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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: Crispy275 on November 12, 2009, 05:46:59 PM

Title: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: Crispy275 on November 12, 2009, 05:46:59 PM
Many homebrewers never keg, and many who set up a kegging system never bottle again.

And yet, some of us who do use kegs still bottle a significant amount to provide as gifts and competitions. And some keg exclusively but use a counter pressure bottle filler or beer gun to fill the occassional bottle.

How much do you bottle? Keg?
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: tubercle on November 12, 2009, 05:48:57 PM
I only keg for the past two years.

I have about 100 bottles ready to go if the need ever arises though.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: theDarkSide on November 12, 2009, 05:54:11 PM
I only bottle because it is the best way and there is no other way to store beer!!!!

B.S.!!!!

Actually I don't have a kegging system (yet) but Santa may be good to me this year.  I'd expect I would only bottle after that if I had all my kegs in use and needed the keg.  I would then bottle to free up the keg.  And also bottle for competitions.

Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: tankdeer on November 12, 2009, 05:57:17 PM
I'm about 80/20 kegging to bottling. Most of my funky/big beers get the bottle, whereas "normal" stuff goes into the kegs.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: bluesman on November 12, 2009, 05:58:42 PM
I keg almost exclusively.

I would bottle more...but I'm just too lazy. Kegging is so much easier.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: matthew on November 12, 2009, 06:02:48 PM
Bottle only,1984-2009
Matthew
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: dbeechum on November 12, 2009, 07:13:31 PM
If it weren't for kegging, I'm not sure I ever would have made it past my first year of brewing... yes I am that fricking lazy.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: blatz on November 12, 2009, 07:44:59 PM
I keg almost all my beer, except I bottle half my annual big beer series (RIS, Amer BW, surprise (this year its Baltic Porter).

the rest of the bigs gets kegged into shorty kegs.

I bottle off the tap or CPF (but usually the former since I'm too lazy) when bottles are needed for competition for regular beers.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: glitterbug on November 12, 2009, 07:54:35 PM
I bottle all my brew. I like opening all fridge and seeing all those bottles in there. I recently switched to 22oz bottles and it helps shorten the time to bottle.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: jackfromjax on November 12, 2009, 09:21:30 PM
If I didn't have to bottle for comps, I probably wouldn't bottle at all.  Nothing better than going to the fridge and having the choice of many on tap at the same time.  I too have a hundred or so bottles cleaned and ready to go if the need or desire occurs.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: beerocd on November 12, 2009, 09:39:34 PM
I bottled once. Once.
If I ever do a barley wine or imperial that would change of course, but I've never brewed something that needs to be aged (beer-wise). No competition submissions yet either, seems a lot of work for someone to tell me if my beer is good or not. I just brew for the household pipeline right now.

-OCD
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: pdbreen on November 12, 2009, 11:52:24 PM
I switched entirely to kegging (hated dealing with all those bottles), but now realize I'd like to bottle some of each keg (sometimes).  Good thing I only gave away my bottles (which are easily replaced) and not my stand capper!
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: tankdeer on November 13, 2009, 12:00:04 AM
If it weren't for kegging, I'm not sure I ever would have made it past my first year of brewing... yes I am that fricking lazy.
Says the man who uses the Methode Champenoise.  ;)
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: dhacker on November 13, 2009, 12:22:01 AM
The ONLY thing I have in bottles is a 2 year old ABC.  I have 16 cornies with beer right now and bottle some of that only when I'm in the mood to share.

