    I'm not talking about the same beer in different volume containers and I'm also not talking about oz4oz trades (who does those anyway???).

    I'm talking about the distinction and the proper terminology.

    Though, go ahead and ask a large group of tickers if 3+oz make a difference......
  29. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Dec 20, 2006 New York

    Why is this an important distinction to make? And why is it particularly important in the context of trading? If someone told you they were sending you a bomber and you got a 750 would that be a problem?
  30. funhog

    funhog Mar 8, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Doesn't mean it's right, times change, ever hear of a "thong"?
  31. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Jun 7, 2005 New York

    Of course not, but those using the incorrect terminology may be at a disadvantage when referring to volumes improperly. I'll just assume that you have no interest in correcting anyone's misusage....well...unless it's in the homebrew forum, I suppose.

    Ugh. I really need to stop hitting "Show Ignored Content".
  32. cartoonshop

    cartoonshop Jun 6, 2011 Rhode Island

    i love when people call potheads "DOPE SMOKERS".this is akin to calling movies "talkies". take it easy grandpa.

    any idea when that becks ad is from?
  33. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Dec 20, 2006 New York

    I just don't see the need to correct people on things that don't matter, it's pedantic and annoying.

    How would referring to a 750 as a bomber put you at a trading disadvantage exactly?
  34. jedwards

    jedwards Feb 3, 2009 California

    La Folie. Though not currently available in one of those formats... there was a time when both the 1/09 corked & caged bottles and the 2009 capped bombers were available simultaneously.
  35. Providence

    Providence Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I too am perplexed. 750's aren't bombers, I don't know why anyone would say such. It's like when I hear someone say "I bought a case of X beer" and they hold up a 12 pack. Damn you people, get your measurements right. I don't hold out a ten dollar bill and say, "can you break a $20?" do I? Ha ha ha, extreme I know.
  36. beertunes

    beertunes Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Around here we call 'em 22s. The only times I've heard the term Bomber used in real life has been among people who are active on beer geek websites. And around here people call a 12-pack a half-rack, yet I've never heard anyone refer to a case as a rack. And what about 24oz cans? Would they be Bombers too? Strokes for folks.
  37. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    January 25, 1989.:)
  38. cartoonshop

    cartoonshop Jun 6, 2011 Rhode Island

  39. chefkevlar

    chefkevlar Apr 17, 2010 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Or the Sierra Nevada 24oz bottles for that matter.
  40. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Feb 12, 2012 Georgia
    Moderator Subscriber Beer Trader


    A bomber is a 22, a 12'er is a 12oz, a 750 is a 750ml bottle.

    It's not as "broad" as someone referencing a growler, which could be anything in some cases.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!