Breaking Bottles While Capping

I’ve been brewing for a year or so, and I’ve bottled roughly 200+/- bottles, but every once in a while I still break one while capping. I use the butterfly-style hand capper that comes with the beginner kit. Is it me or should I get a better capper?

Are they twist offs? I’ve heard that the glass in twistoffs is much thinner and tend to break under small amounts of pressure.

Same here. My wing capper seems especially finicky about stubby, Sierra-Nevada style bottles for some reason. I can feel it have a hard time grabbing the collar just right on certain bottles. When I feel some resistance I turn the bottle 60-90 degrees and try again. Sometimes that changes the angle just enough to do the trick.

No - they’re not twist offs. There’s no pattern as to what type if bottles break. Today I broke one of my favorites - a 1 pint 9 oz. Sam Adams special edition - a heavy thick bottle.

I manage to break one every so often. It’s really disturbing when it does happen. That next bottle always feels like an adventure. I don’t worry about it though. It happens and I’ve yet to kill myself bottling so it’s all good. It’s mostly just sad.

I love the Red Barron capper. I’ve capped over 1200 bottles with it & only had 3 break so far. Although it works well, i am soooo ready for kegging!! :cheers:

I find that after I’ve capped 2-3 dozen bottles it starts to get a little monotonous and I start to get a little careless. Instead of using a smooth even pressure on both handles of the capper I start to put more pressure on one side. Or I push the handles down quickly and with too much force. So, while it could be the bottle it’s just as likely technique.

I’m using the same capper from the starter kit. Never broken a bottle while capping and have been doing it for three years now. A handful have broken when taking the caps off. Possibly related.

“People who drink light ‘beer’ don’t like the taste of beer; they just like to pee a lot.” -Capital Brewery, Middleton, WI


I am so ready for kegging as well!! It just makes so much sense.

Same here. I feel the capper handles might break before a bottle, but it’s been going strong for 4 years.

As the bottles age (get reused more times) they can weaken. That’s one of the main reasons the breweries and soft drink companies switched from reusable to one-use bottles back in the 70s.

It is also possible you have a rough edge or a bent part where the capper grabs the bottle. That will concentrate the force there, and could cause more breaks.

I went several years after I started brewing before I broke my first bottle while capping. These days I mainly keg, but will still bottle a few per batch, and it isn’t that uncommon for a bottle to break on me.

Get a bench capper. You can use it even after you start kegging for those occasional bottles. You’ll be glad you got it.

I’ve bottled roughly 2500 bottles with the same butterfly capper that came with my original kit 14 years ago. Never broke a bottle. Not sure how one would even go about breaking one.

For what it’s worth, I still have the same old hydrometer as well. About 95 batches, still got it, just used it this morning again. It reads high by 0.003 but it’s still intact.

I cracked bottles with the black butterfly capper that came with my beginner Brewer’s Best kit. Also, I should add they included a cleaning brush that was WAY too tight. I ended up pitching around 100 bottles after examining them and finding stress cracks in the neck. I bought a Red Barron capper and a new bottle brush from NB. No cracks or breaks since.