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To cork or not to cork?

I have been corking a few Belgian beer bottles with every blond, saison, and strong dark I have made for the past 5 years. I tried to open a blond ale that I aged from 2010, and the cork cracked, and I had to use a cork screw to get the cork out. I also tried to open a 2011 blond ale, and none of the guys in the club could get the cork out of the bottle either. I again had to use the cork screw. Both beers had plenty of carbonation and should have helped push the cork out. This has happened with several bottles.

Has anyone had similar problems and found a solution? I have purchased some larger bottle caps that fit champagne style bottles, but the cork effect is really cool at club meetings and beer gatherings.

If you like the cork look, cork them and use the cork screw to open. If you are worried about saving some, make sure you don’t go all the way through the cork. I don’t see where using a cork screw would matter…

You are right. It is just sometimes there is not a cork screw handy and the cork should come out on its own. It should be like a twist off cap (only better.) No kitchen appliances should have to be used to get it open. I just wondered if others were having the same problem and if they found a solution. I don’t reuse the corks so I am not worrying about destroying the cork, but I also don’t want any floaties of cork in the beer.

Are you using the belgian corks?

Yes. I am using the Belgian style “ref” corks. Maybe I need to store them better. I have them in a place that gets very hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The corks that are breaking have been in bottles, stored in a refrigerator.

I wet the end of the cork for a couple of seconds in boiling water before I put it in the bottle. I store the bottles on their side for a couple of weeks to make sure there are no leaks and that the bottle seals. Since I have started doing this, I have not had a problem with the bottles carbonating, just with the corks breaking or not coming out.

Maybe the boiling water bath is the culprit. Mine only get a quick dip in vodka.

I have no experience with beer corks, but with wine we have to keep the bottles on their sides or upside-down to age so that the corks stay moist over months/years. Similar issue?

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