Opening a Wax-Topped Bottle

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by creepinjeeper, Feb 28, 2014.

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  1. creepinjeeper

    creepinjeeper Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2012 Missouri

    Forgive me if this question has been asked before. I've a acquired a few beers (Darkness, Behemoth, etc.) that are wax topped. Is there a proper way to open them? By proper, I mean without getting wax in your beer or losing a couple of digits. Does it help to warm or soften the wax before you cut etc.? Any of my fellow BA's have a special technique they'd like to share? Thanks to all in advance, and cheers!
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  2. Loganyoung

    Loganyoung Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2011 Georgia

    With the opener I have I don't need to cut wax or anything. I can usually just pry it right off with the wax on. But I know some people cut along the cap with a knife before hand. And the wax isn't to brittle so you don't really need to worry about pieces falling in (Or at least I haven't had a problem with it)
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  3. Josbor11

    Josbor11 Initiate (0) Dec 21, 2013 Ohio

    Only wax top I have ever had is Behemoth and I opened it no different than any other bottle although it took me a few attempts before the cap actually popped off. What is the point of wax seal anyways?
  4. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (5,476) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    I don't know if there is a proper method, but I'd imagine that if it's a typical metal cap, then taking a good sharp knife around the edge of the cap should free it up to a bottle opener fairly easily. It can get messy if you try to peel the wax off, and the same with smaller openers.

    Like @Loganyoung I have a good-sized opener that doesn't really have a problem with wax. I also don't see the wax falling into the bottle as a problem.

    I wouldn't think that reheating and melting the wax would be particularly effective, but I've never tried.
    Mongrel, rozzom and creepinjeeper like this.
  5. creepinjeeper

    creepinjeeper Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2012 Missouri

    Thanks! What type of opener do you have? Sounds like a bartool.
  6. MichPaul

    MichPaul Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2012 Michigan

    Others have said this also, but you can score the side of the wax so that your opener can get in there a little better. Also, if you open it slowly, you shouldn't get wax chips in there... So far, this year's BBPlead is the worst I've seen! The wax is so thick I could barely score it at all...
  7. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (5,476) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    That's an entirely different thread. :wink:

    The consensus on this site seems to be: mostly aesthetic appeal. Perhaps there's an advantage in oxygen seepage prevention if you're planning on aging the beer, but Trappist ales seem to age fine with a cork and cage. I wax seal any growlers I ship to make damn sure it doesn't leak if it gets jiggled or bashed around during shipping.

    My best opener is a simple wine bottle corkscrew + cap opener. Like $5 or something at a typical store. The size makes it awesome for opening beer bottles, often with very little deformation at all to the cap. I have some smaller bottle openers that can struggle with tight caps, and I wouldn't try them on a wax seal.
  8. juliusseizure

    juliusseizure Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2009 New York

    Picture or link to said opener? I need to invest in one before I cut my finger off.
  9. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (7,614) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    Yes this has been asked, and you just edge it with your opener. By also a simple 7 dollar wine waiters opener. Comes with everything you need in that situation:

    Bottle opener for the cap
    foil cutter you can use on the wax
    corkscrew for corks (beer too)

    You really wont get any wax when opening, and if so pick it out, and if you ingest some you will live.
  10. drebrew

    drebrew Initiate (0) May 8, 2013 New York

    I run the bottle opener under hot water, it helps to melt the wax to reveal the edges of the cap. It may take a few attempts with thick wax.
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  11. trojanshawn

    trojanshawn Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2009 California

    My two cents.

    1.) I typically cut across the wax on top of the bottle. This allows me to get under the wax and pull it off in two halves.
    2.) From what I have heard, the wax is to prevent oxygen seepage so that you can age your beers longer.
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  12. Loganyoung

    Loganyoung Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2011 Georgia

    its actually built on a counter top can opener. But it works fantastically. Better than any other bottle opener I've used. I'll post a pic of it when I get home from work if youd like.
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  13. Preluderl

    Preluderl Devotee (491) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    It just depends on the brewery that's bottled it. New Glarus wax tops their bottles but it's very thin and you can easily just pop them with a bottle opener. The Bruery wax is incredibly thick and tends to be pretty tough to get off in my experience. With them I tend to use a knife to just chisel a little of the wax away under one side of the cap so I can get the opener underneath of it.
    elektrikjester likes this.
  14. msubulldog25

    msubulldog25 Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2005 Oregon

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  15. Johnny_Muir

    Johnny_Muir Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2014 New Jersey

    I collect my caps, and so I pop em off with the bic lighter method, I swear they look brand new with not even a bit of curling on the edges. Im able to put them back onto the bottled and "reset" them. Ive done this with water in the bottles and have fooled my friends. Suckers.
    TonyJ815 and Roguer like this.
  16. belotj

    belotj Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2011 New Jersey

    But trojanshawn, don't you risk damaging the art that is on the bottle cap?
  17. ratmoss

    ratmoss Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2005 Illinois

    The key is leverage. Those little keychain bottle openers won't get it done. Anything over 3 or 4 inches will pop off most waxed caps easily.
  18. Skunkdrool

    Skunkdrool Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2010 California

    Cut the wax from the bottom of the wax up to the cap. Then do this same thing on the other side. Slide the knife under the wax from the "incision", and you should able to "pop" the wax in about 2-4 pieces. If its really thin wax, just use a wine key, and pop the cap like usual.
  19. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    I second the use of a waiter's opener (wine key).

