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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: kylekohlmorgen on June 16, 2010, 02:18:13 PM

Title: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on June 16, 2010, 02:18:13 PM
Beer Gun + accessories - $90-$100

Counter-Pressure Bottle Filler - $30 DIY
http://www.byo.com/stories/projects-and-equipment/article/indices/20-build-it-yourself/364-build-a-counter-pressure-bottle-filler-projects

Is the Beer Gun really worth it? I could use that extra $60-$70 on another fermenter for conditioning or a few extra kegs...
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: Kaiser on June 16, 2010, 02:30:12 PM
Another option is the picnic tap with the short racking cane tube:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/we-no-need-no-stinking-beer-gun-24678/

This costs you nothing if you already have a picnic tap and some broken racking cane.

I love this set-up. Key is to bottle when the beer is at ~32-34F and to keep the bottles at the same temp. Then you push the beer into the bottles with about 2-3 psi. Cap on foam and you are done.

CP fillers are nice for bottling something that is not as cold (e.g. from the serving fridge) but they need more cleaning. The beer gun seems like a waste of money for $100.

Kai
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on June 16, 2010, 02:33:17 PM
Forgot to mention...

I'm using this to fill bottles for competition at the end of the month... I'll occasionally use it to fill bottles for poker games, bbq's, etc., but it'll mostly be for competitions.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: mikeypedersen on June 16, 2010, 02:34:59 PM
I've been using a CPF for years and love it.  It's a little harder to figure out how to get it to work with only 1 person, but once you figure that out it's really easy to use.  The BeerGun seems easier right out of the box, but I agree with you that it's not $60 - $70 easier.  Just my .02.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: dak0415 on June 16, 2010, 02:44:56 PM
Another option is the picnic tap with the short racking cane tube:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/we-no-need-no-stinking-beer-gun-24678/

This costs you nothing if you already have a picnic tap and some broken racking cane.

I love this set-up. Key is to bottle when the beer is at ~32-34F and to keep the bottles at the same temp. Then you push the beer into the bottles with about 2-3 psi. Cap on foam and you are done.


Kai

+1 on this.  If I'm bottling for competition, I purge the bottles with CO2 first, otherwise I just fill from a sanitized picnic tap.  Now, if I was bottling 2 cases....

Dave
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: Kaiser on June 16, 2010, 02:54:02 PM
Now, if I was bottling 2 cases....

I can easily fill a whole keg worth of bottles this way. This is what I do with my Doppelbock in order to free up a keg and allow the beer to age in the bottle.

Since the beer has to be near freezing for this to work well I always bottle 6-12 bottles before I rack a batch to its serving keg. Those bottles are primarily for sharing and comparative tasting.

Kai
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on June 16, 2010, 05:56:39 PM
Now, if I was bottling 2 cases....

I can easily fill a whole keg worth of bottles this way. This is what I do with my Doppelbock in order to free up a keg and allow the beer to age in the bottle.

Since the beer has to be near freezing for this to work well I always bottle 6-12 bottles before I rack a batch to its serving keg. Those bottles are primarily for sharing and comparative tasting.

Kai

Do you bottle those 6-12 from the carboy and prime?

If so, how is the comparative tasting between bottle conditioned and force-carbonated?

Do I smell an experiment?
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: Kaiser on June 16, 2010, 06:05:31 PM
Do you bottle those 6-12 from the carboy and prime?

No, they are bottled from a cold conditioned and carbed keg

Quote
If so, how is the comparative tasting between bottle conditioned and force-carbonated?

What I mean to say I always use a bottle for personal beer tastings where I take notes. It provides me with a more consistent beer presentation.

Kai
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: bluesman on June 16, 2010, 09:17:06 PM
I have the BBG and really like the performance. I suppose if you need the money, the CPF will do the job but you won't be able to purge with CO2. That's the only real difference. If you can come up with the extra cash the BBG will be worth it for you in the long run. It's very easy to use and maintain as well.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: weithman5 on June 16, 2010, 09:39:00 PM
if you go to the main website there is a section on free downloads.  one of these is about making gadgets.  there is a great description of something similar to what Kai is talking about that seems to work great.  it also has some interesting ways of filling plastic 2 liters from your keg to take to parties  (boundary waters canoe trips, camping, etc)
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: tom on June 16, 2010, 10:48:44 PM
I have the BBG and really like the performance. I suppose if you need the money, the CPF will do the job but you won't be able to purge with CO2. That's the only real difference. If you can come up with the extra cash the BBG will be worth it for you in the long run. It's very easy to use and maintain as well.
A real counterpressure bottle filler will let you purge the bottle with CO2. Then you pressurize it to the same pressure as the keg (I like to overpressurize it at 18-20 psi). Turn off the CO2, turn on the beer valve and adjust the pressure relief valve for a smooth fill. When full, turn off beer valve, let out more pressure from the relief valve, remove CPBF and cap on foam.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: The Professor on June 17, 2010, 01:00:58 AM
A real counterpressure bottle filler will let you purge the bottle with CO2. Then you pressurize it to the same pressure as the keg (I like to overpressurize it at 18-20 psi). Turn off the CO2, turn on the beer valve and adjust the pressure relief valve for a smooth fill. When full, turn off beer valve, let out more pressure from the relief valve, remove CPBF and cap on foam.

