Want to share the story behind your custom cap or label? Email me.


Houston Chronicle Article

Check out the Houston Chronicle's article on BottleMark!
It's raining caps!
(For those Houstonians among you, we're on the front page of the business section today.)

Many thanks to writer Ronnie Crocker for helping support our young business! And yes, we really do intend to make our fortune twelve cents at a time.


Anderson's Phunky Homebrew

Check out Phunky Brewster Paul Anderson's cap:
Credit to Ed Stansty for the centerpiece art.
Delightfully surreal!
Here's the design crowning the official Phunky Homebrew...

...complete with a label designed by Anderson's 11 year-old son.
Nicely done, son!
I love to see fully tricked-out bottles like this. (With any luck, we should be adding custom labels to our site very soon (and carriers after that...?) so you can get all your custom stuff quickly, cheaply, and exactly like you want it. Clearly, we'll let you know when that happens.) Keep it Phunky, Paul


Recapping Experiment, the Final Phase

Previously on BottleMark, the Boring Bottle Cap Slayer...

"Can you recap a beer without it going bad?"
"Oxygen's the big bad, Haley, don't you see? There's no way beer can survive this! Some of them aren't going to make it."
"But shouldn't we let beer fight for the right to a cooler cap? Isn't that something worth risking a few hops for? We've got to give it a chance. So I say we change the rules. I say my cap...should be its cap. Tomorrow we will change bottling's destiny."
"Haley, what you said, it flies in the face of everything we've ever...every generation has ever done in the fight against flat beer. I think it's bloody brilliant."
*Haley and Cameron suddenly whip around and dust an onslaught of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans*
"Lets do this."

Procedure: Third verse, same as the first.
(Blue balloon for recapped beer, red balloon for control. )

Following three enthusiastic shakes, the bottles produced comparably sized balloons.

To quote Keanu Reeves: whoa.
We've got a big difference here. The control beer (left in this photo) has lots more carbonation. Here's some more evidence...
The recapped beer (left) is weak compared to the fluffy thickness of the control beer (right)
Both still beautiful in my eyes, though.

While the control beer tasted like all the other Independence Pale Ales we've enjoyed, the recapped beer was clearly missing the aggressive bite of the hops. Hoppiness was present but somewhat muted. It was very drinkable (and drink it we did, without regrets), but it didn't have quite the same punch.

Time matters. Day four was without difference, day seven showed a weaker head but no real taste change, and day fourteen is simply a different beer: weaker head, weaker taste. (Also I think the balloon test was not terribly helpful. So I conclude against getting ideas from elementary school science fair projects.)

Recapping a commerical beer with a custom cap for a special event is totally do-able, but you need to follow a few ground rules...
1. Thou shalt choose a date close to thy special occasion. Four days or fewer before the event shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be four, for four or fewer days is holy in Beer's sight. Seven shalt thou not count. Fourteen is right out.
2. Thou shalt sanitize the custom caps.
3. Thou shalt uncap and recap the beer swiftly, exposing it as little as possible to the demon oxygen, naughty in Beer's sight.
4. Thou shalt enjoy an awesomer bottle among friends on thy special occasion.
Thus spaketh the Science.
Planning on recapping a beer with a BottleMark cap? Share your experience and results with us! Use the comments or email me, for science's sake!


BJ's Scottish Ale

Here's another fun design, made by Brian Jambor.
Nice hat.
That's an actual photo of BJ brewing the very ale that will use these caps: it doesn't get any more custom than this! I also like how he made the whole design circular, complete with borders—a style you see a lot on professional caps. And the date is genius. Can't tell you how many homebrews we've had in the fridge, not knowing if it was brewed two years ago or last month...

So cheers to Brian: may the malty excellence of your Scottish Ale fight the cold Minnesota fall nights.


Recapping Experiment, Phase 3

Seven days after the recapping date, our Independence Pale Ales were ready for another test.

We followed the same procedure as Day 4: uncap, attach balloon (yellow for recapped, green for normal), shake three times, pour into glass, taste, compare everything, and enjoy the beers while watching episodes of Buffy. Oh, Mr. Whedon, you are so unpredictable.

Here are the results...

