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Old 12-03-2012, 02:15 AM   #1
yourhuckleberry
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Default My first bottling & I am nervous

I brewed a Bee Cave Brewery Kolsch that has been in primary for 3 weeks.

Yesterday I went to a friendly LHBS and asked for bottling bucket and a siphon to transfer.

He recommended against the bottling bucket because the spigot could be hard to clean and could create an infection. What I got was:

Racking Cane
Tubing
Bottle Wand

(I think he assumed I had moved to a secondary)

The recommended method on these boards seems to be use a bucket and prime the whole batch.

My Biggest problem is I don't know how much I have brewed. I halved the recipe to 2.75 gallons but am sure that I lost a bunch to a vigorous boil.

How do I know how much to sugar to prime with? I haven't marked my carboy (I have a picture at the bottom of the post).


My options it seems are rack to a 3 gallon carboy (which I have) and prime each bottle individually (boil and sanatize sugar solution first). That way I can be sure I am correctly priming as it is done per bottle.

OR

I could buy a plastic bucket (easier to gently stir) and prime the whole batch. If and only if I find out exactly how much beer I have in the primary so I know how much priming sugar to add.


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Old 12-03-2012, 02:28 AM   #2
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i'm no expert, but I don't know what your LHBS guy is talking about; spigots on bottling buckets (at least on mine) come apart and are fairly easy to clean and sanitize

if you don't get a bottling bucket, I guess you could use the siphon to bottle, but never having done it that way, I couldn't advise on how to go about it.

normal use is 3/4cup in 5 gallons (and that looks like you have around 2, if that's a 5-gallon carboy) I would suggest maybe use 1/4 cup priming sugar and bottle as per usual instructions

then clean the carboy and mark volumes on it as soon as possible

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Old 12-03-2012, 02:37 AM   #3
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Go make your own bottling bucket....forget what he said. You'll find if you follow his methods, you'll be frustrated.

How are you integrating the priming sugar? If you're using a prime tab, then yeah going directly from the fermenter is fine...BUT unless yours is equipped with a spigot, trying to manitain a siphon from the fermenter and manipulating a spring fed bottling wand can be tricky.

Even with adding prime tabs to the bottles, it's easier to fill with a spigot and bottling wand, rather than a siphon and bottling wand.

If you're not using prime tabs, and are planning to use sugar, then it is best to make a sugar solution and integrate it with the beer at bottling time. Adding dry sugar to bottles is very tricky, it can lead from under carbd to over carbed beer to even bottle bombs. Also dry sugar and the co2 in the beer already can lead to gushers while filling. The sugar acts as nucleation sites, and you get what amounts to the mentos/diet coke effect, all the beer shooting out of the bottle.

So then the issue is how to do that.....Do you add it to the fermeter or secondary? How to you get it all to mix?

The problem with bottling from a primary or secondary instead of using a bottling bucket, is that since you have patiently gone and let your beer settle and clear, in order to mix the priming solution and beer effectively, you would have to stir it in the carboy which would a) kick up all that nice sediment you have patiently let fall, b) possibly oxydize the beer.

It really defeats the purpose of both a long primary/no secondary or a secondary if you have to stir up all the nice sediment you patiently waited to settle just so you can have consistent carbonation.

Why don't you just go to the hardware store and make a bottling bucket? You can find everything you need, including a spigot there.

With my bottling bucket and my dip tube, I leave no more than about 3 ounces behind, which means I can get about 52 to 54 bottles per 5 gallon batch.

Go to a hardware store and get a translucent or white bucket...but look for one where the 5 gallon mark falls way below the top of the bucket. Usually it will say 5 gallons at 3rd band from the top. (oh get the lid too....I totally regret not getting it when I did.)

Then get a spigot and make a dedicated bottling bucket. It really defeats the purpose of both a long primary/no secondary or a secondary if you have to stir up all the nice sediment you patiently waited to settle just so you can have consistent carbonation.

Mine is the translucent Leaktite brand 5 gallon container with the gallon and liter markings from Homedepot.



Here's a pic of mine from my bottling thread.



One of my dip tubes and what gets left behind.



You'll find a ton of good info here to make bottling easier.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/revv...herwise-94812/

Hope this helps you understand better.

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Old 12-03-2012, 06:56 AM   #4
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To the poster... review Revvys "sticky" on bottling. It is one of the best, most informative subject on this site. Following his basic set up and a few tweaks of my own and it takes less than 30 minutes to bottle a 5 gallon batch.

And to kjoe, if you want to learn be respectful. If you want to troll, don't you have better things to do?

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Old 12-03-2012, 10:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
He recommended against the bottling bucket because the spigot could be hard to clean and could create an infection. What I got was:
Oh, he was right. You actually have to remove a plastic nut from the inside of the bucket and take the valve out, then put it in some hot water for a bit to soften it and pop the valve apart to get it really clean. It takes almost forever or in reality about 2 minutes. Total time from starting to finish with the valve reassembled and back in the bucket is perhaps 10 minutes.

