Friday, January 1, 2016

Making 64 oz. beer growlers

This Christmas I decided to make some growlers for my parents who have gotten into home brewing.  Mostly my father who has become a very talented maker of excellent beers.  My mother makes her own hard cider which is also very good.

To start I wanted to make a growler that was as close to 64 oz. as possible.  64 oz. is the standard size for a beer growler.  I had to calculate volume and account for the shrinkage rate of my clay.  I also purchased some flip top lids for the growlers and had to calculate how to make them fit the top of the growlers.  Math is not my favorite activity, but seems to become important in my work more frequently than I would like.

I ended up throwing five growlers.  These are the first three I made.  It turns out that it was a very good thing I made so many.  In the end only two of the growlers fit the lids I purchased. The rest were about 1/4 of a centimeter too large.  My lack of precision in throwing may have had something to do with this. I later added on to these growlers to create a lip that would better hold the flip tops.  I was so excited to get started making them that I didn't properly research how the tops fit.

The finished products were decorated with laser printed decals fitting the end users.  My husband designed a logo for my father's beers that I used on his growler, and I drew an apple tree for my mother's growler. The decals were fired and then I painted over them with China Paint and fired them again.  I also did this on the lids to make them match the growlers.

                                 On the beer growler I took advantage of the fact that you can erase sharpie marker with rubbing alcohol so that the growler can be labeled with whatever beer is in it at the time.


All in all this was a very fun project, but if I decide to make more of these I will make a mold.  I would like to be able to make them more consistent in the future.  Or maybe I should just throw them with some other clay body than grolleg porcelain, that might help too.