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Old 06-20-2009, 07:33 PM   #1
pericles
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Default Best Time to Label

So I take a lot of care not to disturb my primary after I've pitched, and I'm even more careful with my secondary. And then when bottling, I use a bottling wand to make sure to fill from beneath the waterline. . . but LABELING involves schlepping the box of bottles around, taking each bottle out, moving it around, putting it back, then schlepping it back to wherever it came from.

I know there's not MUCH headspace or O2 in my bottles, but I'm just as sure that labeling isn't GOOD for the beer either. That said, is it better to label just after bottling, or after the bottles have conditioned for a week or two?

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Old 06-20-2009, 08:47 PM   #2
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Once the bottle's capped and before the sediment has all settled out, there's no harm in shaking it around some - any oxygen in there is going to get in the beer either way, and any settling is going to have to happen anyway. It's just that if you've done it right the headspace doesn't have enough oxygen to really damage your beer. Even after bottles are conditioned and the sediment falls out, it seems like if settles a lot quicker after shaking than it took in the first place. If you're really worried, I suggest oxygen-absorbing caps, then giving the beer a shake around after bottling becomes a necessary step instead.

I try to label as soon as possible after bottling, though. Not for the sake of the beer, for the sake of making sure I never bottle a new beer with an old one still sitting about unlabeled.

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