Removing labels from beer bottles.

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Rad-Rabbit

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
203
Reaction score
11
Location
Pennsylvania
I boil a 6 pack at a time for about 10 mintues. If the label doesn't fall off in the water I use a semi rigid piece of plastic like a gift card and scrape off the rest. But then you still need to remove the glue from the bottle. For that use a copper pan scrubbie. After a few good shakes with the scrubbie wipe it clean with a towel and it is ready.

BTW- The bottles will be hot-hot-hot when you take them from the water so use tongs to remove them and a thick towel to hold them. Try not to get the towel to wet or the heat will transfer quickly to your hands.
 

0202

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
547
Reaction score
11
Location
Atlanta
I soaked 60 bottles in HOT water + Oxyclean for ~2 hours and
all but a couple only needed a rinse. No glue, no labels, nothing
stuck to them.
 

AirRageous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
182
Reaction score
2
Location
Belen (Albuquerque), New Mexico
I just de-labeled a bunch of Mexican beer bottles I got from my favorite Mexican restaurant/cantina. They were a bitch. Tecate, Carte Blanca, DosXX and Negra Modelo were the worst. They use a foil label and superglue. The Modelo also has gold foil up around the neck that is glued on.

I soaked them for about 2 hours in hot water and oxyclean. Then all I could peal off was the outer foil layer which left a paper layer still glued on hard. Another hour soak and vigorous scrubbing with a scouring pad finally got them clean. Then I had to get the old lime wedges out of some of them. Not sure it was worth the effort. But I am a cheap bastard.

Anyone have a better technique for these bottles?

I did a bunch of Sam Adams bottles a while back and the labels just floated off after an hour or so soaking. But in my area, the Mexican cervesas rule. :rockin:
 

BingBrew

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
Binghamton, NY
I'll tell you, the variation in ease of label removal is remarkable. Around here, I've found the easiest labels are Amber Bock (though the bottles have a raised 'Michelob' on the glass, which isn't removable and makes them ineligible for competition), and the gosh-darndest are Saranac, with not a single clean removal out of a sampler pack.

When we were getting ready to bottle our first batch, I invited a bunch of folks over who had expressed interest in consuming the final product, telling them the ticket price for homebrew was a six-pack of pop-top bottles. No one understood my surprise at their Coronas.

That'll teach me, have to be more specific next time.
 
OP
jpass00

jpass00

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
36
Reaction score
0
Location
Bay City, MI
Well I just did 24 Sam Adams bottles and soaked them in very hot water and most just pulled off. Some I had to scrap with little plastic scraper and washed them with a rag under water. Clean as could be.
 

steelerguy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2008
Messages
482
Reaction score
14
Location
Stony Brook, NY
I am in the Oxyclean camp. Oxyclean + hot water + a couple hours (or even overnight if you have the time) and most labels are floating. Rinse the bottle and you are good to go. If the label it still stuck after that...into the recycle bin it goes.
 

schweaty

Doe Re Mi Beer
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 18, 2008
Messages
1,802
Reaction score
53
Location
Glass City
A good soak in LD Carlson's Easy Clean worked like magic for me. The labels and most of the adheasive just fell off. I tried Oxyclean using the same method but the results were not as good.
 

PavlovsCat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2009
Messages
235
Reaction score
0
Location
Key West, Tampa
I tried the Oxyclean, but it tends to leave a film on the glass even with multiple rinses. I had to go back and rewash the bottles. I just soak the bottles overnight with regular dishwashing soap. What doesn't come off with the soak, comes off easily with a scrubby. If there is a stubborn glue that is hard to get off, I then use GooGone - takes off any adhesive. I rarely have to resort to this though. It's a petroleum based product (like everything else in our modern world), so just make sure you wash the bottles after application.
 

BingBrew

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
Binghamton, NY
It is my understanding that you're supposed to avoid using regular dish soap with brewing supplies because it leaves a film that can wreck your beer. Is this not commensurate with your experience?
 

BlackDogBrewing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2008
Messages
329
Reaction score
9
Location
Slatington, PA
I keep a strong solution of OxyClean in a big plastic storage tub at the bottom of the stairs; when I'm done with the bottle I just submerge it in there. I usually end up leaving them in the tub for a few days, but many labels fall off within a few hours. I also leave a scrubby sponge floating in the tub, to remove any excess gunk. very few labels stand up to this.
Be sure to rinse the bottles thouroughly when they're done soaking.
 

