Craft The Perfect Draft Beer Gun Anyone?

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Over the years I had read plenty of mixed reviews about the Blichmann Beer Gun before actually pulling the trigger and getting one for myself. It seemed that the two most common complaints brewers posted about had to do with how beer bottled using the Blichmann Beer Gun could be under carbonated and the overall cost of the Beer Gun. So although I had been interested in a better bottle carbing solution for years I held off on using a Blichmann Beer Gun to bottle my beer for a very long time. That is until I toured the Triumph Brewery in Princeton NJ and saw that they had been using one to fill up their new line of 750ml bottles! I figured if the Beer Gun was good enough for a commercial brewery to use to package their beer then it had to be good enough for me.

Blichmann Beer Gun And Accessory Kit
The Beer Gun and it's accessory kit, which I highly recommend you order along with the Beer Gun, and a two way Wye fitting retail for just under $130.00USD. For the Beer Gun installation in my brew room I decided to add a wye fitting to my existing Co2 gauge in order to add a second shutoff valve to the gauge. The second line would then be used to push Co2 to the Beer Gun for purging the bottles and when the Beer Gun wasn't in use the second line could be used to carbonate or serve a second keg that was in the refrigerator. For me that was a win/win since I often carbonated two kegs at the same time by frequently switching the Co2 line between the gas in post of both kegs until they were both carbonated. The addition of the second gas line would allow me to truly set and forget once and for all when force carbonating two kegs at the same time.

Adding A Second Gas Line
My first installation surprise came when I tried to remove the existing shut off valve from my Co2 gauge. I quickly found out that I would need a bench vise to hold the gauge body in place while I unscrewed the parts from it. Luckily I found an old bench vise on a shelf in the brew room and after a bit of wrench muscling and gently applying Teflon tape to some threads I was able to reconfigure the Co2 gauge using the new wye fitting and shutoff valves.

Removing The Shutoff Valve
After removing the shut off valve from the gauge body I wrapped Teflon tape around it's threads and the threads of the second shut off valve and then put the wye fitting snugly into the vise to hold it steady. As I tightened both shut off valves into the wye fitting I made sure they were both squarely aligned with each other, this was done mainly for aesthetics to make the installation look as neat as possible.

Adding The Second Shutoff Valve
Once all of the fittings were tightened I mounted the gauge on the Co2 tank and marked out the side of the refrigerator where the hole for the second gas line would go. I found that the 5 foot length of 1/4 inch ID tubing that came with the Beer Gun accessory kit was too short for my installation and I bought another 10 foot long length to use instead. Thanks to the swivel connectors on the ends of the Beer Gun lines I can now unscrew the keg end gas connector from the new gas line and in its place screw on the Beer Gun's gas connector. Now that the beer line and the gas line are both 10 feet long I have plenty of slack in the lines to reach my makeshift filling station where I can easily fill my bottles.

Installation Complete And Ready To Fill Bottles
As luck would have it my Blichmann Beer Gun installation coincided with my nearly running out of kegged beer. But I did manage to sanitize and refrigerate a few 12 ounce bottles and test out the new installation by filling them with cold beer. It takes a little time to get used to maneuvering the Beer Gun around the brew room when filling bottles but I did find it easy enough to use, clean and sanitize it though. The beers I had filled I later opened after 3 days and they were perfectly carbonated, I should point out that the beer was force carbonated to 15 psi at the time of filling the bottles. Installing and using the Beer Gun was a fun project and I do look forward to the many happy years ahead of bottling beer without having to use priming sugar.
Blichmann Beer Gun Manual
Vince Feminella [aka: ScrewyBrewer]
www.thescrewybrewer.com
[email protected]
 
I love my beer gun. Great for bottling the last few gallons of a keg to make way for a new keg to go in the fridge.
 
Love my Beer Gun as well..Honestly I dont even hook the CO2 to it and do the CO2 bottle purge or cap off with my bottles when filling them, I just fill straight from the gun and the beer is always delicious and carbed.
Still having to clean bottles to use the beer gun with..no so much fun.
 
I'm a big fan of the beer gun as well... I've never ran into issues you mentioned like it being under carbed... I think that would just come from how carbed the keg was itself. You just need to make sure to dispense at a really low pressure, like 2-3 psi max or almost none as mentioned above. Otherwise if there's too much pressure dispensing, then yeah a lot of that CO2 is gonna going to foam off leaving a less carbonated beer.
 
Nice article Vince! The Beergun also makes it pretty easy to fill just a few bottles for competitions.
 
