Am I the only one who enjoys bottling?

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pursuit0fhoppiness

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I too only know bottling, and don't mind it at all. Actually look forward to it as it means the beer is close to being ready to drink, and I have an empty fermenter to fill back up! Sure it takes an hour or so longer than kegging, but who cares? If we love this hobby what's an hour.

I also really don't understand why people think there's oxidation issues with bottling, I actually think the opposite (even for IPAs). Any oxygen introduced is going to get scrubbed during the re-fermentation. My IPAs stay bright and hoppy for months, have two bottles left of one that turns 4 months old next week.

Back to the time issue, with bottling all your beer is in bottles right away. With kegging, you'd have to set up your beergun or whatever and sanitize everything to bottle some beer for competitions, friends/coworkers, to take to parties, etc. I think that would be quite annoying.

I hope new homebrewers don't think they need to progress to kegging to improve the quality of their beer. In the last full national competition season here in Canada (in 2019), I finished 5th with all bottle conditioned beers, and the top 3 have been the same for years and pretty much impossible to bypass.

Sure filling one vessel is quicker and easier than filling 30-40. But for that extra hour and to not deal with leaky/empty CO2 tanks, keg issues, stressing over oxygen while kegging, etc, I'll keep on bottling. I also brew a lot of mixed fermentation beer which I would always bottle anyway, so might as well just bottle everything :)

And I also enjoy washing dishes by hand. 😂
 
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khannon

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khannon

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Well, multi-quote holds onto things...

"big brew day" today meant and early start, so I might otherwise apologize.. but...
 

bracconiere

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Well, multi-quote holds onto things...
yes it does....unfortanly better then my fingers trying to pluck the ear hairs that apparently are replacing my leg hair


173 batches over 9 years, all of them bottled. Yes I do actually enjoy the whole process.
gotta say, it's been more fun the last couple of years with people to talk to about it....but if i was a bottler i'd want a fancy gadget to do it a twelve pack at a time!
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Taket_al_Tauro

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I also really don't understand why people think there's oxidation issues with bottling, I actually think the opposite (even for IPAs). Any oxygen introduced is going to get scrubbed during the re-fermentation. My IPAs stay bright and hoppy for months, have two bottles left of one that turns 4 months old next week.

Back to the time issue, with bottling all your beer is in bottles right away. With kegging, you'd have to set up your beergun or whatever and sanitize everything to bottle some beer for competitions, friends/coworkers, to take to parties, etc. I think that would be quite annoying.

I hope new homebrewers don't think they need to progress to kegging to improve the quality of their beer. In the last full national competition season here in Canada (in 2019), I finished 5th with all bottle conditioned beers, and the top 3 have been the same for years and pretty much impossible to bypass.
Well said and this is something that I find a bit annoying, too. There is this standard narrative nowadays that you need to upgrade to kegging with closed transfers unless you like to drink oxidized beer (I’m exaggerating a bit of course, but the general tenor is often not that far from this). In the last few years, I too have had success in competitions with bottle conditioned hoppy beers, even NEIPA-style, which many consider a no-go for bottling. Granted, in a competition context we bottlers may have a relative advantage over keggers, because ultimately, they will need to put their beer in bottles too.
But still, there is something I don't get...in these competitions I submitted to there were also many small commercial craft brewers participating. They do have unitanks, kegs, beer guns and all that nice stuff. Based on the above narrative my open transferred and then bottle conditioned IPA/NEIPAs wouldn’t stand a chance against these guys.
 

danylp91

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I've never had a problem with the process itself, but I wasn't able to maintain shelf life of bottles as I didn't have a fridge large enough to store them, so realistically I had ~5-6 bottles at the peak of the brew, also gave away a few one, but the majority had to be poured out because of oxidizing or developed bacterial infection and become gushers. So kegging is the best what happened with my beers and not because of the less work but the increased stability.
 