6 Ventmatic draft tower makes bottles obsolete!   ;D
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: tesla_hv on November 13, 2009, 01:42:07 AM
I bottle now which is a huge pain but plan on kegging when I get back to the States and can get a basement keg-e-rator.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: boulderbrewer on November 13, 2009, 04:11:09 PM
I keg mostly, I fill bottles for competitions or sending out. I just bottled 1/2 of a batch of the beer from the Surly rally. So I could remember why I keg. ;)
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: valorian on November 13, 2009, 04:25:50 PM
I almost always keg. Some styles like Hefes I prefer to bottle.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on November 13, 2009, 05:39:56 PM
I keg all the beer and then bottle some to give away.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: rabid_dingo on November 14, 2009, 05:53:51 AM
I have for 4 years now brewed a Holiday Cheer spiced ale. I made it a tradition to brew it on Christmas Eve
and bulk age it in fermenters until the following fall, and bottle. The last two years I switched to bottling it
in bombers for sharing. I have not had the enthusiastic response I had hoped. (BMC drinkers mostly. Fellow
brewers have always loved my holiday beer.) This year I kegged it. I asked about bottling from a keg in another
thread because of this. Otherwise only keg any more.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: 1vertical on November 15, 2009, 04:17:45 PM
I cannot believe that it took me so long to start, but now I mostly Keg and that is because the labor consuming job of
handling bottles is now gone.  I am still in the learning curve on the methods to obtain good carbonation in any bottles
that I fill from the keg. That has been a challenge but the experimentation continues.  FWIW, I own 6 ball lock kegs.
4 are currently filled and 2 have not arrived yet but will be welcome additions to the collection.  I plan another Saison
and a Lager for them when they arrive.

I do enjoy the result of a good bottle conditioned homebrew.

Edit: the other 2 just showed up...ugly but holding pressure. :-\
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: richt on November 15, 2009, 10:16:25 PM
I exclusively keg, save for the one comp I've entered (so far) and the occasional growler for when I have to leave my house to drink.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: blorvak on November 16, 2009, 08:54:26 AM
Only have 2 kegs, so I bottle the really big beers.  Make a no-sparge barleywine every Nov that I bottle.  Basically, anything over 10% is going into bottles.  Takes me a while to finish 'em.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: dan1076 on November 16, 2009, 11:13:56 PM
I almost exclusively keg unless my 3 kegs are full.  Then I will bottle the beer.  I also bottle beer that I plan on giving away to others.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: ne-brewer on November 17, 2009, 10:09:57 PM
I usually do 6 gallon batches then keg 4 or 5 and bottle the rest.

Sometimes I bottle some from a keg with a counter pressure filler --- but, that is only if I need some bottles and I'm out of filled bottles and still have beer in the keg.

Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: BrewingRover on November 18, 2009, 04:15:03 AM
I bottle exclusively and I enjoy the process. There's a Zen thing to it or something. I  like assembling the equipment, boiling the priming sugar and sanitizing everything. I put some music on and go to work. It usually takes a little over an hour for a five gallon batch. If I were brewing bigger batches, I might feel a little differently.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: a10t2 on November 18, 2009, 04:48:39 AM
Man I must just need to find my rhythm. It took me almost two. But at least I remembered to sanitize the bottling bucket this time. It's like learning to brew all over again!
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on November 18, 2009, 04:14:28 PM
I bottled for about two years and then built a mini-fridge kegerator.  I haven't bottled since I started kegging, except for last weekend when I bottled half of the Surly AHA Rally Beer and put the rest in a 2.5 gallon cornie.

A little off-topic, but I'd really like to perfect a way to bottle from the keg so I can start entering competitions.  I would rather not have to bottle my competition batches.  After four years and 70+ batches, I'd like to start getting some helpful feedback on my brews.  Plus, I like to compete.   8) 
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 18, 2009, 04:33:39 PM
I mainly keg, but bottle maybe 25% overall for competitions and to give as gifts. 

Big beers go into bottles.  Sour beers and funky beers go into bottles, mainly to age.

Meads and ciders go into bottles, because I lager in kegs and I only have 13 kegs.

Sombody already pointed out that one lazy AHA board member does the most complicated bottling that I have seen.  ;)

Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: Kaiser on November 18, 2009, 04:40:45 PM
I do both.

When cold conditioning is completed and the beer is carbonated I bottle about 6-12 bottles from the cold keg into cold and sanitized bottles using a picnic tap with a short tube attached. The cold keeps the CO2 from gushing out and I can bottle clear carbonated beer. These bottles are then for sharing, evaluating and sampling. The rest gets transferred to a serving keg. Evaluating beer from bottles eliminates possibly inconsistent carbonation from serving and any possible infection or taste change that may happen during serving. Something I seek to eliminate as well, but it is nice that I can cut this out of the loop.

