Bottle or Barrel?

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spacebiscuit

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Hi All,

I am currently attempting my 4th home brew, my previous best attempt was the 1st which was a stout - the other 2 attempts suffered the usual pitfalls that we all mostly fall to when learning.

So for this attempt I am trying an IPA - the instructions say to keep it at 18-20 celsius (64-68f) for a week. I was super careful when cleaning the bean with sterile solution, I took a reading at the start of the process and I wrapped the bin in a blanket to keep temp stable and out of any direct sunlight and I am checking that the temp stays within the recommendations. So far so good.

My real question is concerning the transfer from the bin. Previously I have always used a pressure barrel, but I am considering going straight into bottles. The reason is because I don't seem to get too much gas from the barrel. I am not sure if this is because I am doing something wrong? Is there any reason why I shouldn't by-pass the barrel? Or how about if I use the barrel and then transfer to the bottles in batch of say 10 at a time in order to finish the conditioning of the beer. Is the barrel simply more convenient? One vessel of alcohol to manage rather than the 50+ bottle which will take time?

Any hints or tips would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Bob.
 

Gnomebrewer

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Welcome to HBT!

I'm not quite sure what you're asking. Can we clarify a few things?
By 'pressure barrel', do you mean keg? So are you asking if you should keg or bottle?
I'm assuming your bin is a plastic bucket fermenter?
 
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spacebiscuit

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Apologies -

Yes keg - it is plastic with a screw top that has a rubber seal and a tap. Also yest o the bin - a plastic container with a removable plastic lid.

So question is to keg or bottle after initial fermentation, what are the pros and cons.

Thanks!
 

RM-MN

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Hi All,

I am currently attempting my 4th home brew, my previous best attempt was the 1st which was a stout - the other 2 attempts suffered the usual pitfalls that we all mostly fall to when learning.

So for this attempt I am trying an IPA - the instructions say to keep it at 18-20 celsius (64-68f) for a week. I was super careful when cleaning the bean with sterile solution, I took a reading at the start of the process and I wrapped the bin in a blanket to keep temp stable and out of any direct sunlight and I am checking that the temp stays within the recommendations. So far so good.

My real question is concerning the transfer from the bin. Previously I have always used a pressure barrel, but I am considering going straight into bottles. The reason is because I don't seem to get too much gas from the barrel. I am not sure if this is because I am doing something wrong? Is there any reason why I shouldn't by-pass the barrel? Or how about if I use the barrel and then transfer to the bottles in batch of say 10 at a time in order to finish the conditioning of the beer. Is the barrel simply more convenient? One vessel of alcohol to manage rather than the 50+ bottle which will take time?

Any hints or tips would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Bob.
The amount of pressure in your pressure barrel depends on a few things. Do you add priming sugar to the beer when you move it to the pressure barrel? The amount of sugar controls the amount of CO2 produced and thus the pressure. If you don't add sugar you only have the CO2 that was still dissolved in the beer and the pressure would be quite low. Is the pressure barrel made to hold the pressure you expect? Does it have a release valve that relieves the pressure if it becomes too high?

Most of us on the western side of the Atlantic use bottles. They are simple and cheap to acquire. We transfer our beer to a bottling bucket where we can mix in a water-sugar solution that is carefully weighed to provide us with the right amount of carbonation. Too little sugar and the beer is undercarbonated like you describe with your pressure barrel, too much sugar and we get beer volcanoes when we open the bottles or if way too much the bottles will explode.
 

ElezEspana

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I have always wondered. How do you get a nice cold beer from a big keg??? Not knowing the answer to that is why I have always bottled.
 
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spacebiscuit

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Ok then I will ditch the keg and go straight to bottles.

A couple of questions:

1. Are the caps re-usable - the copper traditional types available on fleabay etc, or should this be discarded once used?
2. I will need a tool to apply the caps to the bottles if I understand correctly. This vary wildkly in price - should I look to avoid cheaper options?

Thanks again.
 

Calder

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The plastic barrels/kegs/cubes are the lazy way out. If you will consume the beer within a week they will work fine and simulate the carbonation in a Real Ale keg.

You may also have a seal problem if you are not getting the carbonation for very long. I have never used this method, but my Brother-in-law does .... he doesn't make good beer and wants easy/convenience.

Yes, move to bottles. But remember to mix the priming sugar as a batch. Boil all the sugar in a little water, let cool and then add to a bottling bucket. Rack beer into bottling bucket, gently stir, and then rack into bottles. Your barrel/cube could be used as the bottling bucket.

To answer your other questions:

I assume you are in the UK from some of your questions. Some people use plastic bottles with screw caps. These work, but I would not use them. My Father used to use the large 2 liter bottles that he bought in the shops with the original plastic caps (with beer in them), and they seemed to work fine, but if you go that way you need to finish the bottle in a sitting, and each pour stirs up yeast from the bottom. I prefer brown glass bottles with crown caps. The caps are not re-usable. I use larger bottles (22 ozs), which makes bottling easier - less bottles, but need a larger glass for a single pour. I use a cheap 'Red Barron' capper, I have 2, set for different size caps (regular and 29 mm), the oldest is about 30 years old and has bottled thousands of beers with no issues - I see no need for the expensive cappers, but you may want to stay away from the cheapest.

I am not sure what the copper is that you talk about.
 
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spacebiscuit

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Ok so I have ordered some crown caps and a bottle capper - time to ditch the keg it seems. Yes I am UK based.

Can you help to understand this reading:

IMG-20200614-WA0002.jpg


IMG-20200614-WA0005.jpg


I am trying to figure out when the batch is ready to be racked into bottles? It looks as if the reading is 80% but that figure doesn't collate with any formulas that I have read online. The first image suggests perhaps the upper orange line indicates the target for beer?

I plan to rack about 10 bottles at a time, is there any danger in leaving the original batch in the fermenting bin to be racked later? Will it spoil? It seems there is perhaps an advantage here in using bottle since with a keg it's all or nothing. If racking a batch of bottles at different stages it helps with the learning curve as each batch could be different due to length of time in the bin?

Final question, I plan to syphon the brew into the bottles, I presume that is ok. The sugars I have purchased are cubes or drops like you used to find in restaurants for coffee - although these are proper brewing type.

Thanks!
 

RM-MN

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I plan to rack about 10 bottles at a time, is there any danger in leaving the original batch in the fermenting bin to be racked later? Will it spoil?
it's quite likely to spoil if you only do 10 bottles at a time. Best is if you bottle all of it at once.

Most spoilage organisms need oxygen to propagate. While your beer is in the fermenter with an airlock you have mostly CO2 above the beer. Once you start bottling you replace some of that with oxygen....and spoilage organisms that are in the air.

None of the spoilage organisms that will hurt you can survive in beer but the ones that can will change the flavor. Some people like that flavor and intentionally infect the finished beer. I do not like it.
 
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spacebiscuit

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Ok so I purchased a half decent bottle capping device, it is the type which has a rubber mat and a lever that gives a reassuring sound as the caps are sealed. I placed two brewing sugar drops as per the instructions.

Can I ask for some advice regarding where to place the bottles, I have a summer house that gets very warm during the day with full sun - is this a good idea and approx for how long should they stay out there. I know that I need to guard against exploding volcanos? Should I be able to see if there is any gas building up, the desired amount or otherwise?

Thanks.
 
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