3 Dawg Night

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I've never had a problem with the process itself, but I wasn't able to maintain shelf life of bottles as I didn't have a fridge large enough to store them, so realistically I had ~5-6 bottles at the peak of the brew, also gave away a few one, but the majority had to be poured out because of oxidizing or developed bacterial infection and become gushers. So kegging is the best what happened with my beers and not because of the less work but the increased stability.
If you were throwing out the majority of your beers due to oxidation and/or infection, then I would argue that kegging is increasing stability only by covering (or eliminating) sources of oxidation/infection in your process. And don't get me wrong: kegging is a perfectly acceptable way to address those issues! I think that careful attention to sanitization and gentle transfers could avoid the problems of infection and oxidation. I've packaged 722 bottles of beer so far, and not one has been infected.
 

danylp91

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If you were throwing out the majority of your beers due to oxidation and/or infection, then I would argue that kegging is increasing stability only by covering (or eliminating) sources of oxidation/infection in your process. And don't get me wrong: kegging is a perfectly acceptable way to address those issues! I think that careful attention to sanitization and gentle transfers could avoid the problems of infection and oxidation. I've packaged 722 bottles of beer so far, and not one has been infected.
Sorry, I have to disagree. I went nuts with sanitation and careful packaging and still couldn't get rid of them as you can't bottle without contacting air at some point in the process.

With kegging, I could develop a closed transfer process and having absolutely no oxidation or infection for almost 6 years of kegging. (And I brewing a lot of New Englands!)
 

3 Dawg Night

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Sorry, I have to disagree. I went nuts with sanitation and careful packaging and still couldn't get rid of them as you can't bottle without contacting air at some point in the process.

With kegging, I could develop a closed transfer process and having absolutely no oxidation or infection for almost 6 years of kegging. (And I brewing a lot of New Englands!)
I'm glad you found a solution to your oxidation/infection issues. Like I said, kegging is a perfectly valid solution! I just didn't want others to get the impression that you HAVE to invest in kegging if you want to avoid oxidation and infection.

Oxidation takes time. Beer is not like a sponge; it's not going to immediately suck up all the oxygen it can. My beer sits in my bottling bucket for about an hour, from gentle transfer from my fermenter until it's bottled and capped. Is it going to pick up *some* oxygen during that time? Sure, but not a lot. The vast majority of the beer is *not* exposed to the air; only the surface is exposed. Will my IPAs taste oxidized after 12 months in the bottle? Probably, but I'm usually drinking the last bottle of a batch at about the 3-4 month mark. I've not been able to detect any oxidation at that point.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Inspired by other's trials with different methods of preventing oxidation when bottling hoppy beers, I ran a simple test. I was bottling a hoppy Pale Ale and decided to purge the headspace of 4 bottles. I just gave them a short blast of CO2 from my tank before capping. This batch was bottled directly from the fermenter with sugar added directly to the bottle.

It was enough to convince me that there is significant oxygen in the headspace of bottled beers. If you do bottle, I would suggest you at least do some simple experiments with your beers to see what the impact is with your process. Moving forward I will always purge the headspace when bottling...and I want to play around with crushed Campden tablets.

 

Taket_al_Tauro

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If you were throwing out the majority of your beers due to oxidation and/or infection, then I would argue that kegging is increasing stability only by covering (or eliminating) sources of oxidation/infection in your process. And don't get me wrong: kegging is a perfectly acceptable way to address those issues! I think that careful attention to sanitization and gentle transfers could avoid the problems of infection and oxidation. I've packaged 722 bottles of beer so far, and not one has been infected.
I can confirm this too. I've had the occasional gusher early on in my homebrewing journey. However, after having my bottling routine down it did not happen again. It must be about 6 years now since the last time I experienced a gusher in my homebrew.
I have a feeling that pH might also play an important role here. Coincidentally it was also the time when I started controlling pH in a more systematic way.
It is no secret that a beer pH in the proper (low) range helps with respect to microbial stability.

Oxidation of course is much more difficult to assess in an objective way. I might say that my beer is not significantly oxidized even after 5 months. People who keg and close transfer will of course tell me that my beer is terribly oxidized and I just happen to not be able to taste oxidation (sorry not wanting to be controversial here :p ).
 

cmac62

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Inspired by other's trials with different methods of preventing oxidation when bottling hoppy beers, I ran a simple test. I was bottling a hoppy Pale Ale and decided to purge the headspace of 4 bottles. I just gave them a short blast of CO2 from my tank before capping. This batch was bottled directly from the fermenter with sugar added directly to the bottle.

