Ways to Clean a Growler

Ways to Clean a Growler

OK, while it is important to purchase a growler that meets your preferences and fits your lifestyle, learning the correct ways to clean a growler is also essential to enjoying the taste of your fresh brew. After you finish consuming your beer, clean your growler immediately. If you allow your growler to sit around, it creates the ideal environment for bacteria or yeast to grow and emit funky odors. Some people can even become ill after consuming said bacteria. 

Plus, if you allow your growler to grow its own colony, then your amazing craft beer will definitely taste foul. For example, have you ever been to a restaurant and ordered a tea, only to realize after a sip that it tastes disgusting? Obviously, someone didn’t clean the tea urns properly. Yeah, it happens more often than you think. It forced me to give up tea entirely when I go out to eat. The same concept applies to your beer growler. 

Here are some steps to remember when you clean your growler:

  • Always rinse it with hot water after you finish the last bit of beer. Be careful, if the water is too hot, you risk cracking the growler. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to the stainless steel or plastic varieties. Swish it around and dump it out. Don’t forget to rinse off the cap. Immediately rinsing normally does the trick and is all you really need to do to prepare it for next time. I understand that it’s not always possible to clean your growler right away. In those instances, try to keep it cold until you have a chance to rinse it out.
  • You are welcome to clean it like you would any other glass with a gentle dishwashing detergent. Make sure to rinse it out a few times to wash away any remaining detergent.
  • If you are unable to clean it right away, use a gentle cleansing solution to remove anything that has started growing. Some people don’t recommend using dish detergent because of the residue that is left behind, however other people have no issues using it. If you have something growing in it, wash it with detergent, and then sanitize it. You can’t remove the gunk any other way.
  • If you’re going to use a detergent, never use a fat or oil-based one. Others use Oxiclean or vinegar to aid in the cleaning process. It’s really a matter of personal preference and what works best for you.
  • Also, if you discover funk inside your growler, then use a soft baby-bottle or carboy brush. Gently clean the inside. You do not want to scratch the ceramic or glass walls of the container. If the bar or brewery you take your growler to does not sanitize it, then you should sanitize it at home. However, many breweries will sanitize it for you, but it should be free of any smells and forms of life before you hand it over.
  • Hang it upside down or let it sit on a counter without the cap on until it is completely dry inside. Have you ever accidentally spilled water in your car, and then left the windows rolled up? If you have, then you know that after a while, that familiar musty odor begins to fill the car because it creates the perfect environment for mold to grow. To ensure that a smell doesn’t form, you have to leave the windows cracked. If you put the cap on the growler when it’s wet inside, then bacteria will begin to form, therefore creating that stale smell. Always let your growler dry completely before putting the cap back on.

Keeping your growler clean really only takes a few minutes each time. Ultimately, it is up to you to keep your growler clean. Typically, breweries will not fill a dirty growler. They want to make sure you fully enjoy their fresh brew. Also, they don’t want to inadvertently transfer anything to the next customer’s container. Don’t be that guy or gal who gets ridiculed (and possibly charged extra or turned away) because you came in with a stinky growler. Cheers!  

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  1. Jonathan

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