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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: banjo-guy on February 17, 2018, 12:50:42 PM

Title: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: banjo-guy on February 17, 2018, 12:50:42 PM
I bottle off the keg using the popular method of sticking a tube into a picnic tap and using a stopper on the tube.
I am really close to buying a Blichman beer gun. I’m starting to enter competitions and want to package my beer the best I can. I think that the advantage of the beer gun is that Co2 will  dispace the oxygen in the bottle prior to filling thus minimizing oxidation.

Is it worth the expense and effort to use a beer gun?  Would using it make really make a difference in the taste and possible score of my entries?
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: Robert on February 17, 2018, 01:05:53 PM
A beer gun does not effectively purge O2 from the bottle.  You can get a proper counterpressure bottle filler, which will do so, far cheaper than a beer gun anyway.

EDIT for stupid precoffee typo
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: BrewBama on February 17, 2018, 01:18:04 PM
You can build one for $28. https://byo.com/project/build-a-counter-pressure-bottle-filler-projects/


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Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: klickitat jim on February 17, 2018, 01:45:30 PM
I think my beer gun was well worth the money.
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: The Beerery on February 17, 2018, 04:42:19 PM
I was able to get 20ppb packaged with my beer gun, but I do some things differently so they can work.  I was also able to get 10ppb with a cpbf and a triple/purge vac.  The problem is with bottles is the caps leak. So the lower you can get into it, the longer you have in it. 


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Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: banjo-guy on February 17, 2018, 04:55:25 PM
So the consensus is that the beer gun is a big improvement over bottling off the keg with a bottling wand and a stopper on the bottling wand tube.
The beer gun looks great but I don’t want add new equipment unless there is a noticeable improvement in the final product. That’s why I’m looking for feedback.


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Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: Robert on February 17, 2018, 05:45:03 PM
The goal in bottling is to accomplish the following:  remove as much air as possible from the bottle and replace with CO2 so that beer entering will have minimal contact with air.  Fill the bottle with beer without excessive foam at first to preserve carbonation.  At the end of filling, get the beer to foam up and start to foam out of the bottle; you then "cap on foam" so that the only gas left in the bottle is the beer's own CO2.  Any procedure that will meet these goals will work.  The hardest part with a beer gun is the initial purge because just blowing gas in won't expel air, just mix it up.  A cpbf allows you to do a number of purge cycles which is somewhat better.  Capping on foam is your most important tool, if you can't do that, you'll leave a whole lot of O2 in the headspace.  Thereafter it's just a matter of time as oxygen will penetrate through the seal eventually,  even with caps that claim to diminish this effect.  Hope this helps you prioritize your needs as you choose equipment.
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: banjo-guy on February 17, 2018, 07:06:36 PM
The goal in bottling is to accomplish the following:  remove as much air as possible from the bottle and replace with CO2 so that beer entering will have minimal contact with air.  Fill the bottle with beer without excessive foam at first to preserve carbonation.  At the end of filling, get the beer to foam up and start to foam out of the bottle; you then "cap on foam" so that the only gas left in the bottle is the beer's own CO2.  Any procedure that will meet these goals will work.  The hardest part with a beer gun is the initial purge because just blowing gas in won't expel air, just mix it up.  A cpbf allows you to do a number of purge cycles which is somewhat better.  Capping on foam is your most important tool, if you can't do that, you'll leave a whole lot of O2 in the headspace.  Thereafter it's just a matter of time as oxygen will penetrate through the seal eventually,  even with caps that claim to diminish this effect.  Hope this helps you prioritize your needs as you choose equipment.
Thanks for the detailed answer.



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Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: klickitat jim on February 17, 2018, 07:14:26 PM
Has anyone actually tested the difference or is this more theory becoming untested fact?
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: Robert on February 17, 2018, 07:32:00 PM
Jim, are you able to cap on foam with your beer gun?  As I said, that's easily the most important criterion in choosing a bottling method. 
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: klickitat jim on February 17, 2018, 07:38:31 PM
Yes

So if it really bothers people, why not slide a stopper onto the beer gun, add a small tube that reaches the bottom of the bottle, fill bottle with sanitizer and push it out with CO2 through the little "out" tube.
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: Robert on February 17, 2018, 07:49:25 PM
Yes

So if it really bothers people, why not slide a stopper onto the beer gun, add a small tube that reaches the bottom of the bottle, fill bottle with sanitizer and push it out with CO2 through the little "out" tube.
Cool!

The extra effort might be in order for a competition.  Since you normally will never purge completely, cap on foam is the best you can usually do. I wanted to outline all the considerations for the OP.

 I used to use a cpbf but haven't bottled in a long time.  If I ever find the need to again, I think I'll buy or borrow a beer gun!
Title: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: coolman26 on February 19, 2018, 03:43:52 AM
Isn’t the purge for 10 sec?  I’m not sure what the flow/pressure is.