It was enough to convince me that there is significant oxygen in the headspace of bottled beers. If you do bottle, I would suggest you at least do some simple experiments with your beers to see what the impact is with your process. Moving forward I will always purge the headspace when bottling...and I want to play around with crushed Campden tablets.

That does seem significant. If the color changed that much there are other changes we can't see, but we can most likely taste.
 

cmac62

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When bottling with a beer gun you can purge the bottle before filling. I'm guessing this could easily be done with a CO2 tank and some hose.
 

duncan_disorderly

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I too only know bottling, and don't mind it at all. Actually look forward to it as it means the beer is close to being ready to drink, and I have an empty fermenter to fill back up! Sure it takes an hour or so longer than kegging, but who cares? If we love this hobby what's an hour.

I also really don't understand why people think there's oxidation issues with bottling, I actually think the opposite (even for IPAs). Any oxygen introduced is going to get scrubbed during the re-fermentation. My IPAs stay bright and hoppy for months, have two bottles left of one that turns 4 months old next week.

Back to the time issue, with bottling all your beer is in bottles right away. With kegging, you'd have to set up your beergun or whatever and sanitize everything to bottle some beer for competitions, friends/coworkers, to take to parties, etc. I think that would be quite annoying.

I hope new homebrewers don't think they need to progress to kegging to improve the quality of their beer. In the last full national competition season here in Canada (in 2019), I finished 5th with all bottle conditioned beers, and the top 3 have been the same for years and pretty much impossible to bypass.

Sure filling one vessel is quicker and easier than filling 30-40. But for that extra hour and to not deal with leaky/empty CO2 tanks, keg issues, stressing over oxygen while kegging, etc, I'll keep on bottling. I also brew a lot of mixed fermentation beer which I would always bottle anyway, so might as well just bottle everything :)

And I also enjoy washing dishes by hand. 😂
This is the post I agree with most. I don't understand the notion that bottling risks oxidation. It reduces oxidation risk in my experience. Fermentation in the bottle.

And I also enjoy bottling. Of course many people hate it, totally understandable, but I just enjoy sticking the music on and going into the zone!

Kegging seems to be the cool thing to do but it isn't really better, just different. I actually prefer naturally carbonated beer anyway, I think it's superior.
 

pursuit0fhoppiness

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I agree with the natural carbonation, and in addition I find so many bottled-from-the-keg beers have terrible head retention as well, whereas bottle conditioned beers usually have nice head retention and sometimes beautiful effervescence that lasts well over 10 minutes.
 

duncan_disorderly

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I agree with the natural carbonation, and in addition I find so many bottled-from-the-keg beers have terrible head retention as well, whereas bottle conditioned beers usually have nice head retention and sometimes beautiful effervescence that lasts well over 10 minutes.
Bottled from the keg beers are the very worst.

I entered a bottled beer in a comp here a couple of years ago and it was judged by the Cloudwater QA person. She commented that there was zero oxidation, unusual in home brewed beer. I do nothing out of the ordinary, the yeast does it for me, in the bottle.
 

D.B.Moody

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I bottle and have never felt the desire to complicate things with more equipment and where to place it problems. The only time I wish I kegged is when I brew my "Spinale." If I kegged, I could point to the tap and say, "This is Spinale tap."

Spinale.png
 

Snuffy

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Oxidation of course is much more difficult to assess in an objective way. I might say that my beer is not significantly oxidized even after 5 months. People who keg and close transfer will of course tell me that my beer is terribly oxidized and I just happen to not be able to taste oxidation (sorry not wanting to be controversial here :p ).
Dude, that’s not controversial. That a friggin‘ Super Power!
 

BeerAndTele

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I bottle and have never felt the desire to complicate things with more equipment and where to place it problems. The only time I wish I kegged is when I brew my "Spinale." If I kegged, I could point to the tap and say, "This is Spinale tap."
... and lower an 18” Stonehenge from the ceiling for dramatic effect.
 

bkboiler

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I reckon closed transfer kegging is easier...although I love the variety I can do with bottles.
I never had any shelf life issues...even when I was siphoning from carboy to bucket to bottle...
Actually the most shelf life issues I had was when I was open transfer racking to a keg my IPAs...they peaked after about 8 days in the keezer, and after 5 weeks it was downhill (drink faster!)

