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Old 05-23-2013, 01:55 PM   #1
Norselord
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Default Bottling Rant

Rinse 50 bottles
Rinse 50 bottles
Fill 50 bottles with soapy solution
use bottle brush on cordless drill on 50 bottles
Rinse 50 bottles
Wash priming tank
Rinse Priming tank
Fill Priming tank with StarSan solution
Fill 50 bottles with StarSan solution from priming tank
drain 50 bottles
dry 50 bottles
boil 50 caps
boil sugar solution
fill 5 bottles, cap 5 bottles (ten times)

8:30pm - 11:30pm
I value my time at $20/hour -- it is costing me $60/batch in bottling.

What exactly do i need to buy to get into a 3-keg setup?

After how many batches of kegging will the system have paid for itself (how many times $60 does a good 3-keg system cost?)

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Old 05-23-2013, 01:57 PM   #2
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There's a third option: improve your bottling process

Give your bottles a quick rinse after drinking a beer...that way they're clean and ready to go. That eliminates these steps:
Rinse 50 bottles
Rinse 50 bottles
Fill 50 bottles with soapy solution
use bottle brush on cordless drill on 50 bottles
Rinse 50 bottles


Star San only requires wet contact time; no need to fill up your entire bucket or each bottle. A gallon or so is plenty; just get the sides wet.

Invest in a vinator and bottle tree:


No need to boil the caps. Just a quick dunk in sanitizer (and some of us don't even do that)

Should be able to get it down to an hour, start to finish.

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Old 05-23-2013, 02:01 PM   #3
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My bottling:

  1. Throw empty bottles into bucket with Qxiclean until I feel like taking them out
  2. Place (emptied) soaked bottles in tub until I have enough to put away somewhere else
  3. On bottling day, fill bucket with Starsan and dump as many bottles in as possible (solution can be reused several times)
  4. Prepare priming sugar etc.
  5. Drain bottles and put on bottle tree, proceed with all remaining bottles
  6. Dump priming sugar into bottling bucket when cool
  7. Throw caps into small bowl with Starsan
  8. Rack beer onto priming sugar
  9. Fill all bottles
  10. Cap all bottles.
Takes less than 90 min
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:02 PM   #4
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You don't have a dishwasher? Clean them the night before that way it breaks up the process and won't seem as time consuming. You don't need to boil your caps. Just leave them in your sanitizing solution while you're transferring from fermentation vessel to bottling bucket. Then take them out 1 by 1. If I start by trying to keep about 50 bottles clean at any given time it takes about 1.5 hours by myself to bottle a complete batch.

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Old 05-23-2013, 02:04 PM   #5
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i rinse bottles out after pouring, hang them on my Bottle Tree to dry.
Then on bottling day, i fill up my Vinator with a 1 gallon iodophore solution.

Then, give each bottle a couple pumps, place back on bottle tree, and then a few minutes later bottle away.

Saves a lot of time

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Old 05-23-2013, 02:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norselord View Post
Rinse 50 bottles
Rinse 50 bottles
Fill 50 bottles with soapy solution
use bottle brush on cordless drill on 50 bottles
Rinse 50 bottles
Wash priming tank
Rinse Priming tank
Fill Priming tank with StarSan solution
Fill 50 bottles with StarSan solution from priming tank
drain 50 bottles
dry 50 bottles
boil 50 caps
boil sugar solution
fill 5 bottles, cap 5 bottles (ten times)

8:30pm - 11:30pm
I value my time at $20/hour -- it is costing me $60/batch in bottling.

What exactly do i need to buy to get into a 3-keg setup?

After how many batches of kegging will the system have paid for itself (how many times $60 does a good 3-keg system cost?)
Good God, I would quit brewing if that was my bottle routine.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TyTanium View Post
There's a third option: improve your bottling process
This....if it's taking more than an hour to bottle, you're doing something wrong. It's not bottling, it's HOW you bottle.

Read my bottling sticky for ideas.

For one thing you shouldn't be drying you bottles.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
This....if it's taking more than an hour to bottle, you're doing something wrong. It's not bottling, it's HOW you bottle.

Read my bottling sticky for ideas.

For one thing you shouldn't be drying you bottles.
This.

My only annoyance with the bottling process is when I have to de-label. Then it's just a soak in Oxy, rinse, drying rack. Otherwise, I rinse after pouring then into a case. Submerge in StarSan and empty as I bottle.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:17 PM   #9
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Vinator and bottling tree easily cut an hour off of my process. I now bottle two full cases in less than an hour, assuming that I've already delabeled the bottles.

And yeah, hot water rinse of bottles when you empty them means that there is no scrubbing required. Fill half way with hot water from the tap. Shake like crazy. Repeat three or four times. Set bottle aside to dry.

Process for me:

1. Sanitize bottling tree with starsan (I simply dunk each tier in the solution, then assemble them). Dunk caps in saitizer, set on clean towel for use later. Time: 5 minutes

2. Sanitize each bottle with a couple of pumps on the vinator. Place bottles on tree. Time: 10-15 minutes

3. Boil priming sugar solution, add to bottling bucket. Rack beer onto bucket. To save time, this can be done at the same time as step #2.

4. Sit in floor within easy reach of bottle tree and bucket. Fill all bottles. (never have to move, as I can rotate bottle tree to get all bottles) Time: 15-20 minutes.

5. Cap bottles and place in boxes. Time: 10-15 minues.


Total time: 55 minutes, tops... and that's with my five year old "helping" (i.e. he sets caps on some bottles, he fills some bottles, he uses the vinator a few times... any one of which takes 3-4 times as long as it would for me to do it).

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Old 05-23-2013, 02:18 PM   #10
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Yeah no offense OP, but your bottling process is awful. You can easily remove half the steps.

As others have said, rinse bottles right after drinking, so no need to ever wash them. Rinse out your bottling bucket, toss in some star san, give each bottle a quick dunk and you're good to go. You don't need to boil caps, you don't need to dry the bottles after dunking (in fact you don't want to let star san dry, it makes it less effective), and you don't need to fill everything with Star San. The surface needs to be wet, that's it.

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