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Old 02-11-2011, 05:26 AM   #1
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Default esky (ice water) proof labels

G'day all,

I'd like to share my labeling technique, which cost under $5 a batch, is water resistant (so you can store your beers with the rest in an ice bath) and quite simple.

I've been brewing about a year or so now and have got to the point where I don't really buy beer any more. The problem is when a weekend comes around and a mate has a party or similar. (No matter how nice the beer is, people still look at you wierd when you pull a no label beer out of the esky.)
So i jumped on homebrewtalk.com and found the laserprinter and milk solution, which works a treat if you keep your beers in the fridge but lasts all of 2 seconds in an ice bath and those blue freezer blocks just couldn't keep the esky cool for long. So, back on the net looking for a label that could survive a bath. Everything I found was either very expensive or too perminate (i never brew the same thing twice and like to have all the details on the label, brew date, bottle date, %, standard drinks)
I liked what i was getting with the laserprinter and the paper seemed to stand up ok in water so the problem was the milk/glue. I started experimenting with different glues (glue stick, pva, rubber glues, basically anything i could find) doing little test labels on bottles full of water seeing how they stood up to sweating, 6hrs in ice water, and how easily they were removed for cleaning. And still couldn't find anything i was happy with.
So it was back on the net, this time reserching glues. After a couple nights of serching i'd found plenty of cold resistant glues but only in industrial quantities. After a bit more reaseach i ended up making my own glues to test and finaly found something that i consider perfect.

The great thing is all the ingredients are either pretty comman of useful for the home brewer. (for other uses do a seach for "gelatin finings" for gelatin, and "yeast banking" for glycerine)

Here it is:

Basic Waterproof Glue

* 6 tbsp water
* 2 packets unflavored gelatin (1/2 oz.)
* 2 tbsp white vinegar
* 2 tsp glycerine

Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until it is dissolved. Add vinegar and glycerin and stir well. Let the mixture cool slightly and pour into a jar and seal tightly. To Use: This glue is best applied while warm. Apply to surfaces using a brush. Glue will gel after a few days. To re-use, warm by placing the jar in a pan of hot water. Good for binding leather to leather, fabrics to cardboard, paper to paper.


This glue is very liquid when hot/warm and is easily applied with a paint brush (just paint the whole back side of the label and stick it on, wipe any exsess off with a bit of paper towel) make sure to use a laserprinter not an inkjet or the ink will run, if you don't have one just print off a good copy and get it photo copied. Stick with square/rectangular labels and buy/borrow an a4 rotarry trimmer (beats using scissors)
It takes a couple days for the glue to fully gel, but once it has these labels hold very well in an esky of ice water for several hours, any longer than that the labels become very easy to pull or rub off but they're still not going anywhere by them self and will be fine again, once dry.
To remove, simply get your tap running as hot as it can, fill up the sink and give the bottle a soak/dunk. Depending on how hot your water gets they will need anywhere from 10sec (for boiling water) to mabey 2 mins (for warm water). and there is little to no residue left on the bottle.

I mixed up a half batch of this and have used it for three batches so far and still have at least half of it in the fridge.

(note: As an Aussie, i don't use oz. there is a chance that with all the converting and halfing that i ended up used the full 1/2oz. of galatin for my one half batch. If you find that this glue is not working for you that is probably what happened.)

Enjoy, hope this works as well for you as it has for me.

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Old 02-11-2011, 11:16 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opm View Post
G'day all,

I'd like to share my labeling technique, which cost under $5 a batch, is water resistant (so you can store your beers with the rest in an ice bath) and quite simple.

I've been brewing about a year or so now and have got to the point where I don't really buy beer any more. The problem is when a weekend comes around and a mate has a party or similar. (No matter how nice the beer is, people still look at you wierd when you pull a no label beer out of the esky.)
So i jumped on homebrewtalk.com and found the laserprinter and milk solution, which works a treat if you keep your beers in the fridge but lasts all of 2 seconds in an ice bath and those blue freezer blocks just couldn't keep the esky cool for long. So, back on the net looking for a label that could survive a bath. Everything I found was either very expensive or too perminate (i never brew the same thing twice and like to have all the details on the label, brew date, bottle date, %, standard drinks)
I liked what i was getting with the laserprinter and the paper seemed to stand up ok in water so the problem was the milk/glue. I started experimenting with different glues (glue stick, pva, rubber glues, basically anything i could find) doing little test labels on bottles full of water seeing how they stood up to sweating, 6hrs in ice water, and how easily they were removed for cleaning. And still couldn't find anything i was happy with.
So it was back on the net, this time reserching glues. After a couple nights of serching i'd found plenty of cold resistant glues but only in industrial quantities. After a bit more reaseach i ended up making my own glues to test and finaly found something that i consider perfect.

The great thing is all the ingredients are either pretty comman of useful for the home brewer. (for other uses do a seach for "gelatin finings" for gelatin, and "yeast banking" for glycerine)

Here it is:

Basic Waterproof Glue

* 6 tbsp water
* 2 packets unflavored gelatin (1/2 oz.)
* 2 tbsp white vinegar
* 2 tsp glycerine

Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until it is dissolved. Add vinegar and glycerin and stir well. Let the mixture cool slightly and pour into a jar and seal tightly. To Use: This glue is best applied while warm. Apply to surfaces using a brush. Glue will gel after a few days. To re-use, warm by placing the jar in a pan of hot water. Good for binding leather to leather, fabrics to cardboard, paper to paper.


