The Yuri Rage Blichmann Beer Gun Review

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I quit bottling entire batches long ago. It was tedious, and I do most of my beer drinking at home, so there wasn't much need for portability, and kegging became my standard. For social events, I took to using growlers. However, I still had an occasional need to bottle part of a batch to share with friends and family. Enter the Blichmann Beer Gun.
I bought my Beer Gun about 7 or 8 years ago when it was a fairly new product. It was the simplest, off the shelf solution for bottling directly from a keg, albeit a bit expensive, as with most Blichmann products. Over the years, it's likely paid for itself in convenience, although there are some very cost effective alternatives.
The included directions are straightforward, and the Beer Gun's basic operation is pretty simple: hook up a low pressure CO2 line and a keg of beer, push the button to CO2 purge a sanitized bottle, then pull the trigger to fill. The key to success is extremely low pressure in the beer keg. I purge all pressure from a fully carbonated keg, then slowly dial the regulator up until it barely registers pressure. Any more than 1-2 psi is a recipe for a foamy mess. Bottling in chilled bottles also helps keep the foam down, however I've never used the Beer Gun without having at least an ounce or two of loss to foam per 12 pack.
I've read complaints about getting flat or under carbonated beer out of Beer Gun filled bottles, but that is not my experience. Extremely low line pressure ensures that the beer arrives at the bottle in an overcarbonated state. Headspace coupled with a proper pour serves to balance the carbonation at serving time.
The little rubber stopper at the Beer Gun's outlet is its biggest physical flaw. It tends to fall off during cleaning/sanitizing and is easily lost in a foamy sanitizing solution. If the stopper is accidentally disturbed during dispensing, there is no way to stop the flow of beer other than disconnecting the line from the keg. Fortunately, that's easily prevented with a little care during use.
While the Beer Gun is a handy bit of kit, it is overpriced. With a few spare parts and/or about $10, you can build a nearly equally effective "BMBF" - discussed at length in this HBT thread. If CO2 purging along with minimal foam/mess are imperative, you can build a simple counter pressure filler for about 1/3 the cost of the Beer Gun.
Overall, I'm fairly satisfied with Blichmann's product. It works as advertised and offers plenty of convenience for the kegging-minded homebrewer. However, I can't wholeheartedly endorse it due to readily available, easily made, far less expensive options.
 
Interesting: I just purchased my first keg system yesterday and I was thinking this would make a great Christmas present for me. It looks like after about a hundred bucks you will still need a second CO2 tank, huh?
 
I have the beer gun and i love it. It may be expensive but i think its the best option for filling bottles from kegs. Its also the easiest to use. I think the counter pressure filler looks cumbersome compared to the beer gun. Also i have heard people having issue with the cane / stopper method.
 
@DSorenson
No need for a second Co2 tank. Just split the connection from the one you already have (one to keg and one to the beer gun). you don't need different pressures when filling. And if you did a regulator would work for that.
 
+1 to everything Pie_Man wrote. I've followed all the tips and still get bubbles in the line and too much foam in the bottles. Very frustrating. I'm thinking about selling it.
 
"I've read complaints about getting flat or under carbonated beer out of Beer Gun filled bottles, but that is not my experience. Extremely low line pressure ensures that the beer arrives at the bottle in an overcarbonated state. Headspace coupled with a proper pour serves to balance the carbonation at serving time."
I personally have some issues with foam when using my beergun. I turn the CO2 pressure down to 1-2 psi and purge the keg several times, yet I still get a lot of foam almost every time I use the thing. I can see the beer bubbling away in the beer/out line as I am filling and the bubbling continues into the bottle where I end up losing a fair amount of CO2 in the package beer. I use about 10ft' of 3/16 i.d. line.
Any suggestions? Anyone else have this issue? I find bottling with the beergun somewhat frustrating. I do everything everyone recommends in reviews and articles, like this, but for the most part, I get poor results from the beergun. Even the attached video shows a lot of foam and lost CO2.
Edit: Accidentally deleted while editing
 
I love it, and the other huge thing I use it for is essentially as a CO2 wand. Of course, this required me buying more hardware in the form of quick disconnects, but I love that I can just jam it in a bucket of sanitizer, and then purge carboys, transfer lines, and any other other random thing where you want reduced oxygen.
 
I just used the beergun to bottle two beers for a competition. I have tried using the beergun at least 7-8 times. I purged the heck out of the kegs, I set the regulator as low as it would go, any lower and the CO2 would not flow, and I got the beer line cool and the bottles somewhat cool. Still, when I fill a bottle, there are CO2 bubbles filling the beer line and CO2 bubbles rising from the bottom of the bottle as the bottle fills. Bye bye perfectly carbonated beer. Maybe the trick is to over carb your beer pre-beergun to account for the lose in CO2? But, that is not for me. I don't want an over carbonated keg just so I can bottle a six pack.
It is terribly frustrating to taste my bottled beer side by side with my kegged beer, they are not even close. The bottled beer has carbonation, but has lost the liveliness of the kegged beer, and with it, the enjoyment of the beer.
The fact that there are bubbles in the beer line before that beer even gets to the beer gun makes me think something is wrong somewhere in the system, and possibly not the beer gun itself. I just don't know what that could be.
 
