Quantcast

I've had it with bottling!!!

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

max-the-knife

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
154
Reaction score
2
Location
Lexington, NE
I just finished bottling my Fat Tire Clone and I'm sick and tired of bottles. I started at 8 am this morning by washing, rinsing, clorine soak, hot water soak, BTF soak and drip dry. Four and a half hours later I finally got it in the bottle and got the kitchen cleaned up so we could fix lunch. Whats really got me is I have another batch that needs to be bottled next week end!

I'm interested in kegging and thought I would try to put together a 5 gallon ball lock keg system. What are your suggestions of what I will need?
 

Fingers

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2007
Messages
4,178
Reaction score
48
Location
Lac du Bonnet
The minimum is a CO2 tank (five pounds is a good starter), pressure gauges, ball or pin lock quick disconnects (one for gas and one for beer), a picnic tap, and a keg. You have to make sure you match your disconnects to the keg. I bought a starter kit from Alternative Beverage http://www.alternativebeverage.com/kegging/kegging_index.htm
that took all the guesswork out of it. You might want a fridge or freezer to cool off your kegs too, but that's another whole topic.
 

woosterhoot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
Messages
99
Reaction score
0
If you can't keg right away get star san, no rinse, no dry, no messing around. Me and my wife got to where we could bottle 5 gallon in 20 minutes not including about a 15 minutes sanitation soak.
 

DaveT

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2007
Messages
58
Reaction score
0
Location
Farmington
^ it takes me about the same time. I put a few gallons of star san into a bucket. put 8 or so bottles in, and then set them on the counter fill the bucket again. move the counter bottles onto the bottle tree and go again. what was said above is pretty much it for your basic keg setup,
 

dcunitedfan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
46
Reaction score
0
I came to decide that I wanted to get out of the business of bottle management at the beginning of this year and got my kegging system set up. A bit expensive (and I still end up filling a few bottles for gifts and homebrew compeititions) but worth it.

(Just as an aside - there are some things out there like tap-a-draft that are less expensive than a typical corny keg system, take up less room, but I've also heard that they don't work as well)

Storage: Most people seem to use an extra fridge or freezer and a temperature controller for their cooling/storage of the kegs. It is also possible to set up a system using 2.5 gal or 3.0 gal mini corny kegs in your regular fridge, but that won't give you a lot of room for your food :) and plus that means you'll struggle to find room for more than one keg/tap at a time. Craigslist, freecycle.org, and similar forums are a good way of picking up good discounts on fridges/freezers. I got my 7.2 cuft chest freezer that can hold three 5 gal kegs, the CO2 tank, and a couple of 6 packs, from craigslist for about half of list price. Another thing you'll see on the forums are references to Sanyo mini fridges. These have become a bit of a cult hit because they are just big enough inside for 2 regular corny kegs, and they take up a minimum of floor space. If you're looking for a lower cost option though they will be harder to get a deal on than if you aren't restricting yourself to a single model and can use any fridge or freezer that comes along that meets your needs.

Container: 1 or more 5 gal corny kegs. Reconditioned ones are much cheaper and work just as well as new ones. If you buy from a reputable shop (I've been happy with midwestsupplies.com) you'll save some possible extra effort in doing any parts replacement of o rings, posts, etc. as the good places do all of this for you.

Carbonation and dispensing: a CO2 tank (size is up to you - really just determines how long between CO2 tank refills you have to go) and basic single gauge regulator. If you're planning on only kegging for big events where all the beer will be consumed in a day or two, you could skip this and get one of those hand pumps like in college. For that, you'd carbonate the keg using priming sugar as in bottling, then dispense with the pump. The downside being that doing that oxidizes the beer quickly which would ruin it's flavor in a day or so.

Taps: the tap itself, possibly a shank if you're going through a fridge/freezer wall, or a tower if you're mounting on top of a small fridge. Or the picnic dispenser will let you get by for awhile. Prices vary with design and materials used. I went with stainless steel forward seal faucets because I've read that the traditional faucets are prone to sticking if they aren't used or cleaned very regularly, and since I often go days without using a given tap, I didn't want those problems. I haven't used a picnic tap myself ever but other people say that is an acceptable short term solution.

Misc: beer lines, gas lines, fittings, some keg lube is almost mandatory for helping to get some kegs to seal. Good to have some standard wrenches so that you can remove the keg posts for long term cleaning and maintanence. You'll have to clean the kegs, beer lines, and taps every so often but your normal brewing cleaners and sanitizers seem to work fine for this, so you may not need to get specialized beer line cleaning chemicals.
 

RedSun

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2007
Messages
191
Reaction score
0
Location
Tucson
I don't know if this is poor sanitation, but seems to work. We sanitize long before we bottle, then cap the bottles with alum foil. I don't have any misconceptions about the true sanitary nature of the bottles that week or two later, but so far no problems. Saves a ton of time when the brew is ready.

