The best places to buy empty beer bottles for home brewing

These are the top places to get your home brewing beer bottles, along with some tips to prep them for your home made beer

BREWING EQUIPMENT

Mat Stuckey

10/2/20233 min read

Lots of empty beer bottles ready for home brew
Lots of empty beer bottles ready for home brew

Where to Buy Empty Beer Bottles for Home Brewing

When home brewing your own beer, one of the most important supplies is empty beer bottles. Choosing the right bottles is essential for proper carbonation, storage, and serving your homemade brews. This guide will highlight the best places to buy empty beer bottles online and locally, key factors to consider, and provide tips for getting started.

Where to Buy Empty Beer Bottles Online

Purchasing bottles online provides convenient home delivery, often with more options than local shops. Here are top recommended online sources:

Amazon

With a massive selection and Prime shipping, Amazon is an obvious for homebrew bottles. They offer various quantities, materials, sizes (500ml to 1000ml), and closures. Read customer reviews to choose quality bottles with an airtight seal.

The Home Brew Shop

Brand new amber glass swing-top bottles made specifically for homebrewing. Their bottles come professionally cleaned and packaged. The Home Brew Shop is a trusted homebrew supplier with fair pricing and decent shipping.

eBay

eBay frequently has the cheapest deals on cases of used commercial beer bottles. Search for lots of 50 or more and look for auctions with free shipping. Inspect seller ratings and item conditions closely.

Our Top Pick

These CultusWares Swing Top Bottles from Amazon are a perfect choice. They are swing top, so infinitely re-useable, look great, are well priced and are available on Prime one-day delivery. They're also available in 500ml or 1000ml.

Perfect!

Why Quality Bottles Matter for Homebrewing

Investing in high-quality beer bottles is worth it for homebrewers. Unlike soda or water bottles, beer bottles are designed specifically to hold carbonation and withstand the pressure from fermentation. Their thicker glass and specialty caps help maintain carbon dioxide levels. Using improper bottles risks losing carbonation, altering flavours, or even exploding bottles.

The right bottles also block light to prevent "skunky" flavours. Amber or brown glass works best to protect hoppy beers, while clear or green glass is fine for dark beers. Considering factors like size, shape, material, and cap type will ensure your homebrew reaches its full potential.

Check Local Homebrew Shops and Craft Beer Stores

Purchasing locally helps avoid shipping costs. Many homebrew supply shops sell new or used bottles at fair prices. Ask when they get shipments for the best selection. Local craft breweries may also sell cleaned used bottles cheaply.

Also try public recycling centres that accept glass. Look for intact commercial beer bottles without chips or cracks. Be prepared to clean and sterilise thoroughly.

Online Forums Recommend Seeking Out Pre-Loaded Bottles

According to homebrewing forums like Reddit, an optimal way to get bottles is letting local breweries or bottle shops do the work for you. Some will fill growlers or howlers so you can enjoy the beer and then reuse the bottles.

Other tips from community members are checking Craigslist for recycling giveaways and asking friends to save their quality beer bottles.

Key Differences Between Bottle Types

When buying empty beer bottles, consider these factors:

  • Glass vs. Plastic - Glass is best for maintaining carbonation and preventing oxidation. Good plastic options exist but may impact flavour.

  • Amber vs Clear Glass - Amber or brown glass protects against UV light to prevent skunky flavours in hoppy beers. Goes well with IPAs, pale ales, etc.

  • Flip-top vs Crown Cap - Flip-top swing-top bottles are convenient but more expensive. Crown caps are standard and effective when applied properly.

Factor in Additional Costs of Shipping and Cleaning

Online bottle purchases often have high shipping fees, so buy in larger quantities when possible. Thoroughly cleaning used bottles is also required for proper sanitation and preventing contamination. Consider the costs of cleaning agents and equipment.

Proper Sterilisation is Crucial

Always sterilise bottles after purchasing and before bottling brews. Soak in a sanitising solution like Star San or PBW, then drip dry. Avoid residual soap or chemicals. Sterilise caps and equipment too.

FAQs on Buying Bottles for Homebrewing

Q: Where can I find free bottles? Try posting on local Facebook groups or "Nextdoor" to get free samples from neighbours or nearby businesses.

Q: Can I reuse soda or wine bottles? This isn't recommended as their glass is thinner and unable to withstand pressure. Stick to beer bottles specifically.

Q: How many bottles do I need? Plan for 2-3 cases for 5 gallons, so 48-72 total bottles. Have extras for sampling and breakage. Standard bottle size is 12 oz.

Q: What’s the best brand for homebrew bottles? Northern Brewer, Lallemand, and Caribou are excellent. Focus less on brand than appropriate size, colour, and sealing method.

Hopefully this guide gives you a good starting point on where to buy empty beer bottles and what to look for! Proper bottles are an essential supply for homebrewing success.