How to Get Started Canning Your Microbrew or Homebrew
If you’re a microbrewery trying to expand your sales & packaging options or a serious home brewer who wants a professional look, canning may be the way to go. Cans are portable, shatterproof, disposable, and recyclable, making them a popular choice among consumers. Plus, cans will chill faster than bottles. But before you start canning your micro or homebrew, there are a few things you’ll need.
Cans & ends
You’ll need to purchase cans and ends, which you should buy right here. While you may be thinking of just testing the process and seeing if you want to continue, buying more is a smart way to save money for those who plan to continue canning their beer once they’ve got the process perfected.
Sealing the cans
You’ll need to invest in some equipment. The most expensive piece of equipment you’ll need is a can seamer, which puts the lid (or end) on your can. Can seamers can take up a lot of space in a production facility, but smaller models exist for microbrewery or even home use.
The cost of can seamers is a barrier to entry that keeps less serious homebrewers from making the jump to canning their brews, but as a business expense it’s a much easier decision to make: Canning your brews is a necessary step for any business owner looking to expand their reach and sales beyond their microbrewery. WIth easily labeled and transportable cans, fronting the cash for the equipment is usually an easy investment decision to make.
How will you eliminate oxygen?
Once you have your equipment and supplies, it’s time to start canning. There are two primary methods you can use to reduce oxygen from your cans: force carbing and can conditioning.
Force carbing involves introducing extra CO2 into your brew before starting the filling and sealing process. This can be done using a CO2 tank and small kegging system. The CO2 will carbonate the beer and create extra foam during filling to push as much oxygen out of the can as possible.
Can conditioning is a Belgian method used to eliminate oxygen while adding flavor and carbonation to your brew. It involves adding a precise (and small amount) of sugar and yeast just before filling. The yeast in the canned beer will continue to consume the sugar and utilize the remaining oxygen at the same time, eliminating oxygen, producing CO2, and carbonating the beer naturally.
However, there is a definite risk of over or under-fermenting your brew using this method. If you don’t add enough priming sugar to each can, or if your yeast has died off before or during canning, your brew will come out flat, sweet, and with a shorter shelf life. If you add too much sugar, or if your beer was not fully fermented before canning, your can swell or potentially even explode.
Now that you know a couple methods for eliminating oxygen and carbonating your beer, it’s time to start canning. Here’s a step-by-step guide to canning your microbrew or homebrew:
Brew and ferment your beer according to the recipe. When fermentation is complete and bubbles have slowed or stopped in your airlock, you’re ready to can.
Determine if you’ll be force carbing or can conditioning your brew. If you’re force carbing, use a keg and tap to introduce CO2 into your beer while transferring it from the keg to the cans. If you’re can conditioning, add the recommended amount of priming sugar to each can according to your recipe.
Sanitize your equipment. Make sure all of your canning equipment, including your cans, lids, can seamer, and any other tools, are thoroughly sanitized before use to prevent contamination.
Fill and seal your cans. Once the cans are filled, follow the instructions of your can seamer to cover and seal each can. It may take some practice to find the right rhythm, especially if you’re working on your own.
If you’re can conditioning, wait for the canned beer to carbonate. Check your cans regularly as they sit. If they start to puff up, distort in shape, or explode, your beer is likely over-fermented. That’s a sad moment, but no use crying over spilled beer. Adjust your priming sugar levels and/or fill levels or try again. If your cans remain squishy, your beer is probably underfermented or the can was underfilled. Ideally, you’ll be looking for firm cans in a few weeks.
The big moment after can conditioning is done: Enjoy your beer! Once your cans are firm, they’re ready to drink! Crack one open and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
After weeks of hard work and planning, you’ve reached the moment of truth: popping open a canned beer. When you hear that satisfying hiss and just the right amount of carbonation hits your tongue, you’ll know all the effort was worth it. Even better, if you’re looking to market that microbrew, you’ll now have the opportunity to ship and sell your beer to any of your local retailers with ease.
Get labeled cans & more to grow your brand in style
But don’t stop there! With your newfound canning abilities, the possibilities are endless. While stores have their own standards for what they’ll put on the shelf, you can sell anything you want from your own brewery.
Try experimenting with different sizes and shapes of cans, or even branching out into crowlers, like our 32oz cans. And when you’re ready to up your game even further, consider investing in a commercial-grade can seamer and really take your microbrewery to the next level.
No matter what your canning goals are, our company has what you need to succeed. Crowlers and More is your number one resource for aluminum cans, crowlers, lids, canning accessories, custom labels, and much more!
Interested in Buying Cans to Package Your Craft Beverages?
Check out the numerous solutions Crowlers And More offers. Crowlers And More stocks a wide range of blank aluminum cans, labeled aluminum cans, labels, Paktech Carriers, and more! in a variety of shapes and sizes for any beverage type. We have full color designed cans available for all sizes too! We are dedicated to being a trusted partner, helping businesses around the country grow their brand!
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