-RS
 

gonzoflick

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2006
Messages
466
Reaction score
2
Location
Orlando, FL
I put all my bottles upside down in the dishwasher by themselvs the night before. Next day they are ready to go. I bottles 100 bottles of beer and 30 bottles of wine this past weekend in about 3 hours.
 

malkore

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2007
Messages
6,924
Reaction score
52
Location
Nebraska
that's way too long to bottle. I can clean, bottle and pickup the leftover mess in under 2 hours.

1. clean your bottles AFTER you drink them. a few rinses is all it takes. this way you only need to sanitize on bottling day.

2. change sanitizers...skip the chlorine which requires a rinse...and go with Star-san or One Step....anything that's no-rinse. 2 minutes in the solution, then drain on the bottle tree that's been santizied with star-san in a spray bottle.

3. then use the bottle santizing solution to santize your bottling bucket, racking cane, tubing, etc

4. get married and have your wife handle all the bottles and capping, so all you do is fill 50 or so bottles.
 

abracadabra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Messages
1,923
Reaction score
10
Location
Newnan
malkore said:
that's way too long to bottle. I can clean, bottle and pickup the leftover mess in under 2 hours.

1. clean your bottles AFTER you drink them. a few rinses is all it takes. this way you only need to sanitize on bottling day.

2. change sanitizers...skip the chlorine which requires a rinse...and go with Star-san or One Step....anything that's no-rinse. 2 minutes in the solution, then drain on the bottle tree that's been santizied with star-san in a spray bottle.

3. then use the bottle santizing solution to santize your bottling bucket, racking cane, tubing, etc

4. get married and have your wife handle all the bottles and capping, so all you do is fill 50 or so bottles.

I agree with all but #4, cleaning bottles is much less of a headache than having a wife.:)

But you never regret getting into kegging although in all probablity you'll still want to bottle the occasional beer too.
 

tdavisii

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2007
Messages
714
Reaction score
3
Location
St. Louis
I dont care if bottling only took me 20 seconds. Bottom line bottling sucks. I just got most of my stuff for kegging this week. Although i might bottle on occasion a six pack to bring somewhere. Im done bottling.
 

mrk305

Beer Dude in the Sunset
Joined
May 10, 2007
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
15
Location
Georgia
I usually use the dishwasher to santatize, but when I don't plan ahead and do have to soak I use a large cooler. I can easily fit a 12 pack of 22's in one batch and Idophor is cheap. After doing my bottles, I can put the cooler on the counter, pop the drain valve and fill up my bucket. Pour the bucket back in the cooler and sanatize everything else.
 

woosterhoot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
Messages
99
Reaction score
0
bottling does suck, now that I have a keg setup my brew setup is much more neat. Don't have to deal with a 250 bottle inventory. That said I kept two cases of 22's so that I can bottle 3-4 bottles one certain batches to age. Also certain beers really need to be bottled unless you just get a bunch of kegs for aging. For example at the end of June I bottled a belgian tripple that had about 11% abv. It pretty much tasted like beer with rubbing alcohol two weeks after bottling. Now it is starting to taste awesome all the alchohl is turning to fruit flavors, but it still needs another 2 monthes to be perfect or longer. With that kind of batch I'd much rather bottle and savor it every once in awhile. Every other simple ale I keg and chug:drunk:
 

tst4echo

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2007
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
I have been bottling since the beginning and I don't mind the work associated with it. I have 15 gallons that I will be bottle tonight and I just break the tasks into two nights and there ya go. The main reason why I like bottles over keg is the portability of it. I know that there are options for this with kegging, but honestly I can take three different batches in a 12 pack of 22oz over to a birthday party and everyone is happy. I can get 30 gallons of bottles in my dedicated refer which is the same as 6 corny kegs.
 

BrewDey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
Messages
456
Reaction score
1
Location
Cincinnati
Someone on here had a bottling method that I've used for the past few batches and it's worked so far. The best part is that it breaks up the labor time required and makes your bottling session consist of only bottling.

-Soak bottles in water for at least a few days
-Scrape off labels, rinse well, and let dry on bottling tree
-Once dry, cover bottle opening with foil
-Bake in oven for 1 hour at 378
-Let cool, and store (foil still in place)

This way the sanitized bottles are ready to go when the beer's ready to bottle-I really like not having to deal with trying to cap wet bottles.
 

abracadabra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Messages
1,923
Reaction score
10
Location
Newnan
BrewDey said:
-Bake in oven for 1 hour at 378
-Let cool, and store (foil still in place)

.
I don't understand why so many folks feel the need to bake bottles at such high temps and for so long a time.

Boiling water and steam is used to sterilize medical equipt. and that only reaches 212* F max. (under pressure the temp could go higher). We, as brewers are only looking for sanitary conditions not sterile conditions.

I would think that 15 minutes at 250* F which gives you a 38*F margin of error would be more that sufficient to sanitize any clean glass beer bottle.
 

Brew-boy

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 31, 2006
Messages
2,272
Reaction score
18
Location
Lapeer, Michigan
Try a Tap-A-Draft system thats what I did before I got a full kegging system. It works really well and I have been happy with it. I still use it today when I have all four kegs full.
 
Top