    Just use the foil cutter to score under the cap edge, holding it the same way you might hold a paring knife, with the blade edge towards you and your thumb on the other side of the bottle neck for stability as you work the blade around the bottle. For really thick wax--think The Bruery--this is the only way I've been successful, and I usually use that scoring to peel the wax off before opening, because most of my bottle openers just slip and slide on the thick wax.

    For thinner wax--think Logsdon or New Glarus--a blade opener...
    ...can usually get medieval enough with the wax to make it through without the need for a knife/blade.
    albertq17 likes this.
  20. fishmich

    fishmich Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2013 Michigan

    this years BB plead really makes you work for the beer. i think i broke a sweat and took a break trying to open my first one this year. its certainly nothing like FFF or Bruery wax that just pops off.
    Scarfer_Brad and MichPaul like this.
  21. douginromeo

    douginromeo Initiate (0) Apr 1, 2013 Michigan

    I use kitchen shears to cut around it. I just open them up and use both blades to score the wax all the way around the cap - worked on BBPt5 too!
  22. beerhan

    beerhan Zealot (572) Apr 28, 2010 Ohio

    I discovered a relatively simple way to open any wax top bottled (except for the new glarus fruit beers but those you can open without removing the wax)

    Grab a knife, such as a pocked knife that is not too terrible sharp.

    Press down into the wax so you have 4 quadrants:


    Once you have it like this just apply force in the center with one of the non blunt tools on your pocket knife and everything should come off relatively quickly. I have done this with scores of bottles and have even opened a bottle of the abyss in just a few seconds (my first bottle ever took me nearly five minutes).
  23. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (6,735) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    i use a box cutter right under the cap line i cut it once and peel the wax off the top of the cap then i easily open with a bottle opener
  24. russpowell

    russpowell Poo-Bah (10,611) May 24, 2005 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    I seen bottles defeat both of those tools if you don't use the knife...
  25. elchicodelgado

    elchicodelgado Initiate (0) Mar 3, 2008 Texas

    I'm not even sure why New Glarus bothers other than to make it look cool but their wax really looks terrible. Such good beer however. Bruery however waxes like it's nuclear effing holocaust. I hate their wax jobs.
    Sumdeus likes this.
  26. Preluderl

    Preluderl Devotee (491) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Truth. The wax on Bruery bottles is like 1/4 of an inch thick. Looks classy, though.
  27. bozodogbreath

    bozodogbreath Disciple (362) Oct 19, 2006 Indiana

    I recommend cutting the wax off of every waxed bottle you intend to drink in an evening before you get started.

    I thought I was going to need to use an axe to get the wax off of a bottle of Arcadia Ales Shipwreck Porter.
  28. elchicodelgado

    elchicodelgado Initiate (0) Mar 3, 2008 Texas

    Holds in that infection! Seriously though, the bottles look really cool. Just a total pain in the ass to open.
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  29. elchicodelgado

    elchicodelgado Initiate (0) Mar 3, 2008 Texas

    A drunk who plans ahead, I like that! :grinning:
  30. krl2112

    krl2112 Crusader (732) Nov 10, 2012 Illinois

    The Bruery beers wax is the thickest I have encountered. Looks pretty but a pain in the ass, especially after having a few!
  31. Preluderl

    Preluderl Devotee (491) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    If I've already been drinking and I decide to open a Bruery bottle I make my wife go at the wax with the knife.
    bozodogbreath likes this.
  32. kylelenk

    kylelenk Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2012 Michigan

    @JamesShoemaker and I once held a bottle of Shipwreck Porter over an open flame to melt the wax off.
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  33. PA-Michigander

    PA-Michigander Meyvn (1,468) Nov 10, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Battle Creek at its finest baby, cereal city USA!
  34. kylelenk

    kylelenk Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2012 Michigan

    Ha, yep. Arcadia should do a seminar or wax topped bottles. The consistency of their wax and the lack of drippings is perennial all-star status.
    PA-Michigander likes this.
  35. PretzelCity

    PretzelCity Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2008 California

    My favorite bottle opener is a paint can key. You can get them for .50 cents at any hardware store. I use the flat end to cut through the wax. The bonus for me is that the opener end barely leaves a mark on the caps.

  36. 1424IpA

    1424IpA Initiate (0) Nov 2, 2012 California

    i got shit for this last time i posted on a similair thread, but i have used a pizza cutter before. roll it around the bottom of the cap. then hold it with ur thumb perpedicular to the neck of bottle and push up towards the cut under the cap. make sure ur thumb is securely holding the cutter as u push it up the bottle.
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  37. myuncle

    myuncle Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2012 Illinois

    Try a wine top cutter. Works for me
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  38. bocky24

    bocky24 Initiate (0) Apr 10, 2013 Iowa

    I know I'm name dropping here but the TG KBBS was a beast to get off. Very thick layer of wax on that whale.
  39. markextrae

    markextrae Initiate (0) Apr 22, 2013 Netherlands

    Just use a lighter and melt it.......? It's that easy
    The_Beer_Shark likes this.
  40. Ri0

    Ri0 Initiate (0) Jul 1, 2012 Wisconsin

    You need a @Hotmetal1 whale slayer bottle opener.
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