This glue is very liquid when hot/warm and is easily applied with a paint brush (just paint the whole back side of the label and stick it on, wipe any exsess off with a bit of paper towel) make sure to use a laserprinter not an inkjet or the ink will run, if you don't have one just print off a good copy and get it photo copied. Stick with square/rectangular labels and buy/borrow an a4 rotarry trimmer (beats using scissors)
It takes a couple days for the glue to fully gel, but once it has these labels hold very well in an esky of ice water for several hours, any longer than that the labels become very easy to pull or rub off but they're still not going anywhere by them self and will be fine again, once dry.
To remove, simply get your tap running as hot as it can, fill up the sink and give the bottle a soak/dunk. Depending on how hot your water gets they will need anywhere from 10sec (for boiling water) to mabey 2 mins (for warm water). and there is little to no residue left on the bottle.

I mixed up a half batch of this and have used it for three batches so far and still have at least half of it in the fridge.

(note: As an Aussie, i don't use oz. there is a chance that with all the converting and halfing that i ended up used the full 1/2oz. of galatin for my one half batch. If you find that this glue is not working for you that is probably what happened.)

Enjoy, hope this works as well for you as it has for me.
Thanks for posting! I'll give this a try this weekend.
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Old 02-14-2011, 03:07 PM   #3
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I tried this out on about a dozen bottles this past weekend, and it worked terrifically. I'll test it out on those bottles this week, and if they hold up I'll scale the recipe up for a big bottling run.


Thanks for posting.

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Old 02-14-2011, 04:01 PM   #4
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Keep us updated. I'm interested in the results.

Also, I've noticed some of my labels stored in the fridge tend to fade a bit over time. Is this as a result of the moisture/ink or the glue? Just curious if either of you have an insights.

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Old 02-15-2011, 12:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjp68 View Post
I tried this out on about a dozen bottles this past weekend, and it worked terrifically. I'll test it out on those bottles this week, and if they hold up I'll scale the recipe up for a big bottling run.


Thanks for posting.
I would suggest a minimum of 72hrs drying time. I try and label my beers around bottling day so they end up having a month or so drying time before they get anywhere near an esky.
a second thought is that you could test one a day and see if the hold improves from day 1 to day 6. I did my initial testing by chilling a jug of water in the fridge adding a bottle and putting the whole thing back in the fridge to keep the water cool (about 4C/39F) and checking every 2hrs or so till 8hrs and then again at 24hrs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomije87 View Post
Keep us updated. I'm interested in the results.

Also, I've noticed some of my labels stored in the fridge tend to fade a bit over time. Is this as a result of the moisture/ink or the glue? Just curious if either of you have an insights.
i've never experiance any fading, then again my labels are a pretty basic solid black with amber writing, printed on my uni color laserprinter, on standard copy paper.
are you using laser or inkjet? standard paper does soften with moister after a while the inked paper may just be rubbing off.
I'd suggest printing full color labels on laser (the ink provides a desent moister barrier) and making sure the edges of the label are well coated in glue to slow down water soaking in where you cut the paper.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:31 PM   #6
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are you using laser or inkjet? standard paper does soften with moister after a while the inked paper may just be rubbing off.
Laser color printer on standard paper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by opm View Post
I'd suggest printing full color labels on laser (the ink provides a desent moister barrier) and making sure the edges of the label are well coated in glue to slow down water soaking in where you cut the paper.
I may have to try coating the sides in glue to see how that works. Does the glue leave behind a noticeable residue on the bottle?
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:39 PM   #7
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Awesome, thanks for sharing. I've been wanting to label some brews for a while now, but have been hesitant to use labels or milk. This seems like a great technique.

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Old 06-27-2011, 07:35 PM   #8
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if you don't heat the bottles up after they have cured, can this be considered a "permanent" label.. i wanted to put some sort of logo on each of my bottles just so i know at the end of a gathering i know which ones are mine.. i'll still mark the caps for style though..

just curious how this will hold up for sanitizing soakings and just over time

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Old 06-28-2011, 02:09 AM   #9
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if you don't heat the bottles up after they have cured, can this be considered a "permanent" label.. i wanted to put some sort of logo on each of my bottles just so i know at the end of a gathering i know which ones are mine.. i'll still mark the caps for style though..

just curious how this will hold up for sanitizing soakings and just over time
this is basically the opposite of what you're looking for. The idea behind these labels is that they're very easy to remove under any conditions, but serving. the glue is water soluble at anything above a couple degrees C and the paper isn't water proof, so even if you sanitize in a water cold enough that the glue doesn't dissolve the paper will go very soft and tear or rub off within a couple hrs.
if you want something you can use brew after brew i would suggest looking at what people have to say about mailing labels, or if you're really keen diy glass etching, or glass paint.
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:59 PM   #10
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Hey so for those who have used this recipe I noticed there might be a question on how much gelatin was used... What worked?

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