how long do growlers last?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by raczkowski, Nov 16, 2012.

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  1. raczkowski

    raczkowski Disciple (323) May 16, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    i have heard varying opinions on this...but then i see growlers getting traded away in the FT forums. i know that once you open them they must be drank within a day or two, but how long will a growler last if it is unopened and stored properly?
  2. quirkzoo

    quirkzoo Initiate (0) Jul 7, 2011 Colorado

    Depends on how it is filled. Most places just stick a tube to the bottom of the growler and cap on foam. I would say these last 2-3 weeks but you really want to drink them as soon as possible. There are a hand full of breweries that counter pressure fill their growlers, Town Hall in MN is the most notable example. I have had a growler of their beer 4 months after it was filled and it was flawless.
    yespleasethanks likes this.
  3. skinsfan

    skinsfan Zealot (583) May 24, 2005 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    I have had unopened growlers in my fridge for 2-3 weeks on different occasions. I have never noticed any issues once I was able to drink them. I am curious to see other responses to this question.
  4. CurtFromHershey

    CurtFromHershey Devotee (476) Oct 4, 2012 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    How people have the willpower to let a growler go unopened for more than a week is beyond me.
    Techichi, Fristo, Wiffler27 and 29 others like this.
  5. raczkowski

    raczkowski Disciple (323) May 16, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    i would assume the place i am goign to (hop city in atlanta) does not counter pressure their growlers since they have so many to choose from (may be wrong). either way, if it lasts at least 1 week i will be happy. goign to try and take one to the florida/florida state game next Saturday so it should last as long as i keep it refrigerated.
  6. skinsfan

    skinsfan Zealot (583) May 24, 2005 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    I hear you. Not that it matters, but both times I had to do it was because I had to be out of town unexpectedly for an extended period of time and i had no choice. Otherwise, zero chance they would have lasted beyond a week!
  7. GennyCreamAle

    GennyCreamAle Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2009 New York

    I avoid buying growlers unless I intend on drinking it within a day or two. I personally would not wait more than 2 weeks to drink one.
    Wiffler27, tattoopunk031 and l1fted like this.
  8. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Initiate (0) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    I have drank from growlers which were over a year old and they were still stellar. I have also drank from growlers less than a week old which did not hold up. It is all about the fill, a proper fill will lead to better results.

    My general rule of thumb is try to open with in a week, consume in the first two days after opening.
  9. leedorham

    leedorham Defender (699) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    I wish more people understood this and pressured the retailers to use cp fillers or at least purge with co2.

    I've seen plenty of places that seem to be the very embodiment of beer geekdom until you see them fill a growler off the tap.
    Phaedrus and Zach136 like this.
  10. bierman2000

    bierman2000 Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2003 Pennsylvania

    are we talking after you open it and screw or flip top, either will last a week or so without opening but once that beer is exposed to the air drink the screw top within a day and the flip top within 3-4 days unless you crave flat beer
  11. sportscrazed2

    sportscrazed2 Initiate (179) Mar 29, 2010 Indiana

    an hour after i crack it open
    Guyute, Phaedrus and ALitteral like this.
  12. MagillaGriller

    MagillaGriller Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2012

    Glass does not deteriorate...much. Contents....vary.
    Robert_Baratheon and gustogasmic like this.
  13. GoGators

    GoGators Crusader (733) Aug 5, 2010 New Jersey
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    As mentioned above, it varies, but if you want to be guaranteed freshness, I'd say open with 2-3 days of fill and once opened drink that day. I won't fill a growler though unless I am drinking it that day. if you can't drink it fresh, it sort of defeats the purpose of filling a growler anyway.
    maxson924, Vonstein15 and ALitteral like this.
  14. DaveAnderson

