My take on the BMBF/Picnic tap issues

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Nov 7, 2006
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I just started kegging about a month-and-a-half ago, and last week I had occasion to give some homebrew away to friends. So I read all the posts about the BMBF and so I thought I try something like that, but it seemed too complicated ;) This post is mostly just to spread the knowledge I've found through this experience, but there is some troubleshooting involved as well.

My method was slightly different than the BMBF method. It is was even simpler. I just stuck the hard plastic tube of a bottling wand into the end of a picnic tap and that was the entirety of the filling mechanism.

Because no stopper was involved, I used a longer length of beer line (9 ft of 3/16ths ID), turned the regulator down even more (2.5 PSI), and made sure that the bottles were fridge temps.

Initially, I had wanted to purge the bottles with CO2, but that would be difficult with only one tank and no manifold (nothing to push the beer!). So instead, I opened the picnic tap only a smidge (to create foam) during the first part of the fill, and then opened it to its full extent. That way, the only beer that ever touched O2 would go out the top of the bottle at the end of the fill.

I have to say, this worked extremely well. I got perfect fills, capped on foam; it was great. This method is even simpler than the BMBF (though extremely similar) and seems to work just as well.

But I did notice that some kind of gas was filling the bottling wand tube that was not present within the beer line. My initial thought was CO2 coming out of solution, but the volume of the gas piques my suspicion that it may have been air getting into the picnic tap. I doubt that it would've come in at the joint with the bottling wand, but rather through the tap mechanism itself, because I really jammed the bottling wand tube in there. This would be an issue with the BMBF as well, and is something that people may want to look out for. If anyone has any experience with leaky picnic tap (i.e. air getting into them), your comments are appreciated.
I did the same thing last week, but with just 5' of beer line. I also noticed bubbles in the wand that didn't seem to be in the beer line, but I didn't worry about it because the beer was only in the bottles for a few days. I might be a little more careful if I was planning to keep the bottles for more than a week or so.
Not sure what was complicated about using the stopper. I've used the BMBF lots of times with success (some brews not being openned til months later). Never had any issues. The point of the stopper is to cause counter pressure to help expel the air that's already in the bottles. No 'issues' at all. As far as bubbles in the wand....that's nothing to worry about. The beer is carbonated and cold. The wand usually is not....therefore...bubbles. Hey to each his own, but the BMBF works as advertised.
Not sure what was complicated about using the stopper.

Ha! Yeah, I guess the main thing was I didn't have one of the right size. But I really don't think the stopper is necessary. Works either way.
The reason your wand creates bubbles is that the co2 is starting to come out of solution because there is an escape of pressure. The line does not, because the picnic tap seals it off and prevents the line from having lower pressure (no open end).

This reminds me that I have to fill a few bottles for someone on here and I forgot again. I hope to have time tonight. I have been using the BMBF with good results, but sometimes during the filling process I've found that I really don't "need" the stopper. It's only there to create pressure in the bottle to reduce the amount of foaming. Sometimes the beer just doesn't foam up much. I think it's usually when I am set up nicely and can keep moving from one bottle to the next without stopping.