I bottle using exactly the method that Kai uses...a cobra tap with a tube jammed into it... and it works great. 
As far as purging the bottles, I manage to do that too...I have a manifold on my co2 tank connected to another cobra tap that has a stopper attached...I give each bottle a shot (usually 6 at a time) then fill the forzen bottles with the nearly frozen beer, then cap 'em.  Works great, it retains the carbonation level I like, and I have subsequently kept beers bottled that way for a year or more with no problems whatsoever.
The Beergun and the homemade CPF's are both great, but by no means are they necessities for bottling up to a case or two of beer at a time.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: narvin on June 17, 2010, 06:07:51 AM
I'd either get a real counterpressure filler or got the DIY route... the beer gun seems expensive for something lacking true counter-pressure...


Also, regarding the DIY version: If you get the right sized tubing, you can put it through a drilled rubber stopper and stick it right in your draft spout.  This eliminates the need for a picnic tap.  This only works with the widest spout attachment on my ventmatics, though, so if you have regular rear-seal faucets it may not be possible... not really sure.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: wilypig on June 17, 2010, 02:07:33 PM
I have a BBG and it is one of my top 5 gadgets for ease of use and functionality. I generally prime in a keg and bottle but I do some times bottles carbonated samples. The one handed operation is far superior to a CP filler in my opinion. I usually fill 3-6 kegs worth in a session - 4-5 hours from set up to break down. My 0.02.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: tom on June 17, 2010, 05:09:31 PM
A real counterpressure bottle filler will let you purge the bottle with CO2. Then you pressurize it to the same pressure as the keg (I like to overpressurize it at 18-20 psi). Turn off the CO2, turn on the beer valve and adjust the pressure relief valve for a smooth fill. When full, turn off beer valve, let out more pressure from the relief valve, remove CPBF and cap on foam.

I bottle using exactly the method that Kai uses...a cobra tap with a tube jammed into it... and it works great. 
As far as purging the bottles, I manage to do that too...I have a manifold on my co2 tank connected to another cobra tap that has a stopper attached...I give each bottle a shot (usually 6 at a time) then fill the forzen bottles with the nearly frozen beer, then cap 'em.  Works great, it retains the carbonation level I like, and I have subsequently kept beers bottled that way for a year or more with no problems whatsoever.
The Beergun and the homemade CPF's are both great, but by no means are they necessities for bottling up to a case or two of beer at a time.
Good point about the temperature. Keep the beer, bottles and hoses as cold as possible to minimize foaming.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: nyakavt on June 17, 2010, 06:19:50 PM
Kai, what's the longest you've kept unpurged tap-filled bottles, and what temperature were they stored?  How long did it take for oxidation to show up, if it has yet?  I'm considering this method to free up keg space since I don't have a special filler, and it will probably be the higher alcohol beers that require 6-12 months of aging. 
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: weithman5 on June 17, 2010, 07:18:50 PM
they really should last for a long time without oxidation.  for the most part as the beer is filling the bottle the air in the bottle has to leave the opening. their should be very little dissolving of the oxygen (only 18-20%) of the air into the beer during this.  especially if no turbulence.  if you completely top off in the process and cap on the foam, there is really limited ability for the oxygen to affect the beer.  if still worried, an oxygen scavenging cap can be used for those long storage beers.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: Kaiser on June 18, 2010, 04:44:40 AM
Kai, what's the longest you've kept unpurged tap-filled bottles, and what temperature were they stored? 

The beer I keep the longest ist my Doppelbock which, fortunately, benefits from some oxidation.  Other beers have been kep as long as 4-5 months w/o problems I think.

Kai
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: taku74 on June 21, 2010, 03:16:11 AM
Just adding my two cents in that the Beer Gun is quite nice and perhaps worth splurging on.  You may also be able to forgo the accessories kit if you have enough fittings and connectors around in your collection of beer things.  It seems that it's almost a matter of preference between BG and CPF.  I know I've built all kinds of DIY gadgets for brewing that do bring some personal satisfaction.  But, how much is your time and effort worth?  As much as I like DIY, I also like having something that's ready to be used from the get go.

I will add that I have never used a CPF so I'm only stating my preference for what I have used.  I've tried the picnic tap with a jammed piece of a racking cane method with less success.

