Leaking Cans

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by DelMontiac, May 30, 2013.

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

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    How common is it for the top seam around a can to develop a leak when shipped? A friend sent me 12 Heady Toppers USPS next day. Each 4-pack was placed in a zip-loc freezer bag with a big wad of paper shop towels, then bubble wrapped and packed in a box with more bubble wrap. No cold packs were used. 3 of the cans had a teeny tiny leak where the tops are sealed on. Hardly any got out, but I chilled them and drank them later that night with a buddy before they lost all their carb. I guess they couldn't take the pressure from the hard ride - they were hard as rocks! So...anybody see this before? Is it a canning line issue? Many beers are shipped the world over and I've never seen them leak. Thanks in advance.
  2. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,019) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Had a 4pack of NOLA Hopitoulas IPA tallboys do that to me when they were riding with some other assorted beers in a box in my trunk. One can's top was almost completely torn off. It was because of those hard plastic can holders since there was one missing from the pack and they were leaning and causing pressure at the top. It was a very long drive (around 12 hours) and I didn't realize until I unpacked. Had to dump two out of the three.
  3. dar482

    dar482 Poo-Bah (3,475) Mar 9, 2007 New York
    Beer Trader

    My friend recently opened Heady that was completely flat. He emailed The Alchemist and apparently they've had issues with their canning.
  4. Jwale73

    Jwale73 Poo-Bah (3,531) Aug 15, 2007 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    Oh the humanity!
    AngelM likes this.
  5. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    Alchemist uses the hard plastic can holders and I wondered if maybe they were too tight or caused torque. Never seen this from the BMC boys, but I'm sure they have the Ferrari of canning lines.
  6. Head-high

    Head-high Initiate (0) Jun 15, 2012 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    I also recently had fresh Heady with the same issues. About 1 in 6 had a very small leak.
  7. dar482

    dar482 Poo-Bah (3,475) Mar 9, 2007 New York
    Beer Trader

    Those things are super annoying. I messed up my finger (under the nail) trying to pry a Heady out of that death trap.

    This was after I wanted to save some space in my fridge and cut part of the holder off. Holders are so stiff that I nicked a can with my scissors. The beer didn't spew out, but the can was broken into. First world problems, I had to forcibly down a Heady Topper at 3:00 in the afternoon.
  8. jhartley

    jhartley Poo-Bah (2,353) Aug 22, 2010 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Well at least they are aware they have an issue and are, hopefully taking steps to correct it. Haven't had Heady yet, one of my goals for this year, so hopefully I don't have to experience this issue.
  9. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    I was kind of a pissah considering what I spent to get that stuff here.
  10. LAD

    LAD Initiate (0) Apr 16, 2008 Texas

    I worked in canning quality control (big soda company, big beer company) for nearly 40 years. It takes superb efforts by maintenance management, mechanics and quality control personnel to maintain quality can seams and to prevent leakers. It is much more difficult to seam cans well than it is to put crowns on bottles.
    The big boys have an advantage because their seamers are designed well and have the ability to produce consistent quality seams at speeds that can exceed 2000 cans per MINUTE. Most of the craft brewers who are getting into canning are running low cost, poorly designed seamers that produce very inconsistent quality.
    Finally, there is no substitute for experience when it comes to analyzing can seams. As more and more craft brewers get into canning, the steep learning curve plus marginal equipment will result in more and more leakers in the trade.
    If you get a seam leaker (or leakers) the best thing to do is to notify the producer. Most likely they will want samples sent back so they can evaluate. They don't want the beer. Just send the can and please mark it where the leakage has occurred.
    drtth, JG-90, LeRose and 5 others like this.
  11. mikeincharleston

    mikeincharleston Defender (643) May 1, 2009 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    We had seal problems about a year or so ago. Took a while to figure out all the problems but the main issue was the chucks which are the things (for lack of a better word) that seal the cans once the lid is on. The seals have to be very precise and it turned out ours were not set correctly and needed to dialed in. The thing is we are talking about tiny tiny changes in order to get it right where it needs to be and if its not you get the tiniest leak and a tiny leak in a lot of cans is bad. Now we pull a can every 20 or so cases and measure them and make sure all the measurements are correct (again a tiny amount off and it won't seal correctly). I've heard we have the same canning machine as alchemist. Maybe they can check out the chucks cause that was definitely a game changer for us. A year plus later and we haven't had anymore problems.
  12. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    I guessed there might be a lot of fine tuning to keep a canning line in check.
  13. LAD

    LAD Initiate (0) Apr 16, 2008 Texas

    That is true. But a good seamer can run BILLIONS of cans without any adjustments needed. If constant adjustments are needed its time to get the mops out.
  14. whiskey

    whiskey Aspirant (272) Feb 25, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Well, don't leave us hangin'.
  15. xk6m6m5x

    xk6m6m5x Initiate (0) May 30, 2012 New Jersey

    what does a 4 pack generally run? i got it at my local store for 34$ a 4 pack
  16. mikeincharleston

    mikeincharleston Defender (643) May 1, 2009 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Yes! Once we got the chucks dialed in a year plus ago we have yet to have to adjust them we just constantly check the cans cause we know what can happen and a few minutes of checking a good can is way better than dealing with a whole lot of leaking ones. I've done both and the first is WAY easier
  17. mikeincharleston

    mikeincharleston Defender (643) May 1, 2009 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Yeah it sounded like we were tuning it a lot. It was basically one fine tuning since the leaks started and its been fine ever since. Just have to always check cans to make sure you have everything running well at all times
  18. Bigtwin

