Canned beers are synonymous with so many gatherings. Cold, canned beer is a significant part of beer culture, playing a role in everything from summer barbecues to sporting events. And while it’s tough to think of a time before canned beers, this method of packaging beer has been around for less than a century. Considering that humans have been brewing for thousands of years, canning is still an innovative industry in the beer market.
The number of unique, quality beers showcases the brewing process’s complexity and the importance of optimal packaging — which in most cases, involves the canning process. Today, the focus is on stouts and how these roasted-flavored beers influence canning and the producing a tasty final product.
How Do Stouts Differ From Other Beers?
Stouts have a long and fascinating history, and while there is now a wide spectrum of stouts around the globe, they all have one characteristic in common — their dark, rich color. The darkest of stouts are seemingly jet black, thanks to dark malts.
Stouts – unlike popular IPAs – allow the malt to shine through. Some popular flavors found in stouts are chocolate, coffee, and toffee. Since carbonation is typically low, stouts traditionally have a creamy mouthfeel and finer bubbles.
Canning Stouts (And What Does It Take To Make One Like Guinness?)
Stouts are usually carbonated normally or maybe even with a slightly lower carbonation level. They may be easier to can a slight bit warmer than other beers to ensure there is enough foam on the cans during canning. Twin Monkeys’ canners have foam enhancement techniques to help with this. But if you’re looking to go beyond stouts that are only carbonated, let’s discuss nitro beers.
Guinness is by far one of the most famous and historical stouts. This brewery popularized the process of nitrogen gas infusion, which is how it achieves that silky, creamy mouthfeel Guinness drinkers know and love. Unlike carbonated beers, nitro beers yield a smoother texture. The widget at the bottom of Guinness cans helps create the classic stout mouthfeel. So, how are breweries canning nitro stouts without this little piece of plastic?
For years, many craft breweries avoided nitrogen infusion simply because it was too challenging to incorporate gas into their beers — both in their taps and cans. However, that has changed thanks to the technology and equipment offered by companies like Twin Monkeys. For example, breweries can easily customize their beer canning systems with integrated liquid nitrogen dosing. A drop of LN2 is added to each can before the lid is applied. With designs like the ultra-compact Cimarron, the process is completely automated.
For those still using a small, mobile canning system, nitrogenation during packaging is possible when counter-pressure filling isn’t an option. However, it can be a lengthy trial-and-error process.
What to consider before investing in a stout canning system
Before the stout canning process begins, ponder these considerations:
- Everything about the can — What can sizes are needed to package the stout? What type of lid? Will the can be shrink-sleeved or labeled? These questions must be answered to ensure a properly configured canning system.
- Moving on from a mobile canning machine — This option is often used among startups and entry breweries because it’s accessible and allows for a low-risk trial. The issue is that it’s costly. The benefit is that following such a trial, breweries know exactly what they need and can invest in equipment accordingly.
- Cans per minute (CPM) — The simple way to assess this number is to figure out the number of barrels per batch to can and how many barrels per hour a particular machine can handle.
Twin Moneys Canning Machines
The available customization of Twin Canning machines means systems can adapt based on the seasons and the styles. While many breweries offer a flagship stout, others produce seasonal stouts throughout the colder months. Twin Monkeys machines accommodate nearly any beer can, ranging from slim to 12-ounce cans popular with hard seltzers to the standard 12-ounce or 16-ounce cans used by most breweries. The Gunnison canning system is the most popular option for those using mobile canning machines. However, various canning system options are available based on the required capacity.
The best option for stout canning will depend on all other variables, including budgeting, space, CPM, and the specific needs of the brewery based on the desired final product.
So can your stouts. They are easy to can, store well for long periods, taste great with friends around the fire or at home curled up on the couch. Make them carbonated. Make them nitro. Make them awesome. And deliver them in a small aluminum package to your favorite customers.