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Old 03-08-2011, 03:32 PM   #1
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Default Dual wand bottling bucket?

I bottled 5 gallons yesterday and as I was staring at bottle after bottle fill up I couldn't help but think it would be faster if I could fill two at once. I usually put my bucket on a milk crate on the counter and have the wand clipped to the crate for stability. The wand is connected to the spigot by a very short length of tubing.

What I was imaging was either some sort of tee fitting splitting off to two wands or just add another spigot and wand. Since both wands would be clipped and stabilized by the crate I could use both hands to hold the bottles and cut the bottling time in half, in theory. I haven't been able to find anything similar. I'm also curious if a tee splice in the line would create any turbulence that could cause problems (aeration, foaming etc.). Has anyone come across anything like this? I have 6 gallons of apfelwein ready to bottle and I'd like to try it out.

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Old 03-08-2011, 03:40 PM   #2
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I'd go with another spigot. I think if you T'd it the flow would be too slow and probably end up taking longer. Is a good idea though. Go for it.

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Old 03-08-2011, 03:43 PM   #3
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I think you'll have a tough time watching 2 bottles filling at once, you'll overflow them pretty often wasting precious beer and making sticky bottles.

On the flipside, my buddy has a larger spigot and 1/2" diamater wand instead of the 3/8" standard. It really does fill quite a bit faster than the norm.

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Old 03-08-2011, 03:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by wyzazz View Post
I think you'll have a tough time watching 2 bottles filling at once, you'll overflow them pretty often wasting precious beer and making sticky bottles.

On the flipside, my buddy has a larger spigot and 1/2" diamater wand instead of the 3/8" standard. It really does fill quite a bit faster than the norm.
Doesn't the 1/2" wand leave more headspace in the bottle? Looks like he'd have to fill the bottle, pull out the wand, then touch the wand tip to the lip of the bottle to top up to the correct level - seems this would cancel out the time saving due to faster filling.

I also use the bottling wand (3/8") attached to the bucket with a short piece of tubing - I want to experiment with using a longer tube to mount the wand further below the bucket to see if more pressure head will speed up the flow, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
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Old 03-08-2011, 03:57 PM   #5
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Doesn't the 1/2" wand leave more headspace in the bottle? Looks like he'd have to fill the bottle, pull out the wand, then touch the wand tip to the lip of the bottle to top up to the correct level - seems this would cancel out the time saving due to faster filling.

I also use the bottling wand (3/8") attached to the bucket with a short piece of tubing - I want to experiment with using a longer tube to mount the wand further below the bucket to see if more pressure head will speed up the flow, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
Sure it leaves a bit more headspace in the bottle, but I don't see that as a real big negative in the grand scheme of things. So you get one less sip in your glass, not a big deal to me.
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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:40 PM   #6
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I was not sure a 1/2" wand does any good connected to a 3/8" spout. I don't bottle much anymore but just upgraded my bottling setup to make it easier in the future. I already had the 1/2" wand and a vinator. I added a 1/2" spigot from AHS and a bottle tree. I remember bottling 6+ gallons in under 30 minutes, solo. I can't remember if I started timing after setup or not. So to be honest figure 45 minutes to setup and put away. It was much faster and easier than ever before.

My setup.

Ale Pale with small section of 1/2" spigot
short section of 1/2" ID tubing attached to spigot.
1/2" bottling wand attached to short section of tube
(this acts like a semi rigid bottling wand coming off bucket)

I ran all bottles through the vinator and placed on tree to dry.

Tree was on ground and bottling bucket was on kitchen counter.
I also had a small tub with star san and bottle caps on the counter.

I sat on a kitchen stool and grabbed bottle with left hand and placed onto bottle wand and began dispensing. I switched to right hand for dispensing and grabbed another bottle with the left. When the bottle was full I put it to the right and began filling the left hand bottle while the right hand put a bottle cap on the recently filled beer.

Every 10 bottles or so I would cap the filled bottles. Every 20 bottles I would move the bottles to cases. I don't think I could get much faster than that unless I can get SWMBO to help again. Gonna try tomorrow.

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Old 03-08-2011, 07:40 PM   #7
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Someone around here has a pic of a bucket with four spigots and bottling wands. Two guys filling and two capping was the idea IIRC

Personally, when I bottle my wife caps but I still do one at a time and it is plenty to keep me occupied.

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Old 03-08-2011, 07:41 PM   #8
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If you were to have someone else bottling with you then I'd think that 2 spigots would be the way to go, at least 90 degrees apart from each other.

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Old 03-08-2011, 07:47 PM   #9
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Problem I see with having the 90 degree shift on the spigots is when you start to get low, only one will be used to fill the last few bottles.

I think the idea of having a helper is more solid... Someone to hand you the bottles, or to cap/cover them as you fill them. I use Grolsch and Belgian bottles right now. So, having someone hand me the Grolsch could make things a little easier. Or to just be able to hand them the filled bottles so they can secure the tops, and give them a wipe. For the Belgians, if I had someone to help cork them, that would bottling a little faster... Or, have the other person fill while I cork and secure the cages...

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Old 03-08-2011, 07:49 PM   #10
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Use a 3/4" PVC Street Elbow as a diptube for the spigots, then you don't have to tip the bucket at all to get the last few bottles filled. No worries.

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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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