Beer bottles with flip tops (or swing tops)

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Hi All. I live over the border in Switzerland. We're moving back to the UK soon and I plan to start brewing my own beer, for which I'll need a few dozen 50cl beer bottles with flip tops, or swing tops -- you know, the Grolsch-style resealable bottles with the wire enclosure. I can buy beer with these tops in Switzerland but naturally, they tend to be pricey here, and as I travel over the border now and then, I'm thinking it would be cheaper and more interesting to buy a few crates of German beer while I'm at it.

 

Can someone suggest the best supermarkets / beer outlets, not too far from the Swiss border (within 50-100km), that sells decent beer in such bottles please? Preferably a decent Weissbier but happy to buy others. Important thing is that they're 50cl and have the resealable enclosure. We sometimes call in at Kaufland but I've never bought beer there. Do they have a few examples of such beers? Thanks for any pointers.

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8 minutes ago, yesterday said:

maybe try https://www.supermarktcheck.de/kaufland/sortiment/bier/ and look at what they have 

 

What kinda gear to you think you need to brew your own beer,  as I was thinking of doing the same. Sure I can look on the internet, but if you know what to do that would be even better

 

Thanks, I'll take a look. Home brewing is hard to summarise in a few lines as there are so many different beer styles and approaches. I've only researched UK resources as that's where I'll be doing it but at the most basic level you can get going for less than £100 which includes a beer kit (i.e. the beer itself), a plastic fermenting vessel (typically 25-30L), and bits and pieces like a syphon, air lock, sterilising powder, thermometer etc. There's loads of YouTube videos on how to get started. Here's a useful forum: https://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/. If you Google 'beer home brew equipment' or similar you'll find plenty of suppliers. Plus, for dispensing, you'll need a plastic pressure keg or supply of bottles -- hence my original post! Of course, this is just the basic set-up. You can expand on all of these things with extra equipment and investment. But compared with the old Boots home brew kits from the 70s and 80s, it looks like home brewing can now produce very decent quality beer.

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Lindau have 2 or 3 getränkemärkte.  I know of the Fristo and Hasenbräu.  Most pils and exports won't have the Bügelverschluss, but some do.  The stronger beers do tend to use them more and the odd weizen will as well.  Basically, you should have no problem, in Fristo at least, of finding several. 

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1 hour ago, EnglishBloke said:

Important thing is that they're 50cl and have the resealable enclosure.

Well, whilst that is a nice way to try a whole load of different beers (and I can recommend Peters Koelsch for a flip top bottled beer if you can get it that far south), for bottling homebrew you'd be far better off buying yourself a crown capper (for about £15 on Amazon) and some crown caps (cost about £5 for 100) then you can use any bottles you like. Even though they may appear resealable, the seal on flip top beers perishes quite easily and you'll end up needing to throw away a few of the bottles you have re-used.

Again, from experience, whichever route you take, don't forget to sterilise the bottles as soon as you've finished the beer. A few years back I decided to collect a few crates' worth of flip tops for homebrewing, and intended to sterilise them all in one go. I just couldn't get the mould out of the ones I'd finished first, even though I'd given them a bit of a rinse after drinking. 

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@yesterday I would recommend getting a cheapo starter kit for your first few batches, as EnglishBloke mentioned there are loads of online resources. If you have a shop nearby which sells such stuff then go in person and pick one up, otherwise the standard online mass retailers have 100s to choose from when using "bierbrauset" as a search term. They start at around €40 for an all plastic set and pick up from €60 and upwards when there are glass carboys included.

Personally, I would go for the cheapest to start (actually, I intend to do this very soon too) since, as you gain experience, you'll eventually get a better idea of your requirements and will want to buy single items to fit your needs.

@EnglishBloke it would help to know which span of the Swiss border you tend to shop at. Near to Bodensee I've been to a good shop in Lustenau (so, Austria), whereas at the other corner (German / Swiss / French border) there's my local brew shop.

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7 minutes ago, BayrischDude said:

Most pils and exports won't have the Bügelverschluss, but some do.  The stronger beers do tend to use them more and the odd weizen will as well.  

They call me Mr.Weißbier and indeed the bottles with swing top for a Weißbier are rare. That’s because you don’t drink Weißbier from a bottle. You don’t.

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We get some Weizen in litre bottles.  I try not to drink it one evening, so the swing top is handy.  

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1 hour ago, dstanners said:

Well, whilst that is a nice way to try a whole load of different beers (and I can recommend Peters Koelsch for a flip top bottled beer if you can get it that far south), for bottling homebrew you'd be far better off buying yourself a crown capper (for about £15 on Amazon) and some crown caps (cost about £5 for 100) then you can use any bottles you like. Even though they may appear resealable, the seal on flip top beers perishes quite easily and you'll end up needing to throw away a few of the bottles you have re-used.

 

I hear what you're saying but at this stage I prefer the simplicity of the flip tops. I've done a fair bit of reading on the topic and am trying to avoid buying too much equipment until I know it'll be re-used. Maybe I'm being too paranoid but I suspect that the crown caps might be more susceptible to blowing off, as it were.