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Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: klickitat jim on February 19, 2018, 04:15:52 AM
I run about 4-5psi, co2 is cheap, I count to 10 in small bottles, 20 in big, then fill.
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: Adam on February 21, 2018, 12:02:57 AM
I was able to get 20ppb packaged with my beer gun, but I do some things differently so they can work.  I was also able to get 10ppb with a cpbf and a triple/purge vac.  The problem is with bottles is the caps leak. So the lower you can get into it, the longer you have in it. 


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Just curious about how you are getting your readings.  Are you taking freshly bottled beer over to a brewery or shipping it out to a lab?

Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: The Beerery on February 21, 2018, 01:35:28 AM
Freshly bottled to a lab with orbisphere.


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Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: coolman26 on February 21, 2018, 02:51:27 AM
Freshly bottled to a lab with orbisphere.


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Your something else Man. Prost!


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Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: Adam on February 23, 2018, 06:22:47 PM
Freshly bottled to a lab with orbisphere.


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Very cool.  The reason I was asking is that over tinme oxygen will react with other agents in the beer and will give a lower reading.  I have seen beer bottled and tested day of with a high ppb of O2 and the same beer bottled the same way aged a few weeks and tested again with a lower PPB O2. 

Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: The Beerery on February 23, 2018, 08:09:55 PM
Freshly bottled to a lab with orbisphere.


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Very cool.  The reason I was asking is that over tinme oxygen will react with other agents in the beer and will give a lower reading.  I have seen beer bottled and tested day of with a high ppb of O2 and the same beer bottled the same way aged a few weeks and tested again with a lower PPB O2.

Absolutely correct. Beer has its own antioxidants, only when those are used up will the DO raise.
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: slickfish1 on February 23, 2018, 09:50:20 PM
Has anyone tried bottle spunding with a beer gun? I would think it would be pretty easy for those fermenting in kegs.


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Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: banjo-guy on February 24, 2018, 03:38:49 PM
I run about 4-5psi, co2 is cheap, I count to 10 in small bottles, 20 in big, then fill.

Take a look at my post in Pimp My System. I put together a gadget to fill bottles with Starsan and purge them with Co2 the same way you would purge a keg. I think it will result in less oxygen in the bottle and less Co2 used than a beer gun.
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: klickitat jim on February 24, 2018, 03:46:12 PM
I saw that, pretty cool
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: Robert on February 24, 2018, 03:52:28 PM
I run about 4-5psi, co2 is cheap, I count to 10 in small bottles, 20 in big, then fill.

Take a look at my post in Pimp My System. I put together a gadget to fill bottles with Starsan and purge them with Co2 the same way you would purge a keg. I think it will result in less oxygen in the bottle and less Co2 used than a beer gun.

If you already have a beer gun, it should be pretty easy to fit a stopper and dip tube to do that, wouldn't it?  One thing I know, my old cpbf can't do that!
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: banjo-guy on February 24, 2018, 04:06:36 PM
I run about 4-5psi, co2 is cheap, I count to 10 in small bottles, 20 in big, then fill.

Take a look at my post in Pimp My System. I put together a gadget to fill bottles with Starsan and purge them with Co2 the same way you would purge a keg. I think it will result in less oxygen in the bottle and less Co2 used than a beer gun.

If you already have a beer gun, it should be pretty easy to fit a stopper and dip tube to do that, wouldn't it?  One thing I know, my old cpbf can't do that!

I am trying to avoid buying more gear. This gadget probably costs 10 dollars.
Title: Re: Will a beer gun really improve my beer?
Post by: 2CrazyDogs on March 12, 2018, 04:18:25 PM
I have been very pleased with my Last Straw Bottle Filler.  I package in kegs and fill bottles for competitions, homebrew club meetings, or anywhere else I want to bring a small amount of my libation creations.  Does the bottle filler improve my beer, probably not (I do like not having bottle dregs like I get with bottle conditioning).  I would say to improve beer: Sanitation, Fermentation Temperature Control, and quality ingredients are key.  But back to the bottle filler.  Some say that it does not provide a good purge, but administering CO2 to the bottom of the bottle, to me would be a good purge.  CO2 is heavier than air, so it is going to displace most of the air in the bottle.  When you "purge" with the bottle filler, you can actually hear the bottle "filling up" with CO2 (think of filling a bottle from your refrigerator water. The pitch of the noise gets higher as the volume in the bottle increases).  I enjoy using the bottle filler because I don't reduce the pressure in the keg (the bottle filler comes with about 8ft of tubing to reduce pressure through friction/head loss  Don't shorten the length of the tubing). .  I get my bottles ready and I fill them.  Simple as that.  No foam issues at all.  Releasing the pressure on the keg first causes gasses to come out solution.  Once that happens, filling is a nightmare.
Long story short, better beer?  Meh.  A very convenient way to package beer from a keg?  Absolutely!