A growler is a container that is used to store and transport larger quantities of beer. It is typically made of glass, aluminum, or stainless steel and has a screw-top lid that attempts to preserve the quality of the beverage. The purpose of a growler is to provide a convenient and easy way to enjoy fresh, draft-quality beer from your favorite breweries in the comfort of your own home or on the go.
Pressurized growlers take the benefits of traditional growlers one step further by using a CO2 pressure system to maintain the carbonation and flavor of the beer. This mitigates any oxidation that typically takes place in a growler while making it possible to enjoy that beer fresh, as if it were straight from the tap, for weeks from the date it was filled. In this guide, we will explore the benefits and differences of pressurized growlers in more detail.
Capacity of Growlers
A standard growler holds 64 ounces, which is equivalent to 4 pints or 5 to 6 cans of beer. Some pressurized growlers are available in a larger 128-ounce size, which holds the equivalent of 10 to 12 cans of beer. Personally, we love the 128oz size as it’s the perfect size for sharing with friends and family!
The size you choose will depend on your personal needs and how much beer you want to store, keep, or transport.
Cost of Regular vs Pressurized Growlers
While a standard glass or metal growler may cost between $5 – $20, the average cost of a pressurized growler in the USA varies from $60 to $300. The quality, durability, features, and overall expected longevity of a growler tends to scale with the price point and stays true to the saying “You get what you pay for”.
While pressurized growlers may seem more expensive than glass or non pressurized metal growlers, it is important to keep in mind that a growler holds the equivalent of 6 to 12 cans of beer (64 – 128 ounces). This is a substantial amount, and when considering the skyrocketing prices of craft beer these days ($6 – $10 a pint), it’s important to consider how a carbonated growler can protect your “crafted investment” under a blanket of CO2 for weeks at a time without having to be concerned with oxidation impacting your beers flavor.
By purchasing a pressurized growler, you also have the ability to travel with or take home different types of beer from your local brewery to try with friends & family. The stainless steel bodies offer robust protection from accidental drops that would normally shatter or dent a typical glass or aluminum growler. They are especially convenient with our keg cap accessory, that allows you to plug your growler right into your home draft system. Another thing to note, pressurized growlers can be a fun and exciting way to not only discover and share new or favorite beers, but also to enjoy them at leisure without the concern of your beer going flat or being oxidized after 24-48 hours!
Based on all the reasons above, pressurized growlers are usually seen as a worthwhile investment for beer enthusiasts that love craft beer and appreciate the versatility they provide in freshness and mobility!
Benefits of Pressurized Growlers for Beer
As mentioned above, the key advantage of a pressurized growler is that it preserves the quality of beer by limiting exposure to light and air, which can cause beer to become skunky or flat. This is particularly important for beers that are designed to be enjoyed fresh, such as hoppy New England IPA’s or fruity sours.
Another really cool feature on higher end units are regulated growler caps with ability to customize in the pressure of the growler. As most of you probably already know, different beer styles are meant to be enjoyed at different levels of carbonation. Hef’s and Pilsners typically have more while an imperial stout might be served and carbed at a much lower pressure. A quality pressurized growler will allow you to custom set your pressure and carb levels based on the types of brew your are storing.
Overall, pressurized growlers provide a convenient and easy way to enjoy your favorite beers at home or on the go, without having to worry about the beer going bad or losing its quality.
Comparison of Standard Beer Containers
Cans are the most common type of beer container, as they are lightweight, portable, and easily recyclable.
Bottles are another common type of beer container, and they are often used for higher-end or specialty beers. They provide a more premium feel and can be used to showcase the beer’s label or branding.
Crowlers are similar to growlers, but they are made from aluminum instead of glass and hold 32 ounces. Think “glorified can” and you’ve got it! They are a convenient option for those who are looking for a lightweight and portable container for their beer, and should be finished within 24 hours of opening due to their lack of preservation features.
Traditional growlers are glass containers that are designed to keep beer fresh and carbonated. While they are a popular option for beer enthusiasts, they are not as effective at preserving beer quality as pressurized growlers.
Why Oxygen (Or Lack Of) Matters and How it Affects Beer Quality.
At the heart of every beer lies a precise balance of flavors, aromas, and textures – a symphony crafted meticulously by brewers. However, there’s an insidious force that can rapidly disrupt this harmony: oxidation. Once beer becomes exposed to oxygen, either during the brewing, bottling, or storing processes, its integrity starts to wane.
Oxidation’s impact on beer is multifaceted. On the surface, beer can lose its vivacious carbonation, leading to a flat and lackluster mouthfeel. But delve deeper, and the aromatic profile of the brew suffers, too. Vibrant hop aromas can fade, and the beer might begin to take on unwanted flavors, often described as ‘cardboard’ or ‘papery’. These off-flavors not only mask the intended notes of the beer but can actively detract from the overall drinking experience.
In essence, oxidation is the silent adversary of beer’s inherent quality. While natural aging can impart desired characteristics in specific beer styles, unchecked oxidation is universally detrimental, robbing beers of their freshness, flavor, and the brewer’s intent.
Growler Cleaning and Maintenance
Stainless and Metal Growlers
A stainless steel pressurized or unpressurized growler is the pinnacle for ease of cleaning. Stainless is impervious to most cleaners (except bleach) and is very easy to sanitize. It is important to clean your growler thoroughly after each use to ensure that it stays in good condition and does not affect the flavor of the beer. It is also an mandatory step in mitigating bacterial infections that can quickly turn a great beer to a terrible one. If you have a pressurized growler with a tap, it may also be necessary to disassemble the tap and clean it separately to ensure that it is functioning properly. Just remember that beer LOVES clean and sanitary containers, and if you own one of our pressurized growlers, we’ve created a growler cleaning guide here.
Glass growlers can be washed with soap and warm water, and it is also a good idea to rinse it with hot water to remove any residual soap or bacteria. As a final step you may want to rinse with a food safe acid sanitizer like starsan if you have it available. Keep in mind that it’s important to store glass growlers in a cool, dark place to protect the beer from light and heat. This will help to extend the life of the beer and ensure that it stays fresh and flavorful for as long as possible.
In this guide, we have explored the value and benefits of pressurized growlers, including the capacity, cost, benefits for beer, comparison with other beer containers, beer oxidation and its impact, cleaning and maintenance, and more.
By choosing a pressurized growler, you can enjoy draft-quality beer from the comfort of your own home or on the go, preserve the quality and flavor of beer, and try different types of beer from your local brewery or bar.
Whether you are a beer enthusiast or simply someone who wants to enjoy fresh and flavorful beer, a pressurized growler is a great investment that will help you to enjoy beer at its best for years to come.