I also second the idea of a very cold keg and cold bottles to help keep the CO2 in solution.  Otherwise, it's a foamy mess even if you go from the keg that's in the kegerator at optimum serving temperatures.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: MDixon on June 21, 2010, 12:09:27 PM
Just to add my $0.02 on CPF fillers. I made a really nice one and expected to get rid of my Poor Man's. Turns out they are a PITA to clean and so for anything less than 12 bottles I use the Poor Man's and only pull out the full blown one for large bottling sessions. My version and KS Poor Man's are on my page www.ipass.net/mpdixon
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: weithman5 on June 21, 2010, 03:44:59 PM
FWIW, the method of capping on foam, even with out purging first with CO2 should last as long as a bottle that was filled directly from the bucket.  these arent purged either.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: Kaiser on June 21, 2010, 04:01:17 PM
FWIW, the method of capping on foam, even with out purging first with CO2 should last as long as a bottle that was filled directly from the bucket.  these arent purged either.

I don't worry about purging with CO2 either. Technically there can be O2 uptake by the beer while the bottle is filled but I don't worry about it since fixing it would be a pain.

However, this gives me the idea of making a simple beer gun like device where there would be a CO2 line next to the racking cane. That line is connected to the CO2 tank though a simple push button valve and I could first purge the bottle and then fill it with beer. All with the same hand.

Kai
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: weithman5 on June 21, 2010, 04:37:46 PM
KAI

I HAVE A CRYO (FOR NITROGEN) GUN IN MY OFFICE THAT HAS TWO SEPARATE TRIGGERS ACTIVATED BY THE THUMBS.  THEY ARE SIDE BY SIDE I WILL HAVE TO LOOK AND SEE IF THIS HAS POTENTIAL FOR USE AND CONVERSION.  IF SO I WILL POST THE MANUFACTURER ETC.

DON
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: MDixon on June 21, 2010, 04:44:44 PM
However, this gives me the idea of making a simple beer gun like device where there would be a CO2 line next to the racking cane. That line is connected to the CO2 tank though a simple push button valve and I could first purge the bottle and then fill it with beer. All with the same hand.

I've thought of making one by doing that, but never worked out exactly how to valve it.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: richardt on June 21, 2010, 07:14:54 PM
KAI

I HAVE A CRYO (FOR NITROGEN) GUN IN MY OFFICE THAT HAS TWO SEPARATE TRIGGERS ACTIVATED BY THE THUMBS.  THEY ARE SIDE BY SIDE I WILL HAVE TO LOOK AND SEE IF THIS HAS POTENTIAL FOR USE AND CONVERSION.  IF SO I WILL POST THE MANUFACTURER ETC.

DON

Might make a nice eisbock with it!  Though I suspect it would freeze at too fast a rate.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: weithman5 on June 21, 2010, 07:17:42 PM
i was more thinking of using the gun off the nitrogen and connecting the supplies to the co2, keg then you have two valve control with the thumb of the one hand.  i have thought of using liquid nitrogen as a cooling medium instead of a chiller.  little expensive though :P
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: micsager on July 18, 2010, 02:49:03 PM
I have the BBG and really like the performance. I suppose if you need the money, the CPF will do the job but you won't be able to purge with CO2. That's the only real difference. If you can come up with the extra cash the BBG will be worth it for you in the long run. It's very easy to use and maintain as well.

I have the beer gun too.  I love.  Yea, it's a bit pricey.  And I don't bottle all that much, but it's a very well designed, easy to use device.  If you got the $$$, but the beer gun. 
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: corkybstewart on July 22, 2010, 04:10:00 PM
I have a CPF and the last 2 times I used it I got beer everywhere but in the bottles so I bought a Beergun and I love it.  Last weekend I found a bottle of pale ale I bottled with it 2 years ago.  It was still perfectly carbonated and not the least oxidized.  It was actually pretty damn good.
I don't use it unless I'm bottling more than a dozen bottles but it's no more hassle to clean or sanitize than my CPF was, and I can fill a dozen bottles in 10-15 minutes by myself once the bottles are sanitized.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: jaicmac on July 24, 2010, 01:59:15 AM
I found that using a CP filler was a bit confusing until I watched Job Plice's video on More Beer's web site: http://morebeer.com/learn_vids/vids_cpfiller
Since I don't use the CP filler often I usually just watch the video before I fill!
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 24, 2010, 05:11:23 PM
When filling with Picnic tap your pressure should be below 5 psi otherwise you end up with a lot of foam.
When filling with CPF your pressure should be at least 10 psi otherwise you end up with a lot of foam.
I never used Beer Gun.
It is always beneficial when your bottles are also cold.
This is my experience.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: abraxas on August 11, 2010, 03:26:17 AM
For a few bottles the racking cane burp stopper method works great.  I've heard some horror stories about spraying beer everywhere if your not careful but haven't run into them myself...  Seems like this problem would be minimized by cold temp and/or a splash shield.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: gordonstrong on August 11, 2010, 03:48:15 AM
I think the Beer Gun is probably the easiest bottle filler I ever used.  I've tried maybe four different CP fillers over the years, but the BBG wins hands down in ease of use and performance.