    DaveAnderson Devotee (479) Jan 11, 2011 Minnesota

    At this year's Darkness Day, a fellow BA with whom I am friendly dropped off a growler of 2008 BCBS. It was stellar. So, I'm going with "a long time".
    Cfeezy likes this.
  15. modern

    modern Initiate (0) May 31, 2012 Ohio

    This may be a bit of a hijack of the thread but the growler question I think is settled. It all comes down to how you fill it. Is it possible to give someone instruction on how to fill a growler properly? Freaking TWO grocery stores near my house fill growlers now, but it turns out neither one of them has any clue how to (despite their wonderful draft selection). I'm wondering how to politely suggest a better way or is this impossible?
    raynmoon likes this.
  16. beerloserLI

    beerloserLI Defender (617) Apr 2, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    It probably also depends on the type of brew and it's percentage of alcohol. A double ipa will last longer than an amber ale etc.

    Also if the growler is screw on or has some sort of other plunger mechanism to keep air out. I have screw on growlers and I always make sure I'll be able to drink all the beer that day/evening of getting it. A day late and it's still drinkable but you'll notice the flatness.

    A week is pretty long and risky. Why not just try an take a safer bottle option?
    PDXAmbassador likes this.
  17. beerloserLI

    beerloserLI Defender (617) Apr 2, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    So, what is the proper fill that will allow the growler to stand the test of time? What's this technique as compared to just filling up a growler? Seen two posts on this proper way claim with no real details.
    Joenajera likes this.
  18. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Initiate (0) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    A counter pressure filled growler is ideal, unfortunately not all that common. If a growler is not counter pressure filled the next best option would be for the head space to be purged with CO2.

    Many places that fill growlers do not use either of the aforementioned techniques. The best we can hope for is a growler to be filled with a tube and capped on foam. Many bars, breweries and what not will fill and leave a fair amount of head space, no foam, this does your beer no favors.
    kenatbeerswap likes this.
  19. dannyz

    dannyz Initiate (120) Mar 4, 2010 New Jersey

    This is correct... This is a photo of a 2 year old growler of barrel aged gonzo a friend shared with me, still has a nice head. Compliments to the dudes at charleston beer exchange for their growler skillz

    JISurfer likes this.
  20. SalukiAlum

    SalukiAlum Disciple (332) Dec 19, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I prefer to drink a growler in 2-3 days. Awaiting my first trade for a growler that comes today, exactly 6 days after poured and shipped. Never a big fan of trading for growlers, guess I'll see how it worked out.
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,935) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    As others have mentioned the best way to fill a growler is via a counter-pressure filler. Both Victory and Sly Fox have filler machines built by a European vendor that both evacuates the growler with CO2 and then counter-pressure fills the growler.

    You can read about Garret Oliver’s (head brewer of Brooklyn Brewery) opinion on growlers here:


    P.S. Garrett has posted about his opinion on growlers on this BA thread:
  22. ColonelCash

    ColonelCash Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2011 Tennessee

    The question isn't how long it will last unopened, rather how long it is good after you pour a glass. I get pissed when I open a growler and its flat in less than 24 hours. That is an injustice and happens every time I get a growler locally.
  23. marquis

    marquis Crusader (717) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    We don't have growlers here but we have things called things called carrykegs. They are flimsy 4 pint containers designed for carrying cask ale home but they are not pressure containers. A friend had one filled from the handpump and took it home, put it into his cupboard under the stairs and forgot about it! How you can do this is beyond me, but that's what happened.A month and a half later he found it and we tried the beer; it was completely flat but otherwise sound.
  24. rjniles

    rjniles Initiate (140) Aug 30, 2012 South Carolina

    A lot has to do with who well your growler is cleaned. I always wash mine with a detergent and a tablespoon of bleach using a bottle brush and rinse religiously. Even so I drink with in a day or 2. I don't think I have had one in the frig for more than a week.
  25. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Devotee (490) Jan 2, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    I've never let any sit over 2 weeks and no I haven't noticed any fall off in that amount of time. If it was a growler of ZD it may have :slight_smile:
    AC-Mivsek likes this.
  26. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (1,787) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I have traded for a number of growlers, and inherent in the trading process is that the growlers would be greater than a week old when I drank them. Ive never had a carbonation issue with any of them.