For beers that I plan to age (Doppelbocks for example) I bottle the whole keg into about 2 cases the same way.

Kai
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: Kaiser on November 18, 2009, 04:57:44 PM
A little off-topic, but I'd really like to perfect a way to bottle from the keg so I can start entering competitions.

Here is what I do:

- put the beer in a corny keg with a shortened dip-tube and let it carbonate in there (natural or artificial)
- move the keg into a cold fridge (32F is good) and let it cold condition in there, You may even add finings to accelerate the clearing process
- Sanitze a few bottles. I do this by adding a squirt of water, cap with tin foil and bake them in the over at 250F for ~2 hrs.
- Once the bottles are cooled place them with the beer in the fridge/freezer. Make sure the bottles don’t freeze. This will create ice crystals that cause gushing during filling.
- Sanitize a picnic tap and a short piece of a racking cane. Put the tube into the picnic tap to make a “beer gun”
- W/o moving it connect the keg to CO2 and release the pressure until you have only 2-3 psi in there. Set the regulator to the same pressure.
- get a large sanitary mug into which you can rest the “beer gun” and catch any foam flowing from the bottles.
- place bottle caps into sanitizer
- now take a bottle, remove tin foil and fill the bottles. If it foams too much, reduce the pressure.
- let foam drip into the mug
- cap on foam to eliminate head space O2. If the beer doesn’t foam enough squirt some more beer into it or tap the side of the bottle.
- keep filling as many bottles as you need.

I bottle from a lagering chest and have a large black pan like this one (http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=19252-000001569-ST3608&lpage=none) set such that I can keep the bottles and all the mess in it.

Once I’m done I wipe off the bottles and label the caps.

Kai
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on November 18, 2009, 05:01:07 PM
Thanks, Kai!  I'll give that process a shot.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: a10t2 on November 18, 2009, 05:29:32 PM
My process is pretty similar to Kai's. I use a stopper on the racking cane; that seals the top of the bottle, and then you can lock the picnic tap open and fill by squeezing the stopper to control the flow of beer. Like a two dollar counter-pressure filler.

I've also found that I have to deliberately over-carbonate the keg by about half a volume, to compensate for the pressure lost in bottling.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: 1vertical on November 18, 2009, 05:34:07 PM
My process is pretty similar to Kai's. I use a stopper on the racking cane; that seals the top of the bottle, and then you can lock the picnic tap open and fill by squeezing the stopper to control the flow of beer. Like a two dollar counter-pressure filler.

I've also found that I have to deliberately over-carbonate the keg by about half a volume, to compensate for the pressure lost in bottling.

Those are the tricks that may get me there ....will be trying this soon a10t2
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: slimsparty on November 18, 2009, 09:23:50 PM
Quote
Actually I don't have a kegging system (yet) but Santa may be good to me this year.  I'd expect I would only bottle after that if I had all my kegs in use and needed the keg.  I would then bottle to free up the keg.  And also bottle for competitions.

+1 for me.  Bottling is horrid. 

question-which probably has no definative answers:

How many Kegs does a newb kegger need.  I have a couple sources-the legit one is about $15 each picked up.  I am thinking I want 6-8 to start with.

question 2-when I rack from primary can I condition at my beer cellar temp? -So if I get more kegged than I'm drinking, can I build up a stockpile?

Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: dirtyjerzey on November 19, 2009, 01:19:28 PM
Keg, keg, keg....and sometimes bottle....

I'll bottle certain specialty batches, or split a batch and put half in a 3gal keg and bottle the rest.....

Beer Gun when I find out a keg'd batch is really good and I want to gift some bottles....

Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: majorvices on November 19, 2009, 02:28:19 PM
I used to keg and bottle, but I have gotten really lazy and mostly just keg. II have 4 or 5 kegs half full of barley wines and RIS that I really need to run off to bottles through my CPBF but ... I just never make the time. Need to set out a day to do that. Could use those kegs!
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: redbeerman on November 19, 2009, 02:51:13 PM
I keg almost exclusively, but I do use a CPBF to fill bottles for gifts and comps.  I also may bottle the dregs of a keg to make room for the next in line in the serving fridge.  I use growlers to transport small amounts around the neighborhood.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: tygo on November 19, 2009, 03:04:21 PM
I only bottle as I'm a ways away from accumulating the equipment I'll need to keg but I plan on working my way towards that.  I just need to make sure I drink enough beer to get the bottles I need.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: mtbrewer on November 20, 2009, 12:33:52 AM
I made my first beer in 1994, I have always bottled. Call me a glutton for punishment! Maybe some day I will keg, maybe not. This last spring I bottled 40 gallons in one day, that was rough. :-\
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: tygo on November 20, 2009, 12:56:10 AM
I made my first beer in 1994, I have always bottled. Call me a glutton for punishment! Maybe some day I will keg, maybe not. This last spring I bottled 40 gallons in one day, that was rough. :-\

That's almost 18 cases...I hope you were using something bigger than 12 oz
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: wilypig on November 20, 2009, 06:48:26 PM
I keg everything for conditioning. Once I have enough kegs full ( I own 15 and 14 are full) I will plan a bottling weekend. My next bottling weekend will be next weekend(the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving). The scope is as follows

Cyser
maple mead
agave mead
Maple cider
New England cider
Maple agave cyser - Yes the blended over run of the above
Bourbon Barrel Baltic Porter
Black Lambic - American amber wheat with Maple syrup - Wyeast lambic blend - 1 year on Royal Anne Cherries

I set up the bottling equiment (beer gun, Son, Daughter, CO2, Sanitizer basin, Corker, Bench Capper) and in 6 to 8 hours I am done. Then I am ready to start brewing again.

Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: mtbrewer on November 20, 2009, 11:19:31 PM
I made my first beer in 1994, I have always bottled. Call me a glutton for punishment! Maybe some day I will keg, maybe not. This last spring I bottled 40 gallons in one day, that was rough. :-\

That's almost 18 cases...I hope you were using something bigger than 12 oz
I used 12, 16, and 22 oz. bottles. Scrubbed all of them the same day, it was a marathon session!
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: ted on November 23, 2009, 03:32:16 AM
I don't remember the last time bottled!!  :)
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: cracklefish on November 23, 2009, 09:12:58 PM
Wow. One of the two votes that bottle most but keg a little. I like to compete and have draft beer so I keg the beer that needs work and bottle the best. ;D
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: Dbbrewing on November 27, 2009, 11:09:34 PM
My process is pretty similar to Kai's. I use a stopper on the racking cane; that seals the top of the bottle, and then you can lock the picnic tap open and fill by squeezing the stopper to control the flow of beer. Like a two dollar counter-pressure filler.

I've also found that I have to deliberately over-carbonate the keg by about half a volume, to compensate for the pressure lost in bottling.

This is how I bottle too, and only bottle to take to the Homebrew club meetings and competitions.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: yugamrap on November 30, 2009, 03:03:11 PM
Quote
Actually I don't have a kegging system (yet) but Santa may be good to me this year.  I'd expect I would only bottle after that if I had all my kegs in use and needed the keg.  I would then bottle to free up the keg.  And also bottle for competitions.

+1 for me.  Bottling is horrid. 

question-which probably has no definative answers:

How many Kegs does a newb kegger need.  I have a couple sources-the legit one is about $15 each picked up.  I am thinking I want 6-8 to start with.

question 2-when I rack from primary can I condition at my beer cellar temp? -So if I get more kegged than I'm drinking, can I build up a stockpile?



How many kegs to start with depends on how fast you go through beer, how many you intend to have on tap at the same time and, to some extent, what styles you brew.  I have 8 corny kegs.  I usually have four beers on tap at the same time and, on average, go through a keg or two in a month.  With 4 on tap, that leaves the other 4 to have a couple "on deck" and a couple in longer-term lagering.  That has worked out okay for me so far, but I sometimes have to do some careful planning, or bottle-off the end of a keg to free one up for a batch - so I'm planning to get 4 more.

