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Old 09-23-2012, 10:51 PM   #1
Enoch52
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Default Bottling Day Takeaways

I just wanted to record my thoughts on my first-ever bottling day. If anyone wants to comment, feel free to do so!

  • Far and away the longest part of the process.
  • I can see why Star-San is so popular. I had to postpone bottling twice because I couldn't get all of the equipment sanitized at the same time (in large part because the 'sanitize' cycle on my dishwasher takes so long, and partly because I need hot water to rinse the bleach off bleached items, which means I need to boil hot water...)
  • Bottling Day is messy. I'm sure it will get better with practice, but still.
  • A recipe with additional flavorings (coriander and bitter orange, in the case of a witbier) make things more difficult. I tried not to get them in the bottling bucket, but it didn't work perfectly. It's a PITA to clean those out of a spigot, especially if you're concerned about infecting the beer.
  • Don't forget to completely top off the primary fermenter if you want a full two cases of beer. 4.5 gallons won't cut it.
  • A beer or other drink makes the actual bottling process go a lot more quickly. It's tough on the forearms when the siphon tubing doesn't fit quite snugly on the bottling wand and you have to squeeze to keep it tight.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:57 PM   #2
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Revvy made a great post for bottling. Check it out <click It cut my bottling time down alot.

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Old 09-24-2012, 01:20 AM   #3
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Get star-san or idophor for sanitizing. providing everything is clean, it takes 30 seconds to sanitize things, and no need to rinse it off.

Time to invest in new tubing.

You should be able to get it down to 2 hours for 5 gallons, from start to cleaned up.

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Old 09-24-2012, 01:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Calder View Post
Get star-san or idophor for sanitizing. providing everything is clean, it takes 30 seconds to sanitize things, and no need to rinse it off.

Time to invest in new tubing.

You should be able to get it down to 2 hours for 5 gallons, from start to cleaned up.
+1 to all. My bottling day on Saturday was just a hair over two hours and that was only because I was walking a new brewer through the bottling process. One thing that I've found to speed things up is to make your priming solution first, then do all your prep (delabling if necessary, sanitizing bottles and equipment, setting up your bottling station) while the solution is cooling.
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Old 09-24-2012, 01:51 AM   #5
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I bottle when I brew. I rack to the bottling bucket while my strike water is heating up. Start my mash and bottlle It takes about 30-40 minutes and I am done before the mash is done. Easy.

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Old 09-24-2012, 01:55 AM   #6
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get a vinator and bottle tree. Easy easy easy.

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Old 09-24-2012, 02:08 PM   #7
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Yeah, I'm thinking a bottle tree and star-san will definitely be on my purchase list when I get my own equipment. Between bleaching what could be bleached, boiling water for rinsing the bleach off, and the length of the sanitize cycle for my dishwasher, sanitizing everything for bottling was a major PITA. Star-san sounds like it's worth its weight in gold.

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Old 09-24-2012, 02:14 PM   #8
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I GOTTA do this.... START KEGGING!!! I figured I would before anyone else does lol.. seriously the link posted earlier to revvys bottling thread is extremely helpful. It took bottling for a chore to a breeze. A vinator is a must have IMO. Just fill and lay sanitized caps on a few bottles, then attach the caps and repeat.

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Old 09-25-2012, 12:21 PM   #9
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Just placed my order for my own equipment yesterday. Unfortunately Northern Brewer was out of the standard bottling tree (the one that fits the vinator), but I'll probably pick up a tree and vinator down the road. One day I may pick up an old fridge and set up a kegorator as well.

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Old 09-25-2012, 02:01 PM   #10
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It takes me a long time to bottle now that I don't do it on a brew day. I take my time and relax, occassionally cleaning a new set of bottles. Actual bottling takes 10-20 minutes.

I use a jet bottle washer and no bleach or oxyclean. You hook it up to your faucet and put a bottle on it, and it blasts everything out.
I don't use a vinator but I suspect that it would make things go very quickly.
I bottle with a partner.

If you have a 1 1/2 in hole driller, you can MacGuyver a drying rack. No need for a tree.

I don't bottle with a bottling bucket. I use a racking cane and bottling wand.
I also use a stand capper.

If you migrate to swing tops, bombers and American Champagne bottles, you will have fewer bottles to fill. I usually pay $3 - $3.50 for a swing top and up to $8 for the larger bottles.

I don't worry if the priming solution is hot. It won't heat the beer much.

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