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If you're like me, you quickly realized that kegging your beer would be so much better than bottling so you went ahead and took the plunge. You bought (or built) a dispensing unit and some kegs. The first sip of the first pour of the first beer was magical. The feeling of pride was almost as great as holding your firstborn.
You wanted to share it with the world while giving absolutely none of it away at the same time. Finally, you decide you can afford to share a little bit of your precious brew; but how do you do that now that it's in a keg? You don't want your second cousin or your co-workers in your house now; they may never leave.
You've heard of the expensive beer guns and don't want to invest that kind of money for bottling only 3 beers per batch. You've seen the DIY version and perhaps even tried it. It's cheap, not terribly complicated but it's still a hassle (and messy for some). I tried it a few times and was somewhat successful but i would lose 3 - 4 ounces for every bottle I filled - UNacceptable!
So, I kept thinking of a possible solution. It began with watching a growler getting filled. They just use a tube stuck into the tap. I tried it and it worked but still wasn't quite right. Finally, I just took the tube out, cut the C02 pressure as low as I could get it and poured my liquid gold into the bottle itself


It works like a charm! I needed to fill 6 bottles for a competition and a few for friends. I was done in just a few minutes and best of all, I didn't spill a single drop. Since I just discovered this, I can't say for sure that the carbonation will hold for long term storage (I see no reason why it wouldn't though) so I filled a bottle that I will drink in a month. If that works out I will keep checking them to see if there is a cutoff point.

Bio- My name is Scott Putnam and I've only been brewing since September 2013. I started with Mr. Beer and quickly moved to all grain and kegging. Homebrewing is by far the best hobby I've ever had.
Looks awesome. Is the main reason you cut the pressure so that you don't overflow with head and lose from beer to the great paper towel in the sky?
Good article. I brewed a pumpkin ale and a mango habanero ale back in November 2013 and had two bottles of each poured straight from the keg. Tried them back in March and they still had a decent level of carbonation with little to no off-flavors. Not the least bit fresh but the flavor mellowed/mixed quite well. I've been "trapping" a few bottles from the batch kegged since then. They seem to keep really well for me!
This is my method of filling bottles too, I have no fancy taps however, I pour frommy picnoc tap, works great, bottles stay carbed and it tastes no different two months later in the bottle.
Great write up.
Sounds like a great idea. I wonder, do you get the same level of carbonation or do you lose a bit? I guess if so you could always cool the keg and increase the pressure a bit before bottling from the keg.
When I had a CO2 leak in a keg and my CO2 ran out, we siphoned from the keg. 3 weeks later I opened one of the bottles up and the beer was still carbonated to my surprise.
Please let me know if this lasts the test of time.
I have used this method as well and it does work great. You dont have to worry too much about oxygen because even at a low serving pressure there will still be a little bit of foam, and just cap on foam. Like the author, I've not tried any of the ones I filled for long-term storage, but have had beers a few months later and they held the carbonation very well.
This is perfectly viable for bringing some beer over to a friend's house but I'm not convinced this is a great method for long term storage. The biggest complaint I have is the potential for picking up oxygen as the stream of beer runs down the side of the bottle. Every drop of beer is being exposed to air as it's deposited in the bottle.
I feel the BMBF (racking cane in a cobra tap) is going to have less churning liquid, though it also has its drawbacks.
This amount of oxidation is going to be another one of those things where homebrewers say "I did it this way and it worked fine for me!" I'm sure you can have a drinkable beer a few months down the road - we're not talking oxidation levels approaching morning after a fraternity party - but I bet the beer will have more of an aged character than a bottle filled with another method. This might not be bad, but it's definitely not the freshest.
The real test would be to fill a bunch of bottles using many methods, and also keeping some cold in the keg for several months. I bet each packaging method will have noticeable flavor differences.
Of course if you're like me then one of the reasons you're bottling is because you need an empty keg! So this experiment would take somebody with patience and plenty of storage space.
A good way to keep foam from forming is to chill your bottles before you fill them. Other than that, I fill my bottles the same way.
I actually bottled 2 full batches from my taps for a wedding (I did not want the sediment so the guests could drink from the bottle). They sat for a month (unchilled) before being being put on ice and enjoyed. There was no noticeable loss of carbonation. The beer had no taste of oxidation.
This is the method I've used for awhile, and it works very well for me. After a bit of adjustment to get the sweet spot of pressure that fills the bottle fairly quickly but generates just a bit of foam to cap on top of, away I go. For beer that I'm going to drink or give to friends, i just fill the sanitized bottle, cap and move on to the next.
If, however, I'm bottling for competition, I purge each bottle with CO2 first. Seems to work pretty well, I haven't gotten any "cardboard/oxidized" feedback as yet for my entries, and a pilsner that I bottled this way recently won BOS in a competition with over 300 entries.
I don't bother chilling my bottles, as adjusting the PSI can give me the amount of foam I need. I've also stored bottles that were bottled this way for months, and the carbonation seemed to hold well.
You're doing it wrong. Study this thread:
I pour from a picnic tap with a hard plastic tube attached and it works great! I've found the carbonation will hold for a long time.. If you let the bottled beer warm up to room temp for a week or so, it will create a little more carbonation through fermentation. I think the yeast scavenge oxygen also so this helps with oxidation/staleness.. Which would be my only concern with long term storage in bottles using this method.
Doing it differently does not necessarily make it wrong.
I have used BierMuncher's method, and it works well, no better than low PSI free pour though.
@clockwise I would say that wouldn't be a bad idea if you are storing for more than a month or so.
I have been trying to respond to everyone's comments one at a time but it is truly a pain in the arse. Thanks to all for your comments. I'm glad this article was of use to some and I picked up a tip or two myself! Thanks all!
A dude in my brew club will toss priming sugar solution into the keg, rack, then dispense into bottles to bottle condition half the keg or something. Then put the gas on the remainder of the beer. He said it might get a bit heady towards the end but nothing you'd be bothered by. It sounds very slick.
Thanks for your contribution,
I will try your method first and see how it goes. I was looking at all the complicated ideas out there and this sounds perfect. Also I'll try chilling the bottles. As for oxidation, I'm not too worried but why not just hit each bottle with a shot of CO2 off your tank right before you bottle? It is heavier than air and so it should stay in the bottle long enough to fill a few and then there's "no" oxygen contact involved.
I think it's a great solution for short-term storage. For periods of time longer than a few weeks, the growler method may be better. As others have mentioned, the advantage to the growler/tube method is that it reduces the risk of oxidation, especially if the growler has been primed with C02 first. The beer essentially pushes up from the bottom of the growler, and displaces the C02 up to the head space. The major problem with using this method for bottles is that it's sometimes hard to judge where to stop pushing in the beer, but I think it would easier if, as you are already doing, you reduce the rate at which your dispensing beer by lowering the pressure. It's basically picking a spot on the bottle that will allow for the optimal head space once the tube is withdrawn.
That crap with the clear tube and the stopper is such a pain in the ass. I have tried a variety of methods. Frozen bottles, picnic tap, keg at low PSI works just fine. The other method that works quite well is to get a screw on carbonator cap for a 2L. Carb that bottle up to your liking and just pour into the frozen bottles very gently. Works fine.
@clockwise i have recently had bottles from 5 months ago and they are fine. I see no need to purge anything. When you pull a beer gun tube out of the botlle, what happens? the beer level lowers right? well, that spot is filled in with oxygen. I think the "purge" is a fancy thing that helps people feel better.
@ZebulonBrewer yes, i cut the pressure to around 2 psi and chill bottles in freezer for a few minutes.