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About GrowlerGuy

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    Pottery, Hiking, Camping, local beer.
  1. Howdy Folks, Paul Chenoweth asked me to come onto the post to help answer some questions and after reading some of the posts regarding growlers I would be happy to answer questions. To introduce myself, I have been making primarily nothing but growlers for over 6 years - both turned and cast. One offs and mass production. I have worked with huge breweries around the country (Widmer, Kona, etc) and have sent my growlers all over the world. You can see some of my stuff at www.handmadegrowlers.com When I first began making growlers there was A HUGE learning curve to get the shrinkage, top fitment and function just right. As I read through the previous posts, a couple of things that jumped out at me are the following: 1. Growlers are not meant for bottle conditioning home-brews. Don't even attempt it as you cannot control the living portion of the process (sugars and yeast) you will end up with a huge mess! 2. Flip Tops DO NOT RELEASE CARBONATION, they are made in such a way as not to budge - unlike the screw on tops for the glass growlers. Those are actually made to release pressure and give much like when you pop open a jelly jar for the first time. 3. Carbonation-CO2 is not your friend. As CO2 comes out of solution (as beer warms) carbonation will build up inside your vessel. If you do not have a strong enough clay body, or the type of top that releases pressure, something has to give. I spent a lot of time with my local head brewer going over their carbonation/ temp charts, and did a lot of pressure testing on my growlers. I built a pressure tester and have blown up more growlers than you would ever imagine - recording the PSI, body wall thickness, temps, etc etc.. I would recommend doing the same type of testing before offering them for sale. I learned the hard way that people hate it when beer explodes all over the inside of their car! 4. Flip tops. The small Grolsch style tops are too small for growlers and most filling stations or brewery hoses won't fit. The 34 mm size is the style I prefer. The wide mouth ones work really great too. Both styles are hard to source but if you are looking for them in bulk, I would try Saxco Pacific. If you want just a handful, call the guys Sound Homebrew (or go to them online) - i get orders from them within 3 days usually. 5. The flip top bales I use can be slightly "adjusted". pull the two pieces apart and the bracket that holds the topper, those arms can be straightened and re -bent higher or lower depending on if you need a little more room or a little less to make it a tight seal. If you can close the bail and still rock the stopper back and forth, it is too loose - tighten it up a bit. 6. Growlers are a temporary storage device, meant to get beer home, or to a party and then used. I have however kept beer good, in my growlers for almost two weeks - IN the refrigerator - keeping that beer nice and cold and the carbonation down. I have at times popped the top to releases a little of the pressure just to be sure. 7. Growlers are a blast to make and more fun to take to the local brewery - learn your states regulations (and those of any states where you might have customers) some places require by law the legalese Gov Warning label. Some states have totally crazy laws -others are way more lax. It sucks bringing one and finding out you can't fill it. 8. Brewers make money by the ounce. You gotta have your shrinkage rate dialed in and the sizing just so. Hope that helps. If anyone has specific questions, please feel free to email me at carlburgpottery@gmail.com Best of luck and happy turning!
  2. I own a digital ceramic decal printer. We can print off food safe, CMYK decals. If I can create the image, or import your image into illustrator / photoshop we can print it and fire it as a decal. Granted, the image you posted has some very bold colors - with the food safe toner set I am using the colors are a bit more muted. Also, depending on how your pieces are glazed, can really affect the way the decals read. On a red stoneware, the color of the clay is really going to dampen down the color of the decal - I would humbly recommend you try getting them to agree to a black/white version of the artwork as it would present the best. Also, as long as you are putting them on a glossy glaze, the decal should adhere just fine and if applied and trimmed properly would show very little if any outline. When you start to apply them to matte finishes, it just doesn't work real well if you don't want them to clash. In your case, how large are the plates and what size would you like the image to be - best would be to "bleed" the decal into the edge of the round portion of the plate. I too fire to ^6 and have a very specific Ramp/Hold program for the firing of the decals (a third firing) - which goes close to ^011. If you want to see examples of the decals we have done, visit www.handmadegrowlers.com. If you would like to discuss the outsourcing of the decals, please email me and we could further discuss your project and costs. Turn around time could be pretty quick. carlburgpottery@gmail.com Tim
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