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doubletapbrewing 01-30-2013 12:15 AM

My bottling experience and questions
 
I bottled my first batch today and overall it went pretty smooth. I was most worried about this process and did the most planning mainly because I wasn't sure what to expect. I had read and watched videos on the rest of the process but it is amazing that there is so little info on bottling.

I actually enjoyed bottling. I know many of you dislike it and switch to kegging, but I am quite content with my bottling process right now that I do not foresee myself switching for a little while.

I started by soaking my bottles that still had labels on them in the sink with hot water. I was going to put some bleach in there but decided against it. How do you guys go about doing this?

I then brushed out the bottles with the bottle brush that I had. After that I dipped the bottles into my star san mixture and then dumped the water back into the bucket. I was using my bottling bucket for this since I figured I would knock out 2 birds with 1 stone and sanitize both at the same time. I then put the bottles upside down on a cloth and dipped my caps into the sanitized water. After that, I siphoned the star san water into 6 gallon jugs to save it for my next brew.

I then boiled 2 1/2 cups of water and added my priming sugar to it. I let that mixture cool for about 10 minutes then dumped it into the now empty/sanitized bottling bucket. I put my primary fermenter on a chair and started the racking process.

After it was all into the bottling bucket I set the bottling bucket on top of the fridge so I had a good flow out of the spicket, down my tubing, and into my bottling cane. I filled each bottle up until the foam came to the top or spilled over a little. There was a little but more foam than I expected in the bottle, is this normal?

My bottles are now sitting under my bed in 6 packs conditioning. I figured I would let them sit for a week and then decide if they need longer. How does my process sound to all of you? Any changes or tips you might have would be appreciated!:mug:

endorphine44 01-30-2013 12:30 AM

Baking soda & warm water will peel those labels right off after about a 30 min soak. My first bottling was a week ago, similar experience as you. I had a good time with it, except for somehow managing to snap the top off my first bottle when I tried to cap it.

histo320 01-30-2013 12:30 AM

First of all it sounds like it all went well.

First of all the 2 1/2 cups of priming sugar...where did you get that amount? I suggest using an online calculator or beersmith as the amount of priming sugar you add varies by beer temp and the desired carbonation.

I have never heard of sanitizing caps before, I've never done it but that doesn't mean it isn't necessary.

When I bottle there is always a bit of foam but I use a bottling and when the liquid reaches the top of the bottle then I pull it out. It's pretty consisted with the amount that commercial beers are filled to.

I would let them age for more than one week. I will try 1 beer per week, after crashing in the freeezer for about 20 - 25 minutes, just to see how it is aging and to make sure I didn't make bottle bombs.

My process is ferment for 21 days, bottle age for 21 days, then enjoy.

masterfool101 01-30-2013 12:32 AM

1). To remove labels and clean bottles, soak in a solution of PBW for a few hours. If you don't have to remove labels, just a quick wash in PBW will work. Rinse well when you're done washing (I just toss them in a bucket of clean water).

2). Did you use a bottling wand? If not, how did you bottle? I wouldn't suggest putting the bucket so high. High flow isn't necessarily a good thing. In this case, slow and steady really does win he race!

BridgeBrew 01-30-2013 12:33 AM

I would suggest letting them carb up for a minimum of 2 weeks at least. One probably wont do it. After 2 weeks, put one in the fridge for 2 days or so and crack that baby open and see if it is fully carbed. I seem to have best results waiting 3 to 4 week before my beers are carbed fully.

masterfool101 01-30-2013 12:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by histo320

I have never heard of sanitizing caps before, I've never done it but that doesn't mean it isn't necessary.

.

I've always sanitized my caps, on the advice of my LHBS

brettg20 01-30-2013 12:39 AM

I would recommend always sanitize the caps as well. I have always sanitized both bottles and caps with IO Sanitizer after rinsing with hot water to get the dust and/or previous beer out of it. Very quick and easy, and always sanitary.

BridgeBrew 01-30-2013 12:40 AM

histo320, he said that he added his priming sugar to 2 and a half cups of water then boiled it. Sanitizing cap is just as important as sanitizing all your other equipment.

doubletapbrewing 01-30-2013 01:52 AM

Sorry, yes I used a bottling wand which allowed me to fill it pretty consistently.

Ya I used 2 1/2 cups water to dissolve the priming sugar in per the instructions on the kit and from what I have read.

The reason I put it so high was because I was getting a lot of air in the line when trying to fill the bottle and it was not flowing out very good. I think it was just do to gravity and the way my tubing was positioned. Once I put it up, I had a nice consistent flow.

I santized the caps because I had read on here that it was a good idea. It also makes sense to me. If sanitation is one of the most important elements when messing with anything that touches the beer, the bottle caps certainly fall in that category. But like most other things, you can probably get away without doing it without noticing any ill affects.

One thing that did not go so smoothly involved the bottling wand. The little white cap where the spring and everything sits popped off while I was filling a bottle which gave me know way to stop the flow. Some quick thinking and I stood up and turned the spigot off. I resanitized the end and continued on.

C-Rider 01-30-2013 01:53 AM

1-rince bottle after drinking and let it dry upside down
2-wait til I have 12 bottles cleaned
3-place them in a bucket w/OxyClean
4-when I have another 12 bottles I take out the first batch, lables are gone by then.
5-rince and let drip dry upside down (the 12 that just came out of the oxyClean
6-store the cleaned, de-labled,dry bottles in a closed plastic box
7-soak clean bottles in Star San on bottleing day for a few minutes
7a-put bottle caps in a strainer and dip into StarSan and let drip
8-place bottles on lower rack of dishwasher after spraying StarSan on the rack
9-place bottling bucket on the diswasher
10-fill bottles and place on counter
11-place sanitized caps on bottles and cap.
Easy Squeezy Lemon Peeze. or what ever that means. :-) LOL


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