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Does the choice of bottle cap design have any effect on the beer itself? With the primary goal being to keep the beer pressurized and prevent exposure, how do the different stoppers stack up against each other?

It would seem to me that both the twist-top and flip-top cap designs provide roughly the same quality of seal, although a twist-top comes off easier and may be prone to opening during transport.

In my experience, the flip-top caps, the ones where you need a bottle opener (or wooden table, or set of house keys) to get open, tend to come on the more mid-range to expensive beers whereas the standard, mass-produced cheapies come with a screw-off cap. Although, this isn't universal. I wonder if this is just a marketing technique (it needs a bottle opener so it must be good).

Then there are the swing tops, which have a swinging metal bracket which, when pushed down, plugs the opening of the bottle with a rubber washer. Is this any better or worse than the bottle caps? I've always liked them for home brewing because they're easily recyclable.

  • 1
    This feels like more of a question for homebrew.se – LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 22 '14 at 21:20
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz I disagree. I brought up home brewing, but I was asking the general sense. – Anthony Jan 22 '14 at 23:25
  • As a consumer though, you hardly have a choice in the matter - and breweries will often make the choice for a variety of reasons that often have nothing to do with the effect on the product, ranging from cost to aesthetics to market research. This is maybe a good question for the specific case of growlers, where the choice is between swing-top and twist, but for standard bottles, it doesn't feel like a question that belongs here. – LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 22 '14 at 23:30
  • I think it's definitely relevant to consumer beers; depending on the answer, it could influence what kind of beer (or at least from what manufacturer) I purchase. For example, if the answer had said "twist tops are really bad" then I'd probably avoid buying them in the future. – Anthony Jan 23 '14 at 0:21
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I do not think that the type of cork is important. The important thing is that the cork used seals of the bottle so that no wild yeasts or bacteria are able to enter the bottle.

Traditionally cork and flip-top caps have been used for beers required for preservation, however any seal would do.

In my opinion it's more about tradition than functionality. Just as with french wines plastic corks can actually provide a more durable seal than metallic caps or real corks as they are less susceptible to decay due to moist. However in the spirit of the tradition and to keep customers happy it's often a less preferred option.

For instance, Belgium is a fairly traditional country and you will often never find plastic beer bottles or twist-top caps. Not because they are up to the task, but just because the Belgians didn't like it.

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    I generally agree with your answer, but I would add that as I understand it, twist-off caps can't give you as air-tight a seal as press-sealed caps, so that makes them a bit less desirable than other types of stoppers. – Xander Jan 22 '14 at 16:27

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