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Old 04-17-2006, 01:00 AM   #1
Feb 2006
Posts: 80

Ahhh the perils of bottling. I got a six of Rogue Red Ale and a six of Magic Hat IPA and I plan on using them to bottle. Last time I removed labels I just soaked the bottles in real hot water and scraped them off with my fingernails (not fun). I just wanted to know if anyone has a relatively painless way of doing this or if I simply have to pay my pennance for not kegging. I thought I read somewhere on this forum that they soak them in an ammonia/water solution and they slide right off, just wanted to know dilution factor of the ammonia:water. Thanks fellas.


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Old 04-17-2006, 01:04 AM   #2
Ivan Lendl
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Feb 2006
Wimbledon Finals
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just soak them in hot soapy water for about ten minutes, then remove as much as the label you can by peeling off, soak another ten minutes, then scrub with a scrubby, or chore boy. They shouldnt be that hard to get off, ive done hundreds of bottles, and never broke a sweat, or used ammonia, or oxy-clean: just soap, water, time,a green scrubby and a little elbo grease.
Primary: empty
Secondary: empty
Bottled: Barbarian IPA
Up next: Configuration 9

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Old 04-17-2006, 01:31 AM   #3
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Aug 2005
Fredericton, NB
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A paint/razor scapper works well too. Normally it would be used to get paint off a window after painting the frame.

Igor Stien

Fermenting: MT
Secondary #1: MT Secondary #2: MT
Conditioning: Nothing Drinking: Store bought
On Deck: Festa Brew Red Ale....As soon as I get my bucket back from storage.

All bottles are Guinness bottles, Plus Five Kegs!!!

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Old 04-17-2006, 01:39 AM   #4
Mar 2006
Posts: 9

The brand of beer you are trying to remove labels from makes a big difference too. Becks is a complete nightmare; those foil labels are a menace to remove. The best I've found is Bass. Soak those in hot water for 10 minutes and they fall off themselves. It's a thing of beauty after scrubbing other more stubborn labels for a few hours.
Primary: Dead Guy Ale
Primary: Oatmeal Stout
Secondary: Bigfoot Ale

Bottled: Belgian Trippel
Kegged: Oktoberfest
Kegged: Cider

Drinking: German Kolsch
Drinking: ESB

On Deck: Pumpkin Ale
In The Hole: Oktoberfest

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Old 04-17-2006, 03:39 AM   #5
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Oct 2005
Long Island
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Originally Posted by cutigers81
The brand of beer you are trying to remove labels from makes a big difference too. Becks is a complete nightmare; those foil labels are a menace to remove. The best I've found is Bass. Soak those in hot water for 10 minutes and they fall off themselves. It's a thing of beauty after scrubbing other more stubborn labels for a few hours.
Never tried Bass, but Fullers labels behave the same; and ESB or London Pride both taste much better than botled Bass IMHO.


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Old 04-17-2006, 03:52 AM   #6
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Feb 2006
Denver, Colorado
Posts: 5,902
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Put the bottles in a big Tupperware tub and fill it with fairly strong ammonia and water mixture. Leave them over night and the labels literally slide off the bottles into the bottom of the tub. Rinse the bottles well and you are done. Just don't get any bleach (chlorine) mixed into the ammonia! A very dangerous combination.

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Old 04-17-2006, 04:51 AM   #7
Lounge Lizard
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Nov 2005
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I think one of the keys is to just not be in a hurry to get the labels off. Try to have all the bottles ready before bottling day.

Whenever I have extra One Step left over from whatever I'm doing, I put it in a pail with a lid. As I drink store-bought beer, I rinse out the empities and put them in the pail. They may sit in there a week or longer before I check on them again. Whenever I do, all the labels are floating on top and there is no glue on the bottles. No pain...

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Old 04-17-2006, 01:33 PM   #8
Aug 2005
Tampa, FL
Posts: 606
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cutigers is right, the brand of beer makes a huge difference. New castle labels come off incredibly easy while becks IS a b!tch.. Widmer bros and Flying dog also have tuff labels.

I've tried soaking them in bleach and in washing soda solutions and believe that hot water works just as well. I've never tried ammonia but I think I will next time. Here's how I do it: soak them for a while.. like over night and then remove one only when you're ready to take the label off... those things can readhere/dry really quickly. I use a little plastic dish scraper to scrape off almost all of the label (any scraper would probably work well.. I just don't have to worry about cutting myself with the plastic one). Whatever adhesive and paper is left is easily removed with some powdered bark keepers friend and a sponge. It takes me maybe a minute at most to do the tuff labels this way.. not too bad if you ask me.

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Old 04-17-2006, 01:50 PM   #9
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Feb 2006
Manhattan, KS
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I agree with those who have said that the key is not to be in a hurry. Oxy cleaner and washing soda both work very well, in my experience, with an extended soak (several hours).

Both of these things leave a filmy residue that requires thorough rinsing, though.

Primary: none
Bottle conditioning: Robust Porter
Drinking: Saison Dupont clone, tripel
Coming soon: Columbus APA, Rich Red ale

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Old 04-17-2006, 02:34 PM   #10
Feb 2006
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I used to throw some Automatic Dishwashing Powder in the bottom of my sink then fill it up with very hot water. I threw the bottles in there for about 10 minutes, and the labels would slide off easily. Just a few scrubs to get the glue off . . . and they were clean and ready to rinse well.

Since then . . . I've read that dishwashing detergent will reduce head retention, but I've never had a problem with head retention. I haven't had to peel labels lately, so I guess I will use some One-Step next time.

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