Author Topic: best bottling equipment  (Read 3011 times)

Offline yso191

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best bottling equipment
« on: January 03, 2013, 06:21:10 PM »
Well, I thought when I got into this that I would just keg my beer.  But I'm running into obvious limitations (giving beer away, taking beer to someone else's house, etc.).  So now I am looking into getting going on bottling. 

I value doing it right the first time, so what equipment is the best, easiest, most efficient and leads to the most sanitary process?  I'm pretty settled on the Blichmann beer gun, but what else?

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Offline tygo

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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2013, 06:50:37 PM »
Just make sure the bottles and very clean and well sanitized and chill them before you fill with the gun.

I give label-free, previously rinsed bottles an oxyclean soak, rinse them, give them a sani-clean soak, rinse again and bake at 350 for an hour.  Way overkill?  Yep, but it makes me feel better.  This regime is only for beers that will be stored for a long time or submitted to competitions.  Also, I don't often do this so the extra time doesn't kill me.

For taking beer to a friends house I just sanitize a clean growler with starsan.

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Offline narcout

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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2013, 07:16:44 PM »
I think the vinator, in combination with a bottle tree, is the easiest and fastest way to sanitize a run of bottles. 

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/vinator-bottle-rinser.html

If you're bottling from the keg, these look pretty cool (though I just purge with CO2 and bottle right from the tap) - they also make one that fits Perlick forward-seal faucets:

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/BEER-FAUCET-FAUCET-TUBING-GROWLER-FILLER-ADAPTER-P3154.aspx


Offline ukolowiczd

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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 07:23:02 PM »
+1 to the vinator w/ star san and bottle tree - changed my life by making bottling 1000% more easier & faster (wait make that 10,000%). I'm reading Dave Miller's new book and he mentions liking the Fermentap counter pressure bottle filler over all the others. I've never used any of them but am also considering purchasing in order to share keg beer.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/18279//Counter_Pressure_Bottle_Filler

Offline bluesman

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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 07:51:01 PM »
I bottle my beer from the keg using a Blichmann Beer Gun. You'll still want to have a bottle tree and a good quality capper, but the key is to use super clean and sanitized bottles. You could also use the bottle wand if you choose to go the frugal route. I used a bottle wand for years with great success, but the beer gun is awesome.
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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2013, 07:59:56 PM »
I find that when keeping the bottles rinsed after use as much as possible then the "sanitize" feature of my dishwasher is sufficient to keep my filled bottles infection-free.

If your family drinks soda then the bottles are an excellent way to store your excess- what won't fit in the kegs and are great to take to friends' houses. A carbonator cap is a great tool for rapid carbonation.
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Online Joe Sr.

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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 07:58:00 AM »
I bottle my beer from the keg using a Blichmann Beer Gun. You'll still want to have a bottle tree and a good quality capper, but the key is to use super clean and sanitized bottles. You could also use the bottle wand if you choose to go the frugal route. I used a bottle wand for years with great success, but the beer gun is awesome.

I bottled several cases over the holidays using a piece of racking cane and a stopper.  Worked great and actually got me thinking I should bottle more.  I used oxy caps for a little extra insurance.

Definitely the bottle tree makes this process easier.

I have a number of old Phil's Phillers that I used to use when bottling and have thought about trying them with bottling from the keg.  I'm not sure how well they would work with carbonated beer, but if you're bottling before carbonating they're awesome.
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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 08:47:54 AM »
I just tried a new process for bottling beers for bottle conditioning.

All my bottling buckets (the ones with spigots) are a little funky at this point, particularly in the spigot itself as it's nearly impossible to clean those well so this week I did something different. I added my priming sugar (and some new yeast as this beer was a big beast) to a clean sanitized and purged keg, racked the beer into the keg and sealed it up. I could then safely shake the keg a bit to make sure I had good distribution of sugar and yeast. Then I just forced the green beer out with a few psi of co2 into bottles and capped as normal.

It worked really well, better than a bottling bucket for sure.

In terms of sanitizing bottles i use the oven. I always rinse bottles as soon as they are empty and delabel as needed. I rinse well with hot water and put them in the oven the night before I am bottling. bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so and then shut the oven off and let them cool over night.

