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Old 08-02-2006, 01:46 PM   #1
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With my two stage brewing kit came a capper, two handle push down model. I was bottling my first batch last weekend and had issues capping. I actually cracked two bottles (necks) while capping. Is there a trick to this process other than sanitizing the caps, centering on the bottle, placing the capper on top and pushing the two handles down?

Tell me I am missing something because after one batch I am ready to move to kegs.....

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Old 08-02-2006, 01:59 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Downstream_Brewer
With my two stage brewing kit came a capper, two handle push down model. I was bottling my first batch last weekend and had issues capping. I actually cracked two bottles (necks) while capping. Is there a trick to this process other than sanitizing the caps, centering on the bottle, placing the capper on top and pushing the two handles down?

Tell me I am missing something because after one batch I am ready to move to kegs.....
Were they perhaps twist-off bottles? Their necks are very thin and break easily--this is why they are not recommended for homebrewers.

Other than that, I'm not sure. I have found that some brands of bottles cap a little harder than others (Bass and Warsteiner, others probably, too), and that some caps cap more easily than others (I usually get Brewers Best caps if I can.)
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:51 PM   #3
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The bottles were bought from the local homebrew store and were definately not twist off bottles. Caps were overrun caps that came in the kit from the same store. Must be user error.

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Old 08-02-2006, 03:16 PM   #4
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I've yet to bottle my first batch. Your post leads me to a question though. How much downward pressure is needed?

I've got a similiar capper, though mine has a magnet to hold the cap in place. I practiced with some old/used caps just to get a feel for the capper. Doesn't the crimping action + the shape of the bottle cause the cap to tighten down, thus little down force is needed?

Thanks (and sorry Downstream for hijacking your thread )

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Old 08-02-2006, 03:19 PM   #5
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It doesn't take much pressure, you just need to crimp over the edges. I'm thinking that you were either applying the pressue unevenly or that the bottles themselves may have had some flaws from the manufacturing process (cooled down too quickly or something). The bottles I get from the HBS are nice and study.

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Old 08-02-2006, 03:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fezzman
How much downward pressure is needed? Doesn't the crimping action + the shape of the bottle cause the cap to tighten down, thus little down force is needed?
It seems hardly any downward pressure is needed. The capper is spring loaded. The action of the spring and handles is the only pressure needed. After bottling for a year, I am switching to kegging. One big keg to clean and sanitize instead of 48+ bottles!
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Old 08-02-2006, 04:03 PM   #7
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I think your probably pushing down to hard? Your crimping the cap around the top of the bottle...not crushing it. The lever action of your capper combined with minimal contact with the crimping portion of the capper and cap itself makes for some great force.

Take a bottle or two and your capper during your next LHBS trip and ask him to demonstrate. It REALLY doesn't take much force.

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Old 08-02-2006, 04:12 PM   #8
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I am swinging by the homebrew store and buying a bag of caps and taking them home and testing on some empty bottles and see what I am doing wrong. I am sticking with user error.

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Old 08-11-2006, 11:11 PM   #9
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When capping I simply bring both handles down with equal force, but as soon a the the handles reach the end of there travel I stop. This sounds obvious but I had a tendancy at first to apply extra pressure (thinking more is better). I have never had a bottle crack, but I have thought the capper might break first. BTW I'm recycling my commercal beer bottles most of which are westmalle and are quite sturdy.

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Old 08-12-2006, 12:29 AM   #10
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I've also found that boiling the caps in hot water right before you use them is helpful. They are hot/warm and are more malleable and go on the bottles much easier than if they're cold. Plus they're sanitized.

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