    On a related note, how do you know if its filled with counter pressure? I am curious.
  27. flayedandskinned

    flayedandskinned Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

  28. flayedandskinned

    flayedandskinned Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

  29. Ford

    Ford Defender (685) Sep 8, 2012 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

  30. WassailWilly

    WassailWilly Initiate (0) Sep 8, 2007 New York

    Drank a pressure filled Victory Storm King growler that was at least 6 months old from the brewery and it still was perfect !
  31. hokiechef

    hokiechef Initiate (166) Feb 23, 2009 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I try not to store them more than 2 weeks for anything hoppy. Stouts etc I have held awhile. The oldest was a Southern Tier Creme Brulee that was over a year (held in optimal conditions) and was just fine.
  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,935) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Here is a video of the growler filling machine at the Victory Brewpub. The machine was built by Alfred Gruber of Austria. The Victory machine was designed for swing-top growlers.

    Sly Fox Brewpub has a filling machine also built by Alfred Gruber which fills up regular (screw-top) growlers).

    The machine first performs an evacuation of the air within the growler by filling it up with CO2; the CO2 displaces the air (oxygen). The beer is then filled via counter-pressure. -The purpose of the counter-pressure filling is to minimize the CO2 coming out of solution during the pour.

    What most brewpubs/bars do it just fill a growler from a regular tap. This process has air (oxygen) exposure since the growler is full of air (oxygen). This process also has the issue of some of the CO2 coming out of solution during the pour (you witness this via the foaming of the beer during the pour).

    A growler filled by a machine like they have at Victory and Sly Fox will last a long time (like the 6 months that Wassailwilly alludes to in his post wrt Storm King).


    P.S. This is not the only way a growler can get filled via counter-pressure filling. Just an example of how it could be done.
  33. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (1,787) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Thanks for the video post. So can one counter pressure fill a growler by first pumping the empy growler full of CO2? Is the CO2 alone what is providing the "counter pressure"
  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,935) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The Counter-pressure filling process is a multi-step process:

    “The process consists of the following steps:

    The counter pressure filler is put into the bottle, and CO2 gas is pumped into the bottle to fill it with CO2 and remove harmful oxygen. The valve at the top is vented to allow oxygen to escape. This also pressurizes the bottle to the filling pressure. The CO2 input is then closed.

    The filling valve is opened, allowing beer to flow into the bottle. Pressure is slowly released by the vent allowing CO2 to escape and beer to flow in and replace it. Because the bottle remains pressurized during the fill, foaming is kept to a minimum. When the bottle is filled, the beer valve is closed.

    Remaining pressure is released from the vent and a cap is put on the bottle. Because the bottle is filled at this point, only a small amount of foaming occurs as the cap is put on and sealed.”

    Above is from:

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  35. littlebeer

    littlebeer Initiate (0) Jun 1, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    I went to Societe Brewing and was told that a growler of their IPA would last 3 days. That being said, it was not a problem though because i ended up sharing it all with friends the next day anyways.
  36. Zimbo

    Zimbo Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2010 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    Yes we do have growlers here. I used mine to bring home some draft Firestone Double Jack just a few weeks ago.
  37. VncentLIFE

    VncentLIFE Meyvn (1,417) Feb 16, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    most of the state of NC does that counter pressure thing.
  38. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (1,787) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Thank you sir!
  39. nep8403

    nep8403 Initiate (0) May 8, 2013

    I was just at the Troegs Brewery in Hershey, they use the same filler as Victory.
  40. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,015) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Cigar City had a machine similar to this but it seemed much slower and therefore not as efficient. It also didn't have as much machinery surrounding it so I don't think it was the Gruber one. Those Gruber ones probably cost an arm and a leg.
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