I got it as a gift (from someone who wasn't just spending my/our money, so it really was a gift), so I didn't have to make the decision if it was worth it or not.  I guess not, since I didn't go buy it myself.  But I rarely bottle a keg's worth of beer.  I don't know that I'd break it out for less than a half keg's worth of beer, though, because I'd spend any time savings cleaning the thing afterwards.

You can rationalize not buying it on cost, but I don't think you can on engineering, manufacturing, or performance.  It works exactly as promised.

Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: majorvices on August 11, 2010, 11:44:53 AM
It strikes me as absurdly simple how easy it would be with a few minor modifications to turn a BG into a CPBF. A stopper drilled with a hole adequately large enough to fill the BG post and a smaller hole to let Co2 out slowly (and under pressure) while you fill. Perhaps put your finger over relief hole to get it started under pressure.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: tschmidlin on August 11, 2010, 05:55:22 PM
It strikes me as absurdly simple how easy it would be with a few minor modifications to turn a BG into a CPBF. A stopper drilled with a hole adequately large enough to fill the BG post and a smaller hole to let Co2 out slowly (and under pressure) while you fill. Perhaps put your finger over relief hole to get it started under pressure.

I agree, it would be absurdly easy.  My question is, why?  It gives great results, and as Gordon said, it works exactly as promised.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: micsager on August 11, 2010, 08:00:29 PM
I think the Beer Gun is probably the easiest bottle filler I ever used.  I've tried maybe four different CP fillers over the years, but the BBG wins hands down in ease of use and performance.

I got it as a gift (from someone who wasn't just spending my/our money, so it really was a gift), so I didn't have to make the decision if it was worth it or not.  I guess not, since I didn't go buy it myself.  But I rarely bottle a keg's worth of beer.  I don't know that I'd break it out for less than a half keg's worth of beer, though, because I'd spend any time savings cleaning the thing afterwards.

You can rationalize not buying it on cost, but I don't think you can on engineering, manufacturing, or performance.  It works exactly as promised.



Agreed, and I only hook up Co2 if filling for competition.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: majorvices on August 12, 2010, 12:45:23 PM
It strikes me as absurdly simple how easy it would be with a few minor modifications to turn a BG into a CPBF. A stopper drilled with a hole adequately large enough to fill the BG post and a smaller hole to let Co2 out slowly (and under pressure) while you fill. Perhaps put your finger over relief hole to get it started under pressure.

I agree, it would be absurdly easy.  My question is, why?  It gives great results, and as Gordon said, it works exactly as promised.

I guess for those people who think the CPBF is better - kind of best of both worlds. Plus, it does help keep down on the foam by filling them under pressure.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: marty on August 12, 2010, 01:46:23 PM
love the beer gun, I wouldn't trade it in for anything

but you do have to keep a spare valve seat around
http://www.northernbrewer.com/default/beer-gun-valve-seat.html

you don't want to start bottling and find out you lost that piece during cleaning
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: marty on August 12, 2010, 01:54:13 PM
I guess for those people who think the CPBF is better - kind of best of both worlds. Plus, it does help keep down on the foam by filling them under pressure.

If someone is getting excessive foam with a beer gun then it's either a too short beer line, or a kink in the line. Adding pressure to the bottle would be addressing a symptom instead of correcting the issue.

The Beer Gun wasn't designed without counter pressure, it was designed to not need counter pressure.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: tschmidlin on August 12, 2010, 05:35:12 PM
I guess for those people who think the CPBF is better - kind of best of both worlds. Plus, it does help keep down on the foam by filling them under pressure.
I guess I could see that, although as Marty says, you don't need CP to reduce the foam.  That's ok though, whatever works for people.
Title: Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
Post by: susanr on August 12, 2010, 05:51:15 PM
Have to say I use both a cpf and a beer gun -(Homemade CPF) won the beer gun at a competition and it sat there for about a year - then I discovered how great it is for filling bottles of Mead straight from the carboy. - haven't quite adapted it to filling beer bottles yet - I am a creature of habit - but I can see that it wouldn't be that hard. - I really do love it for filling Mead bottles tho - can do an entire 6 gallon carboy in about a half hour - really a humongous improvement over the Phil's filler that I was using - I push the Mead with CO2 - and even at very low pressure the Phil's filler always dripped and made a mess - the Beer Gun is perfect for this.