Tips and Gear for Growler Filling

Pictured: Stanley Vacuum Insulated Growler via Amazon – Review

Filling a growler or small draft dispenser from your draft setup is an easy and straightforward process.  Here are some tips and tools for making this as easy and efficient as possible.

  1. Start with a clean growler.  Use some growler cleaning tabs, PBW or your favorite homebrewing cleanser.  Refrain from using dish soaps and the like.  Thoroughly rinse your growler after cleaning.  If you’re not going to use it right away, let it air dry.  I always store my growlers with the cap off.  Starting with a clean growler is important for general cleanliness and food safety, but it also makes filling your growler easier.  Spots and such can serve as nucleation points causing unnecessary foam during the fill.
  2. A warm growler can lead to excessive foaming.  Start with a cold growler.  I suggest putting your growler directly in your kegerator so it’s the same temperature as your beer.  This will help to reduce foaming.
  3. Having a wet growler also helps reduce foam.  Put properly mixed Star San solution in your growler prior to chilling, swirl it around to coat all surfaces and discard just prior to filling.  If you’ll be drinking the growler right away, you can skip the Star San and just use fresh, cold tap water.
  4. Turn down the pressure.  Serving pressure is generally around 10 PSI, depending on how your system is tuned.  That makes for too quick of a fill and too much foam.  Turn down the pressure on your CO2 regulator to 3 or 4 psi to fill your growler slowly.  Remember to purge keg headspace after decreasing your regulator’s PSI setting.
  5. Affix a growler filler or length of tubing to your faucet.  If you’re using picnic taps a 3/8″ ID section of tubing should fit nicely on the end of your taps.  If you’re using a Perlick style faucet, a section of 1/2″ ID tubing should fit on your faucet.  Make sure the tubing is long enough to hit the bottom of the growler.  Filling from the bottom up should reduce oxygen pickup and foaming.
  6. As your beer gets close to the top lower the growler to withdraw the tubing and top up.
  7. A slight overfill can be a good thing.  When you close or cap on foam the head space is purged with CO2.  Have a clean towel or rag available to clean up the excess and any spills.

To purge or not to purge.  Purging your growler with CO2 can be a good way to decrease oxidation and keep your beer tasting fresh longer.  If your growler will be consumed right away (I’d say within a day or two), purging with CO2 probably won’t be worth it.  If it will be a while before the growler is consumed purging with CO2 would be a good thing.  If you’re going to do that I suggest doing it after you turn down your CO2 pressure.  I use my CO2 utility line (link below) for purging growlers.

Growler Fillers: These allow you to easily attach a length of tubing to your faucet for the purpose of filling a growler.  They can just as easily be used to fill a small kegging system or small keg.  Just use a longer piece of tubing.

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