@Pie_Man
I never had those issues. I set the regulator to about 2 psi and works fine. My bottled beers are carbed the same as the kegged ones. I use the lines that came with the beer gun and its about 10'.
I dont know what advice i can give you since i just use the beer gun per instructions and have no issues.
 
Make sure your QDs aren't dirty or even a hop pellet or something in the dip tube. I had that issue and something was clogging my poppet causing that. Also, when i set the gun up, i usually pour about half a glass of beer from the beergun to make sure everything gets nice and chilly with the lines and gun itself.
i've never had an issue and i have about a dozen bwines and old ales that i bottled 6+ months ago, i crack one open every so often and never had an undercarb'd beer.
 
@Rivenin
Thank you for your comment. The QDs are very clean. I have a set of QDs for the beergun and I disassemble and clean them after use, then sanitize before use.
@j1n
Thank you, I wish it were that simple for me. I am certainly following the instructions and all the tips and tricks people recommend.
As mentioned above, the presence of bubbles in the beer line occurs as soon as the beer is leaving the keg. This makes me think something is wrong with the beergun and/or kegging system at large while the beergun it attached. When the beergun is not hooked up, there are no bubbles in the beer lines with my normal picnic tap setup. Maybe there is a leak in the beergun setup that could cause these issues? I will say the front seal on this thing is a terrible design, a little silicone nipple held in place by a metal clip that must be removed to assemble and disassemble the device. The silicone stopper has fallen off into bottles before. It does seem to seal the beergun and I do not notice anything leaking.
 
Funny thing is, I don't get any bubbles in my normal 10' beer line with a cheap picnic-style tap. But as soon as I hook up my beergun with a 10' line, I see bubbles from the QD all the way to the bottle. I even use a hose clamp on the QD end. I just don't get it.
 
I'm pretty new to using my beergun, but after a little experimenting it worked well for me. On my first trial I failed to purge all pressure from the keg before I started. With that run I had tons of foaming. Once I got the head pressure in the keg down to 1-2 psi things went well.
Something thing I do that might be helping is leave as much of the beer line coiled up in my keezer as possible with the lid closed while I'm filling.
I also sanitize my bottles then put them upside down in my deep freeze. They get to freezing cold in a matter of minutes. I actually set up shop in my open chest freezer and pick the bottles frozen and fill them. I just lay a cutting board across the top of my open freezer to make a working space.
 
@jwalker1140
I have the exact same issue. There has to be a reason why there are bubbles in the line when using the beergun and no bubbles when using the tap.
 
Bubbles in the line definitely sounds like a leak somewhere. I myself observed bubbles in the line until I decided to put a cheap hose clamp on every connection.
I love my blichmann beer gun.
 
  • Article Author
  • Article Author
  • #17
Bubbles in the line are likely not indicative of a leak, but rather CO2 coming out of solution. Either the flow is too turbulent (keep the line cold and fairly straight/no kinks, or perhaps a different style poppet would help), or the pressure is too great (regulator perhaps incapable of delivering low enough pressure - maybe bleed a bit of CO2 into the keg and then shut off all gas flow). Also, do not slowly pull the trigger to start the flow, or you will worsen any foaming. Try to quickly and smoothly pull the trigger to its stop, and close it just as quickly.
As for the foam in the video, I don't find it to be an issue. Foam from the liquid level to the top of the bottle is a good thing, ensuring virtually no oxygen in the head space. The volume loss is a fraction of an ounce per bottle, which is acceptable to me.
Both of those issues are not unique to the Beer Gun. Any technique/equipment used to bottle carbonated beer will be faced with similar issues.
 
I have played with a BMBF and it worked "ok". I did get some foaming, and after messing with pressures, cold bottles, etc. I ended up using a Stainless adapter for my Perlick faucet, a short piece of clear plastic tubing, and a bottling wand.
I simply pour a glass of beer to drink, which chills the hose and wand, and then fill 1 bottle which has some, but not massive amounts of, foam. From then on I can fill each bottle easily without much foam at all, and cap right away. No noticeable loss of carbonation, bottles can be chilled or not, it doesn't seem to make much difference.
I try to use oxygen barrier caps if I can, because I am not purging with CO2.
 
They should make some type of hand pump that hooks to the liquid post and pulls Starsan in reverse out through a beer bottle to make cleaning this easier.
 
Really great article @yuri_rage, been battling with my beergun for some 4 years now, not giving up on my inability to adapt myself in case of foamy disasters. definely will try your tips and WILL make it work, already been trying tip from July 3rd, 2014 - 8:28am and has worked on last batches since my cheap-ass regulator does not register low pressures and the beer gun requires at least 5psi to see some co2 action at the tip. Figuring that best set up for this expensive device is, oh surprise, an expensive one. a pressure regulator with two different pressure readers/dispensers.
hope my stubbornness to not-abandon will catch on someone ! say NO to frustration ! :D
cheers !
 
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