If I am bottling carbonated beer I am not usually doing a whole batch or for a long storage period so I just santize in a bucket and call it good enough.
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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 09:08:09 AM »
I have the Blichmann Beergun for beer I'm going to store or for competitions.  I also have the adapter narcout posted if I'm taking beer to the club meeting or I know it's going to be consumed in the near future.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2013, 09:13:04 AM »
Agree with what others have said re vinator and star san being the best.  I much prefer the Black Beauty capper over most benchtop cappers because most benchtop cappers have to be adjusted for different height bottles or require shims. 
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Offline The Professor

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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2013, 09:44:37 AM »
I bottled several cases over the holidays using a piece of racking cane and a stopper.  Worked great and actually got me thinking I should bottle more.  I used oxy caps for a little extra insurance.

Definitely the bottle tree makes this process easier...

+1 on all counts.   I've been doing the racking cane/stopper thing to fill bottles from the keg for 2 decades (even for beers intended to cellar in the bottle for 2 years) and it's all you really need.

If the beer is conditioned properly, and the beer and the bottles are as cold as possible (ie., near freezing) at filling time, there is virtually no foaming  or loss of carbonation.  And being a very simple setup, it is easy to use, to clean and to sanitize.

The vinator & bottle tree (and StarSan for that matter)  are newer additions to my setup and have definitely made the whole process of sanitizing the bottles much easier (compared to all the years when I stubbornly clung to the 'bleach soak' method).
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Offline weithman5

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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2013, 10:23:50 AM »
i usually just run my bottles through sanitize cycle on the dishwasher if i am only bottling 20 or less and right from there in to the process.  for larger batches i through star san in a bucket and submerge a bunch of bottles. i have old dishwasher racks from now defunct dishwasher that i just put the bottles on to dry.
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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2013, 12:27:22 PM »
I just tried a new process for bottling beers for bottle conditioning.

All my bottling buckets (the ones with spigots) are a little funky at this point, particularly in the spigot itself as it's nearly impossible to clean those well so this week I did something different. I added my priming sugar (and some new yeast as this beer was a big beast) to a clean sanitized and purged keg, racked the beer into the keg and sealed it up. I could then safely shake the keg a bit to make sure I had good distribution of sugar and yeast. Then I just forced the green beer out with a few psi of co2 into bottles and capped as normal.

It worked really well, better than a bottling bucket for sure.


I like this idea, I may try this on my next hefe even though I've got a bottling bucket I've only used once. Seems like a good way to avoid oxidation. You can rack into a co2 filled vessel and fill bottles with co2 pressure instead of o2.
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2013, 12:34:37 PM »
I just tried a new process for bottling beers for bottle conditioning.

All my bottling buckets (the ones with spigots) are a little funky at this point, particularly in the spigot itself as it's nearly impossible to clean those well so this week I did something different. I added my priming sugar (and some new yeast as this beer was a big beast) to a clean sanitized and purged keg, racked the beer into the keg and sealed it up. I could then safely shake the keg a bit to make sure I had good distribution of sugar and yeast. Then I just forced the green beer out with a few psi of co2 into bottles and capped as normal.

It worked really well, better than a bottling bucket for sure.


I like this idea, I may try this on my next hefe even though I've got a bottling bucket I've only used once. Seems like a good way to avoid oxidation. You can rack into a co2 filled vessel and fill bottles with co2 pressure instead of o2.

yeah, it seemed to go quicker to but it's been a goodly while since I bottled a full 5 gallons the old way so who's to say.
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Offline ukolowiczd

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Re: best bottling equipment
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2013, 12:59:18 PM »
I bottled several cases over the holidays using a piece of racking cane and a stopper.  Worked great and actually got me thinking I should bottle more.  I used oxy caps for a little extra insurance.

Definitely the bottle tree makes this process easier...

+1 on all counts.   I've been doing the racking cane/stopper thing to fill bottles from the keg for 2 decades (even for beers intended to cellar in the bottle for 2 years) and it's all you really need.

If the beer is conditioned properly, and the beer and the bottles are as cold as possible (ie., near freezing) at filling time, there is virtually no foaming  or loss of carbonation.  And being a very simple setup, it is easy to use, to clean and to sanitize.

The vinator & bottle tree (and StarSan for that matter)  are newer additions to my setup and have definitely made the whole process of sanitizing the bottles much easier (compared to all the years when I stubbornly clung to the 'bleach soak' method).

Very interested in this "don't have to buy a $70 counter pressure filler" method. Does it really work? How's it work? I get everything has to be cold, but the racking cane. Do you open the keg and put the racking cane in the keg? Or are you pushing out beer using CO2 but using the racking cane to fill bottles? Will they hold on to their carbonation for extended periods of time?