My easiest bottling experience was when I'd ferment in the bucket with a spigot and just scoop a tiny amount of sugar into each bottle and use a tiny amount of tube and my bottling wand. Very little splashing, was done in 10 minutes. Not that much oxygen uptake as after 2 weeks they're carbed and then give it another 6 weeks and they're all gone... 😆
 

danylp91

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I'm glad you found a solution to your oxidation/infection issues. Like I said, kegging is a perfectly valid solution! I just didn't want others to get the impression that you HAVE to invest in kegging if you want to avoid oxidation and infection.

[...]
Ah, I see your point, fair enough!
I'm sure not everyone have to take drastic measures like me, but I also encourageto store every bottles in a cold place.
 

BeerAndTele

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Does anyone else really like bottling, or am I the only one?
I like bottling. All part of the process. I like being able to easily share with friends, family and neighbors. The sediment at the bottom of the bottle doesn't bother me in the least.

About the only bit I don't really enjoy is the night before bottling day; it's my ritual to do a hot PBW cleaning of all bottles, including several whooshes with a bottle brush.

I haven't experienced the 'wet cardboard' thing, but I have experienced darkening and hop fade, so I'm anxious to try the headspace oxygen purge that some of the contributors of this thread have attested to. Side note: that's the cool thing about this forum: everyone's willingness to share tips and tricks ... homebrewers are cool.
 
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hamachi

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About the only bit I don't really enjoy is the night before bottling day; it's my ritual to do a hot PBW cleaning of all bottles, including several whooshes with a bottle brush.
I don't bother with such extensive cleaning. I just make sure to triple-rinse my bottles soon after pouring the beer from them, let them dry, and put them away. Then on bottling day, they get dunked in Star San. In 30+ batches done this way, I have not encountered an infection.

I haven't experienced the 'wet cardboard' thing, but I have experienced darkening and hop fade, so I'm anxious to try the headspace oxygen purge that some of the contributors of this thread have attested to. Side note: that's the cool thing about this forum: everyone's willingness to share tips and tricks ... homebrewers are cool.
Apart from a couple of early batches when I knew nothing about taking care not to splash things around, I haven't seen evidence of oxidation problems myself. But I don't generally brew hoppy beers and no beers of mine have sat around for very long.

But due to curiosity over how big a problem oxidation might be over an extended time, I am running a couple of experiments. These involve (1) adding a bit of potassium metabisulfite and ascorbic acid to the bottling bucket, or (2) using brown PET bottles in which all gas is squeezed out of the headspace before tightening the cap. I have put the treated bottles aside along with some conventional bottles from the same batch to serve as a control, and I plan to compare them beginning in a couple of months to see if I detect a taste or color difference.
 

Dancy

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[QUOTE="
About the only bit I don't really enjoy is the night before bottling day; it's my ritual to do a hot PBW cleaning of all bottles, including several whooshes with a bottle brush.
homebrewers are cool.
[/QUOTE]
I rinse my bottles very well immediately after I pour a beer and then spray Star San in it, rinse again a bit later and turn upside down in the dishrack. They go back in the case and when bottling time rolls around, I BAKE my bottles in the oven and after cool down I sit next to the open oven door to grab a bottle and fill it from the bottling bucket sitting on a kitchen cart in front of me. This works for me because the kitchen is the only space I can brew and bottle in my 1 bedroom condo. I’ve never had an infection due to a dirty bottle.
 

PianoMan

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Bottling is all in the prep work. Rinsing bottles after drinking several times keeps them clean. Having buckets with spigots able to attach a bottling wand available. Ability to cold crash. It has its pluses. I started kegging after a capper broke and I needed 12 stitches. I've learned that not all bottle bevels are the same. Ensure a large bevel!
 

Knightshade

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All the complaints that I read about bottling...kept me from ever getting into it. But when I do have the occasion to share some of my beer, I inevitably ask if they have a growler I can fill because filling up a bottle from the kegerator is a complete PITA and it seemingly wastes a lot. Granted...I know I could probably buy some hardware to make it a little less so...but..nah. I don't fill up bottles often enough to warrant any additional spend on it.
 
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