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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > I've had it with bottling!!!
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Old 08-26-2007, 11:29 PM   #1
max-the-knife
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Default I've had it with bottling!!!

I just finished bottling my Fat Tire Clone and I'm sick and tired of bottles. I started at 8 am this morning by washing, rinsing, clorine soak, hot water soak, BTF soak and drip dry. Four and a half hours later I finally got it in the bottle and got the kitchen cleaned up so we could fix lunch. Whats really got me is I have another batch that needs to be bottled next week end!

I'm interested in kegging and thought I would try to put together a 5 gallon ball lock keg system. What are your suggestions of what I will need?

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Old 08-26-2007, 11:42 PM   #2
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The minimum is a CO2 tank (five pounds is a good starter), pressure gauges, ball or pin lock quick disconnects (one for gas and one for beer), a picnic tap, and a keg. You have to make sure you match your disconnects to the keg. I bought a starter kit from Alternative Beverage http://www.alternativebeverage.com/k...ging_index.htm
that took all the guesswork out of it. You might want a fridge or freezer to cool off your kegs too, but that's another whole topic.

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Old 08-27-2007, 12:09 AM   #3
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If you can't keg right away get star san, no rinse, no dry, no messing around. Me and my wife got to where we could bottle 5 gallon in 20 minutes not including about a 15 minutes sanitation soak.

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Old 08-27-2007, 09:56 AM   #4
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^ it takes me about the same time. I put a few gallons of star san into a bucket. put 8 or so bottles in, and then set them on the counter fill the bucket again. move the counter bottles onto the bottle tree and go again. what was said above is pretty much it for your basic keg setup,

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Old 08-27-2007, 12:16 PM   #5
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I came to decide that I wanted to get out of the business of bottle management at the beginning of this year and got my kegging system set up. A bit expensive (and I still end up filling a few bottles for gifts and homebrew compeititions) but worth it.

(Just as an aside - there are some things out there like tap-a-draft that are less expensive than a typical corny keg system, take up less room, but I've also heard that they don't work as well)

Storage: Most people seem to use an extra fridge or freezer and a temperature controller for their cooling/storage of the kegs. It is also possible to set up a system using 2.5 gal or 3.0 gal mini corny kegs in your regular fridge, but that won't give you a lot of room for your food and plus that means you'll struggle to find room for more than one keg/tap at a time. Craigslist, freecycle.org, and similar forums are a good way of picking up good discounts on fridges/freezers. I got my 7.2 cuft chest freezer that can hold three 5 gal kegs, the CO2 tank, and a couple of 6 packs, from craigslist for about half of list price. Another thing you'll see on the forums are references to Sanyo mini fridges. These have become a bit of a cult hit because they are just big enough inside for 2 regular corny kegs, and they take up a minimum of floor space. If you're looking for a lower cost option though they will be harder to get a deal on than if you aren't restricting yourself to a single model and can use any fridge or freezer that comes along that meets your needs.

Container: 1 or more 5 gal corny kegs. Reconditioned ones are much cheaper and work just as well as new ones. If you buy from a reputable shop (I've been happy with midwestsupplies.com) you'll save some possible extra effort in doing any parts replacement of o rings, posts, etc. as the good places do all of this for you.

Carbonation and dispensing: a CO2 tank (size is up to you - really just determines how long between CO2 tank refills you have to go) and basic single gauge regulator. If you're planning on only kegging for big events where all the beer will be consumed in a day or two, you could skip this and get one of those hand pumps like in college. For that, you'd carbonate the keg using priming sugar as in bottling, then dispense with the pump. The downside being that doing that oxidizes the beer quickly which would ruin it's flavor in a day or so.

Taps: the tap itself, possibly a shank if you're going through a fridge/freezer wall, or a tower if you're mounting on top of a small fridge. Or the picnic dispenser will let you get by for awhile. Prices vary with design and materials used. I went with stainless steel forward seal faucets because I've read that the traditional faucets are prone to sticking if they aren't used or cleaned very regularly, and since I often go days without using a given tap, I didn't want those problems. I haven't used a picnic tap myself ever but other people say that is an acceptable short term solution.

Misc: beer lines, gas lines, fittings, some keg lube is almost mandatory for helping to get some kegs to seal. Good to have some standard wrenches so that you can remove the keg posts for long term cleaning and maintanence. You'll have to clean the kegs, beer lines, and taps every so often but your normal brewing cleaners and sanitizers seem to work fine for this, so you may not need to get specialized beer line cleaning chemicals.

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Old 08-27-2007, 02:34 PM   #6
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I don't know if this is poor sanitation, but seems to work. We sanitize long before we bottle, then cap the bottles with alum foil. I don't have any misconceptions about the true sanitary nature of the bottles that week or two later, but so far no problems. Saves a ton of time when the brew is ready.

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Old 08-27-2007, 04:03 PM   #7
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I put all my bottles upside down in the dishwasher by themselvs the night before. Next day they are ready to go. I bottles 100 bottles of beer and 30 bottles of wine this past weekend in about 3 hours.

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Old 08-27-2007, 04:17 PM   #8
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that's way too long to bottle. I can clean, bottle and pickup the leftover mess in under 2 hours.

1. clean your bottles AFTER you drink them. a few rinses is all it takes. this way you only need to sanitize on bottling day.

2. change sanitizers...skip the chlorine which requires a rinse...and go with Star-san or One Step....anything that's no-rinse. 2 minutes in the solution, then drain on the bottle tree that's been santizied with star-san in a spray bottle.

3. then use the bottle santizing solution to santize your bottling bucket, racking cane, tubing, etc

4. get married and have your wife handle all the bottles and capping, so all you do is fill 50 or so bottles.

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Old 08-28-2007, 01:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore
that's way too long to bottle. I can clean, bottle and pickup the leftover mess in under 2 hours.

1. clean your bottles AFTER you drink them. a few rinses is all it takes. this way you only need to sanitize on bottling day.

2. change sanitizers...skip the chlorine which requires a rinse...and go with Star-san or One Step....anything that's no-rinse. 2 minutes in the solution, then drain on the bottle tree that's been santizied with star-san in a spray bottle.

3. then use the bottle santizing solution to santize your bottling bucket, racking cane, tubing, etc

4. get married and have your wife handle all the bottles and capping, so all you do is fill 50 or so bottles.

I agree with all but #4, cleaning bottles is much less of a headache than having a wife.

But you never regret getting into kegging although in all probablity you'll still want to bottle the occasional beer too.
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:57 PM   #10
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For me, having a wife was the difference between a chest freezer that holds 10 cornies and one that only holds five. Boo hoo! LOL.

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