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Assortment of beer bottles

A beer bottle is a bottle for beer usually made of glass, plastic, or aluminum. Bottled beer has been in use since as early as the 16th century. Beer bottles come in various sizes, shapes and colours. Dark glass prevents light from spoiling the beer. However, lighter coloured bottles are often used for marketing reasons.

Contents

History

Bottled beer has been in use since as early as the 16th century.

Bottling lines

Bottling lines for beer plant

Bottling lines are production lines that fill beer into bottles on a large scale.

This typically involves drawing beer from a holding tank and filling it into bottles in a filling machine (filler), which are then capped, labeled and packed into cases or cartons. Many smaller breweries send their bulk beer to large facilities for contract bottling - though some will bottle by hand.

The first step in bottling beer is depalletising, where the empty bottles are removed from the original pallet packaging delivered from the manufacturer, so that individual bottles may be handled. The bottles may then be rinsed with filtered water or air, and may have carbon dioxide injected into them in attempt to reduce the level of oxygen within the bottle. The bottle then enters a "filler" which fills the bottle with beer and may also inject a small amount of inert gas (CO2 or nitrogen) on top of the beer to disperse oxygen, as O2 can ruin the quality of the product by oxidation.

Next the bottle enters a labelling machine ("labeller") where a label is applied. The product is then packed into boxes and warehoused, ready for sale.[1]

Shape and size

Stubby

Australian 375 ml stubbie

A short glass bottle used for beer is generally called a stubby. Shorter and flatter than standard bottles, stubbies pack into a smaller space for transporting. The bottles are sometimes made with thick glass so that the bottle can be cleaned and reused before being recycled. The capacity of a stubby is generally somewhere between 330 ml (11.6 imp fl oz; 11.2 U.S. fl oz) and 375 ml (13.2 imp fl oz; 12.7 U.S. fl oz). Some of the expected advantages of stubby bottles are: easier to handle; less breakage; lighter in weight; quicker way to get alcohol from there into here; less storage space; and lower center of gravity.

Stubbies are used extensively in Europe, and were used almost exclusively in Canada from 1962 to 1986 as part of a standardization effort intended to reduce breakage, and the cost of sorting bottles when they were returned by customers. Due to their nostalgic value, stubbies were reintroduced by a number of Canadian craft brewers in the early 2000s. In the United States, stubbies have generally fallen out of favour, with only a few brands still using them such as the Session Lager by the Full Sail Brewing Company, and Red Stripe, a Jamaican brand import.

The ironically-named 2-litre (70.4 imp fl oz; 67.6 U.S. fl oz) "Darwin Stubby" is available in Australia's Northern Territory. The Darwin Stubby was first introduced in April 1958 with an 80-imperial-fluid-ounce (2,270 ml; 76.9 U.S. fl oz) capacity.[2]

De Nederlandse Bierfles (pijpje)

Two pijpjes.

Most beer producers in the Netherlands sell their beers in a 300 ml (10.6 imp fl oz; 10.1 U.S. fl oz) bottle called De Nederlandse Bierfles. De Nederlandse Bierfles is more commonly known as pijpje (little pipe) and carries a 10-cent deposit.

Britain

Through the latter part of the 20th century, most British brewers used a standard design of bottle, known as the London Brewers' Standard. This was in brown glass, with a conical medium neck in the pint and with a rounded shoulder in the half-pint and nip sizes. Pints (550 ml) and half-pints (275 ml) were the commonest, but some brewers also bottled in nip (1/3-pint) and quart (2-pint) sizes. It was for example mostly barley wines that were bottled in nips, and Midlands breweries such as Shipstone of Nottingham that bottled in quarts. This standardisation simplified the automation of bottling and made it easier for customers to recycle bottles as they were interchangeable. They carried a deposit charge, which in the 1980s rose to 7 pence for a pint and 5 pence for a half-pint. Some brewers however used individual bottle designs: among these were Samuel Smith, which used an embossed clear bottle, and Scottish and Newcastle, which used a clear bottle for their Newcastle Brown Ale (both designs survive in the 500ml size today). Other brewers such as Timothy Taylor had used their own embossed bottles and rare examples continud to be reused into the 1980s. At around the turn of the 21st century the industry turned away from refillable bottles and UK beer bottles are now all one-trip.

