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Don't laugh, but I've actually gone dumpster diving in my early years of brewing behind bars and restaraunts. Then I put them into a 55 gal plastic garbage bin (clean one) to submerge all of them and let them soak. As you take them out, shake out the limes...
Indian and Mexican restaraunts have great bottles because of the imports are stronger bottles. Indian alse come in 22oz bottles as a bonus.
I talked to the folks that work at my local liquor store and asked them to keep an eye out for cases of returnable bottles. Although the returnable is no longer an option as the industry forced that out, there are consumers that have them hanging out in garages.
When they bring them back to the store for return and to get their deposit back the store will take them. It is an issue of public relations.
They usually just dump them, but I have been able to gather about 17 cases worth for little to nothing.
2 tips from my new brewbuddy- Mexican quarts -carta blaca, dos xx, come in cool quart poptops and are reusable. Bud's American Ale nets out only slightly more per 12 of 22oz bottles than buying just bottles. -pretty good info from a "new" guy.
I watched craigs list for a few days searching for bottles. A case of 24 from my customary supplier was $48 with shipping. I found a "wife" who was selling her husband's brew setup and bought the whole works for $50. Got an 8gal boiler, two buckets, capper, chiller etc. I'm pretty proud of that buy. )
Oh, ya. I asked her if her husband knew she was selling his stuff and she said, "yes".
If you are friends with a bar/restaurant owner/manager/bartender they may be willing to put them aside for you. However recycling bin/dumpster diving works. Hopefully there is recycling in your area because then you don't have to deal with food on your bottles.
If you dumpster dive I would recommend pulling only a couple of each brand's bottles on your first trip, so that you can get an idea of how difficult it is to remove that brand's labels. The differences in the glue & paper can make a huge difference in the amount of work you have to do. Believe me there can be a huge difference in difficulty even with a long soak time.
My guess is that MiStout is from Michigan where they have deposits on the bottles, so some of your suggestions may not work. The best way to accumulate bottles is time. When I am not drinking a homebrew, I generally drink something from a micro brewery. The bottles from Micro Breweries are generally pretty good. Other than that, the Homebrew supply store in my area of Michigan sells a case of 24 amber 12oz bottles for 10 bucks. I just gave away two cases to my brother inlaw otherwise I offer you some.
In Massachusetts we have returnable beer bottles - when I started brewing I stopped in at my 2 favorite liquor stores and asked the managers if
I could have 2 cases of bottles. one gave me the bottles for the price of the deposits, the second just gave me the bottles - no charge.
I have one favorite liquor store now ...
As others have suggested, try a few brands first - some labels come off very easily others may never come off.
The best place I have found to get bottles is at recycle bins. I have collected about 10 cases in 3 weeks. The nice thing about these places is that the bottles are separated by glass color and since people have stored them they usually rinse them out. You can also get the boxes the bottles came in so you can store them neatly. You do have to go through the bottles to weed out the twist off bottles. I have so many now, I have started separating them by type (i.e. Standard, New Belgium, Sam Adams, etc) so when I bottle my beer, I do not have to label them to keep up with what style of beer is in the case. I do keep records on bottling dates!