Colonna Corker Mods for Bottling Belgians

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First off, thanks to those who have posted videos, tutorials, and write-ups on this matter. I learned a lot. Here are a few things I did to make the process smoother for myself the first time around.

I. Cork Depth

You need to leave about 5/8" sticking out of the bottle. You could do this one of several ways. I first tried adjusting the handle, such that it would leave the proper amount when rotated fully to the right, but then it becomes hard to remove the cork which is still a 1/2" in the funnel. I wanted to be able to press the cork through with the lever after removing the base plate to free the bottle.
I decided to make a spacer to put underneath the edge of the cork plunger to stop it at the right place. As it turns out, 1" was the perfect size (I think my piece of wood measured 15/16").

Because it just fits under the lip, it's easy for it to slip out and the the plunger to pass it by. I remedied this by cutting off a small sliver of the bottom so it would fit over the funnel lip.

Now it will easily fit over the funnel, but it blocks the plunger from inserting the cork:

So I drilled a hole in the end to let the plunger stick through.

Finally I drilled a hole in the side of the body and in the spacer so I could tie a string through it. It hangs right by the side so it's always at hand.

And the result:

II. Bottle Removal

After leaving a cork sticking out the right depth, you have to remove the extra 5/8" cork from the funnel. To do this, you must remove the base plate and force it out with the plunger. This was looking to be quite a task, since the base plate has a few little tabs that I suppose are there in order to hold the thing firmly in place.

The problem is, you don't want it to be held firmly in place if you're removing it after every bottle to get the last bit of cork out. A little Dremel work will sort out that problem quite nicely.

 
You can also adjust the handle and put a mark so that you know where to pull it to to get the right depth. That was my method.
 
That's a great idea. I have a Portuguese floor corker and us a #7 stopper with a hole, that is also used as a fermentation lock, as a spacer. It will slide on and off the part that pushes the cork in, quick and easy.
 
Perfect timing, bottling today and removing the nubs made it much easier then my first trial
run. A couple of whacks with a soft hammer on a vise flatten them right out.
 
You could also add a block on top of the base plate that can easily be removed instead of removing the plate itself every time to finish pushing the cork through.
 
Very cool! I happen to own a Colonna Corker and a growing collection of brown Boulevard Smokestack Series 750ml bottles!
 
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