The beergun is great for filling bottles pre carbonation. It was always too much hassle after carbonation since there is no counter pressure. I went back to using the picnic tap, racking cane and stopper method. Then I won a counter pressure filler and I really like it. No need to decrease the keg pressure or chill bottles to get a good fill with minimal foaming.
One thing to note with the beergun or anything plastic or vinyl; I used to keep my beergun and hose filled with a starsan solution when not in use. Don't do this. It eventually caused the rubber tip on the beergun and the hose to turn gummy and nasty. I still need to order a new tip for my beergun.
 
My beergun has been nothing but a source of frustration for me. I just can't keep the foaming down. I've chilled the bottles, I've chilled the beergun, I've lowered the pressure to the point where the beer barely flows, and my bottles still fill 2/3 beer 1/3 foam.
Amazing to me that others don't seem to have any problems at all. Maybe I'll try to use it again this weekend, just for kicks....
 
Add another one who loves the beer gun. The only time my bottles weren't keg so well was do to me rushing bottling before my keg was sufficiently carbed.
I've had 'gunned' bottles many months later and the carb has been perfect.
I've also used it when I've done small batches and just added sugar to the bottles. No foam, no mess, easy-peasy.
 
To successfully fill bottles with the beergun, you must have balanced lines. I fill my bottles with the keg at about 8-10psi. If the pressue is too low, you lose carbonation in the lines...too high and you lose carb while filling.
The pressure depends on the length and ID of the line. Once balanced, I get almost zero head while filling. The cold beer holds the carbonation perfectly.
 
"I should point out that the beer was force carbonated to 15 psi at the time of filling the bottles."
This is a very misleading number here, as you don't tell us whether this pressure setting is what you carbed it at (and if so, what temperature), or instead if it was the equilibriated pressure during bottling (and again, at what temperature???).
The correct measurement to give us would have been the volumes of CO2 the beer was carbed to (vols), and this is temperature independent.
 
@MagicMatt the beer in the keg had been in the refrigerator for at least three weeks at 34F and was originally force carbonated to about 2.5 volumes of Co2 using 12 psi.
A couple of days before using the Beer Gun I turned up the Co2 to 15 psi with the beer still at 34F, that's about as much information as I have.
The beer line going to the Beer Gun has a 3/16 inch inside diameter and is 10 feet long. For my use I turned the Co2 gauge down to about 3-5 psi and used hat pressure to purge the bottle and push the beer into the ice cold bottles.
The bottles themselves were first washed with water and then rinsed inside with StarSan before I put them in the freezer for a few hours. By the time I filled them they had iced up nicely and the cold beer hardly foamed at all. I hope that helps.
 
I use a counter pressure bottle filler. I had problems with foaming until a friend and brewer told me to use at least a 10 foot liquid line. He uses a beer gun and cut his liquid line shorter than 10 feet at first and also had foaming problems.
That is the answer for a beer gun or a counter pressure filler. Use at least a 10 foot liquid line. I usually turn down the pressure to around 5-6 psi while bottling. Works great and you don't lose carbonation if you cap quickly (NOT CAP ON FOAM like MoreBeer and some others recommend).
 
@jwalker1140 One thing that I do. I have a five gallon bucket with iced Starsan, I soak my bottles and they are then wet when when filled. No or little foam. Good Luck
 
Several mentions of counter-pressure fillers here, but does anyone want to share exactly which one they use?
 
I like our beer gun though it rarely gets used. I've had trouble with excessive foaming when trying to get the last gallon into bottles. With a more full keg I get a little foam but not much. I fill using around 2-3 psi.
 
I spent about a dollar on a piece of vinyl tubing and a drilled stopper. Slip the stopper onto to tubing and the tubing onto a faucet, put the tubing into the bottle and press the stopper into the lip. I can control the flow rate entirely using back-pressure by pressing the stopper to let some pressure out. No foaming, simple, easy, and cheap bottle filling without hassle. I don't even lower the serving pressure.
 
@masonsjax
How do you get the tubing "on" to the faucet? Does the faucet go into it or does the tubing go *in* to the faucet, like a growler filler?
 
@Baja_Brewer, Haha exactly! Ask two brewers how they do something and you'll get seven answers. You've pointed out a another alternative for connecting a Beer gun, if you don't mind chasing down all the parts. Thank you for sharing.
 
@Spruceman you can buy the non blichmann brand beer gun online for about $70... I've seen them on Amazon. ,eBay and Ali express..
 
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