Author Topic: Bottling for Competitions?  (Read 2270 times)

Offline mpmccann

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Bottling for Competitions?
« on: May 09, 2013, 01:02:46 PM »
I plan on entering some competitions but I keg all my beer. So I asked the guy at my LHBS and he said he uses Carb tabs. So I pick some up and indeed bottled my first 6 for competition. I intend to use 4 to enter and two for taste testing. I haven’t tried one of the beers yet; but I was just wondering what you guys thought about them? Would you, or do you use the Carb Tabs? Is there a better option? Thanks for your comments in advance…
Matt…
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 01:14:31 PM by mpmccann »
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Bottling for Competitions?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2013, 01:16:52 PM »
When I bottle for comps, I use the Beergun and brand new bottles, and hit it with a little CO2 just before capping (very easy to do with the Beergun).

I'm not sure how well you can control with carb tabs, especially since you've already carbonated in the keg. 
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Bottling for Competitions?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2013, 01:26:11 PM »
Carb tabs can work just fine.  I've used just about all of the brands out there and there is some variation in consistency, but they all work.

The Munton's product left weird waxy floaty things in my beer, so I stopped using those.  From what I've read on forums from that time it was bad batch and they supposedly fixed the problem.

I don't submit to competitions, so I can't give you any feedback on that. 
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Offline mpmccann

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Re: Bottling for Competitions?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2013, 01:37:34 PM »
When I bottle for comps, I use the Beergun and brand new bottles, and hit it with a little CO2 just before capping (very easy to do with the Beergun).

I'm not sure how well you can control with carb tabs, especially since you've already carbonated in the keg. 
I bottle and keg at the same time, so beer would not be carbonated yet. Also I currently do not own a beer gun maybe one day. I am thinking about making one of those cheap counter flow bottlers out of my bottling wand and a #2 drilled stopper. My brew buddy does it that way and has had great results...
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 01:54:41 PM by mpmccann »
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Offline dean_palmer

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Re: Bottling for Competitions?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 06:06:26 AM »
I bottled from the keg for almost 10 years just using a bottling wand jammed into the end of a picnic tap. Works fine and you are bottling from a known CO2 level and won't have any variation in the bottle. For competitions this worked well as I rarely bottled for any other reason. I had bottled some Belgian Dark Strong using this simple method, and those bottles sat on the shelf for two years, and just won a gold medal in state competition. All my other entries before this year that won medals were bottled with the picnic tap/wand method as well. While winning in competitions doesn't mean these beers were flawless, they clearly had a low enough level of flaws from bottling that rarely would there be a remark of any suspicion of oxidation and such.

To improve my process I did finally buy a Blichmann gun. Frankly I would suggest that the gun is a great process. To me it's not worth screwing around building a makeshift counter-pressure gimmick that won't do much more than a wand shoved into a picnic tap :-) I love the CO2 purge ability with the same one handed operation.

Offline jimrod

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Re: Bottling for Competitions?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2013, 12:17:52 AM »
I soak my bottles in ice water before I fill them with the beer gun. Anything to keep the foam down.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Bottling for Competitions?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2013, 11:54:40 AM »
I liked the advice given by the lady from Boulevard during one of the NHC presentations: bottle the batch to three different carb levels, and pick the ones you like best to send to the comp.
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Offline jjflash

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Re: Bottling for Competitions?
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2013, 07:47:05 AM »
+1 Blichmann beergun

Increase the keg CO2 pressure by 0.5 to 1.0 volumes as you are shooting for bottle beer pressure and not lower keg pressure beer in the bottles.   
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Bottling for Competitions?
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2013, 10:38:32 AM »
I liked the advice given by the lady from Boulevard during one of the NHC presentations: bottle the batch to three different carb levels, and pick the ones you like best to send to the comp.

She's good. She gives a bottling demonstration from time to time around the KC area.

But, sometimes I'm not into getting out the Beer Gun, sanitizing the whole thing, etc, etc. So I bottle off a keg with either a bottling wand shoved up a Perlick or a racking cane shoved into a picnic tap. I bottle a couple days before it's due and it seems to work out okay.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Bottling for Competitions?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2013, 05:22:40 AM »
+1 Blichmann beergun

+1000000 (if you're kegging). I just used mine for the first time yesterday. Bottled 3 cases. Easy as pie to sanitize, use, and clean.

I was using a piece of an old racking cane and a bottle stopper attached to a picnic tap before. Worked okay for taking beer to parties, but O2 pickup is huge - hoppy beers don't last long in the bottle, and 2010 Flanders red picking up some acetic acid.
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Offline knafrancis

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Re: Bottling for Competitions?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2013, 07:25:36 PM »
Quote
My brew buddy does it that way and has had great results...

+1 on perfectly acceptable results using a home-made "counter-pressure" filling system. Is it as easy or as storage -friendly as a Blichmann Gun? Probably not. For now, I just don't have the $$ for that setup. Would love one, but if you can purge the bottle with CO2 before filling, you should be fine. Not nearly as convenient, but it will work.

This time of year, is there any way to avoid heat damage if you're shipping your beer to a competition? I'd be as worried about that as oxidation.