    Bigtwin Initiate (0) Sep 13, 2010 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Heady is 3 bucks a can from the brewery.
  19. smutty33

    smutty33 Zealot (583) Jun 12, 2009 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

  20. youbrewidrink

    youbrewidrink Initiate (0) Apr 9, 2009 Vermont
    Beer Trader

    The Alchemist has a top of the line canning system, so I am sure it is just system tweaking.
  21. xk6m6m5x

    xk6m6m5x Initiate (0) May 30, 2012 New Jersey

    Ok so I should buy the heady then lol
  22. mikeincharleston

    mikeincharleston Defender (643) May 1, 2009 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    We use the hard can holders as well. That is definitely not the problem. They are a pain to get off but it doesn't affect the can seal
  23. teraflx

    teraflx Zealot (551) Feb 4, 2013 Arizona

    I would gladly pay that price to try it since we don't get it here. I need to get a trade setup so I can finally mark it off my list.
  24. Stugotzo

    Stugotzo Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2012 Florida

    The only time I experienced leaking cans was after my wife had the baby.
  25. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia


    Dude I live like 8 minutes away from you and I own a cellular telephone. Holla at cha boi!
    Head-high likes this.
  26. Head-high

    Head-high Initiate (0) Jun 15, 2012 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    Almost all went to Ian and my buddy who just had a baby boy(and lives 2 minutes from Westbrook ;-) ). As much as you've had Heady I didn't think you'd get hot and bothered by it still.
  27. BeerGreg

    BeerGreg Devotee (443) May 17, 2013 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I plan on visiting the Alchemist in early August and shipping some back to myself (since we're flying out there). Would you guys suggest removing the can holders from the beers before I ship them? I saw someone say that was the issue then others disagreed.
  28. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    Heady always gets me hot and bothered....
  29. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,408) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    This has never happened to me with a bottle of Pliny :stuck_out_tongue:
    SFACRKnight likes this.
  30. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (396) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I got a case of Heady at the brewery a couple weeks ago. I had noticed a couple cans had some dried foam along the top, but as far as I can tell there are no leaks. I just went and checked the remaining ones, and there doesn't seem to be any issues. Guess I'm just lucky.
  31. mikeincharleston

    mikeincharleston Defender (643) May 1, 2009 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    That sounds like our exact problem. It's like the dry foam seals the tiny leak but it still has a bad spot.
  32. Ranbot

    Ranbot Devotee (441) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Unless something changed since this blog post by The Alchemist last year I don't think Heady Topper is legally distributed in New Jersey. http://www.alchemistbeer.com/a-distribution-strategy/
    According to the blog and other articles I've read, some small shipments of may have got to Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia, but the vast majority of Heady Topper is sold in VT. So your local store probably has a hefty upcharge for their risking getting caught illegally distributing beer.
  33. Davihaw

    Davihaw Aspirant (288) Jun 19, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I just flew with 120 cans of Heady. 3 of mine had leaks (I'm guessing from pressure changes at 38,000 feet). Losing 3 of 120 is not bad!
  34. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    About 2.5 times face value. Gas for 250 miles round trip, next day shipping, and some Ben & Jerry's. :grimacing:
  35. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    You're damn near a broker, lol!
  36. Davihaw

    Davihaw Aspirant (288) Jun 19, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I was out there, so I figured I would stock up for the summer!
  37. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    I probably wouldn't if I were you, but you do whatcha feel ya gotta do.
  38. LAD

    LAD Initiate (0) Apr 16, 2008 Texas

    Pressure changes have nothing to do with can leakage. A 2% defect rate = garbage.
    JG-90 likes this.
  39. headycanner

    headycanner Initiate (0) May 31, 2013 Vermont

    I am in charge of the canning operation at the Alchemist Brewery. First of all let me apologize to anyone who has received a "leaky" can. We recently had a software upgrade for our can seaming table and a few cans got through with less that perfect seams before we were able to dial it in correctly. I say less than perfect because they were good enough to hold the seam as long as the beer was refrigerated(more on that later) which is why we did not detect the problem before the offending cans left our care. The problems that have been reported to us have been situations where the beer was allowed to get warm thus increasing the pressure in the can. I imagine that any can that has been at 30000 feet above sea level would also be subject to increased pressure even if refrigerated. I would encourage anyone who has a "leaker" to please contact us via our website.

    Second let me talk for one sec about our beer and refrigeration...As our beer is unfiltered it should always be kept cold. The yeast is still alive and if allowed to warm will start to change the beer, leaving you with something different than what we originally put in the can. This is why we require all of our retail accounts to keep our beer refrigerated(more on that in the 3rd part). If your Heady Topper has to travel please do your best to keep it cold. Now, this is not to say that anyone who has a leaker is at fault. The lid seam should hold even if you kept your beer warm for a month(not recommended). This section is more of a PSA to make sure you are having the best possible Heady experience.

    Third I would like to talk about where you get your Heady. We distribute to a thirty mile radius from our brewery. Please be aware that any store outside of this distribution is not a "licensed" Heady retailer and we cannot guarantee that the beer has been handled with the tender love and care our "licensed" stores show to it. You can find a list of the stores we do distribute to on our website alchemistbeer.com

    Finally thanks to everyone for your support of our tiny brewery. We do appreciate you and your feedback, so always feel free to contact us with any concerns or comments you may have.

    be well
    drink beer
    drtth, cavedave, dar482 and 1 other person like this.
  40. abkayak

    abkayak Disciple (391) Jan 8, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    omg its the heady canner!!! we're not worthy........Joel thank you! i love my cans!
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.