QueenCityALER

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
292
Reaction score
1
Location
Charlotte area NC
I agree. Saranac bottles ars rugged! Sam Adama bottles rule. You notice not all of them have the logo in the glass? Must be bottling at different facilities.
 

kuphish

Senior Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 28, 2008
Messages
197
Reaction score
5
Location
Pittsburgh
+1 on the oxiclean and hot water combo. Usually after 15 minutes most labels will peal off without a problem. The oxiclean film/residue is easy to avoid. I fill my sink with a solution of 3 capfulls distilled vinegar and approximately 3 gallons of water. Just dip the bottles through the vinegar water, rinse them with the jet washer and put them on the bottle tree. Acid (vinegar) + base (oxiclean) = neutralization and no film.
 

bucknutbrew

Active Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
35
Reaction score
0
Sam Adams, Great Lakes and Sierra Nevada are very easy to get off after a 30 minute soak in hot water. Widmer is a little tougher to remove. The top of the Negra Modelo is tough (but a cool little bottle).
 

imaguitargod

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2008
Messages
1,002
Reaction score
10
Location
Local Mind Expander of Cleveland, OH
Sam Adams, Great Lakes and Sierra Nevada are very easy to get off after a 30 minute soak in hot water. Widmer is a little tougher to remove. The top of the Negra Modelo is tough (but a cool little bottle).
See, I find just the opposite for Greak Lakes. Every time I soak them (for at least an hour) the labels finally come off, but the glue is still left behind and looks like acolor negative image of the label :drunk: . I've given up on their bottles.
 

bucknutbrew

Active Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
35
Reaction score
0
I bought a grill cleaning brush at the dollar store and use it on any stubborn bottles. I never spend more than 30 seconds on a bottle.
 
OP
jpass00

jpass00

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
36
Reaction score
0
Location
Bay City, MI
I to had a problem with Great Lakes Brewing bottles. I could get the lables off but it left like a rubber cement like glue that I gave up on.
 

Whisler85

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2008
Messages
191
Reaction score
1
Location
Lake Bluff, Illinois
+1 bucknut

i used to soak cases upon cases of sierra nevada bottles to remove the labels

now i just throw them in a container of hot, soapy water and use a stiff, nylon-bristled brush that is shaped like a clothes iron

tears the labels and the adhesive off in seconds, just a little elbow grease, cut down my bottle cleaning time a hundred-fold

ps-saves a ton of water, too
 

Hilbert

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
Messages
187
Reaction score
3
just tried oxyclean tonight for the first time and it worked awsome.

i've tried just hot water and soap and the dishwasher and sanitier, etc. oxyclean is the way to go by far.

homebrewtalk rocks!
 

daverohmfeld

New Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Location
Clarksville
Hotwater, Oxyclean, and some sanitizer. Most labels will come off after an hour of soaking. I use a Rubbermaid tub and soak them over night. Most of the time, the labels slide off with almost no effort. Some of the more subborn labels have to be removed with an old Sams Club card. After that, I scrub them down with a green scrub pad. To please my OCD ways, I wash them in the dishwasher and sanitize them just before use.
 

SkewedBrewing

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 26, 2006
Messages
1,033
Reaction score
24
Location
Chicago
After every beer I pour, if its a new bottle, I rinse it and then I place it in a cup of hot water.

By the time I get up to get my next beer the label should be ready to come off of the one in the cup. I peel off the label, maybe scrub the excess glue off real quick, and replace it with the next empty and so on.

I often wonder, am I the only one who does it this way?

If im having a party or something then I soak them in oxy clean and water like everyone else...
 

chrispykid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Messages
182
Reaction score
12
Location
Brooklyn
I soak in an ammonia and water solution, easy ones peel right off, tough ones take some persuasion with a razor blade, but even there it's a whole lot easier after the amonia.
 

SpanishCastleAle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
4,339
Reaction score
43
Location
Central Florida
I take the really lazy route. I just leave them on and let them naturally come off through repeated use/rinsing/sanitizing.:)

I've got plenty of label-free bottles for those beers that I want/need to be label-free...but most still have the labels.
 

KerryD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Messages
156
Reaction score
1
Location
Katy TX
Anyone have a better technique for these bottles?
Time. I just did some Negra Modelo bottles and in 12 hours, all I had to do was wipe off the glue under the foil. The labels floated off intact. They were really easy compared to some....
 

bluehouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
345
Reaction score
4
AirRageous, I have the same isue with the cervesa bottles & basically with all the bottles that have the foil type label. I like the Modelo bottles size & shape but that foil neck cover is terrible.

BTW your wife is a great woman, great minds think alike.