Get yourself a bottling bucket, ignore his advice and bottle your beer the easy way. Remove and clean the spigot, reassemble it and store it for the next time.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy
The problem with bottling from a primary or secondary instead of using a bottling bucket, is that since you have patiently gone and let your beer settle and clear, in order to mix the priming solution and beer effectively, you would have to stir it in the carboy which would a) kick up all that nice sediment you have patiently let fall, b) possibly oxydize the beer.

It really defeats the purpose of both a long primary/no secondary or a secondary if you have to stir up all the nice sediment you patiently waited to settle just so you can have consistent carbonation.
To OP - This.

Given he proportion of folks saying "bottling bucket is fine," I think you can be confidant in that approach. No reason to Macgyver it with a siphon if you don't have to!

I've done what your LHBS suggested only once when I had two hefewizen to bottle, and my spigot was broken (read: leaking a lot). I did it by using a *glass* carboy w/cap and CO2 at 2-3 psi to maintain the siphon. Besides being stupidly dangerous, my beers had roughly the mouthfeel of oatmeal for about 6 months (from stirring in the corn sugar). That might be ok for a hefe, but definitely not for a kolsh.

After that, I went and bought 3 spigots and a back up wand just in case.

The infection problems come from not disassembling everything, thoroughly cleaning, and then sanitizing. Make sure you wash the threads, the spigot, the bucket, etc with your cleaner and THEN sanitize and you'll be fine. Use something soft so you don't scratch the bucket.

This cleaning routine goes for everything. I didn't gut and reassemble my cornie kegs when I first used them, and had my beers go south after 4-5 months. I swore off kegging until I was in a pinch (no time to clean and fill bottles), and quickly took a keg apart. There was all sorts of residue inside the ball lock disconnects that my PBW wasn't reaching. Now i disassemble the parts and soak in PBW after every use and haven't had a problem since.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:02 PM   #7
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I soak my spigots & all their parts in a mug of PBW. Then use aquarium lift tube brushes to clean inside them. I then use a towel soaked in starsan to clean around the mounting hole & the seals.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:15 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the help everyone. I will go ahead and build a bottling bucket (I have seen Revvy's posts before and it does not look hard and I need to make the trip to the hardware store to get a t-joint for my siphon anyways).

My problem is still the priming sugar. I have a 23L (6 Gallon) carboy. Should I just guess the amount of beer in my carboy to be 2.4 Gallons? Or is the risk of over/under carbonation too high?

Alternatively I could guess conservatively (say 2 gallons) add the appropriate priming sugar to the bottling bucket then add the beer, take a measurement of the beer. Then add more priming sugar if necessary? Would be about a Tbsp if there was 2.4 Gallons of beer instead of 2 Gallons. I don't imagine a tbsp of priming sugar would aerate the beer too much would it?

Thanks again for all the help. My first brew I had no worries about. Fermentation I had some. The bottling has been the worst (I have been spending hours reading up on this forum), but I think I will get it all worked out.

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Old 12-03-2012, 12:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yourhuckleberry View Post
Thanks for all the help everyone. I will go ahead and build a bottling bucket (I have seen Revvy's posts before and it does not look hard and I need to make the trip to the hardware store to get a t-joint for my siphon anyways).

My problem is still the priming sugar. I have a 23L (6 Gallon) carboy. Should I just guess the amount of beer in my carboy to be 2.4 Gallons? Or is the risk of over/under carbonation too high?

Alternatively I could guess conservatively (say 2 gallons) add the appropriate priming sugar to the bottling bucket then add the beer, take a measurement of the beer. Then add more priming sugar if necessary? Would be about a Tbsp if there was 2.4 Gallons of beer instead of 2 Gallons. I don't imagine a tbsp of priming sugar would aerate the beer too much would it?

Thanks again for all the help. My first brew I had no worries about. Fermentation I had some. The bottling has been the worst (I have been spending hours reading up on this forum), but I think I will get it all worked out.

P.S

<So tired of losing posts from logouts have to remember to ALWAYS command-copy>
you said you have an extra 3-gallon carboy?

why not measure & mark volumes on that, siphon over to it to measure, then siphon over to the bottling bucket.

an extra step, but would get you a better idea of how much you have for bottling.

then you can use Tastybrew's bottle priming calculator for amount (by weight) to use, so you don't have to guess
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:01 PM   #10
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Yoop, how do you bottle wines? Do you come out of the secondary with the wand on the end of a hose? I've helped folks bottle them, and that's the method they use. But I'm so used to bottling using the bucket, that I just out of habit transition to the bottling bucket, and fill like I do with my beers....At eye level, etc. Now the person I helped bottle made beers AFTER making wine. So he was used to filling from a secondary with the wand on the end of his autosiphon.

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