Concerning question #2 - Once your beer is done fermenting, you can force carbonate it (which works best once the beer is cold), or you can naturally carbonate it as you would a bottled beer.  I usually force carbonate, but have naturally carbonated kegs at basement temperatures (62-66F) with good results.  Once a beer is carbonated, it can be stored at cellar temperatures for several months without harm.  I often brew 10-gallon batches and store one of the kegs in this way if I don't have room in one of my fridges.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: brewsumore on December 05, 2009, 11:17:50 PM
I'm still very new to kegging via kegerator - still in process of dispensing my second and third full home-dispensed cornies.  Since I started kegging I have split one 11 gallon batch of +9% ABV IIPA between bottling and kegging.  Mostly the bottles are for giving to friends and family, some of who live 200 miles away - but also to take when traveling (read "fishing trips").  I have always been intrigued by bottle-conditioned ales and so spend the time although thankful that kegging can be the primary dispensing system, especially for many lower gravity styles.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: benjammin on December 07, 2009, 11:37:15 PM
right now i only bottle but hopefully santa will bring me a corny kegging system.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: akr71 on December 09, 2009, 01:44:45 PM
I only bottle, but only because I'm not set up for it yet and don't have a spare fridge to turn into a kegerator (yet).  My next major brewing purchase is going to be a grain mill, then I'll start saving for the kegs.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: dbarber on December 09, 2009, 06:56:06 PM
I mostly keg, except my funky beers, meads and ciders, they go into bottles.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: bbump22 on December 18, 2009, 12:32:09 AM
right now i bottle using 22 oz or 64 oz growlers...I like taking my beer to friends houses, so bottling helps.  I do hope santa gets me a keg system this christmas (HE BETTER!) though.  I might bottle a growler from each batch or something like that, but will most likely keg most often.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: enso on January 05, 2010, 07:13:23 PM
I mainly keg.  I still seem to have a ton of bottles though and seem to clean them alot!   ???

I have 13 (LUCKY 13!!!) kegs and lately I keep them full fairly well.  So I find myself bottling partial kegs to make room for ready beers in the fermenters.  Especially higher gravity beers like barley wines and Belgian Strongs that I do not enjoy with frequency.  I use the old cut off racking cane and #2 stopper method to fill.  Also, now that I have such a large volume of beer I am much more generous about giving beer away.  A growler is not always appropriate to give away so I bottle a bunch.  I also am intersted in playing with bottle conditioning Belgian ales more now.  I plan on filling from the keg though.  I will keg it, age it some more and then add priming sugar and yeast if needed.  Purge the keg of air and roll to mix.  Then fill by pushing with C02 using the aforementioned high tech bottling gadget.   ;D Then there are competitions...

I guess when I had only a few kegs and brewed less I had not much reason (other than comps.) to bottle
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: Beertracker on January 07, 2010, 10:28:18 PM
The poll is closed, but I'd hazard to guess that 80% of my stuff is kegged. A reasonable estimate?  :-\
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: euge on March 02, 2010, 04:40:47 AM
I keg almost exclusively.

I would bottle more...but I'm just too lazy. Kegging is so much easier.

That's me in a nutshell.

Though it would be nice to have a greater selection available- I can only serve two kegs at a time.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: CASK1 on March 11, 2010, 05:51:43 PM
I nearly always keg, but I am making more exceptions. On an infrequent high gravity, I will bottle the whole batch. I will bottle from the tap for comps or to take to a party.  Lately I have discovered that I prefer the head quality on Belgian styles when they are bottle conditioned. The head seems thicker, moussier, and more persistent. So on Dubbels, Tripels, etc, I have been bottling 2-3 gallons and kegging the rest.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: euge on March 17, 2010, 06:49:43 AM
I'll agree that some beers are better or at least best handled in the bottle. I've had a devil of a time kegging Belgian styles.
Title: Re: Keg, bottle or both?
Post by: Malticulous on April 04, 2010, 03:03:56 PM
I just got a few taps. I bottled half right before I kegged the other five gallons of what I have serving now. The bottles are better. I hop the keg catches up but it taste more green an still not as clear. I think there is something to the bottle conditioning thing.