(Quote from SWMBO)
"We have been married for 35 years and I figured out the other day that if I had shot him when we first met ..... I'd be out of prison by now!"
 

camiller

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2007
Messages
1,907
Reaction score
50
Location
Omaha, NE
I leave the bottles with labels to the left of the kitchen sink. Within a day or two I find them draining in the dish rack.... I kiss my wife frequently :)
 

AirRageous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
182
Reaction score
2
Location
Belen (Albuquerque), New Mexico
AirRageous, I have the same isue with the cervesa bottles & basically with all the bottles that have the foil type label. I like the Modelo bottles size & shape but that foil neck cover is terrible.

BTW your wife is a great woman, great minds think alike.

(Quote from SWMBO)
"We have been married for 35 years and I figured out the other day that if I had shot him when we first met ..... I'd be out of prison by now!"
Janet, I'm sure you and my wife would get along just fine .... I can just picture the plots that would arise........

And she lies about her age also. She has a twin brother who is 55 but she is only 39 ?????
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Location
Grand Forks, ND
No need to waste oxyclean if you have Sam Adams bottles. Just soak for 30-45 mins. in warm water and they slide right off and bring most of the glue with. Sometimes the label on the neck leaves a lot of glue behind, but you can rub it off very easily with your fingers while holding it under running water. Just tried some Breckenridge bottles today, and no such luck. The glue is much tougher to get off, even after several hours of soaking.:mad:
 

imaguitargod

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2008
Messages
1,002
Reaction score
10
Location
Local Mind Expander of Cleveland, OH
No need to waste oxyclean if you have Sam Adams bottles. Just soak for 30-45 mins. in warm water and they slide right off and bring most of the glue with. Sometimes the label on the neck leaves a lot of glue behind, but you can rub it off very easily with your fingers while holding it under running water. Just tried some Breckenridge bottles today, and no such luck. The glue is much tougher to get off, even after several hours of soaking.:mad:
I've said it once, and I'll say it again. A 45 minute soak in 1-Step Clenser takes off even the hardest lables. Breckenridge labels just fall right off.

I used to do Sam Adams bottles because I could get them in 12-packs for cheap. Then I started to think about entering contests (they won't accept bottles stamped with logos) and about handing people a unlabled bottle stamped with someone's logo. "What did you do, just take the lable off of a Sam Adams and say it's your beer?". Don't want that question ever coming up, so I stopped using those bottles.
 

Marsdude

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2010
Messages
469
Reaction score
2
Location
Fort Collins, CO
I use the Walmart Oxyclean knockoff, Sun. It works great. I never have a film left on the bottles, but then I only use a small amount.
 

JefeTheVol

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2009
Messages
584
Reaction score
21
Location
Memphis, TN
Bridgeport labels, IMO, are the most difficult to remove. Ive soaked them overnight in oxyclean and they still are a pain in the @ss. So now, if I buy a 6 pack of bridgeport I just recycle the bottles instead.
-Jefe-
 

barleyhole

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2009
Messages
115
Reaction score
1
Location
Silver Spring, MD
Smuttynose bottles are a nightmare. I bought a case of pumpkin ale last fall 1. because I really like it and 2. I could use the bottles. THREE DAYS of an oxyclean bath later, the labels were still dried on pretty good. Fortunately I had bought this utility knife with a curved blade to help wittle off the label and got them cleaned eventually. Everyone should use the Sam Adams glue...they come off after 20 minutes in a cooler of ice water!
 

kyleobie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2009
Messages
587
Reaction score
4
Location
Chicago, IL
+1 on Oxyclean.

I have had issues with labels from Great Lakes and Bells bottles more than any other brand I consume regularly. Bells labels are such a PITA that I usually recycle.

Easiest bottles to scrub? New Belgium, Sam Adams, Schlafly come to mind. I'm eager to claim those at parties for my homebrewing. Fat Tire 22 oz bombers are great to reuse!
 

fineexampl

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
652
Reaction score
3
Location
Edison
I've said it once, and I'll say it again. A 45 minute soak in 1-Step Clenser takes off even the hardest lables. Breckenridge labels just fall right off.

I used to do Sam Adams bottles because I could get them in 12-packs for cheap. Then I started to think about entering contests (they won't accept bottles stamped with logos) and about handing people a unlabled bottle stamped with someone's logo. "What did you do, just take the lable off of a Sam Adams and say it's your beer?". Don't want that question ever coming up, so I stopped using those bottles.
You are probably right here, man.

My own method, tested yesterday over 2-3 hours. I cleaned, delabeled and sanitized 3 cases of bottles in hot water and StarSan. Most of the labels came right off. The rest of them i used a curved metal scraper. To remove the glue i used a square of blue aquarium filter sponge media (same stuff i used to scrub my bottling bucket, etc.). The labels i had the worst time with were labels that used vinyl stickets and foil necks. All were clean. Some glue residue, but nothing to be concerned about.
 
Top