Bottling

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Bottling

Postby brewmeisterintng » Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:48 pm

It seems like the longest and boringest part of making your own beer is preping the bottles. I meticulously wash each bottle with soap and water and a bottling brush, rinse, soak in bleach water and then blast with a jet blaster and hang on a bottle tree. I know that my bottles are good but it seems to eat up a whole morning just getting the bottles ready. Has anyone out there got a better way? I have tried mini kegs and kegging is not an option at this time so please stick to the fact that I will be bottle conditioning my beer. Thanks
-James-
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Postby BillyBock » Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:30 am

James: Before I went to kegging, I went through the same thing you are. You didn't mention which mini-keg system you looked at.

On the cleaning part of the process:
it seems to me you probably spend a lot of time just rinsing to get soap and bleach residue out of the bottle. If you used a percarbonate based cleanser (like PBW, One-Step, etc.) your rinse time would be cut considerably. These work so well, you might not even need a brush. Then I would switch to a no-rinse sanitizer like Star-San or Iodophor--dunk the bottles in this sanitizer for the required time and drain it. Then you're ready to fill it.

On the filling end of the process:
My first approach was to use bigger bottles--16 oz, 22 oz, 32 oz. But then you need to concern yourself with possibly 'wasting' beer if you don't finish the serving in your bottle (and who wants to waste beer?) Consider using swing-top bottles instead of bottles that need to be capped as another time-saver.

Then I went to mini-kegs....the Party Pig to be specific. This worked for me for a while. The Pigs were easy to use once set up, and they're mobile, but the cost of the inflatable pouches add up--$4 each, one per pig per use. Additionally, removing the pouches once inflated to full size was a major PITA.

As a replacement I looked at the Tap-a-Draft and the 5L mini-kegs. I never went this route because I made the plunge into full kegging, but if hadn't I would've used the Tap-a-Draft. You'll have to buy the little CO2 canisters and, if you want more than one beer on tap, another tap head. Then you'll have the recurring cost of replacing the bottles probably every year.

So these were my thought processes as I remember them about 3 years ago. I know you said kegging isn't an option for you. But if space is the issue, have you considered the 2.5 or 3 gal corny kegs? They're half the size of a 5 gal corny and would keep your equipment footprint down by not requiring a large fridge.

v/r
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A lot of good info... Thanks

Postby brewmeisterintng » Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:32 am

Bill,
The mini kegs I was refering to was the 1.25 gal tin kegs. They are tough to clean and don't react too well to preasure. I have been told that they really were not designed for the homebrewer as the preasures generated by natural carbonation are too high. I can validate that statement as well as the deformed kegs I experienced mega foaming. I cut the priming sugars way down and still had the same problems so I went back to bottles.
I also own a party pig which worked pretty well except for getting the blatter to activate and the cost of the blatter. Removal wasn't much of a problem if you jab it with a sharp pointed object.
I appreacate all you info and will try the no rinse sanitizers to speed up the bottling process. My wife is the "offical" bottle filler which helps :)
-James-
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Postby BillyBock » Wed Jan 11, 2006 8:00 pm

Oh yea, I forgot to add that the other advantage to swing-tops is you can save your portion if you don't finish the entire bottle.

Glad to help. Let us know how it works out for you. I can tell you I love Star San (and no I'm not affiliated w/ the company, just a happy customer). They also make Sani-Clean (same company) that's the same as Star-San basically but doesn't foam as much, and you need twice as long for contact time (2 minutes vs. 1 minute).
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faster filling

Postby littlehop » Thu Jan 26, 2006 5:39 pm

all of billybocks sugg. are good , also would like to point out that a bottle tree saves major space and helps to smooth out washing day . One more thing a bottle filler in 3/8 or even 1/2 inch will fill faster.
You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning.
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Re: Bottling

Postby pcharles » Thu Jun 22, 2006 8:33 pm

brewmeisterintng wrote:It seems like the longest and boringest part of making your own beer is preping the bottles. I meticulously wash each bottle with soap and water and a bottling brush, rinse, soak in bleach water and then blast with a jet blaster and hang on a bottle tree. I know that my bottles are good but it seems to eat up a whole morning just getting the bottles ready. Has anyone out there got a better way? I have tried mini kegs and kegging is not an option at this time so please stick to the fact that I will be bottle conditioning my beer. Thanks
-James-


Take a look at the Tap-a-draft bottles (http://www.midwestsupplies.com/products ... ubCat=1040). My two brewing friends and I have decided to adopt these because they allow us to split a 5 gallon batch between the three of us and fit nicely in a regular fridge. They have been getting great reviews and are a good price.
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Postby cozrulz » Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:50 pm

Tap-a-draft is interesting...I just started looking at getting a box of liter swing-tops. I'd like to get another storing option, so I can have two beers ready at once. I'll probably go with bigger bottles or a growler. I could even go get a half gallon jug from a brewpub, that would be cheaper and I would get beer with it.
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Kegging is where it's at

Postby brewmeisterintng » Tue May 01, 2007 8:28 am

I have spent too much time, money and effort it the quest for containerizing my brew. I avoided the corney keg system as the dedicated refrigerator and the initial cost. But for the ease of it all. KEG! In less than 30 minutes you can go from the secondary to the keg and start force carbonating. You don't have to worry about over priming or if you yeast is still viable. The 1/2 inch of beer that is wasted in the bottom of each bottle is eliminated. Your beer is clearer. So... why didn't I do this sooner. I guess it was evolution. Yes, I origially started with Mr. Beer and now I am a full fledged all grainer with two kegs on tap. :D
Gota love it!
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Postby cozrulz » Tue May 01, 2007 3:24 pm

Yeah, I was looking at a kegging system but right now I don't have the space.
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Postby DTS78KC » Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:42 pm

I do the same rinse twice, soap and bottle scrub, then rinse well. Set in the dishwasher (without soap) and either run it on quick wash or if you have a sanitize setting use that. The hot water will sanitize the clean bottles. Even a further step i still dip and drain in my no rinse sani solution. 96 bottles in less than an hour but the dish machine took two rounds.
Give a man a beer and he'll waste an hour, teach him to brew and he'll waste a lifetime- Nuco Gordo
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