Tips you would like to have known when you first started brewing?

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

hamachi

Active Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2021
Messages
42
Reaction score
85
Location
SoCal
What do you do to keep [bottling] simple or get it done quickly?
Here's how I do it:
  1. Before bottling day, any time I or a guest has a homebrew, I immediately peel the label, triple-rinse the bottle, and store it. That's the only cleaning the bottles get. (When I have to buy a new case of bottles, I do run them through the dishwasher once.)
  2. On bottling day, I measure out the priming sugar, boil in 1 to 2 cups of water for 8 minutes, and remove from heat.
  3. While the priming solution cools, I use my 5 gallon bucket of Star San (which is always at hand) to sanitize tubing, auto-siphon, bottling bucket, bottles, and bottling wand. I decide on the bottle cap color, and put the caps, capper, and a bowl of sanitizer for the caps on my "bottling table" on the patio. The bottle tree is on the same table.
  4. I take a sample from the fermenter to get the FG, dump the priming solution into the bottling bucket, and start siphoning the beer into the bucket.
  5. I lug the bucket to the bottling table, attach the bottling wand, and start bottling. I'll fill 6 to 12 bottles before moving over and capping them, then repeat till the bucket is empty. The capped bottles end up in plastic file folder boxes.
  6. I rinse the capped bottles with a hose, wipe them dry, and put them into the cardboard boxes from LHBS that they originally came in.
  7. All that's left is cleanup of bucket, fermenter, tubing, etc., which I mainly do with a hose in the yard.
I have never done precise timing, but I think the whole process takes under 2 hours for a 2.5 to 5 gallon batch.
 
Last edited:

Toxxyc

New and loving it
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
535
Reaction score
432
Location
Pretoria, South Africa
BIAB No Chill. Literally, the only things you have to have are a kettle, a grain bag, and a fermenter.
I know about a guy who does BIAB and then ferments in the kettle he boiled in. Pulls grain after mash, does the boil, places the lid on there and the next morning he pitches yeast and ferments in the kettle (on the trub). His beer is just fine.
 

twd000

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2010
Messages
770
Reaction score
150
Location
New Hampshire
I know about a guy who does BIAB and then ferments in the kettle he boiled in. Pulls grain after mash, does the boil, places the lid on there and the next morning he pitches yeast and ferments in the kettle (on the trub). His beer is just fine.

I was thinking of going this route. Would solve the problem of separating the hops from wort, by letting it settle with time. Then racking nearly-finished beer straight to kegs to spund and condition.

Would be very cool to make a truly all-in-one mash/boil/ferment setup in a single vessel

The only thing I can't figure out, is temperature control on the boil kettle. Maybe some DIY glycol chiller?
 

ncbrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2011
Messages
4,474
Reaction score
1,255
Location
New Bern
You seem to be spending more time than needed on all of those stages. But specifically, why does the bottling itself take 2 full hours? A 5 gallon batch gives you roughly 50 12 ounce bottles, so two hours means 2.4 minutes for each bottle. This seems extraordinarily slow.
I fill one bottle while using a vinator to sanitize the next, so there is maybe an extra 20 seconds waiting to get the contact time (I allow 35 - 40 seconds contact time). Cover the bottling tube with Star San soaked paper towels while capping the first case, and spray it with Star San before starting to fill the second case of bottles. Rinse the bottles thoroughly and dry after capping - not sure how long that takes. Label the cartons and put them in a plastic tote for conditioning. Maybe my process can be used as a learning tool - how not to do it if you want a 2 hour bottling day.
 

Barbarossa

Beauty is in the eye of the beerholder
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 23, 2021
Messages
410
Reaction score
634
Location
Montreal
I'm pretty OCD about my sanitation, pbw soak the bottles (sink will only hold about 8 at a time) then I hit them with a bottle brush then rinse 3 times then sanitize and rack on the dishwasher, repeat till I get 50 + bottles plus the hr or so to clean the kitchen before I start, bottling then takes 60 to 90 min ( transfer to bottling bucket, bottle, cap and store) then clean everything up
You can soak bottles in practically anything. I use my 30$ Coleman cooler and it holds 50 bottles.
 

Reneauj62

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Messages
98
Reaction score
71
I have a lot of tips that only apply to me like: Looking back, I should have started all-grain... but that's a personal tip. If I had one to give to everyone I would say that just because you see a new product does not mean I need it and have to have it. Ask yourself over the period of 6 months if you really need it. You may save yourself a lot of money.
 

bracconiere

Jolly Alcoholic
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
14,346
Reaction score
6,722
Location
S.AZ
sparge slow? if i haven't already said it. i sparged full bore for years before i found out i'm supposed to take it slow.....with boiling water....


i went from 62% to 83%, now i'm at 90% with a deccoction.....
 

Dancy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2018
Messages
218
Reaction score
132
I live in an 854 sq ft 1 bdrm condo with a small kitchen to brew in — 5-6 gall batches. I store my brew stuff in 3-4 places so each time I brew, it is a bit of an ordeal to get it out, brew, and store it all away. Bottle washers are great but just something else I’d have to find a storage spot for and it would be messy to use with my divided sink and limited counter top space. When I drink a beer, I immediately rinse it 3x, spray Star San in it and rinse later and it let drain dry. I store them by the case and then bake them the night before I bottle - 300 F for 2.5 hours. Then when I bottle in the kitchen, I remove them from the oven to fill ‘em. I’ve never had a bottle infection Frankly, I’m a bit surprised given the crappy small space I brew in.
 

bracconiere

Jolly Alcoholic
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
14,346
Reaction score
6,722
Location
S.AZ
I live in an 854 sq ft 1 bdrm condo with a small kitchen to brew in — 5-6 gall batches. I store my brew stuff in 3-4 places so each time I brew, it is a bit of an ordeal to get it out, brew, and store it all away. Bottle washers are great but just something else I’d have to find a storage spot for and it would be messy to use with my divided sink and limited counter top space. When I drink a beer, I immediately rinse it 3x, spray Star San in it and rinse later and it let drain dry. I store them by the case and then bake them the night before I bottle - 300 F for 2.5 hours. Then when I bottle in the kitchen, I remove them from the oven to fill ‘em. I’ve never had a bottle infection Frankly, I’m a bit surprised given the crappy small space I brew in.

where there's a will there's a way! :mug:
 

DuncB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2019
Messages
1,366
Reaction score
636
Location
Paremata New Zealand
sparge slow? if i haven't already said it. i sparged full bore for years before i found out i'm supposed to take it slow.....with boiling water....


i went from 62% to 83%, now i'm at 90% with a deccoction.....
How do you make it sparge slower, the sparge water seems to just run through straightaway, i've only kept the mash bed covered when brewing a beer with loads of oats and wheat in. I'm using a 0.5mm crush on my brewzilla equivalent so it's pretty tighly milled.
 

Chuckbergman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
45
Reaction score
22
Location
South bend
Many have already stated variations of my thoughts, but here are a few things I wish I knew at the beginning.

1. When brewing a new style, say a porter, research online for recipes and notice the common malts used. Then formulate a basic recipe and just brew a simple version of that style. Save the chocolate espresso with marshmallow porter for later once you've perfected your basic style.

2. Wish I had purchased 6.5 oz big mouth bubblers with spigot earlier. SOOOOO MUCH easier to clean and dry hop.
 
Top