So you brewed an incredible pale ale and now it is time to share it with some friends. If you are anything like me you are too lazy to clean and sanitize 40 bottles each time you brew a new batch of beer so you keg; but a keg is a pain to transport, what to do, what to do. The answer is a growler! Most beer growlers hold half a US gallon or 64 ounces, some are a bit larger and there are also 32 oz half growlers.
Typically what I do is if I go to a brewery that I really like I will pick up a growler of their beer and just re-use those growlers for my home brew as well. That way if I am heading to an event, going on a camping trip or a buddy wants some beer to bring home I have several available. I recently also purchased a couple of really nice stainless steel growlers. I like them because they are nearly indestructible, has a cap that you never need to replace and is also far more compact then a typical growler yet still holds 64 ounces. It also looks like a miniature keg which I also like.
Growlers are large capacity beer containers that are typically made of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel. In the late 1990s, growlers began gaining in popularity at craft breweries and brewpubs as an easy way for patrons to take beer home when traditional bottling was not a reasonable option. A typical growler holds 64 or 68 fluid ounces, but they come in a variety of sizes. The top of the growler creates an airtight seal using either a screw cap or a hinge/latch style cap and can keep beer fresh for over a week if maintained properly.
Below is an example of five different styles of beer growlers: a ceramic Widmer Gasthaus growler, a Deschutes latch top glass growler, a small screw top glass growler, a Russian River latch top circular growler, and a Firestone large screw top growler.
Carboys are large jug-shaped containers typically made of glass or plastic. They are used in brewing for small batch fermentation. Carboys usually range in size anywhere from ½ gallon to 6 ½ gallons. An air lock and stopper or rubberized bung are typically placed at the top of the carboy to create a seal that allows CO2 to escape from the fermenting beer, while still maintaining a sanitary environment inside the carboy. Glass carboys are airtight, which can be better than air permeable plastic carboys, but glass carboys are also more fragile and dangerous to work with. Additionally, glass carboys are also less susceptible to internal scratching since their surface is much harder than that of a plastic carboy.
Below is a photo of a carboy filled with fermenting beer.