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Corking Belgians? HELP

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Whisler85

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i have been making a lot of belgians lately and would like them to be carbonated to high volumes, but i am loathe to do this in standard beer bottles.

I can easily get my hands on plenty of used belgian/new champagne bottles, but despite hours of internet searching i cant seem to which corks to use. some sites offer beer or champagne corks, but they dont appear to be tapered or oddly shaped and im having trouble comparing their (metric) sizes to those of the corks my LHBS sells

does anyone cork their belgians? where do you source the corks? what different sizes of bottles and corks do you use?
 

brewstead

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Try williams brewing they are pricey but i know they Belgian bottles, cork, and wire baskets
 

Orangevango

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Belgian corks are not tapered until they are put into the bottle, they require a special corker to compress the straight sided cork while pushing it into the neck of the bottle. It does add a ton of class to your beer.
 

SumnerH

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i have been making a lot of belgians lately and would like them to be carbonated to high volumes, but i am loathe to do this in standard beer bottles.

I can easily get my hands on plenty of used belgian/new champagne bottles, but despite hours of internet searching i cant seem to which corks to use. some sites offer beer or champagne corks, but they dont appear to be tapered or oddly shaped and im having trouble comparing their (metric) sizes to those of the corks my LHBS sells

does anyone cork their belgians? where do you source the corks? what different sizes of bottles and corks do you use?

Northern Brewer carries everything you need for corking and caging Belgians. You do need a floor corker, which is not cheap (somewhere in the $100-$200 range if I remember right).
 

PseudoChef

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+1 to what Orangevango has said. Corks aren't tapered until they are in the bottle. You'll need a floor corker. I know my LHBS rents theirs out for about $10/day...if you have a shop nearby that has one, it won't hurt to ask.
 

Danek

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For champagne bottles I think you can get plastic corks and wire cages that don't require any special corking equipment. Might be a bit cheaper than the alternative, though it would be a little less classy.
 
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A floor corker is not necessary, I use a Colona capper/corker (around $70), which allows the corking action needed for the belgian mushroom cork look. I also like the Colona for regular capping as well.

Here is a guide I used when I was learning:

SLO Brewer » Corking Belgians

You may also want to search this forum for "corking" and get more tips.

Best of luck.
 

SumnerH

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A floor corker is not necessary, I use a Colona capper/corker (around $70), which allows the corking action needed for the belgian mushroom cork look. I also like the Colona for regular capping as well.
Colonna capper/corker _is_ a floor corker. I've heard great things about them and am considering buying one.

For a hand corker, the Gilda style is your best bet for corking Belgians (or Champagne bottles).
 

Got Trub?

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Interesting, I thought that because it sits on a bench while in use it would have been a bench corker, not a floor corker. Learn something new every day. :)
They are frequently the same jaws and mechanism, just with a shorter base. I'm curious do you need to bolt yours down or just place it on the bench?

GT
 

CBBaron

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Colonna capper/corker _is_ a floor corker. I've heard great things about them and am considering buying one.

For a hand corker, the Gilda style is your best bet for corking Belgians (or Champagne bottles).
Colonna capper/corker is a bench corker and works considerably different from the floor wine corkers. The floor corkers have a iris that compresses the cork which is then pushed into the bottle with a plunger. The Colonna is considerably shorter and fits on a bench. The plunger forces a cork through a funnel that compresses it enough to enter the bottle.

It does appear that both will work.

Also consider using caps on Champagne bottles. A sparkling wine bottle will take a standard crown cap and a Champagne bottle will fit a 29mm crown cap. You can replace the bell in you capper and turn the metal plates around to accommodate the larger Champagne bottles easily. A considerably cheaper option that still looks pretty nice.

Craig
 

SumnerH

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Colonna capper/corker is a bench corker and works considerably different from the floor wine corkers. The floor corkers have a iris that compresses the cork which is then pushed into the bottle with a plunger. The Colonna is considerably shorter and fits on a bench. The plunger forces a cork through a funnel that compresses it enough to enter the bottle.
I always thought of floor and bench corkers as the same thing, as opposed to hand corkers. I guess floor models are taller and don't screw down.

As you note, the important distinction (especially if you'd want to use regular champagne corks) is not in the size of the stand. An iris compressor (like the Ferrari or the Gilda hand corker) can deal with Belgians and champagne corks no problem. A funnel compressor (like the Colonna or double-lever hand corker) needs a lot more pressure, and apparently it's nearly impossible to use a hand model for Belgians but a stable-stand (floor or bench) version works fine; it's not recommended for champagne corks, though.

Also consider using caps on Champagne bottles. A sparkling wine bottle will take a standard crown cap
FWIW, I've heard this but it only seems to be true of cheaper American champagnes*; the more expensive American versions labelled as "sparkling wines" that I've had are mixed on whether they take a regular cap, European 29mm cap, or no cap.

All of the sparkling ciders that I've seen use pressure-rated champagne-style bottles that accept standard American crown caps.



*In this case by "American champagnes" I really mean the ones that actually say "champagne" on the bottle--those tend to be cheaper brands that use the regular crowns. But in general, champagne is a perfectly fine English-language word for sparkling wine, cf Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Labelling a wine falsely as being from Champagne should be forbidden, but calling it by the English word "champagne" ought to be fine. Compare with cheese; there's a difference between making "cheddar cheese" and claiming that your cheese is _from_ Cheddar, England.

And don't even get me started on the vintners in Champagne, Switzerland who have been making wine since before the "méthode champenoise" was documented for making sparkling wine in Champagne, France, but aren't allowed to even use unambiguous, truthful language like "produced in Champagne, Switzerland" on their labels.
 
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