As you can see, the normal (green balloon) beer has produced a bit more foam. In fact, this balloon looks larger than both balloons at Day 4...has it gained carbonation or is this a rogue beer? The recapped beer's balloon (yellow) was smaller and more like the balloons from Day 4.

HEAD (we're talking beer here, stop giggling!)
The control beer (left) has a slightly larger head than the recapped beer (right)—further suggesting some loss in carbonation for the recapped beer. Both had plenty of bubbles (which are devilishly hard to photograph or video, so you'll have to take our word for it).

TASTE: For the life of us, Cameron and I could not taste a difference between the two beers. It was all equal hoppy goodness.

(Tentative) CONCLUSION
We're beginning to think that recapping close to an event (four days ahead or sooner) is best. One week, although it doesn't seem to affect taste, does affect the outward signs of carbonation. It won't kill you, but it's not pristine. We'll have to wait for the final phase, two weeks, before we can make any hard conclusions. We hypothesize that by week two, the recapped beer will have noticable carbonation and taste loss. That is assuming the evidence is consistent. You never know.

Stay tuned for the epic finale...


Recapping Experiment, Phases 1 and 2

Our custom caps shouldn't be just for homebrews. Why not trick out your favorite craft brew for a special occasion: birthdays, bachelor parties, weddings, really cool corporate get-togethers, or that long-awaited 21st?

But can you uncap and recap a beer without any loss in quality? That's what Cameron and I are determined to find out...

Stand back. We're going to try science!

Phase 1
Einstein thirsts for science!

Purpose: To determine if a distributed (non-homebrewed) beer can be uncapped and immediately recapped without any noticeable loss in carbonation or alteration in flavor.

Hypothesis: We think this is gonna work.
(Here's why: oxygen = bad, flat beer. We're not exposing it to oxygen for very long, and unlike growlers, we're not drinking any to create more space for oxygen in the bottle.)

1 6-pack of local craft brew: Independence Pale Ale (brewed in Austin, TX)
Note the plain gold caps. This pack is about to get an upgrade.
3 awesomer caps
Showing here

1 Klein bottle bottle opener
Yes, that's a Klein bottle bottle opener. Best. Wedding. Present. Ever. Doesn't damage caps much either.
1 really ancient antique capper
Cooper legend has it that this bottle capper has been in the family since the Prohibition era, when it was used to, ahem, cap "ketchup."
Iodophor sanitizer solution (poured into a glass) to sanitize

Control: We left 3 of the bottles untouched. When the proper time has elapsed, we will uncap both an original and a recapped beer at the same time to compare carbonation and taste.

1. Sanitize the new caps and the capper's hands in standard sanitizer solution. Very important step!
Step 1
2. Pose for the fanatical photographing wife while waiting 2 minutes for caps to sanitize.
Step 2
3. Uncap 1 bottle.
Step 3
4. Place new cap on bottle and use capper to crimp it into place. Try not to allow more than a minute to elapse with the beer open.
Step 4
5. Look at the cute dog, look at it!
Step 5
6. Repeat Steps 3-4 for a total of three bottles.
Step 6
7. Wait, my precious....

Phase 2
After four days in the fridge, the capped and recapped Independence Pale Ales are ready for the first test.

1. Take one gold-capped and one Einstein-capped beer out of the fridge.
2. Uncap the normal bottle, attach a pre-stretched, helium quality balloon.
3. Give the bottle 3 hearty shakes.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 for the recapped beer.
5. Compare the balloon sizes.
6. Remove balloons, pour both beers into tall pilsner glasses, and compare heads.
7. Taste test!
8. Taste test some more...etc.
I love my job.
9. Delicious.

Here's the video showing the Day Four experiment results in real time.

DAY FOUR CONCLUSION (drum roll, please...)
Conclusion 1: Recapping a beer and opening it again in 4 days (or less time) has no effect whatsoever on carbonation or taste.
Conclusion 2: This beer is particularly delicious.
Double fisting for science. Beer for women.
Stay tuned for results after one week and results after two weeks.


Blueberry Wheat Ale

Here's a new custom cap creation by homebrewer Jonathan Sutton.
He's bottling a blueberry wheat ale in clear bottles to show off the rich cloudy color and then topping them off with these vibrant caps so everyone knows what flavors to expect. Summer perfection.