 

1 hour ago, toBnruG said:

 

@EnglishBloke it would help to know which span of the Swiss border you tend to shop at. Near to Bodensee I've been to a good shop in Lustenau (so, Austria), whereas at the other corner (German / Swiss / French border) there's my local brew shop.

 

I'm in Zurich-ish. Bodensee/Konstanz  and Austria/Lustenau are both about an hour away by car. In the other direction, I also go to Freiburg now and then to watch the football.

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14 minutes ago, EnglishBloke said:

trying to avoid buying too much equipment until I know it'll be re-used. Maybe I'm being too paranoid but I suspect that the crown caps might be more susceptible to blowing off, as it were.

It's a fair point about buying too much stuff to start (as a few others have pointed out, the starter kits will be fine to begin with), but the crown caps won't come off if they've been put on with a capper. An even cheaper option (one I used to use as a student) would be to re-use any plastic, fizzy drinks bottles - just leave an inch at the top).

Whatever option you go for, don't forget to sterilise properly. It's a real waste of time, effort and money to do all the work, and find the drink has been ruined because a bottle/keg etc wasn't properly cleaned in advance.

One bit of kit which isn't always included in the starter sets but is worth considering is a hydrometer (perhaps for your 2nd or 3rd batch). It tells you the sugar content in the brew, so you know what the likely alcohol content will be the day you make it, and then a few weeks later whether the yeast has finished turning the sugar to alcohol (so you don't end up drinking a nasty, yeasty beer).

Happy brewing.

 

 

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59 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

We get some Weizen in litre bottles.  I try not to drink it one evening, so the swing top is handy.  

From Bavaria?

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3 hours ago, BayrischDude said:

Lindau have 2 or 3 getränkemärkte.  I know of the Fristo and Hasenbräu.  Most pils and exports won't have the Bügelverschluss, but some do.  The stronger beers do tend to use them more and the odd weizen will as well.  Basically, you should have no problem, in Fristo at least, of finding several. 

 

If I allow myself a recommendation for Allgäuer Büble Bier. The best mountain beer ever, I am sure available in Lindau, too. 

 

I haven't tried their Weizen, though, I prefer their Hell and Dunkel.

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I was just at my Fristo in Paradies (Konstanz) and saw plenty of beer in those bottles.  Worth driving here for those though?  

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1 hour ago, dstanners said:

It's a fair point about buying too much stuff to start (as a few others have pointed out, the starter kits will be fine to begin with), but the crown caps won't come off if they've been put on with a capper. An even cheaper option (one I used to use as a student) would be to re-use any plastic, fizzy drinks bottles - just leave an inch at the top).

Whatever option you go for, don't forget to sterilise properly. It's a real waste of time, effort and money to do all the work, and find the drink has been ruined because a bottle/keg etc wasn't properly cleaned in advance.

One bit of kit which isn't always included in the starter sets but is worth considering is a hydrometer (perhaps for your 2nd or 3rd batch). It tells you the sugar content in the brew, so you know what the likely alcohol content will be the day you make it, and then a few weeks later whether the yeast has finished turning the sugar to alcohol (so you don't end up drinking a nasty, yeasty beer).

Happy brewing.

 

Thanks. As I said, I've done quite a lot of reading on the topic and watched loads of YouTube videos so I'm comfortable with the basic processes (including the importance of sterilisation), and the equipment I need. Plastic bottles and PETs are indeed often used but I like the the beery authenticity of the Bügelflaschen. 

 

1 hour ago, karin_brenig said:

or you could just buy the empty bottles on Amazon.de - less entertaining, but (maybe) more practical

https://www.amazon.de/hocz-B%C3%BCgelflaschen-B%C3%BCgelflasche-B%C3%BCgelverschluss-Selbstbef%C3%BCllen/dp/B01IBR12C8

 

Bizarrely, it seems cheaper to buy the bottles filled with beer than empty.

 

47 minutes ago, BethAnnBitt said:

i was just at my Fristo hier in Paradies (Konstanz) and saw plenty of beers in those bottles.  Is it really worth driving here for those though?  

 

Thanks. No, it's not worth driving there specially, but I do stray across the border now and then for various reasons so I'd combine my bottle hunting with one of those trips.

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So the best shop I've been to for home-brewing products is the one in Lustenau which I mentioned:
https://www.krammel.co.at/

Dornbirnerstr. 16a, 6890 Lustenau

When I first went I couldn't find the turn-off. It's a little set back from the main road. But well worth finding! They have a huge assortment of glass bottles from 100ml up to 3000ml, so you can get your basic flip-tops or go for something more exotic. I found the place a little daunting, though, since they clearly supply for large-scale alcohol producers and the smallest bag of Potassium Sorbate I could find was 500g (enough to inhibit yeast growth in about 1000 litres of mead / wine).

In Germany I shop at ZG Reiffeisen in Efringen-Kirchen (Beim Breitenstein 28, 79588 Efringen-Kirchen). They are much more geared towards wine and in general the brewing section is just a small fraction of their wares since Reiffeisen covers most things DIY, home and garden. Still, I got all my 1litre wine bottles from there (for bottling my mead) and I seem to recall they had a pretty good range of bottles in different forms and sizes. Worth a look in on your way to/from Freiburg next time.

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