There’s no “perfect recipe” for canning, but there are some best practices to consider. In general, the same basic rules apply to canning as in bottling. It all comes down to how long the beverage is expected to keep its quality.
A beer that is expected to age well can be even better a year later when canned. Hop flavors, however tend to degrade more quickly, particularly with higher levels of dissolved oxygen. Sanitizing cans and ends is important to keep out contaminants, and CO2 purging before filling can limit dissolved oxygen that can harm flavor over time. If the goal is to send someone home with a can they plan to enjoy within a few days, simply filling straight from the tap and sealing it will often suffice. For a can that is expected to last weeks or months, a good CO2 purging of the can, and a bottom fill tube to keep the turbulence low will give better results. A “best by” date is an important consideration, particularly for beverages that are expected to be enjoyed fresh. Testing flavor over time with your method of filling is a simple way to determine when best your product should be enjoyed. Canning beverages other than beer can require additional testing for extended shelf life. Some may even require refrigeration, etc. It's important to consider food safety requirements as well as flavor quality.
For filling Crowlers™ behind the bar, our recommendation for best quality and longest shelf life is:
CO2 purge…..Bottom Fill…… Cap on Foam.
CO2 Purging is simple, basically you just need a regulated supply of CO2 gas and some sort of valve. Often breweries will simply have an “empty” tap at the end of the line that is only connected to CO2, or you can use a shop-style air gun. Either way, the idea is to slowly “breath” CO2 into the can to displace the oxygen. A bottom fill tube allows the beer to fill from beneath the layer of CO2 which separates it from the oxygen outside the can. Fill the can nearly all the way to the top making sure there is minimum head-space and quickly place the end into the remaining foam to keep the remaining beer on top from contacting additional outside oxygen.
In general, it’s best to fill with your product as cold as possible. This will limit lost carbonation, and for non-carbonated beverages, will limit the “squishy” can effect.
Laws and regulations concerning the canning of alcoholic and cocktail beverages vary by governmental jurisdiction. Oktober, LLC does not warrant that you are legally able to use their products. The canning and distribution of alcoholic beverages and cocktails may not be legal in your area. Check your country, state, and local laws and regulations to determine your legal ability to use our products.