Longneck, Industry Standard Bottle (ISB) // North American longneck

A North American longneck is a type of beer bottle with a long neck. It is known as the standard longneck bottle or industry standard bottle (ISB). The ISB longnecks have a uniform capacity, height, weight and diameter and can be reused on average 16 times. The long neck offers a long cushion of air to absorb the pressure of carbonation to reduce the risk of exploding. In Canada, in 1992, the large breweries agreed to all use a longneck bottle of standard size, thus replacing the traditional stubby bottle, since that time. The stubby bottle was traditionally 355 ml (12.0 U.S. fl oz; 12.5 imp fl oz) while the US longneck was 341 ml (11.5 U.S. fl oz; 12.0 imp fl oz). In Australia the term longneck is applied to bottles of 700-750mL capacity.

Large bottles

In USA large bottles are 22 U.S. fl oz (650.6 ml; 22.9 imp fl oz) (colloquially called a "bomber"); the European standard large bottle is 750-millilitre (25 U.S. fl oz; 26 imp fl oz) (in South Africa referred to as a "quart")

In USA large bottles are 22 U.S. fl oz (650.6 ml; 22.9 imp fl oz) (colloquially called a "bomber"); the European standard large bottle is 750-millilitre (25 U.S. fl oz; 26 imp fl oz) (in South Africa referred to as a "quart")

Forty

A forty is American slang for a 40-U.S.-fluid-ounce/1,182.9-millilitre; 41.6-imperial-fluid-ounce bottle commonly used for malt liquor. Forties are more than three times as large as the standard American 12-U.S.-fluid-ounce (355 ml; 12.5 imp fl oz) serving of beer.

Growler

A growler is a U.S. half gallon (1,890 ml/66.5 imp fl oz) glass jug used to transport draft beer in the United States. They are commonly sold at breweries and brewpubs as a means to sell take-out beer. Some breweries also offer a one-litre or one-quart version. Growlers are also used by homebrewers as an alternative to kegs or smaller bottles for carbonating and storing their beer.

Growlers are generally made of glass and have either a screw-on cap or a hinged porcelain gasket cap which can provide freshness for a week or more. A properly sealed growler will hold carbonation indefinitely and will store beer like any other sanitized bottle. Growlers got their name from the sound that the CO2 made when it escaped from the lid as the beer sloshed around. It likely dates back to the late 19th century when fresh beer was carried from the local pub to one's home by means of a small-galvanized pail.[3]

Australia's "Darwin Stubby"

Darwin Stubby

The so called Darwin Stubby has an iconic if kitsch status in Australian folklore. It was originally 80 Imperial Fluid ounces (4 British pints) but was standardised under metrication at 2.0 litres.It is now sold almost exclusively to tourists.

Caguama bottles

In Mexico, "caguama" is a popular name for a 940 ml (33.1 imp fl oz; 31.8 U.S. fl oz) beer bottle. The Mexican beer brands which are sold in these bottles include Tecate, Carta Blanca, Sol, Indio, Victoria, Corona Familiar and Pacífico. In some parts of northern Mexico, "caguamas" are "ballenas" meaning whale in Spanish.

Closure

A beugel type bottle

Bottled beer is sold with several types of bottle cap, but most often with crown corks

In some markets, notably in Europe, many traditional quality beers are sold in "beugel" style bottles, known as "swing top" in some English speaking countries and as "lightning stoppers" in Australia, presumably because they could be opened and closed easily. These bottles were superseded by the crown cork at the end of the 19th century, but survive in premium markets as nostalgic items.

Use as weapons

Beer bottles are sometimes used as makeshift clubs, for instance in bar fights. Pathologists determined in 2009 that beer bottles are strong enough to crack human skulls, which requires an impact energy of between 14 and 70 joules, depending on the location. Empty beer bottles shatter at 40 joules, while full bottles are somewhat less effective weapons, shattering at only 30 joules because of the pressure by the carbonated beer inside the bottle.[4]

Lightstruck beer

Lightstruck, or "skunked", beer has been exposed to ultraviolet and visible light. The light causes riboflavin to react with and break down isohumulones, a molecule that contributes to the bitterness of the beer and is derived from the hops. The resulting molecule, 3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol, is very similar to a skunk's natural defences.[5]

In some cases, such as Miller High Life, a hop extract that does not have isohumulones is used to bitter the beer so it cannot be "lightstruck". Bottles with dark brown glass give some protection to the beer, but green and colourless glass offer virtually no protection at all.[6]

See also

References

Notes

Bibliography

External links








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