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Old 03-07-2011, 07:34 PM   #1
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Default Best way to set up for bottling?

I was just wondering what is the best way to set up for bottling. I've seen the different setups on here and was wondering if there was any one way that is better than others?

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Old 03-07-2011, 07:36 PM   #2
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Use your dish washer rack as a bottle tree. Bottle wand connected to spigot on bucket. Beer in hand while doing it.

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Old 03-07-2011, 07:40 PM   #3
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Personally, I find there are two important things for bottling:

1: always practice good sanitation. Keep the time between when you finish sanitizing the bottles and begin bottling to a minimum. Keep a spray bottle of star-san handy to mist things like the racking tube if you feel it needs it.

2: always have a previously bottled, open beer within arms reach.

(oh come on, the same joke posted within 4 minutes? shame on me)
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:01 PM   #4
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Bottling is not as complicated as it probably seems but is a major pain the arse. I usually make a 5 gallon bucket of sanitizer and dunk all my bottles in it for a couple of minutes each. Then I rinse each of them several times to make sure no iodine residue remains. I think iodine in the proper concentration is no rinse but I rinse anyway. Then I put them upside down on paper towels to dry. From there I just start filling the bottles and cap them by sitting the bottling bucket on the counter and I fill them while sitting on the floor. If you have a spot to sit the bucket up high enough then by all means do so. For sure get a bottle filler. It's just a few dollars and will help you get the right fill level. You press it avaunt the bottom of the bottle which opens the spigot.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:04 PM   #5
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Old 03-08-2011, 01:08 PM   #6
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Default Bottling Station

The two things that I have found that dramatically improved bottling day are a bottle tree and a vinator bottle rinser filled with star-san. I also hear that a bench capper can really speed things along, but I do not see myself buying one until the Emily capper craps out. My process really revolves around multi-tasking.

If you keep everything within arms reach, and you start with relatively clean bottles, you can hold the racking cane with one hand as you empty the carboy, and use the other hand to pump no-rinse sanitizer into the bottles, dropping them onto the bottle tree as you go. I find that it takes just about the same time to rack beer out of the carboy as it takes to sanitize 2 cases of bottles, so it is a huge time savings.

Once I am ready to bottle, I like to fill about 6-12 bottles at a time, cover them with a sanitized cap, then pick up the capper and crimp them all at once. It is a lot less shuffling around of equipment.

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Old 03-08-2011, 03:50 PM   #7
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Default Take the not-so-obvious first step: PRACTICE First

If you are doing bottling for the first time, practice with a bucket full of water first. That first step eluded me as I thought, "How tough can this be?"

I soon learned that it can be a juggling act (or spinning plates depending on your point of view). I wasted a lot of liquid gold trying to start siphon, grabbing bottles, overfilling, etc., etc. Worst was that I had not read the post about doing it with the dishwasher door open to catch the spills. Cider, which is what I was bottling at the time, is REALLY sticky.

Even now, before I do a bottling session, I load the bucket up with about a gallon of water, practice and make sure all the parts I need are within arms reach and re-awake the muscle memory.


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Old 03-09-2011, 03:59 AM   #8
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Fill a 48 quart cooler with your sanitized bottles. Place that on top of the empty keg boxes to gain height. The cooler will catch all overflow, and you can swap out full bottles for empties as other bottles fill.

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