You CAN Do It: What to look for in an at-home can seamer
So you’ve spent hours on that recipe, days planning the brew day, and weeks in fermentation. And ta-da! You have real beer! But now what? How are you going to share it?
From day one, we were bottling beer to share with friends. I was never really good at priming/bottle fermenting, so we jumped to kegging really fast. Having the keezer really helped us share the beer with as many people as we could, while making our lives significantly easier. Put the beer in the keg, carb and serve. Pretty simple. It was fairly straight forward to bottle from the keg as well. We have a beer gun that purges the bottle and deposits the beer in the bottle, pop on a cap and you're ready to rock and roll.
While the process is almost identical, canning offers a couple of advantages that bottles, even dark amber brown bottles, don't have. Namely in terms of keeping out light. UV Light causes the chemical reaction that drives skunked off flavor. Canned beer is also easier to share with others, giving them and us, the freedom to take the beer pretty much anywhere beer is allowed. Many places do not allow glass bottles and growlers have to be consumed (most times) in one sitting.
And so the decision was made that a can seamer is a necessity. SPOILER ALERT: We chose the Oktober SL1 Can Seamer.
What we were looking for in a can seamer
First and foremost, we were looking for a seamer than can seam more than one size. SL1 can seam standard 12 ounce cans, as well as 16 ounce cans, with the addition of a single spacer. At this point in our journey, we did not feel that we needed the Cadillac of seamers, just a workhorse that can get the job done. Also, we needed something affordable as we have many equipment needs and can’t afford to splurge on them all. The SL1 seemed (pun intended) to be the perfect fit.
Why we went with Oktober's SL1 can seamer
After doing some research, we liked that Oktober has extensive experience in providing high level seamers to the craft beer market and worked to design the highest quality seamer that was realistic for start-ups/homebrewers. Additionally, their customer service has been second to none. They provided videos and all the instruction we could ask for, helping us feel confident in our purchase and our investment in canning.
How the first few canning sessions went
The first few times canning with the Oktober SL1 seamer have been awesome. The process itself is easy and straight forward: fill the can, add the cap and seam it. Canning definitely seems faster than bottling, certainly more mobile, we’re able to take it more places.
Why spend a part of our limited funds on this, as opposed to other brewing equipment
Like many startups, the needs are many and the funds are few. We started with a large enough set up that for now, we don’t really need more fermentation space (though we could use some kegs!). At this stage, we view getting beer into the hands of as many tasters as possible a top priority. Getting first-hand feedback on our recipes is just as vital to this adventure as another tank…so we went with the ability to share our beer and invested in the can seamer.
There’s no doubt canning has changed the way we store and share our beer. Additionally, it’s been really fun to see the looks on our friends' faces when we place a cold one in their hand and they hear that telltale pop of the can upon taking a sip of our beer.
Are you canning your beer? Bottling? Kegging? We'll take all the tips we can get. Share with us on Instagram!